Thursday, October 16, 2008

water, plants, 11 years and a new cat

Well, we've been enjoying our first month in the earthship and it has pretty much come up to expectations. The temperature is constantly at about 21ÂșC at the moment, blinds in summer will be necessary to maintain that and I think we will probably end up putting a fire place in the living for the look of it and also to take and cold edges off that may creep in during the winter.

Unfortunately, the most unbelievably torrential rains have shown that I am not too proficient at sealing skylight holes and I have to hunt about for where the (very small amount of) water has filtered through to drip into strategically placed buckets. At least they are only very minor drips but I must admit, it made me feel a bit sick to the stomach when I first saw water on the floor. Hopefully I will sort it out in the next dry spell.

Our planter is amazing - the plants are completely out of control and gorgeously healthy. In just a couple of months they have gone from this to this

Our Carla turned 11 last week (!) and all of us survived her first slumber party (!!).

And we have a new cat... His name is Floyd and I rescued him from the street. He LOVES me for it and is behaving like a dog following me about everywhere to lavish catty affection on me. Moy and Luka are getting used to him slowly...

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

WE'RE IN!!!

Pop the bubbly, we did it! We have been sleeping in the house for about two weeks now and even have a front door made by me. We absolutely love it, even the smelly toilet water isn't so smelly or so brown any more and the warm mud walls and delicious floor make it cosy as cosy can be, even if there isn't very much furniture yet. Have a look!

Bathroom lights on and kitchen at night

Planter in the morning sun
Front door I made all by myself!

Carla's front room reading area.


Planter in front of our room


Floor of our room with obligatory guitar.


Kitchen detail.


Bathroom wall in the daytime.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The kitchen

I've been building our kitchen cabinets out of left over decking. As you can see the room is a complete mess but the idea is there. We're already using the sink and have installed a drinking filter, the extractor hood and stove are sitting in boxes waiting for the mud to dry a bit and me to finish one more cupboard and then it's just a question of laying the floor (which arrived today) and moving in...well almost..still have to oil the timber in three rooms, make the flyscreens for the skylights and build three doors...
And this is the front now that it's been painted and porched to protect the future door from weather.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Painting the entrance

This is what happens if you come to visit us! Danny and Anna from Greenheart did a brill job on the painting front.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

will we finish for September?

Weeellll...We've done the entrance now, just needs painting.

Our bedroom is finished, waiting for floor tiles to arrive.


The kitchen sink and drinking filter are installed and running.
And we just keep on working at it. Expecting visitors this week and next so we will either get nothing done, or get the visitors dirty doing stuff!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Entrance and Growth

So, here is Oscar putting some of the finishing touches on the porch - still stuff to do but you get the idea!
And here is the most amazing growth spurt I have ever seen. It was planted four weeks ago and we thought it was dead - no greenery whatsoever (you can see it in earlier planter photo) now look at it! Grey water sure works well.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Front door frame/wall

In just two days we have a front door frame/porch structure/wall/brick and sand thingy!
Amazing how much you can get done when there's nothing else to do!This is Oscar doing the brick and sand stuff. And it's also me having finished the porch structure to protect the door from the rain, only I'm behind the camera. On the roof.This is me in my devastatingly stylish building attire, trying to saw a bit of timber we don't want any more out of the way.
And this is the door frame, insulation and half can wall from the inside. As I write this Oscar is finishing the whole can bit off. Render tomorrow and then that's it! Oh, the little hut in the background there is where we have been living for the past four years...

Friday, June 20, 2008

You know you're building a house when...

...you actually get excited when someone says "I have a few old bits of plaster board left over if you want to come and pick them up". Oooh yeah.
My brother in law was updating his sausage drying racks and rang to see if I wanted the old timber ones complete with sausage mould and a hundred nails per piece. Well of course I did!
So we nabbed the hundred-year-old things to use as a wall frame for the mechanical room. It took a couple of hours with a hammer to denail them all, but it was worth it because under the layer of sausage mould (I have learnt a thing or two in this nation of bleach-wielders) the timber is very strong and healthy.
See?And here is Carla's room split in two (bedroom and study or play area) with the aforementioned plaster board...

