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 

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Applesteam Dream- Apple Jam and Fresh Bread

First trial of Apple Jam

 I tried a setting on my breadmaker I’ve never used before. I’ve always, in the past used it to make bread from start to finish, but have never been overly impressed with the results. Now I use it to make the dough, but then transfer it to a bread/cake tin to rise a little more, and place it in the oven, much better loaf, and no hole in the bottom because of the mixing paddle.

But today I decided to try the jam setting. I had been given some apples by a friend of my Mum’s, lovely lady that does errands for my parents. So I decided to make some apple jam, with a little cinnamon added at the end. I didn’t realise how easy it was to make, and how few ingredients you need: apples, sugar with pectin (to help it set), lemon juice, a little water, cinnamon.

It filled the flat with the lovely smell of “Applesteam” when it was heating and stirring itself. It has set rather nicely too. We haven’t tried it yet, that’ll be in the morning when Richard comes over to pick me up to go to Grand Designs Live in Birmingham www.granddesignslive.com

We are having toast, made with homemade bread, my Mum’s homemade damson jam and my homemade apple jam…lovely.

xx

Ric



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



Movement every day….

When we first started discussing the Applesteam dream, it all seemed like a pipedream, set somewhere in the future, in a land far far away…… As time passes, little by little, preparations are being made. The land is now sorted and all the legal stuff is signed off, and we are now in the process of learning about what we intend to build, and how we intend to live.

The Applesteam dream is now taking a turn towards thinking and planning the house, though construction won’t be for some time, the build will be here before we know it, so the next few years we have the luxury of fine tuning our home’s design.

It was my birthday the other week and two very dear friends, also in the process of planning major life changes and a new home, surprised me with some wonderful help towards our sustainable living….two books…..

Patio Produce

A wonderful book on growing things in small places, very surprised at some of the possibilities, can;t wait to get started. The second and most exciting for me is a book on foraging…

food for free

I have been talking about this idea for quite a bit of the summer and both myself and Richard are looking forward to our first free hedgerow lunch. I’ve got a few days away from the office, spending time with my parents this coming week and intend to spend some time digesting some of the information and tips in this book. Nettle soup and mixed weed salad here we come. Mmmm nettle bread…….that might work…

Tonight I am working on setting up a large lever arch file ready for inspiration, clippings and booklets to go in, so our build ideas are all together. By the time we’re ready to employ an architect to draw the official plans, from our own drwings, we’ll have all the relevant information to hand over to him ready to plan the build.
We’ve found lots of inspirational pictures on the internet of construction; design features; architectural detailing and layouts, but these will only be for inspiration as our home will be totally unique, a reflection of both of us. We are even reasearching some straw bale building courses at local colleges. If we manage to attend one before next summer, we may even do our own small workshop on the techniques next summer at a festival we attend.
Well, I must get on with the Applesteam Dream file now.
Ric
xx


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