setting up camp

Here’s a bit of an overview of the process I’ve been going through setting up my new moneyless, low impact home.

The little wagon arrived onsite (Martyn’s backyard) about a month ago and I’ve been chomping at the bit to get started on making my new home a home.

My very handy, hardworking, knowledgeable, generous Dad came to visit – he wanted to test out his new (second hand) campervan – and we chipped away at some jobs for a couple of days last week.

This is some of what we got up to……


The rainwater tank and stand: 

built using old timber found onsite, some old bricks, hand tools, a power drill charged on solar, and this old food grade container from a friend who was no longer using it – all set up to catch water coming off this old shed roof where, previously, the water was just running out onto the grass in the paddock……



The hot water system:

built using leftover black poly pipe and a daggy old sheet of corrugated iron noone was using anymore (which I painted with a white rust proofing paint a friend had sitting around for a few years but still OK), and some hand tools and a drill powered by solar power……



The deck:

built using old pallets and bits of timber found lying around onsite and with the use of hand tools – already wonderful for hanging out on with friends and family….



The kitchen:

comprising a camp cupboard from my parents that has become surplus to their needs, my new improved rocket stove using old bricks found onsite (we chipped the old mortar off) as well as a few donated by a friend, my wood box which is filled with offcuts and scraps of untreated pine from my friend’s building site around the corner and there’s my trusty thermos (had it for years and now when I heat up water in the morning on the rocket stove I can store some for cuppas throughout the day)…..



Even the kitchen sink:

my lovely friend, Martyn, saw this on the side of the road and had it picked up by a neighbour and delivered to become my preloved kitchen sink – it’s a beauty!!



I love the feeling of adventure when, without money, I am forced to use what is available – usually waste materials. Someone once referred to me as a Womble! 

My Dad did spend $12 to buy some second hand fittings for the tank which I will happily write off as a birthday present. They were, thankfully, bought from the seconds/secondhand hardware shop just up the road. We rode the bikes there – one of the main reasons I made the decision to move into town – easy access to people and places using low impact methods of travel.

I’ll keep posting the adventures as they continue. The inside of the wagon is next on my agenda. Can’t wait!










9 thoughts on “setting up camp

  1. Jo, it looks fabulous. What an improvement from lasts setup at the farm, eh? Also, you came far from when I briefly popped in last time. I can’t wait to check it out!!! Good on you for showing us in detail what you did and how (and with what means) – that’s really helpful. Woman, you are true to your name: Low Impact.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hello Jo, Great innovations everywhere! I love the hot water heater. Have you had a chance to use it? How does it go? The sink is a cracker and I love the drain bucket. Bit confused about calling it a wagon…is it on wheels? It looks like a cabin or a shack to me 😀 Happy times

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the water does heat up although a bit earlier in the day than I would normally like to use it so I’ll experiment with storing it for a couple of hours. The wagon is indeed a wagon with wheels. I’m on a flood plain so will have to be able to move at any time. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmmm, you could put a strong timber frame around the coil. Nail the tin sheet well to the back of the frame. Fill the frame with sand (dry and salt free) burrying the coil within it to create thermal mass and then add a sheet of glass to keep rain out of it. Thta should store the heat of the sun from late morning right through to late night. There are probably other ways to do that but this is one way to store the sun easily and for free if you are lucky enough to be able to get a nice thickish plate of glass in a size you need. May be check skips at shop fitouts. The often throw away shop front glass, doors, glass shelving and loads of timber all of which could be very handy indeed.

        Nice that you can move it should the need ever come. Typical houses yeah just get flooded 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Heres the thing Jo, this will work well in summer when the sun is strong enough to overcome the sand’s inertia and heat up by lunchtime. In winter it may just not be enough strength in the sun to heat up that volume of sand to any appreciable temperature. You may need a second collector that has half the volume of sand… that should warm up faster but will result in less hot water as it has less stored heat in total. In winter you need a much bigger surface area exposed to the sun. Much bigger but less sand in depth. Hope that makes sense.


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