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Offline Lee JD

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« on: February 23, 2010, 13:19 PM »
Hello everyone,

I am Lee and with my wife Elaine we have been rebuilding a Cortijo near Castril in Granada for the last 2 years. I have been reading this website as a guest for quite a while and thought it was time to join and introduce myself. Congratulations to the guys that run this website and the great work they are doing, long may it continue.

My wife and I are hoping to turn our Cortijo in a bed & breakfast so that we can show as many people as possible the beautiful area of Spain that we live in and all that it has to offer. We are both very much interested in the flora and fauna of Spain and spend a great deal of time exploring our area. Our plans are very long term and at present we have been rebuilding for the last 2 years and it could be another 2 years before we have a habitable home but we know it will be worth the wait.

I spend the majority of my time working overseas as I am in the Oil & Gas industry.....I can hear the groans...well rightly so. I really do dream that one day I will be able to put back into the natural world what it has given me. I started in  the Oil industry over 20 years ago and then it was just a well paid job, now I am dismayed by what I see being done to the natural world and very much dislike what I do but I trully hope it is a means to an end, a financial security that means I can devote all my time to giving a little back to the natural world.

Our Cortijo plans to be as eco-friendly as we can possible make it, including full solar & wind generated electricity, full rainwater harvesting and as self sufficient as possible. We are pretty passionate about that and are excited by what is possible these days.

I would like to get involved with local conservation however spare time is very limited at the moment, once my work commitments are completed I would like to do as much as possible to educate myself and others about the very special area that we live in and how it can be protected and encouraged to flourish - I believe eco-tourism is a good tool for doing this.

Just a little bit about me and my wife.

Many thanks
Lee

Offline Clive

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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2010, 20:25 PM »
Hi Lee and Elaine and welcome to :sign:

Thank you for your kind comments about the forum.... Sure there are a coupla "admins" looking after this site but to be honest what really makes it great are the very clever and amazing bunch of people who do all the contribution of questions and answers and observations..... without them the forum wouldn't exist...

I too grapple with morals some times in my search for leading a better and cleaner life... I drive a car and burn gas to cook with but I try to use these resources with respect and am aware of wastage etc... I try to do things that offset my inevitable negative impact on the world around me and very often feel that I don't do enough... Note to self... Must try harder!
Explore the nature of Iberia at www.wildsideholidays.com

The beautiful town of Ronda, the City of Dreams?

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Offline lisa

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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2010, 21:42 PM »
Hi Lee, welcome to the  :sign: forum from up north in the Picos de Europa and good luck with your project  :)
www.picos-accommodation.co.uk
Accommodation, ski touring, snowshoeing, walking and info on the flora and fauna of the Picos de Europa.
SAVE SPANISH BEARS!
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The Picos de Europa
Your complete English guide to these beautiful mountains of Northern Spain.

Offline tonyninfas

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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2010, 22:09 PM »
Welcome to the Forum, Lee and Elaine.
Great to read your observations and looking forward to reading more of your posts.
Tony

Offline Technopat

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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2010, 18:06 PM »
Greetings Lee and Elaine and Welcome to this Great iberianatureforum!

From what little I know of rebuilding and such matters, I'd imagine you'll have little time left over for sharing your experience and thoughts here on the Forum, but I know there's many who'd be interested in knowing what kind of solar/wind/rainwater technology you'll be installing for future reference. And I'm sure there's others who'll be able to help you out with any possible doubts you may have in those areas.

Best-of-luck-hard-work regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline Sue

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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2010, 22:14 PM »
Hi Lee and Elaine,
thanks for your great intro and keep us posted on your progress, and whatever treasures you find on the way   :sign:
regards
Sue
Thinking of visiting the beautiful Sierra de Grazalema in Andalucia?
www.grazalemaguide.com

Offline Lee JD

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« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2012, 12:23 PM »
Hi all,

Almost 3 years later and I am finally giving an update on progress.

Progress was slow and a break for a year to live in Ireland meant that our project was only completed last summer. We are now living in our rebuilt Cortijo complete with Solar power. We are completely off-grid so power had to be generated, we have not yet installed any wind powered electric generation as we are not sure we need it. The solar works great in the summer without any need for a diesel generator but at the moment with the pretty gloomy and wet weather we are having here in Granada we are using it every other day just for charging the batteries. For those that want to know it is a 24V system capable of generating 5.5KWH per day on a good day, more than enough for all the basic needs, washing machine, fridge, freezer, PC, TV, vacuum cleaner etc. There is some need for common sense, kettle is boiled on the gas hob, cooker is LPG, water boiler is LPG and the iron is used sparingly.

We may still go down the route of having a wind turbine but we live in a very stunning area and a turbine would have a detrimental effect on the surroundings so it is dilemma that hasn't been resolved.

We had planned on rainwater harvesting but expertise on this is fairly sparse in our area, we are at present only collecting the rainwater via guttering and tank for use back on the land when needed.

It has been a massive challenge and overall a great experience even though it was stressful at times.

As this is a nature forum I will share the highlights of the rebuild. We have an abundance of wildlife find it's way into our home, at times we have had to postpone work on the house while residents carry on their business and then move on. We have had House Martins nesting in our bathroom, we had Redstarts nesting in the lounge, we have had a Scops Owl come down our (unused) chimney and found himself in our bedroom. We have had a juvenile Montpellier snake come under the kitchen door, now modified to prevent further frights to my wife who hates snakes. We have a field mouse living in the shed, we once found a bat (don't know which species) in the plug hole of the bath, he was carefully moved to the bat box outside and has been there every summer since. We have numerous Moorish Geckos living in the house that help clear out the midges and countless other creatures  that find their way in through the smallest of gaps, most of which i have no idea what they are.

We are very lucky that we have Red Squirrels in the pine trees around the house, a Mongoose that took over a fox's den when he moved out and some fantastic birds, especially Raptors, oven see Griffon Vultures, Golden Eagles, Egyptian Vultures, Booted and Short Toed Eagles, Peregrine's, Kestrels, the list goes on.

My spare time is still short due to workload but I am absolutely loving living here in rural Granada and look forward to having more time to get out and explore the area around me.

Keep up the great work on a great website.

Lee


Offline Sue

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« Reply #7 on: November 13, 2012, 15:47 PM »
Hi Lee,
many thanks for your update, it sounds like you are getting to know quite a few of your creature neighbours, always an interesting process...a bat in the bath being a great example!
Good luck,
Sue
Thinking of visiting the beautiful Sierra de Grazalema in Andalucia?
www.grazalemaguide.com