Produce No Waste: A Case Study in Building a Pig Shelter

One of the first skills we teach our interns is how to pull and straighten nails.

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 5.43.39 am

Some interns describe this as the Karate Kid induction to Kaitiaki Farm, and call me ‘Mr. Miyagi’.

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 6.04.06 am

Critics have challenged the notion straightening and reusing nails when they are so cheap to buy in the shops, but to me the intent and process go to the heart of permaculture. A huge amount of permaculture can be distilled into one word: mindfulness. Most of the permaculture principles are simply different ways to say, “Be mindful of…” Perhaps no more so than Produce No Waste.

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 6.27.17 am

I bought some second-hand trusses this week from Reclaimed Timber Traders – an amazing social enterprise in Palmerston North that diverts construction demolition material from landfill and resells it to the public. I got a good price because they had not yet pulled the nails themselves.

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 5.43.59 am

Along with some pre-loved 4x2s and roofing iron we carried the trusses down the hill to the plateau near our hives.

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 5.43.16 am

Reusing the trusses made building the pig shelter quick and easy. As I told our interns, Dani and Felicity, “The key to building is a dry head, dry feet and diagonal bracing.”

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 5.42.35 am

We made sure that the iron overhung all of the timber, that we blocked the structure off the ground with off-cuts of treated pine, and we braced it in all directions. “We are not building for a beautiful, calm day like today,” I told them. “Imagine a gale southerly blowing in the middle of the night. That’s what we’re building for.”

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 5.40.52 am

The whole job took less than three hours from off-the trailer to completion – all while entertaining a three-year-old boy and six goats. The pigs paid us little interest, but hopefully they’ll appreciate the final product made entirely of reused materials save for the roofing screws.

Screen Shot 2018-05-27 at 5.41.34 am

The 2.7 metre by 2.0 metre shelter cost a total of about $40.

Peace, Estwing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s