June was full of some amazing progress, as well as a difficult setback. Some of the exciting news is that the Permaculture Research Institute republished two of Neal’s blogs! He’ll now be contributing work directly to their organization, check out www.permaculturenews.org for some great knowledge. Also, we found out today that one of his articles was featured by one of our personal heroes, Geoff Lawton, in his newsletter! I’m so proud!
Earlier this month Neal arrived at the land and couldn’t find the chainsaw. Or the tool bag… or the jigsaw… and some of the bigger tools. That’s when he realized we had been robbed. I was just shy of devastated when he called and told me what happened. We had been storing all of our tools and equipment in a greenhouse tent temporarily – a thousand dollar mistake we won’t make again.
After the shock and disappointment wore off, the only thing to do was to stay positive – we’re still alive, healthy, and working towards our goals.
Two weekends later my cousin came in town to visit. We have been beyond blessed with family members wanting to lend a hand! He was such a huge help and I don’t know how we’ll ever repay him. Not only did he work his butt off every day, but he taught us a ton of skills – and then came back again the next weekend!
The first weekend we all camped on the land together and cleared the remaining felled trees, plus cut down a few more. It was fun cooking over the new fire pit, fueled by wood from the felled trees.
The house plans have been evolving for several years and it was time to solidify a layout. During the week, Neal completed the final design. We decided it was best to build the home in two sections. By building in phases we’ll be able to move into the “tiny home” while also gaining some construction experience before starting the big section. After we complete what we’re now calling the “big home”, we’ll join the two structures with a patio and overhead cover.
When my cousin came back in town he arranged for one of his buddies to drop off a heavy duty excavator. It was a nice upgrade, plus we got an amazing deal. The boys camped all weekend and were wildly productive! I opted to skip the camping and just visit during the day; I honestly wasn’t much help, they did all the work. They sited the tiny home, leveled the land, built a “redneck” shower and built a few squirrel feeders out of repurposed pallets.
16 feet in diameter sounded a lot bigger on paper than in person. After getting a visual, Neal added another dome and started revising the big house plans entirely. The last project they completed was digging out the foundation trenches where the earthbags will go. I can’t believe we’re this far along! You guys – the next step is laying earthbags!!! We’ll be able to begin construction on the actual home in July!!!
This week we’ve been collecting all the supplies needed for the foundation: geo textile fabric, corrugated pipe, and we’re expecting two dump trucks worth of gravel any day now. We can’t wait to show you our update next month!