Conner Goertzen

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since Aug 23, 2015
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Recent posts by Conner Goertzen

I have been interested in the cheap land being offered online in Costilla County (San Luis area), CO. I drove through on the way to Nebraska last year, and I must say the eBay auctions do not lie about the raw, rough beauty of the area. I am aware of the inhospitable nature of the "desert", and have had reservations really making plans towards starting a homestead there mostly because there are few to no jobs, and the precipitation/water catchment capability is so low. However, I did not (and really still haven't) given up on the dream of owning a food forest, or at least camping/vacationing in this amazing setting. The mountains and the rivers are sacred (as held by the natives). There are wild horses just living free out there. UFO sightings are regular (for better or worse). And if you can get past the newcomer shell I bet there is some very rich Sonoran and Native American culture to experience.

I feel like I shouldn't give up on the possibility, but I have come across some disturbing videos about the politics in Costilla county, from greedy politicians with God-complexes to threatened ranchers/locals who are feeling pressure on their water from the river drying up, feeling effects of irresponsible vagrants leaving trash around, taking tons of water for weed grows (whether that is true or only propaganda from the city officials trying to stir up trouble), etc., as well as possible issues of class-ism against "off-gridders" (who are lumped in with the growers, meth labs, and all-around trashy people that literally trash the place and pillage resources without a second thought) and even a possible racism problem against non-Latinos. There seems to be a few vigilante Mayors and Council members who are running a muck with the residents, kicking people off their land and demolishing their properties via code enforcement. YOU MUST HAVE A SEPTIC TANK EVEN IF YOU LIVE IN AN RV. YOU MUST ALSO HAVE A SPECIAL PERMIT JUST TO LIVE IN AN RV, and I believe last year it was made illegal (for a period) to live in an RV at all, until they said OK OK but you need one of these swank county permits. Of course many eBay sellers leave this info. out of their auctions.

Anyone who is looking at buying land in this affordable and amazing area would do well to search Alex Ansary Costilla County on YouTube and watch the city planning meeting and other videos about his experiences moving from Portland and trying to live in an RV in Costilla (by permission by a private land owner). I am just trying to save you time/allow you to plan for your obstacles that you will face moving here like he and his fellows. I truly hope someone, or a few people end up moving there and making a difference to actually help and assimilate with the community from outside someday, but more preparations would definitely need to be made, be warned. Without preparations, you will likely not find freedom in this land, esp. if you plan on not having a septic tank or costly road permit yadda yadda yadda
2 years ago
Have you considered using kefir grains? They reduce the lactose to almost nil, and add the good guys back in there. Homemade is way better than store-bought, because most of the time the store bought stuff doesn't even use a real SCOBY, but a formulated blend of bacteria and yeast.
3 years ago
My imagination is running wild! Can you describe the process you used to put the logs up by-hand? Assuming you did it that way.
3 years ago
Regarding the pressure/explosion issue-- is there a way to incorporate a "blowoff valve" into a sterling engine? That way, if pressure reached a certain level, the valve would open and pressure released until it hit the level again (like a pressure cooker safety valve).
3 years ago
I appreciate the concern! I realize it's probably a pipe dream for me. What are you using for your heat, if not a rocket stove? Solar?
3 years ago
I am a non-experienced RMH nerdo that is wondering if anyone has tried combining a rocket mass stove or furnace with a steam engine in any way? I am wondering how effective the combination of producing hot water, heat, and electricity through a steam engine might be. Looking for validation, or rejection, and/or ideas!
3 years ago
I am wondering if anyone with "real-life" rocket mass heater experience can tell me if they think filtering the exhaust air with carbon (maybe fine biochar?) would hinder the airflow so much that the fire would be difficult to light. I am wondering because I want to experiment with burning trash and other things that have nasty inks, bleaches, chemicals, whatever on them (with an ash cleanout, of course!)
3 years ago
Would it work to pyrolize that wood in the back-side of the burn chamber of a normal rocket-mass stove? I am thinking if you fill 1/3 or of the side where the wood comes in (leaving a gap right where the intake/combustion chamber are), the heat will go past that wood, and flow toward the outlet. The charcoal can then char with a reduced amount of oxygen and maximal heat inside the re-burn chamber (but off to the side of the main heat and air flow). Does this make sense?
3 years ago
Awesome! I knew someone else on this forum had to have come up with the same conclusion-- just didn't see the topic clearly defined as I was searching. Thanks, Allen!
3 years ago
I came across some very promising studies on the use of biochar as an additive to cement. Has anyone tried mixing biochar into their cob or cement mixes and would share their results?

Links: https://www.biochar-journal.org/en/ct/3 (scroll thru the middle paragraph if you don't speak Deutsch, or whatever that is)

http://e-biocharbricks.blogspot.com/

www.ithaka-journal.net/55-anwendungen-von-pflanzenkohle?lang=en (scroll down)
3 years ago