Dreaming Big in Japan

Sunday, June 12, 2011

What's Happening Now

We have been busy and not so busy over at Dream Seed Farms. Click here to see what we have been up to...

I also got my first freelance gig working with our friends on the other side of the island. One of their neighbors, a nice little old lady, had her roof crumble during the earthquake 3 months ago. Someone must have replaced it with a new sheet metal roof, and tossed the broken roofing tiles to the side. Our job was to pick it all up and haul it off to the junk yard (our home improvement center!) in the middle of the island. 

Cement roofing tiles, nails and lot's of sun

We worked for just under three hours with most of that time spent driving to and from the junk yard. It took us 6 loads in the toy pick-up truck.  Actually, we only had two shovels, so my friends used them, and I scooped of the fragments with my hands! Thankfully we had the baskets, or there would have been a load more shoveling all around.

I was rewarded handsomely, and had lunch with them too. Our friend's mother-in-law dug up about half her garden and gave me all kinds of veggies and herbs to transplant to our garden. I also scored an old aquarium from my friend. I plan to disassemble all the glass panes and use them in various things like a solar oven, solar dehydrator, and maybe even a cold frame for starting veggie seedlings and/or extending the growing season. Stay tuned for those adventures...

In the meantime I am heading to Nagano Prefecture later today to volunteer at the Permaculture center where we are studying. Michie will be joining us later in the week. They are building an earthbag house, and will hold a work camp all this week on laying the foundation and building the first courses of the stem wall.

Absolutely awesome design, incorporating my spiral wall and others' ideas too

I plan to write a bit more about the house design later on, but the coolest thing is that it was designed by all 20+ participants, the teachers and the carpenter, all in concert with each other. We were in sub-teams and presented our ideas (my group settled on the spiral concept, and I built a miniature model). The various sub-teams presented their ideas at the beginning of the weekend seminar and before we left, we were presented with a unique design that incorporated all of our various ideas.

The living roof with herb spiral idea they synthesized is exceptionally brilliant. They even included my ideas for a spiral shaped wall and a rocket-stove-heated-cob-bench inside. I am excited to start working on it tomorrow! Hopefully, I can learn a ton, and apply it later to our own home...when we finally get to building it. At least up until the roof, the design is practically identical to mine, so this will be a good blueprint and practical experience in building a structure just like one in which we will, in all likelihood, wind up living.

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