Matthew Stone

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since Aug 19, 2020
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I was born in Spokane, Washington. However, I've lived in the suburbs of Kansas (specifically Johnson County) for most of my life.
I spent 5 years getting my bachelor's degree in Biosystems Engineering at Kansas State University and pretty much tossed most of that out the window after diving into Permaculture in July of 2020. Now I'm trying to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can without my brain melting.
In my free time, I like to play tabletop RPG's like dungeons and dragons, read books, and play video games with friends.
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Recent posts by Matthew Stone

Post #19 (4/17/21):


Oh boy, it's really been a hot minute since I've typed up a message here. I meant to do one once a week since my last message, but well life kinda happened. One of the things that's happened in the last few weeks is that myself, Josiah, and Jen have moved into Cooper Cabin and have been staying there for the last week. It's been pretty awesome, but the limited upload speed of the wi-fi phone makes uploading pictures for posts very challenging. I plan on trying to do my uploads on Taco Tuesday in the future since I'll be at basecamp for that anyway, but we'll see what time will tell. Things here get very busy and I usually try to help with the cooking on Taco Tuesday.

On to the main post!

I don't know that just writing an update for all the things I've done in the last few weeks feels right to me. Honestly, I haven't been keeping track of those things or taking detailed enough pictures to show what I've been doing. I think instead of that I'll share some of the highlights.

Over the last two weeks, I've gotten to work on some cool projects. The move to Cooper Cabin has been pretty awesome. You can see our stuff from the first wave of moving sprawled out in picture 1. It's been pretty relaxing to live off grid. I sometimes miss seeing all the other boots, but as an introvert, I also enjoy the peace. Cooking with wood fire has been an interesting challenge. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance temperature control on the rocket fire cooktop. It seems to either have low heat or full heat haha. As you might expect, doing dishes without running water has also been a bit awkward, but we are starting to get a system for that working and have a plan to improve it. Ideally, we'll install a foot pump so that we can at least have some pressurized water, even if we have to still be very conscious of our water supply.

Beyond the move, I've been working on a variety of projects both on and off the lab. I got to spend some time selecting and carving a handle for Allerton Abbey's back door out of round wood (2).

There has been a lot of work going into our little garden patches by the Fisher-Price House. You can see Waldo giving Dez a hand with his patch in pictures 3 and my finished berm path in pictures 4 and 5 (see picture album for plants and other garden pictures). Gardening has been a blast. I've planted a whole bunch of kale, spinach, and mustard along with some peas, a mix of bug-attracting flowers, 3 rosemary seeds, and some lemon balm among other plants. I'm having to take careful notes about what I do on each garden day so that I don't forget what's going on. These are small patches, but their polyculture nature makes them much more intensively kept. Especially for a total novice gardener like me haha. I'm really looking forward to seeing what grows though! The gardens provide a nice place to relax and take a bit of a slower work pace that we normally keep here in the Bootcamp and that's also been nice. Right now I'm hoping to turn this section of garden berm primarily into herbs and greens with a few vegetables mixed in (because I can't resist garden-fresh beets), so if any of you have suggestion for what I should grow, feel free to post a comment (I'm told our climate zone is 5a).

Some other fun projects that happened, both me and Kyle got to cut down our first tree's (6 and 7)! Mine was not the cleanest felling, but we got it down safely. I learned that cutting down trees, even with a chainsaw, is very difficult. Those chainsaws can get really heavy after a while and it can be hard to line up your cut right in order to get the tree to fall in the direction you want. Fortunately, Josiah is an excellent and patient teacher. It seems that we didn't quite cut my tree down at the right time though, since it took us close to 4 hours to peel it.

The final project I have pictures for is the beginning of the rock steps and retaining wall Kyle, Josiah, and Jen are working on in the greenhouse right now (8). I helped with day 1 of this build, but I've been down at basecamp the last couple of days working with Erica to get the sawmill back up and running. If you're curious about that project, go check out Kyle's BRK, as he's been posting updates on it. I haven't taken any pictures of it though, since it's pretty much been us making slight adjustments to make sure everything is lined up and all the parts are working properly. We feel like we are making progress, but it feels like every time I say that the sawmill decides to throw another problem at us haha. I hope that my update for next week involves positive news for that machine.

That's it for projects. I've really been enjoying taking more scenic and fewer business pictures. I got some good mountain and sunset pictures (8-11) and some gorgeous night shots using the exposure feature on my phone's camera (12 and 13).

