The Blog

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Norton to Philipsburg - Update from Crestone

After a long night of strong winds buffeting the van and brutal flapping of the tent, we woke to a "blow out " day.  The winds were screaming at about 30 mph and coming directly from the direction we were headed.  There were also tornado watches and concern about severe thunderstorms.  It didn't take much discussion to decide not to ride. 
We drove into Norton which was only about 5 or 6 miles down the road and spend about 3 hours hanging out in the library listening to the wind somehow whistling through the building.  I did a lot of blogging and posting to make up for the days since we left Denver.
On the way back to the car, we passed by a rather neglected bur very large brick church.  Catherine was poking her head in the windows and when we passed the house next door, a woman on the porch said: "Do you want to buy it?"  Turns out she bought it a few years earlier and was storing a bunch of stuff in it but wanted to unload it.  She said it has 90 stained glass windows, beautiful tin work on the ceiling, lots of very nice woodwork and lots and lots of bricks.  She is asking 35 K for the whole thing so if any of you feel the need for a church in your life, this might be the answer.  I was tempted to "junk it out for parts" but I just don't feel that energetic anymore.
After leaving Norton, we drove to Phillipsburg which was about a 30 mile drive.  The van was getting pushed all over the road by the wind and I was driving very slowly.  In town we parked in the middle of the street in front of the dollar store and ate our lunch. Probably one of the most romantic lunch spots yet!  
I then went to the Chamber of Commerce to inquire about places to camp and discovered a City Park that allows camping.  For $10.00 we got a shower, bathroom, electricity and water.  We also got wireless internet thanks to a neighbor, I assume.  We walked into town and visited some of the local attractions, including a woman who told Catherine to put some meat on her bones or she would blow away.  We went and promptly bought a pint of Ice Cream and ate it!
The sky put on a good show for us.  Thunder, lightening and great colors as the sun disappeared behind the unseen horizon.

A very pretty Norton home
The 35K Church I was tempted to buy
Nice Picnic table
Some Kansas History

The owner of the amazing house we visited in Crestone a week or so ago was not home at the time that we visited.  Our friend Ward must have talked to him about our visit and he sent me an email that I am including below.  He describes some interesting details about the house so if you are interested in this, read on:

Paul Kloppenburg's house in Crestone

Hi there , the two wheelers and still bipedal homo sapiens .

I  wanted to high lite some building details , and their 'performance' as it stands with the real balancing act in applying the Four Principles of Direct Passive Solar Heating  in such a manner that there is neither to much nor to  litlle present  with any of these four factors.  Four : Glass , Insulation , Mass , Convection , i.e vents at top and bot. of interior walls.

The big Ochre colored house was originally conceived off as an hybrid house btwn. 2 building components. one Adobe = Mass , and other the 'back-bone- of the house a very light pumice crete = air / insul. --poured only on North side of house ,and acts as 'vertical-structural' strenght in case there is an earth quake, especially the second storey would be prone to collapse, despite all the good bond beams in this house.

yes the interior is following the fairly classic South West design, I  stuck to all natural plasters, and colors, I had a lady crew doing all this hard and fine work--interesting note  here is the little money I spent on raw materials, meaning did not buy any bagged  stuff ,..( incl. all the tape and plastic, and clean up) it was only 5 % of total bill of this interior plastering ,... were as the rest went to labor , is local white labor as contrasted to Hispanic doing similar work, and good work for halve the costs.  It is true the knowledge and know how in doing things 'natural' is scant , so I was happy to get the job done with locals.

the Ochre house doesn't have enough glass ,[ at least on main floor level] hence not enough daily heat gain,as there are  an aweful lot of Adobe walls  (  more then enough Mass ) , be warmed very day .
as the house is well insulated a good sized wood stove will do the job being comfortable,and also in the basement, the entire foot print of the house is below also a basement . there i have a large stainless steel tank, was from milk fac. , now will be a solar hot water tank.......helping heating the house with an active solar hot water system. under the Grey green slate , in a 3 " slab is Pex tubing, and under the 'real 1-1/2 ' thick hard wood floors i will install tube and fins to make the floors feel warmer, and be able to dist. heat.

the up stairs bedroom is like my Studio Apt.  temperatures ,  very nice, and quite a bit warmer , a quicker pick up>> u know we live by the elements here, the sun comes from be hind the imposing mnt. ridge. it's around zero degree outside,--we need a quick boost of heat <<< ,....   as compared to the main floor of the house.

The Studio / Apt. dwelling is an load bearing 24 inch wide straw bale envelop. except for the 2 large doors on the front, and glass wall on south. there are 2 interior Adobe walls , and thick reg. grey stucco ( painted later) on the interior straw, == is all Mass.----- heat will sink in and then release it in night times --also in general it stabilizes the temps.
This dwelling has proven to be extremely low cost of heating, and being to live with the least over all  -energy-use-footprint .

Sorry for my  some what  writings lengthy , as I don't know in which direction your interest lay ...I thought to share this much at least .......

you may have questions ??????  have a safe an a  great road , and suitable climes.etc !!!!!   Paul c Kloppenburg  ,  16 continuous winters in the Baca, and 38 yrs. in this country.

ps: exterior of Ochre house is 3 coats of Sherwin Williams elastomeric paint , with my ochre color I wanted.This was painted on top of typical 2 coat    grey stucco cement on 'wire', looks like chicken netting. The stucco wire was pinned down on the 4 inch  thick  Polyicenene rigged foam boards, nailed directly onto adobe wall. R.30
roof has 2 sheets , 2x30=R.60
there are four kinds of hardwood floors : main large room and two side bedrms. in Maple, the kitchen area ,White Oak,  the hall way , and bath room ,Hickory . All T&J 1-1/2 inch thick by 5-1/4 wide. Up stairs bed rm. 3/4 " Cherry on plywood.
the Leaf on front of house is inspired after the Bodhi leaf , sal-tree

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