Compost Toilet in the making

I recently spent a month in West Cork, a small town called Skibereen, in the Republic of Ireland. I stayed with a woman who advertised for some help with the garden on HelpX. As well as my gardening tasks I built her this composting toilet. Unfortunately I didn’t get to finish before I left but I managed to get this up in 2 days, all from recycled materials. There are some blocks I found laying around in the garden for a level foundation, then a pallet, and the structure was made from an old shed that blew down in a recent storm. Nestled behind her existing shed, just outside the back door, she will be able to start reducing her dependence on her septic tank and flushing toilets, saving precious water, while creating a mighty good compost for her fruit trees.

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Cerenity Stoup

For last night’s dinner Ben, one of the other volunteers here at Cerenity, and I decided to create a soup completely out of fruits, vegetables and other edible organic matter growing onsite. With a great deal of enthusiasm we collected as much of a variety of ingredients as possible hoping that our one-pot wonder would provide a tasty treat for the other volunteers. And, as it turned out, it was amazing!

Our soup contained;

  • Potatoes from the vegetable patch,
  • Tomatoes from the polytunnel,
  • Some cooking apples,
  • Garlic from the vegetable patch,
  • Blackberries from the hedges,
  • Mushrooms found in the field,
  • Courgettes from the vegetable patch,
  • Carrots from the vegetable patch,
  • Chives from the herb garden,
  • Coriander from the herb garden,
  • Nettle Leaves growing around the vegetable patch,
  • and some kale.

So ALL of the ingredients come from the ground of the camp site grounds. All together and chopped up it looked like this…

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Once it was all chopped up and chucked in the Dutch Oven we filled it with water to cover and left it to cook for an hour over a fire using a fire tripod.

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We then sat there in the rain around the fire watching our meal cook. It was a massive success, everyone enjoyed it and we decided to call it ‘Cerenity Stoup’ because we don’t quite know if it is a soup or a stew. It was immensely satisfying knowing that our ‘stoup’ was completely derived from the land so it is needless to say that we will try to do more of these meals in the future.

A Sense of Community

It has been 7 days since I left the comforts of a brick house, hot water and a comfy bed in exchange for a one-man tent in a field, compost toilets and solar showers; and despite the few days of heavy rain and chilly nights I am becoming quite accustomed to my new outdoor lifestyle.

My days usually consist of getting up around 7-730ish and opening up the little cafe on the campsite (which will now probably remain closed for the winter due to a lack of campers) at 8am, cooking some bacon, eggs and sausages mainly for the volunteers and then packing that up when we are done eating. There are no set times or schedules, things just kind of get done when we want to do things…but things still get done! Then once the cafe is shut up I will usually find something else to do which may be to prepare some firewood or help out in some way with one of the may projects currently running. Today I am clearing some overgrowth to make room for a new chalet that is being built as a hang-out area for the volunteers over the winter.

Even without the promise of a financial reward for my time I am still very motivated to complete the required tasks and to help out wherever I can. I think that the motivation is coming from being a part of this small community of nomadic eco-conscience volunteers and just wanting to provide some value. There is such an amazing group of people here and there are people coming and going. Since arriving an English girl has joined us and in the next couple of days a couple of people will be leaving. I really look forward to having new volunteers show up to hear their stories of travel and share opinions and views on different topics.

I think that the best part about being here is that when I share my ideas and thoughts, or talk about the things I want to do, or skills I would like to learn, they are generally embraced and discussed with open minds. I truly feel like I have found people who have a similar outlook when it comes to the environment, simple living, travel and self-sufficiency.

I hope to upload some photos soon.

My new home…

It has taken me four days to decided to connect the internet. Not because I felt that I needed it but because I wanted to share my last few days with my family and some of my close friends.

I am having an amazing time here thus far. As I am writing this post I am sitting in the animal shed surrounded by barns with goats bleating, dew drops falling from the trees and an ex-race horse staring at me from across the way.

It is really quite beautiful here and really laid back. Celli, the manager, is awesome…gave us all the day off yesterday and we all went down to a little town called Boscastle, then on to Bosiney and then to Tintagel where we went rock jumping in to the little cove overlooked by, what is believed to be, King Arthurs Castle and a load of spectators. One of the cats has just joined me, named Habibti…which is Arabic for ‘My Love’ 🙂 The water was bloody cold but the excitement kind of overwhelmed us all.

Here with me are two French guys, an Aussie girl who is jam-packed with personality, a German, a Kiwi and a couple of English. Apparently more volunteers are joining us in the coming week.

Cornwall is a seriously beautiful part of England and I can’t wait to see some more of it.

A new chapter begins…

I actually wrote this post a few days ago but I have been in no rush to get connected to the internet so I am only just posting it.

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So today marks the beginning of a new adventure for me; a new chapter in my life. This morning at 9am I walked out of the home that I have been living for the last 14ish months with nothing more than a backpack and my didgeridoo. Now, away from the comforts of a memory foam mattress and 4 walls I am in a tent in a field where I will be for the next 2 months, minimum.

The day began with breakfast and a coffee with 2 beautiful friends before I caught the 1220 bus from Exeter in Devon to Bude on Cornwall’s north coast. Then after a 20 minute walk I arrived at the Cerenity Eco Campsite where I am now a volunteer. I was greeted by the owner, the manager (the daughter), and 7 other volunteers. I instantly felt welcomed!

After the initial hellos and where are you froms I pitched my tiny one-man tent for the first time. It’s a cool looking tent…very cosy. Only just enough room for me once my backpack is in. Tea was another rustic treat…jacket potatoes cooked in the fire with some tuna, sweetcorn and mayo all mashed up.

It is everything I had hoped for and more! Working with animals, outdoors, and with some cool people from around the world. An awesome introduction to the world of HelpXing.