A Sealed Super Structure

With winter well and truly behind us, I find that now is the time to reflect upon some of the successes, failures and surprises which the winter and spring had in store for us and our straw bale house.

Van Life

January 2018 has been the wettest January on record in France for 100 years. It’s also the second winter we have spent living in our caravan. What motivates you do even contemplate doing that, I hear you cry.

What Light Through Yonder Window Breaks?

Shakespeare knew where it was at; windows really are making all the difference to the house. It’s starting to feel like an indoor space now. Surprisingly we found the windows super easy and satisfying once we had all the right components.

I’ll Huff And I’ll Puff… 🐖🐖🐖

Anyone close to us will know that for the last couple of years our lives have been dominated by our straw bale house. After the foundations got underway and finished last year, we began building upwards in earnest on July 15th this year. The aim was to have the superstructure of the house completed by winter time.

Homemade Powerwall

Always being up for a challenge, we decided to have a crack at creating our own homemade Powerwall using recycled laptop batteries sourced in job lots on eBay.

You Put The Lime In The Coconut…

For the past month or so our lives have been consumed with making lime putty. Processing quicklime and turning it into lime putty, ready to be mixed with sand just before it goes onto the walls of our straw bale house as render/plaster.

Making A Crust

Since our move to France, the most commonly asked question is “How are you making money/a living/ends meet?”. For all those budding homesteaders or people wishing to live their dream but who are worried about their modus operandi abroad, I thought I would share our experiences of not only making ends meet but actually saving to build a house.

Rubber Rings & Stoney Things

Tyres and gravel have been a consistent theme at Les Vignes Basses over the last few weeks. With a lot of help from our friends, many bad backs and copious amounts of alcofrol (surprisingly, it has come out level!), we have completed the rammed tyre foundations and the structural box beam.

Compost Toilet – Humanure

A major part of Permaculture is using what is naturally around you with a keen eye on reducing all waste and producing what you need sustainably. This post might not be everyone’s cup of tea but the aim is to highlight an under-talked about issue in the Western world; HUMANURE.

Spring Has Sprung

It’s Mayday soon and spring has really sprung here at Les Vignes Basses. Despite an odd cold snap, the plants and trees are blooming and everything is turning a lush shade of green. We’ve been busy bees planting out seedlings as well as spring cleaning (and fixing) the caravan in preparation for summertime visitors 🙂…

Permis De Construire – Planning Permission (yawn!)

To realise our dream of building a straw bale house, our first port of call is the local town hall or “Mairie”. Although the land came with outline planning permission for two dwellings, we still have to submit our designs and have them approved by the powers that be – all hail the planners 😉…