Saturday, 12 June 2010

First eucalyptus roof goes up

This is the old distillery - the alambique. Jamie thinks it burned down after a heavy drinking session, evidenced by the charred tiles and debris we discovered when clearing it out. Or maybe it was the trail of empties that meander over the land, outwards from the distillery, where the local spirits were concocted.

The point is, it's a ruin, a fine ruin at that: complete dry stane structure (no mortar), deftly integrated to the bedrock protruding along the hillside.

After the Romanians, Galegos and English cleared innumerable tonnes of earth during our Mega May workfest we decided it was time to think about the roof. Manuel has worked with locally grown eucalyptus for over 30 years. He's the only one I have found around this area who is willing to work with this imported species. (Clearly eucalyptus is a problem from many points of view, something I need to research more and write about later, but I like the idea of taking it out of the hillsides, using it in our buildings, planting in native oaks and chestnut in its place).

These are massive beams: 30x20cm x 6m length. The wood is still green / wet, so it's mighty heavy. We moved it onto the land between six of us, with metal bars and ropes and lots of groaning. Nikita managed to avoid this toiling using school as an excuse... shows the scale of pieces.

A temporary stucture was built on scaffolding in the building and the beams manouvered into place. Amazing. Within half an hour these monsteres were fitted in place. Don't worry about the collapsing walls around them, Manuel assured me, you deal with that later...

A day later the whole structure was up: beams, rafters, tile battens, v-lux window from Edinburgh we'd freecycled before we left.

When we first arrived in 2008 it was almost engulfed in brambles, see left.

Monica getting physical with the brambles (before we encountered the strimmer / technosyth)

Kira and the remains of the distillery, and granite posts for pigs and vines and drunks.

Before tiles go on we had to bring the walls up to meet the roof, so Petrush and Ilie (Team Romania) used whatever stone we could find and some hydraulic lime mortar they are good at mixing to get 'er done.

Petrush mastering his rocky skills (OK I put in a rock or two there too!). West wall, before and after.

We hope to move into this place over the summer, while we're working on the main house; I'll need to point the walls with lime to keep wind and rain out and possible internal plaster for warmth. I think we're going to build a mezzanine floor to sleep up and leave junk down. A sink, a stove, a desk, a sofa. The front wall we'll build from timber and straw and clay. Mary and John gave us windows for each side of a door. An extension out front will create a porch area, summer sleeping pad. All for the future....

1 comment:

Miguel Ângelo Leal said...

It looks great! I'll be following the performance of your eucalyptus joists & rafters before I make a move myself ;-)
Tiles are good, but how about a green roof? Too steep for it?
Keep me posted on the progress, will drop by some day to give you a hand.