Category Archives: Uncategorized

Belated update…

Hi guys, sorry this has taken so long!

We are moved in and enjoying our own space.
The house is not finished but it is a lovely home now.

Thanks for all the support, Ryan and Family

image

Front of the house, sealed and painted

image

image

Concrete floors with paint effect and sealed

image

Moved in view of the Lounge / Dining room / Kitchen

image

image

Main Bedroom

image

Sarah and Kei’s bedroom. Pokey, but a happy place!

image

Ethan’s bedroom

image

New, bigger damn in beginning stages

image

fun on the little dam!

Good old farm living!
Lotsa love, the Nicolsons

Advertisements

Call me Noah then.

I see.

Do you see?

This is our place. Here on earth.

Rushed. Half hearted. Segregated. Ours in waiting.

Waiting for what? Death.

So freaked out about that fact that humans will keep their eyes averted and run faster trying to keep others’ eyes averted by demanding to control their outlook and their vision.

Chin up, brows down. Blinkers on.

“This is the important race, run like this, you might one day earn enough from running through the thorns to afford these old second hand sandals.”

and then this car, and then this house..

Please comment on this post if you understand…

I am individual. So is everyone.

It is awesome! why? Because we are awesome!!

This life is spectacular.
Everything is a spectacle . Everywhere you look with open eyes is amazing.

I am writing this post in a place in nature.

Where everything is different, all these differences from the minutest shrub to the biggest tree combine together to make something so visually and soulfully spectacular that we as humans require and get cravings to be out here.
Here we can look all around, we can be a human being, not a human doing.

We were never meant to be compressed and forced into boxes watching a box in the corner or a box that is center stage.
I am talking off topic of the TV.
Remote control Handset – a handset to shift the channel of the bullshit poured upon us by the Remote Control.
The remote control machine is the TV. Propaganda in digital format.

Anyway, I am in nature now listening to the crackle of the fire and the nightsong of the crickets and the movements of nature.

I am a travelling salesman. A Sales Representative. An Area Sales Manager, Key accounts Manager, whatever glorified title our human commerce of money structured, position structured, status structured, structured life structured human paranoia calls this.

I am a traveller. I cover many miles and see many faces.
I see many faces but not too many souls. I dig deep to find the souls but more often than not, the digging finds faces.
Faces of simplified people, in a complex society, complex because it does not make sense, therefore has no answer for the people.
In the chaos, people look to anything with self assurance to believe as the right path just so that they can relax their simplified minds.

I realised something tonight.
Something that I had forgotten too easily. I am an individual.

Fortunately I cannot change that, I was born one and will die one. I may have to put up with this system and all of it’s flaws but I don’t have to be part of it.

Maybe it’s just because I have thick skin ( and don’t watch TV ).

So the title of this blog:…

I can descend into a whole can of spinach about this being end of days and how need to prepare ourselves to lose commerce and money as our trading denomination. How we need to learn to fend for ourselves to survive what we will see. To be prepared for something we have never been taught to prepare for.

I could but shall not for the sake of my happiness tonight.
Those who have open eyes know and don’t need to be told.

All that I want to share and ring true tonight and in this post is this just this:

We are individuals.
Beautiful individuals
Common Space so that we can learn together.

Be you. True.

You certainly were born and just as certainly you will die.

What filling is in your sandwich?

Yes I feel like Noah building the Ark, what I am doing to many by building this place seems against all that they have learnt from their society.
It is. And it’s beautiful.

Because it is us. Individual

Let’s all be individuals.

Keep on pushing and we’ll get through…

"Ballet with me daddy in the klobb house..."
“Ballet with me daddy in the klobb house…”

Building a cob house yourself is not for the faint hearted.
You have to sacrifice and struggle, heave and sweat.

It is said that the three toughest challenges to face in modern life is, in no particular order:
Moving house
Having kids
Changing jobs.

Our perspective:
Building an Offgrid house from scratch, practically alone
Having 3 kids of young ages
Working full time in the week, full time on the house on the weekend and now also changing jobs.

Therefore, I dedicate this script to my wife, Anel.
Babe, it’s been a long, tough and rocky road where we’ve struggled with and against each other, torn into each other in frustration, run away from each other in anger, cursed each other for the curse of this dream.

And here we are today.
Together.

Almost there babe, almost there…

Thank you for you. Thank you for it all

We have learnt more in these few years about tenacity, grit and not giving up than most will ever learn in a lifetime.

The seed seeks the sun and must work hard and long to break through the heavy earth above it. Keep on pushing, it will feel the warmth of the sun. Keep on pushing.

Babe, I feel the warmth, we are close.

I love you.

Ryan

about time for an update?

Life, work, building and kids doesn’t afford too much time for updating my blog.

