Friday, 5 August 2016

The Log Cabavan Way

Ruth and I are really proud of everything we've explored here on the farm. I do take issue with people who say or write words to the effect, "Oh dear, everything's going down the tubes but there's nothing we can really do, so I'll just carry on with my unsustainable life style anyway. Sorry about the kids." I feel we've done a lot of what we set out to do, demonstrating that it's possible to get back on the land without spending much money and for ex-townies to work in partnership with farmers, exploring together what exactly a sustainable future might be like.
The blank canvas, 2012...
...and same view in 2016
It has been just a wee bit challenging at times... old static caravans like this one have almost no insulation and lots of single glazed windows. This one even has two single glazed doors as well, so the first winter we struggled with the cold, damp and condensation, ending up using lots of electricity to run heaters and a de-humidifier to back up the log-burning stove. It's taken a few years, but last winter was much better thanks to all the work we have put in making a second roof and doing lots of insulation. We've managed to do this without spending much by using waste plastic from the farm as insulation and using poles from the nearby woods and reclaimed materials to make the roof.

Starting the frame to take insulation on the outside of the Cabavan

Bargain basement bubblewrap double glazing 

The yurt I made in the garden down by Brighton in use at last

Reclaimed and woodland roof...

...even some palettes made into purlins...

The Log Cabavan appears

Thursday, 4 August 2016

So What's Sustainable Living Like?

That's the question I asked myself ten years ago in 2006 and I've had a fascinating time looking for answers since, travelling from a terraced house on the seafront road outside Brighton to our present home on a hill farm in the backwoods of Shropshire, our timber-clad, waste-plastic-insulated ancient static caravan, aka The Amazing Log Cabavan.

Looking out over the Shropshire Plain from the Cabavan verandah
I've been blogging about my adventures, challenges and triumphs since then first on "ian's eco blog" then on...

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Our woody home is surrounded by trees, we look after them and they look after us. We're learning to live with them, in the spaces between them.
If you fence off a bit of a field round here so that it's not grazed, it reverts in a few years to woodland all on its own, becoming richer and richer in diversity over thousands of years. The difference from one side of your fence to the other can be quite dramatic, and all the time the woody side of the fence is sending out suckers and barbed shoots, invading the open side with shade and falling limbs, sheltering a quite different variety of life.
Before we came to live here on the farm, I used to think that woodland was the natural way of much of our land and that there was a time when trees might have stretched from coast to coast, but I think now there must always have been a varying population of grazing animals which would have crashed around keeping pathways open in their wanderings, their poo and pee adding to the woodland's nutrients and bacterial life, allowing a different kind of diversity in the space between the trees, and a greater degree of evolving diversity altogether. And that would be a stable network of life that, given sunlight and rain, could go on indefinetly, a natural bubbling cauldron of life in balance. So how do we human beings fit into that? Well, as gently and lightly as possible is the answer to that I think...