winter in the tropics …

Getting a bit cooler now so we are having fires every night and have zipped up the tent windows, yep serious stuff winter in the tropics.orca_share_media1468816754683.jpeg

Got my 20,000 litre water tank plumbed up finally, hooray – I now have guttering along the back of my roof collecting rain water, divine !!

Thanks to some unexpected help from very good friends this month I got additional side projects completed :orca_share_media1468816756604.jpeg

Don, Elanor & Ned set me up with extra solar, connected to two deep cycle batteries, I’m learning a lot more about 12volt wiring which is a necessity here offgrid !! I also had another friend Nick come and stay, he worked hard to help me finish the rock walls, make a wicked swinging bed and make a sink out of an old plastic table and sink we picked up free from the roadside.  I now have a SINK, wow, which I’ve plumbed out into a banana and taro planter box, collecting the sink greywater.orca_share_media1468816756142.jpeg  I was also given some casement windows and roofing iron from a girlfriend cleaning out her yard. orca_share_media1468816758978.jpeg So used the iron to make temporary walls three sides of the outdoor shower to provide some privacy, thankyou to Nat !! 14627694_1768530540080928_1685655913_n I also had random, “I’m just going to drop in and help today” friends, thankyou Priscilla & Marty for helping with rock walls and taking me to lunch !!

let the cobbing begin ….

May 2016 we ran an amazing cob building one day course here with Christian Cluever from Grow Your Own Home – not even the torrential rain stopped us. The first bit of cob was mixed by foot and put on the walls, hooray !!! orca_share_media1468816364032.jpegAnd to go along with it the food from Elanor was amazing – a mixture of vegan and raw delights. Christian had made a few sample “cob test bricks” a few days before the course and dried them so we could see analyse the different mixtures. orca_share_media1468816375874.jpeg A few different ratios of clay to sand were made to see which ones cracked or crumbled.  We decided on two clay to one sand ratio for the mix and off we went.
Water was added as well as straw I’d sourced from the tablelands earlier in the week. The sand I bought in and the clay was straight from the levelling of the house pad. The mix is all done on tarps with 1-2 people, mixing with their feet – very social and hand’s on process, it helps to have some favourite high energy music playing !!! 13315569_1714500568817259_8809693769902713539_n.jpgOne of my favourite’s to cob to is The Formidable Vegetable Sound System, love those lyrics & energy !! There’s not many songs about methane digesters, he he..  Then the following weekend I helped Christian out at the Eco-Fiesta, he had a stall there educating people on cob building and we did a sample mix with people interested. orca_share_media1468816396862.jpeg 13335837_1714500418817274_213223248459470032_n.jpgGreat day with live music playing, talking to people about alternative building materials, got to have a good boogie to The Formidable Vegetable Sound System and talk to Charlie McGee about converting diesel engines to bio-fuel (fish & chip oil), awesome !.  13307203_1714500442150605_1624101860649577208_n.jpg

Unfortunately this month we lost of beloved cat Fluff, after surviving a paralysis tick she was killed by possibly a dingo or snake, or goanna … unsure, there are a few predators here (RIP FLUFF). IMAG2151.jpgSince fluff passed we have had a sudden influx of melamies (native mice) and bandikoots rifling through our kitchen, we miss you fluff !!!