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Lab Ant
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Day 228 (part 3)

Cascadia...
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Sharla for scale
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a lake up in the mountains
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and we cast our shadows upon the tree before the waterfall of rainbows
 
evan l pierce
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Day 229 (part 1)

Matt Walker invited us up to his beautiful permaculture homestead on the north coast of the olympic peninsula. Thanks Matt, you're awesome!

Matt's built a lot of gorgeous and innovative rocket stoves and rocket mass heaters. Below are just a few of the rockets he's built.

For more information check out Matt's youtube channel: http://youtube.com/broaudio

And his website: http://walkerstoves.com
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cozy corner rmh
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viewing window from the kitchen
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the kitchen stove door has a window too
 
evan l pierce
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Day 229 (part 2)

A rmh for outdoors!

http://youtube.com/broaudio

http://walkerstoves.com
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Ru on the spiral of fire
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spiral of fire
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view windows on the spiral of fire
 
evan l pierce
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Day 230 (part 1)

Matt gave us a tour of his homestead, and I wish I'd taken pictures then, because it was beautiful, clear, and sunny. But I ended up taking pictures after some clouds and a bit of rain rolled in. Still, you can get an idea of some of the permaculture awesomeness Matt's got going on here.
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funky old maple
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paper wasp allies
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some of Matt's garden growies
 
evan l pierce
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Day 230 (part 2)

Look at those good chickens tractoring around, laying eggs in predictable spots, eating some bugs and some growies and plenty of kitchen scraps, pooping on the pastures, not pooping on the porch, and not even demulching or uprooting garden beds.

Matt finds moving their tractor to a fresh spot a couple times a week works better for him than trying to build chicken-proof fences around his paddocks.

Sheep and dexter cows browse and graze on about nine acres, moving between five permanentish paddocks, two of which are seasonally subdivided into dozens more by modular temporary electric fences. While a living fence is developing in parts, most of the fencing on the land is field fence or woven wire on cedar posts, shored up in spots by electric, and shored up in other spots by firewood stacked under sheds. These woodsheds along the fenceline further stack functions by helping to keep the posts dry, and when stacked with cordwood serve as an especially effective barrier, even for escape artist livestock guardian dogs.
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nomadichickenabitat
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and the chicken has a beard
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curvy sheds and woodshed fences
 
evan l pierce
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Day 230 (part 3)

I really dig these functional woodstack fences!
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shedded fences
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wood security
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a fence that's also a woodshed
 
evan l pierce
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Day 230 (part 4)

Lots of water here on the olympic peninsula, and Matt's reshaping of the landscape is making better and better use of this aquatic abundance to produce food for a diverse array of lifeforms.
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new ponds
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landscape hydration
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little lifeforms on the back of a nettle leaf
 
evan l pierce
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Day 230 (part 5)

More pictures of Matt's homestead!
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weeping cypress?
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Waylon
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roses too
 
evan l pierce
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Day 231 (part 1)

Matt's kindly been sharing not only his home and permaculture homesteading know-how with us, but also his bountiful harvests! So many thanks, Matt!

Fresh greens and beets from the garden, juicy steaks from homegrown cows, and homemade kraut!
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greeeens
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cows and sheeep
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scrumptious
 
evan l pierce
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Day 231 (part 2)

We ground up some beef and a little pork...
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sharp knife
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beef strips
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grinder action
 
gardener
Posts: 697
Location: Mount Shasta, CA Zone 8a Mediterranean climate
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Looks like you guys are living the permies life! Any plans on venturing a little further south? If you make it to the CA/OR border I'd love it if you could drop by, have another piking brainstorming session...
 
evan l pierce
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Day 231 (part 3)

...added some spices and salt, squeezed it all into some hog intestines, and are well on our way to homemade pepperoni!
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paprika, chili powder, crushed anise, garlic, salt, sugar, ascorbic acid
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freshly packed sausages
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pepperoni in progress
 
gardener
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Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
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Ooooh, so ... great!! and so 'close' to home :) I loved Matt's previous postings about how he used hugels to 'lift' one edge of his berms (sort of a small 'terrace', I guess) in his garden to create 'south facing' slopes on his north facing land. He didn't really need a 'north facing' side to a hugel, as he had enough already :) I'm in the same boat, so it was nice to see how he tackled the challenge.

And to see how he's using the 'movable' pasture, via elec. fencing, to, hopefully, obviate the need for cutting and storing the grass as hay. In our climate (among others) it seems to work well (I forget the official name for this system.) Much appreciated, Evan.
 
Posts: 1979
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evan l pierce wrote:Day 231 (part 1)

Matt's kindly been sharing not only his home and permaculture homesteading know-how with us, but also his bountiful harvests! So many thanks, Matt!