For those of you who follow Kyle's feed, you know that both me and him chopped some wood shirtless last week. So my send-off for today is a gif of myself splitting a log since I told Kyle I'd post mine if he posted his. Enjoy!
2 years ago
Post #18 (4/4/21):

Pictures! WooHoo, Its a link!

The last couple of days have been pretty high pace haha. As I mentioned in my last post, I've been doing a lot of things and that's forced me to reorganize my priorities. For example, yesterday I spent 4 hours building a path on my little chunk of the berm. It's coming along pretty well (1), though the last section may not happen. There just isn't a lot of dirt for me to build on, that section may have to have some scaffolding instead. Though, I'd hate to block out growing space since my garden area is one of 2 that currently face to the south (meaning more sunlight) and it seems like it would be a bit of a waste to remove some of that growing space. We'll see what the next week holds.

Picture 2 is Lara enjoying some of the bread I've made in my bread binge this week haha. Picture three is a photo that Erica got of me driving the excavator, look at that focus.

In pictures 4 and 5, you can see the work I did this morning. Daniel, Dez, Kyle, and I along with Erica's partner went to go harvest firewood. That took a couple of hours, but we got a lot done and we are well on our way to stocking up the volume of wood we want for next winter.

And all of that was just the highlights from the last 3 days. I think that's one of the dangers of Wheaton Labs. There's just so much to do here, it's really easy to get pulled in and do more than you thought you would. I think that's cool, but it's also giving me flashbacks to when I tried to run D&D games every week while doing 16 credit hours in college. Can it be done? Absolutely. Will you feel good at the end? Depends on your ability to tolerate stress haha. For me, I've found that I do much better when I reign in my ambition a bit and try to give myself time to think. If I push myself to do all the things all the time every week, I just end up being a zombie. Because ultimately, it's that thinking time that allows me to be creative. Like, I took a trip to Missoula today because I wanted to get some groceries to make Ramen from scratch next weekend and that trip reminded me of how much I enjoy driving. I just had time to soak in the beautiful Montana views and to ponder the random jumble in my head. It was really nice. I think everyone should find the thing that lets them just ponder for a bit. But then again, I'm one of those weirdos that enjoy spending time in their own head, so maybe my advice isn't that great haha.

Anyway, that's it for me today, enjoys this little gif of Josiah dancing during a timelapse I took of the snowfall earlier this week (6).
2 years ago
Post #17 (4/2/21):

Okay, So I'm most likely going to be posting less consistently in the future. Things are pretty busy here and I don't have lots of time for posts. In addition, we are shooting to have a team work more permanently on the lab in the next week or two and I'm going to be on that team. This means I'll have much more limited access to electricity and internet access. Finally, the BRK posts just don't feel like a great investment of my time right now. I have lots of things I want to do here and it's somewhat stressful to add a blog to the end of the day every day. I plan on continuing to post at least once a week (Sunday update, woohoo!) and I'll probably post a few pictures or videos on other days, but I just can't do posts every day. I'm honestly not even sure how many people read this haha, but for those of you who do, now ya know what's up!

Anyway, today I got to try out driving Rex (the Excavator) for the first time and it was a blast. Honestly, it was one of the most fun experiences I've had in a long time. I couldn't stop grinning for a full minute after hopping out. Enjoy some pictures of the excavator work (1,2).

After lunch, me and Erica worked on getting some more floorboards installed in Cooper Cabin (3,4,5)

I'll leave you all with a picture of the lovely dinner Josiah made tonight alongside some of the bread I made (6).
2 years ago
Post #16 (4/1/21):

Welp, I guess I'm just really struggling to upload since this is the second time I've made a post, thought the post was finished uploading, closed my laptop, opened my laptop the next evening, and realized that the post wasn't finished uploading haha. So I guess I'm just gonna be missing days. Whoops!

In any case, this morning I worked on my garden patch next to the fisher price house (along with Nine, Erica, Lara, Dez, and Kyle). I planted some garlic, echinacea, chamomile, and a few other herbs. The rest of the time I worked on improving the path for my section of the berm. You can see the progress I've made so far in pictures 1 and 2.

After lunch, I went to do more calibration work with the sawmill but ran into more problems. First, the adjustment points used to make the calibrations on the sawmill weren't working right. So, after much head-scratching and some talking with free, I decided to pull off some of the wheels and adjust the bolts to try and reset the sawmill's position. If that doesn't work, I'll need to manually increase the length of the slots used to make those adjustments. But, I didn't have time to test if that works, since I needed to adjust all the wheels on the sawmill so that the carriage was parallel to the supporting bars. You can (hopefully) see that in pictures 3 and 4 there is a slight angle between the rail (grey metal) and the carriage of the sawmill (red metal). This slight difference in alignment would cause our vertical cuts to be slightly off, so I fixed this while I was messing around with pulling wheels on and off. You can see the finished product in pictures 5 and 6.

