Tag Archives: living grass roof

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“Life is what happens while you’re making other plans…” So here’s the plan…..

IMG-20121230-0107818th Jan 2014
After a few years and a lot of life, we (dad, mom and the 3 little people) have decided to build a cob house.

We were originally going to buy a standard house in the suburbs and become what we didn’t really like. Suburbians.

-Nothing wrong with that, but my wife and I have never been conventional. She is an inspired artist and I am something of an artistic soul too.
(Altough we are both rather disgruntled artists as kids, bills, work, building, money and life like to bubble the pot!)

So. We looked at conventional houses in the suburbs. My wife ran away screaming to the hills. I followed her.

We found a beautiful wooded plot just out of town that a friend of ours was wanting to sell off. Perfect!

We jumped at it!

Well, it has not been smooth sailing by any stretch, having to clear trees, fence, build, wait, pay, wait, change plans, correct title deeds, wait, pay…. all another story!
But, seeing our house take shape is really exciting now.

This blog is about how we are building our little house out of natural and recycled materials to be free of grid electricity and most importantly:
To be free of a mortgage.
We are trying to do everything without taking loans, so progress is slow.

It is quite funny how our new home has morphed and warped from where it was just going to be a little workshop for me (dad) growing into a fully fledged offgrid, living grass roof, skylighted, 3 bedroom home capable our keeping us 5 cozy and happy!

We had no training or experience in building alternatively before starting here, everything was learnt by studying the internet, watching YouTube videos, looking at pics and mostly:l lots of trial and error.

I’d like to dedicate this blog to all the wonderful people of the world who have posted their findings and ideas and shared their knowledge on the net.
It is a wonderful brotherhood of barefoot builders that helped us shape our ideas and we’d like to give back to those who also want share in the joy of the Hand Built home.

Well, here is our lovechild…