@Marjorie Vogel - Thank you. I appreciate the discussion.
The current chimney was shortened because of frequent very high winds and gusts. It had been taller with guy wires - but was blown off along with the solar modules during sustained 80+ mph winds + gusts.
BUT - willing to try my hand at a taller one - eventually.
I have burned those chimney creosote "logs" to help clean out any current buildup.
Currently, I don't have much real wood, I am using two brands of fake logs, the Duraflame and the Ecology Log.
It seems like I have to burn one of each each time, especially when it is very cold but isn't windy out (the wind helps to really pull the air).
This stove has an electric fan to help extract as much heat as possible which also seems to cool the chimney too.
Yes - I'd like to reduce my pollution index.
I have an estimate for an external propane tank at about $600 - $800 to install and plumb. I am going to request a 120 gal. tank lease tomorrow, for my stove, two wall mounted heaters and an (needs to be fixed) on-demand water heater.
I REALLY need some hot water.
This specific house won't accommodate a RMH. It has poor foundations and seems to also suffer from soil shifting as well.
Not to mention that there really isn't enough space for a RMH.
I would if I could.
I will be looking into solar modules as well so that I can power my stove's fan, internet and computers so that I can burn less fuel except for when I need to run various power tools.
I will look into obtaining seasoned wood - probably once it reaches its peak price. )-;
I've been living here in my little hippy house for over a month now. I still haven't retrieved all of my belongings from the PODS container warehouse. They don't deliver this far away from Albuquerque so I have to drive my truck and trailer there and back. It will take four trips to get the rest of my stuff.
In the meantime I have survived the first snow of the season here. Perhaps only barely.
My heat has (up until very recently) come from a wood burning stove that seems to have too short of an exhaust pipe. I say that because when the stove isn't hot enough or it isn't windy enough I get a backdraft and lots of smoke in the house. I have a CO monitor and it has gone off a few times. Then I have to open windows and let the cold in and the heat out. Not ideal. And I can still have smoke without much CO and that is still unhealthy. I now have a gasoline electrical inverter generator and a small portable tower heater. The house has two wall mounted propane heaters - close to the top of the wall. One works the other doesn't. I only recently took the time to test them. They are powered by the 20lbs (?) tanks outside. One hose and regulator seems to be clogged. The propane stove works. Each require their own tank. Including the non-working propane water heater. The water heater needs a few parts. I have an appointment scheduled for a large propane tank survey. They are going to inspect all my propane needs and make suggestions and provide an estimate of time frame and costs.
I knew that this house was a project house. But some of my efforts have been delayed by this covid crud or other priorities. That's okay - that's canyon living.
I'm still loving it.
Winter is coming!
This makes me concerned about the timelines to warmth - air and water. It is difficult to wash one's hair with 35 degree water. I do not have a solar shower system yet and I'm not sure how well that would work once the snow starts to accumulate and cold, cold, cloudy days.
I'm not whining - just updating.
Thank you for your interest (if any).
The house has a small wood burning stove.
I'm not sure how soon I will have that.
I do have propane tanks and there are some janky propane lines into the house.
I will need to inspect and repair prior to using them.
So - I'm willing to purchase a propane camp stove either before I leave here or shortly after I arrive there.
I'm also bringing a small charcoal BBQ and a small propane BBQ.
I am brining a small Harbor Freight solar array, converter and battery along with but it won't be there for about a week or three (PODS doesn't serve my new location, I'll have to go to Albuquerque to unload everything into my truck and trailer).
I am aware of Rocket Stoves and Rocket Mass Heaters, and much of the wonderful work of the E. & E. Wisner's and others.
I am definitely going to buy a small generator - Predator maybe, Honda preferably.
Do you have any suggestions for brand of pure sine wave inverters? Most are stepped square wave.
I intend on adding a good sized "real" solar PV array and battery bank - eventually and could potentially bring in utility power from about a quarter mile away - eventually.
I don't currently have any appliances that I can bring along except a microwave.
Curious as to why not buy marine/RV appliances and avoid dc/ac conversion losses.
And (hopefully) here is the little house on the hillside:
It's about to happen.
