T.S. Moss

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since Jun 02, 2017
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Recent posts by T.S. Moss

Claire and Gabriel,

I wonder if each of you are still in VT or have moved on to somewhere else.

If still in the area, or still considering living/creating here, I'd like to chat with each of you!

I'm interested in getting together with permaculture-minded people, scheming, and working on projects.  

I recently moved to Brattleboro and am trying to find a good enough(*) piece of land nearby(**) to buy either solo or with other people or some other arrangement that gets me investing in and working on land.

(*) accessible, not N facing, not very steep, not very remote
(**) will consider relocating to near other vibrant towns
3 years ago
I'm interested in getting together with permaculture-minded people, scheming, and working on projects.  

I'm living in Brattleboro now and trying to find a good enough(*) piece of land nearby(**) to buy either solo or with other people or some other arrangement that gets me investing in and working on land.

(*) accessible, not N facing, not very steep, not very remote
(**) will consider relocating to near other vibrant towns
3 years ago

thomas rubino wrote: ...full load of dry wood ? ... warm at your location?  ...a continuous  small fire , rather than a hot fast fire...?
properly built rmh ... matters not which way your wood leans or if it falls flat in the bottom... its burning completely up anyway.
.. new 3/16" steel you will get about 3 - 4 seasons out of it before it is warped and spauled.... Your air restricter / wood holder  would last a bit longer.

I totally had a "d'oh!" moment reading your response that a rmh should be operated with full fuel feed.  I now remember reading that in both books.  However, I've a few reasons I often like running it between partially full and, say, 1/5 full: it's heating a small space,  for low and slow cooking or just ensuring I don't burn food (I cook everytime I fire it), the lack of smoke out of chimney indicates a partial fill burns sufficiently efficiently, ...

My wood is dry; mostly pallet wood.  Location is VT, so very cold.   I have good reliable draft and chimney duct gets to 110°F. The only insulated parts are the heat riser and around the sides and top of the bricks within the barrel's footprint.

I figured, if one of the functions of the Peter channel is to prevent wood from inefficiently burning by leaning forward on hot bridge brick, this restrictor would be similar for back-leaning wood. My experience with my rmh bears out both as true.  However, I haven't seen another rmh in person.

The p channel and my restrictor took a few minutes to make of scrap. If they don't last long... NBD.  I agree that Metal Is Doomed should be common knowledge.  
3 years ago
Since I rarely run my RMH with a full woodfeed it necessitates blocking the side opposite the barrel in order to speed up airflow.  See second picture.

I've seen images of others restricting the air intake with two bricks in a V shape pointing towards the barrel (possible when a P Channel is not in the way).

One frustration I had with the ways I used restrictor bricks was that the sticks, once burned to a height below the bottom of the brick(s), would often lean away in directions that I didn't think were efficiently getting good airflow.  Or, even worse, they would just fall flat on the combustion chamber floor.

Being happy with the performance of the Peter Channel I made (just quickly out of stove pipe to see how it works), I used the same stuff and style to make a first draft air-intake/feed-tube-size adjuster.  As you can see in the pictures, it has one face resting on top and blocking the top, and the other face at a 90 degree angle descending into the feed tube (all the way would provide the most wood-support).

This feed-tube-restrictor simply slides snug up against any given amount of wood.  It can support the wood vertically throughout the burn process.

What y'all think?
3 years ago
I don't think newspaper has been mentioned yet.  I've used TP for years, I've used newspaper for years, I prefer newspaper.  You can rip them to any shape you prefer and they're more durable than TP, yet soft (see tip #2 below)
Some tips:
-the free weekly papers will do fine,
-don't use them stiff. Crumble & open and repeat one more time or until your desired softness
-not glossy,
-B&W vs colored has no textural difference,
-thicker paper (e.g., 8.5"x11" office paper) needs more crumble & open cycles
-do not flush these, compoost them. (Toxic inks may be an issue, I don't know for sure.)

I recommend finishing with some sort of wet wipes or water. Think about it, if poo got on your skin anywhere else on your body, would you only wipe it away with dry paper/cloth?  Trust me, you'll leave your old way behind.

A more natural or wild option that may not have been mentioned is wet brown leaves (especially in autumn and throughout winter until they've degraded too much).

3 years ago
Thanks for adding your knowledge, Brett. I wonder though, how what you wrote about clay can be resolved with what the O.P. Jay C. White Cloud wrote earlier about clay layers and packing clay as part of R.E.F.s.

However, before you answer that, please note that I think I didn't help myself by adding in specific, or technical, questions to my posting; this is just continuing to confuse me.  I feel like there's a lot of individual aspects of R.E.F.s debated here, but I haven't been able to put it all together  enough mentally to feel confident in creating a long-lasting R.E.F. myself (vernacularly).

I see so often in articles about more modern & conventional construction cutaway or flat diagrams that make clear what even pages of writing fall short of (at least for my mind).  People may be debating features of said diagram in the comments of an article, but at least readers can mentally comprehend a big-picture visual to give grounding to the debate about technicalities and to see a functioning design in at least one specific context.  A picture is worth a thousand words, so to speak.

I hope someone who feels they have a sufficient understanding of a raised earth foundation that would be (or has been) successfully long-lasting in a humid temperature climate (e.g., northern Japan, Korea, northeast USA) would take the time to sketch a diagram, maybe like I did.  Or short of that, attempt to fully describe one feature by feature.
3 years ago
I've read this thread through 2-3 times because I'm captivated by the idea of long-term durable and dry foundations made with natural and on-site materials and am trying to better understand the concept.

