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.

The Splendour Of Render

An account of the ups and downs, ins and outs of using lime render on our straw bale house.

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.

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.

The Mountains Are Calling…

Two weeks work in the Pyrenees is just too perfect. Working with Collett’s Mountain Holidays is such a highlight, allowing us to be in great places and meet such interesting people. We had a magnificent time with fabulous friends and guests, excellent walks and brilliant weather. Panticosa is always a delight to return to and…

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 😉…

First Building Project – The Workshop

After spending a few weeks in September working in the Spanish Pyrenees we returned to Les Vignes Basses with fresh motivation to finish our workshop/woodshed. It was a design produced by Dan but which is is better explained via pictures. For those interested in how we built the workshop ourselves, here come the photos:  

Permaculture

Before we moved to Les Vignes Basses full time we lived and worked in South Korea teaching in the public school system. Whilst there, we had large chunks of free time to look a the internet, which we used to research, learn, read and discuss what we want from our lives in France and exactly…

A Sustainable Life

The Good Life Living a sustainable life has become really important to us over the last couple of years. Fueled by a desire to be self-sufficient, we gave up on trying to live in the UK and traded countries to France. We would not have thought about doing this were it not for Dan’s parents…