We are now racing against the clock because winter is approaching and we have to get all the cement and brickwork completed before the temperatures start to fall towards freezing.
We designed the layout of the house that we wanted built and a Maestro Mayor de Obras designed the structural steel work that we would need. Looking at what happened in Japan and Chile recently we decided to implement the latest design of columns and footings to resist earthquake damage.
Tons of steelwork went into the house footings
The house will end up as a box made of reinforced concrete columns and beams infilled with bricks.
Our first lorry load of sand and gravel for the footings arrived and I was a bit worried that the temporary bridge would not hold its weight. It did and it was with a sigh of relief when the lorry tipped its load onto the farm.
The sand and gravel lorry crosses the temporary bridge into the farm
Unfortunately the lorry’s reverse gear had failed and he could not get out the way he entered. But we managed to get him across the farm and out of the main entrance in the end. (Later he turned up unexpectedly with a load of sand which we had not ordered. The whole front of the lorry was pushed in and the windscreen and glass windows were broken. He had had a head on collision with a van on the way to delivering to the wrong farm. Poor chap, not one of his best days).
The footings were poured and terminated above ground level so that the house could not flood if the irrigation ditch walls failed.
The raised footings
As the first building work started there were some additions we made to our original plans, such as adding a woodburner and a wood fired boiler.
Discussing the plans with the builder
Neighbours came to see how the construction was going on and also to see the house layout which is designed to blend in with the local houses here and will be a single storey house with a pitched roof.
Marcelo dropped in on his way past to see how we were doing
At the time of writing this we have not had any rain for over 4 months and no irrigation water for nearly 2 months. The well on our farm has dried up and we are borrowing water from a neighbour’s well in order to keep work on the house progressing. But the wild life is suffering from the drought most of all. I had a number of 6 or 7 litre plastic bottles filled with water and spread out around the farm so we could water trees such as the lemons and pecans. Every one of the bottles has had it’s top bitten off or the bottle itself punctured. I assume it is foxes, wild cats and feral dogs desperate for water which have done the damage.
Wild animals desperate for water have drained all these bottles