Sunday, 24 July 2011

One Ring Circus

Rose gives an insight into the fundamentals of living in the container, including cooking
'a la crate' on a tiny, single ring camping stove.

Juno watches from her usual spot atop the fridge,
as Rose scrambles to feed cats and humans, 'a la crate' .

When we signed up for the container we were well aware that of the facilities we would be lacking. We wouldn’t be able to shower, do any laundry or use an oven but….ignorance is bliss and the great kiwi attitude of "we’ll be right" prevailed.
The average evening sees me rush home before dark, before the ‘girls’ (my hens) have gone to bed. Chickens need feed in their crops before sleeping so they can produce eggs the next day. I’m not sure where this gem came from but I do my best to abide by it - whereas the chickens consistently fail to abide by their end of the bargain regarding eggs and we have a sporadic supply at best.

Cats need feeding and are usually keen to point this fact out, with Juno shouting and Ed and Monty waiting patiently for dinner to arrive. They all have their own spot and there is a sea of tails and cat bottoms while dinner is wolfed down, before they head outside to do what cats do (and haven’t been doing) all day!
Then it’s on to ‘people dinner’. A couple of years ago I bought a small single ring butane fuelled gas stove for cheese making, little knowing how dependant upon it we would later become.
We have the gas stove and one screw-on fitting for a gas canister, both fit on the bench quite happily and with a bit of careful juggling we manage to eat quite well.
The trick is the art of one pot cooking: stir-fry, curry, chilli, and lots of steak! The local supermarket is a frequent destination to grab something on the way home. We do have a very efficient gas fridge, which has a freezer the size of a small shoe box. This fridge freezer uses a 9kg gas bottle and produces a gentle exterior warmth which Juno has become addicted to - she is usually to be found stretched out on top of the fridge to taking full advantage of it.
Apart from this, we are also eternally grateful to our friends and neighbours with their very kind offers of a meal, and recently we even came home with a freshly baked loaf of bread!
We tend to accept any invitation with what probably seems like unseemly haste, but promise to repay everyone’s hospitality once we have a house of our own, again.

Chicken soup made on our one ring camping stove, and home made bread
from a generous neighbour.
Many friends have also offered us the use of their washing machines, which is incredibly generous. However, we try to abide by our resolve to not make anyone else suffer for our austere temporary lifestyle, so instead frequent a Laundromat at the service station in Carterton. Saturday or Sunday morning sees us piling all our dirty laundry into the car along with books and magazines and a snack or two for Al. Two washing machines and four industrial sized dryers mean we can be quite efficient and bring everything home dry. If the weather allows we have taken to using the fence as a washing line. Not sure what the neighbours think!
I have managed to do a few washes here, boiling the water on the stove, adding cold water from the water barrel outside and giving the garments my all by hand, but this can be very time consuming (and possibly taking the ‘Amish lifestyle’ just a little too far).

Our trooping of the colours - wash day at Little Bush.
Cleaning the container is as simple as sweeping the floor - out the door and we are done, my kind of cleaning! The vacuum cleaner is in storage, but apart from the odd scatter of feathers when the cats have managed to catch some wildlife the place stays reasonably clean. After nearly four months we have pared back our requirements and everything has a place.
I guess at this time of the year with the gas heater on and five bodies contained we end up with a bit of condensation. The weekends (assuming it’s not raining) see all the doors and windows open and the furniture pulled away from the walls for a general dry out, but generally we are very comfortable and keep warm and dry. There is nothing like snuggling up in bed, (usually covered in cats) and listening to the wind and rain or watching the moon rise through the bedroom window on clear nights.
Now approaching August, we have settled into a routine and with the house build beginning, the end is in distant sight. I’m sure we will look back on this experience fondly.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Al and Rose and Cats,

    came across your blog via the stuff site and have been an avid reader ever since.

    Feline belines for your new house - Could you have a feline door/flap in the long window over to the left (when facing North) in your living/dining space? With the modern glass the window should be be strong enough for kittycat doors.

    I so understand the concern for your cats as my rescue cat gets shut inside when I am out - he doesn't understand how to defend himself so has a litter tray inside all the time. This is cheaper and heart-achingly easier than him getting abscesses from other cat's bites, and dealing with his distress.

    On the plus side my Zebby Catis very affectionate and has a generous and very deeply pitched purr.

    Sending warm huggles and many puRRRumbles from Michelle/Mickle, special human to Zebby Cat - we're in Wellington City