I'm moving to Las Vegas, NM.
I had been planning this for years.
My generalized plans seem to fail where boots hit the sand on a brand new plot of land, that has a small "hippy house" - no appliances - the commode is a "remove to humanure pile" - no electric (except a small solar panel setup) , no cell service, won't have telephone initially, has solar powered private well pipeded to a cistern and then to the sink inside. Glamping w/o the glam!
I will be walking into an empty home w/o amenities and an "empty" plot of land without immediate food production capabilities.
I want to import a minimal amount of garbage - tin, plastic, and other non-compostable items (I'm okay with glass).
I will need food, but so many prepared foods are in containers that must be exported to a landfill or recycle center.
I am diabetic - so the things that come in boxes - pastas and cereals - aren't ideal.
I will be about 20 min. from a grocery store.
I do have some freeze dried food - but packaging and quantity are a bit problematic.
What dry foods might be suggested until I can bring in more solar and RV appliances?
I'm posting here for now - primarily so that I can come back to it easier.
I am in the midst of moving and don't have time right now to investigate further - but - seems like I will be needing all this great info.
Soon I'll be near Las Vegas, NM. and working on layout and rain catchment as soon as I can.
And then I'll try working on many of the things suggested here and perhaps the things suggested in Arcadia's book.
Good morning and welcome.
I look forward to perhaps seeing an excerpt from the book to see what kind of writing style it is written in.
I am in the process of gaining my own land near Las Vegas, NM - and I intend on assisting abundant plant life on the property.
I'll be new to the experience but I have been lurking permies many years.
I just wasn't allowed to practice much before.
I guess I may have more practice than I let on - but where I am now in CA. is significantly different from where I will be come mid-September.
I read the little review, it sounds like this could be a neat little reference book.
Thank you Acadio for your efforts.
I have been lurking Permies off and on for about four years or thereabouts.
The place I have been living wasn't mine and I wasn't allowed to do too much with respect to permaculture.
A little experimenting here and there.
But very soon - I too will be in northern New Mexico, I am currently in the process of a purchase, including a "hippy house" made primarily of straw-bale, small amount of solar power, a separate solar powered private well, and of course - a beautiful view.
So I will begin my own permaculture education by living with the help of permies.com and other resources.
I'll have a large pavilion that currently has a semi-transparent/opaque covering that I hope to modify into a more transparent covering on its sunnier side (not oriented either N/S nor E/W).
That may end up being cost prohibitive so I have backed the recent kickstarter campaign for the truly passive greenhouse in hopes of gleaning sufficient info to build that or a loosely similar styled greenhouse.
My well tests have not been completed yet (the original test results are not too promising with regards to yield).
However, the large surface area on the pavilion should make for reasonably good rainwater harvest - once the broken, missing, gutter system is replaced with a better solution.
Therefore - I look forward to reading all about your experiences and successes with food production.
I'll be able to post my permaculture experiences soon as well.
Perhaps mistakenly, my OP disappeared altogether.
I don't want to mention the topic here so that this doesn't just go away too.
I thought that there was now a probation list of forum topics and that I would get a purple moosage when my naughty topic (or subject line) was deleted.
I did use a hashtag.
I checked for probation posts, but mine from this morning was not there.
I checked post by Bura and the other communications forums posts.
There are just too many for me to figure out what I did wrong.
The post was about clean water and some current news.
I reported myself because when I selected the forum, I choice politics.
Then when I went back, I discovered that isn't a discussion forum.
So I asked that my post be moved or copied, but not removed.
I skimmed quickly thru the previous photos just looking for the OP's comments. I didn't see her say enough is enough yet, even though her goal has been met. I,m glad I missed the deadline, as she may have used mine as the bad examples. I really hadn't taken the time to study much of the proper process and considerations. I just did it.
There are several different ways to build a stone house. One method is to use a slip-form, but that isn't traditional stone building. However, it does afford one to insert x-mm of hard board insulation in the center of the wall (or offset towards the outside of the wall). Thomas J. Elpel has a book on this technique. If you take in to account the lay of the land, the positioning of the domicile (main orientation) and passive solar design you should not have to worry about too warm or too cold.
I plan on building my walls 2' thick (~61 centimeters?) with 3" (~8cm) of insulation sandwiched ~9" (~23cm) in from the outside surface.
This is a SketchUp file with an example plot of land (not mine - just an archetypical choice).
I have all kinds of issues with SketchUp - I really think it is quite difficult to get good results of fix anything when one screws up.
For instance - this house is 180 degrees off.
The north wall is currently on south side. I can't successfully spin it around.
I was trying to figure out how I would run Vigas to cover and carry the the load safely.
I can't nudge something without screwup something else.
I'd like to be able to use the arrow keys to move an object along the x-y pale.
I realize that Tinkercad isn't as powerfull and it doesn't save in any great file formats - but it is so much easier to get a model out.
I need help designing the ceiling/floors, the horizontal planes.
@Bryant RedHawk - Excellent. Good luck. I wouldn't mind seeing a pic or two of the construction and finished product.
Although I' not ready yet - I hope to be in such a situation in under 5 years. For now: I am bound by the J.ust O.ver B.roke and waiting for my kid to graduate from HS., so that I can move to a fresh plot of land and build my home.
Thanks for your input. It brought up a link regarding Root Cellar Ventilation - which I will check out to see if it answers the question: How did you figure out how much ventilation you needed (and is it filtered or powered ventilation?).
The reasoning behind an early spring cutting of a tree that will be peeled had something to do with the way the bark adheres to the trunk. I think in spring the space between the growing bark and the wood becomes soft enough such that when one water peels the trunk - the shiny surface remains. In winter - it was suggested that the bark will not peel off and leave the nice shiny surface.
So if one peels using the log wizard or whatever it was - than another season was suggested because you aren't looking for that specific effect on the wood's appearance.
While my search for peeling logs didn't bring up the better results - after I posted, the Similar Threads window below had a couple of interesting entries - Fungus peeling?
Which reminded me - the method I was hoping to utilize would be to use a pressure washer and perhaps that rotating tip that uses higher pressure and a spinning water stream. If conditions are right - you don't need the spinning nozzle and risk damaging the naturally shiny wood finish.
What I hope I am remembering correctly is that there are specific seasons or perhaps even specific days when it it best to fell a tree for a specific purpose.
A while back and not remembering the source, I read that early spring is the best time to fell a log for peeling.
Is that correct or does the season depend on the species of tree that will be peeled?
What was implied is that other seasons were good for felling a tree used for other purposes.
Anyone here able to provide some good generalities about what season to fell a tree for which purpose?
I think I want to create some vigas for the floors/ceiling of my HexHouse (project listed as New Home Design Challenge(d)).
The project will take place in N.E.NM - within an hours drive of Taos.
If one is building on an unimproved rural lot which will require a septic tank and leach field, a cistern and deep foundation, why not build a multipurpose room below grade rather than several seprate holes?
(No, I am not thinking of keeping the septic tank in the basement - it just is another requisite hole).
I do have a bit of a clue as to why four sealed walls with a concrete floor isn't such a grand idea.
Although the basements of my youth never seemed to presnt any problems while I lived at those locations - that style of basement isn't looked upon kindly in these here forums.
Aside from location, soil, weather, grade and proper drainage as considerations for a specific location - if one needed some form of below grade room - what are some reasonable comprimises?
Since my house will be a hexagon - I will extrapolate that a 7 sided bowl is equally unacceptable.
Having a dirt floor doesn't make the six sides any less fortified against the sealed wall argument that a basement is a money pit.
What has been said several times in these forums is that the below grade room should be fully walk-out capable.
I have not yet learned how to can goods, but my understanding of a good root cellar is that it helps to maintain the freshness of - roots - carrots, patatoes, and the like, as well as a great place for storing home canned goods.
As I understand it, the Pueblo Indians aparently stored their grain in a some form of root cellar like system as well, but I don't know if it was at all subteranian.
So, how much of the doored wall needs to be exposed to air to signifiacantly reduce the objections to basements (or hole in the ground by any other name)?
Does the door to walk out of need to be at grade?
