We’ve started using the rubble from the house to build up the driveway. Just raising this section in front of the garage has taken about 15m3 from the main pile. Only about another 50m3 to go. Fortunately we have a looooong driveway.
Today we do the final compacting, and then lay the aggregate on top. We’ve allowed for a 50mm layer of aggregate. This will compact over time, and we’ll then need to back fill.You can see the path built from recovered bricks, and we’re using retaining bricks for the borders.
Our raised vegetable beds are finished!!
These have now been plastered and are ready for filling and planting.
At the bottom of the beds we’re going to lay pieces of a tree we had to fell, so that it can continue to add value to our lives as it decomposes and gives the soil nutrients.
We’re looking forward to planting these and reaping the rewards. We’ve raised the beds to keep rabbits out, but may have to add a cover at night so that we don’t lose our food.
Then again, I hear that rabbit tastes like chicken…..
We still have a number of bricks besides those we must still reclaim, so looking for the next “Build” project.
When we started the project, we decided that no waste would leave the site until we have worked out what we can use and what we can’t. The main area we’ve identified is resurfacing the driveway. Being an agricultural holding, we have a long driveway and have allocated parking areas to each of the cottages on the property.
The planning of the renovations didn’t prepare us for the amount of rubble we’ve generated. My estimations are that we have about 80m3 on our site. We have already used some to fill old Septic tanks and donated to a neighbor for some landfill of his own.
Right now, we are busy separating the bricks out of the rubble and chipping off the old cement. This is a test case pathway we’ve built and we think there will be many more…..
We’ve also built out retaining wall behind the house with using the bricks and are building the raised flower / vegetable / herb beds in front of them. The idea is to have the beds raised so the they are easier to work with and also as a deterrent to the local rabbit population. One idea I am having is to cover them with shade cloth (at least at night) so no nocturnal elements can eat our food….
Our current motto is that if something stands still for long enough, brick it in…
More about this as we expand our thinking….
Having sold the property we lived on, we decided to renovate this house before we occupied it. Having squeezed ourselves into one of our cottages on the property, we started on the journey to renovation nirvana.
We decided to use the Systems approach, which basically means looking at the big picture and deciding on the big goal before digging into the detail.
We want to create a self-sustaining learning environment where we can educate people in “living to leave only positive footprints for others to follow”. Every system on the property must support us, either by replacing something we buy or by reducing the cost of living. The last thing we need is to make an already tight budget stretch any further……
We came up with these ideas and decided to start a new chapter in our lives.
Digging deeper (we did huge amounts of digging, both physically and mentally) into this, we can break the goals down as follows:
- A zero waste renovation.
- Recovery, processing and use of all of our grey water, including Koi pond filter flushing and swimming pool backwash.
- Recovery and processing of black water for use in irrigation with the grey water to create a beautiful environment for learning.
- Rain harvesting with the ability for direct irrigation and also for incorporation into the grey water system. A future possibility is to divert this water into the main water infeed system for consumption after necessary treatment.
- Creation of an Aquaponic greenhouse to grow vegetables and plants for daily consumption and sale.
- The aquaponic system will consist of Tilapia fish, which will be used to fertilize the aquaponic system and will also be for local consumption.
- Creation of raised beds for growing herbs and experimentation in vegetable planting
- Worm farms to consume all “edible” vegetable waste. The solid compost generated will worked into the herb gardens and the leachate “worm tea” will be used as liquid compost.
- Organic compost pit for all vegetable waste not fit for worm farms – Also to be worked back into the garden as it becomes usable.
- A chicken run consisting of Broilers and layers to provide protein for daily consumption.
- The existing cottages will be rented out or marketed on Air B&B, a decision we still need to examine to see what offers the best return.
Please join us on our exciting adventure