"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Phase Two

Quick note:  Apologies for the sparse blog posts recently.  Unfortunately Vodacom's dongle didn't do an adequate enough job, and we have had to resort to taking out a more expensive wireless internet connection contract.  But, we have, since last Friday, had a 1024kbps connection, so <giddy laugh here> we're back to normal :)



The builders finally have only one last day on site - to sort out the last of my snag list.  And that day will probably be next Thursday (18th October).  Silly, but necessary things, such as completing the cementing in of the roof ridge tiles, closing up the gaps where the wall meets the roof, and which the birds have delighted in finding, as it provides an ideal, protected, wind-free space to build their nests - and to also work their way into our ceiling area.

They started Phase Two in mid / late August.

This is what Phase One looked like before they started...
Mid-August 2012 state of build 
...and trust me, I have the greatest respect for their ability.  I could barely walk up their building planks, never mind do this...
I couldn't push that wheelbarrow up that ramp
not even with assistance - no bloody way...
... and in one week they were at this point of the build...
Early September 2012 state of build - gable walls
and windows went in
... another week later and the roof trusses were being installed...
Mid-September 2012 state of build - roof trusses
... and another week resulted in the roof tiles being hammered into place...
Roof tiles and plaster work
...  then came the time to add the fascia boards and gutters.  And to install the wooden deck in front of our bedroom's "happy doors".

This is what our build looks like at this moment in time...
Almost there...
... we're still waiting for our double glazed glass to make the structure weather proof, but hopefully we'll get those this coming week.  
Double glazed glass, paintwork and tidying up is
all that's left
We better!  After 3 solid months of living (camping) on a building site, with the noise, dust, confusion and lack of privacy that that entails, I'm tired of camping - living in a small 3 X 2.5 mtr room at the back of the garage.  I need a change of decent clothing - all those suitcases to unpack...

And I need to get everything out of the storage garage - my measuring cups, scale, pots, pans and decent plates to eat off.  My TV chair, and RMan his TV couch.  Pictures to hang on the wall.  And more boxes than I know what to do with, or where to empty into, to unpack...  Can't wait!

In other words, it is now time to change this house into a home.

But, before we can do that, we need to at least splash on a coat of plaster primer.  We still have 25lts of Harlequin Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) Plaster Primer so that has been slapped onto the main bedroom walls this morning.  RMan likes, and has the patience for the finicky work...

...me - give me the wide open spaces :)
Jack Sprat and all that...

RMan and I compliment each other in order to get a job done.  Only problem is when we "meet" at a particular painting point.  Then, my large paint roller beats his small paint brush hands down.  And, being a gentleman, he gives way to me until I've got my bit done LOL  It's either that or I may mistake him for being part of the wall...;)  Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

I have also found that Plascon makes a Zero VOC plaster primer, wall and ceiling paint, and so, because there is no supplier of Harlequin paint in our area, so (yipee!) we will be using Plascon Evolution to coat our walls :)  Even though it is slightly more expensive, it's better than Harlequin because it's zero, and Harlequin is low, VOC.

Ah, I love it when a (my) plan comes together... :)

Btw, it's tiring work - project managing.  But, I will soon be able to hang up my building inspector gloves and become who I am again - Dani - wife, mother and grandmother, gardener, bookkeeper, blogger and, most importantly, homemaker.  For the home in the center of a family.  A place of refuge, of solace and of comfort- even if your kids are all grown and have fled the nest.  And, in my book, that centre must be organized to function as it should...

Happy days :)


  1. Wow, a lot has been accomplished, and I know you will be so glad to have all of this construction behind you. Setting up home will be the fun part.


    1. Flower Lady - You've got that right - on all counts :)

  2. I agree you have got a lot done. I am thinking of doing some more painting around here to cheer the place up.

    Gill in Canada

    1. Gill - Nothing like a lick of paint to renew one's acquaintance with one's home :)

  3. How exciting to finally be able to "move in". It turned out so well ... just lovely! My hubby & I used to have a construction company and I can't even imagine "camping" on-site while construction goes on ... not only dusty & messy but also frustrating to watch how things go. I'm glad that you're at the end of this journey and ready to settle in. :-) Welcome Home!

    1. Small Footprints - Thank you :) Yeah, being in situ emphasized the "slowness" of the build pace. Had we visited once a week we would've probably been more appreciative of the progress.

  4. Wow! It must be a great feeling. I am also looking to buy a farm in the klein karoo and am vasilating between fixing up the existing structure, where not to my taste, or buying land and building from scratch. which would you recommend?

    I like the idea of using double glazing, are there suppliers in S.A.? Also how do you supply air ventilation to the rooms when the windows are closed?

    Underground rainwater tanks sound great - every farm I've seen has ugly JoJo tanks marring the landscape. Did you look at them?

    Thanks so much for your blog, it's been a real inspiration.

    1. cavereweb - Welcome :) And thank you for your kind words.

      Reckon it depends on your budget - fixing up an existing structure could be cheaper than building from scratch. And would be more instant / get you there quicker LOL

      Swartland make double glazed frames and your local glass supplier would order the glass for you. We have windows on two different walls - if the wind is blowing towards one, then I'll open the opposite window :)

      Yeah, underground tanks sounds good, but with our clay there is a danger of the ground collapsing the tank when the ground becomes sodden. Khaki Jojo's are the route we are going.

  5. Jane - I know!!!!!!!!!! And I'm sooooo impatient... LOL

  6. Very impressive! And it's great that you and your husband work so well together. Not always the case, in these situations! ;)

    1. quinn - Thanks. Hmmmmm, we don't ALWAYS work well together, but we try... LOL

  7. It looks great! Hang in there, you will finally be settled before you know it.

    1. DFW - Thanks. Yup, hanging on with my fingernails at this point...

  8. It's beautiful! It will be so worth the wait.

    In regards to cavereweb's question, we went the fixer upper route and while it is cheaper upfront, it has become very expensive in the longrun. We didn't have the money to build, but at least can update and upgrade as we can afford. In the end, we'll probably have paid out way more than it would have cost us to build.

    1. Leigh - It will be worth the wait... :)

      Selling our town house made completing Phase Two possible. And, yeah, know all about being ripped off by dishonest contractors.

      Btw, we're also on 5 acres :)

  9. Congrats Dani! Your new home is looking wonderful. I miss the South African look and feel of homes....takes me back. We have just finished a bathroom reno and I've done the first coat of paint, but getting to that second one.....hmmmm. Enjoy!!

    1. EB - Thank you. Yeah, we've been busy with doing the undercoat wherever we can. Had hectic rain for 6 days, which has pushed our power storage to the max - interesting times... LOL (read: Essential items only, like fridge, lights etc. and no surplus power to browse the Net which is why it's taken me so long to reply to your comment...) :)

  10. I love the look of the house. It's charming and utilitarian all at once. Excellent job and excellent planning !

    1. Jane - Thank you :) It is the first house that we have planned and designed, and although at first Phase 1 looked out of place so high up on the ground, after the recent rains I understand exactly where the architect was going with his high foundation walls. Had we been at ground level I am sure we would have had some flood damage.


Thank you for taking the time to comment - it makes my day and removes the "loneliness' of sitting at my screen blogging supposedly to myself ;)