Or can it be like the Kansas farmhouse with a ~45 degree door along the outside of the house with steps up to grade to the outside qualify as fully walk-out capable basement?
That is - what exactly should a "fully walk-out" critera mean to me and how could one impliment it using minimal acreage other than what the house is actually sitting on anyway?
A below grade space can be used as a workshop, recreation zone, excercise area, laundry room, utility or MEP center as well.
It might be a great place for making beer and wine and storing that too.
These are some of the uses I am familiar with and learning that basements are the bain of craftsmen saddens me.
What are some better methods to meet these desires loosly adhearing to permaculture ideals and maintaining a reduced footprint?
Is there a quick easy way to to determine the weight of a building?
More than likely it includes the full weight and not just the weight of the wall itself.
I would imagine that I would need to know the weight of the rock, the rebar (fiberglass or other type of non-Ferris reinforcements), and the MgO concrete, as well as the weight of all the vigas, plumbing, and furniture too.
Is there a generic version for the formula using rock-faced-PIP concrete multi-storied walls encasing a given amount of area?
I'd bet nothing so simple as that could exist - even for the Navy's RadCon(sp?) math techniques.
Because I am a laymen in terms of building materials, I approach the airtight and draft proof terms as a matter of connotation versus denotation.
For me, the term airtight as used is jargon for the industry - but what it implies to a consumer is a bad end result but the terms "draft proof" or "draft free" and the like implies a good end result.
As a bad metaphor - if I place a plastic bag over my head and duct tape the opening around my throat - I may indeed have an airtight envelope - I can still breath, but I am still breathing only the air sealed within the system.
Now (after removing the plastic before I pass out) if I have an over-sized alpaca hoodie on, big arm hole and space for my belly - I can duct tape the four holes and seal up the draftiness - and yet, still breath fresh air and stay warm.
The implications - the connotations - are very negative for the term "airtight" with respect to living beings whereas there are no bad connotations or implications arising from the terms related to being "draft free".
It is simply a matter of perspective.
One may feel comfortable sleeping in a coffin, but not for very long if it is sealed.
Just my half pence worth.
@ Jay C. White Cloud and Bill Bradbury - If I remember correctly, both of you have mentioned in passing, basements.
So - aside from Raised Earth Foundations - have you specific threads for natural subterranean foundations?
I haven't done a thorough search yet - there is just sooooo much info in these here parts - I tend to get lost in the dialog.
If you'd prefer to actually answer this question elsewhere - could you take a moment and answer it on my post - New Home Design Challenge(d)?
Another question with respect to foundations in general - since many of the particulars are dependent on the weight of the structure, is there an easy way to calculate the load on the foundation for any specific structure to easily resolve the dimensions of the foundation? Granted - I do understand that the soil type is the other major factor. For my project, some of those details are posted for a specific hypothetical case - no mileage is guaranteed (the extreme version of, your mileage may vary).
Hi Terry - I came across other posts of yours discussing alternative cements.
There certainly is a a great deal of chemistry with cement.
I understand that the Romans included fresh animal blood to their cement.
The program I saw tested a column of prepared cement using what was believed to be the recipe the Romans used for their marine grade concrete.
I am only mixing the terms cement and concrete because I don't recall the exact details - I have a reasonable understanding of the differences between them (aggregate, sand and other admixtures versus just the glue recipe).
So, I had posed the question as to what effect would bloodmeal have on OPC as an admixture.
Not sure if you are aware but Sketch-up a free 3D software has better rendering than this and a library full or 3D and 2D cad details very DIY friendly tons of on-line tutorials
Perhaps I need to revisit Sketch-up now that it has been in the new owners hands a good while.
When I used it last - I was getting all kinds of funky results.
And none of my models were manifold.
It was more trouble than it was worth - at the time.
My Primary computer is an OS-X 10.10.5 iMac.
I will check out your other software selections you suggest later this weekend.
Designing structure is not a matter of "opinion" although we see alot on the internet
Engineering a structure is not a matter of opinion - designing a living space on the other hand often is.
The two must coincide for a happy home.
I am really only designing the concept - the look and feel of the end results, I don't plan on putting anyone out of work.
