Posts related to 9. Making Things
This category covers things that we make and tells you how you can make them too.
12 July 2011 - Week 7 – Eco-building in the Pyrenees, Inspiration in the Mountains
During week 7 of my eco-building adventure, we spent a few days visiting Pierre’s mountain house to get some fresh air, a break from work and see some of the design elements he implemented there. It was inspiring to see his designs and thoughts about space actually implemented (see the week 6 post for more about designing space).
This week I will simply share with you some images from the mountains and Pierre’s house and garden. He purchased an old house a decade ago and improved it substantially – essentially all by himself. As you look through the pictures, think about his use of space, the colours, the types of stairs, the simple, modest, effective use of natural materials and so on… altogether, the house offers a beautiful mix of rocks, natural plaster and wood.
03 July 2011 - Week 6 – Eco-building in the Pyrenees, Natural Painting, Plastering and Designing
This week saw us continuing the ceiling insulation, sanding and painting the timber ceiling and flooring with linseed oil, painting window frames with natural paint and applying cow dung plaster.
The linseed oil is actually a mixture of linseed oil and turpentine mixed 2L:330ml. It is used to protect the timber from the elements andincrease its durability. It also increases its resistance from being destroyed by insects or fungus. From what I’ve read, the function of linseed oil as a preservative is believed to be related to its action as a water repellent and drying agent rather than a direct biocidal activity.
The natural paint is a mixture of pigment, linseed oil and a touch of turpentine to thin at the end. I loved learning how to make my own paint as it’s so easy and I’d love to do it in future for my … Read the rest
01 July 2011 - Brie à la Carly and Jean!
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24 June 2011 - Week 5 – Cob camp hits the road to learn eco-building in the Pyrenees
The beginning of week 5 was all about mixing and building cob since the roof was up and stable. There is so much to learn about cob that you can only truly understand through tactile experience. You need to feel the critical proportion of clay to sand to ensure a plastic, cohesive, workable mix that won’t shrink and crack too much. Depending on the coarseness of the sand and quality of the clay (and other components in the soil) the final mix should be between 5% and 25% clay. By observing the soil composition from a soil test (seeing it settle in a jar with water) you can estimate proportions.
But, it is the snowball test and crunch test that helped us refine the mix. For the snowball test we created a sphere from our mix, held it 1m above soft ground and let it fall. If it shattered, it was … Read the rest
19 June 2011 - Week 4 at Cob Camp – Hard work and fun
This week started with Marco and Linda departing camp and Anita and Martin making a real effort to progress the project positively and constructively.
A real highlight of the week was when Laurence came to camp to give us an edible weeds tour of our area. She taught us how to identify what we could eat that was naturally growing around us and how we could eat it. She pointed out blackberries, wild sage, Jerusalem artichoke, daisies, yarrow, hog weed and more… here are some pictures…
Fitting in with this theme, Wayne decided to teach us all (in a humorous TV cooking show style!) how to make delicious elderflower cordial from some local elderflower trees. Here is his recipe:
- Pick 25-30 heads of fresh fragrant flowers (not starting to fruit, brown or bud) to make 2L of cordial
- Shake the flowers to remove insects
- Put the flowers in approximately 2L
12 June 2011 - Week 3 at Cob Camp – Community Matters
Most people want deeper links to a community as modern society is individualistic, insecure and fractured. Many don’t know where to start to lead different lives and those of us who do, seem to grapple with making ‘community’ work.
How do we live co-operatively, thoughtfully and simply with each other whilst conserving natural resources, sharing responsibility for work and providing meaningful, dignified and safe work – including successful projects?
All of us on this course are from Western societies where we’ve been encouraged to be highly individualistic. Given we need to learn new skills for living together with others (especially giving up personal space) this group has done remarkably well at banding together, without conflict, to get things done. But… it’s not all smooth sailing.
Proper management is important. My previous management experience is on big projects but there are many inspiring models to emulate, especially from small populations of … Read the rest
04 June 2011 - Week 2 at Cob Camp – Planting, rescuing, cooking and eating food. And making stuff out of leather…
Week 2 of the cob building course was (nearly) all about FOOD!! Planting food, skip diving for food, cooking creatively, making a stove and oven, eating, discussing… it really seemed to be our focus all week!
After our first skip dive at the local supermarket bin, we organised the camp kitchen and enthusiastically embraced communal cooking with our rescued food. We made scrambled eggs, with smoked salmon and goats cheese, frittata, salad nicoise, salsa, potato salad, creamy pesto pasta, coleslaw, ratatouille, couscous, nettle and goats cheese quiche, garlic pizza bread, chocolate brownies, spaghetti and more… but the best creation all week was Sunset Bin Crumble with Sam’s Special Sauce. This cob-camp specialty was essentially apple and rhubarb crumble cooked in Mr Oo (the cob oven we’ve recently made). The crumble was made from delicious, rescued bright pink biscuits and butter. The sauce was Samantha’s inventive concoction of cottage cheese, 2 … Read the rest
28 May 2011 - Week 1 at Cob Camp – Eco Building and Community Living
I just arrived at La Creuse, a region in the middle of France, in order to participate to the building of a cob house organised by AM Rustic with other volunteers. Jean on his side, went to Central America for few weeks, in order to do a consultancy with a British humanitarian organisation.
I understood from the first day on the cob building course that this wasn’t really a structured course but a gathering of people with a shared interest in natural building coming together to live, work, learn and share their diverse experiences and skills. Anita and Martin had ditched the ‘Day 1 – Designing your Cob House’ for driving the newcomers (myself, Vicky and Wayne) around the local area to see a previously built cob house, some sites and buy supplies.
The second day a family from the Netherlands arrived (Ester, Dirk, Emile and Liam) so while they … Read the rest
24 January 2011 - How to make cottage cheese at home
In addition to butter, yoghurt and brie, we’ve loved making cottage cheese at home too. It’s so easy we almost don’t want to tell people. We normally use 2L of Cleopatra’s raw cow’s milk, removing the cream and putting it aside to make our butter. To remove the cream simply leave your milk standing upright in the fridge so the cream can naturally separate from the milk – you will see a definite line. Once separated, just make a small hole at the bottom of the bottle, take the lid off the top of the bottle and let the milk drain from the hole in to a separate jar. When it has drained to the cream line, pour the cream into another container.
We simply pour the skimmed milk in to our large glass jar and allow it to curdle at room temperature for a maximum of 5 … Read the rest
13 January 2011 - How to make yoghurt at home
Yoghurt is our weekly must make product. We usually use 2L of Cleopatra’s raw cow’s milk (including the cream on top), heat it to 85° C then let it cool to 43° C. Since raw milk is illegal to sell for consumption in Australia, Cleopatra’s raw milk is sold as Bath Milk, for cosmetic purposes only… but if you aren’t “brave” enough to use raw milk or can’t get a hold of it, just buy some organic pasteurised unhomogenised milk (see the UPDATE at the end of this post for more information).
We then add 2 grains of the yoghurt culture… we got ours from cheeselinks.com and chose the type below but you can find other types elsewhere too… (you can also use a few tablespoons of a good quality store bought yoghurt instead, see the UPDATE at the end of this post).
… and incubate it overnight at around … Read the rest