FAST Blog: Family Homestead

Permaculture, Preparedness, Homesteading & Survival

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Wyrd Talks - Episode 2

Hey Pals,

We're back with another Vlog, and to share more detail with you about our straw bale house design. We got such a great reception to our previous, and first ever, vlog that it's really encouraged us to make more. It's not always so easy to put yourself out there, but we're determined to document our self-build journey.

Here's our vlog:




Here are some photos to go along with our vlog, so that you can get a visual representation of the shapes and visuals. We will get around to also writing a more detailed blog at some point, and breaking down the design aspects into sections with a lot more detail. For now, feast your eyes on our dream eco home.

Natural Green Roof with Geodome

Cross Section of House Interior

Front Door View




As mentioned in the vlog, here are the contact details for our Architect, Myriam Gutierrez. Her 'About' section on Linkedin is just perfect - 'ACUPUNCTURE FOR EARTH. Dreamy architecture to live in health and harmony with the place in a in a sustainable way'

Email: myriamgut@msn.com
You can view her CV and more info on her work here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/myriam-gutierrez-67aa5316


And the details for Okambuva, the eco building specialists we are working with: https://www.okambuva.coop/

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Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Make Do and Mend

I've got to admit, every time I see a pair of ripped jeans I can't help thinking to myself "That needs a damn good mending!"
So when Carly started wearing a pair of ripped shorts it drove me mad, it was only a matter of time before she caved in to my constant requests to mend them for her haha




For this mend I used a variegated pink thread



I backed every weak spot that needed attention with a heavy duty cotton twill, they were offcuts from another project so not only a beautiful print but also super sustainable



The pink thread was almost invisible on the denim, so I hand embroidered a small heart onto one of the darker spots of fabric to help it stand out :)



I like to keep the organic natural form of the holes and follow them with stitching, I feel it makes for a really unique and natural look.


I'm really happy with how this pair of shorts turned out, I'll no doubt use this style of mending again in the future, I already have an idea to transform a pair of jeans that my son has ripped his knee out of and I can use a pair of his old minecraft PJ's that he has grown out of to make him a set of creeper jeans :)



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Monday, 2 September 2019

Hands On Homeschooling : Stone Age Cave Art

Cave Art Home Schooling Style

Recently as part of the kids home education we've been learning about the Stone Age and getting immersed in everything from the clothing to the food, lifestyle and culture. It seemed fitting since we curently live in a cave to get up close and personal with some cave art.


Cave art and petroglyphs fall well within the activities of my own hobbies and even my work through Thor's Threads , so after showing the children several examples of prehistoric art we started off by putting down the basic shapes using charcoal, since that would have been available to our ancestors as an art medium.

Charcoal Cave Art

We wanted to make sure that the art we made reflected the importance of the Hunter/Gatherer lifestyle and the connection with the land and nature. As part of this, and to maintain an authentic experience, we decided to use only natural and local resources to make our own paint.

Locally foraged rocks full of mineral pigments for our art
We crushed up the minerals using hammerstones, a paleolithic tool we'd learnt about during our other research. For brushes we beat the end of twigs in to brush shapes and then used them to mix the crushed rock dust with a little water for our paint pigments. 

Paleolithic style paint brush
Stone Age Art Tools

Natural Mineral Pigments
4yo Aurora Making Cave Art Barefoot

It's so much easier for a child to learn about history by recreating it outdoors, and its certainly more fun than being sat at a desk!

Adding Colour To Our Cave Art

Using colours that occur naturally for your own local area is such a grounding experience, allowing you to use the nature around you to paint pictures of your local ecosystems is just incredible. After using earth resources to create the pigments for the earth colours in our art, we then needed to extract some pigments from local plants too

Extracting Plant Pigments
We chose San Pedro, a vigorous flowering weed that is prolific in our area and gives a lovely deep green when mashed with a hammer stone and a little water.


Using Plant Pigments to Paint Plants

It has been so much fun to create these things with the kids, to teach them the ancient petroglyphs that represent the sun and the moon, to teach them about the way that early humans lived and the challenges they faced.















In many of the paintings we added small hidden details, like shamans drumming near caves in the mountains or singing to stags beneath the moon. In some of the photos the hunters are clearly successful like when they bring down the bull. In others we see their arrows fell short and the mighty stag will live to fight another day.

Petroglyphic Stag Cave Art
I wanted to express to the children how difficult a landscape it must have been to our ancestors, that the hunt was not always successful and that nothing was guaranteed, that our ancestors had to fight for their survival. And that is why in this last painting we see that the Hunter has met his match, that sometimes the hunter can become the hunted.