I do want to know how to make this design according to sound principles - but I also intend on handing it off to a professional to tweak as needed.
Here is where I learn how to minimize the amount of tweaking I will have to accept from a professional at some high cost for my ignorance.
I am hoping to over-engineer it on paper and hopefully in reality as well, paying for the cost with slow steady labor and a contractor or three+.
But it does have to work, be safe, and be comfortable.
have a continuous inner load bearing wall from the flat roof to the ground to break up the spans looks like around 40', 20 is pushing it for most species of wood in deflection.
One compromise might be to have the inner walls only 16' wide versus 20', but that doesn't really help with the vertical weight.
I was hoping to keep the inner space as open as possible.
I have seen vegas that seem to stretch quite the distance - I couldn't tell you if there were I-Beams hidden or not, I didn't know to look for such signs and they weren't obvious.
Anyway Terry, you have a great deal of useful information and I get the feeling I should be backing up this thread.
I do greatly appreciate your expert advice.
This design isn't for a nameless place or a pipe dream - I hope to start building within five years.
Depending on circumstances, it could be as early as three years.
I am fairly certain I will be in New Mexico - I may not end up being quite as close to Mora as I intend.
Taos, New Mexico isn't quite right for me so if the original location doesn't pan out, perhaps south east of Albuquerque might.
And that is a totally different landscape - but perhaps more fitting for this HexHouse.
I have three other designs I was working on - but then thought two rooms and a roof was more than enough - then - it grew to be what I've presented here.
And the community here at permies is definitely helping me to see a few good things I need to consider.
Thanks everyone - keep suggesting - as this validates what little I know.
Also Kris - Flat roofs aren't a good choice in most location - true. However, there are quite a number of examples in New Mexico.
Although, they may be confined to the even more arid areas than this snow prone location, the quantity of snow has dwindled to dusting here and there and quick melt offs.
That doesn't mean the occasional 6' of snow couldn't happen again.
But - New Mexico has SUN - lots of it.
I am planning on living on the property before I build - perhaps a full year.
I will be paying close attention to the nature around me when I do.
I may end up being shot before I get started though.
But I will have died doing what I wanted to be doing - I guess.
I like the hugelkultur suggestion and considering the location I am certain that the raw materials for building them up fairly high are readily available.
The concerns regarding bullets is that not only are these the hunting grounds of the locals and quite rural - the locals (at least in the past) had been quite hostile towards gringos. I was told that Anglos are not welcome (again, from a resident who had left the area many years ago - things may have changed). He said it was the only place of many where he had lived and worked where he felt the need to always carry a gun. So - it would not surprise me that a couple of drunk buddies would want to welcome me to the neighborhood with a couple of rounds in my direction.
As far as the rammed earth filled tires go - that is major labor - I was out at one of the Earthship communities and purchased several materials from them. The videos where they show how to ram the tires nearly killed me just watching the intensity of the requisite work. I would never ever be able to get my house built mostly by myself. The rammed earth bags would be a good bit easier. and both are great suggestions for barricades.
Home security defiantly starts at the border - and there would be sufficient space for a warning zone, a painful zone, and the last stand zone. I wasn't going to go all out Dooms Day Prepper but I'll lean more in that direction if the neighborhood warrants it. The population density is sparse, but the folks are very low income. I am not sure yet if I am willing to encroach - but I am not a foreigner to the nation and just because I am foreign to a small community - that in and of itself won't stop me from moving to a beautiful, private, but not totally isolated paradise. They may end up liking me.
@Cristo Balete - In my original design I did not include a basement - but after I started thinking about the rocket mass heater benches and thinking that having one in the bathroom would be hot! But then, were does the washer & dryer go - if I had a basement I'd also have a root cellar. If I had a root cellar - it could pull triple duty.
The basement could be a root cellar, laundry room, butcher shop, and exercise room.
This is a neat area in the high desert mountains with lots of trees all around. My nearest neighbor might be half a mile away. Since this is New Mexico, the building code are more lax than most other places. That doesn't mean that they are free of codes, but there is some wiggle room with owner-built houses.
