Joya: ecology systems / swales
 Yesterday’s storm illustrates just how the Joya: swale construction works. Rainfall has been retained and over time this will accumulate under ground providing a humidity reservoir for the coming plantation this winter.    

Yesterday’s storm illustrates just how the Joya: swale construction works. Rainfall has been retained and over time this will accumulate under ground providing a humidity reservoir for the coming plantation this winter. 

 

Simon Beckmann
Joya: ecology systems / swale construction / (part one)
 

Here at Joya: AiR (Cortijada Los Gázquez) we have initiated a long held plan to start restoring the agricultural land that we own within the Parque Natural Sierra María Los Vélez.

This starts with the construction of two concentric 'swales' and 'berms' around the residency built on perfect contour...

 
 

To build a swale and a berm big enough to achieve its aims in this alpine desert climate we are estimating that the construction needs to be 1 m deep by 2 m wide. The berm is just under a meter high. To build on contour we use an A frame with a spirit level attached...

 

We marked with canes each step of the A frame keeping the two legs at all times level. There were idiosyncrasies with the line for irregular bums but these were ironed out afterwards. To check the level of the line we used an altimeter set to a very fine setting to confirm the accuracy of our circles...

 A frame in action...

A frame in action...

 

The next step is to bring in a heavy excavator to dig the hard clay and sedimentary limestone. As the excavator proceeded along the line we had mapped we also checked the accuracy of the excavation with the A frame (you can see it in the image).

 checking the accuracy of the contoured excavation with the A frame...

checking the accuracy of the contoured excavation with the A frame...

 

The purpose of the swale and berm is to put the brakes on any water run off, capturing the water in the swale, creating a small underground water resource...

 

The next steps are to finish the swales with a rake and hoe, checking the levels all the time. After this they are to be seeded with native plants such as aromatics, grasses and perennials to hold on to the earth structure avoiding erosion.

Will be back soon with an update...

Photovoltaics #2
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Here at Joya: AiR we have just augmented our existing wind turbine and ‘tracker’ photovoltaic combo with an additional six new static panels. This means short winter days are now longer with the extra energy to light the house carbon free... 

 

Simon Beckmann
Photovoltaics #1
 Here we are preparing the foundations for an additional 1620 Watts of photovoltaic panels to be installed at Joya: los gázquez later this month. It’s part of our program to be continually distanced from emitting carbon into the atmosphere.

Here we are preparing the foundations for an additional 1620 Watts of photovoltaic panels to be installed at Joya: los gázquez later this month. It’s part of our program to be continually distanced from emitting carbon into the atmosphere.

Don’t know what photovoltaic panels are...?  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photovoltaics

Simon Beckmann
Joya: artists talks / Gill Ord
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English painter Gill Ord talking to other resident artists about her practice. Talks given by resident artists are a regular event at Joya: AiR  in the ‘comedor’ before supper...

Simon Beckmann