Thursday, June 7, 2012

In Response to the Comments...

Inside of our sleepout
From what I've gathered a sleepout is like a bunk house and refers to a small shelter separate from the main house exclusively for sleeping with no kitchen, bathroom, etc.  Our sleepout is lavishly decked out with a bed, shelves, a desk, a small built in table, and...well that's about it.  It makes up half of a building of which the other half is a tool shed and storage space.

This second sleepout was just recently built to house Wwoofers and guests.  It's clean and simple and all of the windows open up to the wooded area on the south side of the property and is a bit more secluded from the garden.  We're thinking about moving in.


Covered portion of the Pavilion
The picture with Chad and his oatmeal from my previous post is not the sleepout but what we call the pavilion.  This acts as our kitchen (minus the running water and refer).  There is a little two burner propane stove, storage boxes of food, all of our utensils, and a cob pizza oven.  There is a small section that is covered, but the seating area does indeed get wet when it rains.  There are differing opinions about whether or not we should put a permanent roof over it.  While there is plenty of rain now, it stays pretty dry through the summer.  I guess I'll just continue to cook in my muck boots and rain jacket.  Where do we get water, you ask?  By collecting that rain water all winter long.  There is no source of fresh water on the island so everyone collects water in their rooftops and stores it in cisterns or rain barrels.  For watering the garden we use water from the rain barrels and for dishes and cooking there is a pump that brings water from the cistern to a sink outside of our sleepout.  The toilet, as I mentioned, composts all of its contents instead of flushing it away with water to some unmentionable place never to be seen or heard from again.  Nope, we keep it all right here on the farm.  But more on that when it comes time to empty it out.  The pump also brings water to the shower which is connected to the most marvelous contraption-the solar hot water heater!  It is so efficient we can take a hot shower in the morning before the sun has even come up.  (Remember that it's winter here so the sun doesn't rise until about 8:30). 
The most beautiful outdoor toilet I've ever seen

It doesn't snow in this part of New Zealand, Anna, we're too far north.  On the south island of NZ, however, there are mountains and plenty of skiing.  I don't think I'll be sending you a homegrown pineapple but I'll be sure to send you a picture of me eating one with the juice dribbling down my chin and a thorough description of how it tastes. To the right is a picture of the current state of our pineapple plants.  If it looks like they are just pineapple tops stuck in the ground that would be because that is exactly what they are.  I have my doubts.

I didn't realize that Chad just answered many of these same questions.  Oops!  I suppose it doesn't hurt to reiterate just how cool the solar shower is.  Now the outdoor bathtub is also sweet feature but is only a winter luxury (while there is plenty of water).  It is heated from the main house and isn't near our quarters but definitely worth the hike up the hill at twilight when there's no one else home, when there's a full moon and a far off lightening storm to watch. Add a few fresh lavender flowers...beautiful

And one other interesting tidbit I'd like to add: Chad and I were interrupted from our afternoon tasks the other day when the neighbor's guests for the holiday weekend arrived by helicopter!  We were dumbfounded as we watched not one, not two, but at least seven choppers land on the apparent helipad that the neighbors have in their backyard.  We have yet to meet these neighbors but we hear they make delicious wine.


  1. Wow... The building you guys stay in looks really cool!

  2. Your water sources and conservation are very similar to the set up we had when I lived on the island in the San Juan a few summers ago. It's an awesome way of living, especially when you have no other choice!

  3. Lizzy, Did you find an inspirational place to draw or paint? The fire flies are out tonight in WI. Do fire flies live on your island?

  4. I have really been enjoying your blog and am glad to see you are all settled in! I'm crossing my fingers for the pineapples Liz :)