Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Sign Lady

With the slow progress of the building process over the past few months, my creative juices have started boiling over with rather odd results. With an abundance of old, rusted corrugated iron sheeting to dispose of and a constant stream of inspiring thoughts and awakenings, I started painting signs & putting them up all around the property.

Now, I've become the strange "sign lady" of Bibby's Hoek...

"Place of Joy"

"There is nothing to fix, but much to love"

"Let nature run the show"


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A "recycled" eco-house?

Since playing with Lego at the aged of 4, all I ever wanted to do was build my own house. (This even led to me endeavouring to become an architect before my career took a mysterious turn towards accounting.) Having sold our family home & moving to a slice of paradise with a derelict old house, I have the exhilarating (and sometimes scary) opportunity of living my dream.
Severe budget constraints & an ever-increasing eco-awareness are resulting in quite an interesting architectural experience.
The first unusual development occurred when we were notified of the cancellation of our finance (FNB & ABSA both revoked all unused flexi-bonds when the global financial crisis hit.) Where we had previously planned on using elegant eco-architecture & alternative technologies, our options radically shifted to tyres, containers & recycled goods!
Hence, my latest project: converting an old shipping container into a playroom/guestroom. Insulation promises to be quite a challenge, since metal boxes are not designed for comfortable habitation! We'll be installing a set of recycled French doors & windows for ventilation & are planning 3 layers of insulation between the metal and the internal cladding as well as a living roof (i.e. a lawn on the top). Which of course brings us to challenge no. 2: waterproofing.
We plan to solve this one by rubberizing the top of the container, using plastic sheeting & creating drainage.
I found an old public swimming pool ladder for getting to the top & I can't wait to appreciate the stars in their full glory from the top of the container...
After 2 months of re-application procedures, we've regained our finance and our eco-house is back on track. Schedule has been abandoned, I have a renewed passion for reclaiming recycled materials & a very interesting guest wing in the making!
(photo's to follow soon)

Ode to a tumble drier

Today I have really missed my tumble drier! We've had rainy weather for 4 days, during which our solar panels didn't charge; basically we only have whatever electricity is stored in the batteries. It becomes a "who-wins-out" game between the weather & the power...
So, of course, there's no TV for the kids, no sewing for me & the stuff you would normally amuse yourself with in rainy weather become limited. The sweet irony of solar power: it's there when you don't need it & when you need it, it's not there! Hence my deep admiration and appreciation for the humble battery.
On the up-side we have water & gas to heat it up with. The baths can be long and deep...if only we had the tumble drier to dry & heat up the towels! (The watt usage of a tumble drier is so high that we will never have one running off solar power.)
Fortunately we are not dependent on solar water heating, yet!
But the kids are ecstatic at the prospect of pancakes...