So Far… 31 August 2017

It’s been a busy August, what with the farmhouse, toilet block and adjusting the wood oven!

In the photograph to the right, you can see our little wood burning oven is well underway. The past week has been spent mixing, applying and levelling mud to the existing framework of the farmhouse (and the oven).

31 August 2017 Farm and construction
Wood burning oven

At the moment we are focusing most of our efforts on the back wall. In the photograph of the oven, you can see a temporary brown wall. Just behind there is where we have started on the glass bottle wall. Using a ‘rammed mud’ technique and building two-feet at a time, the wall is slowly forming. A similar approach was used for the oven.

glass bottle rammed mud wall
The start of our glass bottle wall


The stone pillars to the left were found one day whilst Raja was out and about. He noticed them by the road side and the owner kindly gave them to him. He returned later with a tractor and picked them up. They now act as a supportive framework for the walls.

The mud we use is high in clay, sand and gravel, and it’s composition makes it a great type to work with. Many buildings in the area have been created from these soils, locally known as ‘mannu veedu’. It’s often used as mortar, which we’re using it for on our back bottle wall. We simply mix with water, using more water than you would for cob, and then, through a long mixing, done by walk/trampling, we have our material. We’ll get to plastering another time.

The toilet (संडास)

The foundations to the compost toilet block have been in place for a while, and last week we began working on it again. It makes it harder to stay on the farm, especially for volunteers without having a loo! Our accommodation is often based in the village at the moment. Raja’s home is opened to volunteers and visitors, at other times we go to the farm or nearby forest and sleep out under the stars, and before construction began again, the farmhouse was a good summer spot.

In the photo you can see the toilet block shaded by the coconut trees, just to the left of the slowly (but surely!) forming cafe building.

31 August 2017 Farm and construction (4)-001

The toilet block itself is a strong structure built from bricks, held together with locally sourced cement and sand, into a simple square block. The previous toilet and shower cubicle had thatched walls, made from some resources we found within and around the farm, but they didn’t stand the test of time. The area is situated 826m above sea level you see, so strong winds are a regular occurrence… The style will be an Indian compost toilet, rather than releasing it back into the local sewage system. We are aiming for clean and simple maintenance if plans go well. Time will tell.

…So that’s it from us, we’ll be back in September!

Thanks for the continued support.

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