Jesse Grimes

Lab Ant
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since Sep 09, 2013
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I grew up in the deserts of AZ before moving to suburban Orange County as a teenager.  I fell into the typical life path of a blue collar working class hero, working for a water district for 5 years.  I discovered permaculture and soon realized that I needed to make some big changes if my lifestyle was going to coincide with my long held values of respect and care for the earth, and a happy, healthy life for myself and other humans.  I quit my job, sold my house, and moved into a van.  Since then I have been working on building a life that is not based around money and consumption, but rather on harmony with the Earth and self sustainability.  I completed my permaculture design certification course at the Southern Oregon Permaculture Institute in the summer of 2013. I spent the last year wwoofing and working on permaculture farms throughout the West.
Orange County, CA
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Recent posts by Jesse Grimes

Glenn Herbert wrote:Your layout and reasoning looks good to me, given the constraints you have to work with. The one real change I would suggest is to eliminate the longish bent duct routing, and add another half barrel at right angles to the original set. Cutting the end of a half barrel to fit the side of another is not that big of a deal, and plenty of screws will hold the assembly together securely.



Thanks Glenn.  I thought about adding another half barrel at 90 degrees to the rest, but I wasnt sure if having a turn in the stratification chamber would cause short circuiting of the gasses, or other problems. It's good to hear that someone else has done this with success.  

When running the chimney horizontally out the wall, do you need to provide somewhere for condensation to drain out, or does it just run back down to the clean out at the bottom?
1 month ago
Hi permies. I'm planning to build a 6 inch rocket mass heater inside of a barn here in the sierra foothills. I'd like to run my ideas across all of you here on the forum, and then I'll likely document the build here as well. I've built one other 8 inch system, pretty much just following the layouts and directions in the rocket mass heaters builders guide, which I'm using to help with this one as well.

Some pertinent information:
We are at about 2700 feet with a mild climate, average winter low around 32f, sometimes down into the 20s.

The building is an uninsulated barn, with old board and batten siding with holes everywhere, definitely not air tight. It's about 2100 square feet, including the stalls on the perimeter, but we would really only be aiming to heat the large center room which is about 600 square feet.

We are turning this center room into a shared community space, and we would like to have a warm place to spend time together. I'm thinking to go with the heat the people not the air strategy since the building isn't insulated, thus the RMH.

I'm planning to go with a 6 inch system, primarily because we already have most of the triple wall insulated stove pipe for the exterior chimney, and that stuff is quite expensive.  I'm also considering using a bell stratification chamber in the mass bench, made out of 55 gallon barrels cut in half lengthwise, since even single wall stove pipe is expensive and I already got some barrels for free.

The placement of the heater core is pretty much limited by the doors to the outer stalls and the easiest place to get a chimney outside.  There is small gable end wall between a higher and lower section of the roof, about 3 feet tall. I'm thinking I can run the chimney pipe either horizontally or diagonally through this end wall, high up near the peak of the roof, and then 3 feet above the ridge.  I know that's not the ideal chimney, but I would rather do this than punch a hole through the nice metal roof I just installed.  Given that the building is so full of holes, I'm not too concerned with a competing chimney effect, and I'm bringing the exit flue up right next to the barrel to help pull the gashes up and out.

Even though the room is quite large, about 20x30, because of the doorways there is only a 7' x 10' corner in which to build the core and bench. You can see in the sketch ups below the configuration I came up with.  I positioned the core where it is in order to get the 30 inches recommended clearance between the barrel and the plywood walls. I'll probably still put up a heat shield.


Is there anything you can see wrong with this design? There's some pictures and sketch ups of the heater below, and the sketch up file itself if you want to look closer.  Thanks for your input!
1 month ago
It's Betty Seaman of Spirit Pine Sanctuary. I found an article about the actual yurt build. It's not very detailed but it can get your research started:

https://www.permacultured.us/2013/04/building-foundation-and-stairs-of-cob-house/
9 months ago
I have seen this done in California.  A cob builder by the name of Bonnie (sorry, don't know her last name) lives in a cobverted yurt structure near Los Olivos.   I think they cobbed right over the lattice structure and then built a new roof over it.  There were some other rooms built on to it and the roof  covered everything.  I don't know much details about it, but I do know it is possible.
9 months ago
Hello again permies.  I've been back at the Ant Village for a few days, and work is moving forward on my house wall project.  There will be more videos to follow on that, but for now I'd like to give you a look into what I was doing for part of last winter, a permaculture design and installation in the desert of Phoenix, Arizona.  It was a great experience and turned out well, but was also a major motivation for me to pursue more education and skill building in permaculture landscaping, so I can do this sort of thing better and quicker.  So starting June 12th, I will be attending the ecological landscaper immersion at the Permaculture Skills Center in California.  I am very excited about this very in depth training, and the opportunities that will arise from it.  If you would like to support me in this journey, I have a GoFundMe campaign going right now to help pay for tuition and expenses: https://www.gofundme.com/sendjessetotheeli


sam schuschke wrote:im looking to get in touch with some ants to see if there is possible help needed, im trying to get involved as much as i can being based in the flathead valley this summer. i have never been to the lab yet so im trying to find a way to sneek around this 100$ gapper fee, soooooo if any ants have some needs that i may be able to help with please get at me!! thanks



Hi Sam. I will be doing a project on my ant plot over the next couple weeks, see you possibly about it under the "Jesse's ant Village videos" thread. I would​ be happy to waive your gappers fee in exchange for some help with this project. I will be leaving again by the end of May, but I you get out here and show that you are willing to help out, I'm sure the other ants would be happy to welcome you back anytime.
Hello again folks! I am getting ready to return to the Ant Village for a couple weeks to do some more work on my Earth integrated house, and I'd like to invite you to come be a part of the project. I am going to be closing in the walls of my house with a pallets, straw, and cob wall system I learned about from my friend and cob expert Miguel Elliot, aka "Sir Cobalot."  Miguel has been using this system to create quick and affordable shelters which he has dubbed "Palletable Cobins." I be using a modified version of his freestanding wall system to fill in and over the timber frame structure of my house. I am happy to share what I have learned in exchange for some help with the project, and host you on my plot. Attendees of the other workshops taking place at Wheaton Labs are welcome to join us in their free time as well, if they want all the hands on permaculture and natural building experience they can handle!

I will be working on the project from approximately May 18th to the 30th. Message me if you would like to join.

Below are some pictures of Miguel's "Palletable Cobins."
Hi Jim. This looks like it is going to be a sweet workshop. I will be returning to the ant village for a couple weeks starting around the 18th, with the goal of closing in my house. I am going to be doing a type of pallets and cob wall system which I learned from "Sir Cobalot" while at Sacred Stone camp. So, if any of your workshop participants are interested in staying another week after your workshop, they will have the opportunity to learn one more type of cob wall system.  

Good luck with the workshop, and I look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Shan Renz wrote:


How does one go about locating an ant who might need a gapper?



Hi Shan. I might have a solution for you. I am looking for someone to caretake my Ant plot for the next year or so, possibly longer, as I will be busy this year taking a permaculture training course in California. I will be back up at the Ant Village for a couple weeks, starting around May 18th, doing some work on my unfinished house. You are welcome to come for a visit and check out the situation while I am there.

I have a plan already for developing my plot, so anything you did while there would have to be in line with that vision, but I would be open to having you stay on my plot and in my house while I am away. This would give you and your boys a stepping stone into the village and a home while you work towards getting your own Ant village plot, or some other arrangement with Paul.  It would be good for me to have someone there, looking after things and living in the house to keep it dry in the winter.  You would be welcome to plant gardens and/or keep animals, in a way that fits with the vision.  Please purple moosage me if you would like to talk further.