Lawren Richards

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since Sep 18, 2016
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Recent posts by Lawren Richards

Selling an 8-acre off-grid cabin in the Pacific northwest woods. It is in the BC Interior, about equidistant from Vancouver BC, Calgary AB, and Spokane WA.  US citizens can own property here, and it's much warmer than the plains, so consider this location if you are interested in living in a clean, peaceful, beautiful part of the world.

The property backs onto the Salmon Arm Forest (crown land) so has a very remote, quiet feel, but it’s in a sought-out summer vacation area, and is about an hour from a small city, 2 hours from a large airport.   It is a 10 minute drive to a lake beach, and part of the property has good southwestern exposure and a lake view.  There are fruit trees, a small garden, and a ton of wild food.  (I'm better at wilding than gardening!)

It has multiple sites for building, is zoned to allow for it, and could be developed so that you could live there & make money supporting yourself by renting without being crowded at all.  I was going to do this but started building a straw bale house closer to town, and find that I can’t manage both construction and rental. It’s killing me to sell it but it’s also killing me to keep it!

I lived here with my kids for 15 years, and will still be in the area if the buyer needs help getting settled into off-grid life.  Reply if you're interested and I can provide more details.
4 months ago
I know this is an old post but just thought I'd add this in case anyone is considering this design:  straw bales MUST breathe or they will rot.  If you use vapor barriers with them they'll rot, and unplastered damp (and therefore loose) bales will also attract rodents.  I love straw bale building but not this way.
9 months ago
It's small: 30' x 12', and about 1/3 of it is 2 stories, and it's ground level attached to the south side of the house.  (Which means there's a whole wall of clay plaster mass on the north side of the greenhouse, 1 1/2" thick.)  We get -28C in winter and +35 in summer but those extremes are swinging wider every year.  The technology I really want to use, though, is something that I don't know the name of:  it pumps the heat from the high point of the greenhouse in the summer with a fan, into ducting under the floor.  The center of the floor is insulated, but not the edges.  The heat slowly seeps through the mass during the course of the summer and into the uninsulated parts by winter, and from there into the greenhouse.  Can anyone tell me what this technology is called, or point me to someone who has built more than one?  Thanks!
9 months ago
I’m in the middle of backfilling around my straw bale house and realized that I’ll want to use geothermal heating & cooling for my future attached greenhouse and should bury the pipes now. But where & how much pipe, size & configuration— no time to research. Looking for someone who can do the calculations for optimal & has practical implementation experience. Thanks.
Lawren
9 months ago
Although not a wasp, the bald-faced hornet is a winner in my book:  my horse barn had zero flies with a nest of these hornets around, and they're generally very docile.  It is a bit disconcerting when they come to investigate the buttons on your shirt (button=fly?), but for years I didn't realize they were hornets
and would just brusquely brush them away but was never stung.  Then I looked closer and realized that they were not flies but in fact were amazing fly-hunters!
9 months ago
"@Lawren - I was surprised by your experiences.  Generally, I thought anaerobic decomposition processes were smellier...?  Also, my understanding about using oxygen bleach in the laundry was that it was best used as a highly-diluted pre-soak - because of its slow action and long potlife - not actually added into the machine.  Check the Stain Solver website; I'm pretty sure it has advice on such things."

Well, you're right, Matthew, according to what I've now read on the internet.  Although one site does say that if anaerobic composting occurs in water, the odor isn't so bad, that doesn't explain why my greywater area has become much stinkier lately.  Any decomposition has always primarily occurred under water so I've just always assumed it was anaerobic, and while it had a kind of marshy smell, it wasn't something that made people think "oh, GROSS" but it does now.

I do make my own laundry detergent and it has washing soda in it, but I've been doing that for a couple of years with no problem.  And I don't use lots of oxyclean, just the usual amount in the prewash cycle.  Hmm.

I think, when I use up my current amount of oxyclean I'm going to dig out the greywater area (fortunately it's quite small), repopulated the bacteria with old horse manure, and then experiment a little with my own mix of h2o2 and washing soda.  (Wish I could try that miraculous Stain Solver but shipping to Canada would be prohibitive.)  Maybe it's the other additives, not the core ingredients at all.  I too would be interested in hearing other experiences.

7 years ago
My greywater area has become very stinky in the last few months, and I highly suspect that it is the addition of oxyclean to my wash water.  My original thought on noticing the problem was that the introduction of relatively massive amounts of oxygen into my primarily anaerobic, marshy-smelling greywater has caused a die-off of anaerobic bacteria and a surge of aerobic bacteria, which, if you think of the smell of something like food rotting, is much more odoriferous than the smell of marshy anaerobic bacteria decomposition.  That said, perhaps it's just the additives in oxyclean that are the problem, or perhaps it's something else.  I just wanted to add these thoughts to the thread for future seekers.  This website (http://ecologycenter.org/factsheets/greywater-cleaning-products/) does recommend avoiding products with "peroxygen" in them, but it doesn't say why.

Now I've got to figure out how to fix things in there....

Does anyone here mix their own oxygen bleach with washing soda and hydrogen peroxide, and if so, have you had problems with your greywater?
7 years ago