The house was built in the early 80s under a pre-existing hayshed. This confers all the advantages of living under a huge roof which include fire safety, generous water catchment, and protection from summer sun, not to mention masses of storage area and no need for separate garages.
We have 12 solar panels and solar hot water. We recently installed double glazing in the downstairs living rooms and are working on fixing our draughts. In winter our wood heater is the only heating we use (with wood from the property). We cook on the wood stove and, thanks to a recently installed hot water jacket, it heats our hot water too. We have a composting toilet so no precious water is wasted in flushing. All the grey water is used on the property on fruit trees and the worm farm.
We are self sufficient in water with 15,000 gallons of drinking water, 20,000 gallons of dedicated fire fighting water and 4 dams on the property. We grow all our own fruit and vegetables all year round and have both a compost heap and a worm farm capable of producing 5 tonnes of castings a year. We keep chooks and bees.
On Black Saturday, the entire property was burned, tho we managed to save the house itself. Afterwards, with huge help from family and our community, we built a 40m x 8 m rammed earth shed as workshop, storage etc. Since the clay for the build came from the site and the sand from 2 km away, the shed looks as if it has always been here (which, you could say, it has): building it used up very few “building materials miles” .
We have extensive plantings of indigenous vegetation as we collect and sell seed from indigenous understory plants for revegetation projects.
There will be tours every half hour of some of the house’s sustainable features, the orchard, food garden and rammed earth shed. Please wear robust shoes and warm clothes if you wish to take the tour on Sustainable House Day (and who wouldn’t!). And, as this is a farming area, we ask you to leave your dog(s) at home.
Hugh and Katie Finlay, local organic orchardist and owners of the Grow Great Fruit Home Study Program will be giving orchard tours at Clearwind at 1100 and 12.00. This is a great chance to hear from these outstanding teachers.
Our grandsons will be giving popup talks on various topics of sustainability during the day. There will be extensive displays on various aspects of sustainability for visitors to browse on the day.
There will be refreshments available all day. The proceeds from the sale of refreshments and the gold coin entry donation will all go to Sanfilippo Children’s Foundation which is seeking a cure for this currently fatal disease of children.
STOP PRESS!! Sunshine is forecast for Sunday, but it is WET underfoot. Please either wear sturdy shoes, or bring a spare pair to change into.
Photographer: Claudine Collins