What could have helped me understand the subject better is a diagram or two for specific contexts.  So I made an attempt.  The context is 4’ frost depth, northeast USA, varying soil types, water table below frost depth. Please critique, letting me know if I'm spot on or way off. 

Please note that there are three questions in the image.

I forgot to illustrate that the foundation would not be a bowl that would hold water, but would have drainage ability, as applicable to the site.

Lastly, for now: should the foundation infill always be separated (with cloth, etc) from the surrounding undisturbed soil to prevent 'silting in'?
3 years ago

Dwight Smith wrote:Specific pockets isn’t easy to recommend because each area is so unique and has it’s own set of circumstances that I would like and can live with and your in a different place so it wouldn’t be a fit for you.

While I think I understand what you're saying, that everyone has different criteria; I think what I'm looking for at this step is very objective: minimal restrictions and/or regulations that allow simple ecological living.  For example, a town I'm visiting in western Maine has no zoning or limit on residences per lot, there is no housing characteristics minimums, no certificate of occupancy, there is no mandate for approved water supply, there is neither requirement for public road frontage nor approved driveway for emergency vehicles' access.  There is a building permit, but it only is for triggering assessment and to check for a few things: wetlands, fuel-burning heater safety, building egress safety, electric if applicable, and plumbing at least to comply with state wastewater rules which allow a minimum of a 8'x14' leachfield which owner can install oneself (+ pay for permit and design).   I know of places without building permits and more lenient in some ways than all the factors in the last sentence.  And there are towns with more regulations.

Dwight Smith wrote:As part of your research in some of these cool towns just find out what factories are in the area and what is in the river that you may or may not want to tolerate, or live down stream of. If your into clean water, look for area’s that the bottle water companies have wells around. We found it to be a good indicator that the water around is good.

Good tip

Dwight Smith wrote:We have come to the conclusion in the direction of the structure like what Paul has done. And achieve it through setting it up in the right kind of trusts. Otherwise you will never achieve win/win. (not your minds version) If you don’t have that as your foundation you have nothing.

I'm familiar in reading with land trusts and community land trusts.  I'll look into Paul's setup, as I don't know much about it currently.

Dwight Smith wrote:We would prefer to get to know you privately. A picture say’s a thousand words so to speak. Sometimes one phone call can get to the bottom of things faster then 3,000 emails/forum chats.

This way if we are not on the same page we won’t waste anyone’s time.
Plus, it’s been about a year that we took notes, so talking, seeing a map, and finding some notes would stir up our memory as to what is what.

A phone call sounds good to me.  P.M. me.  I'm focusing on looking around Maine, presently, but afterwards, when I have a good base of comparison for each of these 3 states, may be a good time.

Dwight Smith wrote:Really make sure you figure out and narrow down how you want to live your life in this new direction mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, socially and energetically. Include these 7 aspect of yourself and you will be able to be and apply balance to yourself, others and the land.

I'll admit, this is tricky for me because I think I have a mix of 1) all of that figured out to a large degree but haven't categorized it like that in my thinking, and 2) that I want freedom and flexibility and a slate blank enough to improvise and experiment as I go.  Here, I am mostly talking about my plans for my intentions with buying land.  Regarding a vision of collective living, I don't think at this time I can be as concrete in knowing my wants and needs.
4 years ago

Kate Muller wrote:The town of Grafton is a good place to look in NH. .....  Wentworth doesn't have zoning or permits other than state level septic too but there is nothing near it in terms of conveniences.  

Hi Kate.  Thanks for the tips.  I've been recommended those places in NH by others, so if I choose NH, then I'll definitely take a good luck at those towns.

Kate Muller wrote:When looking for properties keep in mind that there are state and local restrictions on "wet lands"  Basically they severely limit what can be built within X number of feet of the designated wet land.  These regulations can make a lot unbuildable.   Also watch out for deed restrictions, and seasonal camps.  These are cottages that are zoned so you can't live in them year round and some people will complain if you try and live in them all year.  

I wasn't aware that land/lots can be zoned to only allow seasonal use of them.  I'll look into that, thanks.  Maybe you mean, simply, a restriction is on seasonal camps to prevent them from being full-time residences unless installing upgrades, etc.

Kate Muller wrote:Like much of Northern New England NH regulations, zoning, permits, house and lot size minimums, and other aspects of "the department of making you sad" varies dramatically from town to town.  I suggest researching each town's regulations before you settle down somewhere.  

That's what I keep being told.  Right now, as I'm in Maine, I'm focusing mainly on the midcoast region regarding finding towns with that fit my requirements, so any advice relevant to Maine would be appreciated.  

4 years ago

Jules Harrell wrote:...I hear you on the sentiments about VT. This ain't west Texas that's for sure!

On the other hand there's ways to do things that work really well in VT.


You have to know how to work it. Right now you can build solar, and be legally completely off the grid. On our VT property we could build a LARGE hunting lodge and pay no additional taxes.

Before we diss VT, remember, it's a sweet state, one area code, and plenty of room to relax.

Thanks for chiming in, Jules, and tempering our wording about VT.

From my previous readings of the forum and now on this thread, it seems that VT has a lot of representation, relatively.  I hope that some people who live in Maine, or with experience there, will chime in as well.  I have much more experience and knowledge about VT, than NH, which in turn I know more about than Maine.  In a few days, I'll be in Maine visiting and touring around for several weeks.
4 years ago