Yesterday we reached a bit over 40 feet below the land surface and hit a sandy segment that is saturated with water. Upon removing 2 feet of the sand, water flows into the bottom of the hole. We were able to pull up water with a jar on a string. Yay water! We dug this in a new spot, a pit that is 8 feet deep near Allerton Abbey.
We now need to determine how much deeper to continue. The bottom of the well hole is now clay. Worried that if we dig further we will puncture the next layer and drain the water we have found? Or is every permeable layer below going to be a water table? I think for a reliable well we need to be 10feet below the surface of the water table.
Pictures and video to be added soon for more detail.
Moved back in a little over two weeks ago. Removed a wallboard opposite the door and put a screen over it. Helps with crossflow. At night I close it up with some cardboard.
Installed solar power. Its a 75watt system; so far have had plenty of power for charging phone, running lights, using a drill, and even movie night. Living in luxury.
Tried some stuff on my dirt floor. First attempt I just tamped the silt, wattered it and then spread on linseed oil. It looked like a nice dark, solid finish. But, smeared immediately when rubbig it. I waited 2 days to dry.
Second attempt I added half sand. Same result. Guess I am going to need some clay. I have also read about adding lime, but gotta chat with Paul on that.
Sharon, I did read about threading on extensions. I heard that when you thread on too many the metal weighs so much that when picking it up the threads can strip off or snap there. Because threading pipe reduced the strength at the joint since you remove a lot of material. I do think itd be a great way to do a short extension. Also, the pinned joints allow quick removal compared to threading. I think once we get deep we will have to remove extensions every bucket full.
Michael, we havent made much progress in the past few weeks. Everybody has been catching up on other projects or taking a few days away. I did dig 5 new holes last week in random new areas. None got deeper than 10ft before rock.
Im not too knowledgable on that style of rock bit but my understanding is that it needs to be powered to do much damage.
We did just get a new bit, the corkscrew style, but havent tested it yet. It should be able to pull up rocks as big as baseballs based on the gaps between the tines. Also Paul has given us the green light to try excavating past the rock layer.
We are working on digging a well with a modified post hole auger. Most methods of well drilling require lots of water in a slurry to bring up all of the extracted material. Without much water on hand this seems like a good method to try.
I researched a post hole auger from amazon and funnily many reviews and comments talked about how to extend this thing well over 30ft to drill wells. There are a few people on youtube who document what they do and one African mission group who shares their open source plans. Luckily we have found quite a lot of knowledge to build off of. Some people claim to extend these things close to 100ft long. The annoying part being that every 4 inches it has to be lifted out of the hole and cleaned out.
We used 11guage square tubing 1in x 1in welded to short segments of 1.25x1.25 tubing as a coupler. This tubing is maybe a bit overkill as after about 30ft of extensions are on it becomes challenging to balance it. The sections are quickly removable and at longer lengths I think we will have to take sections off for every bucket of dirt. We may consider switching to aluminum tubing, I regret not getting it originally as the cost is not that different.
So far we have dug 2 holes.
1. The first hole is about 25 feet deep. It was very easy digging until we hit rock. Mostly clay and a bit of sand. Some very red playdough like clay. And a bunch of the removed earth had orange streaks in it. Probably iron. We dropped the rock bar it the hole about 50 times. After that the bit did grab up some small fragments of rock. But it is hard to know how much damage we really did to the rock layer.
2. The second hole is 15 feet deep. It is 4 feet away from hole 1. We hit a lot of gravel in the first 2 feet but that is easily removable with a normal shovel. Hoping we get luckier at 25 feet. Busy the pastfew days with other projects, but will update as we progress.
Equipment upgrades: trying to keep this project on a tight budget as it would be great to prove you can get water with limited resources.
1. rock auger bit; not even sure what this would look like but need a bit with a bigger opening to grab up larger fragments
2. aluminum square tubing
For the baking soda, I applied some dry with a sponge. And then in hard to reach areas I took small amounts and just chucked it at the ceiling. Made a mess but probably 75% stuck.
Milk paint sounds like a neat idea. Ill keep it in mind and maybe apply some in the summer once everything is fully dry.
Rob, thanks for all your ant love lately. Lots of attempts have been made at getting water, this is another shot in the dark. We are drilling in the draw behind ant village. It is the same contour line that would be a creek if the spring didn't disappear. The spring is quite a hike away and wouldn't save much effort than going to basecamp for water.
Jesse, that floor looks really nice. I think my floor is mostly clay. It sticks and packs well when wetted. I was thinking I coul wet it a little, then tamp and flatten it. And apply the oil right to it.
