Antigone Gordon

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since Aug 17, 2019
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After a decade of repeatedly browsing for some topic, and finding it is discussed here, it's nice to have an account.
* homesteaded off-grid for three northern winters, without electricity, phone, or running water
* book and online research nerd
* decades as a part-time day-laborer, deconstructing old houses.
* obsessively building and maintaining a huge personal database of literature, including solar, Asian and energy efficient DIY architecture designs and analysis.
* I like to worry over designs until the solution is so simple it looks obvious.
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Recent posts by Antigone Gordon

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Are there other video chat platforms you use?

Hi Jocelyn, Desperate times cause people to rethink their standards, but I want to put a shout-out for remembering privacy concerns.  

There are communications software  and servers promising respect to users, instead of surveillance (free libre and open source software).  

+ Jitsi is working for video conferences, right in your browser page.

+ Mumble is very stable for audio.

These actually free software are among many, and are run on community servers for low prices or with free membership.   This month, with  five days notice, a software ethics conference went remote in March with completely free software when COVID-19 broke.   I attended that conference remotely with Jitsi, and it was great.  There were up to 200 people watching each talk.

For more information about this world-wide movement, check out the search term "federated web" or "fediverse", where community minded system-administrators are putting free-software tools together as a distributed web of inter-operable nodes.  Remember it isn't really free of cost if you are selling your data in exchange for renting the software.  

Personally, I hate being in photos, let alone video, but I have been thankful to be part of "video" chats with my normally real-life weekly meet-up group.  I turn off my camera, but get to see others, talk like we normally do in person, almost.  We've been using Jitsi for a couple weeks, since we saw the success at that conference I mentioned.  It took some time talking about how to turn our volume to the right levels and stuff like that, but it became just one topic to talk about.

Thanks for the question Jocyelyn.  Hope all are well, and with some time, I'll look back to see if anyone asks me questions about this stuff.

8 months ago

thomas rubino wrote:Hi Peter;
No worry's about that drip. In fact its a good sign.  This is your moisture leaving the mass!!!  HOO RAY !
It will stop after a while. This is one reason we tape pipe connections to limit how much drips out.

Thanks for that info Thomas!  I was hoping there was experience around RMH and creasote, as they differ from the air-tight cast-iron stoves I've burned.  Of course there is moisture in the cob burning off, that adds to the water vapor, and can explain why the dripping stops after a while.  My little Jotul602 never stopped dripping, because we burned it hot, just long enough to get good coals, then closed down the air so it burned cool, long and slow all night.  I had more than one chimney flue fire with that stove.  One almost took down the building, real flames licking up the walls.  Sobering.

Peter,  Which way is the pipe spiral heading, in terms of dripping from inside? Possible it would drip less upside down?
1 year ago
That drippy stuff is creasote.

I wish I had commented on your chimney some weeks ago.  Good to see you're being careful about burn-temperatures and all that.  The wood gasses should be real hot and fully combusted in the burn chamber/s so smoke isn't full of particulates to condense on that long run of chimney you have.  I don't know about creasote with RMH's, but with low-temperature airtight stoves, creasote builds up dangerously in chimnies, especially at bends.  Usually you would control build-up by placing cleanouts at the bottom of each bend.  That is, inserting a 'T' pipe instead of a 90 degree bend pipe.  Creasote chunks can then fall out of the smoke flow into the catchment , and can be removed without dismantling.  Optimally your stove will burn hot enough in big blasts, to ignite most all of the particulates in the smoke before they coagulate on the sides of the cold chimney pipe up above.  

To check for creasote build-up, tap on the pipe every few months, when you hear stuff falling down off the inside, time to clean it.  In a stone or brick chimney, people burn paper occasionally, for a controlled chimney fire, burning off the gunk.  If too much accumulates, chimney fires get hot enough to burn rafters, or sparks fires on the roof. Slanted pipe won't let creasote fall, so eventually you'll want to insert cleanouts at the bends.  Be ready to take it apart for cleaning.  Schedule it so it isn't a big nasty surprise.  

Traditional ondol chimneys exit at the back or side of the building at floor level, with a stone chimney stack a meter or so from the outside walls.
1 year ago
Been away since learning the floods didn't hurt you.  Glad you went for the barrels instead of flat steel smoke chambers.  Feels so good to see all your progress Peter.  Mimi is a hero!  

1 year ago

elle sagenev wrote:I do feel they are worth the extra 50.

If they were worth the extra $50, you can feel good you did not sell them for less. If they are worth more as food, yeay! You did right by not selling them. You seemed so unhappy when you wrote the first post of this forum, sad that you did not sell those piglets. I could feel your dissappointment, the way you wrote it Elle. So I'm trying to encourage you.  And I hope you are enjoying the general hub-bub of getting ready for winter.

I did a fun winter-prep thing the other day. Finished a plastic-covered solar lean-to against a window ("low-mass sun-space"), and blew warm air into the house on a clear-cold autumn day this week. It was so fun to have the house comfy with such a simple hack. I love that stuff.
1 year ago
Looking for "organic", "hemp", "Ventura". . .  I found some pics, examples of the kind of enormous fields farmers deal with there:

I'm glad they-all have the funds and partner support to do experimental small fields too!
1 year ago

Peter Sedgwick wrote: Yes the house sits just bellow a step down with a mountain behind that.

Wow, That's exactly what traditional fengshui traditions call ideal! Got weather and invader protection on your back, and a clear path to water in front :) Sorry to see the snow piling against the back wall, that explains the water damage on the sheathing. That ridge you stand on must direct some water around the house, to the old rice fields you mention. So that seems like the thing to pay attention to with digging out under the RMH room. I've got a gut feeling you might wish that wasn't dug out, because it is a low spot at the base of the mountain, a pooling spot.

And the typhoon happening right now!!!  Oh my I just thought of that news I heard last night. Hope you are all safe.  I'll stop talking about construction while your heads are down under that deluge! Stay safe. The house is not as important as your wellbeing. .

. . . Ah, you just posted a couple minutes ago, and no flood in your pictures :).

1 year ago

Gerry wrote: Because this perlite insulation layer is load bearing, you certainly don't want it to shift/settle over time so I would think to tamp it quite firmly.

That sounds right Gerry. Perlite isn't very sensitive to pressure, but it is very water absorbent, so the drainage is definitely important.

Peter, How about mixing the perlite with the clay you have? Clay soil is great for rammed-earth construction, and some people mix perlite in their earthen floors. For your insulation layer, maybe mixing with enough of your clay soil to make it tamp-able?  The lime idea could work too.  Perlite insulative plasters and gypsum are a thing.  From an Asian manufacturer, I read that powder perlite is heavier than course perlite when mixed with cement, so some light-weight concrete recipes combine both powder and course perlite together to make it stronger.  Mixing clay soil with dry perlite powder might require water, like mixing cement, just to keep it from flying away. Or maybe a cement mixer alone would be enough to contain it.

All of that is conjecture on my part. I've worked with cement plenty, and have read lots about light-weight concretes, but have never tried earthen floors.
1 year ago

Peter Sedgwick wrote:I understand your logic on the scaffolding, however I have weight tested them both right side up and upside down.

Ah good. Glad it looks good to you.  The reason I asked:  Right side up, when the sheet flexes, it is supported by the scaffold frame.  Upside down, when the sheet flexes, it puts pressure in the direction of pushing the welds apart.  half-barrel sheet-metal is strengthened by being shaped in an arch, so that's a bit different.  Maybe there is still time to lower the whole thing, or the flue so the top layer can be a bit thicker, without getting in the way of your threshold?  Others know more than me about how thick that top layer should be. I do know flexing would cause it to crack, and thicker earth is less likely to flex.

1 year ago

Peter Sedgwick wrote:Regarding the grade of the house. I have included a few photos of the front driveway and parking area to give you a better idea of the space. If I can get the water just past the left side of our parked car it will be moving down hill.

Glad to see the area slopes down across the driveway, for a future drain.  Does the area slope up in the opposite direction, to the back of the house? That could be a source of water, not just the roof.  

I really like your project and appreciate all the details you are considering.

1 year ago