Ontmoet Sina & Michel, die zojuist bij dit gekke kasteel hun permacultuurtuin project zijn gestart. Dagen van graven, zaaien en zingen. Hier kun je niet ontsnappen aan spontane gekte, maar tegelijk zorgt het werken met je handen in de grond weer voor wat aarding. Veel plezier met deze nieuwe vlog in ons Finding A Better Way To Live avontuur!
Stomping around in a heap of horse dung. It’s not something I do every day. But when making natural bricks (so called adobes) this is a necessary part of the process.
We have gathered in Happy Valley in Benfeita, Portugal, where Prem and Roshni are building a bathroom with natural materials. Part of the walls will be made from a natural type of brick called ‘adobe’. These bricks are made from a mix of clay, sand, straw and some lovely horse dung. According to Bruno, who is teaching us how to make the bricks, the horse dung helps to provide elasticity to the bricks, making them less prone to crack. There are about 15 of us, plus a bunch of kids, and we are eager to get started.
The clay, dung and straw are locally sourced, and because clay is different in every region, it’s important to make sample mixes with different ratios of the ingredients. Bruno calls them cookies, which confuses us, until he shows us a bucket full of them. Indeed, they look deceptively like mouth-watering chocolate chip cookies. We are advised not to eat them if we are fond of our teeth.
Etched into each ‘cookie’ is the ratio of the main ingredients used for that sample.
Bruno prepared all of this in advance. He found that in this region the ratio for dunch/clay/sand has to be 1/2/2. He also already made the mixture for the bricks, with a cement mixer. It’s a huge pile, which we have to keep wet the whole day with a hose and work the water into the mix with our feet. Bring water, mud and a bunch of kids together and you know what is inevitable. Mud fight!
The adobes themselves are created by putting the mixture into moulds, that are made in a simple way from a few planks. “Really whack the mixture into the corners”, Bruno tells us, “Otherwise you might end up with wobbly bricks.” The mould is lifted up and the bricks are left to dry on the ground. To make the next brick it’s important to make the mould wet. The bricks have to dry for 3 days on one side, then they are turned and left to dry for another 3 days. That’s quite a while, but in this climate 6 rain free days is no problem at all.
The sun is shining, the kids are playing, the adults are working. It’s a good day: in the end we have made 300 bricks! That might look like an impressive number, but making bricks this way is a very labour intensive process. That’s why places that build this way often call on volunteers to help. But if more and more people transition to natural buildings, will it stay feasible to do it this way? I like pondering questions like these. To explore what will really work if the world transitions to a more sustainable lifestyle. But not now. Now I just know that I’m dead tired, have backache and a sun-burned nose, but feel satisfied and happy and look back on a wonderfully fun day.
Diep verborgen in landelijk België vonden wij een verborgen vallei: Shangri-Lah. Peter and Mieke hebben deze plek omgetoverd tot… ja, tot wat? Woorden schieten tekort. Een poging: een kruising tussen Furby, spiritualiteit en de Efteling. Of misschien: een mystieke, harmonieuze vallei. Maar nee, deze plek nodigde ons ook uit om sommige van onze donkere, onharmonieuze kanten te ontmoeten. We voelden ons op ons gemak, en tegelijk wonderlijk geëmotioneerd. We kunnen dit noch in woorden vatten, noch in beelden.
Als je nieuwsgierigheid gewekt is: Ga hierheen en verblijf een paar nachten in een trippy pipowagen en ervaar de vibe zelf. Mieke en Peter zijn geweldige, fascinerende mensen. Ze kunnen je alles vertellen over hoe ze fietsreizen maakten in India, hoe ze een spirituele gids ontmoetten, hoe ze hun eigen restaurant in Rotterdam hadden en waarom ze dat achter zich lieten om in een vallei in België te gaan leven.
It’s like…we’re walking in a Hobbit landscape!
This Dutch neighbourhood consists of 23 “Aardehuizen” (based on Michael Reynolds ‘Earth ship‘ model). We meet residents and talk about their process of constructing and living together in this magical neighbourhood! We learn how they’ve build with tires, cob, strawbales and of course earth. How decisions are made with sociocracy. Which weed is edible and how the composttoilets are used. So much inspiration!
Visit the website of Stichting Aardehuizen in Olst (Earth Houses, Olst) for more information:
Or their Facebook page:
This sustainable eco house at the Hobbitstee uses mostly locally sourced materials. This is great because it cuts down on transport emissions. We help out for a weekend and learn about cob-plastering.
From the French Morvan with Love, our very first #vanlife vlog! 😉
Hi dear folks!
Remember that we’ve announced our crazy plan with a campervan not too long ago? Well, since then we’ve spend many conversations about how we can at one hand convert our van in a sustainable way and at the same time use our short time before departure well by choosing for what’s fast, easy and basic. We’ve learned a lot from this process and feel open to share about our dilemmas and questions along the route of converting our van before we’ve hit the road. So enjoy watching our first vlog as vanlifers and stay tuned for more! Please let us know if you’d like to question our choices, want to exchange thoughts on one of the topics. What other tips or tricks can you share with us? We’re happy to hear from you!
Oh, and please subscribe to our newsletter at www.findingabetterwaytolive.com, cause we’d like to stay more independent from Facebook and Instagram ☺. We won’t spam you, but send our updates once every 6-8 weeks.
Hilde & Oscar
Our Solar Panels came from Independent Solar Solutions. You can find them at http://www.zonnepanelenopdecamper.nl
We really like how they helped us with thorough information. And they gave us a great discount because they support our initiative.
See how we help our friend fixing the cute little wooden trailer. And meet Chris to get to know her more back to basic lifestyle living in her Yurt. Together this cozy community brings life back to it’s essence.