Several months of planning and material scrounging has culminated in the start of the next phase of ‘building’ here at our low-tech permaculture homestead. This has coincided with the start of spring, which has not surprised me – I’ve written before of being more attuned to seasonal activities since living ‘this’ kind of lifestyle, so seeing new activity at this increasingly sunny time of the year seems entirely appropriate.

The short of it is that I’ve started putting up wooden walls to a 6 by 4 metre roofed area I started last year, which up until now has more or less been called ‘the shed’, though all kinds of homesteady activities have occurred there. Old carpets given to us by a friend were used as temporary walls until a point at which I could make time to put up proper wooden walls. While using the space in its temporary format, flows of energy and cycles of activity were observed and a plan slowly started being formulated for the layout of the area.

My pallet-wood supplier was not available to me for much of this year, so I had to do some investigating to see what other materials were available. In keeping with our ‘reuse and recycle’ ethos, the materials could not be new, which also usually comes with the added bonus that they are cheaper than new ones. I eventually found these:

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They are the cheap rounded off-cuts, the left-overs after the ‘good’ straight planks are cut at a local saw-mill. I clean the bark off of the quarter-rounds using a panga, which takes some getting-used to; it also takes a long time to clean the ‘poles’, so one has to get used to working for an hour or 2 at a time and taking breaks, and then coming back either later the same day or the next day to continue doing the same task; and the next; and the next!! This is obviously very different from the approach where materials are bought new – I spend lots more time prepping materials, but it can be very therapeutic and of course is much better than working full-time for the money to pay for new stuff.

After a few days the shed went from something like this (note: a wattle fence panel walled the right half of the structure until moments before this picture was taken)…

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To this:

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The white window on the far left was a cheap gumtree find. The poly-carb clear panels at the top of the wooden cladding is new, as I could not find an alternative used material. The idea behind the solid wall with the ‘windows’ at the top and far left was to prevent a view directly out of the shed in this direction because privacy would be lost otherwise. Here’s a view from the inside, though it is by no means finished:

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Note the stored wood at the base of the wall; as I’m going along I’m still acquiring resources gradually in order to keep this process going.

It probably does not look like much, but to get to this point I had to move stored materials around from one cramped area to another, and somehow maintain functionality in all areas. It is the case here that one small project will always require several other projects to be completed first, and of course several more projects will result in consequence of the main project! A case in point is this little unplanned detour that occurred straight after the wall went up:

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It started with a cupboard (pictured left), which I had acquired and stored in the shed but never got around to assembling because it needed a lot of cutting of pieces to fit into the room. I had to move the cupboard pieces but had no place to move them to (if you look carefully, you can see the white panels of the cupboard in the second picture in this post), hence having to install the unit. But when the old clothes-shelf unit came out, so did half of an old makeshift desk where computer etc went, along with an old temporary shelf system – they were all kind of attached to each other! Luckily I managed to get more recycled pallet wood, which I sanded and used to build a small wall-unit shelf system thing, as pictured.