A collection of Havilah House plans.
- Havilah House Plan – September 2010 (PDF) 3.2 MB
- Havilah House Plan – JPG (JPG) 290 KB
- Havilah House Plan – TIFF (TIFF) 2.8 MB
These notes are for Kars the Architect who has helped me plan the interior of some of the rooms in my home, I hope these photos will give Kars a feel for where I live and what I like.
I feel its important to have different spaces and regions within a home, and these areas should interconnect with each other. Homes should also offer spaces where people can retreat and get some solitude, or where different groups of people can gather and not interfere with each other.
I’m situated on 2 acres close to town, (2km from town) this often annoys me when it’s noisy, but on the other hand I am 2 minute from the centre or town.
These notes and photos are mostly about Havilah House where I live, a few of them were taken elsewhere and included simply because I like the style or feeling evoked – for example the corrugated fence photos were taking in Mooloolaba.
I live amongst those mountains, the two smallest hills situated close together on right hand side, these are called the Coochin Twins (north and south) I can see the side of one of them from my garden and from my kitchen
This is one of my favourite spots in the home, I often sleep out here on a daybed which overlooks the garden.
This lovely photo taken from my dining room, the photo looks directly into the TV Room, where I have two day beds, and to the right you can see the lounge, the lounge overlooks the swimming pool, one day I hope to remove the two lounge windows and replace them with sliding door which open onto a timber deck which then overlooks the garden and swimming pool.
Our lounge and dinning room get rearranged quite often,
Queenslander homes get very cold in winter, we have been having problems with the fire recently, it no longer vents very well.
The Music Room is an ongoing project, I still have not finished it, but I know it will be lovely room (rooms) someday.
This a corrugated iron fence I would likes something like this along my front border.
This is another example of a corrugated iron fence
This is a passion fruit pergola made out of cut trees and reinforcing iron ( the iron grid the place in concrete) works just fine.
When I look at the ingredients list on a loaf of bread in my local superstore, I can’t believe that all of these ingredients listed on the label, are there just for my benefit.
I think that most of this incomprehensible long list is there to ease the manufacturing process, or to prolong the shelf life. I feel that this probably doesn’t do me any good.
After all, basic bread contains just four ingredients : flour, yeast, salt, water.
The compromise we are happy to make is that instead of eating a bunch of chemicals, we bake our own bread, and then either eat it warm right out of the oven, or freeze it till we need it.
This means that we only eat four or five basic ingredients, instead of somewhere between ten and twenty. My record label find so far was seventeen ingredients in one basic loaf.
This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s site.
4 cups organic white whole wheat flour
6 cups organic white flour
2 T fast acting yeast
2 T sea salt
3 T olive oil
1 Litre warm water
Measure the dry ingredients and put into a large deep bowl, add the olive oil.
Stir with a spoon just to blend. ( we don’t bother to use a machine). Add the warm water slowly mixing it in as you go.
With your hands, no machine required, start to form the dough by putting a very wet dough onto a non-floured surface, and begin Chef Bertinet’s method of “kneading” the dough. Some folk say kneading can hurt their wrists after a while and therefore they use Chef Bertinet’s method of kneading dough. But we use it because its easy and quick. Chef Bertinet has the cool French accent that somehow makes bread making sound cool. http://www.thebertinetkitchen.com.
Put dough back into deep bowl, cover with tea towel, put in a warm area and let prove for 1-2 hours.
The dough will double or more in size.
Now gently take the dough out of the bowl and shape into 3 loaves which you then put into 3 greased loaf tins.
Let prove again, doubling or more in size.
Bake in a preheated oven at 225 C or 425 F degrees for 25 minutes.
Take bread out of pans, place on a cooling rack to cool. Once cool the loaves can be put in freezer or enjoy immediately!
If you want the crust to be “crispy” put a tray of water into the oven make steam.
We enjoy it with strawberry jam – Enjoy Chris’s post about making strawberry jam.
My electricity bill for the past 3 perhaps 4 years has been about $700 a quarter, ( thats $175 dollars each month), a lot of money for warm baths and TV.
We’re a large family of 6 and looking at the website usage estimate $700 seems reasonable for a fridge, swimming pool pump, 5 bedroom home with electric hot water so I had little choice given that ongoing warnings the electricity supply costs are set to increase manually.
Installers measuring up
The system I choose was provided by Tru Value Solar (TVS) they seem to have a good reputation, and each time I called them that had a different Investor on offer, and the longer I left my purchase the cheaper the overall cost. There were incentives and grants which I missed out on (I think) and my system cost me $3999, however on a 36 month installment plan it works out at a few dollars short of $5000 which spread over 36 months is about $64 dollars a fortnight.
So I left the installers at home to do their thing and I must say I was very impressed with the whole installation when they called me to say it was complete.
The Bosch’s BPT-S 4.6 alongside my existing distribution board
Above, my distribution board before installing PV Solar
This is the complete install, I am quite happy with what I got, but its not quite yet complete at this stage, it gets connected on the 9th of February 2016.
