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Showing posts from August, 2010

Keeping water out of the cellar

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Principle 12: Creatively use and respond to change

The wettest Autumn in over 20 years has demanded some immediate attention to some unfinished projects. I have built a cover for the entranceway of the cellar which sheds the rain away from the stairwell. The cover has been built with materials recovered from the original house, and left over materials from the construction of the new house. No new materials were purchased for this job.
With the ground sodden, water has been weeping through small gaps in the mortar in the walls, and the cellar has needed the water to be pumped out regularly. A heavy duty electric pump, that was kindly donated to me by my plumber, was installed and pumps water out to the laneway. The hose can be moved around to direct water to plants if needed.
Along the edge of the stairwell I have built up soil with a slope that diverts water into the laneway. I planted a male and female kiwi along the boundry which will eventually grow up the (yet to be built) fen…

Making life more comfortable

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Principle 2: Catch and store energy

Since we have moved in we have been doing what we can to make life more comfortable. It's mid-winter at the moment, so keeping warm is a big priority.
I mentioned the Gourmet Cooker in my last post, we have been using it everyday since we moved in, as it has been cold and we only got our gas stove connected recently. Until then it was used for all of our cooking needs and has performed very well.
Our small 1950s (?) gas stove is a great companion for when we don't need to light the Gourmet, as well as for things that require short bursts of heat, like making popcorn or stirfrying. It has taken a little while to learn how to use the Gourmet properly, but I think that I have got the hang of it now. It does require one to slow down a bit, as it takes a while to get things done - which I think is a good thing. We have been baking veggies, bread and cookies with excellent results. We have never run out of hot water (except in the beginning when …