Hi. We started to rent an old house in Ootoyo Kochi from January 2018.
This place has nothing in a good way and a place where we can get back to basics.
Therefore, we named this house “the house of origin”.
I wrote a bit too much so if you have little time, please read “3. The House of Origin”.
What is the house like?
Nobody was living in this house for 10years.
The house is at the end of the narrow and steep uphill.
Very quiet place where nobody lives close to the house.
About 300 meters above the sea level.
We can use electricity. There used to be water supply but we stopped since we can use spring water.
Very often, wild boars, deers, and Japanese monkeys visit this place. This house is called “monkey house” from the people who knows this place well since a group of monkey often shows up.
The house is old but fortunately the wall and the roof has no damage. Therefore, we did not need to fix the house before living.
The life here with only electricity supply is totally different from city life. No water supply and no gas.
I dreamed of the life like this so I’m very satisfied with this house!
Life in this house
Little by little, we cleaned up. Below is the layout of the house.
I made a pothook at the fireplace. For making it, I used bamboo and a wood of cherry tree from the mountain at the back of my house, and an old T-shirt for string. For the tool I used; a saw, a chisel, and a hammer. No cost and no electricity used. Other than a T-shirt, I used all natural materials. I want to make it more fashionable but so far I’m satisfied with this.
Here is my next plan.
＊From easiest difficulty level
1. Make an attic
2. Remove a 6-tatami mat sized wooden floor and create an earth floor.
- Make an attic
- Remove a 6-tatami mat sized wooden floor and create an earth floor. (Currently, there is no kitchen in the house so make firewood kitchen and dish washing place.)
- Change the wooden wall to earth wall. (The existing wall is thin and wind come into the house so change the wall to earth wall and want to improve insulation and heat retention. )
- Create heating system for winter.（Floor heating? Rocket stove?)
Once the above mentioned things are done, we could live more comfortably all year around!
Current project is mainly water and garden.
Adding to these, I need a work in the mountain.
First of all, water, which is one of the top priorities.
In the old days, people in this house used spring water from the mountain behind it.
Below link is the article about this.
I will write details about this in the different article. But anyways, I found old water vain and cleaned and spring water came back!!
We are fortunate enough to use the spring water from the back of our house!
There are mainly 2 gardens in the property (see below picture).
However, Garden2 is too big and too steep for using as a garden.
Since we cannot use the garden now, leave the grasses grow and improving the soil.
We are currently trying growing vegetables at Garden1.
However, this is our first try to grow vegetable in this kind of place.
It seems the soil is cray, no leaf mold, and poor.
Added to the above mentioned, I’m trying no tilling, no fertilizer, no weeding so I’m having a hard timing growing crops.
Anyways, I’m enjoying by discovering many interesting things!
First, I made spiral herb garden!
My neighbor and friend, Shota, helped us making the garden.
We made this in March 31, 2018. Now, pepper mint, holy basil, sweet basil, italian parcely, lemon berm and coriander.
Some of the herbs as cumin and thyme, it did not even come out but the herbs as a whole very strong so no need to care a lot. I do some watering when the leaves seems not healthy but other than that I’m leaving them and they looks great!
This herb garden, I made a radius of 60cm. This is because I can reach to the center part of the garden.
However, once the herbs grow thick, it seems the place is too small.
Next time I try making it, I want to double the size.
Also, I made the garden like the below picture.
There is not a lot of grasses growing in this picture (March) but from June (rainy season) grasses grow very rapidly.
I just used the rocks for making the garden. I planted some seeds for spring and summer vegetables.
I planted many kinds of seeds but some learning from what I did.
- Potatos and sweet potatos grow anywhere but wild animals eat them. (I planted one of the potatoes in the middle of weeds but all are gone. I know it will be very difficult to grow crops by not using fence. But I want to try coexistence with wild animals..)
- Wild animals also eat taros but much less damage than potatoes and sweet potatoes.
- Even garlic and chives are food for wild animals.
- Okra is very easy to grow. (Bugs and animals don’t eat them. Grow very well.)
- Most of the crop I grew, they bear fruits while they are still small. (Our okra is around 50 to 60cm height but usually it grows at least 1m. Maybe because nutritionally poor? or small number of microbes?)
- Too much nutrition is also bad. Only height grow and slow in bearing the fruits. (I made compost from January 2018. I planted tomato plant in June as an experiment and it reached more than 2m but still not bearing fruits..)
This is very important but it needs time.
What I want to do is..
- Improve the soil environment by making ditches and air holes.
(Since water retaining capacity of the mountain is low, it seems the soil environment is not good.)
- Plant more broad leaf trees (also fruit trees).
(By doing this, I want to recover the good condition of the mountain. It is good for preventing land slide. Also, able to supply food for wild boars and monkeys.)
By doing the above mentioned, it might be possible to create the border between wild animals and human like as it was in the past. Also we as a human can have a gift from mountain.
And, feature of our house is this!!
This also made with Shota and it took us around 6 hours making it.
Very exciting swing. More than you imagined.
It was very scary to climb up and work on making this.
House of Origin
I hope you can have an image of our lifestyle by reading so far.
I still want to write more but I need to stop now.
Through the life in this house, I often feel..
the life close to nature is satisfying and full of happiness!!
Everyday, I can check the weather by seeing the sky.
Go outside and be able to see vegetables and flowers growing.
Watch birds and insects.
Feel the earth by touching the soil.
Cook what we grow.
If I want anything, I make it by the natural materials close by.
Even not convenient, nor wealthy, I feel satisfying somehow.
Since I start the life like this, I can live in peace in my mind.
The life that is no need to rush, no need to spend much money.
I think there is the basic lifestyle of human being in this house.
Therefore, we named this house, “the house of origin”.
There are below two meanings.
The house where there is an lifestyle of origin of human being, that is no pressed for time and money before the industrial revolution
The place where our family starts our challenge
The rule of this house is to live in an environmentally friendly to the limit.
We need to be extreme if we want to experience “origin” of human being!
By the way, we were living in this house from January to March 2018 but for some reason, we live in a different house temporarily and looking for another place (base) to live.
Therefore, we go “house of orgin” around twice a week and do what we want in a slow pace.
If you are interested in this house, please let us know! You are welcome to stay with us if schedule allows! ^_^
Thank you so much for reading this article.