After that, half the Bootcamp went to get dinner out with Paul at a bar in town while the rest of us stayed at basecamp. I made a stir fry for dinner using a combination of tahini, green curry paste, miso paste, soy sauce, lime juice, and rice wine vinegar (7). It came out great and I'm not entirely sure I could recreate it haha. I also made some sourdough loves using both all-purpose and whole wheat flour. But those won't bake until tomorrow.

That's it for today, I'll leave you all with the cool picture of some of the plants I saw while working on gardening today (8)
2 years ago
Post #15 (3/30/21):

This morning I worked on cleaning up and sharpening some tools. Pictures 1 and 2 show the before for a hatchet that has its powder coat fully covering it. Pictures 3 and 4 show the powder coat removed. I also sharpened one of those hatchets, but I didn't quite finish so I decided to not post any pictures for that.

This evening I worked with Erica some more on installing the double-paned windows for the Abbie doors. We got one of them to fit but that will be going into a longer video that I'll post later. We also worked on installing some weather stripping on the doors of the Abbie, so here's a picture of Erica doing that (5).

Picture 6 is us prepping for Taco Tuesday. It was another delicious spread. Josiah made a wonderful avacodo salsa that didn't survive the night. I made improvements to the Vegan queso and I'm much happier with it. Roasted tomato and jalapeno add lots of flavors.

That's all for today, enjoy this beautiful sunrise from this morning (7).
2 years ago
Post #14 (3/29/21):

Today's post is gonna be real short, not too much happened.

This morning was more garden planning followed by another planning session and goal setting. That was pretty much the whole morning, so I don't really have pictures.

In the afternoon I went up to Allerton Abbie with Lara, Erica, Chris, and Jen and then we split up into different project crews. After Jen walked us through a couple of projects, including locating replacement handles for the window systems in pictures 1 and 2. They have a really fascinating mechanism and I'm definitely looking forward to fixing them.

After that brief session of the projects in the Abbie, I split off and got picked up by Paul, Josiah, and Fred to film them while they talked about some well related stuff. The video stuff didn't turn out the greatest but enjoy a picture I got of them marking the spot they decided on (3).  

Once that wrapped up, I returned to the Abbie to trade-off with Lara, who went back to basecamp with Paul and Fred, and me and Erica worked on grinding down the edges of some glass windows that will make the door windows on the Abbie double paned.

That's all for today, unfortunately, I didn't get a good sendoff picture for today, so enjoy the paper crane I made during the talent show, courtesy of Lara's excellent instructions.
2 years ago
Post #13 (3/28/21):

Well, it's Sunday again! You know what that means, a new photo album full of the adventures from the previous week: New Album!

This morning I spent my time reading about living in community (Finding Community by Diane Leaf Christian) and watching youtube tutorials on video editing. Exciting stuff, I know haha. I also got some pictures of cats and some cool flowers! (1, 2, 3, and 4)

Though all of that flew by rather quickly and soon enough me and Daniel were working on Phase two of preparing the remaining dishes for the Seder Dinner. For me, that meant making a vegan potato Kugel (replace eggs with potato flakes. Make one giant cake in a cast-iron skillet instead of tiny cakes) and making a vegetable soup in the spirit of matza ball soup (we couldn't get matza ball mix in time for the dinner). As a note, if you use a food processor to shred onions, don't put your face over it when you open it. Unless your sinuses are clogged, in which case those aerosolized onion bits will clear you right up!

That cooking took us a few hours, but I then had some downtime which I used to work on some current BB's and research future ones. I gotta say, the fermentation BB's page in the food preservation section looks like it could use some new additions haha.

Anyway, the rest of my evening was taken up with the Seder dinner which was a blast. The ceremony was interesting and Daniel decided to spare us and keep it brief so that we could all dig into the wonderful food. And oh boy was the food wonderful. We all discovered the joys of horseradish (freshly made by Josiah) and myself, Daniel, and Josiah had enough in one sitting to turn us all red in the face haha. Daniel especially went hard and was out of it for almost a full minute. The Baklava turned out to be amazing. Especially the grapefruit one. I didn't take many pictures of the event since I was too busy enjoying what was going on haha, But I did get a good picture of Josiah just seconds before he experiences the horseradish for a second time (6) and I have a picture of myself rockin Nine's awesome scarf (5). Its traditional for men to wear a hat of some kind, apparently, and I did not get that memo so Nine generously lent me her scarf.

Overall this week has been good, but man do they really seem like they are flying by. More and more I feel like I don't have enough time to do the things I want to haha. Oh the pains of being mortal. Oh well, I'll figure something out, I'm sure. I've started working on some longer-term videos and hope to get a couple done by next week, we'll see how that works though. The Bootcamp keeps me real busy and it's challenging to not get drawn into tons of tiny conversations with this many interesting people about.

One last note, if you're interested in taking a closer look in the world of plants and microbes, and you aren't afraid to dip into the sea of scientific jargon that comes with that, Jeff Lowenfel's Teaming with Microbes, Teaming with Nutrients, and Teaming with Fungi books are excellent. Right now I'm having my mind blown by how intricate and specialized plant cell areas I'm reading Teaming with Nutrients. I have taken several microbiology courses and the way that Jeff describes the microbes just takes my understanding to whole new levels. It does get pretty technical though, so it's definitely not a book everyone would enjoy. I'm just a bit of a plant nerd, so I'm loving it.

Well, that's all for today. I'll leave you all with this cool plant/algae thing I saw while taking my laundry off the line today (7).
2 years ago
This was my first attempt at sharpening a chainsaw. I think I did it right, but I fully expect to be sharpening more in the future so if I need to get better quality pictures or do a better job sharpening, that's fine too.
2 years ago
Post #12 (3/27/21):

Today was not super eventful, but overall it was a good day.

This morning I made myself a delicious skillet hash for breakfast and ate it with eggs and some leftover cabbage and grapefruit coleslaw Josiah made last night (1,2).

Later in the morning, I met with Paul and Josiah to discuss some of the video opportunities here at Wheaton Labs and now I'm gearing up to start making more videos (hopefully). There's a lot of exciting stuff to document here and I'm definitely looking forward to polishing my video editing skills since I'd like to keep video making open as a possible passive income stream for me in the future.

After the meeting, Dan and I started working on prepping meal stuff for the Seder dinner he's going to lead us all through tomorrow. I'm not Jewish and I don't really know the religious beliefs of anyone else here, but personally, I'm excited to partake in the ceremony, and it's been really interesting cooking all the food for the dinner. I have no idea how much of what we're doing is traditional as, again, I'm not Jewish, but the food all seems really tasty. I baked up three different Baklava, one with a more traditional honey glaze, one with a maple glaze, and a third with a grapefruit glaze (3,4). My mouth was watering as I stored them for tomorrow haha. Meanwhile, Dan worked on cutting vegetables, making hard-boiled eggs, and cooking up a dish called Gefilte Fish. The fish dish is served cold, but as part of making it, it produced a wonderful fish stock that we are considering making into Ramen (if it lasts that long).

Once Dinner was done, I decided to take a walk up the volcano. Only I did it barefoot haha. I'm trying to toughen up my feet since I'd like to walk around barefoot more. It was a great walk, but real slow going.

Nothing else notable really happened, overall a slow day despite the 3 hours of baking work haha.

I'll leave you all with this video I wanted to post yesterday, but since my laptop decided to update I couldn't. Enjoy a little 20 second reveal of the Love Shack everyone:  
2 years ago
Post #11 (3/26/21):

Today will be a shorter post since I have to post from my phone (laptop is updating slowly and it's bed time haha).

I worked some on the sawmill and some on the love shack.

For the love shack, me and Dan moved the ladder this morning since it's a two person job. The ladder is actually structural and is holding up the beds on that corner. So, one person has to hold the beds level while the other screws in the ladder.

For the rest of the official workday I worked on the sawmill and most of that was reading the instruction manual. I was working on getting the blade properly aligned and so I wanted to make sure I was knew exactly what the procedure was. Eventually I made the first cut and determined the blade was off, unfortunately, we didn't have a wrench in the right size that was also thin enough to adjusts the nuts I needed to adjust. Instead of just taking off the wheel that's connected to that bolt in order to get at that bit, I decided to make a new thinner, wrench. That took most of the afternoon, but it works! And I'm ready to move on with calibrating the sawmill and have a way to make it easier for people who come after me as well.

After the work day ended, I decided to head up to the love shack to help Nine, Kyle, and Dan finish up there. Mostly I just carried down their extra tools while they wrapped up hanging the door. But after the door was hung, we found that it caught a bit on the doorframe. So I decided to stick around a bit longer and fix the catch using a hand plane, my mora knife, and some sand paper. For added measure I out on a handle. Now the love shack is looking great and the door is functional!

That's all for today, I'm gonna leave you with this cool mountain view I got while working on the sawmill.
2 years ago