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evan's ant village log

 
Lab Ant
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Y2, Summer (39)

Ben is a straw-hat-wearing badass who's building some crazy cool stuff. Here's a few pics of the beginnings of some of his projects on Josh's plot.
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Ben's firepit and rocket stove
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Ben's pithouse started
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Ben's tipi and trellis atrium posts
 
evan l pierce
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Y2, Summer (40)

I built some retaining walls for Siesta so that the earth on the roof could slope gently down to the ground without spilling into patio or paths. As will be clear from later posts, it turns out I did it all wrong and will have to do some janky stuff to get it to work semi-properly and end up looking like I meant to do it.

Also I put in a tiny greenhouse-ish kind of thing dug into the south berm. The interior wood of this stucture will be charred black to soak up lots of solar heat. The idea is not so much to use it grow plants, but rather to have it charge the mass of 4+ feet of dirt between it and the house. Maybe it'll even be a nice place for a solar shower in the winter eventually. We'll see...

Also, there's a cute lil bee waterer down at basecamp near the well. I always see bees and wasps hanging out there like co-workers around the water cooler. Pretty nifty!
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downhill side of Siesta pre-burying
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south side of Siesta built-in greenhouse started
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bee waterer at basecamp
 
evan l pierce
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Y2, Summer (41)

The greenhouse structure and retaining walls mostly finished, I rolled old toothless Rexcavator over and piled up tons of "dry" earth, (it actually was relatively dry, having for months been piled up, sun-baked, and covered by tarps during rain events,) on the north and south sides of Siesta.

Jason and DJ helped me pick up a bunch of dry cardboard to use as insulation for the roof. Apparently dry cardboard is something like R3 per inch, and people tend to happily give it away for free. In contrast to a sheet-mulch application, (which we don't do here at the labs due to toxicity concerns,) the cardboard used here will never be in contact with soil or water, being sandwiched between waterproofing layers, and so should stay relatively inert and insulative. And since we put the cardboard straight into the structure the same day we picked it up from town, it never sat around long enough for mice to start using it to insulate their little mouse houses. If the mice want to get to it now, they'll have to dig through lots of earth and tarps.

Some of the cardboard had staples in them that we removed to reduce any chance of puncturing the waterproofing layers.
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Siesta from south with dry earth added
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Jason's truck with a load of insulation
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removing staples from cardboard
 
evan l pierce
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Y2, Summer (42)

DJ helped me get all the tarps laid out on the dry earth layer of Siesta. Thanks Deej!

Then it was finally time to bury it in "wet" earth, (not super wet at the moment  because it's been pretty dry here lately, but no steps were or will be taken to keep it dry, in fact it'll be mulched and seeded!)

Some of the wet earth, especially the little bit that goes up against the lower parts of the walls on the uphill and downhill sides, had to be shoveled on by hand because I left such narrow excavator access. Also, because I did the retaining walls all wrong, it was more complicated and laborious than it needed to be. Still, it's coming together, and it hasn't collapsed yet...
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dry earth and roof insulation of Siesta tarping from bottom up
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several layers later, a completed umbrella
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downhill side of Siesta getting buried by hand
 
evan l pierce
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Y2, Summer (43)

Got Siesta buried! Still lots to do, especially fixing the stupid retaining wall mistakes I made, before I can finish trimming and covering the tarps though...

Since Rex was around, and Kai and I agreed on a plan for the earthworks in Avalon, I went ahead and started tearing it up down there.
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Siesta buried, mulching started
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south side of Siesta buried
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earthworks in Avalon begun
 
master pollinator
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What a cute house!
 
evan l pierce
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Y2, Summer (44)

Avalon is the southwestern ~1/2 acre of Ava, consisting of the bottom of a little valley and a mostly south-facing slope, but with some more westerly aspects towards the east and west ends. After more than a year of both Kai and I observing, dreaming about, plotting, and scheming for what to do with Avalon, we came up with a rough plan focused on massively increasing texture, usable surface area, and microclimatic diversity.

The lowest point on Ava was already in Avalon, and so it seemed the natural place for as big a pond as possible to accumulate as much water as possible and to rub that water up against as much life as possible before it leaves the site. Where to put all the dirt that comes out of that huge pond? Why, in tons of tall, long, and curving mounds of course. To make this multifold surplus of surface area more usable to us humans, we'll have Rex carve out a few paths and terraces too. Voila!

Lower Avalon now looks like it was hit by a meteor, leaving behind a strangely shaped crater. Where once there was trees, shrubs, herbs, and groundcover, now the soil is bare and uncovered, a catastrophe!

Good thing we're permies and we know a thing or two about site repair. Better get to mulching and seeding like maniacs! Turn that krater into a kratergarten!
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lower Avalon before earthworks
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lower Avalon after earthworks
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lower Avalon earthworks viewed from above pdc swales
 
evan l pierce
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Y2, Summer (45)

More pictures of the diesel-powered devastation of Avalon, and some notes on planned future developments.
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looking southwest, future stage, dancing lake, and gardens of lower Avalon
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looking east, future longwallow pond, dancing lake, and gardens of lower Avalon
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looking west from dancing lake, future gardens of lower Avalon
 
evan l pierce
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Y2, Summer (46)

More pictures of the bare and freshly dug earthworks of Avalon.
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looking east across future gardens and dancing lake of lower Avalon
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looking northeast across eastern edge of lower Avalon, future gardens and hammock office of Eveningwood
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looking west from Eveningwood, future gardens, stage, lake, etc. of lower Avalon
 
evan l pierce
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Y2, Summer (47)

And a few more.
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looking north from jefferson exclave, southern border fence of Avalon, terraces, Yonder, outdoor kitchen complex, future amphitheatre and tropical greenhouse site
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sweeping from west to east from stage of lower Avalon, future gardens, Yonder, tropical greenhouse, amphitheatre, outdoor kitchen complex, Eveningwood, Siesta
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sweeping from south to west from future amphitheatre, Eveningwood, future gardens, stage above dancing lake, terraces, amphitheatre
 
He does not suffer fools gladly. But this tiny ad does:
One million tiny ads for $25
https://permies.com/t/94684/million-tiny-ads
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