Sabretooth Cave Art
Hope you've enjoyed reading about this little homeschooling adventure :)













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Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Why Mend Things?

Did you know it takes 7,600 litres of water to make your favourite pair of jeans?

Textile production, even for natural textiles, takes a real toll on the environment. Add to this the fact that most fabrics these days are not biodegradable and it really starts to become a problem for our planet that we need to own up to and start to combat. For me there is no space for an ego whilst we stand on a dying planet. I find no shame in repairing the clothes I love and using visible mending techniques we can really celebrate not only the journey that our clothes have been through but also the fact we are doing our bit for the environment.

I'm a fairly active guy, I'm pretty adventurous and inevitably my clothes take a real battering. This vintage pair of Desigual shorts cost me the whole of €3 at the local carboot sale and after a few months of wear they needed a little TLC. I used 100% Egyptian Cotton thread for my mending to make sure at the final end of their life they wont contain any plastic threads and can always be composted, and all of my stiching is of course done by hand with a needle and thread.



First up I had to reinforce an area that was pulling out around the label, so I laid down some abstract stitches around the tag just going where I felt the fabric needed the helping hand. As you can see the edges of the pockets were getting pretty frayed so that became my next task.




It's fairly simple work to completely encapsulate an edge like this in stitches, although a little time consuming of course.  Next up there was a small hole that had started getting worse on the front corner of a pocket, so I stabilised the area with some decorative sashiko stitching and a tiny hand embroidered skull to cover the hole.




Lastly I added a couple of Thor's Threads patches to the front pockets. I'm super happy with how they have turned out so far, the more they need mending the more character they accumulate, becoming wearable art in the process.


Stay tuned for plenty more mending as I finish up some of the projects I'm currently working on

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Monday, 5 August 2019

Wyrd Talks - Episode One

 Hey friends,

As always, it's been a minute since we last updated the blog in any detail. We're finding it really hard to find the time to be honest. What with both of us having increasingly busy creative businesses, home schooling the two Wildings, and managing bits and bobs of the build as they're coming along...life is going by quite rapidly at the moment.

A few things have started progressing on the build recently and we really want to start documenting more as we go along. It's always been important to us to be really open and truthful about this whole process. However, without being able to find the time to blog well, we had a little spark of an idea a few weeks ago and decided to try our hand at vlogging - making videos of us chatting basically. Surprisingly you can manage to squeeze in quite a bit of information in a short video, that would take a much longer time to write out + edit.

So, we sat down and recorded our first Vlog as a bit of an introduction to who we are and what we're trying to do here at Wyrdwood. We were both a little apprehensive at the prospect of recording ourselves talking, but in honour of keeping things simple and honest, we decided not to chop + edit our chat at all, so what you see is the raw, organic and unfiltered 'Us'.


So, we hope you enjoy our first Wyrd Talks. Please let us know what you think and if you have any questions or topic suggestions for our next vlog, feel free to let us know.

Happy weekend, Folks!

Re-shared from www.wyrdwoodacres.com


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Saturday, 3 August 2019

Animal Shorts - Sashiko Mending


I've had these shorts now since I was 11 years old, they have 20 years of memories locked inside them and there was just no way I was going to let them fall apart.

With my current forays into visible mending I thought it was as good a chance as any to practice some new patterns. I've been very drawn to Sashiko stitching recently, which is a form of mending originally from Japan that seeks to celebrate the mend rather than to hide it. For this reason I chose a bright orange thread, to honour the original orange detailing on these shorts.
Animal Shorts - Sashiko Mending


From years of use the fabric was wearing thin at a couple of stress points, so my first port of call was to reinforce a previously mended area with some mountain form sashiko stitches

Sashiko Mountain Form

Next I needed to do a quick rear end mend to immobilise and stabilise a tear that was forming at the seam, again with sashiko stitches 



Sashiko Rear End Mend
Sashiko Stitches

Lastly I created another patch of sashiko stitching to mirror the area on the other leg and lend some strength to the thinning fabric on the opposite side

Sashiko Stitches

Visible Mending has given me such a new found love of hand sewing, and its a great way to breath extra life into the clothes you love.

I'll be back for the next installment of my mending madness very soon!
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Monday, 15 July 2019

Breaking Ground

As we mentioned before, the whole Brexit debacle has pretty much killed any chance we had at getting a mortgage or funding through conventional methods and financial institutions as Spain is terrified that all the expats will run back to the UK and leave their debts behind them. 

It would have been so easy for us to give up, after all we've been through so far, to put the land up for sale and come back to a miserable life in England with our tails between our legs.

