Thursday, 7 July 2016

Musings about our lifestyle- Rambling post with gratuitous photos warning

A gratuitous photo of the bush around our humpy

This morning I was searching the internet for a tutorial about making wall lining out of newspaper (I'm on holidays...that's what you do on holidays isn't it?) and the closest I could get was a post or two on 'brown bagging'; which is basically using brown paper as wallpaper over existing wall lining. Being unable to find anything about making actual wall lining, I extended my search to cover building in slum conditions and alternate wall linings, all to no avail. This search started me thinking about my position in the blogging world....

Another gratuitous photo of my dogs watching me spin

I know of many people living as we do here in our humpy; living in knocked together shacks made from scrounged materials and making improvements slowly as low incomes allow. This cannot be a phenomenon indigenous to our area alone, surely there are humpy dwellers all over the world, so why is there so little information about it on the internet? My musings came up with a few possible reasons;

People who live in humpies tend to not be computer literate; While I can't speak for other areas, where we live this tends to be true. People living in the bush are mostly older, perennially low income earners who have never had the opportunity to use computers for recreation and have no desire to do so. This has led to a situation where really clever and useful ideas are not shared among humpy dwellers as we tend to be anti-social beings who don't talk to others or have people over much. It also leads to non-humpy dwellers viewing us as lazy or incompetent, when in fact it requires  huge amount of work, ingenuity and determination to maintain any semblance of social acceptability living in a humpy (showering outdoors at mid winter comes to mind).

People are ashamed to be seen as 'living rough'; While I haven't found this to be the case here (as humpy dwellers are a large minority there is no shame in it), the reactions of a few people visiting my place for the first time has led me to believe that they expect me to be ashamed. I casually mentioned the fact that we still take all our waste water out of the house in buckets at a social event recently and had a lady goggle at me (until that point I had only imagined what a goggle looked like but now I know it is quite a comical facial expression). She avoided me for the rest of the evening (obviously fearing that low standards are communicable). Reactions generally range from outright wonder to shock and pity, but most people come to the enjoy their visits to the madness that is my home. I don't believe I need to be ashamed of my home....yes it's a mess....yes it's open to nature (which is often smelly)...but it's warm and dry and it provides me so much entertainment I rarely want to be  anywhere else.

People want to keep their lifestyle private; This is a very valid reason, people in my area tend to be private (we move here to be hermits) and enjoy being unseen and forgotten in the bush. Being private is perfectly acceptable and should be respected. It is a shame not to share all the amazing things we contrive to make life more comfortable in our humpies, but privacy is a right we need to respect.

It didn't occur to them that others may benefit from the information; This is a common reason, I often see some system or contraption at someone's humpy and rave over how clever the idea is (e.g. using old bathtubs as a reed bed system which produces mulch for an orchard) only to have the inventor say "but..everyone knows how to do that.." or words to that effect. We need to realize that our little niche lifestyle is highly specialized and we have skills not shared by the rest of humanity. People new to the lifestyle could benefit greatly from learning the simple skills we possess (like learning to shop once a month and managing time in town so everything gets done).

A new trellis for passion fruit made from an old industrial window shade

Our combined pavers and cement floor

A gratuitous guinea fowl

Book Book one of our yard chooks

If you are a humpy dweller (or have been a humpy dweller), please feel free to share your wisdom here in the comments section, or on your own blog, or even by talking to the neighbors. We have valuable's time we started valuing them and sharing them with others.


  1. Having been a Bus/humpy dweller for 10 years, bringing 2 babies home to no running hot water or power, I can say that we Bush-babes certainly appreciate every slowly gained home improvement!! We take none of it for granted.

  2. I agree Rhonda, we do appreciate every small gain and don't just expect to have it supplied to us. I do think we need to be more vocal about our gains though, so many people don't appreciate our genius.

  3. Are you making internal walls? You can stretch hessian tight against a frame, ceiling and floor then cover in newspaper. You can use home made paste from flour and water or wallpaper glue. Rodents and silverfish may nibble it. The paper may also peel after a while but it's fairly easy to re glue. You can gut as many layers as you like. The more layers the more ridged the wall. The final layer can be pretty pictures are you can paint over the top or varnish

    1. Hi Romany, thanks for the ideas. I am trying to line the inside of the walls. I have some sissilation (that silver on one side, blue on the other stuff that is supposed to insulate) so maybe I will stretch that over the walls and then bondcrete newspaper layers to it.