applesteamdream


Our Culnady Dwelling.

We’re both hard at work in every department of building our applesteamdream, Ric has accumulated many recipes and ideas inc samples of eco roof tiling (made from recycled bottles).

Eco-slate

Eco-slate 2

Here is a couple of photos of the tile’s, as you can see the difference  in look to standard tiles is very little though they are so much better insulation dew to the proses of weathering, the tiles bond together expelling all air gaps and crate one solid membrane.

We have been searching for an architect to help with the straw bale build and have found Tagarts of Belfast, they designed the Ecos building in Ireland and have taken our project on with wonder and enthusiasm  (at first I think they thought we were bonkers but after the full plan was unfolded they have come round to our way of thinking that everything is possible,  or at least excepted or madness).

All of the land paperwork has now been completed thanks to the hard-working solicitor (J McNally’s) of Magherafelt, we are the proud owners of the land appointed to Culnady Road, Upperlands, its taken six years in total so as you may imagine we are delighted.

Next thing will be a January trip back over to clear and survey the land fully, the house will be built on a platform to take into account  the natural slope towards the river and help protect the straw bale construction. Lots of planning to be done.

Well all for now, Happy days –  Richard & Ric.

 

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Season’s Greetings………..”Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas…….”

Well we are into December at last, and our tree has gone up…..still got the hallway to decorate though….just like Narnia Winter wonderland…..watch this space.

As you can see below the wrapping idea worked a treat, we’re really pleased with the way it looks. No sticky tape means the brown paper can be re-used, as well as the cloth red ribbon, 25 mtrs for less than £3, from E-bay. Next year we might use newspaper and string…..what about using gift bags that can be used year after year, try and wrap ecologically and don’t waste paper.

If you use commercial paper, don’t use sticky tape. That way you could buy a recycled paper “log Press” and make eco-logs out of the old paper: add water in a bucket, add paper, place lots of the wet paper into the log press and Hey presto: Eco-log. They take a bit of time to dry out, so do a few at a time.

The eco log will burn slowly on the open fire, what about having a fire pit in the garden….for Boxing Day treat?

On another note, we have just tried a mincemeat recipe that was given my mum, by a lady that was 100 years old, the recipe was given to her by her mother. Its at least 200 years old, the recipe that is not her mother. For our American readers, this mincemeat recipe is a sweet mix of dried and glace fruit, with sugar and brandy etc. Here is a treat….the recipe in question, (bake in little individual pastry cases for delicious mince pies)

1/2 lb currants

1/2 lb sultanas

1/4 lb candied peel

2 oz ground almonds

large cooking apple

1/4 lb suet (we used vegetarian)

1/2 lb soft brown sugar

rind and juice of  1 orange and 1 lemon

1 or 2 teaspoons ground, dried mixed spice (cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, clove, pimento, ginger)

10 glace cherries sliced in half.

Method

Clean fruit, peel and chop apple into small pieces or slivers.

Remove rind of orange and lemon, and squeeze juice, removing pips and pith.

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl, add two or three tablespoons of brandy or whiskey or dark rum (optional).

Then stir in well. Cover and stir two or three times a day for a couple of days. Then keep in sterilised jars till needed.

Make some individual short crust pastry cases, fill with mincemeat, add pastry lid and bake in line with your pastry recipe.

These are gorgeous served with ice-cream, double cream or custard…or cold with a nice coffee.

You could go the whole distance and serve with double cream mixed with some pouring honey and whiskey….delicious.

Have a lovely time preparing for the festive season,

Ric and Richard xx



Green message sent to us by a friend…

Green Thing

Anonymous

In the queue at the store, the cashier told an older woman that  she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment.

The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be      washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t  have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and  didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in  every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana . In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.      When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a  wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic      bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But      she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have  the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.



A Lovely Gift

Last evening Ric surprised me with a ticket to the Grand Designs Live show (which is tomorrow, Sat 8th Oct). The show has a massive section on Eco building, straw bale construction and different heating/cooling systems. I’m not sure I have enough brain space to take it all in in one day so a reusable bag filled with hopefully recycled leaflets will be required.
We will return with ideas & photos soon.
I can feel some tired feet coming on.

Take care, Richard



Humble Straw.

Humble Straw

***

Humble straw – waste to some, line the horses stable,

a comfy mouse’s bed, dead of winters cattle fed.

But so much more when bound and tight,

When baled, pinned and stacked to height.

Form the walls around the frame, cut to shape an eve,

A soft window seat to read and snooze, allow my mind in dreams to loose.

Earthy shades and scented air, drifts me deep in restful sleep,

Upon my comfy window seat.

I dream of bright and fertile land to fill my eye’s horizon,

I dream a dancing trickling stream, I dream of fields of vibrant green.

Book from hand it drops and wakes, eyes a hazy slumber,

They clear to view from window seat, they see what I behold,

They see surrounding vibrant green, they see that dancing trickling stream,

They see my life’s love strolling by with wood to fill the fire,

This house of straw has given me my longing life’s desire.

 

 By Richard



Ireland


Just a few photos from our trip back home to Ireland, 40 years of growth is going to take a bit of clearing lol.



Ireland Trip

Well here we are one week away from our first trip together to Ireland. This will be the first time Ric will view our little piece of Ireland in person, the place where our dreams will be made, the place we will begin our new life on 29th Feb 2016 (subject to change, we may not be able to hold off that long). 

We have booked our stay at Dungiven Castle quite close to our plot in the beautifully wild countryside of Culnady. I know you might say this is a bit of a waste of resources but we did get it at a snip of normal price on Last Minute.com, and aswell it’s a very special time.

A full report will follow this visit with as many photos as possible. I think you will see how a straw bale construction will blend completely with the surroundings and sustainable living can be achieved. 

All the best, Richard