Thanks lorance. Staying in a heated house is a slippery slope. Starting to feel all civilized. Before I know it I'll be thinking about putting in electricity and indoor plumbing.
I expect to spend quite a few more nights inside running the stove and keeping it warm, but I hope to get Siesta just a bit more finished and then open it up as a kind of bed-and-breakfast.
Right now my dad Steve is house-sitting for me while I'm away for a few days. I haven't had my fill of winter camping yet.
Here's a few more pictures from the last little trip I went on. We visited some of Ben's friends and family and saw some mighty cool permaculture gardens. We even stayed in a sweet yurt at this beautiful place called Quiet Creek Farm.
I spent a few days camped out at Standing Rock in solidarity with the No Dakota Access Pipe Line (NoDAPL) protests and the globally networked resistance movement of which it is only a particularly visible part. NoDAPL stands at the confluence of several globally relevant causes: protection of the water, soil, and habitat threatened by state-subsidized and liability-capped corporate resource extraction, opposition to the coercive eminent domain seizure of land from people justly inhabiting it, and an insistence that the treaties with and the sovereignty of indigenous people be upheld, to name just a few.
I caught a ride with my fellow ant Jesse, who brought along lots of firebricks and other rocket-mass-heater supplies to help winterize the camps while simultaneously demonstrating the efficiency and practicality of renewable energy alternatives to the oil economy. At the time of this writing, Jesse and Carol-Anne are still out there doing great work. I feel so fortunate and grateful to have such rad, inspiring, and courageous friends! Check out Jesse's Patreon where you can support his valiant efforts: https://www.patreon.com/jessegrimes
One of the projects that Jesse, Carol-Anne, myself, and many other awesome folks helped work on was a strawbale schoolhouse at Camp Sacred Stone. In the short time I was there I learned a thing or two about load-bearing strawbales, was able to lend a hand with many little tasks, and witnessed the roof go on, the windows and doors installed, and the rocket-mass-heater and interior plaster started. It was amazing to me the way all these volunteers worked together to make such a positive impact in the face of something so negative.
Over at Camp Oceti Sakowin, another schoolhouse was being constructed, this one in a bent roundwood style. Jesse built an 8-inch rocket mass heater on top of pallets inside the structure so that it could be moved if necessary.
Someone donated several potted trees to Camp Sacred Stone. They'll provide some windbreak, mulch, shade, and increased biodiversity. I got to help get these spruce, ash, maple, willow, and elm trees into the ground after helping to come up with a site plan for where to put them that met the needs of the short-term campers around the site, the owner and relevant inhabitants that would live with them longer-term, and the trees themselves. We ended up running a contour-line with an a-frame level and planting most of the trees in a wide arc across the north and west of the Sacred Stone Community School. I also planted a few handfuls of acorns around the camp. If even a single oak tree grows there that alone will have made it worth it for me to have made the journey.
I built an l-tube rocket cook stove out of cans, (a design that I've used successfully for years,) hopefully helping to reduce campers' dependence on propane cooking stoves just a little. And I experimented with a j-tube rocket cook stove in the same style. The j-tube worked great but ended up falling apart when it was being moved around, but I learned a lot and hopefully so did the other folks who helped with and witnessed the stove-building. I think if I use a refractory-cement-and-perlite mix or even just a perlite-clay mix instead of just perlite, this j-tube out of cans could be a really awesome wicked-cheap portable cook stove. I definitely plan to further pursue this line of experimentation.
Location: Federal Way, WA - Western Washington (Zone 8 - temperate maritime)
posted 2 years ago
Oh, you guys and gals !!! Talk about warming the cockles of a heart... starting a fire ;) I've done my marching, protesting, etc. here at home for various anti-war, etc... but this is calling for sooo much more ... and getting so much more! Lately, a convoy of veterans. This is one of history's major inflection points, I think. Hugs
It's time to get positive about negative thinking -Art Donnelly
I'm always filled with awe every time I return to the mountains after being away for a while; that first glimpse of the earth rising up in the distance, those wind-battered, snow-covered peaks a testament to our planet's headlong barreling through frigid space...
And coming back to the village, the re-realization of having a bit of space-time here; having a piece of mountain on which to live and garden, is awe-inspiring too. Hopefully sharing these pictures will help to spread a little of that inspiration.
Gary, the folks up here on the lab are staying warm and healthy. We've been kicking that cabin fever by visiting each other's cabins, bucking and splitting up firewood, and harvesting junkpoles for fencing.
For winter solstice, Paul and Jocelyn had us over for an amazing feast! And Jocelyn even provided a plethora of tasty and relatively healthy materials for a gingerbread wofati building party. Ben, Janet, Garret, and I each put our building skills to the test in the construction of edible wofatis.
My gingerbread wofati started off promising but ended up falling apart. Cutting notches in pretzel sticks is way harder than cutting notches into wood.
