Daniel Ray

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since Feb 04, 2014
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Victor, Montana; Zone 5b
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Recent posts by Daniel Ray

Hello everyone,

Looking to just connect with permies in the Puna District of Hawaii. I'm looking to purchase one of the three acre lots around Hawaiian Acres this fall as a longer term investment (permaculture not monetary). I've spent time on the island and am going back in October hopefully to view a few of the listings--not looking to clear and build right away, but i've outlined a few goals below.

1. clear pockets of the property to plant food forests to establish long term food production (1-5 years)
2. hand clear a small driveway for future build (3-5 years)
3.  Build outbuildings such as composting toilet, shower, kitchen (3--5 years)
4. Continue to interplant food systems (5-10 years)
5.  Build small home and live seasonally (10-15 years).

I'm knowledgeable of most of the hardships of this area, but the greatest issue I see is the lack of any sort of community in the area. Are there other permies living in the area willing to connect?

4 days ago
Hello Everyone,
there are a few spots left for our 4 day workshop in July for those interested. Feel free to share with friends or register yourself at our website spiritwood workshops

During this four day immersion workshop you will learn the ins and outs of building a structure with natural materials.

Participants will get hands on experience with rubble trench and urbanite foundations, bale and cob walls, roof structures, and natural plasters. During this class we will be constructing a small (8'x8') chicken coop that demonstrates all of the same building concepts needed to build a cottage or full sized house.

Participants will also receive a tour of three complete structures; a balecob home and a strawbale workshop. These structure use Rocket Mass Heaters (batch and J-style) for winter heat, have finished earthen floors, and many other natural elements for discussion. Learn how you can build a home for less than a year of rent and still be comfortable and warm.

Camp sites are available at no cost. Please inquire ahead about availability for parking live in vehicles. Composting toilet and an outdoor shower are available for use.

An outdoor kitchen is available for community use with meals and staples provided (rice, bread, sugar, tea, coffee, etc.) as well as many greens from the garden. Join us as we have community around our wood fired pizza oven!

Those joining us are welcome to explore the 5 acre property, forage (many berries), swim in the ponds, and walk to the frisbee golf course just down the road.

We love animals, but unfortunately no pets are allowed.

Space is limited to 10 participants. Currently only 4 spots left.

Date: Saturday July 6 - Tuesday July 9

Start Time: 11am July 6

Cost: $650

5% discount for family + friends participating together

Location: SpiritWood Natural Building, Victor, MT
4 months ago
Keira, I have a balecob house in Montana with 4" of cob on outside and 6-8" of cob on the inside. While this structure is a joy and works extremely well with maintaining temperatures. I've realized that the amount of mass on the inside is overkill for such a structure, especially when in combination with an earthen floor. If you were deciding on balecob instead of purely bale based on the desire to maximize your U values inside, then a mass floor with thick clay plaster is definitely adequate. I know you didn't ask for advice on this, just thought I would mention it.  Though, I've walked away from my house in the dead of winter for a week and only had the temp drop from 75F to 55F with constant negative temperatures, so all that mass does do something.

As for the roof insulation, I suggest a moisture barrier directly above the ceiling and followed by your choice of batting, sheathing, and epdm on a cushion of some sort. Normally I would say that the cushion layer could be polyiso foam, but you could use anything really.
Hi Almond, I have been putting specifically compostable baby wipes in my humanure toilet system for years with not an issue. I use Eco by Naty baby wipes. You may inspect the companies website for whichever product you use and see if they have anything that won't break down. There are a number of companies though that do sell fully compostable wipes.
7 months ago
Finished product!  Running like a champ and fully plastered with a lime, sand , TP plaster. Owner did some glass stones on the face which came out nice but I suspect may need to be adhered down later if they start falling out.

Top of barrel is hovering around 600F with the chimney exhaust about 160F mid burn. Bench reading at 110F at hottest with about 3” of masonry on top of the split barrel.

Very pleased with the outcome. I think their house should stay comfortable this winter.
8 months ago
Thanks Jane. This is my favorite part of natural building. “Ravine soil” is so unspecific, I love it. I’ll do some tests with my cob soil and post results.
8 months ago
Hi everyone. I recently came across a natural builder using Calfitice as a finish material. I generally understand it is a blend of lime, earth, fiber, and cement. However I am trouble finding a ratio for the components as every video source is narrated in Spanish and I took German in high school instead!

Can someone help me out on this. Seems like a more stable soil cement and I would like to experiment with it on an earthbag structure.

Thank you!

8 months ago
I merged your stuff with the following thread. I hope that is okay by you.
8 months ago