Katie Lefevre

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since Mar 20, 2019
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Hi! I'm Katie. I have a few acres in Twain Harte with my husband, Bob.
Here's a short list of my interests:
Open Source Ecology
Julia Morgan
Christopher Alexander
Lloyd Khan
Saving the world
Oakland and Twain Harte, CA
Apples and Likes
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Recent posts by Katie Lefevre

I'm still here! The plan is still alive! We have an architect we're working with for a site plan. He's done a permie design course, I'm so pleased. I think I'm also on the way to convincing him to doing some partial wofati stuff mixed maybe with roundwood timber framing that's above ground and straw-bale wrapped. And now he knows all about rocket mass heaters. It's really a relief to have a guide through this process. Hopefully after this we'll still have the energy to experiment with more structures.
10 months ago
Oh, another thing I forgot to mention. I said in a previous post:

Katie Lefevre wrote:
So it does sound like the footings are a large part of the issue, but that getting an architect/engineer to sign off is the real ticket.

My aunt was pretty certain that I wouldn't be able to find an architect who would be willing to do that (outside of a research project), hence focusing my efforts in other areas for now.

bruce Fine wrote:there is nothing like personal visit its much more meaningful than phone call or email

Excellent tip! I will try calling once more but will make a point to visit on a trip out there.
I spoke with my gracious aunt, the rock-climbing millionaire ballerina who was there at the beginning of the Green Building Thing in Seattle and has done some rural development as well. I'm going to share the things we talked about even if it's a Big No Duh for everyone else:

Going without the code: Find a design/build contractor in the area. Ask them the ins and outs and whether or not inspectors are inspecting. Keep in mind, electrical/plumbing contractors would be bound by the code, so you'd likely have to do everything yourself, but she didn't think that was totally nuts. She also mentioned how a lot of people get around code, which is to build up to code and then remove that thing, but since we're going for the sustainable, resource-minimized solution, she says that doesn't work for us (so glad she gets it).

I shared with her the idea that Mike Oehler mentions in his book, which is to try to contact universities to see if they want to collaborate, which could make approval much easier, and she thought it sounded like a good idea. She referenced the Center for the Built Environment in Seattle, but I think I'd first try to contact UC Berkeley Architecture Department faculty who work on sustainability and see if they'll answer any questions (they're in California, in my neighborhood, and once upon a time were a bunch of hippies, so maybe some of that legacy remains). I also know that the Earthship folks work with the Western Colorado University, so it's not unprecedented.

Next on my exploit-family-connections list is my Uncle the Architect. I have to think of good questions to ask him, so any suggestions would be appreciated.

The fire prevention folks haven't called me back yet about what happens to thinned timber, so I'll call them again today.

I also kinda want to share backup plans if 100% wofati doesn't pan out. I do really want to do roundwood timber framing, and I think that's acceptable code-wise, but I'll investigate. If I have to have a concrete foundation, I guess that wouldn't be the end of the world. And if I can't do earth-bermed at all, I'd go the straw-bale or straw-slip route with a metal roof, which I've always liked, and could get rice straw from in-state if not from the immediate area. And once this structure is built, I'd still build a wofati but maybe not for permanent human habitation.

Thanks for the likes on my initial post, it's encouraging me to keep posting updates.

[look at those ROCKS]
OK, thanks to the gods of SEO I was sent to these threads that have given me some direction as to next steps for code:



So it does sound like the footings are a large part of the issue, but that getting an architect/engineer to sign off is the real ticket. I will focus my efforts there, but if anyone knows of where to find such a blessed creature (architect/engineer willing to work with me on these kinds of plans) I'd love to hear ideas.
Hello you Beautiful People.

I bought land! It's in California, in the Sierra Foothills, on the way to some of the nearest and dearest places of my itty-bitty childhood.
[Me as a naked baby in the Sierras]

After reading the Build a Better World book I want to build a wofati (of course). I know there isn't an official version 1.0 yet but maybe this could be unofficial 0.10. I'm wondering if one of these could be code-compliant in California. How do I get a rough sense of whether or not I should be even looking at wofatis given my building codes? Hire any architect or designer for an hour? Find an architect or designer who is alt-building specific? Where do I find someone like that? Or a Structural Engineer like that? I read a tip to check with the EcoBuilding Guild (Oregon and Washington based) and they recommended I talk to the Master Builder's guild in my area, which is the Western Regional Master Builders Association. Anyone ever work with them? I'll reach out to them and let y'all know what I find out.

I'm also contacting my local forestry and fire departments for things like small timber from fire-prevention programs (there might not be enough straight timber on my land, which has a lot of oak and brush, but the neighborhood is full of various pines) and I'll be posting the results of those investigations here.

Anyone have any info on post footings? Are people doing creosote? How long is a post expected to last in something like a gravel footing?

I have saved up a chunk of money for land projects. For people who have built this kind of structure, what do you wish you could have paid someone to do? Things I'm thinking of paying for:
Local lumber sourcing/peeling/delivering
People who have built wofatis to come help me
People with timberframing experience to help with frame (I've never used a chainsaw before, but would love to learn from someone who knows what they're doing)
People with rocket mass heater experience to help with building one of those
Plumbing and Electricity? (Are any of the Wheaton Labs wofatis hooked up with plumbing/electricity?)

Are YOU planning on building a wofati or timber-beamed structure?

Are there rough engineering tables of the kind in the 5$ and up Underground House book that are wofati-specific?

Is there some kind of open-source repository for current wofati development at Wheaton Labs that I could be invited to as an independent contributor? (Crossing my fingers Paul sees this)

[The land, the guy we bought the land from, a probably-dead tree]

paul wheaton wrote:

Katie Lefevre wrote:But the m4a if only one option is available.

So you are familiar with this format?

Yes, but now that I'm looking closely, it seems like there really aren't as many options as I thought for playing them, and a pretty commonly googled question is how to convert them to mp3. So I think I take back my vote.
But the m4a if only one option is available.

paul wheaton wrote:Sending out the audiobooks will be expensive because I will be paying by the megabyte.  So a lot of people will say to provide the audiobook in several formats, but I think it will be wise to provide the audiobook in exactly one format, so people don't just automatically download all the formats and the costs break the bank.

Would it be possible to have separate buttons to download one's preferred format? Avoids breaking the data-bank.
And I'd vote for the m4a and the separate chapters of mp3 (not the big long mp3).
I was just reading about woven seed beaters in Tending the Wild by Kat Anderson. Found this neat video of someone using the same principle to gather chia seeds, but using a flyswatter and a big plastic bucket. Would definitely work for harvesting Amaranth!