applesteamdream


The New Year Begun

Now here we are, 2012, just a number. Lots to be done during this number, we have to secure full planning permission on the land but even before that a survey, a complete design and a bit of negotiation with our neighbours, “a plan is in  the making”.

By the end of said number we would like to have found and secured a local supplier of  Douglass Fir, a softwood yet strong and proven to be a great framework building material. This is available in plenty in Ireland so keeps down the carbon footprint of long haulage.

Again the straw supplier has to be sorted, straw is better if bought the previous year and dry stored ready for the build.

As well as an unknown amount of things that side swipe you along the journey to your dream, BUT this is our dream, our end product is simple living, not easy living. We have a vision, “sat aside upon our porch, overhanging roof sheltering the rain, a cigar, a whiskey and a good book” this is our dream, no fast cars or condos.

Just beautiful and together, every day together.

Happy new year xx  

Our best wishes to all, Richard & Ric 

Advertisements


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.

 



Christmas Smile

A deep breath is what it takes,

time to bake the Christmas cakes,

feel the cold of winters flakes,

a deep breath is all it takes.

A bright smile for all to see,

no cost involved as smiles are free,

the warmest gift from you to me,

the way our world shall always be.

A glass of wine to drink your health,

in your eyes I see loves wealth,

our love for each is never stealth.

Richard x



Pantry Plans

We haven’t posted since before the visit we had to Grand Designs Live (GDL). We’ve had lots of things to sort out, and we haven’t had much time to go through all the information we gathered there. One project that has progressed in the planning stage, through discussions around being carbon neutral is our plans to have a vented pantry.

At GDL we noticed a simple pantry cupboard design which utilises some basic principles of food preservation. “In the old days”, they used to have a pantry to keep food in. These were often bare brick walled with shelves attached. In some cases the shelves, or a specific shelf for dairy produce, would be made of stone, slate or granite. These cold stones used to stay even in summer months, reducing the need for refrigeration. Other methods of cold storage have included root cellars, ceramic or terracotta jars. The design we saw utilised two of these principles, it had a slab of granite as the main shelf, and terracotta, lidded jars for further storage of bread and potatoes.

 you can just make out the shelf and the terracotta jars. These jars were set into pull out drawers for ease of access. The design has the added benefit that the granite slab is above the jars; this means that the cool air generated by the granite will sink down, cooling the jars further.

We have done some planning and research and have come across various ideas to increase the efficiency of this idea. Our pantry needs to be on the north side of the house, thus avoiding sun from the south warming the outside wall. We intend to make all the shelves out of stone to create more cold zones and an insulated door. To increase the cooling process we intend to fit the pantry with a chimney in the roof and a vent in the floor. This would be utilizing basic principles to keep the food cool: hot air rises, (through the chimney) as it does this, cool air is drawn in from lower down. All we need to add to this is a filter system to keep mould/fungus out and voila, nice cool pantry.

Ric & Richard

x



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



Food and the Homemade Kitchen

My home office is in my kitchen so sometimes I end up multi-tasking, working and cooking. My herbs, I grew from seed are on the windowsill beside me, and have been used in several dishes already. Having constant access to fresh herbs is great, it keeps down the cost, tastes nicer and gives you a certain amount of pride to your dish.  I can begin to imagine what it will be like when we are living our new life in Ireland. The thought of eating our home-grown produce, home-made bread, sitting in chairs we’ve made from scratch at a dining table we’ve designed and built from scratch is mind-blowing. I know we’ll be living our dream together.

I love making soups but usually end up sticking to making one or two flavours, Carrot and coriander, cream of cauliflower, mixed veg. Today I thought I’d have a go at broccoli and cream cheese soup.

  • chopped onion
  • little olive oil
  • Plenty of fresh broccoli, chopped into small chunks (the stalks were sliced very thin).
  • A nice chunk of courgette, chopped
  • veg stock
  • ground coriander
  • 2 level tablespoons of low-fat, spreadable cream cheese
  • fresh chopped chives
  • salt % pepper to taste

Method:

  1. sweat the onion in a little oil, till turning transparent, add the ground coriander and stir in.add the broccoli and courgette.
  2. Add the veg stock and stir in, cover and simmer till the veg has softened.
  3. Using a hand-blender, blend the soup adding the cream cheese as you go.
  4. simmer for a few minutes stirring to prevent the cheese splitting.
  5. Finally add salt and pepper as well as chopped chives, stir in and leave to stand, covered for a few minutes before serving

Note: serve with some nice caramelised onion bread/buns and fresh butter.

Eco tips:

  • this can be frozen when cooled, so you can save fuel by making a large batch ahead of time. Also it tastes better the next day or when defrosted.
  • I stored this in the freezer using standard margarine tubs, they hold a nice hearty portion ( be careful though as they can be a little wobbly, so take care when putting them in the freezer).

Enjoy

Ric xx



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.