We’ve moved in…….

7 11 2019

Yes dear reader, after years of hard yakka, and two months of renting the neighbours’ house in town to weather winter, we have moved into our new house. It’s more like glamping really, because we don’t have running water, hot or cold, we’re trampling dirt in on the bare concrete like you wouldn’t believe, but it’s home, even if it’s still a building site….. and it’s closer to where we work. and it’s definitely more comfortable than the shed…… I haven’t posted much since my last update because it’s been either frantically busy, or I’m too exhausted to post. This is in fact the first time I’ve started the laptop since moving in over a month ago. You can thank the rain….

The house is basically built now. The double glazed clerestory windows eventually turned up, the gutters are fitted (we’re even collecting rainwater in buckets (pouring rain as I write, trenches for the rainwater tank pad full of water…) to alleviate the need to cart it 300m from the shed!), and the power from the power station is finally all hooked up……. But no lights yet, except those plugged into the walls so we can see what we are saying to each other at night…..! The solar battery system is performing beyond all expectations, though of course we’re well past the equinox, and the days are now much longer. But all the same, we have to cook and heat water from them, and they haven’t even come close to going flat yet. This is not what the system was meant to do with an AGA in the kitchen supplying all the heating services.

We even have a kitchen of sorts, with a brand new black stone sink and brass flickmixer from which no water comes out because, well, we don’t have water tanks even…… As the AGA, which has partly moved in, has a black top and copper/brass finishes, we’ve decided to make that the kitchen theme. We’ve even managed to find copper light pendants, which I must put it soon so we can get rid of the cardboard boxes all over the floor!

My custom made hot water cylinder has also arrived, sitting on its platform waiting for an AGA to be plumbed to. As you may or may not remember, I ordered this stainless hot water tank from EarthWorker cooperative in Victoria. With the freight over Bass Strait, it wasn’t cheap, but it’s custom made to my specs, open to atmosphere and not requiring a TPR valve, the device that kept ejecting boiling water from the system in the Cooran house and needed replacing three times while we were there….. It was a bit of a slow trip from Hobart with this thing upright on the back of the ute, but we made it…..

Glenda and I lifted it on its platform with a ratchet strap, and it turned out far easier than I had anticipated… as expected, it just fits under the ceiling, and is just high enough to ensure proper thermosyphoning between it and the stove.

The house is performing thermally pretty well as expected. It’s still a tad cool, because the back wall is not yet insulated let alone backfilled, and at this time of year we don’t get much solar ingress. I expect that by the end of Summer, the thermal battery, which is after all what all that thermal mass is, will be charged up ready for Winter. My neighbour Matt who dug our sewer trenches came over to backfill them on a 32 degree day and wanted to see how cool it was inside. To his amazement, it was 21 inside, a whopping 11 degrees cooler than outside! Thermal mass works…….

The above mentioned trenches are now also finished, and we can actually drain the kitchen sink and wash our hands in the bathroom which is partly constructed and gives a good idea of what it will look like when finished.

Next on the list are the all important water tanks, stainless steel too for longevity and ability to remain in one piece during bushfires. Following a post bushfire meeting in town organised by the Tasmanian Fire Service, we decided to install gutter blocking valves so we can fill them with water to discourage ember attacks from burning our house down, and we will also have a special fitting on the tank for the fire brigate to access our water in an emergency.

But the best thing about having moved in is being able to see out, especially at our amazing view of the dam, in all weather, even the crappy style! I will also put up another post regarding the latest on the farm…..



9 responses

7 11 2019

Congratulations Mike and Glenda! Many of us have followed your story from your Qld days. The house and property look amazing – especially that view. And it will only continue to get better – looking forward to regular updates.
Is your house clad with colorbond – for fire prevention purposes?

7 11 2019

It would be great if you could repost yr house drawings Mike. I’m keen to have a reminder of how you’ve designed the passive heating and cooling…. ta, Sam

8 11 2019

I don’t think I ever did Sam….. but if you look at the progress photos from the Tassie Project on the blog you can see how it’s built/designed…

7 11 2019
leonard dieckmann


7 11 2019

A long hard slog, well done!

8 11 2019

Very nice! You’ve been busy (understatement of the year).

8 11 2019
Brendon Crook

Well done Mike, a fantastic effort. Glad you are all settling in

8 11 2019
Don Smith

H Mike,
Good to see that you have moved in. You have certainly been busy since I and my wife were there last march.
I remember building my house and moving in to live in what became the garage, workshop, laundry and store room. Every successive step was a welcome milestone, noticed as such and enjoyed, as I see you are with yours.

10 11 2019

congrats mike and glenda. lovely to see your progress on this blog.

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