miscellany – end of May 2013

It’s the end of May already – and past the end, by now. This year is going so fast.

So, some updates: The house planning & building is going, although ever so slowly. We’ve almost finished sorting out a small mortgage extension to cover getting the first water tank in, the second big shed up, and the full engineering plans drawn up. It may sound like an odd selection of things to prioritise, but those are the things we can get money for from the bank without having a builder, and getting a builder is still proving tricky.

The water tank will be invaluable. We meant to get it in last winter before the rains started, so it’s a full year and a few months late, but with luck we’ll get something in in time to catch some rain this winter. With luck there will be some more rain this winter. I’ve had to abandon – or at least put on hold for now – any hope of a stainless steel tank. Just too expensive to ship (truck) over from NSW. So the plan is to go with unlined concrete, since concrete is a well-understood and reliably non-toxic building material (assuming you don’t put toxic fillers in the mix, I know) even if it isn’t the most environmentally friendly option with its high embodied energy and non-recyclability.

The shed will eventually be the main workshop for woodwork and large-scale projects (like building the Lifetrac Open Source Ecology DIY tractor). In the shorter term, it will be used for a bedroom. Although the initial kitchen/living room pod of our distributed house, which (along with the bathroom & toilet) will be the first part to be built, is designed to function as an independent cottage, I didn’t design in anything like enough storage space for the wardrobes of two urban professional who also like to dress up in steampunk, and have enough casual farm clothes to handle camping and farm maintenance. In short, we have too many clothes for the space we’ll have, and they’re not things we can easily do without while maintaining our current jobs and social lives. Thus, the shed will fill that gap until we get the bedroom pod built with it’s wardrobe space.

Meanwhile, we’re getting chickens! We’ve started building a little chicken coop in the back yard, and we have permission from the owner to get a couple’ve chooks as long as we keep them contained and clean so we don’t attract rats. This will not be a problem; I can’t stand stinky, inefficient livestock operations and rats are just right out. Except tame, friendly domestic rats, which are ok for those who want them. The frame should be done this week, and we can get paint for it and the wire to enclose the run on the weekend. So, maybe another 2 weeks and then we can go chicken shopping at Comp’s Poultry for a couple’ve heritage breed chooks. I’m thinking we’ll get one naked neck and one wyandotte, and see how they go. This can be an initial experiment to see which breed(s) we end up keeping once we have a house and are moved up to Gallifrey full time.

I’m also signing up – well, applying – to do a postgrad course in dryland agriculture. Don’t know yet if I’ll be accepted, but there’s a good chance. I have a meeting set up tomorrow afternoon to fill in all the paperwork and look at my potential timetable with the head of school. Wish me luck 🙂