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Daniel Ray

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since Feb 04, 2014
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food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
Victor, Montana; Zone 5b
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Recent posts by Daniel Ray

Brody, I'm going to second Artie's advice and follow his three steps especially encouraging early retirement extreme. This is what I did in a similar boat to yours.

Before the wisdom of permaculture I  decided to drop 80K on 4 years of undergrad and and additional 2 years of grad school. Using the early retirement extreme strategy my wife and I are now free from debt and working hard to transition to full time permaculture.

I was the same age as you when I finished school and it only takes a few years of hard work and frugality to wipe those debts out. You can do it!

Start your fermenting business and see what you can make of it, but keep your day job till your free and you no longer need that income. As Artie said, reach the tipping point and be Gert--free from the need for so much income.

4 weeks ago
beautiful work! That is a wonderful looking project and quite the inspiration.

Earth pigments won't be quite as bright if you are using a local clay that has a darker color. Kaolin is pretty bone white and so the pigments tend to be warmer then using local clay that tends to make the color cooler. Do a few experiments and see what you come up with. You can do a 7.5% up to 15% pigment ratio and apply them directly to the bench you built. I usually reduce the ratios so that I have about 2-3 cups worth of pigment so I have a big test area. You won't need to bother with wheat paste in the sample as you will just cover them anyhow.
4 weeks ago
Look for natural pigments from pottery studios. They tend to have the most variety and the best prices, online purchasing tends to be expensive. As Gerry said, cement pigments can work as well. My finish clay plaster is a simple recipe I got from the talented Sigi Koko and I have used it as the finish for my entire house.

4 qts water
7.5 qts white kaolin clay
16 qts masonry sand sifted
1/2 cup pigment
1 qt wheat paste

makes about 5 gallons

You will notice this has no fiber in it. It is a finish plaster and needs to go on thin. Make sure whatever pigment you use stays under 15% of the binder (clay), or it will dust. I try to aim for 10% normally. The above recipe has 12.5% pigment to binder ratio.

More photos! Looks beautiful.
4 weeks ago
The manifold area seems a bit tight to me. Though you left a 3.5" gap between the riser and the pipe, the manifold area is located very close to the bottom of the barrel. The gases will be moving from top down and not necessarily the bottom up, so as they get sucked into the piping, only the top of the manifold may get used reducing your draft. I would recommend cutting a larger hole and using larger diameter pipe for the manifold section or just constructing a larger manifold from cob or brick before it enters your pipe.

Seconding Gerry and saying to add a few extra inches to the gap between barrel and riser.
1 month ago
I'm seconding the level of comfort issue and the possible draftiness of the home. Also, the burning butt is definitely the lack of cob between the exhaust and the cushions. For those with RMH in their homes, what temps are you having in your house?

My house is 750sq. feet, straw bale/cob with an 8" batch rocket. Burning once daily my bench temp is usually 90-105F. Ambient temp in the house is 66-69F throughout the day, and usually 61-62F
in the morning time right before it is burned.
1 month ago
My wife and I have been using Jenkins humanure method for five years now, but since July we have had an additional member to our family. I did a lot of research on using "disposable" and cloth diapers, and landed on using a company called gDiapers. They have been awesome as they are simply cotton liners that break down incredibly fast. After digging in my humanure pile after about a month i could find no trace of the compostable liners. We have also been using some cloth options, but it is so darn easy to just toss the compostable ones in the toilet and take it out with the rest of the household compost.

On the negative side, the diapers do fill the toilet at an exponential rate, but the task of emptying is somewhat of a meditative ritual to me now and I am glad that my daughter will grow up having a much better mindset on "waste". A thanks to Joe for the book, and the advice he gave me when the county wanted to shut our compost down! For more info on that joy check out this thread webpage
1 month ago
Hey Joe, thanks for the book it has been a great resource.
1 month ago
Wow, this sounds like an amazing project. Pipe dreams are the best, but easily accomplished when you have so many friends willing to participate.

I would say right off the bat that you should look for something to buy, it eases a lot of the responsibility of leasing someones land and gives you the freedom to do whatever you want--within reason.

Also, with so many people, I wouldn't bother purchasing prefab homes. They can be filled with toxic gick and you can easily build something so much more fantastic with so many people helping. Look into strawbale and cob construction and if you really like it then you and your friends can set up a schedule for building each others houses one at a time until they are all done. I recommend looking at the mud girls collective if you haven't before now to get inspired.

I think with that many friends you could build something to share in a year or two, then spend a summer constructing reasonable homes for each of you.

Pick your location with care, find out what kind of building codes will need to be followed. Even if you plan on doing a composting toilet, you may be required by county laws to put in a septic tank. You may be required to install multiple tanks for multiple houses.

Many small homes can curtail a building code if you build under a certain size. Or better yet, just build the main "shared home" with plumbing for everyone, a shared kitchen space and dining hall, then build individual homes as "dry" cabins without plumbing. Each of these would give the owner personal space, but be much cheaper and faster to build.

Sounds like an amazing idea. Go for it and post here to let us know how it is going.
2 months ago
If it is an attic I would recommend using batting of some sort. You can get recycled blown in cellulose for very cheap and do so yourself. The spray foam is great for doing homes without attic spaces--hot roofs. It is also much more expensive and can have a lot of off gassing from the expanding foam.
3 months ago
paint cans and such usually have a component of tin as a coating. The structures of these cans are extremely thin and the melting point for tin is very low as it is a very soft metal. metal drums are usually made of steel which is much thicker and is much more heat resistant. As far as I'm aware, no one has burned out one of their barrels on a rocket stove. Ianto has a few that are pretty old, over ten years and they are still fine.
3 months ago