Bine’s (wine) cellar
Something my hubby dreamed about for a long time was building a cellar out of stone. For us, building with stone is the cheapest solution as it is free building material. We have plenty of rock and stone here (see my post »Rock and stone« from 26 July last year ;)).
You can imagine that building with stone is not the easiest job. It is actually a very hard job! You obviously don’t only use small pieces of stone, but mostly large pieces that can weigh 50 kilos or more. Luckily I have a strong man ;).
The project already started in June of 2019 when we had the hole dug out. We are lucky that one of the villagers bought his own excavator a few years ago, so it did not have to come from far. The excavation was done in a few afternoons and then we immediately had a whole pile of »building material« lying around :).
Bine started building the walls in February of 2020. Every free day, when the weather was good, he worked for a few hours and often a whole day on the weekends. He started by collecting stones from the pile of soil that the excavator had made behind the dug hole. He had to scoop away the sand and dirt, load the stones into the wheelbarrow and bring them down. Each stone then had to be thoroughly hosed down with a high-pressure cleaner because if dirt remains on it, the cement will of course not adhere. Then it is a matter of throwing down cement and finding the right stone that fits that spot. So a lot of puzzling. Sometimes you have 6 or 7 different stones in your hands before you find the right one. And the higher the wall, the harder the work. Every stone must be lifted up.
Slowly but surely the walls »grew« into something that began to resemble a cellar :). Bine wanted to divide the cellar into two separate rooms. The front part a bit larger to be able to stand with some people to drink wine or beer, the rear part smaller, intended for storage, among other things for my weck jars that I hope to be able to fill again this summer (see my post »Preserving vegetables« from 10 August 2020). That is why an intermediate wall had to be built as well.
What he also wanted was to find an original old, wooden door to put in the cellar. He had been looking for a while on the internet and in the area, but often people ask a considerable amount of money for it. Most of the time, of course, those doors are antique. Ultimately, the solution came very close to home, namely from our new neighbor. He has bought the old house on the other side of the dirt road and because he wants to build a new house there, the old one will be demolished. And luckily it had just such a door in there! Bine was allowed to break it out and use it for his cellar. He bricked in the doorposts so that they are firmly attached.
Finally, the basement could be closed up last November by pouring a concrete ceiling. This will be covered with a special waterproofing material on top, 5 cm of styrofoam and then soil where we then sow grass. So the cellar will be completely underground.
Last Christmas I bought a wine barrel for Bine and he finally had it filled at the neighbor’s house last week. He then carried the almost full barrel (40 liters) home with the help of belts strapped around his shoulders :D. I was laughing so hard when I saw him waddling up, hahaha.
Anyway, the filled barrel is in the cellar, and they have already poured their first glasses. In time, we are going to “dress up” the cellar some more. For example, we have an old, oak wine barrel that comes from the cellar of Bine’s deceased parents, and it will be placed in it with a round top on it so that we can use it as a table. We also have other, old utensils that we found in our old house, and they will also get a nice place there. If you are ever in the area and are up for a drink, you’re very welcome to Bine’s cellar ;).