The worth of North facing land

19 07 2013

frostycowI’ve made much of buying North facing land when we move to Tassie.  We recently had a friend of a friend over for lunch who wanted advice on buying land in Tassie too.  We were sitting at the dining table, and as it happened, I was at the head (closest to the AGA of course..!) which happens to face North…….  to explain the reasoning behind it all, I folded a piece of paper in half, the crease representing a creek bed, and one half of the paper being a S slope and the other, obviously, a N slope.  I held the paper with the crease on an E/W axis, and the resulting example even left me speechless.  I didn’t have to say anything at all.  The paper spoke for itself; one half in the dark, the other plainly lit…  from all that light coming in through our N facing windows.

What prompted me to write this post is that Fat Pig Farm, Matthew Evans (the gourmet farmer) and his missus have a facebook page on which that photo above was just published.  The caption to the photo reads “Herbert, one day old. In the frost. There was ice nearly two centimetres thick on the trough that morning.

My initial reaction was “bloody hell, just how cold does it get down there…?”  But, just have a peek in the background, and look at all that sun shining on…..  a NORTH FACING PADDOCK!  No white grass anywhere…  Why one would put their animals in this situation, when one has a choice, is beyond me….. fine in Summer, but now?

I recently saw another photo on facebook that was circulating as a joke poking fun at Canada.  It purportedly shows the US – Canada border, the caption being “which side of the border do you think is Canada..?”  Of course, it IS funny, but I quickly realised that by merely looking at the shadows from the trees you can tell which side of the pic faces the equator…..  and if that were in fact the border, the joke’s on the US, because it would be the Canadian side with no snow on the trees!

I rest my case.

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7 responses

20 07 2013
Terry J Wall (@terryjw7)

Cannot help myself 🙂
All of one or the other is not a “get go”. For me I would be mostly north (energy) with a good ole covering of high pruned trees (to protect, humidify, moderate)

My knowledge of this is partially assisted by a short period in Teheran, Iran during the peace monitoring in 1988 (war between Iran and Iraq) but I was doing a consultancy for FAO (agricultural consultant). 50 years of British records showed a zero precipitation for about 9 months of the year. F..k with the trees and that is your lot, without a shovel.

20 07 2013
MargfromTassie

It has always amazed me how the majority of houses I’ve ever seen have been built with no consideration for northern exposure, ie with no northern windows to the daytime living area. Today, here in Port Sorell in northern Tasmania, the maximum temperature outside was 13 degrees( after a few days of 14-15 degrees). We had a few hours of lovely sunshine which was streaming into our large 7metre x 11 metre kitchen/living area through the double glazed northern windows. We have well insulated 9ft ceilings and walls. Our house is also on an insulated concrete slab but we opted not to have polished concrete or tiled floors (for thermal mass) as we both have minor knee problems. Instead we opted for bamboo floating floors throughout. With no heating on, we reached an interior temperature in the afternoon of 21.8 degrees. It was just gorgeous sitting in the sun browsing the net on my iPad. We are about 2klms inland from Bass Strait, in a protected treed, partially cleared environment. My husband was working outside in his t shirt.

Now the Huon Valley is admittedly a bit cooler than here, but I agree with you Mike – you’d think that Matthew Evans would have more sense. But he’s not alone. It seems to me that on a daily basis, very few people have regard to or even an instinctive appreciation of where they are in terms of north/south/east /west and it’s effects on health, housing and lifestyle.

20 07 2013
mikestasse

Well done on your house siting Marg…. sounds like it all hums nicely..!

16 10 2013
Fantasising about our next house…. | Damn the Matrix

[…] building like this can only be built on a North facing slope…..  and that’s what I’m looking for.  I have actually found several already!  […]

15 10 2015
Cathy

Dear all,
Unless you’ve kept livestock on a smallholding yourself please don’t comment on what you’re not experienced in. There are multiple reasons livestock can be in a particular paddock including exposure, availability of feed, presence of undesirable plants or plants that become poisonous when they flower or fruit, separation of the boys and girls, status of the paddock grasses with respect to the intestinal parasite loading for that particular livestock… and thats just what I can think of, off the top of my head sitting here in front of the telly. I’m pretty sure Matthew Evans would have several damn good reasons for where his livestock is kept, and if it’s his milking cows and calf they probably have a shed or shelter in the paddock which would be ample for their needs. I’ve only been keeping livestock for two years and am still learning. Nothing is more irritating than ipad experts who have little or no experience badmouthing those who are trying.
Most farmers and those on smallholdings are outside and in the weather for a large part of the day, each day, and would also be more aware than most of the effect of solar angles and radiation especially when you are making your living from it, not to mention growing your food (or, in our case, trying very hard to).
Not meaning to sound narky but please do think before you accuse people of not caring for their livestock?
Northern house exposure can also be a liability in cold areas like ours (rural Victoria) where during summer you suddenly find you’re in a high bushfire risk area. There are multiple reasons for house orientation and design too. Though I agree its done poorly here in Australia, or has been in the past. The luxury of hindsight.
Hope I haven’t sounded narky. If you have land, get livestock, you’ll learn so much from them, they’re just great. We have sheep, alpaca, pigs and chooks.

19 10 2015
mikestasse

As it happens, I DO have experience in keeping livestock on small acreage. I also happen to know that Matthew Evans openly admits to mostly having no idea what he is doing and is learning as he goes.
I suggest that before letting loose on ME, you actually read what this blog is about and see what I have achieved in the past and am planning for the future……
If you’re in such a high bushfire risk area, I’d suggest moving. Or do something about the risk. There’s no reason for being at risk except stupidity ir slackness. My next Nth facing house will be at virtually zero risk of bushfires, stay tuned and learn something…

19 10 2015
MargfromTassie

Hi Cathy, I trust that you have adequate shelter belts for your animals. It upsets me that so many farmers and livestock owners here in Australia don’t have any or many trees/bushes etc for their animals to obtain relief from cold windy conditions or from the hot summer sun.

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