First lime coat almost finished

Other than the East wall, which still needs to completely dry out, the first ‘stipple coat’ of lime is on; using a three to one mix of a very course or sharp sand and normal builders lime, which we soaked in a bath of water overnight. More to keep the dust down than anything, but I believe it probably is better for mixing as well.

So we have started on the North wall second coat as we wait for the East to dry; various theories on adding fibre glass mesh to strengthen the areas around doors and windows; at least we only have one door and one window on this side of the house. Decisions, decisions…

WE had lunch and decided to go with the mesh round the windows and doors, as well as the bottom edge of the wall; mess about 30 cm embedded into the lime render. Picture to follow if I get up in time in the morning!

Chicken soup! It must be Sunday

Now I’ve never been that religious, nor had any real tendencies to become so, but I have to agree with one of the by-products of the religious order; and that is the rule that says you should not work on a Sunday. I whole heartedly agree that a day of rest is required and it should be celebrated with a feast of food starting with a serving of chicken soup.  The same chicken soup that I was weaned on as a child by my mother; that was lovingly reproduced by my sisters as I grew up and is now created by Gosias mother every Sunday without fail.

Not only does Chicken soup signify the day of rest, it can also cure coughs, colds, fevers, hangovers, depression and hunger, and if it proceeds a Sunday lunch it sharpens the appetite and aides sleep in the form of an afternoon nap once your plate is clean.

What’s the point to this post; I don’t know; I just wanted to show my appreciation of chicken soup Smile

What a difference a day makes

I should have posted yesterday to mark the milestone!

After more than three weeks, about 600 man hours , 10 tonnes of sand, 4 tonnes of clay and a big pile of chopped straw ( a very big pile); the clay plaster coat was completed. Time for celebration? Well not quite just yet, as we finished the clay at around ten in the morning we started of the first coat of lime render. Pics to go on the web this weekend.

(Edit 30th September) Pics went up today, just a small selection showing the latest progress.

Don’t stand up, empty it!

Less than 5 minutes and the toilet is emptied into the compost pile. I’m guessing that it’s a week since my last disposal, let this be the start of my records.

It was only 5 degrees this morning and the steam from the pile as I pulled back the cover material was impressive; I must get a compost thermometer to see how hot the pile is running……I know its exciting stuff 🙂

Rain stopped play

Early finish today as the longest drought in 200 years ( or since records began) finally broke; or maybe its just a passing cloud. After eventually getting to the last wall for clay plastering the end is in sight and spirits are high; so an early finish when the rain arrived seemed like a good idea; still only an hour early Smile

(Edit) This turned into 18 hours of solid rain so the house went on hold and we tidied the barn, not to mention heading over to friends and returning a few favours; it’s good to give something back when we are getting so much help from people.

Even the next day turned into an alternative day as the sand was too wet to mix! New target date of Tuesday to finish the earth plaster coat.

Toilet Diaries, or how to save the planet

Composting toilets, the single simplest thing you can do to reduce the impact you have on the planets resources; plus you get fantastic compost for your garden. There is no need for me to rewrite a book that is already written so follow the link and order your copy now. Or download it for free.

I did think it would be worth tracking the progress of our composting toilet though, if only for my own record. At the moment we are running one toilet which is used by two people everyday and visitors as and when they feel the need; I know they use it as I have found myself explaining the mechanics of it to interested people, normally because they can’t believe that there is no smell even though we are collecting on mass the previous days food!

We are currently on our second composting pile if only because the first one I made, out of old car tyres, was a little small; however it is full and is now in a state of rest and turning turds into top soil. Our second pile was built in May 2012 and has provided storage for the summers offerings and is still less than three quarters full and that includes all non human processed waste items such as veg trimmings, weeds from the garden, uneaten food (not very often), paper, cardboard and even dead mice. With space to spare and the on-going composting process then I’m more than sure that this pile will last for the rest of the year.

The real beauty of  the system is its simplicity, the only added requirement over a standard  toilet is a ready supply of a cover material (we use sawdust) and about 5 minutes of time once a week to empty the poo onto the pile.

Remember every time you use a composting toilet you are not only saving the water you don’t flush, about 10 litres on average; you are also saving the additional resources used to clean that water before it can be sent off to sea or sent back into the system for us to use again.

The story so far

A quick and easy way to find out how we got to where we are and what we are doing to get there. or you could take a look at the page Before the Blog which I’m updating all the time whilst I port my website over.

Of course I should be updating the blog, but if you know me its not likely to happen that often!

Please note that I have now closed down the website and all traffic will be forwarded back to the blog 🙂

Just testing

Just setting up the blog on the off-chance that I have the time and inclination to post anything.

The house is coming on slowly, we are still putting on the clay mix (3 parts sand, 1 part clay, 1 part chopped straw) two weeks after starting; ten hours a day. We are getting close to finishing the third wall so if all goes well we should have all external walls done by the end of the week (22nd September). Then we can start all over again with the lime render and get the exterior weather proofed before the cold weather and frost starts.

Windows are due at the end of the month, closly follwed by the doors, and with luck the building of an cooking range (piec or kuchnia in Polish).