Mid-winter update from Plätten

Exploring the place.

Exploring the place.

You need to dress properly to have breakfast indoors.

You need to dress properly to have breakfast indoors.

The days are passing and we’ve spent quite some time at the land (we really need to find a proper name, I can’t go on referring to it as “Plätten”…) simply walking around, looking for a suitable spot for the house. Timea and Tristan are exploring the area a bit and are slowly getting used to step in cow dung. The weather is great and as long as we stay outside in the sun it is really nice and t-shirty. Pure joy! But you better get dressed if you plan to stay indoors…

We’re staying in a friends house just a few km’s from Plätten and just a few km’s from Carmelo town with all the stuff you need to prepare for a life off the grid. You know, stuff like pick-axes and whiskey. I hope to make my own booze (Lot’s of wineries here, grappa anyone?) in the future but for now I have to buy.

Yesterday we made loads of friends: the people working at all the gomerias (garages/tire shops or whatever it is called in English), the tire truck guys hired by the town to collect and remove all used tires from the tire shops (you don’t want tires lying around as they trap rain water and turn into great breeding grounds for dengue carrying mosquitoes), the boss of the tire truck guys, and all the people who helped us find those places and people. Uruguayos are extremely friendly and helpful! “Office is closed? No worries, I know the boss, use my phone and call her. Nah, she’s in, just call her.” And it was true, despite the fact that the office indeed was closed we caught the boss on the phone and she helped us trying to figure out where all the dead tires go. And she also suggested that it would probably be better to ask around at the tire shops than to tour the land fills for tires. So we checked some tire shops and sure, “No problems, we’ll hide the tires for you when the tire truck comes to pick them up. And when we have a bunch we’ll call you.” Amazing! So now we have a bunch of people looking out for worn out tires for us.

Exploring the place.

Exploring the place.

Not only people working with tires are nice, almost everyone seems to be friendly and helpful. Even people at the immigration offices! They are slow, absolutely – it can take three people half a day to fill in the application for a Uruguayan ID card – but very very friendly – “Oh, your kids are getting cranky after you’ve been sitting here with you waiting four hours? Here, give them some of my biscuits. No worries, I have a stash here. Have some more.”. Fantastic! “Oops, something happened, the computer died so we have to start all over again. More biscuits?”

Even car dealers try to help. After they try to rip you off, given the chance of course. After all, they are car dealers, aren’t they? After deciding not to buy the first car we looked at, we started to talk about life an’ shit like that with the car dealer, and eventually we ended up talking about motorcycles. A friend of his wanted to sell two Enfields so he called him for us. The bikes were gone and he instead drove us some 10 km to a bike shop I wanted to visit. He’s invited to Carmelo for beer as soon as I have the brewery up and running. Can’t beat that car dealer experience!

First tires, levels, shovels, and sledge hammers in place!

First tires, levels, shovels, and sledge hammers in place!

Back to the tires. Why do we want tires when everyone wants to get rid of them? We’re going to fill them with dirt and beat the living shit out of that dirt to compact it into 150 kg solid rubber bricks to put our living containers on. We could do the foundation with concrete too of course, but we don’t have electricity to run a concrete mixer, we don’t have water, sand or gravel to mix with the cement (we don’t have the cement either, but it’s easy to buy from the extremely friendly hardware store guy who sold us some shovels, levels, and sledge hammers earlier today), and we don’t have a cement mixer. Neither do we have the tools necessary to make decent forms for the concrete. All tools and our electricity (in the form of solar panels) are still in the moving container, which is with the customs in Montevideo since a few days. And we like rammed dirt better than concrete.

Here's where the living containers will end up on their tire foundation.

Here’s where the living containers will end up on their tire foundation.

So a rammed-dirt-in-tires-foundation it will be. Tomorrow we’re going to order 10 ton sand and gravel (aka road base) to fill the tires as we’re don’t want to dig a big hole next to the living containers. We’re going to have our dengue mosquitos farm a bit further down from the living containers… The first tires are collected and hopefully we’ll have enough in time to construct the foundation for the living containers that will arrive towards the end of next week. It is very meditative to thump tires so I’m really looking forward to that. OK, the first one was a lie, it’s not meditative at all. But I do look forward to get started because that means we’re rolling!

3 Comments

  1. We are very interested in your process because someday we hope to build an “earth ark” which utilizes the rammed tires as a foundation. I am allergic to some types of chemicals (such as the dry cleaning chemical) and Steve is worried that the tires would emit some gasses which I would be sensitive to… do you know anything about this or where I can get information? This spring we would like to visit you and maybe help with some building to learn more about the process…

  2. Yes!! sounds good!! except the denque mozzies… those are big time not wanted around…. give the little grisar ”waterguns” with little dishliquid inside and to spray every pool of standing water… that should do it… mabe little bit warmer days thou…. woolen socks here on also… and it’s called sommar…. looots of love the whole lot of you! <3

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