Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Recycling...the final far!

This blog post is all about the things we needed or wanted and made or used. We tried to make a list of all the different things we have made to make sure we didn't miss any out, but I am sure we have.

One of the things we have used is the 25 litre containers we were given. They come in very handy for moving water around the garden but can also be used  as water feeders for the animals. Kev just cut one in half and fixed some wood to it. This stops the water from tipping up when the chickens climb in it.
This one is now a little pond for the ducklings!

We then moved on to using drain pipe as a water holder for the chickens. This one we use for the chicks we raise. They cannot stand in it as it rolls and scares them. They soon learn to stand at the side and drink.

When the original chickens went out onto the land it was summer and very hot. They had their hen house for shade but we soon realised they very rarely used it. They used to sit under the trees but the almonds by July or August have lost their leaves so not really much shade for them. We set about building them a we call it...from the previous years prunings. We added some massive root stumps and covered them with branches. The front is open and the back is to the ground but the hens can still see out in all directions. They absolutely love this cave, the Cockerel stands on top and crows and the hens sit underneath.

Changing the subject from the animals we decided to have a go at making soap the old way. For this we needed to make lye. We used the wood ash from the fire and ran hot water through it. We used a bucket with a make shift stopper to allow the water to sit in the wood ash before letting it out into the jar. This allows the water to leach more potassium from the ashes and so in theory makes the lye water stronger. We are still working on the strength of the lye but the bucket works brilliantly.
Bucket with jar to catch the lye

You can see the plug in the bottom of the bucket and the jar of lye we made
I had been reading on line about solar ovens. We thought that this would be ideal for the summer months when we are not allowed to light the fires. This means that I only have the hob to cook on. We tend to eat lots of salads at this time of the year. A solar oven would allow us to cook more variety. We set about researching how to make our own. All seemed to say 2 cardboard boxes and polystyrene. One day when Kev was out collecting wood he came across this.
We set about changing it into a solar oven. We used foil and a piece of glass over the whole in the middle. We placed it outside in April and cooked our first meal chorizo and bean stew in it. It was outside all day but when we got back from work at 4pm it was cooked!

We are looking to refine this a little but it works perfectly well in the spring and summer months.

When we first arrived here we had no running water or shower. So Kev used an old mop handle to hold the shower head and fashioned an outdoor shower. The water was put in a tank and the sun heated it up throughout the day and we showered at night! I didn't take any photos of it but here is one of the tank.
Sometimes the water was a little too hot!
The project we are working on at the minute is to do with the ducks we want. We needed to make them a safe home to live in at night. A friend brought us an old water container 1000 litres that was broken. It had a metal outside. We took it apart to see what the plastic container inside was like.

We decided to use the metal container as the duck house, and the plastic one as a duck pond! We cut the plastic container in half and sank them in the ground.

We placed rocks all the way around the outside to give the ducks a slope in and out of the pond.

We are going to build this up and lay flat stones on the top to hide the container. We will run drainpipe from one to the other and plan to hook up a small 12 volt pump to a battery and small solar panel. This is to aerate the water and hopefully breed bugs and things for the ducks to eat.

Here is a photo of their finished duck house. We filled it with straw to keep them warm. We put a palette on the top and a plastic cover to allow the water to run off in the rain. We now have 4 little ducklings waiting to go in it!
We love building stuff out of nothing. It is quite inspiring to see your ideas come to fruition and actually work. We have loads of ideas for the future of things we want or need and I am sure we will get to making them all!