Monday, November 23, 2015

A Walk in the Woods

There are trails throughout the woods on our property near Granite Falls.  

Today while the sun shone and melted most of the overnight frost, I decided to hike my one mile course through the woods.  
Most of the Maple and Alder trees finished shedding leaves in last week's wind storm. Several types of ferns now show off their bright green leaves.

I found this pretty coral mushroom along the trail.  Most coral mushrooms are edible,  but I left this one to grow as it wasn't big enough for a meal.

This is a perfect example of a nurse log. Obviously a large tree fell here at some point and all these treese used it as a place to sprout and grow.
 I think this tree has been adopted by woodpeckers.  We always leave at least one snag per acre for them.
If you're looking for a weekend getaway on a quiet private lake, check out our log house on

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Starting a New Business

When we finished building our new home, we called for a final inspection.  The only item that the inspector called out said "Blower Door Test" required.  We asked what that was and where we should go to get it done.  The inspector just said "you might try calling your heating contractor or the insulation contractor."  So we pulled out the invoices from those companies and started calling. Neither did the test, so I headed to the internet.  Most of what I found there was advertisements for equipment.  We did finally find a company based in Renton that agreed to come out to do our test.  

However, during our research, we took several classes that explained the test and the equipment. More investigation showed that the requirement for the test is fairly recent - the standard was imposed by the federal government, to be adopted by the states and jurisdictions within the states.  Washington State adopted the code in 2012, and Snohomish County enacted their requirement on July 1, 2014 - just days before we applied for our building permit.  Permits filed prior to July 1 do not require the test.  

Long story short, we realized that our experience fit well with this test.  So we bit the bullet and bought the equipment and began forming our new company to exclusively do blower door tests.  We have successfully learned the equipment and done several tests of our home and homes belonging to family members.  While the equipment and set up of the new business took a healthy chunk out of our savings, we look forward to building a successful business.

It is very interesting to see just how airtight current construction is compared to older buildings.  Our new house has approximately four air exchanges per hour, while our older log house has 17.4.  We knew it was hard to heat the log house in the winter, but we had no idea just how much air movement took place through gaps in the logs, ceilings and walls, older windows, and older doors.  It has given us a bunch of new projects for that house!

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