Here are a few pics of progess, I shall try to keep them in order

This is where the blog left off last time...
This is where the blog left off last time…
Boxed framework for internal walls
Boxed framework for internal walls

20140525_165106

Once framework was up we fenced both sides of the boxes and compacted wattle saplings and branches into the cavities
Once framework was up we fenced both sides of the boxes and compacted wattle saplings and branches into the cavities

20140608_170118

And then we cobbed into the fencing.
The wattle aids in binding the cob and insulates sound and temperature.
The wattle was sprayed with a broadspan insecticide and allowed to age and dry before cobbing.

View of main bedroom internal walls
View of main bedroom internal walls

And then I started plastering…
20140914_130416

20141001_150807

My babies' room started to look like a room...
My babies’ room started to look like a room…
Plastering in full swing
Plastering in full swing
Kei Jo, my big boy helping daddy plaster!
Kei Jo, my big boy helping daddy plaster!
Kei and Sadie, always keen to help mix the clay!
Kei and Sadie, always keen to help mix the clay!
And some entertainment when the work got monotonous..
And some entertainment when the work got monotonous..

In the trees.?

We decided to call our little piece of freedom this for 3 reasons.

* We’re not “in the money”

* Our heads aren’t “in the clouds” anymore, though they aren’t buried in the sand either.

* there are lots of trees…..

………..* also, one day, hopefully soon, I’ll build a main bedroom in the three trees above the current main bedroom to give all 3 kids their own rooms. Then Anel and I will be “in the trees” [read: Treehouse Sanctuary, away from the wild animals below!]

View upthe drive before felling
View upthe drive before felling

We have mainly Bluegum trees (Eucalyptus) growing on the land as they were introduced by the original owner of the farm and planted as a windbreak in rows. I guesstimate that some of the older trees must be around 80 years old.

Bluegum trees do not have particularly deep root bases, grow up to 40 metres high and have a rather irritating habit of falling over.

As there have also been a few fires that had come through the land previously, scarring the bases of some of the taller trees, a few trees had weaker or rotted sections.

Scary to think about when standing under them in high winds.

I have been wanting to clear a few more trees from the house area for a while as I am not too keen to catch a 4 ton log before it rests on the roof.

Two leaning problem trees
Two leaning problem trees

Removing problem trees is normally a Very costly affair if you get the experts in.
In my case, the two trees in the photo above would have cost me around R6000 or $500 EACH to remove. In the trees, not the money, remember?

So called professional tree fellers in our area also do not even carry a 100% property safety guarantee and insurance for their work.

I knew this from the beginning of our plot life so I am not sitting here with a worried finger up my bum, I’m just saying…

 

 

 

 

 

 

I should be working on the house. Not blogging.

Mmm.

I started this blog for two reasons:

* So that my friends, family and interesting people could follow the progress of my venture and,

* (mainly) That I could post pictures of our progress and that would spur me on and excite me: “wow, last weekend this was only this far, and now this is here and…”

blah blah fishpaste…

It seems I have more pictures than progress at the moment.

Fascia boards and fencing, batroom set and batteries, piping and plug boxes, a stupidly long list of things we need and the lack of these things hold everything up.

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking with it!

I should be cobbing tonight…

Tomorrow I’ll be professional

Slow, Broke March. Chin up!

Jeez. We thought January and February were tight… March is watertight.

But we are making progress, albeit slow.

Widson has been putting in some extra time for us, cobbing the exterior and filling in some more sections with fencing and wattle.

Here are some pics of our progress as of beginning of March 2014.

I have also started experimenting with final cob plaster layers in the main bedroom, using a 25%red clay 25% horse manure ( yes, I shall build with poo!) and 50% fine sand mix.

Horse manure is a perfect substitute for finely chopped straw as it contains superfine grass for binding and some enzymes that aid in giving a smooth and easily applied, flexible when wet, plaster. If that makes sense.

Basically, it is just perfect!

It only has a feint odour when wet and by the time has half dried and set, there is no sign that you’ve been mucking about!

Anyway, here are some photos…

Note the kid’s handprints, I love it it, this is now turning into a home!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Cob Master, aka, Widson

Money.

What’s that?

Time?

I used to have some of that…

On the upside, building like this doesn’t cost much, but it does take time. Unfortunately because I work full time and we have kids, time is also a resource that is in short supply.Enter Captain Cob. 

Widson is our Cob Master and make it work man. He is a Malawian national new to this strange way of building but, man, he learns quickly and works hard!

He has been helping me for the last 5 months or so and has been instrumental in the shaping (pun intended) of the house.

Image

 

 

Where we are today.

So, we’ve got the roof on, we’ve thrown a cement floor throughout, we have the basic fireplace, water tank and feed done, now we are busy boxing the walls, filling them with wattle and cobbing them in…

Next will come the electric points, db boxes for the solar, home rebuilt solar geyser with rocket water heater, internal walls, skylights and eventually ceilings (eventually love…not now!)

18th Jan 201420140126_180306 20140202_173048 20140201_081452 20140118_140000 20140202_173048 20140202_173157 20140205_224833