TEN YEARS AFTER Part 2

Hi, well here we are again with another little reminisce about how we started our journey towards  self sufficiency and eco living. The first part was all about getting the outer shell of the building up and weather proofing.

Once this was done, it was time to try and make it into a house before it could become a home. Basically first we needed running water instead of using buckets, and once there was a proper roof, it made things a lot easier to collect rain water that ran off and into a 1000 litre tank that was placed on blocks underneath the guttering. This gave us enough pressure to fill the toilet cistern and caravan sinks.

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TEN YEARS AFTER

Apart from ‘Ten Years After ‘ being a favourite band of ours from the ’60’s and ’70’s, it’s also coming up to our 10th anniversary of owning our land here in Ireland, and leading us to try to set up, build and live a self-sustainable lifestyle on our own.

We didn’t actually do anything with the land for a couple of years after buying it because we weren’t really sure just what we wanted to do, but after a while everything started to come together, especially once we’d bought the 40ft mobile home, placed it on the land and stayed for a 2 week holiday in it. This was 8 years ago, a lot of hard work and some mind puzzling problems to overcome. More

EVERYBODY HAS TO GO SOMEWHERE !

Well, once again we’re back, a little late this week because it was my birthday on Sunday!! I’ve recovered now so the rest of the livingroom floor has gone down and the other two LED lights are now illuminated, so not a bad week really. Also what a lovely HOT shower I’ve just had (we will go into the hot water system soon) so we can stay in the same room if you know what I mean! Obviously,as well as getting water to the cabin, it’s first main use was the toilet, we all have to go somewhere! Because of where and how we live we couldn’t just go on the mains supply, we didn’t want to anyway, that would just defeat the object of being off the grid and self sustainable.Anyway, somewhere along the way we heard about the reed/willow bed system where the water flushed from your toilet goes into tanks where it starts to break down immediately. This broken down sewerage then flows into a series of filtration ponds that have reeds and willows planted in and around them, and these in turn draw up the water for themselves and are also fertilised.

These are 250 litre barrels, each one connected to the other, and as each one fills it drains into the next. By the third barrel, sewerage is well broken down so just liquid then flows into the series of ponds. Because of the willow and reeds, as it flows from one pond to the next, it’s clean water by the last pond with good healthy trees as well! We have had frog spawn in our last pond! Now, isn’t that better than it all being pumped out to sea?

There is one major rule with this system…NO BLEACH !! Bleach kills everything,good or bad. If you put bleach down your toilet, the bacterial enzymes that break down the sewerage will be killed and so the sewerage will sit there in the tank and rot, causing the smell that everyone associates with septic tanks. Ours does not smell at all even in hot weather because it all breaks down naturally. One thing we do use for cleaning the toilet would be Steradent tablets as these have Sodium Bicarbonate in them, a natural cleaner! If they’re good enough for your dentures then they’re good enough for the toilet!!(Yes we do still have our own teeth!)

Another rule to remember with this system is no other household water (eg, Bath, Washing Machine, Kitchen sink, etc) should go into the tanks for two simple reasons. Firstly, it will contain chemicals of some sort that will affect the breakdown, and secondly, if too much water goes into the tanks then the whole system can get flushed through not allowing time for the natural breakdown.

These are some of the willows planted at the last pond. There are about 60 in total and more next to the other ponds.

Just because we live alternatively doesn’t mean we cant have a ‘normal’ bathroom.

Enjoy.

We would like to give a big ‘Willows’ thankyou to CeliaG at   Thekitchensgarden.wordpress.com  for the surprise award! We will treasure the acknowledgement !!

WATER,WATER EVERYWHERE.

AND IT’S ALL SPRING TO DRINK!

When we first moved here,as I’ve said before,( so if I’m repeating myself),we had nothing, not even a toilet because we had no water, so as you can imagine that was the main and first priority.The first system was very easy to set up but not really efficient enough,but at least we had running water,therefore a toilet, sink and bath.

It was just water off the roof into the guttering and flowed into a 1000 litre tank. Because this is only a single storey cabin, there was no pressure so we couldn’t use the shower or kitchen sink taps, but at least we had water, thats all we could keep saying to each other. Because of the electricity system it would have been too draining on the power to run a pump at 600 watts of power and so we had to put up with what we had.It worked well enough but soon the water started to turn ‘green’ from all the crap off the roof washing into the tank, so I had to keep cleaning out the tank and it took ages for it to fill back up!

This wasn’t going to work,and so I went for a walk around the land to have a think (as you do), and I heard water running. On closer inspection I found that we had a free flowing natural spring. I found a wide part in the stream that it caused,so I dug wider and lined it with some polythene that was left over from the polytunnels.(Recycling again!)

All dug out and filling up nicely with natural spring water.

From this point the water is piped down the hill using garden hospipes and plumbed into the stacked water tanks.

You should have seen E and myself getting all of these on top of each other,it was scary! Now we have full water pressure into the cabin so we can have decent showers,all under ‘Boyle’s Law’ that pressure is created by height and not volume.

Enjoy.