Showing posts from April, 2011

Food, water and energy

Principle 10: Use and value diversity
The article 'Food, water, oil' in the current G magazine that we borrowed from the library recently, made apparent that these issues are becoming humanities greatest challenges. I got to thinking about how we have addressed these topics. This became part of my introductory talk on our most recent 'sustainable house tour', organised by local enviroment group BEAM and the Sustainable Communities Program.

While we will never be completely self-sufficient in food production on our small block, we have managed to produce the majority of our non-staple vegetable needs within the first 10 months that we have been living here. This has been supplemented by our network of generous friends and neighbours who often share excess produce with us along with visits to the 'black market', farmers market, local market and stupermarket (in that order where possible).
We are getting into the habit of ensuring that people always leave wit…

Storage systems from marginal materials

Principle 11: Use edges and value the marginal

Living in a relatively small house (about 100m2 internally) requires smart use of space. I'm a big fan of making use of what's around me and so I've been designing storage systems within these parameters.

The Red Gum bookshelf Searching through a large stack of off-cuts from the milling operation I came across a 3.5m long piece that caught my eye. Being flat on one edge made it relatively easy to work with a power saw. I cut the length in half, squaring off the ends, and measured where I wanted the shelves to go. I used a piece of plywood clamped to the timber to give me a guide for the power saw, moving it 5mm at a time. I then used a chisel to break up the fragile wood and clean up the recess, leaving a nice clean insert for the shelves. The red gum was then sanded smooth with 40, 80 and 120 grit papers.
The shelves were selected from the old bungalow framing timber. Each piece was given a quick sand with course paper (40 grit)…