The main purpose of this blog entry is to offer a visual progression of what is geographically the centre of our little permaculture homestead. I’ll call it ‘the shed’ for now due to a lack of a better term. It certainly serves the purpose of a shed at times, but also that of a sitting area, storage area, undercover rocket-stove cooking area, etc. I’m typing these words under its roof, for example, because I’ve implemented a polyphasic sleeping schedule where I’m up between 01:30 and 05:10. If I were to be in ‘the shack’ (better term missing here too!) at such a time I’d constantly disturb my partner, so the shed looks like it’ll be key in keeping the sleeping schedule experiment going.
It’s become a comfortable area, comfortable enough to act as a social area for visitors to sit in – though they do seem to look around skeptically at first. That said, friends came over for a braai Friday past, and all had a great time, looking rather at ease. Previously the space was a bit cramped for accommodating people due to it also having a partitioned area that served as our ‘bathroom’, but since the actual ‘bathroom’ has been built, we’ve been able to change things for the better. Sure, there are tools and all lengths of wood and boxes and crates and fragments of all sorts of projects all over the place, but hopefully these provide character! We aim for functionality, a goal we have certainly achieved all over the plot, regardless of questionable aesthetics – there is absolutely no sheen here whatsoever! Yet I will never return to the old heavily-veneered lifestyles with which so many people are accustomed – there is something very real, very down to earth, and dare I say honest, about the humble DIY structures that constitute our home.
Several months back, ‘the shed’ wasn’t here. You’ll see from the pictures that it was more of an emergency shelter made by securing an old blue truck tarpaulin over some Bluegum and Port Jackson trees. The trees stood alone on the general demarcated piece of the broader plot that has become the permaculture homestead, so after the tents went up, we had to quickly organise a sheltered kitchen / work space / storage area / etc. Once it was where it was, it had to stay where it was, because every other physical aspect of the project required the functionality of the ‘tarp shed/kitchen/workspace’. Once the ‘shack’, kitchen, gardens, irrigation, orchard, etc. were sorted out, the tarp came down and up went the shed roof. The experience I gained from building the shack and the kitchen, and working on the other aspects of the homestead, made it a relatively manageable solo building project.
It’s far from finished. An old carpet constitutes one of the long walls, while opposite that an old trellis and weaved wattle fence form the other long wall. So it is a breezy shelter! One shorter wall was made out of recycled pallet wood and a freebie door, and the plan is to replace the carpet and /trellis wattle wall with such pallet wood walls, throw in a few windows, insulate the roof, and keep the side least prone to wind open. The latter side of the structure is where we stand for shelter when cooking on the rocket stove in adverse conditions. It would be nice to turn half the ‘shed’ – the open side – into the kitchen and cooking area, and the other half of it – the closed side – into the ‘sitting’ area. The old kitchen would then turn into the shed. We’ll get there gradually though, as there is always ‘stacks to do’.
Here are the pictures, offering a chronological order of the development of ‘the shed’: