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Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
Posts: 109
Location: Southern NH zone 5b
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Hello, I got here Sunday afternoon and spent most of today helping Evan and James by moving and limbing poles for hamelot.

Everyone seems to be asking about where I'm sleeping, so I put in a picture of my spot at basecamp. The hill in the background is named the volcano. After the PDC, I'll probably move up to the lab so I can help with more projects up there. The problem is that I need a way to get my solar charger here.

There's a decent patch of lambsquarters on one of the basecamp roads and a whole bunch of it right next to wofati 0.7. It tastes like spinach if you're wondering.
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My tent
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Lambs quarters
 
elle sagenev
Posts: 1282
Location: Zone 5 Wyoming
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THAT is lambs quarter. That is the most annoying plant on our property. It takes over EVERYTHING. Now I know, start eating it.
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
Posts: 109
Location: Southern NH zone 5b
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I've been doing a mix of setting up the cooking station at basecamp/getting kindling and working on the berm shed. Brian wants to start backfilling tomorrow morning but the back wall still needs to be finished and tarped. Basically the work involves a lot of moving big logs by hand. I think there were a total of 10-11 people on the project today. Paul wants to build this in order to have a better covered space for the EVs, the tractor, and the stuff from the boneyard at base camp to improve aesthetics. The purpose of the berm is to create another form of privacy from the road and satelitte imaging.
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Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
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Location: Southern NH zone 5b
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The logs for the back wall of the berm shed are all tied up and most of the tarp is laid down over the back. Backfilling has also started. I also tested the cock it lock it rocket griddle and found it to be the best grill that I've used, because its so fun to use. It also has an oven and a hot water heater. I imagine all three could easily be used at the same time. No pictures yet.
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
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Berming and adding a roof today.
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Julia Winter
steward
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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Thanks for the pictures! I think I'm understanding the "berm shed" now.

It's sorta like a wofati in that it's a log structure covered in tarps and then soil, but the soil in this case is more for visual than thermal effects. I still think the inside of the berm shed will be more comfortable than the outside, at least on hot days. So, it's going to go right up against the metal sided pole barn there, or will there be a wall and some space? Is it going to be open at both ends?

I'd love to hear more about the multifunctional rocket cooker, as well. I'm still scheming about building something in my urban back yard, soon (I hope) we'll have a roof so such a thing will be feasible for the cold rainy season.
 
Julia Winter
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Oh wait, now as I look more intelligently at the pictures: there is a decent space between that upright and the pole barn. Never mind about my previous question. I have new ones:

OK, so is soil going to go up on the roof, or just up to the roof, as tall as the outside wall? Is this going to be totally open on the side away from the berm?
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
Posts: 109
Location: Southern NH zone 5b
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The soil will cover the entire top and side facing the road, making it look like a huge berm. It actually has the tractor and 2 EVs under it already. The word from Brian is that Paul wants another one 180 feet long. Is this correct Paul? I also noticed after dark it was warmer next to the tractor and under the roof than it was outside.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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The original design of this one was for it to be 90 feet long on the longest side. That has now been upgraded to 110 feet.

If this turns out to work well, then I think it would be good to make more of these up on the lab.
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
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I took some video of Zach Weiss giving a presentation on Sepp's bone sauce!


 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
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Today is our day off and the PDC is half way through. I went with Evan and Heather in Heather's VW bug to the Missoula  farmers market and then to get Sir Chops and bring him back to wheaton labs where he will stay for the night in hamelot. Working on a video for that.

Over the past week, the foundations and concepts have been covered and there were three hands on sessions. I won't even try to summarize my notes as that would be very redundant (see Evan's thread). Maybe it would be good to help me remember stuff, but the class and this very hot weather takes a lot of energy. So far, my favorite presentation has been on Holzerculture with Zach Weiss.

For most of next week, there will not be any hands on sessions. Instead, we will be applying the concepts we have learned through practice designs. Howard says that one group can do a plan for basecamp, another can do a plan for the lab, and the other groups can do their own property, etc. I'm excited to get practice doing this on paper and on the computer.
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22365
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Curtis Budka wrote:The soil will cover the entire top and side facing the road, making it look like a huge berm. It actually has the tractor and 2 EVs under it already. The word from Brian is that Paul wants another one 180 feet long. Is this correct Paul? I also noticed after dark it was warmer next to the tractor and under the roof than it was outside.


I like the idea of getting a very complete description in the berm shed thread. For now: this one will have 1200 square feet under the roof (1800 if you count under the eaves). Yes, no concern about creating an umbrella like in a wofati. There will be dirt covering the walls and the roof. This makes for a shed that is "earth integrated" so you have growing space on the roof and the back. And, in time, if a person lives in a wofati and has bermsheds as outbuildings, it will look more like the beautiful world of the permie gardener living a more symbiotic relationship with nature than more conventional homes and sheds. Plus, the idea of have 1800 square feet of dry space for $200 in materials sounds pretty sweet to me. And the idea that it would be invisible from space should appeal to preppers and the like - thus giving me another vector in infecting brains with permaculture.


