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Luke Perkins

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since Dec 03, 2012
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Recent posts by Luke Perkins

Hi Hans- what is the goal? If the core is left as a stand alone cooker or water heater a layer of cob around the heat riser should work fine as the cob won't be heating up as much. If a barrel is placed on top then a lot more heat is going to be directed down. In that case I would use something like pipe strap to hold the riser together. A piece of chicken wire wrapped around the riser and twisted together could work as well... I don't think the heat at that point would be too extreme though I can't say for sure. Basically, I there shouldn't be a need for any cob if there is a barrel on top. If the core is stand alone as a cooker then an outer skin of cob could act as a protective coating. You would probably have to build up the cob in stages so that it didn't slump off.

Does that make sense?

Cob or brick/slate down below around the burn tunnel makes sense in either case and can also be used to form way to hold the barrel/direct exhaust gases. The only drawback with cobbing in the barrel is that the barrel can't be as easily removed for cleaning/inspection.
3 months ago
Hi again! Just wanted to report that I now have an official website, and a video that shows the cores and how to assemble. Let me know if you have any questions or feedback. Thanks!

3 months ago
Hi Mike- whoops. I overlooked that part of your message. Please tell your 'friend' that unfortunately I'm not set up for an 8" batch box yet. I hope to at some point, but I don't want to get too ahead of myself.

4 months ago
Hi Mike. Thanks for your interest (I mean... your friend's interest). I could probably have an 8" j style ready to ship out in two weeks, maybe three... I have the materials and plans, but I will need to figure out how to ship it since the boxes I bought for the 6" core are most likely too small. Cost would be $350 (shipping included) due to additional materials cost. Let me know if you are interested and I can send you additional specs. Are you using it for a RMH heater build? The risers are smaller on these than a brick riser, but from everything I've read that seems to be perfectly fine.
4 months ago
Hi All- I've spent a fair bit of time on this site poking around through the years and am so grateful for this community. I took an appropriate technology course with Tim Barker up at Wheaton Labs several years back and was very impressed with the various rocket stove experiments. A year ago I built a rocket stove in a greenhouse from fire bricks. While building it I came across and Matt's plans for ceramic fiber cores (which were partially inspired by his collaborations with Tim Barker). I have since realized that, for me, ceramic fiber has some distinct advantages to fire brick. It is much more insulative, light and portable, and easy to cut and work with. Having made one for myself, I have decided to offer them for sale. They could really speed up rocket stove/heater projects by simplifying one of the more challenging parts of the process. I am pleased to announce that I am now ready to sell my first ceramic cores, shipped directly to your doorstep. They will come in a box, pre cut. You will need to simply assemble and pin together the pieces, which should take less than 30 minutes. The price is ultimately going to be somewhat higher, but I am offering my first 2 6" cores for $250 which includes free shipping to any location in the continental US. The weight is a little less than 25lbs. The (6) fire brick splits are not included. I can ship you some separately, although you can probably buy them from a local masonry supply store for a much better price.

Please let me know if you have any questions and if you are interested in purchasing one of my first two stoves. I also plan to offer 8" and batch box ceramic cores in the near future but wanted to start with the 6". The 6" is great for a rocket barrel oven, outdoor water heater, or in a rocket heater. These are not UL listed- any indoor use is at your own liability. Also- I am licensing the designs from Matt, so a portion of all purchases will go towards supporting him and further innovation on his end.
4 months ago
25 foot avocado in the snow. Bet not many of you have seen both of those in the same photo. Taken at Rolling River Farm- home of Fruitwood Nursery, one of the best sources for affordable scion wood and propagation material.

As of Spring 2019 we are currently looking for a couple people for long term caretaking/work trade positions. Located in Northern California along the Klamath River. See our posting here..
1 year ago
Hi All-

I wanted to echo what Elizabeth Rose said- this place is quite special. We're still looking for the right person (or people- we have two positions open) to come live here. I moved here a little over a year ago, also committing to just three months at first. It's been a transformative year. I plan to stay here through this coming fall... possibly longer. I'm the only 'caretaker' here at the moment.

I could go on and on, but I think Liz covered most of the bases. Eight hours of work trade plus an hour or two of animal chores a week, and caretaking responsibilities when the farmers are away, in exchange for staying in one of the most biodiverse food forests in the continental United States. We get a lot of food from the garden. It's a pretty generous situation in my humble opinion. My work this week was planting out peas and lettuce. The week before I was taking kiwi cuttings. The week before that I was potting up rootstocks. Other things I've done recently include seeding hundreds of peach, paw paw, and persimmon rootstocks, seeding plants for the spring garden, and last fall I helped build an extension to the goat's barn.

All the people who have stayed here recently have been here for at least a year- people tend to enjoy it here. All the recent caretakers were in their late twenties/early thirties and left on good terms seeking far off adventures. Our little farm community here has been quite harmonious. And we get a LOT done, considering how few people are here.

We're eager for someone to come and join us for a season or more. We are putting in the spring and summer gardens. Two of the does are about to give birth (more goat milk is on the way!). The days are getting longer and the soil is warming up. I'm surprised their isn't a long list of people pounding on the door to work here. But we kind of go under the radar here. Marc and Corinna tend to spend their time with homesteading activities, and have kept a somewhat low profile online.
1 year ago
Merritt Tree Collards flowering in the garden
This is late but I thought I'd chime in for anyone curious about this in the future. The purple tree collards I grow rarely go to seed in our SF Bay Area climate. However, last year in our region just about every purple tree collard plant I knew of produced a few seeds. This year I haven't seen any purple ones flowering, but I know of several people in the central valley whose plants are flowering. There must be some kind of weather/regional condition that triggers flowering.

Their seeds are not known to come reliably true. However, they are certainly viable. They will produce a range of progeny, some of which will be similar to the mother plant, and some more reminiscent of other leafy cole crops. It is similar to planting the seed of an apple tree... you don't know if you're going to get a delicious vigorous apple variety, but it will definitely be an apple. Occasionally a seedling will produce something worth propagating. The purple tree collard itself was at one point a seedling from some cross...

So, I recommend growing some plants from cuttings or already rooted plants if you are able to get ahold of them. The purple tree collard plant is an amazing perennial vegetable. We actually began selling purple tree collard plants a year ago because they were so hard to find elsewhere.

We have also been collecting and trialing other more obscure varieties of tree collards. We have so far tried two varieties that we have since decided aren't worth sharing- one marketed as a 'white' tree collard, and another was a seedling of a purple tree collard which then was propagated by cuttings. Both went to seed heavily and had much less vigor that the purple tree collards we grow.

We have however come across some varieties which are worth sharing. One is a cross between a dinosaur (lacinato) kale plant and a tree collard saved by a local backyard gardener. It is named the Dino tree collard. It goes to seed each year heavily but rebounds with impressive vigor as opposed to other kale plants which tend to slow down after their first year. It is possible that a future breeding program could result in a plant with similar characteristics but with less tendency to flower.

We also discovered a plant at a local community college where they had let loads of brassicas go to flower and reseed all over the place. It is named a "Merritt Collard". It is more bushy than a typical tree collard but produces enormous leaves: up to 2+' and 1/2 a lb. in weight. It also goes to seed annually but has a vigorous growth response in the following months. They are flowering in our garden right now.

It would be great to get a cross of the dino collard and Merritt collards which had the size and vigor of the Merritt Collard, but had the ruffled slightly more tender leaves of the dino collard plants...  

In a few weeks I am going to go visit my friend in the central valley whose plants flowered this year. We hope to be offering limited quantities of his purple tree collard seeds later this year. For people outside of the U.S. this is currently the only way of getting tree collards. They should also be of value to plant breeders. We shipped this guy in Australia seeds last year and he has gotten a  variety of interesting seedlings.

Hope this is of value.