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Posts Tagged ‘eco’

The macer and forest

Writing is a consuming occupation. I have been so tied up in other events that I almost lost sight of where I live, and why I live here. We chose this place, our little bit of heaven, from one photograph on a sales blurb.  What makes you choose where you live? well apart from the reason you are looking to move it’s the feel of the house when you walk in the door; it will either say welcome home or I’m not for you.  Very seldom is it the surroundings, but in our case that was exactly what grabbed us.  

We looked at the photograph of a small Spanish house with a cisterna at its side and a large olive tree to the right and fell in love.  We came here knowing that we would have to be very green and inventive in our life style. The family thought we were mad but I am not sure they still think it now.  We have everything everyone else has electricity via solar and batteries, with generator backup for the winter months and to run the washing machine.  Hot water system, cooking and fridge/freezer are run by bottled gas, whilst the fire is fueled by wood.  We are not allowed to cut trees down without permission but being in the valley the wind can sometimes be very strong and trees are often blown down so there is never a shortage.

 Our main problem is water. We do not have a well and the cost of drilling one would be prohibitive, so we have stayed with the cisterna plus a header tank which provides the pressure for showers and washing machine. As I said before we have decided to add a few more tanks so that if the family come to visit there is plenty of water. The one thing we have learnt is how to conserve it, such as the washing is done once a week not every day. We shower quickly not take ages in there, the washing up is the only exception, all in all we have it sussed.

So how do we cope in the winter? quite well actually. The strange thing is last year it snowed and we were very warm and cosy. This year it has been so cold, that we have had to have the portable gas fire on in the bathroom during the evening and bedroom during the day as well as the fire going.  It is unusual in the fact that neither the house nor outside temperature have warmed up, so we have been cutting extra wood, it is surprising how many fallen trees you can find when you look.  Who said can’t see the trees for the wood? it can be very true.

I am pleased to think that when I get cross with the things I see happening in the world I can step outside and get a better prospective on life, its a true place of sanctuary.

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As I think I have mentioned before up here in the forest we have to be self sufficient. Our electricity is supplied by solar so we only have to get our water delivered.  Now we have lived like this for over 6 years and are quite happy, we chose this farm for its location, charm and peacefullness, knowing full well that we would have to have delivered 5,000 ltrs of water every 3/4 months. When we first moved here we were told about Mannell the local `mad tractorista’, a jolly chap always smiling and ready to help.  So Mannell has delivered our water since then with many a laugh and the odd whoopsy. 

He drives a rather smart blue tractor that pulls the water bowser around, and he like all our neighbours does not go slow.  The first year he tried to deliver water he had a puncture at the start of the track and ended dumping all the water. The next day tyre fixed he delivered our water during a small storm water, water, everywhere, laughing at the  situation. But had a friend with him in a van with a spare tyre just incase, the track was not as smooth as it is now.  Mannell has become a friend over the years and nothing seems to frazz him, if we are out when he delivers (as has happened) he simply fills the cisterna leaves then we have to wander round to find him and pay for it, knowing I am at the Petanca courts nearly every afternoon he waits for us to find him.  

Take last winter. We had snow here which normally lasts around a day or so, this time however it lasted for nearly a week and was several inches deep.  We had ordered a delivery before it arrived, and Mannell was not surprised when we cancelled it as the cisterna was full.  Then last year on our last delivery there was a small whoopsy, backing up to the cisterna the bowser caught the edge of it and partly demolished the corner.  It was an accident no real damage done, I have since rendered the corner and all is well. 

So when Mannell delivered the water this time I let the wife direct him in, no problem, a big grinning face greeted us with the words “sin nieve” and lots of chuckles, he had not forgotten.  As the water was pumped in I talked to Mannell about the new cisterna I was thinking of building.  “No, no, no need to do that cost you a lot of money. I would simply get two more tanks like this (we have a 2,000 ltr header tank) and place them side by side, link them with a pump and all will be fine”. We went on to discuss the pros and cons of this and  where I might better place these extra tanks. I like Mannell he is pleasant, cheerful and always waves or speaks when we see or pass him in the car.

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