Fresh greens and beets from the garden, juicy steaks from homegrown cows, and homemade kraut!



My twins want to know if those are Sharla's hands holding the greens. They are detail oriented!

Looks delicious
 
pollinator
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I'm just looking at this now for the first time, awesome!! Thanks you two, this is fantastic!

P.S. These two winnowed and milled some of my Perennial Wheat last night and made cookies. Seeing my home grown wheat turn into chocolate chip cookies in the hands of these two was just awesome.
 
evan l pierce
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Day 232

There used to be a big dam nearby, but it was recently removed, allowing all the water, silt, sand, and such that was trapped behind it to flow out into the strait of Juan de Fuca. We went down the road to the beach and observed some of the results.

We also went over to Crescent Lake, which Matt described as the most beautiful lake in the world. He might be right.
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waves, driftwood, and dark sand at the beach
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frosty wood at the edge of crescent lake
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magic at crescent lake
 
evan l pierce
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Day 233

Matt's growing perennial wheat on his land and he showed us how to thresh and winnow, removing the tasty seeds from the chaff! We milled the wheat seeds into flour and baked some chocolate chip cookies! Mmmm! Happy thanksgiving!

I'm especially grateful for my family, who is so supportive of me on this adventure. And I know I say this a lot, but I'm super grateful for all the encouragement and support I receive from you lovely permies! It's great to have you all along for the ride! And endless thanks are due to Matt for being an extraordinary host and an excellent teacher of so many homesteading skills. Thanks Matt!

Also I want to thank our first Patreon patrons for their monthly donations! Thanks Walter, Baxter, Jesse, and anonymous benefactor, (you know who you are,) for supporting our permaculture quest!
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winnowing in front of a fan
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milling wheat
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cookies!
 
evan l pierce
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Day 234

Matt and Sharla made felt out of wool from Matt's very own sheep! I filmed the process for Sharla, so expect to see a felting video before long.

Sharla added some felt to the inside of a hat, making it extra super cozy. And on a sewing spree also turned a blanket into a poncho!
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Matt making felt
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Sharla's new felt-lined hat
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poncho lining
 
evan l pierce
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Day 235

Having some time away from the land has been nice, but I'm itching to get back to work. Seeing Matt's house and gardens and especially his stoves has inspired me to do a bit of sketchup design work. Specifically, I've been sketching out some ideas for a potential addition to Siesta, and also roughly modeling the surrounding landscape. I also stuck a model of Matt's kitchen stove in Siesta, because it's pretty much the most practical and beautiful stove I've ever seen.

I have mixed feelings regarding this addition. On the upside, it would increase the interior living area by about 40 square feet, (from 120 to 160,) allow me to put the stove further away from the middle of the space, and also let a bit more light in.

On the downside, as it's currently modeled with a shake roof overhang, it would take extra effort to make it invisible from space. Shrubs or vines growing on top of the house and overhanging the shake roof porch would help, and I might be able to encourage moss to grow on the north side, but in the short term it would be rather visible compared to an earth roof. Lots to consider.

Being able to locate the model on the aerial photo Dan shot was quite satisfying, and hopefully it will give y'all a better idea of the layout of Ava. I'm looking forward to using it as the base map for lots more design brainstorming going forward.
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Siesta w shake roof porch addition
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Siesta in relation to the MiniQuax
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birds eye view of Ava featuring Siesta and such
 
evan l pierce
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Day 236

Matt had some excavator work on his list of projects: burying a water line and digging a drainage ditch for a road. He let me hop on his excavator and sink some steel teeth in the ground. Thanks Matt!

The soil I pulled up from digging the ditch I was able to put directly onto the water line. The line was near the base of a long garden bed with several young fruit trees, so I took care not to bump or bury them.

After Matt explained the technique of rolling the excavator's knuckles, I was able to form, compact, and seal the sides and bottom of the ditch. Now it should keep water from building up on the road, and when overflowing drain into a pond downhill and off to the side. That knuckle-rolling trick is a good one, and while I'm sure I've done it a few times accidentally, I'm looking forward to using it more systematically in my future earthworks.

Besides being one of the most energetic and productive people I've ever met, Matt is also an awesome baker! Check out that golden loaf of sourdough! Mmmmm, delicious!!
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Matt'scavator all tucked in for the night
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ditches dug line buried
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homemade sourdough bread from homegrown hand-milled wheat
 
evan l pierce
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Day 237

Spending a week at Matt's permaculture homestead was at once refreshing, inspiring, and educational! Matt is a wonderful and generous host and it was an incredible privilege to spend time there, warming our butts on a rocket mass heater, doing yoga together every day, and listening to Matt's sweet record collection.

He wouldn't let us leave without loading us down with gifts: seeds, lard and chicharrones, homebrew, wooly winter gear, and a homemade chili cheese pizza!

