Thursday, December 13, 2007

more mud, a table and a cupboard

There is mud flying everywhere here at the moment! Only the good sort of course, as Oscar does a constant two concrete boats a day all on his own. It makes things look so much more finished although there are at least another couple of coats to go, and it also makes the rooms look even bigger.

Between bouts of mud-slinging, he has also had time to make the most of an old cable bobbin, a bit of scrap marble that we had lying around and an old piece of chipboard that we once used (years ago) as a table top for a dinner which over-stretched the limits of our little two person table.

Meanwhile I have been fiddling with small things and managed to make a cupboard with a door that actually opens and closes. Inside are the carbon filter and small pump which will take grey water fom the planter to our toilet cistern. All we need now is the toilet cistern, and the water of course.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

planter and puppy dog

Here are a couple of the newly filled up planter with its wall built and scratch-coated. Oscar has been working heaps. We haven't actually planted anything in it yet because there isn't running water to keep the plants alive on a large scale, but we have put some potted stuff in to get an idea of what it MIGHT look like in a couple of months.

And here is dear old Luka sleeping at the front door to the little house in the warm winter sun. He's such a great dog. I love the way he hooks his foot behind his ankle and crosses his front paws.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

party

November is behaving itself. We have cold nights and sunny days and Oscar's birthday. So we fired up the oven, piled the music gear into Carla's future bedroom and had a party! It was great to catch up with so many people and be able to offer them a place to park their bottoms and a roof to sit under. As the night got colder (this was the minus two night of last post) we moved into the third U from the unfinished (and therefore gaping) doorway and discovered that the earthship really is warmer than outside with no heating! It will only get better as we finish walls and get some furniture.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Persimmons

It was minus 2 degrees centigrade here the night before last and by the time five o'clock came around the thermometer had only managed to haul itself up to 14ºC. Brrr. That's wintry for us here, although I know for some of you that is still t-shirt weather.
A lot of plants around here are turning their leaves up in disgust and some are even dropping all pretence of foliage. There is a fruit grown around here - the humble persimmon - whose tree has a marvellous habit of shedding all leaves while the fruit is still hanging. We end up with fields of orange bauble-trees.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hammocks and the shower

It's getting cold here now and we had our first frosty windshield this morning. The dews are very heavy at the moment and the other morning I noticed all of these little dewy hammocks all over the place. Pretty aren't they? The owners are actually large, skinny spiders who stretch themselves out to look like a stick but I couldn't find one to photograph so...




I took a picture of this green caterpillar instead. He(she?) was eating a plant I don't really like anyway so I didn't disturb. Couldn't bear the thought of its squishy body under that thin skin. And can you see the spike?!

On the house front, we've been waiting for a couple of weeks now for the Messers Solar to come and give us power and hot water. Meanwhile plumbing has been almost tidied and the bathroom has been started in earnest.
Oscar, apart from fixing up the outside of the house: is building the walls we need out of old refractory bricks that his dad had lying around: and I am carefully shaping the shower out of sand, chicken wire and cans: Once we are electrified we can test all of the connections and conduits and start covering the ones that work (hopefully all of them) and fixing the ones that don't. THAT means MUD.
Yeah.

Friday, November 02, 2007

End of October

Well, it's more than a month since what ended up being the first of a series of torrential rainfalls. We have had SO MUCH water. That first Friday was 160 litres, then every single weekend following there was the same - in fact a couple of times more - water from the sky to overflow our tanks and make our freshly piled berm disintegrate in a river of mud. Add this to the roads to our house being dug up to lay irrigation pipes and you have a very muddy, inconvenient few weeks. We saw cars and vans completely bogged in sandy soil for days on end and veritable flooding over roads and through fields on several occasions. It seems that things have cleared up now (I am gripping the wooden table with one hand as I type this with the other) and that we will be able to get on with things like installing the solar system and general landscaping.

We have had other visitors apart from Oh Rain God too. He (or she) was accompanied for a week by my parents who came to stay and were promptly put to work! Here are Dad and Oscar making the most of a few rainless hours to rig up a very effective erosion barrier around one of our water tanks...

And here, we have Di who is really the best gardener I know clearing months of weeds from our (ever so slightly) neglected garden. One year's seeding is seven years' weeding!
Just previous to the rains we also had a Dutch couple, Rogier and Laila, come to stay for a week or so in their most marvellous George. Click HERE for their point of view and a great website! They were very enthusiastic and were also put to work...am I discourging you from visiting with all this "put them to work"...? It is certainly better narrative but the truth us that people normally WANT to work and we really don't have to twist their arms at all. No really, it's true...

What else happened in October? Um...oh yes, we went back to work and school and the winter routine. Carla turned 10 and was given a number of gorgeous presents including a Viennese mask and a DIGITAL camera which she is making excellent use of. Here she is on her birthday... ...and...and...and I have finished the electrical conduit-ing which will hopefully be filled by a friendly electrician in the next few weeks, the solar panel people have confirmed that they will be installing in the mid two weeks of November or Movember as it is being called by a my mate Ad who is growing a mo to raise money for research into prostate cancer and male depression. If you feel like sponsoring him (we did!) then click HERE and go for it. His number is 121503.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Frankfurt

I am a bit behind, but here are some photos from our trip to Frankfurt at the beginning of October.

