Joyce Harris

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since Jul 13, 2021
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Recent posts by Joyce Harris

Jen F.

I agree with you.... these are opportunities to make something better.
I trust you will find the best fit for your situation, even to eliminate the algae.

I don't use nipples, or cups for my hens. I have thought about it. So maybe others can speak into that specifically.

In terms of water vessels:
When I had to be away for 5 days,  I simply adopted an ordinary black bucket placed in their hen pen,  in constant shade, and put logs etc (height around it, or you can have a permanent shallow hole if you choose) so the hens can lean over comfortably and get water. But its high enough that their general scratching on that ground level is less likely to end up in the bucket.

(The downside, is my location of it, without creating an 'umbrella'  for it, as they have an overhead 'tray'/bench (a repurposed an unwanted shower base on legs) that is home to their dry pellets bowl and wheat greens 'cage' and their beach/ egg shell grits bowl. I purposely have a little grass cuttings or soft landing up there as they leap from the roosts onto it, then down to the ground floor.  Therefore they also scratch around up there and gravity ensures whatever they flick off, comes down, and some of this inevitably finds its way in the water bucket below. And directly UNDER the tray/bench or their mezzanine floor where they have breakfast and see the sun rise above the boundary fence!!! is their dust bath. So I dont want water in there.)

In terms of algae.....
I wash/scrub all my water bowls/bird baths  and chicken bucket with COMFREY LEAVES.  
I empty the vessel first.
Rinse it.
Then with one or more comfrey leaves just scrub around the vessel surfaces inside to outer.
And get new leaves for each vessel.
RINSE them again of the grit and grime.
Then another final wipe over with a fresh comfrey, and I leave the residual green of the comfrey in the vessel.
Fill with water, and that seems to hold very well - longer than not.
And since the hens eat comfrey all the time, its not an issue. and I am not worried that the wild birds will be harmed via the general yard water bowls and bird bath by the residual of comfrey, in fact in may be beneficial for them.

I will need to create an umbrella frame over the location of the bucket so their water has more chance of staying 'fling' free from all they fling into the air when the scratch.

OR as you say, maybe a time for something better!!!
1 year ago

Miriah Glenn wrote:Is there any more information? My house has wood floors and wont support a rmh. But I was hopeful that I could build a  rmh adjacent to my building to use for radiant  in floor heating, and possibly heating water as well.

did you do something about your heating with a rocket heater?
If so how did that work?

What was your system?
2 years ago

Gert Kahn wrote:My house has solar heated hydronic radiant floors.  There are collectors on the roof heating water which heats a tank in the basement full of water which is then pumped through the floor. I use a more or less conventional wood stove as a cloudy weather backup both for the convection and to heat the water to pump through the floor.  I've been doing this for about five years now and haven't blown up my house yet.  This is because I'm not storing the hot water in the tank.  As soon as the water in the tank heats up to about 100f the floor pump turns on and pushes the water through the floor, cooling it to about 75-80f.  The floor will warm up to the upper 70's at most and it's just wonderful to walk around on barefoot in the winter.

I've recently been thinking of building a new house and using a rocket stove to heat it.  Most installations I've seen discussed use the exhaust pipe to heat the thermal mass.  If I wanted to replicate the hydronic radiant floor I have now, but use a rocket stove to heat it, what would be the best way to arrange that?  I saw one example with copper pipe coiled around the outside of the barrel.  I suppose that's better than inside, since the creosote that accumulates on the stainless steel water pipes inside my current wood stove is really gnarly.  

Does anyone have suggestions or ideas?


OKAY folks, there are rocket stoves and then there are rocket stoves.
I am still working all this out, all the principles of rocket stoves/heaters and other principles e.g
keeping water source above the cog or fire brick construction for heating water via copper spring.

Is there a ROCKET for Dummies type video that speaks into the MAKING OF the Rocket machine, including many of the nuances related to rocket stove/heater construction.  

I hear all of you experts, use so many terms and i wonder what that really refers to, and what difference it makers to this or that etc etc etc.

Does any one have a ROCKET terminology post that will help me?
And a Dummies guide to making a permanent rocket for everyday use?
And a sophisticated detailed guide /video that shows you how to have the copper for heating, and  this or that for this or that, etc.
I may as well include an oven not only a stove top, but still wanting it to be simple, yet multifunctional.
e.g. floor via hot water piping to be retrofitted under the floor in one room. (proposed / idea stage)
and hot water for shower and washing dishes etc.

Is it better to have a radiant mass of hot water in a room?
piping under the floor?

What are the TIPS for either or, that folks have learned from experience.

THANK YOU.... ahead of time.

2 years ago

Matt Todd wrote:

Joyce Harris wrote:
RE: cool air being sucked upwards into the cavity as the air moves higher and into the open interior window.
What is the principle at play?

Thermo-convection I guess you'd say. The hot air wants to rise and expand, so it's happy to move into the high opening of the interior window.

Joyce Harris wrote:
In the case of no basement and no crawl room under my stumped house, I have pondered this concept before and now wonder the following....
Could I use a hole under the floor of the PASSIVE Solar heated room?
Or does there have to be a greater depth of the cold air draw?

