Garnet Morgan

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since Feb 17, 2015
Western North Carolina, zone 6
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Recent posts by Garnet Morgan

Hope Willis wrote:Anybody got a baking soda alternative? I can't use much of it as we have greywater...this sucks since baking soda is the best cleaner ever! Am trying the no shampoo thing, on week does get better, right???

I've also been wondering about this issue with homemade laundry powder based in the various "soda" family chemicals. How much can your system tolerate? 1 tsp of baking soda per shower isn't very much, especially if you only shower once a week or so. Maybe it would be ok for your system? How about using brackish water plants instead of freshwater ones?
3 years ago
I haven't used shampoo regularly in at least 3.5 years.
For the first 2 years of that I just used a small amount of Dr. Bronner's liquid soap. I noticed that after a while I had a sort of "film" or buildup and would use someone's shampoo once in a while to clear that up, then continue using just Dr B's until it built up again.

For the last 1.5 years I have been using baking soda and vinegar and never any shampoo. Actually, the baking soda is a mixture that includes various essential oils, powdered herbs/spices, maybe some clay, it's a little different every time I make a new batch. I mix it (and use it) in a baby food jar and use it for hair, deodorant, and tooth powder.
For hair I mix about a teaspoon into some hot shower water in a plastic netty pot with a lid so I can slowly pour it through my hair and rub it in. I let it sit for a minute then rinse it out. I always follow with a vinegar rinse (maybe a Tablespoon of ACV in the same netty pot of hot water). I used to do that once a week with the baking soda and if I showered more frequently I would just use the vinegar rinse. Most recently I haven't been using the baking soda at all, just the vinegar. I noticed that the baking soda was very strong at cleansing my hair of all grease and my hair came out fluffy, poofy, and not how I like it to look. Since just doing the vinegar it retains a bit more natural oil (I presume) and has more "body" and less fluff.
3 years ago
That's definitely a Reishi, and quite a beautiful specimen too! That's a whole lot of medicine right there. You can slice it up, dry it, and keep it in airtight jars for tea. Or tincture it. Pair it with Chaga for a supertonic.
3 years ago

Satamax Antone wrote:First, check thoses links.

Wow, this link ( provided me with a lot more clarity, Thanks Max. My German isn't so good though, I just looked at all the pretty pictures. Do you suppose the cast pieces for the top of the bell are using the same (presumably) insulative refractory mix that the core was cast from? What about the material for the slabs of the bench seat and the pieces that line the wall behind it? I'm wondering about the thermal shock needs of the materials for those locations. Will any cob/stone/earth type thing work just fine or does it need to be more heat resilient?

Satamax Antone wrote:And if you want a cheap bell, my opinion is to get either barrels, or square/rectangular metallic tanks, like old home heating fuel tanks, or tractor fuel tanks. And use thoses as single or multiple bells,. Covered with whatever material you can. If protected by a thin sheet of metal inside, even concrete can work well enough. So a whole lot of choice are availlable to you. Stones, bricks, even cheapish ones, you don't need firebricks in that case.

OK, so get that I can put basically whatever material I can find for mass on the outside of the bell(s). I am concerned about the durability of using large metal containers for the insides of the bell. I've read a lot about metal parts failing over only a few years. Granted, most if not all of that is for the heat riser and firebox. Is there a longevity concern for using a 55 gal drum as the bell form?
4 years ago

William Bronson wrote: The bell and masonry stove shown use a lot of fire brick to line their insides. To me, that is where cob might be a useful choice, as a lining.

That would sure save some cash! My understanding is that firebrick is used on the inside above the level of the top of the heat riser for its thermal shock resistance and common brick is used everywhere else for its cheapness. Would cob or a particular mix of cob stand up to the heat in lieu of the firebrick lining?

William Bronson wrote: The woodfired oven enthusiasts have a lot to say about materials and heat.

Of course! If they use cob to make wood fired ovens then it should be fine for inside the stove above the heat riser. Except that the super efficiently burned gasses of the heater are much hotter than the smokey fire of the cob oven. Again, can anyone vouch for the use of cob in such an extreme thermal environment? Or does it cool off enough by the time it hits the cob lined walls (relative to within the heat riser) that it's no biggie?
4 years ago
Byron -- that was my hunch about the cob not working well for a bell. I had actually just been looking at that Wild Acres project and it certainly is a nice little unit. I get the gist of it from the photos but I would need a more detailed plan to be sure about the brick layout. A white oven sounds more useful to me, but I suppose a black oven is better than no oven. The amount of quality mason-work with all that brick is definitely a consideration (I've got some folks who could be very helpful at a cobbing party, and not so much at a brick laying party).

Mike -- You're on! That's a great set of step-by-step photos. So, the gasses exit the heat riser and fill the bell, then drop down to the bottom where they enter those two towers that go up to the chimney? Why do they have openings on the front? For clean out? I would love to see pics of your project.

The more I look into masonry bells the more questions I have. I'm not sure about casting a large piece for the top and am thinking about multiple smaller bells (dragon heater style) with smaller refractory caps that could be purchased. Anyone here try for a DIY dragon heater? Or maybe I could just use Matt Walker's castable refractory formula for the bell tops. Thoughts?
4 years ago
I am planning on replacing my small, top-loading, inefficient, and otherwise crappy wood stove this summer. I would like to use the existing chimney, which is centrally located and the space around it will not accommodate an Evans style RMH because the bench would block a door or walkway. So I have been looking into a more vertical bell type of thermal mass. I would also like to build it as a horizontal feed batch style RMH for ease of daily use and to reduce the chance of smoke back (our region has some wild windy weather and I've heard from another RMH builder in the area that his J-tubes always had occasional smoke back so he now only does horizontal feed). The house is a rental and to get permission for this I need to build a heater that is user-friendly for future inhabitants and does not need to be repaired/rebuilt every so often.
To summarize, my design goals are:
1) vertical thermal mass
2) batch-box feed
3) durable materials that won't burn out
4) limited troubleshooting/repair for future users

I would be willing to spend a little more money on materials to achieve my goals such as ingredients for cast-able refractory or ceramic blanket type insulation or some such. But I don't want to purchase a zillion firebricks, or some fancy-pants NASA engineered materials though I know they could make a stupendous stove. Is there a middle way here that balances cost with ease-of-use and durability/ease-of-care? Is cob a feasible material for a bell type heater? I've been staring at images of brick-based bells and am having a little trouble visualizing the details for a cob version.

The house is 800 sq ft with decent insulation in a zone 6 climate. Any thoughts on system size?

Has anyone done a stove like this before? Batch-box Bell RMH using ceramic/cob/mineral type materials?

Of course I would love to also incorporate an oven, a hotplate, a yogurt shelf, and a little nook that makes ice cream and does my taxes, but as the first built-entirely-by-me RMH I should probably keep it simple.
4 years ago