Of Shopping Lists and Food

Inside the house today I found a great shopping list:

The framers' lumber shopping list.

Framers Jason and Scott tallied their lumber needs on the work desk inside of Desert Rain. Situated perfectly above the list was a saw. I don’t think they realize it, but they often leave their plans and tools arranged in the most artful manner. Stumbling across the next artistic find is always something I look forward to when out on the site.

I stumbled upon this list after walking onto the lot to find a Parr Lumber forklift delivering items from the NEED column. Contractors planning for what they need is an important part of the Living Building Challenge (LBC) process. Not just what you need, but when you need it. As Nate Morgan, the project’s sales rep at Parr Lumber explains, “The idea of the [Desert Rain] project is to be as sustainable as possible, so we’ve had conversations about, hey, we realize you need that, but would you be willing to wait until you need the rest of it or more of it? This job is really about sustainability and the footprint. Because every time you [deliver] it takes resources, such as fuel, and causes emissions. So we’re all really working to overcome historic mindsets of how construction has been done.”

The cistern's wall forms are complete and ready for Tuesday's concrete pour.

The next big delivery of materials comes tomorrow (Tuesday, April 10), when roughly 160,000 pounds of concrete will be poured into the forms for the cistern’s walls. They’ll pump in approximately three feet of concrete at a time, then pause to use a special tool to vibrate out all of the air, and continue with the next three feet, repeating the process until the get to the top (which is about 12 feet high). Once the concrete sets the forms will be removed and we’ll all get a look at how the cistern is taking shape.

Leaf buds on one of the apple trees at Desert Rain.

Around the lot, signs of spring continue to bloom. The apple trees have small leaves coming forth, as well as blossoms. To receive LBC certification, Desert Rain must “integrate opportunities for agriculture appropriate to the scale and density of the project…” (Source: Living Building Challenge 2.0). This means there must be edible food grown on site; certainly no easy task in Central Oregon’s high desert region. But landscape designer Chris Hart Henderson is working with many edibles beyond the site’s existing apple trees. “We decided to go with plants that provided more of an indigenous culture diet and that are readily available. We have service berry, elderberry, currants, wild strawberries, rose hips, Oregon grape, choke cherries,” she says.

One of the two apple trees on the site.








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