Ah, the joy of hand-me-downs.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Berm

Here is a photo of the house from behind. As you can see, it doesn't much look like a house at all and as the vegetation takes root it will look more and more like a small hill.

Monday, June 16, 2008

recording recording (twice)

Oscar is at it again! He's recording his fifth solo album and we have had the boys over to record it all in the new house - good acoustics and food and company!
He is also recording another album, a collaboration with a local jazz singer, Cristina Blaco. Oscar has written a number of songs and he plays while she sings - again, recorded at home using SOLAR energy...

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cricket!



Now I know there is a bottle brush in the background and that Carla has impeccable style (heh-hem) and a real bat, but these couple of photos were actually taken in Valencia about ten days ago. Yes folks, we have Cricket in Spain!

Monday, June 09, 2008

plants in the planter

Oscar and I went to a local nursery and got lots of lovely plants for our water recycling botanical cell. They are all in and so far none have keeled over dead. We are now flushing the toilet with water that has been used for our shower and then filtered through the gravel and peat moss to the well at the end of this cell. A pump sucks it up and sends it to the loo. When the washing machine and kitchen sink go in, grey water from there will also go into the cell.
To be honest, the water is a bit smelly when agitated at the moment and it is black from the peat moss but apparently (and here I am really, really hoping theory becomes reality) this is normal and it should get better and better as the plants become established and the mini-ecosystem that cleans the water starts to evolve. We always have the tank water option if it hasn't worked in about a year or so.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Visitors

Well, it's been so busy this last month or so with visitors from all over the shop! We had a Norwegian fellow called Arne come and help with some mud, then a Dutch couple and their two gorgeous children came and camped out for a few days also helping Oscar with the mud and me with the bathroom. We were also extremely happy to have two lots of relatives come and stay from Australia for a few days - more please!
The last lot was an unexpected surprise. Carla's school year had all gone to school with their bikes last Wednesday. They were going to ride out to a nearby picnic site and have morning tea in the sun. In fact we drove past them on our way home from shopping, to a chorus of "Hola" and waves from the many who know us through Carla or the academy. Anyway, we got home and after just enough time to make a cup of coffee and split a pastry in two, we heard a curious rumour of childish shouting and doggish barking. Apparently they'd set out from school a little later than planned and had run out of time to get to the picnic site so Carla had suggested our place as an alternative. Why not?! Coffee in hand we gave all fifty of them (plus two teachers and two local police officers) a guided tour of the place with explanations of how and why included. They asked heaps of questions and had a good play about with Luka and the countryside. Maybe we should think about doing some sort of formal educational thing...

Monday, May 12, 2008

A tour!

Finished rough mud and bathroom in use...
videomusic by oscar

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

i see red

Except in real life it is nowhere near as fire-engine as these photos make it seem. The second coat has mellowed it to a deep ruby colour and we love it.
And here is our bedroom all mudded up ready for the final smooth coat which will be happening sometime in summer.

Monday, April 14, 2008

sample pots

I have discovered sample pots AND I LOVE THEM!!!
I have only bought four so far (and considering we had already chosen the colour we wanted, even this is a little extravagant) but they are so much fun. They are like those squeezy sponge shoe polishes we used to use at school to blacken our shoes except the colours are really cool.

Anyway, the bathroom is going to be the red colour you can see here, though there was some debate between that and the purple - in the end Carla will have the purple in her room. The shower area and toilet are cream so it won't all be screaming at us when we wander in of a morning. I did think about buying every sample pot in the store and doing little colourful squares all over the place but considering that our floor is already kind of like that I decided it would probably a bit much...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

bottles

Here is a shot of the bathroom from the outside at night with a light on inside...
Inspired by Kirsten (see the link to the right)...pretty huh?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

bathroom bathroom mud

And we are STILL working on the bathroom. It has almost all its walls finished now and lots of render done. Once the taps come we will DEFINITELY get it up and running.

Have also finished woodwork in hallway and as always more mud mud mud.

The Mistela Bottles are our towel hooks by the way.
Oh! And this is the floor we have chosen for the whole house...what do you think?