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15 & 18 Jun 09

The last few weeks have been interesting. We received an answer from Sorbas council regarding the building permission application we submitted in April. They said they would need sign off from the Almeria School of Architects (ASA) to say why we can deviate from the current building codes and suggested we contact an architect to complete a project that could then be submitted to the ASA for approval and sign off. Well Dave had a much better idea - go straight to the ASA to see what they would actually need. So we did. And they've been fab. We had an initial meeting with Josť and Christina, two architects working there. Christina belongs to a discussion group of architects and presented our build to the group which generated a lot of interest. We met with them a couple of Monday's ago and Christina, Daniel and Alicia from the group came to visit the 'ship last Thursday. Thanks guys for your time and enthusiasm for the project.

To clear up any confusion; we have Planning Permission for the project which allows us to build an eco friendly house on the site. The Building Permission is the next stage which ensures that what we build is fit for purpose. I know it seems like it's all a bit topsey turvey because we've already started building but what we've done so far has helped the council understand that this type of structure is sound and safe. We did obtain approval to build before we started, this process is ensuring that we can live in it once we've finished.

Below: Alicia and Daniel.


Spinning a yarn...

Last year we met a local goat and sheep farmer through our neighbour. Me being interested in wool (I've always been a big was asking what they do with the sheeps wool, ya know, do they spin it and knit it into jumpers. I was horrified to hear that they just throw it away - yes, throw it away!! Granted, the sheep here don't have the luxuriously thick coats that the British sheep have, but throw it away?! Apparently there's no commercial value to it and the old tradition of using it to stuff mattresses and pillows hasn't been taken up by the new generation.

Anyway, back to my yarn....

The upshot was that we were too late for last year's batch of wool but they promised they'd let us know when this year's was ready. It will make perfect insulation for the round room roof.

So last Monday we dropped everything and headed off to the farm to watch it all happening. They have about 100 sheep - a day's work for the shearing team (see pic below) who do most of the farms in an area about the size of Wales.


the sheep before...



(click on the 'Next' link at the top of the page to see hand shearing).


...and after.


Dave collecting the fleeces.

We've only taken 11 sacks so we can have a go at processing it. We'll need to wash the dirt and lanolin out of it, fire proof it and protect it from insects and mice. Any ideas?

Actually, I've been in touch with Thermafleece who have been very helpful. If it wasn't for the shipping distance (and the free local wool) we'd probably have gone to them for the finished product.


Our own personal Springwatch. The sheep barn was full of swallows nests.


these are almost ready to go.