Monday, 13 February 2012

Project mudroom & shade house

The beginning of things to come.. New front door.
Towards the end of January we decided it was time to start on some of the planned projects for 2012. One of them involves building a section of our stoep closed in order to create a mudroom, or utility room actually.

This will be a room where we will have space for extra storage for "stuff" that does not belong in the house proper.. like the washing-machine, the deep freeze, Jan's Biogas things, storage cupboards and shelves for seeds, and that sort of thing... and the dogs!

The inside..
Granted its not going to be a massive room, but with some clever design, and storage it will be an awesome addition to the house. Not only because it will be a nice room for Jan to showcase and demonstrate how the Biogas stuff works, but also because then the dogs will be moved out there to sleep in the evenings.. and much less dirt and hair in the house.. Yay!

We have wanted to do something like this for a long time, and now this year we finally have gotten around to starting this, we have two builders who will be helping on an on/off basis.

The front with a nice big window
 The builder himself is a Rastafarian, and his helper is just an ordinary guy. But I tell you what.. our house is not perfect, and by no means square, or straight, so that alone has been a challenge for them. We don't mind though, cause at least some of the originality of the house gets preserved... hehehe.. And usually after lunch break things seem to go a little off kilter... I will not say why, as you can probably imagine.. lol. But it matters not, because it has been a pleasure having them here for the two weeks it took them to build up to roof level.

Up to the roof
We opted to build in two doors - one onto the stoep itself which will be the new front door, and one going into the garden, and down to the washing line, which will serve as the back door. we will also not plaster the outside, but rather lime-wash the brickwork. We will also have to build a parapet-wall on each end of the room to accommodate for difference in roof/ceiling heights.. I did say that nothing in this house was straight or standard by any means..and once we are done with the new roof, then we can actually paint the which plaster, which is in dire need of a fresh coat of "GOOD" outdoor paint... :)

The seed tray shelf
Another project which we have started is the new shade-house. This is one part of the Permaculture principles which we are slowly incorporating into our small-holding.. Its a place where we can propagate seeds, and sow seedlings for planting out once the season comes around.

We started by building a long shelf of sorts along the kitchen wall. This will hold all the seedling trays, which can be moved along as we make new trays, and as the seedlings start to develop. We already have shade-cloth in place here, and for that reason Hazel suggested that we make the shade house here, also because it is our access point to the veggie patch.. so it could not be more perfect or practical!
The whole seedling shelf

So in future we will start sowing seeds in the trays, and then nurture them under here, slowly moving them into the sun, so that by the time they are big enough to plant out, then they will be strong enough to survive. :) The problem we have in our valley, is that our spring/summer seasons start very late, sometimes as late as January, so we have a very short season in which to grow stuff, and sowing directly into the ground is risky, because we have frost, and very cold conditions very late in the year.. Like last year our good weather only started halfway through December! By them most people in the rest of the country already have good plants, and might even be harvesting crops!! So maybe by changing the way we sow seeds, to accommodate the micro-climate in our valley, we might have a better chance of getting a better yield. But hey.. that's how we learn, and given that we have only been here for three full years, I don't think we are doing too badly. :)

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