I am in my new home! Me and Toni and the kittens moved in a couple of days ago and we all love it! At the moment we are squashed into one roundhouse, but the second is now underway and hopefully it will only be a week or so before we that will be ready for habitation, and we can spread out a bit.
We have been really busy these past two weeks. This is where I left off in the last blog – thatching.
A day later and this is where we were.
And on goes the top-knot!
The roof it now complete! It is very beautiful inside and the new thatch smells wonderful.
Inside we are preparing gravel bags for the first layer of the wall…..
…while the littlest worker takes an afternoon nap.
Do you remember my first blog when I was looking for a tractor to do some digging and couldn’t find one? Well, I was driving back to my rented house the other day when I saw a machine digging a ditch at the side of the road. Just what I needed! I stopped the truck and hailed the digger driver. He agreed to come and dig my swimming pool, and turned up last week and got the job done in just a couple of hours. It would have taken a week for half a dozen people to make the same hole.
As you can see it is not a huge swimming pool, but should be great for cooling off on hot afternoons. It’s going to be fun finding water plants to surround it. They will keep the water clean without having to use chemicals… theoretically. I am sure it will take a bit of experimentation as so far most natural swimming pools on the internet seem to be in temperate climates. I got the idea from David Pagan Butler who has made a great DVD on how to go about creating a natural swimming pool.
Do you see that great pile of wonderful red earth on the side? That is going to be used to build an earthbag dome, when Paulina Wojciechowska (earthhandsandhouses.org) comes to Chiang Dao in February 2014 to run a workshop! You heard it first here….
Meanwhile, the electrician has been hard at work connecting me up to the line which, luckily, runs down the road in front of the property. My workers are digging the ditch for the cables, which will all be underground so that our views will not be interrupted by strings of wires.
The bags of rice husks are complete, with a gap left at the top of them underneath the roof for the air to circulate through the roundhouse (perfect for kittens to play on). This house is actually more of a hexagonal than round house, which makes it a very interesting looking building. Note the ceiling light, an upside down birdcage lined with batik.
We are not going to cob the walls yet – I need to move in as soon as possible. I plan to drape bits of cloth over the bags until the time is right to finish off the building. Outside, the lower bags will have a piece of plastic tucked around them to protect against driving rain should we get any – the monsoon is terribly late this year!
It’s turning out to be a good idea to have built my house now, as I am using it as a place to experiment. Look at the lovely terracotta coloured floor. Hard to believe it is concrete… This picture also captures the hexagonal shape of the walls.
I found this old door in the second hand wood shop, leaning sadly against a fence outside, with only two of its original teak wood panels left. I had this coloured glass put in. It is modern glass but copied from the old style of Thai window glass.
So here we are in our new home! Toni and the kittens look perfectly comfortable.
My hammock is up on the porch. Now I am really at home!
Sweet Home, Chiang Dao.