Vlad Alba

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since Aug 11, 2014
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Recent posts by Vlad Alba

Really beautiful and special property for sale in Lake County, California. It is 2 hours north of Berkeley, 1 hour from Napa, 2 hours from the coast.

Just 3.5 miles to town, yet very private.

Oak woodland and oak savanna, hilly terrain with seasonal creek. Water well is very good. Brand new solar water pump and water storage tank. Water well is 180 feet deep. Depth to water has never been farther than 15 feet, even during the worst drought. At present, water is overflowing out the top of the well, and this is common in years when there has been average rainfall.

All solar power, off-grid. 2500+ watts. 4000 watt magnum pure sine inverter.

Cell phone signal is good at the property if you have Verizon.

Earthbag and ferrocement cellar.


Small aquaponics setup in-ground with coi, perch, catfish.

600 or so lavender plants, several young fruit trees, lots of rosemary and other garden plants. Lots of white sage and some black sage.

Excellent sun exposure, would be ideal for grape growing.

Contact agent Rick Weinand

I suppose that with the addition of a really good bond beam, the walls could support a heavy load. But, it's not something I could say for sure.
3 years ago
I am not familiar with that style of construction. It does not look exceptionally reliably load bearing, but it has some great thermal mass. If it were me, I would use timber frames to support the roof and use that as the exterior wall, but not as a load bearing wall. That way, I would know for sure. Wood is easy and quick, and you can know for sure that it can support the mass of a turf roof.
For my home, I used 2x6 douglas fir lumber spaced every 24" as support posts, and I am using 2x10s as roof beams, with 3/4" plywood as roof material. I put three layers of poly sheeting on top, then tarp/garden fabric, then  about a foot of earth.

3 years ago
here's what i have going at present. I aim to change the brick configuration a bit, stacking higher in the back and lower in the front, with a kind of parabolic bit of brick-arc just behind the stovepipe to redirect that heat forward.

let me know what you think. if you have ideas for better configuration let me know.

(the metal plate spanning above the stove top is aluminum i got from a salvage place. aluminum is awesome for spreading heat, and it takes the load of bricks no problem.)

5 years ago
ditto Real Goods. Their place is fantastic. Great solar /renewable resource also-
5 years ago
I'm just going to throw this out there and see what emerges. Given, there's a right style for each individual plot of land, there are good general guidelines and there's everything in between.

I have been looking into waru waru and am fascinated. It's similar to aquaponics and hugel-type permaculture, swales, such.


I don't have that kind of soil where I am (higher elevation wine country foothills, summer dry and hot, winter cool and moist). Our soil is deep sort of silty, medium low fertility, fairly well draining, not the kind of hard clay in peru's waru-waru.

I dug a six foot hole with post hole diggers and had no problems going deep. Could have kept on going. (Soil was wet). Hardest part was first foot or so, probably from compaction (it was near a driveway).

Oak woodland / oak savannah. We're in the hills - fairly typical terrain. Seasonal stream, etc.

What are some ideal permaculture approaches specific to this region?

For my mind, the main importance is water storage and retention. Swales, lots of thick mulch, and (when there's money to dig one), a pond.

I guess what I'm looking for are the best general principles for this type of region. That includes ideal crops and ideal methods. Focus on trees? on woody perennials?

Also, peculiar tweaks or unconventional approaches for this region or similar regions.

5 years ago
A little vent stack works wonders. Obviously this requires some doing, but in essence is very simple - a 4" pvc pipe with a little 12v muffin fan.

We have a plywood box built to fit a 5 gallon bucket. Out the back is a 4" pvc pipe that takes a 90 degree bend up through the roof. There's a screen at the top of the pipe to prevent any flies.

5 years ago
We use clumping bamboo in an outdoor shower that sees regular use. The bamboo gets all the shower water. it was planted in a little pit where the water drains into. The bamboo is very happy.
We're in zone 9a with well draining silty loam. The bamboo spreads only very slowly and would be easy to keep at bay.

5 years ago
Cool. Very good info.
I have seen the piles of stuff these guys take and it looks like they are true to their word. Lumber, no weird junk. They pile it and let it kind of compost for awhile so the time I receive it it's a nice kind of dusty musty dark brown rather than light brown fresh wood look. Honestly it looks like the wood component in most organic potting soils I have seen.

I get that formaldehyde is in plywood, and copper from the green treated lumber. But what about bromide and sulfates? Where do those come from?

It's not an ideal source but I believe it's a good one for the price 20$/ton

My goal is to feed the fungi and provide a thick moisture conserving mulch. And weed barrier.
5 years ago