Thanks again for everything, Matt!

Check out Matt's youtube channel: http://youtube.com/broaudio

And his website: https://walkerstoves.com
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seeds from Matt
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and lard too, this picture showing only a tiny fraction
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chili cheese pizza pie!
 
evan l pierce
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Day 238

We took the ferry into Seattle and visited one of Sharla's old friends. We also got to see some of the touristy sights of the city.

Did you know there's a giant troll that lives under a bridge just outside of downtown? I didn't either, but when I talked to my brother who used to live in Seattle he recommended that we go on a quest to find this troll. Behold, the troll!
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we're on a boat
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the fremont troll!
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space needle skyline and mt rainier
 
evan l pierce
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Day 239

As we began making our way back east, the temperature dropped, the ground took on the appearance of a winter wonderland, and I noticed this sticker in a public place, proudly expressing the independent spirit of the people of Cascadia.

http://www.cascadianow.org
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doug flag: for a free and independent cascadia
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remember that time I saw a bear
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on the road again
 
Matt Walker
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Aw geez you guys! I'm blushing here....Yoga hasn't been the same without you.

If anyone gets a chance to host these two, jump at it, they just simply make the place better.

Look at a tiny fraction of what I got out of the visit.....Thanks you two, you stay warm now!!

 
evan l pierce
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The pleasure was all ours, Matt! Good to see those earthworks holding water!

Day 240

We were planning our trip around picking up Jesse from the airport, but he postponed his flight and told us to go on without him, so we headed labwards a day ahead of schedule. We stopped off at mike oehler's on the way.

It was great to visit with Mike again, and remembering that I'd spotted some chaga mushroom on his birch trees in a previous visit, this time we gathered some with Mike's permission. We smashed up the chaga into pieces and then ground it into a coarse powder with a hand-cranked coffee grinder.

Chaga is said to have medicinal properties that help to prevent cancer and support your immune system, and while we intend to make tinctures in the future for increased potency, for now the tea is quite tasty. Mike tried some too, but confessed he much prefers tea brewed from strawberry leaf.
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chaga on a birch
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harvested chaga plus some snow from when I dropped it, woops
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chaga chunks
 
evan l pierce
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Day 241

On the way back to the labs from Mike's place is a roadside truck stop and gift shop with a trout aquarium. They've also got a little place to sit and crayon-rub reliefs of wildlife and such. Whenever we're passing through I like to stop, say hello to the trout, and do some trout-rubbing.
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winter featuring lakes and mountains
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hello trout
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trout-rubbing
 
evan l pierce
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Day 242

It's great to be back at the labs! Look at that 12ft tall hugelberm with snow on it!

Paul, Jocelyn, Fred, and I did a podcast talking about all the stuff that's happened at the labs this year. It took like 3 hours but we covered a lot of ground. Jocelyn is an awesome multi-tasker and managed to prepare a delicious dinner even while participating in the podcast.

Afterwards we gave Fred a ride to the bus station. He's off on an adventure to faraway magical lands, like Hawaii. We'll miss you Fred! See you next spring!

If y'all haven't seen Fred's thread yet, do yourself a favor and check it out, it's got tons of awesome pictures and info!

Fred's thread: http://www.permies.com/t/47311/labs/Fred-photos-Wheaton-Labs
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hugelsnow
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Paul and Jocelyn in podcastland
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Fred and me in podcastland
 
evan l pierce
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Day 243

Kai has been taking care of the ducks while we've been gallivanting all over the northwest. Thanks Kai! You're the best! It's only been a few weeks but the ducks look so different; Gigantor and Rocky both have green heads now! Looking good, guys!

Kai has also been hard at work building a skiddable shed for storing milled lumber up at the lab. Look at that sweet joinery!

It was gently raining while I helped Kai install a shake roof on his shed. Moving around up there was a bit slippery, but it was cool to see our roofing efforts have such an immediate effect on creating dry space below.
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duck of a different color
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Kai's lumber shed in progress
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shake it out
 
evan l pierce
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Day 244

Jocelyn cooked up Sir Chops' ribs for dinner! And sausages! And a veggie stir fry, and kraut, and fruit salad, and stuffed sweet potatoes, and chips and salsa and guac, and biscuits, and compote! What a feast! Thank you thank you thank you Jocelyn!

Paul, Jocelyn, Kai, Sharla, and I all played penny poker after dinner. I think I just about broke even, but Sharla won a few cents. Paul totally had a (edit: *straight*) flush that one hand or I would have done better than breaking even... grumble grumble...

The new permaculture playing cards look sweeet!
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Sir Chops lives on through Jocelyn
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high stakes penny poker
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yellow rose of basecamp
 
master steward
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It's pronounced "STRAIGHT FLUSH BITCHES!"

