uncovering the future
The big well drilling machine arrived the other day.
It is huge. And next to it, an even larger generator to run it.
Since we moved in,
we’ve been doing things very minimally,
mostly by hand, using machinery as little as possible.
And now that this monstrous thing has showed up,
I feel intimidated by the sheer size and scale of it;
and I guess the noise will be more than the sight of it.
However, we trust the man we hired,
and hope that he is able to find Aqua Nascente:
Spring water, drinkable water, on the hillside right above our house.
He seems fairly sure that he will be successful,
and once the artesian well is dug,
our water worries will be over.
(The previous system had an unpredictable flow,
required almost weekly maintenance,
and was agricultural irrigation water from the Mira river,
which flowed from Santa Clara lake in the mountains.
Although unpolluted, it was surface flowing and not pure.
And it ran through many farms, some that are larger, agrochemical farms.)
Also, we will be able to use the artesian well
for both our house and the guesthouse in the rebuilt ruin,
as well as having faucets for the outdoor kitchen,
and perhaps an outdoor shower stall.
As an update for rebuilding the ruin,
we met with eco-architects today
to discuss our construction possibilities.
They specialize in low-impact design,
utilizing native materials, including taipa and adobe.
I’m hoping we can reuse and reinforce the existing walls,
as I really like their antiquated, from-the-earth, aesthetic.
And they seem think it is possible.
They design and build with their own-made materials:
including earthen bricks and tile, as well as reclaimed roof tiles,
and custom windows and doors from reclaimed wood.
Their office is a testing ground for various materials and techniques,
so it was a really fun and informative visit.
One of the architect, João, agreed to come for a site-visit next week.
At that point, we’ll have a better idea of what of the ruin we can reuse.
In order to get clearer photos for the architects,
I spent hours cutting away blackberry bushes from the exterior walls.
On the second day, I uncovered a small stone and brick structure.
Yesterday I cut away to reveal an old outdoor bread oven,
with a cool domed brick interior.
Although it was covered in blackberries,
the side and back vents still seem clear,
but the front will need some rebuilding.
I was planning on building a traditional outdoor bread oven,
as they are great for my homemade pizzas and flatbread,
and keep the house cool during the long summer months.
And it is in a great location.
since it is only a few meters from the ruin,
where we hope to put a grape arbored terrace.
The architects have designed and built several terraces and arbors,
including some using antique timbers.
I’ve got to clear away more of the blackberries this weekend,
so that proper measurements can be taken next week.
On our return from the architects,
our hearts were broken…
To begin with, the sound and vibration are awful.
And we feel guilty for the disturbance to all our animal neighbors,
especially the moles that have tunnels near the digging site.
To move the well-digging machinery into place,
the laborers drove the trucks through our front yard,
tearing up huge patches of our land.
And after a certain point in the drilling,
the drill began sputtering out a grey slick spray,
which began running down the property,
like a polluted stream through our little Shangri-La.
It seems to be a thick layer on the surface, like foamy oil slick,
but had begun to pool and puddle halfway down the front yard.
After the men left, Mohamed cut a trench to divert the flow,
and after nightfall, it began to rain,
so we are anxious and unsure about
the state of our yard come morning.
We spent part of the afternoon in shock,
wondering if this well was the right thing to do,
because we never intended to pollute our yard,
and fear it will take more than the mushrooms we brought
to heal the damage that this machinery is causing.
Luckily, the architects are low-impact and environmentally-sensitive,
which has been the silvery lining in what would otherwise have been a nightmare.