"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

Saturday 12 November 2016

Keeping cool(er)

Firstly, welcome, and thank you, to all my new followers and e-mail subscribers.  With blogger having changed which followers can follow and which can't, my numbers have gone up and down over the past few months and I thus can't always tell who's new in the zoo ;)   If you are a new follower (i.e. since January 2016) could I ask you to leave a comment with a link to your blog.  Google+ profile blogs aren't always visible to us plain ol' Google profilers ;)

But, back to today's posting.

First, won't you take a trip down memory lane with me...
May 2011
This was the state of our journey in May 2011 - half a house (combined lounge / dining / kitchen and bedroom all rolled into one with the temporary bathroom structure visible on the very left hand side).  There was no protection on the patio from the hot summer sun beating down.  But, RMan had an idea which was catered for when the patio was constructed - viz. the vertical wooden support poles....
December 2011
This is from summer of 2011 - the poles now support a shadecloth roof.  I always smile when I see this pic - in Franco Zeffirelli's "Romeo & Juliet" the nurse was mocked by some louts as she walked down a road - due to her "size" and the flapping clothing, the louts shouted after her "A sail!  A sail!"  Poor thing.  This shadecloth did the same whenever there was a stiff breeze - almost as though the house had aspiations to take off and head for the skies.
December 2012 - slowly becoming more homelike and less of a
 building site
Summer of 2012 the rest of the house was built, and we still had to paint the outside.  The shadecloth was still "flapping" and didn't extend yet to the small wooden patio in front of our bedroom door.
December 2013
In summer 2013, apart from a few coats of paint, not much had changed...  relative comfort makes one complacent.
The view from the cooler shaded patio out to the baking fields beyond
The shadecloth roof that was there - flappy or not - was invaluable.
May 2016
Fast forward to winter this year.  We now have an extra support poles between the main posts and have secured the shadecloth between the wooden horizontal poles and a stainless steel cable - therefore there is no more flapping.  The supporting structure now follows through past our bedroom door, but still provides no sun protection for our wooden bedroom patio doors, nor the deck.  The door and deck wood is suffering - big time!

As we tend to have plenty of barbecues in summer, and we use an LP gas braai, the wind sneaks around corners of the patio and sometimes makes it difficult to keep the flame lit - especially when it comes to our cooking Christmas turkey.  The solar oven doesn't make the turkey crisp enough, and it's too hot to use the Rosie, so the only way we can cook the turkey is on the braai.

So, as you can see in the above pic, RMan fashioned a wind break out of wattle droppers.  It took RMan ages, and weighed a ton (the wood is still green).

But it was ugly.

Ugly, Ugly, Ugly!!

I was not a happy puppy - and when the wife is not happy, the husband is notified - frequently and unceasingly...
November 2016
Until last weekend... :D

After explaining - in detail - the solution that I proposed, I finally got RMan to remove the wattle wind screen - yippee!  (he's going to repurpose it near the alpaca stables.
Improvements effected for summer comfort this year:
1 the shadecloth now extends over the wooden patio in front of the
 bedroom patio doors
2 an additional support pole was installed to prevent the shadecloth
 from wafting about like a sail
3 the sideways wind screen to protect the barbecue when it is lit
In it's place we now have the same fabric as the upper shadecloth roof (for continuity lol) - but we have it installed sideways like a curtain.
When not in use, the "curtain" is secured out of
the way.  It slides easily on Coolaroo butterfly

 clips fixed to stainless steel cable "runners" which
  are repurposed from a client's "no long required"
 cable balustrade.
Now, we can open and close it when it is required. 
That looks much better :D
Aesthecially, it is much better.  Much, much better - and the wife is a happy little puppy again :D


  1. The changes have been amazing. You've really made a home, Dani!
    It's fun to be able to look back at photos. You did a great job of documenting the process. Enjoy the shade (or the sun, depending on the season)

    1. Thank you Sue :D

      It's been fun - we've done it slowly, but steadily. RMan has never understood my need to blog - until recently when memories were brought alive as he browsed my blog. He had an instant memory jolt - and, too, marvelled at our progress in 4-and-a-bit years.

