Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Year of the Barn

At the same time as we erected our house frame in 1999, we put up the frame of our barn. Both buildings were roofed and then we focussed on getting the house finished so we could move in. The original plan was to finish off the barn after the house was completed. However, as is often the case with us, original plans tend to go astray.

Constructing the "barn" in 1999
As we have mentioned before, our main love is working on our gardens and producing beautiful, fresh, organic food. Once we had occupied our house we became obsessed with planting our gardens and orchard, and over the next thirteen years we planted nearly 200 fruiting trees and shrubs, established our large veggie gardens and planted hundreds of native trees and shrubs. All this activity distracted us from completing the barn, which sat idly by patiently waiting for us.

The "barn" patiently waiting....
At the same time as all this was going on, many of our visitors mentioned that the barn was too noble a building to use just for storage of materials. It was a building worthy of “bigger things”. After many years of thought and consideration we came up with a plan which would enable the barn to reach its true destiny.
Gradually an idea evolved -  to finish the barn as a building that would:-
  • Be a passive solar design with low energy needs (similar to our house)
  • Enable us to use it as a practical example for introducing people to permaculture design principles.
  • Enable visitors to experience the pro’s and con’s living off the grid using renewable energy and other sustainable features
The time has now come to put a plan into action- to actually make a start ........ 2012 is the YEAR OF THE BARN!
The retaining wall at the back
We have already excavated around the outside to level the area and ensure water drains away from the building, and erected a retaining wall at the back to prevent the constant erosion of the earth bank and this is now ready to plant out with groundcovers. We have ordered mud bricks to complete the walls, installed termite protection and put down the infill concrete slab floor.

Car jacks were used to lift
posts for termite protection

We have spent some time deliberating over what to actually call this building, to distinguish it from the other buildings at Tenderbreak (which include the house, small old shed, new steel barn and steel garage).
It could have been called the Interpretation Centre (its official title according to the local council, but we feel this is far too formal), The Lodge (too pretentious), The Shack (too ignoble), the Cabin (too plain) or many other names. In the end we decided on a very unoriginal name, but meaningful to us. We are calling it (drumroll.......) 
“Tenderbreak Cottage”!

Keep an eye on future posts to follow the rest of the story.

PS. We are running a tour of Tenderbreak in conjunction with Sustainable House Day on September 9. See our last post for details.

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