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German meets wife in Greece on his way to a homestead in Tennessee: dream home ideas, and sources.

Countryside: Again another good issue of your magazine, and happily I was able to contribute some help for some of the readers in the contacts section.

Full of inspiration, I also felt like writing. I am a native German, met my wife Diane in Greece and followed her over the big water to Chicago, where we spent an exciting five years as renters getting interested in plants, with a small courtyard garden.

In 1986 destiny had us catapulted to the midsouth, into a trailer community 30 miles east of Memphis, Tennessee. The dream was independent country living and six years later we are still dreaming.

Nevertheless, we have become plant-addicted, bought five acres of land only three miles from our present home, and are in the process of dividing, propagating and moving our beloved 100 x 100 foot garden into the new five acre future homesite.

We purchased the acreage in 1988 and since then battled brush, kudzu (the southern nightmare from Japan), Japanese honeysuckle, and small unwanted trees. This was all done with our four (combined) hands and arms. In 1990 a dozer helped us dig a pond for waterplants, fish and our hot bodies to swim in during the summer months.

Continuously we are replanting with native midsouth plants, shrubs, trees and fruit and nut trees, but some exceptions are allowed, like my favorite, the figs (I love them).

Now we have to pass another three-year waiting period to allow us to start our home construction, which might be just a blessing since in the last year we went from earthsheltered to hyperinsulated pole construction.

But this is where I would like to pass on some addresses for readers (located at the end of this letter), because last year's search has opened my eyes on alternative construction and alternative energy, plus alternative water and sewer treatment.

Our "dream home" will be pole construction, placed on a sloping hillside above our little pond with no room for a sewer or septic system. It will be run by 800 watt solar modules and an equal-size battery bank. It will be all 110 volt in the house except a 12 volt refrigerator, 110 volt supplied by inverter(s). Some addresses on solar electric follow.

The toilet will be a composting unit with two commodes. The graywater, washing, dishes, etc., will be watering through a catchdraw directly to the garden. Presently we are testing this very successfully with biodegradable soaps; our backyard gets it all and the plants are very happy. Several readers have requested info on composting toilets -- addresses later.

The house will be built with a grid of poles, similar to utility poles, but with different treatments (not creosol). The pole construction is earthquake proof, ideal for slopes, and gives us flexibility with the inside walls, which are not load bearing. On top of that we can use stress-skin panels which have no fiberglass in them and are like a sandwich. For walls: plywood, foam, drywall; floor: plywood, foam, plywood. These panels can really hyperinsulate our home, and are environmentally responsible.

As much as possible we will try heating with low-pollution woodburners and cooling with ventilation, which we are still studying. Most appealing so far is a so-called "solar chimney" which will draw air through the house. But we also are looking at a brand new option for us for the hot months, which is a propane gas-run air-conditioning unit, or geo-thermal heat pump.

In any event, this new way of approaching all these very interesting subjects is very educational and rewarding, and will hopefully go in the right direction for us, which is not only home-steading but also responsible and conservative living.

Here are all the promised addresses; and good luck to all of you out there. You make me feel sane and that this world has hope, and excuse my bad English, it is after all my second language. -- (Your English is fine--but we can't read your name!)

Midwest Panel Systems, PO Box 38, Blissfield, MI 49228, (517) 4864844, Fax 486-2056.

Foam Products Corporation, PO Box 2217, Maryland Heights, MO 630453, (314) 739-8100, Fax 739-8112.

Fischer Corporation, 1843 Northwestern Pkwy., Louisville, KY 40203, (502) 778-5577, Fax 778-5581.

North American Panel Systems, RD 1 Box 56B, Westmoreland, NH 03467, (603) 352-9994, Fax 352-6546.

Engineered Panel Technologies, PO Box 120427, Nashville, TN 37212, (615) 254-1381, Fax 726-3767.

Magazine on Earth-friendly construction gets recommendation

Countryside: Someone asked about regenerative magazines. I would like to recommend a newsletter Building With Nature, which provides information and networking for healthier, back to basics construction. The editor is an environmentally aware architect and many articles relate to countryside living. The address: Building With Nature, PO Box 369, Gualala, CA 95445. -- R. G. Quick, Charlotte, NC
COPYRIGHT 1993 Countryside Publications Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:pole construction home
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Previous Article:Accomplishing the dream.
Next Article:Growing up during the Depression: also, some 'secrets' for making whole wheat bread.

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