BUILDING THE FOOD STORAGE “CAVE”

Future site..

A number of years ago I began planning and building a root cellar/cold storage room off the back of the water tank room, behind the greenhouse.  This spot gets the least amount of sun most of the cooler part of the year and so is a natural for a root cellar..even though the structure is only half in the ground. During the time of the year that it is used for storage of summer bounty, the suns low angle is glancing off the north-facing roof-line, and all the cement, stone and ceramic keep it noticeably  cooler even on the warmest summer days when the solar angle is more overhead.  The orchard and garden produce a large enough amount of fruit and vegetables that  require a good-sized space to keep cool before and after we process by canning, juicing, drying, etc.  All year ’round it will be used to keep the homemade wine, cider and beer dark and cool.  The supply storage area in the adjacent water-tank room is perfect for keeping all the extra boxes, bottles, canning jars etc., and is easily accessed through the double-door hatch from inside the cave.

Mike and Trev discuss framing
My son Dakota and I dug the earth out and poured a cement slab ..then built cinder block partial walls that would later hold the framing above.  When Michael picked up construction in the spring of ’09, we framed the structure and then roofed it.  We decided to roof  the storage room and master bedroom and bath at the same go, keeping architectural continuity visually.  In the years since, it was insulated, mostly sided, and sheeted inside with scraps of cement board from my tile contracting business attached to the framing, then skim coated with cement troweled over fiber-glass cloth and foam-filled metal mesh to round all the corners for effect.
The 'wwoofin' crew at work
Mike and Leena roofing the storage room
With the help of many willing wwoofer hands, over the last two years the inside has been tiled in a “broken mosaic” using scraps from my tile biz.

Margaret helps create
Alot of work

It feels great to be using all the cuts and waste of tile that normally would have ended up in a land fill..and creating a beautiful and  functional  piece of art.  Walls, ceiling and floor have been creatively,  and painstakingly formed into an amazing space by the different artists spending many long hours adding their own flair with pieces of broken ceramic and stone.

Rock begins
Harley and Eric start the floor
Blending in rock around the base that was carefully “tuck-pointed” to hide the mortar, and sized from smaller at the top to large at the floor appearing as it were falling out of the walls, it creates both a corner seat and the rest for the split log step to the  supply/tank-room.

Looking in
Handmade door

Now finished, with a hand-made and round-top door, it is a beautiful and  important addition to the farm, and holds not only what it was planned to, but also many great memories.

Stocked!