It’s a busy period at the moment. There’s just the two of us here, and we’re trying to get the rest of the renovation done on the farmhouse so we can switch focus to the straw-bale construction up in the orchard.
Of all the tools we either brought with us or bought here in Turkey, I think the most useful is the air compressor. I used to wonder what these were really for: why would anyone want a big supply of compressed air?
It turns out that the reason you want compressed air is because you can use it to do almost anything. Instead of buying lots of small tools like drills or sanders with individual electric motors, the idea is to have one big electric motor that fills a tank with compressed air, and then use the air to power lighter, simpler, hopefully cheaper tools.
In truth, we haven’t thrown away all our electric saws and drills. But the compressor lets us run tools that don’t always have an electric equivalent. The most dramatic are probably the two nail guns we own: scary! We also have an air-powered staple gun which is incredibly handy for things like upholstery.
For instance: we like our Toyota Hilux, and it will carry a lot of cargo. But one of its few weak points is that you don’t really have a boot. There’s nowhere to lock up your bags or shopping out of sight. So we built a removable tray cover out of basic timber and board, but made it look more professional by covering it in black vinyl. We wouldn’t have been able to do such a nice job of stretching the vinyl without the power of the staple gun.
Another air tool that’s going to get a lot of use in the future is a mortar-and-plaster sprayer we had to order from the US. This is going to be a life saver when it comes to the hard work of getting all those straw bale walls covered in three coats of clay plaster.
We tried the sprayer out for the first time on a smaller job: covering a brick wall at the front of the house with cement render.
If we hadn’t had to stop and manually mix up additional mortar a few times, the job would have been done in ten minutes. It’s a really smart and simple tool.
Speaking of plastering, we’ve also started to experiment with using the clay-rich soil from our orchard as a plaster base. The oven at the back of the garden was looking a bit worse for wear, so giving it a new coat seemed like good practice.
In that photo, you might spot some cracks forming in our plaster coat as it dries. That was both frustrating and encouraging: it means that the plaster mix we get from simply digging up our soil is actually too rich in clay. We need to add some sand and maybe some straw and lime to perfect it. Further work needed, as the scientists say.
What else have we done lately? We worried that Zeytin (the dog) would not be warm enough as the nights got colder, so we gave her a clear plastic curtain to help keep her body heat inside the doghouse.
The next big project is definitely finishing the kitchen. It’s embarrassing how long I’ve put that one off. It’s not that we don’t have a kitchen; it’s just that it’s mostly made out of bookshelves and it doesn’t have a sink in it yet.
Thanks for reading. As usual I will close with a random selection of pictures.