With the slip-form construction that I have been studying, I will likely have a full two feet thick wall - with as much as 9" of insulation sandwiched in the middle, which should provide sufficient insolation from the outside and sufficient mass on the inside to accommodate whatever amount of sun I care to get to it.
My ignorance may be too high on the subject, and why I am admitting to being so challenged in this field.
@Bill Bradbury - I hope you are safe and warm. With three months under your belt after this mishap, hopefully you've got a good roof over your head. Best of luck in recuperating those loses that insurance can't replace.
I greatly appreciate the plans that were laid out for the workshops.
I'd love to attend one eventually.
However, I am currently planning to build with slip-form and possibly Durisol blocks, fire being one of the reasons I want to avoid the beautiful wood work that Jay C. and crew creates. Another reason is that I'd heard of folks taking chainsaws to log cabins when they go to break in.
I will be watching for your posts and hoping all is well.
@Terry P. Holy cow that seems like a powerful tool, especially if you know how to use it.
I imagine that it would also help to have an exact location.
I noticed that I could drill down too close and get potentially bad data, but I was rather obtuse between too large and too small an area.
I picked an area large enough to cover a range I would think is most likely to be my home, but it is a large area.
Consequently, I come up with tons of soil data:
Mora County Area, New Mexico (NM638) Map Unit Symbol Map Unit Name Acres in AOI Percent of AOI
Bd Breece variant sandy loam, 3 to 8 percent slopes 33.0 2.0%
Bf Brycan loam, 3 to 8 percent slopes 66.8 4.0%
DV Dargol-Rocio-Vamer association, very steep 104.0 6.2%
EV Eutroboralfs-Rock outcrop-Vamer complex, extremely steep 308.8 18.3%
FH Firo-Hesperus association, hilly 30.6 1.8%
FR Firo-Rock outcrop complex, extremely steep 391.9 23.3%
Hb Hesperus sandy loam, 1 to 3 percent slopes 337.1 20.0%
Hc Hesperus sandy loam, 3 to 8 percent slopes 125.8 7.5%
Ho Holman complex, 3 to 5 percent slopes 58.9 3.5%
Mo Moreno loam, 8 to 15 percent slopes 43.2 2.6%
MR Moreno-Brycan association, sloping 53.9 3.2%
US Ustifluvents, frequently flooded 128.9 7.7%
Totals for Area of Interest 1,682.8 100.0%
And for just one of the local soil types I get a ton more worth of information: Bf—Brycan loam, 3 to 8 percent slopes
Map Unit Setting
• National map unit symbol: dlxf
• Elevation: 7,200 to 8,500 feet
• Mean annual precipitation: 16 to 18 inches
• Mean annual air temperature: 43 to 45 degrees F
• Frost-free period: 85 to 100 days
• Farmland classification: Not prime farmland
Map Unit Composition
• Brycan and similar soils: 75 percent
• Estimates are based on observations, descriptions, and transects of the mapunit.
Description of Brycan
• Landform: Mountain valleys
• Landform position (two-dimensional): Toeslope
• Landform position (three-dimensional): Mountainbase
• Down-slope shape: Concave
• Across-slope shape: Linear
• Parent material: Alluvium derived from sandstone and shale
• H1 - 0 to 15 inches: loam
• H2 - 15 to 60 inches: sandy clay loam
Properties and qualities
• Slope: 3 to 8 percent
• Depth to restrictive feature: More than 80 inches
• Natural drainage class: Well drained
• Runoff class: Medium
• Capacity of the most limiting layer to transmit water (Ksat): Moderately high to high (0.60 to 2.00 in/hr)
• Depth to water table: More than 80 inches
• Frequency of flooding: None
• Frequency of ponding: None
• Calcium carbonate, maximum in profile: 1 percent
• Salinity, maximum in profile: Nonsaline to very slightly saline (0.0 to 2.0 mmhos/cm)
• Available water storage in profile: High (about 10.2 inches)
• Land capability classification (irrigated): 4e
• Land capability classification (nonirrigated): 6c
• Hydrologic Soil Group: B
• Ecological site: Mountain Grassland (R048AY002NM)