Our Little Thing - Creating A Sustainable Lifestyle In Patagonia

Creación de un estilo de vida sostenible en Patagonia  パタゴニアでサステイナブルな暮らし作り

Our Garden Forest - Earthbag Polytunnel ガーデン・フォレスト

Our Garden Forest - Earthbag Polytunnel ガーデン・フォレスト

After nine weeks from sowing seeds, our vegetable sprung up in the earthbag polytunnel.種まきから9週間後、アースバック・ビニールハウスは野菜のジャングル

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Comment by Marta Gillette on January 18, 2012 at 12:33pm

Paul, that's reassuring and I've arrived at the same conclusion, i.e. best place to live!  Hope the dams never get built and the money dries up!

Comment by Paul Coleman on January 18, 2012 at 10:01am

Hi Marta. To be honest we know exactly what is going on with the planet and the dams on the Rio Baker, but personally we are not worried as these projects are going to cost  billions of dollars with money from Spain and Italy, countires that are on the edge of financial collapse and the dams are not going to even begiun b eing built until 2014. Plus, it has taken over thirty years to build the Carretera Austral and only two hundred our of 1000 kilometers are paved and it's still necessary to take a few ferries. And to be honest, if Patagonia experiences water shortages then I would say that this wopuld be the best possible place on the planet to live , as the rest of Chile will be burnt to a crisp and I'll be serving the last ice cube in someones drink.

Comment by Marta Gillette on January 17, 2012 at 10:53pm

Paul, check the earthship water saving techniques using cisterns to capture (from rooftops) and store water that are being used in the dry mid western desert areas here in the US, i.e. Arizona, New Mexico, etc. where it only rains during a portion of the year and yet they maintain enough water to run their whole houses during the year.  Combination of grey water redivertment from showers and faucets to greenhouses, water cachement for drinking water, black water for toilets (nevermind, you're composting) etc. combined with integrated greenhouse.  I'm sure you're up on this.  The only reason I mention it is that I suspect that the south of Chile, like much of the world is going to experience severe upheaval climatewise or environmentally through the dams that are being implemented and proposed throughout the south of Chile.  I heard your river is up for grabs soon too (hope I'm wrong).

Comment by Paul Coleman on January 17, 2012 at 8:56pm

HI Mareta. yes we bought derechos de agua. Just this year, waters been an issue, makes big food gardens difficult to maintain, but we're getting round that with the ponds we've created. We'll be introducing unusual water saving schemes in the future, and that is why it's been a blessing in disguise, because it enable us to prepare for much worse, should that happen. Even though we have two mighty rivers within a hundred meters of our land and can always pump water up from them if necessary, I have always believed that being able to live from rainfall alone is the way to go, then no questions. When it rains here, as it usually does more 55% of the time, we can fill up the ponds in a night. next thing we'll be creating a simple, yet sophisticated waster supply system for our poly tunnel from our roof. By the way, loads of land with rivers and stream and it's always possible to do what we did with water rights.

Comment by Marta Gillette on January 17, 2012 at 10:35am

Paul, you've been in La Junta several years now, no?  What have you noticed about the weather patterns during summer and winter?  I know from friends in the south of Chile that it's been quite hot and very little rain, which you are confirming.  Did this happen last year as well?  How big is your land?  Did the stream dry up last year as well?  Sorry for all the questions, but I'm looking for land in the south as well and have it in my mind that it must have it's own water for the very reasons you're describing.  So, when you say you have legal access to the spring, you bought Derechos de Agua?

Comment by Paul Coleman on January 16, 2012 at 8:58pm

HI Marta. We have legal access to a spring fed stream on our neighbours land, but have not yet got down to installing a pipe. When the stream is powerful, about 9 months of the year, we have a tremendous waterfall about thirty meters behind our house, when it is dry we have to bring it from 150 meters. We are creating a series of ponds and cisterns anyway, so this very year in a sense is good, because we know how much we may need in coming years.

Comment by Marta Gillette on January 16, 2012 at 10:49am

You don't have running water on your property then?  May need to put a cistern in just in case ...

Comment by Paul Coleman on January 16, 2012 at 10:37am

Hi Marta. It's rained just once this year and thankfully that was enough to fill up our three ponds. Enough water in them to last forty or more days. Very unusual weather for this ;part of the world and today seems to be another hot one.

Comment by Paul Coleman on January 16, 2012 at 10:36am

Hi Karen. Hope Germany is treating you well. I loved my time walking through there and if ever you get to Hameln, give a big hi to the Pied Piper, he is a good friend of mine, we planted a tree together with the Mayor at the statue of the pied piper, it's a cherry and each year he sends me a picture of it when it blossoms. I have been reading a lot about bottled water recently and almost 50% of the time it's not as good as what comes out of the tap. I would have thought Germany would have had a good water system. You can also purify the water yourself, which would be even better. There are also simple appropriate technology systems that clean water really well and can be built by people with little or no experience. I'll send some info to you on this. Love from us both.

Comment by Paul Coleman on January 16, 2012 at 10:31am

Hi Kelly. Nice to hear from you. Yes, the garden is sumptuous and we are very pleased with the way things worked out. We left the earthbags uncovered because we wanted people to be able to see clearly that this was an earthbag structure, and we do have a fair bit of faith in the UV treated plastic used for the roof protecting the bags... however, we will soon be covering up the bags that face the sun, with more bags casually draped over them. We built a small poly tunnel a couple of years  ago and the bags in there seem to be holding up nicely.

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