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Posts Tagged ‘eco living’

DSCF4146Our new septic tank was delivered this week and got me thinking about how far we have come since we moved here 10 years ago.

We have all read the articles or seen the programmes on tv about ‘being green’, but unless you actually have to do it – and I do not mean installing solar panels & supplying the National Grid with surplus energy, or being near a water supply just incase the reed beds don’t work –  you really do not know what it entails or the cost, we had to learn.

When we retired I decided it was time to move somewhere warm. So we looked at various places, saw our finca fell in love with it and moved here.  What we did not know untill I came to see it, was there was no running water, or electricity or sewage. Water for the house is a cisterna with the header tank I installed which are either filled by rain water or spring water brought in by our friend Manell the Tractorista, which is roughly twice a year and of course we have to pay for.

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Despite all this my wife and I decided to take the plunge and we have not regretted it. Since that time we have been in a state of evolution, always looking at improving our systems.  When you read the “about Michael” on my pages it says we live ‘in the middle of a forest halfway up a mountain on a little olive farm’, and that is exactly it.  Our families thought we were mad but we knew what we were doing.  The getting where we are today has been a journey of innovation, bright ideas, trial and error plus watching the pennies.  We did not have vast amounts of money and have had to save for things before me moved on to the next stage in our ‘green’ evolution. On the whole it has been fun sometimes it has been ‘what the hell are we doing here?’  however, today we have all the mod cons, and with a little Heath Robinson innovation a bit more. So I thought I would put fingers to key board and give you a little insight into what it has meant to really go green. I will start with the sewage as with the arrival of the septic tank the system is finally finished.

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A little info to start: I bought a small generator out from England and for a while this little Briggs & Stratton along with candles was our only supply of electricity whilst we waited for our permissions to build a new casa came through. This is the original Casa de Campo (country house) in which we lived for those months, and the white dome is the access to the cisterna. This typical tiny farmhouse had one window, a fire-place, a mezzanine for sleeping and that literally was it. So what about the loo and sewage system?

We had brought a camping gaz toilet with us from the UK, this was a square two sectioned loo which when flushed meant you had to empty the bottom half. So every so often I had to traipse up to the middle field where I dug deep trenches into which I emptied it then washed it out before re-assembling, mind you the flowers in that part of the field are wonderful….

This little ceremony went on for several months untill the new house and our ‘shit pit’ were built, what a relief not having to do the poo run. I had looked at the various green ways of disposing the waste as at the time of building we could not afford a septic tank.  So the builder dug a large hole in the ground filled it with rocks and boulders to ensure the bacteria had a large biological surface to work on, then it was covered with concrete. This ‘Bacterial Bio Concept’ or (BBC) for short became known as the ‘shit pit’, and untill last week has served us very well.  The concrete cover of the old pit is the base for the septic tank, and as no chemicals will be used it should work perfectly well. The other thing is as we have to conserve our water, we do not flush the loo every time we go only when we poo, and it amazing how much water you can save by just that little action. Something to think on, and no the bathroom does not smell that’s because of the lemons and vinegar.

The one thing my wife had to get used to was NO chemical cleaners or the bacteria would be killed off, the pit would not work properly and it would smell.  We are lucky to have some good friends who are green, and they passed on cleaning and other tips to my wife.  In these days of austerity they are really handy as well as natural, green and eco-friendly. She cleans the toilet with soapy water from the washing up and to get rid of any stains uses white wine vinegar, this also prevents a build up of limescale and helps to keep the toilet shiny white so she is happy.  We have also learnt that lemons which we can pick off the tree do the same job with their natural acid. So there is no need for expensive eco damaging products.  We do not use chemicals on the olive trees because of the birds so why use them anywhere else.  Sorry Harpic and Dettol no go here.

We (well my wife) have learnt how to get the same results but using natural grown things, and are so used to it we do not even think about it unless we have family for a holiday. Then a little info sheet appears and I feel like Sheldon.

A small tip: cut a lemon in half squeeze the juice into the loo after the last flush at night, drop the half in as well and leave till morning, it cleans while you sleep.

This is our life. In the next article I will deal with the water situation.

© Michael Douglas Bosc

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Today has been a rather cold and dreary day so around 2pm we decided to go for a drive, Mrs Bosc to see if she could get some pictures of Erbert the Eron and I wanted to see if we could find a way up to the windmills they have been puttin up on the range behind the village.

We drove along the winding roads through the mountains to the Falset Vinebre road, twisting and climbing through the passes. The terrane is rugged with valleys layered is vines and olive groves, with the season ending the remaining leaves of the vines are ruset in colour.

We came to a bend in the pass and there rising through the clouds were the tops of windmills rising like spectors. We travelled on a little further and as the angle changed so more appeared, as though sentinals standing in line watching, waiting for instructions to begin their turning to produce electricity.

For once we found the road easily, we did not get lost as usual, and the climb up to the ridge was interesting. As we climbed we saw the windmills appearing out of the clouds majestic standing tall and still waiting…

The return journey was eventful for pictures of Erbert and his friends, so I have managed to place his photo on his story. Even if I say so myself he is a handsome bird, although what his ‘friend’ is we don’t know I think its a Stork Mrs Bosc thinks it’s a white Heron.

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