Created: 27.12.2018, 12:05 Póvoa Nova
Updated/revised: 05.04.2019, 14:42
What are really the pure basics you need in life? And what woud specifically be the basics for a Permaculture Life? The first question can be easily answered in what you would need if you would go on a camping trip: shelter, a place to sleep, a cooking and shower area, a toilet… For a Permaculture Life I would add for the three main important assets which are a shelter for the wood (fuel), a pantry to store your food in and a safe place or spot for the seed bank.
Shelter, accommodation(s), building(s)
Regada has one large (70 m2) rustic barn on its land with an up and down floor and set half into the hill. The upper floor is mainly the living space with a mezzanine, currently my sleeping area. At the moment only one window (single glazing) and facing North.
These type of granite stone buildings are typical for Portugal: In the lower part only two air inlets for the farmer or shepherd his/her cattle (their body heat kept the farmer and/or shepherd warm upstairs) and more suitable for the very hot summers. So unfortunately very cold during winter time. Roof and first floor (ceiling for down stairs) are relatively new and were installed by the previous owner. The exterior has new pointing to fill the joints of the stonework.
Regada House will be our ‘main building’, as it is now undergoing a total insulation and furthermore for benefiting the rustic look and history of the barn, I do want the interior to receive all new pointing, as the current state of it is bad.
A ‘mini earth ship’ and ‘A-frame’-buildings will be constructed in the near future to be our guests- and volunteer shelter/home.
Furthermore the downstairs area will be our future Pantry as it is dark and cool. The ceiling here has received basic insulation and we need to install a new solid floor and thus making drainage of rainwater easier to leave the building via our grey water piping. This area will also contain the technical installation like for example the electricity Inverter and water filtration. The batteries and the generator will go in a lean-to building.
Because of the attendance of a large bolder rock downstairs, we are installing our inside shower area here. A warm water wood burner has already been purchased for this purpose. I am currently investigating a second sustainable heating method as a backup. And yes, this would be our ‘winter shower’ as we are currently also planning and making a passive solar shower outside near the dry compost toilet little house.
Down- and upstairs will be connected with a wooden stair.
Safety and light
During the wintertime of course I needed to keep the door closed. But this door had no window and with only one relative small window it was dark inside. The upstairs door, which is not really a good carpenter job, has now received one double glazing window. The window facing North will follow this year or in 2020 (see also our Mission).
Downstairs has now got a self-made wooden door inclusive a double glazing window in the top. Humidity has caused problems with the door expanding several cm’s. The two air inlets still to be done. Air circulation will be with filters in the door and a pipe at the back end of the area connecting with outside (not decided precisely yet).
Furthermore to receive more light upstairs, I will also install two skylights facing East for the morning sun and west for the afternoon sunlight. The skylights have already been purchased and are the simple ‘barn’ version from Velux but will do fine here for the main house.
Cooking, doing the dishes, taking a shower (hot water)
At the moment I have set-up a temporary kitchen unit made of leftover plywood and pallet wood. I am planning to make mobile kitchen units on wheels so that they can be used in other spaces or outdoors. But diy cement working tops are also an option.
Outdoors we have a pizza-oven and was made by the previous owner. I am not that keen on the looks and location, so a decision will be made about that in a later stadium.
In the main building there will be our ‘winter’ kitchen with a range cooker oven inclusive a 12L copper cistern for warming up water. For the in-between-moments there will be a gas cooker, but we expect to use them less and less after we mastered using the range cooker.
The ‘summer’ kitchen plan is to have an outdoor kitchen made out of malm (leem) or clay and consists a pizza-oven, a wood stove and rocket stove oven.
Warm water will come completely from renewable energie:
- Doing the dishes (hot) water: will be used from the 12L cistern next to the Range cooker;
- Winter Showers: A wood burning shower tank will provide us nice hot showers during the colder days at lower level main house;
- Summer Showers: Will be provided with passive solar heated water at the outdoor shower location near the dry compost toilet house.
Dry Compost Toilet & Passive Solar Shower
Situated centrally on the property we plan and are actually have almost finalised the building a Dry Compost Toilet little wooden house incl. washing your hands and face facet and adjacent to this the Passive Solar Shower.
The entrance to the shower will be via half moon circle glass bottle walls. It will look great and looking forward to start that part of this project.
As we have loads of old roof tiles, the roof will be covered with these and the small mobile solar panels will give the place some light and minor electrics for small devices.
As mention above, in the main barn downstairs we plan our shower for the more colder months inclusive an urinal (f/m). The warm water wood burner has already been purchased for this purpose. The typical and large bolder rock will be the shower wall. In front of this also some creative design with a glass bottle wall.