Well...It looks like Karma has shown me yet another wonderful path. This one takes the place of moving to farm country in the Saint Croix Valley of Wisconsin. I'm mostly going to use this as a posting of my progress.
The 1st main Permie project is going to be building a greenhouse aquaponics system. I'm wanting to build the greenhouse big enough, so it can be both a "Zen Garden" and functional space capable of sustaining 4 fruit trees. I think this will be the biggest hurdle...I'll need to accomodate for growth for the trees, but I may train the trees to grow more horizontal.
Everything else is basically a wiiiiide open playing field of ideas. If there's anyone out there with suggestions. Feel free to post them.
Well, I've decided that trying to make my place up in Ely, MN happen as a full time home just won't work for the little wifey. So, I've bought a place in the St. Croix River Valley in Wisconsin.
There's a pond on my land that I have "frontage" too. This pond has been classified with "PNW" status with the Wisconsin DNR. I'm pretty much assuming this is because it's a spring fed pond. I also don't own this pond, but the gentlemen who does I don't think would like me to stock it. I have not had a conversation with him yet....
I don't plan on attempting to build a pond til' next spring. I've got a call in with the local DNR rep whom specializes in my county. According to the online stats...you can't dig within 500 feet of said water that is classified.
Is there anyone in Wisconsin who has ran into any issues with the WI DNR in regards to building ponds?
I've been mulling those over, but man....the price tag on those...I guess the biggest question is...are they going to be more reliable than a 1970's type farm tractor? I need simple and reliable. Load it up and move it functionality. I do like skid steers...very manueverable that's for sure...keep the suggestions coming.
So, I finally found and for the most parts have had my offer accepted on a good homestead. I know I'm going to need to buy a tractor, skid steer, or some type of machinery. I'll be building some more hugel beds...digging a "pump track" for mountain bike/MX riding, plowing snow in the winter, and just basically saving my back alot of uneccessary damage.
Any thoughts on what I should be looking for? The most bang for the buck is the key element...
The insulation is "Roxul". Ernie gives it a good endorsement. It's much quicker than perlite.
What kind of brick is good to use? Look for brick that's rated for 2200 F. I have a Firebrick place here in Minneapolis, MN. All the bricks I bought were new.
The riser are "half" bricks
What is on the bottom of the barrel, holding it up? Sheet metal? It looks like a nice tight cut to fit the burn chamber.
That is another barrel cut to fit into place. It's the newer design that Ernie and Erica have came up with, and the design they recommended to us. It can be a pain in the ass to get the barrels to fit together. Otherwise go with the method described in Ianto's book.
What did you use to seal the brick where it meets the barrel base? That's Cob. I'll be cobbing in a bunch of local ledge rock into the base. What you see here is an unfinished aesthetic thermal mass, but the functionality of it is there.
Well after much wait, and wait, and waiting some more. The time was finally right for my mad scientist friend Tom and I to put Ernie, and Ericas plan into action. We made our ducting a little smaller after deciding the extra piece of bench just wasn't necessary. I'm also throwing in there that we in the back of our minds are hoping to maybe build these for clients once this version is tested through the winter. Keeping this in mind we decided to actually build a box instead of cobbing. Some people look at cobb as being too "hippy". What do you expect when most people just can't do anything else than marketing tells them to do. So, with a truck full of supplies... The mad scientist and I headed north to Ely, MN to begin a 3 day long 12hr day project
The Floor Plan
The Box is built..time for bricks
The Puzzle Pieces...coming together
We Have Ourselves a CORE!
The Mad Scientist, and Insulated Riser
Ernie, and Erica Manifold Option...Tight Tolerances!!
Little Dragon Fired Up, and Drying Out Mass and Cobb.
What!!! We're Out Of Beer, and Have More Gravel to Haul!
It was a loooooooong tiring weekend, and we worked hard, drank lots of beers, and worked some more. We kept cool heads when decisions had to be made, and had fun. Tom is a recent friend whom I met through a 20yr friend. The dude RIPS! and has the eye of the tiger when it comes to getting sh!t done. Especially watching him raise the cabin up an entire inch to make sure it was level! WtheeeeeFah! It's a solid build. We found ourselves stumbling around with a wheel barrow on very rocky ground looking for stones at 11pm at night to finish the mass off. I have some finish work to do, but my RMH is ROCKIN! It's pretty exciting firing one up in your house, and having it perform flawlessly off the bat.
