Wednesday, September 13, 2006

What I did on my holiday. (Apart from taking the photos)

If you're going to build a shed, you need a good foundation.

Take one wheelbarrow, 8 parts cement to 2 parts aggregate, add water, take a Spanish hoe, and mix with a good flowing movement - quick, before it dries in all that glorious Andalucian sunshine.
Tip the lot into the wood frame you constructed earlier, on the ground you cleared earlier-earlier. Spread for even coverage.

Repeat 11 times - quick - before anything dries out!

You want a vertical shed? You'll need a horizontal foundation. All together now- skim.

While your shed base is drying, clamp one of those handy iron bars you've been saving onto a workbench, put on your safety gear, take up your angle grinder, and cut to length.

Driven into the ground to support your recycled window grille, your cut bars will make a fine frame for the compost heap. Line with cardboard, and layer old compost and newly cleared grass and leaves with fruit and veg peelings fromthe kitchen, sawdust and chicken poo from the henhouse, freshly dug soil, and several handfuls of compost activator.

(You will need to compress all this wonderful springy stuff, so put on your dancing wellies and climb up every so often for a good stomp, preferably while someone runs the hose. Wild! Go wild! Go wild in the country!)

When you're done, water thoroughly, stand back to admire, then cover all this magnificence in a plastic sheet, weighted down with a recycled pallet. Come back in 24 hours to put your hand on the plastic. Feel the heat. Whoo! It's working! Pull back the cover, watch the steam rise, inhale that glorious smell of composting matter, give it another shower, and put it back to bed.

There is something deeply satisfying about a well-made compost heap; largely because this year's compost (compost) is the secret ingredient for next year's calabacines, cebollas, zanahorias, judias, pimientos, tomates y berenjenas (courgettes, onions, carrots, beans, peppers, tomatoes and aubergines! Did I mention that I bought El Huerto Familiar Ecologico, by Mariano Bueno: gorgeous book, and he's not bad either......wonder if he wants a Wwoofer next year.....?)

Special thanks to Habibibaba for demonstrating our new skills while modelling the traditional blue trousers of the campesino, and to Andy, who taught us everything we know about mixing cement, and maintaining a nice clean concrete mixer!


Jin said...

I made my own compost whilst going bush happy in Kenya - the veggies were superb! It does give you a very satisfying feeling, knowing that you've helped the growing without the aid of readymade prepackaged compost and/or chemical additives.
Is all of this in preparation for your relocating to Spain in the future?

MamaDuck said...

Yes, though we'll spend a couple of years as townies first,in transition between the old urban English-speaking life with my job and Habibibi's business, and the new one. Good to hear from you.

nzm said...

The workmen in Germany also wear the blue overalls.

There have been a couple of them working on the apartment building next door to Jen's house in Berlin.

I guess they live by the adage that good things take time because they're slow at what they're doing!