Saturday, November 29, 2008

Container conversion PART 1 & toilet face lift

Today saw much excitement on the farm, with multiple teams of builders, a noisy generator and gardeners getting ready for the arrival of our first December guests. I spent the day painting & renovating the out-house (“kakhuis” in my native tongue). This is a small structure erected by the previous owner housing a bucket and a plank with a hole in it, collectively comprising the toilet facilities. We lovingly refer to it as: Tom Pott’s Composting Spot.

It has taken me many years and much internal growth to accept the current state of ablutions (although I must admit that I have not yet taken a dump in the bucket!). Our system does seem a lot more palatable than the chemical toilets at Oppikoppi - by adding some saw dust and ash to the deposits, there is no smell (almost!).

Our container arrived yesterday and the internal cladding started today. The work is being done by our very own Mike Holmes look-alike: a delightful chap named Chunky who leads a nomadic sort of existence, sleeping in his van as he goes from job to job…

The concept of actually living in a container is also requiring me to break down quite a few social conditionings and constructs of the mind….I already feel a greater sense of freedom as the weight of these is lifted!

Watch our latest video:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Building begins!

I’m happy to report that we finally have a structure that is being erected on our little piece of paradise….a carport/shed/maid’s room combo which will house our solar panels & batteries (and Kevin’s brother and 2 friends who are arriving on Sunday). We do not yet have any plumbing, so they will be discovering the merits of the “sh*t-in–a-bucket” system…

We discovered a few days before the construction started that we would have to transgress the 30 m building line rule in which case we urgently needed to seek approval from the neighbours. There had been some building approval horror stories circulating the neighbourhood which caused me to have a few sleepless nights, but thankfully no-one had any objection and we met some fine fellows, like Wessie Westraadt: our friendly neighbour who is pursuing a career in the correctional services.

After much deliberation and a steep learning curve, we have decided to go for 8 x 80w solar panels, 12 x 2V deep cycle 730W batteries, a 3kva inverter & regulator…thankfully we made friends with a neighbour who has vast experience with alternative energy (he has 58 solar panels, 3 wind turbines and an impressive array of batteries). My brain feels a bit cooked, trying to grasp the difference between volts, amps, standby wattage and such things, which he has tried patiently to explain.

Here are some images taken when we were marking out the house with the architect:

Our container should be arriving tomorrow…