Well... where to start. If you have Ernie and Erica booked for a workshop. You my friends are in for a friggin treat. I'm reporting in from our Rocket Mass Workshop up at my cabin in Ely, MN.
Ernie, Erica, Tom(my friend), and I drove up to my cabin packed to the hilt. Ernie is a giant PNW fellow, so it was "comfy" in my Element. The conversations were of epic proportions, and the views not too shabby. I took Erica and Ernie to a smoked fish stop, and for a lunch on Lake Superior. We managed to get up to my cabin with plenty of time to spare for more outstanding conversations(this time fueled by tasty libations). Early morning came early, and I somehow caught a nasty head cold. Matter not... a workshop is about to take place, and I had participants waiting.
I'm posting some pictures from my new friend Dan Gathier. One of the many outstanding people I had the pleasure of meeting.
The Gurus Erica and Ernie...Class is in session..Ernie looking for note passers
Tom and Don Splitter leveling off the platform
Tom and I starting to level and build....Note:The elevated base is specific to my floor which has no insulation
"I Ernie the great RMH wizard shall tell you great information, whilst these 2 jackasses figure out proper leveling"
Really listening intently, and surviving the heat...holy crap...it was hot!
The base of the burn tunnel, and the bridge...notice no continuous seams
Don Splitter, and Anders thinking.."holy sh!t these guys know alot about RMH's"
Proper dampening technique with 3 good sized logs in combustion chamber
Saaaaaay...is that your heat riser, or are you just happy to see me? RMH getting ready for take off
Erica busts out great drawings in the flick of an eye
Lunch time, and some shelter from the sun...did I mention it was hot!
The view from my deck!
Anders, and his little man getting it done..."dad, get the hell out of the way... I got some numbers to gather"
RMH burning...that smoke is from paint. You want to see something cool.. watch the circular motion of the smoke!
The core of "my" RMH, and materials to be used...Masonry!
Mixing Perlite, and Powder Clay
insulated heat riser
Hey there you hot combustion chamber you.. I'm falling in love with your hotness!
Ernie coming to inspect the smoke leaking....troubleshooting in action
more troubleshooting...too tall of a gap at top of manifold.
Added elbow, and additional ducting to create more draft. Notice smoke is gone from around "mass"
Pre-Steam and CO2 exhaust....now you see smoke, and Ernie smoking his pipe.
And now you don't....steam and CO2..it's a beautiful thing, and so is that smirk on Ernies face.
It was a pleasure meeting all the participants, and really a pleasure to meet my 2 new friends Ernie, and Erica. I would need hours to write up all the fun we had over this long weekend, and even more time to try to summarize the great conversations. These two really are wonderful people. Do yourself a favor. Buy them a drink sometime, and start talking. You'll never be the same.
Big Hugs to both Erica and Ernie. It was a grand time!
Wow! Lots of good info! I'm glad I asked this question. I'll use jars, and try the bury idea. I have a good assortment of seeds. My permaculture seed ideology is based off a spartan approach. It's not always -40, but seeing it's zone 3. We get some nippy weather up in northern MN.
Howdy! I'm looking for suggestions to keep my seeds up at my cabin through cold weather. (sometimes -40 below) I was thinking of taking the seeds and putting them in a cooler, and line the inside of the cooler w/ insulation to keep the seeds as warm as possible on a south facing side.
I'm looking for any suggestions or ideas. The seeds really need to stay up at my cabin vs. at my home in the cities.
August 9-12: Ely, Minnesota - Semi-private Rocket Mass Heater installation (with canoe-camping options; contact Ron if interested) - AKA Don Splitter
That's Mr. Don Splitters cabin. This workshop will be a one day workshop on Aug Sat 11th. I've offered up my cabin for Ernie and Erica to chill out and relax that Sunday if they choose, so checkout of casa del' splitter is Sunday morning. I wanted to give Ernie and Ericka a day to chill by themselves...especially, after doing such a fine job on coming out east. I'm offering the workshop for a 100$ a person which will be a core build only, but I'm hoping to build and tear down the core many times to give everyone some hands. After all the best experience is doing, eh! This 100$ will cover a fire bbq'd vegetarian mongo burrito and a spot to camp on my property.