The next day I was picking through the ruins of my gingerbread wofati and managed to scavenge enough materials to make a scale model of the ministry of quacks, aka the duck hollow, aka the ducks' winter shelter.
After days of munching on the increasingly stale rubble, the leftovers were finally thrown to the ravenous ducks.
I have been following the Ant Village logs since you all started posting. Although I do not envy the challenges all of you face, I am very interested to see how you overcome them.
Anyway, the reason I am contacting you is because you are the one who is most actively posting. I did see on Jim's log how he had a little set back with his wood stove.
To get to the point, I would like to offer him, Sean or even your Dad a free Portable Rocket Stove ( one free stove ), that one of them might like to try out.
It is an impressive working Rocket Stove, all metal on removable metal wheels. I would not recommend putting it in a permanent cob mass, but I am sure rock or brick around it would work great.
If you think one of the other Ants could and would put it to good use to help them get through the Winter let me know.
I will keep checking your log.
Ed, from conversations with the other ants that are here, we all appreciate the offer and I at least would not turn down the opportunity to play with another rocket stove, but nobody expressed to me that they needed a new stove to get through this winter at least. Thank you thank you though, and if you do send a rocket stove someone at the lab would probably try it out and document it. What kind of metal is it made out of and what parts are made out of what? Pictures or links?
Permies, it's been a cold, snowy, busy winter and I've been neglecting to post here. I have been taking tons of pictures though. Maybe I'll get around to posting more some time.
For now check this out, (I think it's pretty neat):
An "auto-combusting" "fuel-less" wooden outdoor rocket cook stove: At least two holes augered to meet in something like an "L" or "V" shape in the core of a dry log.
One mid-winter mid-afternoon Kai and I decided to try out this idea we'd heard about. Kai brought over his badass hand-powered auger and we used it to auger into a big ~1' diameter log of dry, formerly dead-standing, ponderosa pine. We missed initially in our first attempt at augering and ended up augering three-ish ~1" holes that eventually met in the center of the log, (call one a secondary air intake.) After clearing out enough of the sawdust to create an air channel and then igniting the bit of sawdust remaining in the core, the log burned from the inside out with a fairly clean and smokefree flame rocketing out from the wood-insulated heat riser. The wood was such a good insulator that we were able to comfortably handle the outside of the stove with bare hands and adjust it in relation to the wind even as we boiled water on it. The heat output increased steadily and while we ate the food we had just cooked on the stove, the stove consumed itself, reaching the tipping point at which the growing holes in the log met, and became a campfire around which we sat and warmed ourselves, enjoying the glow of the fire through the long twilight after the sun set behind the western mountains and into the frozen starry night.
That's a lot of water! It's so cool to see all the paths the water actually took as opposed to where I assumed/guessed it would go. Some places the creek backfilled a ways back up a secondary smaller draw and in other places it spread out or narrowed to a rapids. Walking up and down the now living creek offered countless surprises. One of the biggest surprises was seeing an actual pond in the pockmarked disturbance of a meadow we call Cat Pond.
Holy crap that's a lot of water! Thank you for the pictures Evan. I would love a bunch more or my plot if you have the chance. I also hope my shed floor stayed above the water, i definitely wont be parking anything down there over winter again. It looks like that berm between Steve and i is holding back the flow and backing it up the draw. It definitely looks like a proper dam and spillway is in order, gotta catch all that spring run off! Luckily, I'm going to get some training in dam and pond building during the ELI course this year.
It looks like your pond is full to the top! So awesome! Time to have some dance parties as it dries out. Im real curious to see how fast it dries up, especially that pond below my house.
It seems to me like we got more snow this winter than last, and it seems like our fall was wetter, and so far, spring has been rainier too. It's hard to say how long it will stick around, though I expect a lot to soak out through the too-steep sides of my ponds. The ducks are hard at work but they can only do so much. We just got a little solarpump to lift water up from the full and overflowing Dancing Lake, the lowest pond on Ava, up to the higher ponds. With any luck all the ponds on Ava will be full by the time the creek stops flowing. Surely then at least perhaps some of the ponds won't completely dry up by late summer...
Everyone's houses seem to have been built above the flood zone, but unfortunately, Jesse, your shed floor did get a little wet. Kai heroically pole-vaulted over to it and got your power tools off the floor though. Hopefully there wasn't too much damage. The berms backing the water up have eroded somewhat and now the shed floor is above water again, last I looked. I'll be sure to take lots more pics of your plot for you, Jesse!
We threw some rocks across the place where the water was leaving Ava, both to use as a bridge and also as a kind of filter to slow down and catch some of the debris and floaty stuff.
i would have never guessed this would happen. its a real miracle ! wish i could be there to check it out for myself but pictures are great to !i hope that we can use pictures of where the water is now for future reference on where the creek will be if we do bring it back permanently. thanks so much for the pics man !
Excellent to see - you are recharging the aquifers, even if it all soaks in. Your baby trees will be able to access it, encouraging their tap roots to go deep. The process of transformation continues. . .