When some people take a week off they loll. And that’s usually what I’d plan.
I wasn’t planning on taking this week off from work but each day just took me into other spaces than work.
I’ve now spent nearly 30 hours this week researching cob house building online. Some people would define that as hard work. Me? I see it as leisure and a major leap towards creating my own natural home.
A couple of posts ago I listed some of the best sites on cob building. You can also watch dozens of short (a few minutes) videos on cob building at You Tube. Just type in ‘cob building’ and away you go. I also looked at videos on compost toilets – yup – it’s a pretty fast lane kind of life I live.
3 parcels arrived today from Walnut Books – a fantastic online sustainable bookstore in Cork. A big hello to Nora – who answers all my questions with cheerful emails and sends the books in recycled packs. Treat your self to a visit and buy 1 book – just for the craic of getting a parcel. It’s like getting presents. The parcels included a great companion planting wall chart and an organic gardeners monthly calendar – very useful for baby neophyte gardeners like me.
I bought a gorgeous glass cabinet from a local store (I buy local to support small business. If we don’t Ireland will turn into Tescoland – or for my American friends – Walmart land) to house all these wonderful books -treasures of information that will help me design and build my own ecological home.
Here is a list of the books I’ve bought so far – all available from Walnut Books:
- The biodynamic food & cookbook. wendy e. cook. 2006
- Results from the biodynamic sowing and planting calendar. maria thun.
- Complete book of companion gardening. bob flowerdew. 2004
- More straw bale buildings – a complete guide to designing and building with straw. chris magwood etal. 2005
- The beauty of strawbale homes. Steens. 2005
- Build your own earth oven. kiko denzer
- Places of the soul – architecture & environmental design as a healing art. christopher day
- Power of limits – proportional harmonies in nature, art and architecture.
- The whole house book – ecological building design and materials. harris and borer.2004
- The earthcare manual – a permaculture handbook for britain and other temperate climates. patrick whitefield. 2004
- Natural home heating – the complete guide to renewable energy options. greg pahl. 2003
- The organic gardeners monthly reminder calendar.michael littlewood. 2005
- Companion planting chart. michael littlewood.
- Put your hands in the dirt. activities and projects.kiko denzer
- Home Work. handmade shelter. lloyd kahn. 2004
- Shelter. lloyd kahn.
- Building with cob. adam weismann & katy bryce. UK. 2003
- The cob builders handbook. becky bee. usa.
- The hand sculpted house. evans, smith & smiley.2002
Yup – that’s a really really cool reference library . I’m still waiting for books I ordered but that’s all part of the fun – never quite knowing when a parcel will arrive here in Ballinamore.
Some of the books have been gifts to very dear friends. The straw bale books go to Pat in Boston. She and her partner are planning to build a strawbale house in an urban USA environment.
The 3 cob building books are pretty much the bibles of cob building and I’m glad there’s one from the UK as well as the USA contingent. Ianto Evans and Linda Smiley (USA. Cob Cottage ) will be running the cob building workshop I’ll be doing next year in Cork. Nine days of very practical learning.
I’ve also started a written diary that’s already filling with ideas and questions and drawings. I plan to write a workbook on this whole experience and self publish it in 2010 through Lippylala Publishing (my own business that’s in start up phase. I’ll be publishing a Life Dreaming Workbook in 2008 as well as Business Planning for Artsworkers Guide in 2008) – when the house is complete (everyone touch wood).
I was writing in the diary last night about the values and personal qualities that passionately drive me & will help me in building my home:
- beauty in design and execution
- ethical buying and sourcing of materials
- ecological view of building
- local sourcing of materials and labour
- community involvement in building and learning – I’ll be inviting school groups on site
- slow building to take the time to grow the design and enjoy the experience
- sensual design in the look, feel, scent, touch & taste of the whole process
- spiritual in honouring the people, place and space
- respect for the land and people involved in the building
- playfulness in the design and building – have fun with the mud
- celebration through all the good, bad & downright ugly
- energy save it, respect it, share it
- low to no debt so I’ll take my time and save and only borrow from the credit union
- integrity in all my dealings with people and the land
- joy in creating my own home
- gratitude for all the gifts in my life (people, skills, information …) that will make my ideas a reality
- recycle & reuse as many materials as I can
- courage to be true to my values and ideas – particularly when it’s raining and people say it can’t be done
- persistence beyond inspiration and the first burst of enthusiasm
- resilience when even the silver lining has another cloud
- planning a framework of ideas so I can be creative within a structure of building
- research and gather information to inform all the design and building
- support from friends and people I don’t yet know – and I’ll give support in return
So – in 5 days I’ve made a major life decision; researched it and begun the first small steps towards making it real. I’m chuffed beyond words.
I’m happy to share any information I collect on this 2 or 3 year journey. Just leave a comment with your email and I’ll get back to you.
And just in case dear friends and family think I’ve lost the plot and will now be eating weeds and living in a mud hut – I booked myself for a 2 day retreat in a gorgeous hotel overlooking an irish lake (Wineport Hotel) in 2 weeks. A great place, amazing food – and – I’ll be spending the 2 days doing further design for my home and businesses while sipping some bubbly in the guest lounge with its 24 foot windows and lake views.
Don’t worry family – Lizzy is well able to look after herself. A sustainable life does not mean a refusal to care about and for myself – in fact it’s the exact opposite. The more aware and conscious I become of the whole ecology of building a home and living a sustainable life – the more content and healthy (mind, body, heart & spirit) I’m becoming. You know me well enough that I’d never become po faced. I’ll enjoy this new journey (it’s actually a deepening of an existing journey) as much as I do pretty much everything in my life.
Right – I’m off to the shops to get some nice food for a small dinner party tonight.
You have a great weekend.