Saturday, 19 January 2008

A Quiet Day

Lack of water and lack of sleep led me to a very lazy day today. As noted yesterday, the rain stopped very shortly after I’d rigged up a collecting tank for the roof water but I did get enough to flush the loo a couple of times.

I’ve been eking out the water I have and only cleaning the bare essentials today. I did battle with the non-return valve in the pump house but again got nowhere but thankfully Regis popped round with a heavy-duty pipe wrench and the faulty part is out. Monday is now scheduled to find a replacement, if I’m luck I might get one locally. It’s a reasonably standard bit and just about all the farms round here have bore holes/ wells with pumping equipment. If I can’t get it locally then it’s down to Villeneuve where there is a very large ironmonger (as long as I can remember where it is!)

The timing of a day off has been really good though as I today received a book I’d ordered. It’s ‘The Woodland Way’ by Ben Law. I’m one of the many who came across Ben when he was the subject of one of the Grand Design programmes. You know the one, where people spend a fortune on converting/renovating a house you couldn’t even dream of being able to afford in it’s run down state. This programme was different and followed Ben building his own house, after finally getting planning permission after 12 years of asking. He is a woodman and wanted/needed to live within his wood. Planning laws being what they are it was difficult for him to get permission to build on his own land as it was green belt (but supermarkets somehow seem to get round that problem). The permission was granted on the condition that the house is destroyed if he no longer works the woods. It followed him building an eco house, sourcing the timbers from his own wood, making the wood cladding etc. It was absolutely fascinating.

Anyway, back to this book, it’s about woodlands, creating, managing, harvesting and general thoughts. I’m already halfway through it and wondering how to adapt my planting plan to incorporate a greater diversity of plants and wildlife.

The other bit of research I’ve been doing today is on rainwater harvesting. My French isn’t yet sufficient to really hunt through the French Google site and so far have only found commercial installers or a DIY chain where the only choice is between a buried tank or something that looks like a large plastic bag, neither of which are ideal for here.

The plastic bag thing is really designed to go into the under floor space which this property doesn’t have and the buried tank needs to be in an area where there will be no vehicular traffic or trees. There is only one area like that here and that spot is taken up by the septic tank. I could site it further from the house but the nearest place is probably a good 50 meters away. The only above ground tanks found so far are glorified rain butts and too small.

The roof area I have here is roughly 2 * 175m² (front and back of the house. I’ve regularly recorded over 25 mm of rain during a thunderstorm that would give me over 4000 litres or water from each side of the house. Apart from sourcing and siting a suitable container I need to work out the amount of water I’m likely to use. Thankfully I’ve recorded the rainfall for most of the time I’ve been here so I can get a bit of an idea now long a gap between rain I should plan for.

Tomorrow is going to be another lazy day too but I might be tempted to sand the newly expose beams above the new window. If I do, I’ll be hanging up dust screens this time though.

No comments: