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28-30 Jul 11

28 Jul - You're sacked!!

6 Sunseeders turned up today to take part in the great sack race. Well, not really a race, more like a sausage roll. With 6 of us working on the filling and placing the sacks and 2 sieving soil to make sand we made brilliant progress.

Above: Tania loosening the soil ready for sack filling
Above: Ceci and Francesca filling a sack
Above: Greg and Phillip digging and sieving soil
Above: The finished sausage roll

And at the end of the day we had a 2 sausage, I mean sack, high wall around the back roof edge. This will stop the bermed soil from spilling onto the roof.

We also had a lovely soft layer of sand so we can now lay out the plastic without it tearing on stones.

Thanks everyone, you were fab.

From left front: Silvia, Tania, Francesca, Ceci and Gregory.

Left back: Me and Phillip.


29 Jul

Phillip stayed and helped Dave today. They were working on the bit of roof that joins the greenhouse to the round room. Square peg, round hole - whoever thought of joining a circle and a rectangle should be sacked, oh, it was me, well I'm sorry chaps. Needless to say this stage took a lot of thinking, planning, talking, contemplating....! It also involved some very accurate cutting as you can see in the pic. It's far too complicated to explain what they're doing, so you'll just have to watch this space to see how it develops.

As the day cooled they covered the sandbags with bitumen, see below for pics.

30 Jul

I'm back on site again with more paint to get that bitumen 1st coated before it melts into a big blob. And so I did, after Phillip and Dave finished the very fiddly job of covering the sacks with it. They started last night and soon found that bitumen doesn't mould very well so had to rejig the soil in the sacks to pad out the gaps. I think they've done a very good job, even though it does look a little like an elephants hind leg!

A white elephant, or maybe an albino snake?

Catching water

Dave took a photo this morning to show how much dew the roof is already catching - I reckon it's about a litre. Ok, so it looks (and tastes) pretty yucky at the moment because we're still sealing the bitumen under paint, but who'd have thought we'd be getting so much in this dry, semi-desert - in the height of summer.


So what does Eco mean?

On my way to the 'ship I stopped to pick up an armchair left by a bin. It's in good enough condition to be used at the 'ship while we're working and maybe one day I'll recover it. It was tricky getting it into the car on my own so I asked a man standing nearby to help. He was amazed that I wanted the chair so I told him why and what we're building. This lead onto a discussion about eco builds in which the question came up about the carbon footprint of our Earthship during construction. I have no idea what this is and should've said so, but I felt a little defensive so said it must be at least 50% of a regular build. Picking a figure randomly out of the air was a mistake and a lively discussion ensued! I made my excuses and exited as quickly as I could. But it got me thinking...

What is the carbon footprint of an Earthship during construction? Does it matter as so many of the materials are reclaimed or locally sourced and the end result is sooo eco friendly? What does Eco friendly actually mean? How do I work out our carbon footprint? Do I want to??! Any comments on these questions would be much appreciated.

A little toilet humour

A few weeks ago we had a visit from Lucia who is translating into English a web site about human waste. When we said that we were installing a flushing toilet into the 'ship (using the greywater from the planters) she was horrified and spent a while trying to convince us to install a dry toilet. We've always planned to have a dry toilet outside, but inside? So I became quite defensive again (I remember using the 'tinderbox' in my Aunt's garden in Wales - a cobweb ridden, dark shed with a wooden seat and a hole, I had nightmares about that shed!) But it got me thinking....

So I checked out her web site and am now tempted to give a BLT a try. No I'm not talking about a Bacon Lettuce Tomato toastie, I'm talking about a Bio Litter Toilet. I still have my reservations and there's some questions I'd need answers to before going ahead. But my main worry is that I just don't do poo, well of course I do it, but I've been brung up in an environment where it was considered dirty. To change my views on it now is going to take some doing.

Logically I can see the benefits of a BLT; no plumbing, no water, useful compost after 2 years, no smell (apparently). But what about emptying that bucket at the end of the week? Will that become an onerous task that neither of us want to do, especially when we have guests in the 'ship? I mean there's one thing dealing with your own merde, but dealing with others'???

What do you think? Leave a comment below...

Right: a BLT made from a milk crate - cool. See for instruction to make it.


Some other BLT's

Love this
A throne to be proud of