Tuesday, December 31, 2013

happy almost new year!

i will be safe and sound at home, planning out 2014.  i'll take a nap, so i can join the proletariat at midnight, outside the house.  fireworks show from atop the lean-to, if i'm not too dizzy, and back to bed.  maybe i'll make some coffee, and stay up a bit.  woo hoo.  the equinox is what i'm waiting for.  that's my new year.  the spirit of the earth awakens, and reminds us of her magic. 

 eventually, i will require wilder habitat than webb street :)

food sovereignty   I think I've found my religion..........finally

Thursday, December 26, 2013

washing machine goodies

i see a tandoor, and a dc generator in my future

happy boxing day!

don't forget the indian ocean tsunami. forgot already.

tomorrow is trash day.  a very important trash day around here.  first trash day after christmas.  i'll certainly have me oyes open, guv'nuh.  yes indeedy.  i'll be carryin' the tools to free gold circuit boards from tossed appliances :)  but there will be useful, mundane objects also.  even good, thick cardboard can be used around the farm.  layers of it make damn fine insulation......away from fire at least.  when i think about that tv, made in china, waiting to be carted off to a landfill, upon which a housing development will be built, for people to fill with new tv's from china..........i sometimes vomit.  

i'd like to find an old single-door refrigerator, for conversion to a solar food dehydrator.  that would be MY christmas.  ha.....if santa gave me coal now......i'd thank him!  for when the party stops.  "next time.......dried oak and hickory, santaaaaaa........"  i'll leave santa a box of parmalat and some MRE cookies.

1. old refrigerator
2. old sliding glass patio doors
3. old slate shingles
4. firebricks would be very nice
5. other good stuff
.........there's my list old nick, my good man.  my christmas trash list..........and if its coal, for me, i'd like a ton of PENNSYLVANIA anthricite.  front corner of the farm, across from the claw-foot tub 'll do.  

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

expanding the food

four new raised beds.  one is filled; need more soil.  really expanding my food production, with storage crops taking on a bigger role. beans, beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, turnips, onions, and maybe potatoes.  i'm going to make sun-dried tomatoes, sauce, and ketchup.  the lumber was scavenged from the Richmond Street construction.  3 inch oak :)  getting it home was an adventure..............

the giant posts are for the new steel farm gate (to keep out zombies).  i'm going to set a 36" door in the gate, for easy access.

tandoori oven

i'm taking apart the broken front-loader in the basement, and i'm using the stainless steel drum for the casing/body of a clay tandoori oven.  it is going to have bolted-on steel legs, with casters on them.  its basically a L-chamber rocket stove.  i'm going to use a clay/perlite refractory clay, and pack it around a 2-piece form of sonotube and pvc that will come out after clay sets up.  i'm going to brush the sonotube with a portland cement slurry, to ease with the sonotube's removal.  the clay will probably pull away from the form as it dries anyway, but just to be thorough.......

i have a stainless steel lid,  the drum, and i think i have some steel for the legs.  i may have some casters around.  that leaves clay (12.50) and perlite (15-20.00).   maybe a few fire bricks........

also salvaged the motor, for conversion to dc, a pump, some bearings, springs, etc.  i will certainly check control panel for precious metals :)  the metal top will be re-purposed somehow, and the rest gets scrapped.

the clay.................

I was thinking, originally, of a fireclay/perlite mix.  in india, they use clay/straw/hair.  no thanks.    the thing is.......i want the interior to be strong; not punky, or chippy.  perhaps line the interior of the steel washer drum with rock wool, and use straight fireclay.....hmmmmm.  this is why i have a blog :)   i can even cob the exterior of the oven, and sculpt it.  see.......the drum, as in any washer, is perforated. it would be simple to attach a "lath" of sorts, and to attach rock wool to the interior.  the perforations are screaming to be incorporated into the be it.  i'll keep the insulation at the periphery, and cob the cylindrical portion of the drum.  i'll use a metal screen as metal lathe for the exterior, and sew it on, along with rock wool insulation, with wire, through the perforations.  this design will allow me to use straight fire clay, for a stronger interior surface; not weakened by the intermittent perlite.  done.  fin.

        i like it; its a good design.  i will chat with bagged clay supplier, though, and run it by her or him.    

tough december...........

got a bad upper respiratory bug, and that really set my vertigo off.  its amazing how fast 2 weeks can go by when you are pinned to the bed for 17 hours a day.  i noticed a fella can lose a bit of weight not eating in that time frame, too.  feeling a bit better, and really being diligent about eating.  my tinnitis is louder than it was, but i hope it settles back down with warmer weather.  its a bit like a jet landing on my right eardrum.........24 hours a day.  i realize that i'm angry over this whole mess, and i'm doing my best to not be so angry.  it just seems so unfair.  got through some tough times, to come back, and be struck down by this stupid affliction.  

but, that's the way it goes.  i will get through this one day at a others do :)

all i want for christmas is the us constitution

omg......between ndaa and tpp, it may be time to gtfo of dodge.  too many acronyms.  and NO ONE cares.  well, I do.  the us military may NOT arrest me.  i will NOT be held indefinitely.  

