Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Where is Ken?

do we learn?

I wrote this piece a few weeks ago when I was in Idaho:

Pat Tagasugi died this week.

Of course few reading this knows who Pat was. He was a farmer (around here if you are a “rancher” you are a cattleman). Pat’s farm was a thousand acres or so of Onions, mainly. He worked as director of the Agriculture department in the state government under 3 governors. Later he was elected to the state house of representatives. I never met Pat, though I read of him often. This last session of the legislature a woman I do know stood in for him while he went through treatment for the cancer that would finally take his life.

Last night there was a TV program about the Japanese internment at the beginning of the Pacific part of World War II. Pat was Japanese and would have been a little young for that internment, but his family wasn’t. At the beginning of World War II we were so frightened we rounded up all the Japanese -Americans and put them into “internment camps.” They were actually jails, remote and in isolated horrible locations.

There were a lot of fine Japanese farmers around southern Idaho where I grew up. They were some of the best. But they were rounded up.

But the piece on TV went on to compare the hysteria about the Japanese with the more recent bewilderment after 9-11 attack.

None of us are as wise as we wish we were, but in retrospect I think most agree that the internment of Japanese Americans was a horrible mistake. No one locked up Germans or Italians, just those who did not look like us.

Hind sight is so wonderful, but we learn from our past or we do not, and I am not sure we are doing well on this one.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

This photograph (I don't remember where I stole it, sorry) is the inspiration for what I am going to do.
There will be lots of changes.
This one looks like it is located in a warmer climate than SE Washington!

the new "barn"

Very few homes are really built for the area and climate they endure.

We tend to overcome our bad design with lots of BTU’s either as heat or cool. But I have lived in badly designed and built houses in very cold areas and it is not fun.

Our house in Idaho was built to be comfortable in cold winter and warm to hot summers, and it worked pretty much as I designed and hoped.

Living in a tiny house (under 400 square feet) does not change that idea. Any RV has to many limitations to be really good in either intense heat or cold. The laws of physics come into play here, as much as we would like otherwise.

When I brought our vintage travel trailer up here a few weeks ago, I decided to put it in a barn that was very well designed and insulated for the hot and cold of SE Washington. And since there was no “perfect” barn space available, I decided to built a barn that surrounded the existing trailer.

When that is complete I’ll build an add on that will extend the square footage up to that 400 number.

So far I have the posts in place and the collar beams lag bolted in place. Next is the roof trusses, which will be built in place (I am not 65 any more!).

It won’t be finished for this winter, but should be ready for us to occupy by summer.

The design: Pole frame for simplicity; tight sealed exterior; super insulation; along with a good bit of light and a great view across the valley.

I don’t get as much work done now as I once did, age is part of it, and taking care of Miriam takes some of my time. It gets dark here a little after 4 in the afternoon, so a 3 or 4 hour work day is pretty good. Besides it can be a bit cold.