It will also give agricultural permies an idea of what's possible in a colder zone such as my cabin. There are lots of challenges, but my hugels are off to a good start.
There are lots of options in town, or at a local outfitters for a bunk house camping. canoetrip.com tell Lori, or Karl that Ron from up the hill sent ya. They have a great pancake and bacon breakfast for about 7$. Or Ely has some great options as well. Bring a comfy chair and your choice of libation, for an evening BS on my deck overlooking the land of "awesome"! I do have running water, but bring a bucket for washing up. Bring drinking water because the well water is right at the cusp of Arsenic levels, but safe. There is an outhouse, so bring TP. My cabin is rustic, so prepare your vehicle for car camping if that's your option.
This is a pay in advance event which is coming up soon.
Well just an update on the Hugels. Got them all finished, and clover planted on all of them. The clover took literally 2 days!! to germinate. I got a little help from the rain gods, so they're off to the races. Now it will be time to observe, and make plans for next seasons plantings. I have a pretty decent size garden at my city home that I need to finish, before my wife loses her mind w/ my yard mess. I most proud that these Hugels were built solely by people power, wheelbarrows, axes, shovels, chainsaw, and a little help on the BIG logs from my Element.
My helper brother...He's caught the "permie" bug.
I had enough time to start up another Hugel that turned out to be the biggest of all. This one is in a perfect "sun trap" area.
The deer definitely like the wild clover, so I'm hoping I can figure out a way for them to leave the trees alone. They're on the property, so they fall under the "no shoot" policy.
Deer munching with Service Berry tree in the foreground. I've got a bunch of native Service Berry trees up there. I'll be grafting more next year.
It's nice to finally allow these Hugels to "run" their process for this year. I'll be planting some sunflowers and other soil building goodies. Then in the late summer fall...in go the trees. I got these as "grafters" from St. Lawrence Nursery. They've all sprouted leaves, and the clover has started to spring up around the bases.
Then later this summer...I found some native Blueberry plants. Blueberries really are cool plant. They need alot of irrigation, so guess what the do. Hole up on a bed of moss, so that's where mine will be relocated to.
Brenda... good info.. I'm trying to narrow down buying more seed, and focus on some of the local native plants. I have yarrow, wild clovers, and a host of other native plants around the area that I'd like to use(There's a reason the Objiwe plant book has 500 pages). My favorite is the wild Yarrow... such a great plant with sooooo many uses.
Shawn.... ooops... I was typing so fast, I mis-typed... Sunflowers are NOT a nitrogen fixer, but they are great for pollination, green manure, breaking up the soil, shading squash, and bush beans, and attracting pollinators.
And then there's this....
"Sunflower; helianthus an annual plant [that at the time of this publication was considered by farmers as a weed]. The roots dive deeply to pull up minerals and fiberize the soil. Stalks breakdown quickly and add organics to the soil. A heavily planted field of sunflower will produce almost double the amount of green manure as compared to any other plant. Sunflowers make a wonderful mother plant for corn, whose deep diving root will grow in with the shallow corn roots to help stabilize the corn.
[This makes sense when one considers the physics of the two plants. Pound for pound a pipe is stronger than a solid, because a pipe has to have two surfaces deflected before it will bend, compared to one surface on a solid. A sunflower has a pipe like stalk, corn has a solid stalk. In high winds corn will blow over first, but a companion sunflower will catch a corn stalk in its arm like leaf petiole and ride out the storm together"
And this: (which I really love)
Author: Dan D Lyons
"Next, I would consider planting a ring of giant sunflowers under that mulch around your tender apple tree to give it some much needed shade from the coming July/August sun. I know it says to plant the apple tree in full sun, but please trust me on this one, I have had lots of experience killing young trees by baking them in the sun Once your sunflowers are about 1ft tall, then plant a planting of pole beans/bush beans intermixed in the spaces around the sunflowers and apple tree. The pole beans will use the sunflowers (that are now about 2-3'' when the beans are sprouting) as a natural lattice and also quickly add nitrogen to the soil and give you an edible crop. The birds will give you some very rich 'guano' fertilizer when they show up to eat those mature sunflower seeds. You can even save a few of the sunflowers and beans to use as seeds for next year . This planting will look very nice a be a good conversation piece in suburbia. After harvest you have a ton of biomass (leaves and stalks) to mulch your apple tree with. Then in the fall you could go with a more perennial companion planting to accomplish the same thing that your sunflower/pole bean guild did but on a longer term basis, many of the things Tel Jetson mentioned in his post to you."
I just got my order of 5 apple, and 4 pear trees in, and they're temporarily planted in 7gal root pouches until the fall. I plan on planting chives and clovers at the base of apple trees as well. The clovers will be mostly for nutrients, and for the Ferrel bees I hope to gather in a Warre hive.
I'll be putting the trees into northerly aspect hugels, but I'm looking for affirmation of what I'll be planting with them.
These are the companion groupings I've came up with so far. Keep in mind all of the hugels will be started with Clover's.
Guild 1: Corn, Squash, Sunflowers, Beans(pole/bush), Jerusalem Artichokes, Amaranth (I personally would like to use this grouping planted by the apple/pears trees as this will be the dominant plantings in my hugels.)
Guild 2: Onions, Brocolli, Potatoes, Beets
Guild 3: Tomatoes, Carrots, Basil, Sunflowers.
Funny how the Sunflowers are a nitrogen fixer like a legume, but work well with tomatoes vs. legumes which work against tomatoes.
1. Congratulations on your purchase... some good trees.. especially the Cedar. Alot of indigenous cultures found many uses of cedar.
2. Being a "doomer" is doing you, and your loved ones no good. Keep in mind I'm not naive about the human violence factor when faced with crisis. Be prepared for emergencies, and self sufficiency, but don't focus on it. Venturing into Permaculture because you're trying to avoid the end of the world or collapse is the wrong mindset to approach your new life. My journey to permaculture started with the whole "doomsday" outlook of 2012(reason for buying my land), but was actually my re-birth into becoming a better person. That "doomer" approach is nerve-racking, and just really bad energy.
With that being said...have fun! Permaculture is so inspiring, and offers great things.
I'll definitely be posting updates on the progress. I have some swales/paths to build, but everytime I survey my 10 acres my mind spins with ideas. Especially the creek idea...I'm going to clear that out, and put some old pond liners in the low area to observe water flow this spring summer. Then if it get's good accumulation. I'm going to have an excavator come out, and dig me a fish pond!
I also have another huge hugel further down the drive way where I'll be doing a 3 sisters either this summer, or next year. That area is lower on the totem pole. I'm also working on creating mushroom plots on some logs that I've cut up, but didn't use.
It was a busy weekend for sure...I figured out how to turn 6V batteries into 12V for my solar array, and also had the pleasure of finding a dead squirrel in my sleeping bag right before I laid down to sleep. For some reason I for that one time decided to shake out my sleeping bag...who knows why, and then...boom out rolled a dead red squirrel poor little critter.
Well I figured out this last week how much can get accomplished in a few days time. I had a few days by myself with a chainsaw cutting up deadfalls, and rotted logs on my property. I had a friend coming up whom could help me for a day. With no "heavy" equipment we had ourselves, a Honda Element(best friggin multipurpose front end loader ever!) and a couple axes.
I had posted these photos last fall looking for advice on my idea.
I was also lucky enough to find a local firewood dealer with lots and lots of birch, and aspen sawdust. There's nothing cooler than smashing open a water logged dead log, and ringing the water out of the pulp.
Well, I'll be putting the humus on top and finishing the hugels in a couple weeks. Then it will be time to plant clovers...then potatoes and beets a little further on.
I have about 6 more hugel sites I'm working on for trees, but I have to pick away at it. I also found the existance of an old creek bed that has been used by some now cleared deadfall, and little trees. I'm looking forward to getting that re-established later this fall.
My good friend is pretty excited about helping me with these projects, so we made sure to drink some over-hopped tasty beers, and sample other fine natural "treats" to celebrate this big initial task.
So, I have some apple/pear trees coming in from a nursery whom specializes in Zone 3 hardiness. Anyhoo...I won't be putting them in their final spot in Ely til' the fall. This is due to having to finish Hugel Beds for them this spring, and the large amount of care these young fruit trees will need.. What I'm planning to do is start them in 7 gallon composting (3-4years) buckets, and then build up moisture retaining mass around them. I was planning on using them as edges throughout my small city garden, and let the tomatoes use them as well. Keep in mind the middle of my garden will have fencing running the length to allow the pole beans, and tomatoes to have some support. The pole beans did a number on the corn last year.
My biggest concern is I want to move the trees in the fall w/o messing up the young root systems.
Wow! Great advice! I'm definitely on the Cistern track. One thing though.. You can boil the water to "defuse" the arsenic? I've read that boiling actually condenses and increases the arsenic? (stupid internet : )
I love the metal roof w/ cistern idea. That's outstanding!
Mike, I've been bringing drinking water up for a bit. I may move up there soon to go to work for the Forest Service. So, I need to start looking at long term alternatives for water. I'd like to go the water cache via the roof, but that's going to be expensive.
Has anyone bought a large 400+ gallon potable water container, and rigged it up to catch rain water by using some type of funneling?
Howdy... I'm trying to figure out how to maintain a good source of potable water at my cabin. I have a well, but the tests came back with Arsenic. This is common to digging deep wells in Northern Minnesota. This is naturally occurring. So, I need to figure out if I'm going to invest in an expensive large water cache system, or an expensive reverse osmosis system. I'd like to just have a countertop osmosis unit, but I can't get straight answers on one that will filter out the arsenic.
The expense from the rain water cache would involve putting on a steel roof, so water collected doesn't have all the crap/chemicals that comes from shingles.
I'm at a loss, so any ideas are appreciated.
My option of last resort is to fill up a large container from the lake, and filter that.
Yep.. That's one thing I forgot to write. Fish are a huuuuuuuge source of Omega fatty oils, and Protein. So people need to learn to use a fly rod (you can get cheap set ups), or spincast rod and reel. If you live in Cascadia you have access to Trout, and Salmon them are some fatty tastiness!. That's just another great thing to add to the "hunter gatherer" list.
Ben, What Neil said is spot on. Find out as much foraging, and hunting techniques you can from the local elder native population. Also, Learn how to stalk and track an animal. Tom Brown, and Stalking and Still Hunting are great resources.
I have come to the realization that you don't have to be a redneck "it moves it's dead" jerk off... to use hunting as a way to put food in your belly. A single deer/elk can provide ALOT of nutrients.
Now about harvesting tools. Get a bow, and learn how to use it, or learn how to make a Bow. There's a guy on here named Dave Bennet whom is a good resource for making bows.
Get a good 22./shotgun combo. Rossi .22LR/.410/20Ga/.243 Barrel Set Rossi makes good barrel combos. I know because I own a youth one for backpacking. I would not recommend shooting anything larger than a deer with this set. A .243 round does not pack much punch.
And, last but not least... practice, practice, practice shooting, so when the time comes to take an animals life... It's done with the quickness and respect that animals life deserves.
You will feel guilt for killing another creature, but make sure to touch the animal/fish and give thanks to it for giving it's life to you.
Brenda, Thanks for the post. These will be bareroot trees. Do you think 3 gallon recycled plastic composting "root pouches" would be big enough, and suffice until the fall? I'm ordering these trees from a nursery that grows trees for colder growing climates.
I don't know if it's a "no no" to post links to a product I'm looking to purchase, but it's only for advice. They also make 3-5 year composting root pouches as well.
Greetings.. I'm ordering some trees from the St. Lawrence Nursery to eventually plant in some Hugel beds I have at my cabin. The beds won't be complete til' spring, but I want to get the trees to my garden in the cities to get them started, and care for them. The new trees need quite a bit of water for the 1st few months, so I need to provide that before moving them in the fall to my hugel beds. Plus, It will give the hugel beds a chance to do what they do seeing the 1st year will be mostly cover crops, potatoes, and beets.
My initial thoughts are to plant them in buckets w/ holes for drainage. Or put them in composting starter pods like you can do for starting seeds. I'd then move them in the fall and plant into the beds. Keep in mind the hugel beds will be one for each tree of smaller dimensions with only cover crops initially.
This will be my 1st attempt at trees, so any advice is appreciated.
I will be planting cold weather zone 3 apple, and pear trees.
Richard, That was taken up in the Selkirks of BC, Canada. www.selkirkexperience.com high above tree line.
