The Good Life
We are organically expanding our living spaces into our land. Trying always to be have a small footprint, we started with a 4.5 yurt and a small live-in vehicle. In 2010 we completed a reciprocal frame straw bale roundhouse. Then we built our glorious bathroom! We rested for a bit, concentrating on gardens and growing things. We got another rush of building fever in 2012 and completed (with the help of many hands) both a 7 metre cob greenhouse and a cruck frame barn. We also have 2 more yurts, one is our bedroom and the other we use for a kitchen as we often have lots of people visiting. Another greenhouse will follow in 2013. Next year, we are starting our house ...
Using a permaculture approach, our land use design is intended to be practical and beautiful. We have a south facing slope and have terraced it a bit, gradually. On this slope, protected by a large ancient hedge, a walled garden is slowing emerging from the subsoil. This is the heart of our 4 acre space.
Using local slate for the stem walls and mixing in clay with our subsoil the cob walls will be inexpensive and immensely practical. Cob provides passive solar gain (absorbs heat) and then releases it at night. The enclosed garden space creates a micro-climate of relative warmth and calm. We are hoping to successfully grow figs and grapes as well as all our other fruit & veg.
Our buildings provide some of the walls and shelter for this garden. Buildings are arranged to protect our gardens from the north winds and early morning sunshine from the east which can damage fruit.
About half an acre of our land is a mainly spruce conifer plantation. We have planted around 2500 trees since putting our roots down here in 2009. We are also sensitively restoring our woodland to biodiversity.
We grow as much of our own food as possible. in addition to chickens & ducks, who supply eggs throughout the year, we also grow cucumbers & tomatoes, potatoes & pumpkins, and much more. The climate here can be very harsh but we are doing all right really. A couple of years ago I grew 200 kilos of pumpkins!
We have lots of animals some pets but most are practical. Our labrador is really a friend for our kids, but also does duty as a good guard dog. Delilah our cat is an excellent mouser. Ten chickens provide eggs, manure, pest control, and the occasion cockerel supplies meat for the pot. The four ducks are totally crazed but are good at eating slugs and provide us with eggs. The three rabbits do a great job of lawn-mowing and eat raw veg waste. We are fencing in a field and are intending to get angora goats and shetland sheep. Both will provide wool for my felting livelihood.