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 14ÂșC. 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.