      Very satisfying - even if we've shed blood, sweat - and sometimes - tears. But more often laughter than tears though...

  2. Dani - i have always loved the look of your house - it is beautiful and looks so homey! i am glad that you now have your sunbreak thingy - i imagine there is lots of time spent out on the porch.

    sending you love! your friend,

    1. kymber - Thank you, my friend.

      Summertime is verandah time - especially in the late afternoon / evenings when it's cooler. Most evenings though, is when the wind picks up - so this sliding windbreak will get plenty of use.. ;)

  3. What a fabulous house! I loved seeing it from the beginning and all the work you have put in. Well done on creating such a beautiful home. I hanker after a veranda but there's not much point here with our weather.

    1. Chickpea - Thank you for your lovely compliment. We love our home too :)

      Chickpea - aren;t we humans funny - wanting what we don't have. I'd love a conservatory - for growing plants in (using half sorta like a greenhouse), and the other for a warm spot to sit on those chilly winters days...

  4. It takes a long , long time and a lot of work to get a country place like you want and need it to be. All the more so when you are doing most of the work yourself and have to pay for the materials as you can raise the money.

    I think you two have done an outstanding job. I hope you are far enough out in the boondocks that any turmoil will pass you by. That's what I am hoping for myself and my wife here in the woods.

    1. Harry - I don't think anyone every really finishes their home, as one has to adapt it to different needa at different stages in your life.

      Yeah, we're a good distance from the nearest town, and far enough of the main road to hopefully deter those looking for mischief... ;)

  5. Amazing thing to build your own house, so impressive. Well done to both of you.

    1. pqsa - I hope I haven't given you the wrong impression as we didn't actually lay any bricks, but insofar as the design, choosing the materials, and making the piece of land "ours" - that we can claim :D

    2. It wouldn't have existed if not for you. It was a piece of land, now it's a lovely home. Pat on the back, or two or three.

  6. Y'all have done an amazing job. Your place looks great. Hope you stay as cool as you like this summer. We're heading into the opposite season here. Had our first freeze last night.

    1. Bill - Thanks :)

      I love the colder weather, so I would happily trade places with you...

  7. So many changes in such a relatively short time. Love your shaded veranda, it has always been a hankering of mine to live somewhere warm enough that we need something similar :)

    We too use the blog as a reminder for how much we have changed this place. You do have a backup (or three) of yours, don't you?

    1. Jayne - Trust me - here is defintely "warm enough"!! Too bloody hot at times for my liking.

      Bless you for the thought - yes, I do have a backup - but, with your reminder, I will do a more recent backup right now :D

    2. Dani, every New Year I make a full copy of the previous 12 months. Most recently I have used https://www.blogbooker.com/ which gave me a (large!) PDF complete with all photos and comments. The annual PDF files are stored on multiple backup discs away from the main PC.

    3. Brilliant - thank you Jayne. I usually use Bloggers back-up, but I'll definitely check out blogbooker.com

  8. Hi Dani - I've recently been following you having got to grips with blogger this year! What an amazing blog you have. I will follow with interest. Take care x https://oursmallholdingadventure.blogspot.co.uk

    1. Thanks T_C. And welcome. I managed to find your blog, and am following your adventures in your new home too ;) My origins / early years are North Lincolnshire, so reading your blog gets me a little closer "back home" :D

  9. Beautiful! And that's exactly what I need on the westerly side of our house. It gets the setting summer sun and really heats things up inside. I'm eventually wanting a pergola with deciduous vines, but I think I can get your idea up and running much faster.

    1. Leigh - That is exactly the problem we have.

      Careful with the pergola - vines tend to shed leaves - and who needs to spend precious time sweeping up fallen leaves...?


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