This is Ruedi Beglingers piece of land. Ruedi has a very impressive off the grid set up at tree line. He gives a break down of his set up here. http://youtu.be/LHIZLhKOTe8
I've been looking at starting up backcountry skiing, but all my extra cash is focused on creating my own little slice of heaven in Ely. However the splitboard I ride is handmade in Silverton Co by Venture Snowboards which is 100% wind powered! And I don't use lifts...except for the 2 attached to my body : )
I've put the word into my insurance agent for my cabin. I plan on building a pretty big heating infrastructure using rocket stove ideas (gawd do I hate that name) via examples in Ianto, and Leslies book.
My biggest question is it insurable? There is financing on the place.. hence, needing insurance. The problem is... the short sightedness of typical rules, and regulations are so out of date. I question
If said rules will be able to address something like what I want to build.
If anybody has went over this hurdle... I'd be interested to hear what you've found, or approaches I should take.
I guess it doesn't matter if they insure it or, not... I plan on building it either in my A-frame, or a Oehler house if need be.
Stoked.. winter is upon us... time to travel for some splitboarding!!
I forgot to add this to this forum... I got this great book that list's the plants used by the Great Lakes Ojibwa. It's called "Plants Used By The Great Lakes Ojibwa". It's a huuuuuge book w/ the line drawings of the plants.. followed by what type of topography, and all of the uses the Ojibway had for them. Super cool book for only $20. Here's the link http://glifwc.org/publications/index.html
I actually forgot about the really long drainage ditch that runs down my driveway about 300+ on a pretty decent slope. I was thinking of putting some gravel down the entire length of the ditch, or not. Then build small round Hugel beds for fruit trees the entire length of the driveway. The driveway runs E/W.
There are soooo many companion plant types, so I most looking to validate my plant choices.
Dave, Good info there.. big time.. I will have to go through a few times, and digest it some more.
Rudder Bows is a great resource. I got my arrows through them from Glacier Archery. I'll have to look into growing bamboo up at my cabin. That would be a great resource. Any suggestions on a type to look at for northern midwest climates?
This will be my 1st year hunting with a traditional bow(any bow for that matter) I plan on bringing my bow with to hunt for grouse this year. My instinctive shooting is getting better.
Thinking about picking up a 35-40lb paddle bow for hunting small game, and practice shooting from Rudders. Then save the 50lb horse bow for deer.
My journey to a destination of "self sustaining" came from my backcountry splitboarding community. We as backcountry splitboarders(a snowboard that turns into touring skis)believe in "earning our turns" one gliding step at a time. A friend of mine who lives in Alaska mentioned Permaculture to me last year. And, that was a catalyst.
I guess the starting point for everything came from being a musician. The same could be said for any type of artist as well.
Sound Off... what's your passion that brought you here?
Mathew... My point goes way beyond money, capitalism and planetary alignment.
We as humans have great potential. Permaculture is but one way of developing our potential, and transcending any type of geo political system.
The author of this post was pointing to "collapse" of our system. Which is very likely... The Soviet Union collapsed. The people who did well were the people who developed communities, or Mafia type organizations which are in a sense communities. Just like Paul has done here.
Learn to open your mind to unlimited thoughts. You won't quickly dismiss intelligent authors as writers of "trash" when you really have no idea what the book is about. Your statement signified that. It's actually one of the most eye/mind opening pieces of literature I've read in awhile. The tone is very "positive", and much better than watching things blowing up, and people dying in movies/TV. The theories on Quatum Physics alone were astounding.
Take a look up at the night ski some time in a remote place, and erase some of that negativity in your mind. You'll be suprised at how good you'll feel.
To even take this topic onto a more "conscious" level. If you liked Collapse. Do your mind a favor, and read Daniel Pinchbecks "2012 return of Quetzalcoatl". It's a heavy read...big time. It will turn your brain inside out to the possibilities in our future. Most people freak out about what may come in 2012. We know the planets will align, but I say... don't fret. Be positive. Our minds as a collective conscious have the ability to create our collective path.
To me there is a whole lot more going on than cyclical crash and burn revolutions.
Adopting a self sustain life style is just one part of the puzzle. Mankinds ability to grasp materialism with both hands is and will be our down fall
Make meditation a part of your weekly activities, and think good thoughts. We all know capitalism, and materialism is a dead end street. So, meditate on a bright more conscious future for us all, and our children.