So that the first part of my install, I will let you know how it goes in a month or two.
Before I forget here is the type of Panel I’m using with this Solar Panel Setup.
Hanwha Solar HSL60P6-PC-1-260
We wanted to grow our own vegetables, but life in the US is very busy, nobody has much spare time, certainly not time enough to chat about their backyard operations or even if they have one ( very unlikely).
My local library has tons of books about gardening and veggie growing but it is really nice to actually go and see it being done, to talk to those folk who are already doing it for themselves. I picked up a book by some guy called Will Allen.
I had never heard of him, but I was interested in locally grown food and the alleviation of urban food deserts (areas without access to fresh fruit of vegetables) , so I gave it a read.
I liked the sound of him passionate about food and farming and youth education, a former basketball player, successful salesman going back to his family roots so to speak, and eventually returning to farming but this time in a a very urban environment. Turns out that his operation promotes tours of their urban farm, and it was only hour away from where I live.
Done deal. I had to check this out.
Growing Power aims to make an integrated system where each thing is either an input or and output for something else. It is this synergistic linkage that gives them the efficiencies, low cost, density of planting that they are after.
The key to all growing is massive amounts of compost. They obtain the raw ingredients from companies that have plant waste products , like coffee grounds from trendy coffee shops, fruit and veg scraps from restaurants, fruit and veg past their date from supermarkets. Then they make their own compost from that.
Worm farming is also used in conjunction with composting and worm tea to provide sustenance for the plants.
Great mounds of compost. Photo by Chris Kirby
Micro-greens ( which are trays of tiny salad plants that are just a few days old that are densely nutritious for their size) which are sold to local restaurants and retailed from their own tiny onsite store. A vast quantity of salad crops which are usually a mixture of different types of lettuce are grown.
Plants growing up: Photo by Chris Kirby.
Mushroom farming in bags strung up all over the place. They mix up there own compost specially for mushrooms. Definitely something that I would like to try.
Vertical Mushrooms: Photo by Chris Kirby.
Thousands of Talapia fish are grown in hydroponic tanks which provide the nutrients for the plants to grow (in the form of waste products in the water). The water pumped up to the top level. Gravity then pulls the water through the plant trays ( feeding the plants, and the plants cleaning the water) and eventually winds its way back down to the fish tanks as clean water.
Hydroponic tank systems: Photo by Chris Kirby.
Hydroponic tank systems below: Photo by Chris Kirby
Growing Power is on a rather large scale. But it illustrates that systems are possible even in cold climates and it provided us with enthusiasm to start doing something.
See if you can find someone doing something similar near you, and get that spade out!
Read Will Allen’s Book The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities from Amazon
If you are ever in Milwaukee look them up.
We thought that this year we would make the effort and attend the Mother Earth News Fair of 2015, on the 8th & 9th of August in West Bend, Wisconsin. (we currently subscribe to the magazine Mother Earth News http://www.motherearthnews.com)
One of the people that I wanted to see was Jean-Martin Fortier. He is a chap from Quebec Canada, who makes a good living ( not to mention a good life too !!!) living off less than two acres of land. Living in Wisconsin, I was thinking …
Man …if that guy can get stuff to grow that far north, even we should be able to do better than that.
Most commercial farming requires a lot of land, and a lot of capital investment, in order to be successful. However Jean-Martin says that there is an alternative, and he and his wife set out to prove that it could be done. All the naysayers didn’t put him off trying.
Photo of Jean-Martin Fortier. Photograph by Chris Kirby.
What I like about him is that this is not just some crazy hypothesis, not just “all talk”, but rather this is something that he has actually proved workable, for several years running.
His mantra is “Grow better not bigger”.
In order to do this he deliberately farms small, and very intensively. What this means in practice is that rather than owning large expensive tractors he chooses to forgo this option, and use manual labour and a “walk behind” tractor instead.
This keeps his input costs very low.
Now the “intensive growing” part of his plan is that crops are farmed very close together ( at much higher densities) in raised beds, and with heavy use of crop succession, and poly tunnels to extend the growing season. This is similar to Eliot Coleman who gives a very good description of a Parisian market garden in his book The Winter Harvest Handbook.
So growing crops closer together means its less distance to cover with manual labour and small machines. The ground and weeds get torched with a gas flame just before planting his crops. This kills off the weeds and their seeds. It gives the seedling that he then plants, a head start.
The shade of his dense planting also crowds out the weeds, limiting their growth. Obviously one needs good soil and a very good composting system to support the high density of planting.
Jean-Martin says that he gets visitors from all over the world who come to see his farm for themselves. Most are disappointed. Is this all there is they ask? They are looking for complex, complicated systems, instead they find low input cost, simplicity, low capital investment, all producing high yields and good margin.
Look him up at www.themarketgardener.com
I was enthused by Jean-Martin’s lecture and bought his book – The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-scale Organic Farming – Check it out on Amazon (It’s very unusual for me to part with 25 dollars for a new book I might add !!!), it’s quite a good read, and covers all the detail. It’s now in my local library, so look there first.