We left from Valencia...And got to Frankfurt with time enough to do some sightseeing.
Here are Oscar Xavi and David sightseeing something fascinating on the ground...

and here are Toni Victor and Abraham sightseeing across the town square towards us...
Then we played here at the Brotfabrik...

like this...

Before leaving this hotel...and being driven to the airport by psychotic ex-racing car drivers in large mercedes vans to head home...some of us slightly the worse for wear...
...I rest my case ;·)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

concerts and methylcrylate

We went to Vic, a town in Catalonia, last weekend to play on a huge stage. Our Aussie friend Bec was there and took some photos . Here is one of them.Oscar was also awarded one of the Puig Porret prizes (winner in his category - singer songwriter, finalist for the big prize) which, apart from being a jolly good thing, means we have a clear methylcrylate cylinder which will be perfect as a rolling pin. It's good when awards have a practical use. The Altaveu award was a V shaped statue which doesn't have much use except as a sort of dodgy book end. And who really wants a portrait of Ovidi Montllor hanging in their sitting room (I may be accused of blasphemy for that)?

We have also discovered that a methylcrylate cylinder does strange things to your eyes when you look through it. This is Carla methylcrylated. Cute isn't she?
So now we are off to Frankfurt to play for the Germans. Should be fun, all the band together in a strange land. I'll have to brush up on my Deutsch. Oops, that's right, I don't have any. Oh well. Ich bin ein bin liner...right?

Friday, September 21, 2007

freak storm

Wow. This is what 160 litres of rain per square metre per hour looks like at our house. It was a real whopper storm with lightning falling right on us (obviously not on us-us but right near us and I even got an electric shock as I was barefootedly leaning on our wet aluminium door frame wondering at nature. Der. Ouch.) and water washing our newly put-in-place dirt all over the place. Ho hum. At least the tanks are full. I calculated that we caught about 4000 litres in an hour and a half. There was a bit of damp in one wall which hadn't been sealed from the outside but it has already dried out (in about three days) and some drips came in the skylights because there was SO MUCH water on the roof that it got up and under the thingummies that are supposed to stop it getting up and under. Must seal. At least we know where the weak spots are now.
Oscar has been concreting the most urgent bits and after a coat or three of good paint we will be well and truly watertight. The good newsa is that the little house didn't get ANY water inside at all.

Monday, September 17, 2007

floor slab

Another thing we did in August was lay the concrete slab floor. Of course there was no hope of getting a truck with a hose in to send the however many cubic metres of concrete in the easy way, so we hired a cement mixer and shovelled gravel and cement and lime like serious professional shovellers (Hey, what do you do? I'm a professional shoveller.) and then wheelbarrowed the mix into the rooms and dumped, levelled and smoothed until it was done. The whole thing would have been near impossible (or at least it would have ended less wonderfully) if it had not been for Ivan the Catalán (seen here with Lisa learning) who came along one day with a group of interested architects to see the house, and offered his services as a great builder if we ever needed any help. Which of course we did. He came and showed us how to lay down the concrete guides and level things off nicely. He also spent a couple of days doing just that and getting us off to a good start. We then felt confident enough to finish it all ourselves. Another friend, Xuli helped out with the shovelling - I can level and smooth like a pro but the shovelling does me in every time. Here I am trying not to step in the concrete I am levelling.
Anyway, the ceiling is suddenly a lot lower (but it isn't too bad once you're used to it) and Luka can now wag his tail all he likes without raising clouds of dust. It's starting to look more livable by the minute!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

natural homes

Click

HERE

to see a cool website with a world map showing natural houses.

Ours is the tyre on the east coast of Spain.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bathroom wall and looking after the little house

We had saved quite a few blue gin bottles (no - we didn't drink it all ourselves) and other bottles we liked the shape of and in July we hired a wet tile cutting saw. The place we hired it from didn't have a small machine so we had to take a HUGE one which weighed a ton but got the job done. Here am I with my protective dragon hide gloves and bullet proof goggles cutting the bums off the bottles...... which we then taped together to make glass bricks...
...and then put them in the bathroom wall to decorate and let some light shine through. Like this.
Now we mud all around (see previous post - things are getting a bit out of order I'm afraid) and it looks purty. I am in current crisis about modifying some of these bottle bits, which means knocking down what we've already done and driving Oscar crazy. I'll let you know how it pans out.

Of course we also have to maintain our little igloo of a hut and this year was painting year. It's amazing how white something looks until you put something white next to it, if you get what I mean. Here's me balancing on the slope of our dome slapping on the clean stuff......and here's what it looks like all white - it took some wearing of sunglasses to get used to it in the summer sunshine, I can tell you.
I still have some catching up to do but I don't want to heap it all in one post. More soon.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Early September catching up

On the first weekend of August the guys from the band came to stay over and give us a hand with the house. We got heaps done on the ceiling and quite a bit of rough mudding. They put mud on the bathroom wall with the bottle detail, mud on the walls of the second U, and as can only be expected, mud all over each other...

Oscar cousin Celia came to help me keep the boys in line.