But I think you and I both know that was never going to happen. Anyone that has followed this blog for a while likely knows by now that we tend to not let a little hardship put us off reaching for our dreams. It wouldn't be any fun if it was easy, right?

And so we decided to push on. To self fund, to save as much as we can every month and chip away at building our dream home. We may not build the house as fast as we had hoped but by the gods we will build it one way or another! With this mindset, we finally broke ground




On a triumphant day for our family, Using a friends digger we started excavating the footings.



One tiny trench for mankind, but for our family it was a major victory to finally have something physical to show for all of our hard work. There's still some digging to do before we can pour the concrete but I'll be sure to keep you all updated on this part of our adventure. Me and Carly will also be doing some Vlogs chatting about the project, our progress and all the things that crop up along the way, we're looking forward to uploading the first one very soon.
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Saturday, 13 July 2019

Never-ending Mending

And I'm back! The blogger app doesn't work for me now, it hasn't been updated in years and will not allow photos to upload any more. luckily I've found a third party app called BloggerPro and I'm back in action again :) So lets have a look at my Never-ending Mending trews.

Sashiko Boro Mending Frugal Thrifting Homesteading
visible mending - back of combats
Last year I stumbled upon visible mending and got a little bitten by the mending bug.
prior to discovering visible mending I would always try to make any repair invisible, as if it was something to be ashamed of. Visible mending teaches us to celebrate the damage and celebrate the repair using bright colours and decorative stitches, and it is also a very forgiving form of mending that even a complete novice can pick up and give it a go. 
 At the time my favourite pair of combats were on their last legs and in desperate need of TLC so before they got to the scrap heap I started practicing some visible mending techniques to pull them back together.


I started at the back where the pocket had a tear in the corner along a stress point


Visibile Mending - Sashiko rear end mend
When I first started mending this set of jean I had never sewn anything other than patches, so I was pretty much making it up as I went along! 


sashiko crotch repair - Mending clothes

The next area that received a dose of my early mending was wear in the crotch area that needed a bit of reinforcement.

Patch repair - sashiko mending
I had a patch with a slight defect but it was perfect to use for the inside of the crotch repair to add some strength and a cheeky hidden message!


sashiko pocket rear end mend

The other pocket also tore out in the corner and I love how visible the progression in my hand sewing is in this image compared tp my first attempt. 
Presstud repair
one of the presstuds on the back had torn out of the flap so a quick magic mending sorted that one out, and on close inspedction one of the poppers on the front was also about to rip out which leads me to the front of the trews.




Never-ending Mending - Front
My last mend on this pair was to immobilise and reinforce a very small rip that was forming above the pocket.

Starburst Sashiko mending
This mend was probably my favourite one. Throughout this project I've really discovered a love of hand sewing and how therapeutic it can be to sit and sew for a while, I'm already planning my next few visible mending projects :)

Do you practice visible mending or do you prefer invisible mending?




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Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Blogger App Issue

One of the main reasons I have been away from blogging is that I can no longer seem to upload images from the blogger app on my phone? is anyone else having issues with this? It's a major pain to have to upload every single image through my laptop instead of being able to blog from my phone whenever I have a spare minute :(
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Saturday, 26 January 2019

There Are No Small Steps in a Revolution

revolution
/rɛvəˈluːʃ(ə)n/
noun
noun: revolution; plural noun: revolutions
"a dramatic and wide-reaching change in conditions, attitudes, or operation."



Hi, I'm Tricky and I'm still here.

It's been about 8 months since I last sat down to write a post on this blog, and at the time I was not in the best of places mentally. It's almost surreal looking back on the trials and tribulations of the last 3 years, I barely recognise the fresh faced young man that got off the ferry to start a new life here in Spain. Carly has written about the saga of our dreams out here so I wont go into huge amounts of detail, but here's a quick recap of whats been going on in our lives to bring you up to speed;


  • We had a nightmare selling our house in the UK, it took WAY longer than it ever should have, had several false starts and cost us a small fortune not to mention setting us back quite a bit.
  • We had another nightmare buying the land, we were told it would take 30 days and in reality it took the best part of a year, which was a year we hadn't planned on having to hang around and ate into our savings because it was a years rent we hadn't budgeted on paying.
  • The architects, town hall and general bureaucracy of Spain showered us with yet more expenses and setbacks.
  • Living in limbo for the best part of 2 years finally took its toll and Carly found me in the mountains tying the last knot as I planned to hang myself from a tree.
  • New Years Eve 2017 Carly's mom and dad Diane and Terry have a near fatal motorcycle crash leaving them both badly injured, Diane suffers a broken neck and multiple other fractures needing months of care and physiotherapy
  • April 2017 we finally get all licenses and permissions to start building our dream homestead...but we've run out of money because taking wave after wave of setbacks finally catches up with us.
  • We apply for a mortgage with a couple of Spanish banks and spend the next 6 months being messed around in a big game of chinese whispers that concludes with basically we cannot get a mortgage now because in light of Brexit they have changed the rules and do not offer mortgages to non-residents, and we have not yet applied for residency since we have no house built yet to reside in!

