Mini Cordwood Build: Squaring the Foundation


It has been quite a while since there has been a house update because we were having such bad building weather.  We decided to just do what we could, without making this house turn into a huge stressor.  We are plugging along, slowly, but still plugging along.

Back to the house:

Once the clearing was just about finished, we decided to do some measuring to see where we stood.  Given the space that the Man was able to clear, we are going with a 16’x42′ house.  This was one of the many dimensions that we had worked out in advance.  We tried many different floor plans, knowing that a massive boulder could be unearthed at any time and block our way.

First we did a rough outline of the house, measuring out each side.  Once we had all four sides, we measured diagonally across the house and then rearranged the markers until both diagonals were the same and all four sides were the proper measurement.  Square.

The Man ran string all the way around the house and then sparay painted all the lines to start digging.

The completed house outline!

This is the point where the snags came in, but we should be back on track quite soon.

For all the build posts, click here.

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Hi Sarah…and family…

I have posted questions here a few times…perhaps they got missed?

I’m currious with the “back to earth” efforts you seem to be trying to make, why such an aggressive (and more modern) approach to this building project?

You have such a beautiful site that is so vastly rich in natural resources of stone and timber…Why make such a large and invasive footprint? There are so many more enduring and natural (aka traditional) approaches to building your intended structure…and…with much less effort as well.

Not a criticism at all…just currious if this is an intentential movement away from the traditional modalities and an interest to “experiment”…or…just not knowing that there are less invasive and more durable ways of building such homes as you seem to be interested in having…I would love to chat here about it and/or send me an email…



I can’t seem to figure out what I had not responded to, but I have been having technical difficuties (mostly my lack of good internet) and I’m sorry if something got missed.
We plan to make full use of all the natural materials on the land. The rocks will be used for gravel and the base, the clay will become mortar and the logs will become bricks. We are also cutting all of our own posts and beams.
We went with a larger footprint (of flat area around the house I assume) so that I could put gardens and an outdoor kitchen in. I also don’t want any trees too close to the house because it makes me nervous.
Did that answer your question? I’m not sure I did completely.

Hello Jay, I am not sure if the bottom reply by the site owner answered your questions, but I am curious what you are suggesting. Can you share how your vision would differ for a self builder with limited means, little experience and small children. It seems you have a lot of experience and expertise and I for one am sure it would be helpful for people like me who is planning an upcoming build. I am following a lot of likeminded pages combing for gems of wisdom so we can build as efficiently, as gracefully, as mindfully, as cheaply and as durably as possible to honor the gifts our land graces us with.
Kind thanks,

The excavator was a huge expense, but I am still thankful we did it. Not even for this house site, because it didn’t really work out for us. We are going to have to build directly into the land as Jay mentioned.
The excavatoe was was we needed to clear paths. The crazy land was fully wooded, so to be able to get around better, we chose the machine.
And we will rent it again next year. While I am working on building, the Man is going to use the machine to make a path the the stream behind our house. I won’t need it for the build at all.


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