Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Raising a kitchen

March rolled into April which was then consumed by May. Time has folded in on itself, while we have busied ourselves over these months... fixing up the temporary camp. We keep justifying this to ourselves that it's OK not to be starting to build our house, because we need some on-site facilities first. So we can host volunteers, friends, workers, ourselves too!

So here's a look of what we started with in early March, when Ruth and Paulo arrived for some early Spring sunshine, and we all got to work.

As usual, the toilet took precedence, and we all started on that, in fact I have already posted something about the compost toilet process, a few weeks ago. The point is that everyone who came through got involved and we

You can see in this pic that we built two different chambers, when one will be filled, we'll switch to the other, and let the first complete its biodegrading process into compost, after which we'll get at it from little doors Paulo built into the back.

So ourcamp-build programme was more or less like this:

- get toilet up so we can take a "civilised" dump
- build a platform for a yurt that Paulo acquired before bailing the UK
- build yurt "in a few hours" (yeh right)
- throw up a kitchen
- dig in drainage for outdoor bath, make a shower
- construct a solar hot water system for these and kitchen sink
- biuld a grey water drainage/irrigation system
- organise and plant a simple kitchen garden around this camp area
- build outdoor tables and benches
- erect solar electric (PV) panels procured from reasonably priced and most helpful supplier, Horsebox Renewables. Highly recommended for all your off grid energy needs.

Well it goes without saying that each of these has taken way longer than we expected. In fact we are only about half way through this list, and various other things have taken over, like watering trees, planting strawberries, buying materials, finding free ones, and so on.

Kira in front of our first hot water cylinder

Hauling the trunks for the yurt base. This was a mighty task. there were 3 of them...

Yurt base, oak no less

Yurt going up. and up

Stephanie, my mum, standing on a completed deck and yurt. Checking out the old wind barrel we sacrificed to make 2 herb plant boxes.

On to the kitchen. Here João, a local stonemason gets going into the rocks, to rebuild the wall behind him and his apprentice. Then Monica and I finshed up the wall and Natalie built a cool shelf using some offcuts (!) from a nearby factory (they literally throw these away:)

Then after another couple of days of figuring out structures, dimensions, weight loads and all that we bought some wood on the Spanish side of the river (way cheaper) - happens to be Finish pine. Local friend and carpenter Merush, shown here doing the actual work, says the local pine rots too quick. Anyway, we throw this thing up within a morning, kids coming along later to help with the tiles, Nikita getting to do the cool stuff - learning to how tile.

wee space left for the tree

Then we finish off the table. A massive 3,7m long, enough for a few feasts...

Kira doing a few jigs while Nikita sands off the corners
before we oil it. Merush says use linsead oil then wax.
Sounds good to me

Then he made the benches.
More photos soon, maybe


Rupert Wolfe Murray said...

Looks like you're making good progress on the site. What's happening with that old stone building I cleared out?

Quinta das Abelhas said...

wow, it all looks fantastic!

you might want to drill some "drain holes" around the outside of the yurt where the canvas meets the deck otherwise you'll get water coming inside. also, if you've used felt under the canvas, put a bit of plastic (heavy-duty black plastic works well) on the bottom of it (wrap it up around the bottom of the felt on inside and outside, to keep it from sucking up moisture and going mouldy!

Magnus said...

Good ideas re the felt - thanks Sophie. In hindsight, I would have build it on the ground direct and build up walls around the base. This wooden deck thing has caused it to flood a fair bit in the rain. Good idea to drill drain holes.
How would I connect the plastic to the felt ?

Next time I would use the not insignificant sum of money to build a basic structure from wood and cob instead.

Cheers, M

Anonymous said...

tuck plastic sheeting up inbetween the outer and next layer of the yurt. the object is for the plastic to tske the rain water away from the perimeter.

caulk the plastic firmly and seal where it touches the deck.its a waterproof barrier concept, that also drains the rain away from the edge.

you could even tack some old used gutter, at an angle, around this perimeter afterwards. if it drained to a specific hole in the deck that should be good.

been there, done that.

Mike (recently woofed at Mizarela in Benfeita)

Quinta das Abelhas said...

yeah, do what mike says! it's much better to build a circular deck the same diameter as your yurt, tack plastic under the outer edge of the deck all the way around and tuck it up between the canvas and the felt. we've got one yurt on circular wooden decking and one built onto a circular brick/stone wall - both these work much better than the one we've got on square decking (which is, of course, the one we live in - doh!).

Cath B said...

Yeah! Exciting that the deposits are going in to the new throne :)

Magnus said...

Thanks for ideas! Mike, your plan sounds spot on. Why not continue your wwoofing trail up here and show us exactly how it's done...
Been meaning to fill in that wwooff portugal site and joining the gang.
Most impressed by the layout on the Quinta das Abelhas site Sophie, really clear on what you can offer, what you expect, the short period for each side to see how they like it before committing for longer periods. Would it be OK if we took a leaf from your book for our description?
Ta, Magnus

Quinta das Abelhas said...

i realised i might not have made it very clear what i meant about the black plastic when used on a non-circular deckng - the idea is that you want the felt sitting inside a U-shape of plastic, otherwise it will wick up moisture.

feel free to use anything from our description!

Anonymous said...

i expect to be back in the area soon... drop me a "postcard" to

here's a bit of experience shared: