Vela Creations is an in-depth resource for off grid living. The site documents our research and experiences, hoping that they might help others interested in pursuing this lifestyle. This blog is designed to document our day to day experiences as we build our new, sustainable homestead. If you are interested in seeing more photos and videos, we have a flickr account at the following url:

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Leo's Big One

After a couple of days working on the house this week, we set off to New Mexico to celebrate Leo's first birthday with his grandparents. He's getting to an age where the last thing he wants is to be strapped down in a chair for nine plus hours. However, we went with some friends, so there was always a couple of people in the back to play with him, and he didn't do too bad.

Once he'd recovered from the trip, he had a great time. After the confined space of our house, he really enjoyed the open carpeted floors of Jim and Vickie's. He got a musical ridable train, which he loves riding and pushing around. He played ball, rode on a little wagon, petted horses, reached for ceiling fans, took baths.

And he is now taking up to ten steps at a time, still between people (not quite confident enough to take off walking without anything in sight to grab hold of).

There's a bunch of photos and videos here.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

First steps

Leo has taken his first steps, or should I say hurried stumbles forward?

He has been standing on his own for a while now, and for a long time. He'll be cruising around, and then, when you say "bravo", he lets go of everything and starts clapping. He also bends down to pick up toys and then stands up again with the toy in hand, all without holding on to anything. So we knew it wouldn't be long before he started walking. He's not quite there yet, still a little hesitant about walking without a crutch, but little by little he's moving forward.

He has also figured out that lifting up my shirt means that he can get to the boobies unaided, and he finds this hysterical. He starts to push my shirt up and says "boob-boob", then either pats them or puts his face up to them and laughs. A friend was holding him with his back to me, and she asked "where's mama?". Nothing. No response. "Where's boobies?" He instantly turns to find me. Well, I guess I know my place!

We have switched him over to a cup with handles, which he now drinks from on his own. He loves it, and takes every opportunity to guzzle water. You would not believe how much he has peed since being allowed total control of his own cup! He also will not allow you to feed him with his spoon. If he's eating from his spoon, he has to do it himself. If you want to feed him soup or something liquid, you have to use a different spoon! Incidentally, he ate his first canned baby food this past week. We bought a few cans for convenience, if we were super tired or running out of fresh food. He was not overly impressed. He ate it, but his expression showed that he was disappointed in us and the offering we were making!!!

His favorite game right now is chase. No matter what he's doing, if you say "I'm going to get you!", he stops everything and starts running and giggling. Unfortunately, he thinks it's even funnier if he starts to run out the door!

He still loves any kind of rough game - being thrown around, upside down, sideways. He has absolutely no fear of anything. If you put him on the bed for a second, he'll race to get to the edge, and if you weren't there, he would go over it without a second thought. He'll also sit on your lap and throw himself backwards. So far, we haven't dropped him, but one of these days...

The one downside to his development is that he is slipping backwards with the diaper free. We have a girl up here looking after him while I'm working on the house, and she doesn't put him on. So he has stopped asking. He still poops in the potty for the most part, but he rarely asks to pee anymore. Oh well, no biggie.


Roof begins!

We gave up waiting on the wind and decided to start the roof anyway. We are beginning with the roof on the building we're living in. (photos)

We did it in sections, 8 foot at a time.

We lay 2 layers of 4" polystyrene down. The wind caused less problems than we had thought, although several pieces did fly off and down the hill! We then covered this with black plastic, and put remesh over the whole thing, tying it into the gutters. At this stage, it was all held down really well and the wind ceased to be a problem.

We put bits of polystyrene under the parts of the remesh that touched the black plastic and poured a concrete slab over it all. The concrete was a 3:1 sand/cement mix with fibers and a waterproofing agent added. We will later put another layer over the whole thing once the gutters are done. 3 of us got 16 foot doone in a day, a tiring day!

It has begun!

We have already noticed the difference in temperature inside the room.

Bits and pieces

While waiting for the wind to die down, we filled our time by doing some odds and ends.

Abe prepped the roof of the room we are living in for the roof by tying rebar and lathing to the gutters, as they have to be lengthened to allow for the insulation. (photos)

I did a little more work on the flowers beds. (photos)

We then poured the backing and shelf behind a bench we'll be making in the living room. (photos)

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