Saturday, December 7, 2013

projects i wish to take on..............

rocket mass heater................
casted from fire clay in one cast,  encased in cob.  i'll probably heat water, and distribute that for space heating.  some sort of cob radiator system.  it will take the space and place of current gas furnace.  there will be oak construction sleepers around for years with all this construction going on.  maybe find a good source of hardwood cut-offs..........

solar chimney...............
an insulated, partially glazed tower, with flat black heat collectors inside it.  its vented at the top.  as air super-heats in the tower, it creates an amazing amount of lift.  hot-air-out tubes are tapped into it right after a small restriction.........hey! bernoulli's principle!........and the hot air rising in the solar chimney sucks hot air out of the house.  in the winter, close the top flap vent of chimney, and the hot air is forced into the home.  of course, in the summer, the house has to "inhale" cool air, not already hot air from the open windows, which leads us to...........

cool tube intake................
i wish to build a bed of sand in the alley-way, that will have two serpentine-shaped air ducts running through it.  i'll keep the sand moist, and pipe the tempered air into the house, to replace the hot air drawn out by the solar exhaust of the chimney.  the whole system will be on a slant, with a drain at the low end, to keep the tubes dry. it will be in perpetual shade, cooled by the tempering by the damp sand bed.  oh, shit..........i could build vertical sand beds!  better draining, less space.  i'll have to let my cortex chew on that one........

root cellar.............
that's right...........root cellar.  and no, i'm not digging :) i have a plywood box i used to grow.......ummmm....tomatoes in!  that's it.  i am disassembling it, since i no longer grow indoor tomatoes :) and i'm going to build a custom-built box for the alley-way.  i'll heavily insulate it, and vent it high and low. it will be on top of......or next to.....the sand bed, which will help regulate the temp of the root box.  it'll be nice to grab a squash for dinner in february.

also..........a solar hot water system, a solar hot air system, some solar swamp coolers, and a few other projects.  i want the house to run itself.  it will wake up int the morning, and make hay while sun shines.  heat storage is the key.  earth and water provide that.

Monday, December 2, 2013

greenhouse project

i finished the basic frame, got it painted, and got a roof on it.  i had a sheet of cork that i cut into 1 1/2" strips, and glued/stapled them to the top surfaces of frame, to reduce friction.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

needful things

    i need stuff.
 chicken wire and other metal fencing
 2" by 6" by........not treated
 garden hoses
 plastic sheeting
 food grade 5 gal. buckets........maybe thriftway can give me theirs.....
 organic manure
 55 gal. food grade drums
 275 gal. water totes
 old windows
 old wooden ladders
 concrete mix
 metal roofing.....................

   i don't need every item, but i could really use most all of it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

greenhouse construction begins

the long outer wall rests on treated sleepers

Add caption

the rafters attach to three existing posts set in concrete

some fancy details

using every bit of wood

taking shape

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

okinawan purple sweet potatoes

    I'm thinking about growing some OPSP's this year.  a super-food, that stores well.  it needs a long growing season, but i have that.  it needs warm soil to start; i have that.  right where the compost has been cooking all winter. i'd put down black plastic after i break down the compost heater.  i found a guy in hawaii that will ship for free, but i also found someone in Pa. who grows organic okinawan purples.  i'm waiting to hear if he/she will ship to me.  and maybe glean some info on successful growing in our climate.  they're out by lancaster.  anyone headin' out that way?  the leaves are also edible as greens.  i totally dig pun.

    yes............the place in jonestown, pa does the farmer's market in west philly every saturday.  i'm going to pick up some tubers to grow slips.  i was up-front with the farmer about my intention to grow them.  i feel that's important.  farmers have to trust each other.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

today on the farm

the solar panel tower

melon mitosis

some decor

an old fire mark

my new scavenged farm gate

the tower is about 12 feet high

fig cuttings

Friday, November 15, 2013


    found a 12v dc diaphragm pump in the basement.  i'm going to see if i can make it work for compost heat project.  i would love to catch a break, and cross a pump off my list for free.

    looks like a pretty good pump, from what i could glean on-line.  as long as it works!

    just ordered the solar panel..........$50.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

finished compost pile! thank you shafiq, and my coffee ground connect, deshaun


i've seen to many episodes of walking dead to fool with this for too long

a kink in the plan..........

....leads to innovation.  using both sides of grid to make milder bends

i used found plastic twine to attach the hose



the hoses

i covered the pile even when taking coffee breaks and such.  it really dries out fast


time for the micro farm's microbes to earn their keep!

inlet and outlet protruding from the pile.  i have bubble wrap and then more straw for insulation

i hope i don't get hobbits :)

the mess.......tomorrow

ordered my seeds!

all organic, of course.

delicata winter squash
red bull beets
nectar carrots.....for the garden and micro greens
red rambo radish.......for micro greens
toscano kale
sylvesta butterhead lettuce
sugar snap peas
pigeon spinach
cress.....for micro greens
tatsoi......for micro greens
arugula........for garden and micros

$120 with shipping

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

coffee anyone?



the worms all tucked away for the winter
i'll top off the worms with more straw.

a few more trips to wawa, another bale of straw or so, and i can give the compost pile a final misting, and a cap of wet burlap bags.  then i'll wrap the reed fencing around it, secure it, and wait for it to start cooking.  i need the solar pump, and the PV panel next.  i found a nice pump, but its AC.  i knew i had one.  i have bubble wrap to insulate the hoses coming out of the pile, and there will be straw above and below for added insulation.

keep your trash-pickin' hands offa me..........

the price we pay for free heat...............

built first half of compost heater pile, to see where i'm at with materials

entire pile will be wrapped in the reed fencing

wet straw

coffee and cardboard

grid that hose will be attached to

worm poop for inoculating the pile

all dosed up

half-way there; time to attach the hose to the grid

as in.......later, when it warms up :)