Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Loo With A View

With the development of a new kitchen and shower area in the yard, we are in need of a toilet too. I put a few ideas together, mostly a mix between an outside toilet I used while helpxing in Asturias, and the existing toilets used by the campers here and came up with the Cerenety volunteer 'Loo with a view'.

 As with all of our projects, we firstly had to see what materials were to hand that we could use. In this case it was a few solid pallets and some roofing wood, which was all in good enough order to build with and already a nice size when pieced together to make a toilet cubicle. With the sterling help of Dazzer, a pallet floor was set out on paving slabs to keep it off the ground and the structure was built up; a pallet wide on all sides and two pallets high. We left the top half of the front wall open to create the view  through the trees in front and out over the fields. 

We decided to have just two posts in the structure to preserve our timber supply and because in the sheltered place that it sits it does not need to be all that well anchored to the ground. These posts sit on the side of the building and form the door frame. The pallets were all fixed to each other and to the posts with screws, coming together nicely, and certainly seemed strong enough for their intended purpose. 

The door was reclaimed from an old shed, we used hinges that were taken off the old cattle trailer back in the spring and the roofing material was a couple of offcuts from another roofing project. Once we fixed all of these in place it was time to consider the toilet itself. For this I employed the help of Jess, another volunteer here well known for her upholstering skills. I painted up an old steel chair frame and fixed on a toilet seat, the back of the chair was upholstered by Jess in a rather majestic yellow and black striped material. This frame would house the composting container in much the same way as the ones used up in the camping field. It turned out to be a comfortable sit.

The finishing touches were a lick of paint to make the whole thing last that bit longer and a toilet roll holder. We also installed a shelf, which amongst other things will hold a pair of binoculars so the user can really make the most of their time answering the call of nature by looking out over the fields to see what wildlife is in the area. 


All in all the project took twelve hours to complete - obviously this included a fair few tea breaks. It is always satisfying to start and finish a project in one day, and it could not have been done without the help and advice of Dazzer (master pallet craftsman), Jess (accomplished upholsterer) and Celli (champion roofer).

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Cerenety Stoup

Well, it's been a rather hectic year and that is the reason for the lack of blog posts. But... from now on I have come up with the genius idea of having volunteers do a weekly blog themselves about what is going on at Cerenety. That way, not only can I be lazy and disorganised but we get to see things from the views of different cultures, nationalities, ages and ideas. So here's the first one from our very own Australian James McDonald.

For last night’s dinner Ben, one of the other volunteers here at Cerenity, and I decided to create a soup completely out of fruits, vegetables and other edible organic matter growing onsite. With a great deal of enthusiasm we collected as much of a variety of ingredients as possible hoping that our one-pot wonder would provide a tasty treat for the other volunteers. And, as it turned out, it was amazing!
Our soup contained;
  • Potatoes from the vegetable patch,
  • Tomatoes from the polytunnel,
  • Some cooking apples,
  • Garlic from the vegetable patch,
  • Blackberries from the hedges,
  • Mushrooms found in the field,
  • Courgettes from the vegetable patch,
  • Carrots from the vegetable patch,
  • Chives from the herb garden,
  • Coriander from the herb garden,
  • Nettle Leaves growing around the vegetable patch,
  • and some kale.
So ALL of the ingredients come from the ground of the camp site grounds. All together and chopped up it looked like this…
Once it was all chopped up and chucked in the Dutch Oven we filled it with water to cover and left it to cook for an hour over a fire using a fire tripod.

We then sat there in the rain around the fire watching our meal cook. It was a massive success, everyone enjoyed it and we decided to call it ‘Cerenity Stoup’ because we don’t quite know if it is a soup or a stew. It was immensely satisfying knowing that our ‘stoup’ was completely derived from the land so it is needless to say that we will try to do more of these meals in the future.