Pipes Everywhere

Before the backfill process, many drainpipes are installed. These include drainpipes around the perimeter of the foundation wall, drain pipes throughout the interior of the foundation, drain pipes to daylight, drain pipes for the bathroom, laundry and kitchen fixtures. Of course, the plumbing drainpipes are all pressure tested for leaks.

Building with ICF Block

ICF block, short for Insulated Concrete Block is an EPS foam form with a middle structural core that rebar steel and concrete are placed. A 6” core results in an R value of 22. Placing the first course of the lego style building block is critical. As the first foundation layer, it is critical to attain a level and square …

Preparing for the Foundation Wall

Once the excavation was complete, Maine requires a footer be at least 4’ below grade to protect against frost/freezing during the winter. This depth varies around the country. For instance, our safe home in North Carolina only required an 18” depth. And in Texas, we are told they merely scrap the top layer to remove the organics. Special attention was …

Structural Fill

Having placed the foundation in the gully, excavating began. We were presented with another challenge. The earth below the 2’ foot organic layer was particularly rocky. Rocks were multiple sizes, a few of them very large! Though easily excavated, the resultant fill was not suitable for structural fill around the future foundation, either inside or outside the wall. It was …

Building Plot

What you Find when you Clear the Trees – Topographic lines on a plan may say it all, but there is nothing like physically removing the trees (called clearing) and seeing what you are presented with for your build site. Once the trees were cleared, the placement of the foundation for Patient Chickadee took on new challenges. The site designated on the plans was relatively flat as indicated by the topographic lines, but it was closer to the eastern boundary than originally laid out. To move the location to the west 50’ or so, put the foundation in a slopping gully.


Wow, what a twisting, turning road we have been on since last Fall’s “Thrive on the Inside” t-shirt campaign. Thank you so much for your support of that fundraiser! The exciting news is we are officially underway! Site cleaning began last week and the staking out of the first nest, Patient Chickadee, will commence the last week of July. Gordon will be onsite to oversee the construction of our first nest.

T-Shirt Campaign Update

You did it! Your t-shirts are in the printing queue over at Custom Ink. Expect delivery within a few weeks. Thanks to your generous donations we also raised about $1,600 towards seeing canaries “thrive on the inside”!

Land Access

When Gordon walked our snow-kissed parcel back in March, he discovered an easier access point into our property.  Unfortunately, this access tracked through a neighboring property.  Inquiries were made and not only was the neighbor willing to sell, but also agreed to grant access rights, effective before closing. Whereas originally, visitors would have to drive down a steep hill on …

Thrive on the Inside

Join our T-shirt Campaign!  We’ve combined the creative art from Brittany Edsall Barry with a 100% organic cotton t-shirt from customink to spread the word about our vision for HFC. Thrive on the Inside at Habitat for Canaries in Hiram, Maine! Our mission is to provide a restorative environment for people with acute environmental sensitivities. Since one size doesn’t fit …