 
Michael Newby
gardener
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Alright Curtis, I'm not going to let the cat out of the bag but let's just say that you need to change the title of this thread. Congratulations!
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
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Location: Portugal
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Michael Newby wrote:Alright Curtis, I'm not going to let the cat out of the bag but let's just say that you need to change the title of this thread. Congratulations!


Ooh, that's exciting!

Curtis - what would you like the new title to be?
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
Posts: 109
Location: Southern NH zone 5b
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So I was waiting to announce my ant transformation until I was legally an ant. Right now I still have 30 ish podcasts left. But I guess the really tall evil tyrant in overalls felt it was time to let everyone know.

I have picked out a spot, but I can't claim it yet. Evan already named it Antarctica because its the southern most plot in antville. I also came up with a new name for the village: The United States of Antviculture. Maybe this can be the name on all official documents exchanged between the dictator and the village, if there ever are any of those.
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
Posts: 109
Location: Southern NH zone 5b
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Burra arrived all the way from Portugal and wanted to meet everyone over dinner. While most of us where helping, Jocelyn was looking to see if anyone wanted to try the second pig eye. Josh (one of the ants here) was the one who was brave enough to try it. He said there was a lot more to it than he was expecting.

And thanks to Paul and Jocelyn for all the awesome food!

 
Gary Huntress
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Mmmmmm ... yummy! Does it taste like chicken?
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
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I officially claimed a Antarctica this morning and shortly after, I found good site for my house. Its on a west facing slope with potential to be opened up to morning sun to the east and mid-day sun to the south. My plot is very wooded and I think the sun to the south is mostly being blocked by younger trees that need to be thinned and tamaracks/western larches (one of the two species of deciduous conifer). I'm thinking I like the idea of a hogan-wofati, but the first step is Sketch Up and asking Brian, Ernie, and Erica a few questions (which I haven't thought of yet) when they are here for this super week. It's basically an octagonal log cabin originally built by the Navajo. The problem is that the ground has a cover of 2-3 inches of pine needles and roots: so I ordered a mattock. I also spend some time gathering wood for a hugelkulture bed, but that can't be covered over without doing any digging either.


 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
Posts: 109
Location: Southern NH zone 5b
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I felled limbed and bucked twice this 30ish foot tree yesterday with a small forest axe. It took me probably about an hour and a half. I like to think that if I had a full size axe, I could get that down to under an hour, but maybe that's ridiculous. I don't know yet.

Does anyone know where one can get quartersawn hickory in the Missoula, MT area? It's pretty easy to find really really good old axe heads (Sager Chemical, Collins, Plumb…) but they usually need a handle. I'd like to try to make my own, since the premade handles are covered in varnish and the grain orientation is usually wrong.

Also, what about a company that sells boiled lindseed oil that doesn't have heavy metals/chemicals in it?

And if Paul ever tells you that I'm a fish out of water, this is what he means. Whenever I'm wearing my camelbak, I tend to be constantly drinking.
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Small-ish tree
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Fish
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
Posts: 109
Location: Southern NH zone 5b
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Sorry that I haven't been posting very much. I find that whenever I'm not doing something, I'm at Allerton Abbey, which has little to know service.

The past few days, I have been canning potatoes that went bad and died beans. Today, instead of working in the high heat, I started organizing the tools that are against the wall in the auditorium. I have them all carefully organized by category and to maximize wall space.

I also started putting ideas down on paper. I out a lot of names to things that don't exist yet. Hopefully you can read a few of them.

I also want to thank Kelly Ware for the plants she sent, although I don't think any of the ones that I picked from the ant selection are still going. I wasn't able to get up to the lab for a while for some reason or another that I forget, so by the time I got to planting, they didn't look so great.

And thank you again to Jocelyn for each time she invites us for dinner, including tonight. It's always fun to sit down and talk about everything that's going on.
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Interesting names
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Tools carefully organized
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
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These past few days, in between helping Josh with the berm shed, I've been through a lot of frustration trying to get some sort of blogish-website thing going. I've bounced from several different blogging services, Content Management System software (Like Adobe Dreamweaver, but different versions), and even considered learning to writing the code for the entire site myself due to frustration with all the other things I've tried. It looks like Wordpress is working out the best for what I want at the moment.

This morning, I did do some work on trying to make some sort of lean-to tool shed to keep things from rusting. (Yes Paul, it will be invisible from space and probably from most of my plot actually.)
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I hear you on the tool handle thing. I have a lot of tool pieces that need handles or another part and it is much easier to find a new one to buy than to fix the old one.

Looking forward to seeing more updates when you settle on a blog platform.
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
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First Ant plot update video. I was hoping to start excavation/clearing today, but the tractor is being used daily until the bermshed is done. Sorry about the poor filming quality, I have to learn somewhere.
 
