Friday - September 9, 2011

Did some final cutting (based on real rather then planned measurements), sanding and assembling of the base (action the top half of the base) of our shower stall. Very happy with the progress of this woodworking project – also all from salvaged lumber.

Andreea (with a little help from me during breaks) de-podded 5kg of green peas freshly picked by our neighbor while in the background our impro-rocket-stove cooked another 40 cobs of corn also freshly picked. Corn and peas are freshly bagged and tucked into the freezer that was delivered just yesterday 🙂

The wood-stove oven is now working on a Pizzaliga (our invention of a pizza like thingy based on mamaliga). It took forever to bring this day to an end … but we are almost there. Time to to sit down for food and a movie … the room is already nice and cozy.

Thursday - September 8, 2011

The kitchen shelves are assembled. Woodworking wise the result is OK – I hope to improve. Functionally it is amazing. It has tons of space and is sucking up loads of things which were in a mess all over the place.

Minutes after the shelves were put in place our delivery of a freezer, washing machine and vacuum arrived.

The rest of the day off … it’s (another) holiday – they seem to have loads of single-day ones scattered all around.

Wednesday - September 7, 2011

Yesterday and today were mostly woodworking – focusing on our future shower stall. I am recycling wood that we took apart from large grain containers that were in our barn. It’s a lot of work sorting through and cleaning up (lots of planing) the old one and its hugely satisfying to fin beautiful clean wood underneath and to know that it cost us nothing. I got most of the pieces for the shower stall cut. Today I used glue for the first time to create composite pieces (more on that when I get to writing extensively about the shower project).

with a stroke of pure talent I cut the planer wire by running over it with the planer. So I spent some time getting the wire parts out of the planer and then soldering the wire back together. First time around I didn’t insulate the wires properly so that caused our primitive Romanian fuses to  blow … which was a great opportunity for Andreea to teach me how to fix a fuse. The simplicity of old Romanian solutions is both hilarious and amazingly reliable.

Tomorrow expecting satisfaction – putting together the kitchen shelves which are drying after lingering in finishing for 4 days (oil based finishes dry really slow!) … and that should sort out the ongoing mess we call our kitchen.

Oh … and our neighbors sold their cows … very sad. We loved their fresh milk. We’re still getting fresh milk from other neighbors … but we miss the milk we got so used to.

Monday - September 5, 2011

Built an improvised stand for placing freshly finished pieces of carpentry to dry (yesterday they were on my saw horses but today I needed the sawhorses for something else). Started importing and tagging hundreds of pictures that have accumulated in the camera to tell our story – preparing to start blogging again 🙂 Now a little WordPress coding to make these short updates possible. Then a bit more tagging and then out to do some more planing (now that the saw horses are free).

Offline Onlife

Though it isn’t apparent on here Bhudeva is in full swing … we have no Internet connection yet (and are having difficulty getting one!) … which means we are spending most of our time doing physical work. We hope to get around to writing and showing more soon  … here are some highlights:

  • We moved out to the village completely last weekend.
  • We drove across Romania and came back with a car full of 10 chicks, 1 mother duck, 7 ducklings, sacks of wheat, corn, cornflower, nuts and a few plants …
  • We built and are using a composting toilet.
  • We cleaned a night-time chicken coup and built a day-time one for the chicks to roam.
  • We have a working gas cooker and a refrigerator.
  • We have a clean well … now working on getting running water into the house.
  • We are sleeping indoors on the floor on a pile of carpets, a wool mat … soon we hope to have a raised and healthy bed/matress.

We are now in the city in a coffee-shop with an internet connection – preparing for a day of shopping and roaming the city.

There is endless work but we have a lifetime to do it … so … we hope to be back partially online soon

What is a Forest Garden?

I’m going to be referencing Forest Gardens quite a bit and this video, which I should have posted long ago, is a good introduction by Martin Crawford of Agroforestry UK

Top Lit Updraft Stove

Here is an even simpler cooking version of the rocket stove. I am wondering how to make it a steadier cooking platform – but other then that it’s so simple and looks very efficient.

Day 1

Thursday we signed papers, gave money and took responsibility for 94,000sqm of land we can now refer to as ours. Today we headed out there for the first time in this context. We planned to stay over one night and come back tomorrow … but, as is apparent from these words, that didn’t quite work out. We will be going back out there tomorrow morning for another day of work.

We were given one key which opens up one of the existing structures where the other keys can be found. There are many locks to the different structures on the grounds but there seemed to be way more keys. So we began fishing around trying to find a key to open the house. About half way into the pile of keys we found one that worked.

We went inside walked around a bit and looked at each other wondering where to begin. We couldn’t find an answer so we went for a walk outside to have a look around. We then came back in and found two ideas to get us started: (1) clear the space as much as possible and (2) begin rough cleaning from the top down. Andreea went on to fill trash bags with trash and I began cleaning the walls and windows … oh and I brutally disassembled an old bed so I could carry it out.

The house is built of mud and cob and it has an earthen floor covered by plastic-like sheets. On one of the walls we encountered a large slab that had come loose from the wall (I’ll try to get an image of it tomorrow … I didn’t feel like taking pictures today) – which we will fix using locally and naturally available clay behind the house.

We managed to get through one of the rooms. I was the first to lose confidence about staying the night. It was an overwhelming first experience for me (for Andreea too, but I think less then me). My breathing was getting rough from all the dust and I felt emotionally drained. The house has been dormant and going into it feels like a huge resuscitation – we are bringing life back into it. It goes way beyond cleaning and fixing … we are slowly generating energy inside it … an energy that now requires careful maintenance but eventually will grow to support us.

Andreea wanted to light a fire to warm and dry the place from the moisture we brought in. As I started to get the fire going smoke began to pour into the room, apparently our chimney is blocked … here we go … so now we have a dusty, cool (we opened all the windows to let air flow through the house) and now smokey house.

Andreea finally called it and decided to head back to the city and come back again tomorrow morning.

It was a difficult day for me. I am intimidated by the thought of living in this house for a year (as it is still unclear if we will be able to build this year).

We sat down on the stairs to the house to eat before leaving and as we did this I watched our neighbor sowing seeds. She was bent over manually sowing one seed at a time of one plant (I think it was some kind of bean) and in straight rows. I was watching her and thinking of a video of Sepp Holzer tossing a seed-mix onto his terraces … and re-realizing what a long journey it is we have set out on.

On the way back, though tired, I realized the amazing abundance in which we live. Even though we have only basic possessions with us, there will not be space for all of our things in the existing house. Yet in this house lived 5 people (a couple with two kids and a grandmother) with all of their possessions.

Roots

Monday we visited Mociu again hoping to meet with the mayor of the village to talk about fixing the road that leads to our property. It was also an opportunity for us to show our beautiful corner of the world to a friend who was staying with us.

It had been raining lightly and consistently for almost a day so this time we encountered muddy terrain and we rejoiced that we listened to Horatiu and got a 4×4 car which carried us in with confidence.

Our neighbors prepared a kind of petition request and they got all the people who would benefit from this road to sign it. We then drove back to the village center and filed the petition. The mayor wasn’t there but we met with someone else from the municipality who was attentive and helpful (and also interested because his property is just after hours and the lack of car access has made it difficult to sell it). We have already gotten word that this person spoke to the mayor and that our request was received positively and that hopefully work on the road will commence soon (this issue has been on the table for some time).

We spent some more time on our property, walked around with our friend and visited the Tilia tree we planted a week before. We found a tree filled with fresh green leaves and even new growth branching out from the ground. Indeed we are putting roots into the ground 🙂