I wish to take this moment to thank Evan for raising me over and over while I was holding a straight flush.

 
nancy sutton
gardener
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Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
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Thanks, Evan! Oh, I'll miss Fred's marvelous 'views' into Lab life ;) Paul and Jocelyn look such a relaxed (?) cozy couple in their own space (as opposed to running herd on a houseful! ;) And what a marvelous and so paleo dinner!! inspiration :) (Oh, and I think it's PRONOUNCED same for both spellings, one of which may be 'wrong' ;)
 
evan l pierce
Lab Ant
pollinator
Posts: 753
Location: ephemeral space
618
greening the desert
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Day 245

Kai-Thor the Conqueror is steadily progressing on his roundwood skiddable lumber shed!

Sharla and I mailed off some postcards and a letter to our Patreon patrons. Thanks again Walter, Baxter, Jesse, and mysterious patron, for your support! We hope you enjoy the rewards!
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Kai-Thor the Conqueror!!
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skidding forward
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postcards to patrons
 
Posts: 75
Location: Montana
53
greening the desert solar transportation
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Here's a video of the felting I did with Matt!


 
Sharla Kew
Posts: 75
Location: Montana
53
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Here's a belated photo from when Evan and I met up with my dad. How about those mountains!
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Horsey!
 
evan l pierce
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pollinator
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Day 246

I made a three log bench that when sat upon neither breaks nor rolls down the hill to visit the neighbors. The ones Mike Newby made were better though.

When I was hacking the logs into shape a creepy crawly crawled out and was disappointed to discover that it was still winter.

Kai found a tumbleweed!
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adequate bench
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rudely awakened
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tumblyweed
 
evan l pierce
Lab Ant
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Day 247

The road up to the lab has been icy and muddy and slippery since we got back, so moving back up there has been slow-going as we hoof our stuff up the hill. In the meantime we crashed at basecamp in the love shack for a few nights. Pretty cozy.

I burned a sign for the turkey leg of volcano road.

We stopped to take a picture with a bear made out of gears on the way to taking Kai to the airport in Missoula. You'll be missed, Kai! Thanks for everything you do to make ant village and the labs awesome! Have a great holiday and we'll see you next year!
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shack of love
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turkey leg sign
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bearly bearing it
 
evan l pierce
Lab Ant
pollinator
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Day 248

The first full day spent up at ant village since getting back was lovely and productive. The ground just downhill of Siesta was mostly thawed enough for me to fix a minor drainage issue, I finished taking down the Hogwarts fence and storing it nearer to where it'll become the Téjas fence, I cut and hauled some firewood and some fence poles, put up one of the new signs Sharla made, and also did some cleaning up around the Abbey.

Kai's been taking good care of the ducks in my absence, and the ducks have been doing good work fertilizing and pond-sealing. Thanks, department of ducks!
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Ava from the east
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duck tracks in Entshire
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willow candy
 
Posts: 141
Location: New Hampshire
12
forest garden hugelkultur tiny house
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evan l pierce wrote:
When I was hacking the logs into shape a creepy crawly crawled out and was disappointed to discover that it was still winter.



Those things destroy trees, which can be good or bad depending on your desires. I see a lot of them when splitting firewood, but the chickens are now fully aware that when that motor is going there are plenty of tasty snacks, so they come running! A couple of the chickens are so brazen they will attack them before I can even get the split wood off the splitter.
 
pollinator
Posts: 834
Location: Longbranch, WA
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chicken goat rabbit solar tiny house wofati
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Ron Helwig wrote:

evan l pierce wrote:
When I was hacking the logs into shape a creepy crawly crawled out and was disappointed to discover that it was still winter.



Those things destroy trees, which can be good or bad depending on your desires.



I found them hollowing out the rotten wood in my 100 year old apple trees. I thought "This poop sawdust looks like good potting soil." so I tried it. I later found a reference that it was used that way by early immigrants to the united states. It worked very well as potting soil and I put the unconsumed chunks of wood in a bucket with the grubs to continue their work. I need to check on how they are doing.
 
evan l pierce
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Day 249

Firewood day. We'll be running an experiment here at Allerton Abbey to see if we can get some data on the thermal inertia part of the wofati concept. The idea is to get the inside temperature up to 85 degrees Fahrenheit once a day for 10 days in a row, and then stop applying heat and see what happens.

So far, the warmest we've been able to get it inside is about 65, and that was with running the stove all day today. Perhaps just getting it up to 85 in the first place will take feeding the fire 24 hours a day. We'll see what it takes to overcome that inertia.

Dan installed a couple thermometer sensor dealies that record the temp every 20 minutes, one inside and one out, so it should be interesting to see the results of our efforts over the next few weeks.
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Allerton Abbey from the east, firewood in progress
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inside
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out
 
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