Hans Quistorff
pollinator
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My observation is that the morning sun is always welcome. The summer sun can be blocked by the overhang but let the lower angle of the sun in during the winter. The evening sun is brutal in the summer. My 100 year old apple tree to the SW of the house is great because it drops the leaves in the fall when I would like the sun longer. More practical for an ant is the system along my west porch, which is a line of prune plums which shades my west slider in the summer but has minamal blockage in the winter.
 
Glenn Herbert
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My opinion is that it's fine to conduct a proof-of-concept test that purposefully excludes solar gain, but for any dwelling where you actually want to live comfortably, you should bring in sunlight appropriate to the climate (more in cloudy northern regions, less in southern sunny ones).

This means a close to southern exposure with overhangs as Hans says. Other exposures require appropriate mediation, perhaps with vegetation. I personally like a slightly east of south exposure for morning sunshine.
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
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So I've made the to wander back to the other side of the country, to New Hampshire. Why? The biggest reason was the extremely poor air quality and the stage II voluntary evacuation notice due to the near by fire. However, when I left, everything seemed to improve. After getting home, the fire doesn't even look like its advancing any more, never mind advancing in our direction, plus fire season is pretty much over. Before I left, I pretty much finished up the excavation part of building a house and had a few peeled logs on the ground and even got some video, but maybe not enough to make a complete video for Youtube. I also knew I would be back at some point.

I've been home for about two weeks, and I've found that its nice to see deciduous trees again. More importantly, I get to reorganize myself, and I have a much better understanding of what will be useful to me when I do go back. One of those things is most definitely a vehicle. Speaking of going back, the more I think about it, the more I think that its something that I NEED to do. When I flew out there the first time, I felt the same way, and still do. So I guess going back would be like expanding on the completion of that thing that I NEED to do.

Why the emphasis on the 'NEED'? I've found that I'm becoming almost as much of an educator as I am a student in everything I'm learning, as a side affect of innovation. No one knows if I'm doing a good job or not at either of those jobs until progress is made. But, I'm pretty sure that not being there at Wheaton Labs doesn't help with that whole thing.

If you are someone who has given me anything from a piece of advice or encouragement, or something helpful that is a little more tangible, thank you.
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Maddie was recently at Wheaton Labs and tooks a bunch of great pictures. You can see them all here. But here is a couple good ones of curtis and his plot!.








 
Julia Winter
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I love all the hair all over the deck! Did lots of people get haircuts, or just Curtis?
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
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I was the only one. They tried to cut Evan's, but as you can guess from the other pictures, that turned out to be hopeless.
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
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I just posted this about "Rhubarb flow battery- made with non-toxic, non-explosive, non-flammable organic compounds".
 
Chris Allen
Lab Ant
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I gotta read that good find Kurtus
 
Curtis Budka
Lab Ant
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It's been a while. A long long time.

I have since left Montana and returned home (end of summer 2015) as well as officially resigned from being an ant. I essentially worked and lived at home, kept chickens, got a few things planted in the ground... but my focus was to work 40/week and save money. That came in handy when I went to pay for my first semester this past fall (2016) and massive list of tools when I started towards getting my AAS Degree in Diesel, Truck & Heavy Equipment. At 19, I paid my my entire bill (plus a small loan) with money that I earned over the previous year. That right there is what teaches perseverance, and the meaning of hard work. I'm proud to say that I maintained a 3.8 GPA thus far, but this isn't a community that focuses on institutionalized education. So why diesel mechanic? The demand is extremely high, especially for someone who can diagnose problems safely, quickly, and without causing further damage/wasting the customer's money, and the field is much much broader than that of an auto mechanic. But why a career with a salary? I found that its a good idea to have a back up plan, a skill that can be mastered, pays well, and can be taken anywhere... literally anywhere from the busiest cities in the country to the middle of no where logging towns. My goal is to one day own a shop/work out of a service truck and service a community of farmers, obviously preferably permaculture farmers, but beggars can't be choosers. Not that I think I'll be begging for work; a smart man with his wits about him is forever learning. The skill sets associated with working on tractor trailers and equipment can easily be applied to fabrication/welding/machining for various custom projects and or making things for sale in general. And the principles of an engine are largely the same whether it's found in a excavator, a locomotive, a car, or a chainsaw.

I currently attend Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor, Maine and live at home in southern, New Hampshire. If you have questions, and are willing to trust advice from a student/apprentice, I'll see what I can do.
 
Julia Winter
steward
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Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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It's great to hear from you, Curtis!  I think learning to service diesel engines is a wise career choice.  Most of the heavy equipment used in permaculture projects is diesel powered, and most diesel engines can run on straight vegetable oil, but mainly I like the idea of education/training that leads to skilled handiwork. 

When I'm advising young people (I'm a pediatrician) I always prefer things that involve the mind and body together.  Purely cerebral jobs are too easily outsourced to some guy in China or India, over the internet.  Even what I do has a surprising amount of physical skill.  (You try getting a good look at the eardrum of a screaming two year old!!)

You are right that being a diesel mechanic means you have a skill that can support you almost anywhere.  Good luck to you!
 
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