So that's what we've been dealing with. Sounds awful doesn't it? It's been hard, I'll tell you the truth at times it has almost broken us all. And yet, through all the hardship it has pulled our family closer together than ever before. 

We're in this together, we've got each others backs. 

And it hasn't all been thunderclouds and rainstorms. We've managed to uproot and move country in one of the worst economic climates of all time. We've immersed ourselves in a new culture and built some incredible new friendships with people that are really on our wavelength. We've grown two businesses that allow us to call our passions "work", and spent every single day alternating between working at home and homeschooling our children, getting to spend quality time with them every single day and watch them grow as amazing tiny humans. We've eaten incredible homecooked meals every day together as a family. We've rescued two crazy puppies and watched them grow into the two sweetest dogs you could ever hope to meet.

That's what has kept us breathing. Has everything (or anything!) gone to plan? Hell no. But I'm going to keep telling it how it is. It's not all fairytales and rainbows but I respect the people that read this blog enough to give them the truth. I'm not the same person I was when we came out here. This journey has found every crack in my armour and used it to shatter me as a person, but like a forest fire clearing the way for new life it has given me the opportunity to piece myself back together and take note of what is truly important in life, and it's never the things you don't have its always the things you DO have. And what we have right now is opportunity. We're young, we own land, we have the legal permissions in place to build on it, we have all the green lights in place to make our dreams come true and all we gotta do now is keep our wits about us and find a way to make it work. Because come Hell or high water there is no way this family will ever give up.

2019 will be our year. There are no small steps in a revolution. In the last couple of weeks we have planted 12 new trees on the land and numerous native herbs, cacti and wild flowers. I've thrown myself back into permaculture and been re-designing the vegetable gardens and layout for the land using the new knowledge and perspective that our time out here has given us. This Sunday we are digging the foundations for the house ready for concreting. In spite of everything that has happened things are finally moving forwards, at a slow but steady pace.

I invite you all to join us on the journey because I'm going to return to blogging and sharing our shenanigans.

Planting trees with the children for a better future

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Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Forward Motion

I just want to start by saying how grateful we are for all the comments, messages and words of encouragement that we have received since our last blog post came out last week. It's really helped our overall morale but it's also given us some food for thought too.

To update you a little - if you remember towards the end of my last blog, I spoke about how the bank we are currently working with to get a mortgage have pretty much ghosted us. We were waiting on an urgent review of our house valuation and survey which had been done incorrectly(they'd only valued our land and not the house project. Duh!). When we called on the deadline day, our bank contact wasn't in. She still isn't back at work now, the manager is apparently away until the 17th of December. The person who is working in the bank at the moment told us that the bank have changed their rules and will not be granted mortgages on any new builds and now she is not returning my phone calls. Fantastic. So we haven't heard any more news since then and to be honest, we spent a while feeling pretty much lost and like we couldn't move forward.

But then we changed our minds. Ok, so we don't know what is happening with the bank right now for certain, but it obviously seems like that's not going to work out. So do we give up and mourn our house dreams that never came true? 

Hell no. We find another way. We are warriors. 

Our architect gave us the details of a couple of Eco specific mortgage/lending companies and we have contacted one. Maybe something will come of that, who knows. But we've decided that we're not going to wait around.

The thing is with our self-build is that we don't need all of the money upfront.  There are bits and bobs we can start with. We can get the ball rolling. We might not have a big nest egg of savings, but we do have some money spare each month, and so we've decided that it's best to chip away, little by little. To keep the forward motion going. To feel like we're getting somewhere.

So we've decided to break ground, we're going to dig and pour the foundations. 

We know that our biggest outlay for the house build will be all of the timber we need for the frame. But before we get to that stage we can get the foundations ready, we can build some temporary shelter and toilets, we can plant some trees, we can do some things, at least. Maybe we can run some courses and gather up some money for the timber that way. We've had some ideas of how we can try and get some extra money in. Maybe all this hassle with the banks is a sign that we're not destined to have a mortgage. We need to be flexible and ready to try different things. Who knows. We're gonna figure it out.

But making a start is important, and so, as always, we're gonna jump in with both feet and see where we land. 







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Etsy

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