New project: create a home from the ground up

Recently I visited Denmark where I grew up and I remember my father telling me: “[…] du bliver nød til at skabe dig et ordentligt hjem” (you have to make yourself a decent livingspace) He probably meant something like “get furnitures and modern equipment that constitutes what I call a real home”. As I have departed a bit from the way of life of my parents and the rest of the family, not only by moving to a different country, I did not quite know what to respond. Now the thoughts have settled and I realise I agree. The apartment I now live in is not a decent home. It will probably newer be, but to me this has nothing to do with furnitures. Recently I discovered that this 45m2 expensive concrete apartment is toxic and to dry (too low air humidity is not good). My feet sore after some minutes of walking barefoot on the plastic covered concrete floor. When I carry my child (11 kg) I immediately becomes a problem.

Simple vs complex

I have grown up in a really complex western society (some think we are now having an explosion of complexity similar to other societies just before they collapsed). Actually I still do not yet understand all the mechanisms of the modern capitalist state despite really trying! Right now sitting here I feel that I have had enough of complexity in my life this far. Now I long for something else. It is TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE.

TIME TO MAKE A CHANGE

I have decided to embark on a new project that will probably impact a hole lot on my life: create a shelter with the capacity to be warm when I like it to and cool in the summer. It should shield from winds and frost (here it gets about -20 to -30 degrees Celsius for a short period during the winter).

It should have a possibility to store water for washing of hands and simple cooking (we have nice restaurants and all my close friends have nice kitchens so why would I need one?). I have a friend in Bellvik, Sweden who inspired me a lot about water handling.

My home does not need:

  • tap water
  • sewer
  • toilet (traditionally outside swedish homes is a little simple built shed with a hole in the floor under witch the excrements piled)

A friend of mine told me that actually it is only during a very short period of mankind (~7 000 000 years) that we have been living in the same location all-year. Of this short period (about 10 000 years) we have only had running water within the last 100 years. To this day most of mankind probably do not live with tap water installed in-house. Why do we you may ask? I do not know. Perhaps because tap water and sewer enormously increases the complexity of building a house making it expensive and attractive.

A felty home (gher a.k.a. yurt)

Gher
For thousands of years the nomads of Central Asia have lived in simple comfortable dwellings made to last and from natural non-toxic materials.

[A gher is a] portable, bent dwelling structure traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises a crown or compression wheel usually steam bent, supported by roof ribs which are bent down at the end where they meet the lattice wall (again steam bent). The top of the wall is prevented from spreading by means of a tension band which opposes the force of the roof ribs. The structure is usually covered by layers of fabric and sheep’s wool felt for insulation and weatherproofing. WP source

This kind of dwelling is most likely going to work in this climate (the middle of Sweden) too, but as other dwellings has to be shielded from ground moisture (=raised on a simple stone/wooden structure). During the winter the gher is covered with more layers of felt than in the summer for added insulation.

To be continued…

Making a tent out of plastic – or not!

I found a discarded military tent made in plastic (1 mm thick). I recently cut out some of it and tested sewing in it. It worked quite well but precisely as with leather it ‘sucks’ on to the presser foot. This can to my knowledge be solved in two ways: * install a walking foot (this is unfortunately not available for my machine) * glue a piece of special plastic to the underside of the presser foot to decrease the friction.

Unfortunately I discovered that the plastic smells a lot. This is probably caused by (toxic) softeners added to the plastic during manufacturing. This has caused me to discard the material and focus on nontoxic materials instead.