Stumped, like up on legs? You could put a hole under the solar room, and it would still heat the incoming air from the floor. BUT this would only be practical for heating the outside air a few degrees. It would not effectively heat cold winter air and there would be no closed loop to promote flow and heat build.
Now if you ran a duct from the floor in the back of your house to the floor of the solar room, then you'd close the loop and generate heat and flow.

Joyce Harris wrote:
I have a two step drop /split level in my home.
The passive heated sun room is on the higher side of the split level lower room.
I wonder... is there any reason I could not successfully somehow make this happen, after navigating the no crawl room understory for the 5meters between the origins of the drawing cold in and the entry to the passive heated sun room?
The draw level difference would only be 1 ft or does that not matter?

I'm having trouble visualizing the details of this, but as long as you give cold air a path from a low spot in the house into the bottom of the solar room and out the top then you should get some flow.

2 years ago

Mike Haasl wrote:I loved this video.  Gives me some ideas of things to try in the community garden.  Basically merging his underground greenhouse with a Russian citrus trench to grow peaches and other zone 7/8 plants here in zone 4...

I'm a bit surprised at how closely he planted his trees in the barn greenhouse.  Maybe they're columnar dwarf trees (if that's even a thing).

IN regards to planting his trees so close, I think he knew with confidence that they will all grow UP for the light rather than outward sprawling. Regardless it worked for him.

Do post what you end up doing for your next project.

I agree ihis vide is very inspiring for the learnings and for perseverance!!!
2 years ago
Ernie Wisner.......

You said you were going to post model or design for rocket heating for radiating heat through the floor? OR such.
Did you post that ? or something similar for heating floors in an existing home?

2 years ago

Miriah Glenn wrote:Is there any more information? My house has wood floors and wont support a rmh. But I was hopeful that I could build a  rmh adjacent to my building to use for radiant  in floor heating, and possibly heating water as well.

HELLO Miriah, are you still on and did you follow through with this desire or what ended up working for your heating needs? Id love to know.
2 years ago

Dan Hampleman wrote:Has anyone considered running copper pipes threw the heat storage or the cob and then to a storage/expansion tank? I'm wondering if you would always have to have water flowing threw the pipes and what to do to keep it from getting too hot. Another thing I'm dreaming of is having the rest of the floor made out of cob and the PEX tubing running threw that. You could have a separate water pump for each zone or even pump the hot water out to your greenhouse using hot water PVC.

For the current viewers/readers and cob stomping mob who are eager fore radiating heat floors in homes, huts, green houses etc etc.

HERE is a  dirt cement floor option demonstrated for you.  Cob floors are not as strong apparently for frequent flyers to trample upon it.    So this might be one consideration fo you.

2 years ago

Lady Curley wrote:I am completely new here, and I am new to cob building. I have read a ton of info on the subject, and plan on making some test bricks very soon. My only worry is that I live in Louisiana. But... I don't live in a swamp or in a place that floods. I do have creeks & rivers nearby, but I live on a huge hill that has pretty good drainage. There are a few spots in my yard that tend to puddle up a little but nothing major.
So my question is this, does anyone have any tips for building with cob in Louisiana? I can't seem to find any info anywhere on building with cob in LA. No workshop nearby, etc.

Why not try and contact the folk / the natural builders group that are highlighted in this video. THEY might be able to help you, or put you onto someone that is in your area or you might be able to have an online Q and A with one of them?

CREDIT goes to someone else in finding and posting this on this thread (not me).

Mud/cob building, education and awareness raising of ancient craft of building sustainably and with manual labour.
2 years ago

Here is a video that may help you in your quest for cob basics ~

HI there EXPERTS in cob making and its properties......

I have wondered, (apart from anyCodes/local rules that would complicate or restrict such freedoms) could I /anyone use cob as a skin for an uninsulated single story existing home that has hardiplank boards on the exterior of most of the building. I realise that cob needs to breath, but can it become the retrofitted exterior skin to a home?

Q 1) What prep would be needed to KEEP the cob on or aligning with a vertical wall  e.g., put horizontal buts a foot above each other, around the skirt of the building with 'prongs' randomly protruding an inch short of the essential width of the cob cladding? so there is some extra GRIP and HOLDing strength as it climbs the height of the single story to the eaves?  OR what what you recommend?

Q 2) The prongs would/could  be dowel, e.g. old broom handles or what about metal rods or retired curtain rails etc? Does it matter what material the PRONGS are? would PRONGS /spkes be necessary and if yes, they could be different lengths maybe if there was any value in that - depending on what materials are on hand, and rather than waste cut offs, or they could be kindle type cut offs. AS LONG AS THEY ARE fitted into a but that runs around the skirt of the building??

Q 3) when you are doing cob buildings or walls (with boots and hats on)    {as per ....  } it obviously takes a long time. While you are making it and you haven't put its roof on, I figure you cover it with a tarpaulin or such until it has a roof, if it rains YES?

Q 4) If one's technique with making the fresh cob, and your foundation is complete and you are beginning the cob-construction, how long will it take for a square meter or 3ft x 3ft? with on person hands on, besides the foot work of making the cob. OR what other way can you indicate the time span to set aside to make a cob wall or cladding?

Q 5) the components:  there is clay, straw and  ? sand.   IS the clay something you buy or where do you get clay?
Q 6) the straw, it needs no seeds? or it does not matter?

Thanks for anyone that has the answers and cares to share, I really appreciate that.

cobs to ya!
2 years ago