Thanks for all the suggestions on mold! I vinegar'ed my posts and beams and the mold pretty much wiped right off. It still smells a bit moldy inside though. I am not sure how to apply the baking soda, should I just wipe it on dry? I bought some borax that I may try to retroactively treat some of my posts underground with but I plan to do more research on this and probably wait until the ground thaws.
I got a tiny wood stove for now. Not yet sure how I want to do the final implementation of my rocket heater and it is too cold to make cob. The tiny wood stove does a pretty good job. I have gotten the place over 80degrees but it takes a lot of paying attention to the stove and feeding it. I got some sheet metal to weld into a radiator on the first stove pipe and use a fan in front of. Hoping I can capture some of that wasted wood stove heat.
I've been distracted by researching and building our well digging operation. We made it down to about 25feet, but then hit some rock! 50 hammers with a rockbar didn't see to break anything up. It would have to be very fragile rock to crumble into small enough pieces for this bit to pick it up.
The steel extension rods I made from 11 guage square tubing. Every foot adds about 1.5lbs including all the hardware. I think we could have gotten away with aluminum and about 1/5th the weight per foot. At 30feet long, the drill is very unwieldy. Im thinking we will dig a new hole tomorrow right near the other one and see if we hit rock at the same depth or get luckier.
I am planning to finish the floor in my house with linseed oil. Some of the instruction online call for very complicated layering of gravel and different types of clay. And then oiling the top surface. I think I am too lazy to do anything besides just oil the top surface. Anybody know much about earthen floors and if this will have some success? I dont care if it cracks some. I just want to control the dust and be able to take off my shoes.
Unfortunately going away with wet wood in a sealed up house for 2.5months created a great environment for mold to grow. I have quite a lot of work to do before I can move back in.
So far I am thinking I need to re-peal all the posts and beams and sand any mold off in hard to reach crevices. Ill make sure to wear some sort of face mask when doing this. Then I need to get my stove roaring for a week or two to get it real dry inside.
Lastly id like to apply something to kill the mold. Im not sure what would be the most permie treatment. I know many mold treatments for log cabins have fungicide, so definitely off limits. Bleach is frowned upon here but borax is okay in small quantities.
Hoping for input from other permies on a really natural method, thanks.
Kitchen table is made all from lumber on site, milled the boards with a chain saw and david chiseled them flat into place. The tabe is supported by two posts sunk a couple feet into the ground. Itll be hard to tip it over.
And lofted sleeping area is small but big enough for a twin mattress and about 4ft of headroom on the tall side. I have two hooks underneath to hang a hammock for guests.
The second picture is hammering rebar into a beam/post joint.
Here is my stove, in the state it is still in. I need to get to work on this, the cobbing is bad and it leakes around the edges. I also want to make it into a rocket stove by adding a proper heat riser and burn tunnel.
Hi all, I just returned to the lab and it is great to be back! Was away for a couple months doing work and visitng family. Evan and Kai have the wofati toasty warm and Ill be staying in here until I solve a few unfinished things on my house.
In this first post Im going to post some old pictures of my plot and house at the end of fall.
Conner: the post were easy to put up by hand. Just slid them in at an angle. With 2 people lifting they aren't too heavy. The beams required scaffolding and lifting them up in steps. Thats what all the random board are in the second post.
Tim: we have access to douglas fir, ponderosa pine and tamarack. Tamarack is the most rot resistant I think I have heard. But I just used a mix of logs based on what trees were best to thin at the dimensions I required.
Today we put up tarps and started tossing dirt on. The windows and door arent in as things may shift some. No pictures of it tatrped as it got dark.
Yestrday made some cob and filled any gaps at the corners and inbetween roof/wall.
Thinking i will do an earthen floor using raw linseed oil. But i have heard it takes a long time to cure and i might be in my tent a few weeks waiting? Any accelerated methods?
Im looking to put in a rocket mass heater in the next week but dont really have a plan. If anyone around for the rmh events wants to give some input or help out, send me a purple moosage. I dont make it down to basecamp often. I can provide some food and beverage for pro helpers!
Hi all, I am ant number 8! I moved into ant village about 3 weeks ago and have been enjoying it a lot. I also visited wheaton labs earlier in the summer for the PDC.
I picked the plot just north of Evan's. It is very wooded and filled with plenty of deer. It even has a small "pond"! So far my focus has been on building an Oehler structure before it gets too cold.
I spent the first few days making paths, clearing a tent site and planning my design. Then I moved on to chopping down trees and peeling logs. Evan helped excavated my hole and built a shared berm between the plots. My friend David is here helping for a bit and we got many of the posts up. Right now the house may look like a big pond with a spillway, but there will be an uphill patio and lots of drainage routes.
The other ants have been very welcoming; teaching me new things, lending tools, and helping out. It is a great place to live.