The new pavilion at pointReturn

The local contractor who had undertaken to deliver and skin the poles on site, went incommunicado for two days after delivering 500 poles. When the skinning crew of four arrived on Day3, the poles had dried out quite a bit. They upped the asking rate per piece in view of the hard work. The season of scorching days had begun and skinning became slow. I called Ravi. He suggested I dump all the poles in the pond and draw them out for skinning, one by one. As simple as that.

Only the pile of poles were 200′ from the pond and each weighed between 10 and 20 kg. Sami the farm hand on a retainer, took one look at the hard chore, and made him himself scarce. So Raju, Chellamma, Annamalai, and Myself – a motley crew unsuited to the task in terms of both skill and muscle- began dragging the poles. Working with suppressed bad humour under a pitiless sun we managed to dump all the poles in the water.

The skinning did become easy. You could fairly peel a poles like a banana. We were ready with 500 bald poles by the date set by Ravi. I reported my readiness to him. His response curled like a warning smoke: there were some difficulties with sourcing granite posts. There would be a few days delay. After a ‘few’ days the issue was truly on fire. General Elections had been called in India and officials were afoot ensuring a ‘safe’ public order. Explosives for the quarry industry were throttled and granite posts went unavailable within a few days. After a week, Ravi declared all his leads were turning cold and he was not sure when he would begin work.

The poles were lying about where the skinners left them. In a week termites put in an appearance.

I called Ravi. He said: “Build a loft on top of four granite posts and hoist the 500 poles over for safe keeping”. As simple as that! The motley crew was at work again. I had the required granite posts lying around. We augured four holes, built a loft and began dragging the poles back for their return journey. Over three days that seemed would never end, the poles were hoisted and saved.

There they rested for seven weeks. Ravi and I knocked on every possible source of granite posts. Those must count as busy days too. Finally on April 21, paying a premium, we managed to corner the requisite numbers and work began. 13 wonderfully experienced workers arrived, each a master. They set up a kitchen and camped with the barest facilities. And they worked hard. Every evening they’d go off campus for their rendezvous with moonshine. The days were 40degC+ but the men were hardy and diligent.

6 thoughts on “The new pavilion at pointReturn

  1. Hi Satya,
    While Jatropha is great, it helps to mix a few more varieties (may be Nochi and Adathoda) to the mix to minimise damage from pests to the fence. Also it helps to have a multi layer fence if protection from wind is an important factor.
    Jatropha will take approx. 18 months to reach a heaight of 5 feet.
    If your friend doesn’t mind a long read, our experience with hedge plants is written up here.

  2. satya…
    try jatropha curcas, the same one they are promoting as a biodiesel plant. i am not enthusiastic about such a role for it but it grows easy, fast and dense enough to make a good fencing material

  3. Hi DV,

    Congrats on completing the pavilion. I wen through your bill of materials.I found the granite stakes are much cheaper in and around hyderabad(Probably due to rocky area).

    BTW Would you know good hedge plants for the boundary. One my friends recently started a project similar to your’s .He wants to plant hedge plants around the boundary to protect plantation like papaya from wind. Particularly he is looking for goat proof hedge plants which can be grown quickly to a height of at least 6 feet.

    Satya Sunkara

  4. Dear Mr. Sreedharan,
    Hearty congrats on this green castle. We’d built a 1000 sq ft community center using similar material and hand made bricks. That was difficult enough but your project is much more challenging. Thank you very much for sharing these hard-to-find-outside-Auroville details.
    BTW, there seems to be a WordPress attack going on and users are advised to upgrade immediately to version 2.8.4.

  5. Hello Mr. DV,

    Thanks a lot for posting this latest article. It gave lot of info. Congratulations for completing such a big structure! what are future plans? I mean, I read the permeaculture details and June status but good if you can share some major milestones you are visualizing.

    Best wishes!
    – Kedar

  6. Dear DV,
    Great to hear that the Pavilion is ready and it is eco friendly. It is amazing that you have so much zing to do these wishes for the pavilion. sarath

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