Alternative Living in Mangapai
The past 2 weeks have been spent in Mangapai (just south of Whangarei in Northland) with Grant and Louisa and their kids.
They are completely off the grid, relying on solar and wind power, propane, and occasionally a generator to power their small refrigerator, washing machine, and lights.
Most of their house is built from recycled materials (old train boxcar, caravans, timber, windows people have given them, etc.)
Rain water is collected in massive tanks, and there is a pump in the creek on their property. Drinking water is filtered before it ends up in our bottles.
Here is a collection of lessons learned from our time in Mangapai:
–Boiled linseed oil will seal an adobe earth floor and keep it from getting stained. (Regular linseed oil won’t do the trick, it must be boiled.)
–Complicated, daunting tasks usually aren’t as bad as you think.
–Grey water from the washing machine can be used to water the garden (just don’t use bleach!)
–You should introduce new chickens to the coop at night, when they can’t see in the dark. By morning, hopefully the others are used to the smell of the new chicken and won’t bully it.
–Sticking a long pipe over the handle of a monkey wrench gives you more leverage to unscrew 80 year old bolts from a boat engine.
(Yep–we slept in there! The front part of the boat is going to be converted into a bedroom as well.)
–Treasure isn’t always shiny.
–Your thumb and middle finger should work together with the clay on the pottery wheel.
–Firewood is heavy. But it’s very rewarding to have a huge pile stocked up for the winter!
View more pics of our experience on Facebook!