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Warren Bellant

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since May 23, 2011
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Recent posts by Warren Bellant

Excellent work Evan. Tipped your bitcoin address.
3 years ago

Curtis Budka wrote:There's is a thread for both of the points I'm going to make, but I want to answer Warren's questions.
The Electric tractor:
The charge port is under the hinged cover on the back between the ROPS and the 3pt hitch. I had searched the shop for a cord with a plug that is compatible with the input plug, but couldn't find one.

Millennium Falcon dump truck:
Llast I heard, it has water in the fuel system and the electrical system is shot. I don't think anyone bother to look at it very much, at least while I was there.

Hi Curtis
I looked for the thread dealing with your tractor but couldn't locate it, just one that talks about electric tractors in General. Anyway do you think this adapter would do the trick? The Tractor plug is a 20 amp but a conventional wall socket is 15 amp, if you're just keeping it plugged in to maintain the batteries though, that shouldn't be a problem (unless it pops a breaker). The charger may have a high and low setting. If so just set it to low and you should be fine.
If the socket in the tractor is male, this adapter should work. Then just plug your extension cord into the adapter then plug the adapter into the tractor. If you think it will fit I'd be happy to send you one by way of Amazon. I'll need the mailing address though.

Hey Paul
I sympathize on the tape. That stuff is surprisingly spendy. It would be sad to see someone wasting a whole roll just to make a joke.

And feel free to delete this message if I'm cluttering things up with this off topic post. Just PM me the mailing address if the adapter will fit and I'll get it coming.


PS, I'd be happy to come out for a day or three to give the truck a bit of love. I'll provide the labor and the know-how if Paul is in a position to buy the parts. The soonest I could come out though is early spring since I've already burned up all my vacation for the year. Till then all I can provide is technical support.
4 years ago
Had an awesome visit, thanks Evan! You guys have an amazing place up there. Feel free to move or delete this post if it's in the wrong place. I'm a noob around here.

Arrived at base camp around 4PM and met Evan who was our guide. He showed me the pooper with its urine diversion system which I needed to use. I was amazed to see no flies in there. None at all.
He showed me the Berm shed which serves as covered storage and an awesome visual barrier from people passing by on the road. Once finished and planted with blackberries or some other thorny plant, it could add another layer of security to the place. Zombies would have a lot of trouble getting through that, lol.
Saw the "ring of fire" were the rocket mass heater heats an oven and a cooking surface then goes into the bench to heat the seating area. Very cool!
Saw the electric tractor and was told of the difficulties it's having with powering the scoop. It might need a less aggressive, lower GPM, hydraulic pump. Then the blade would move slower but with more lifting power. Wish I lived closer and had more time to look at it. I don't remember seeing a charger plugged in. It would be a shame if the batteries drained away then froze. Maybe I just failed to see the charger.
Then we checked out the portable skid cabin with its solar heater before moving on to the hugle beds around the main house. Those beds dwarf the little 3' tall hugle bed at my house. There are a lot of things I couldn't recognize planted. I did see comfrey planted under the apple tree and that reminds me that I need to get some of that. I've got, let's see, 9 fruit trees that could use some comfrey planted as a chop and drop, under the drip line. Having grass planted under those trees is a bad idea.
I also saw some mole hills. I have no problem with them in my hugle bed but when they start to get near my 3 very young trees, I take action. Those things will kill trees of that age. Anyway I take a garden hose and nozzle and blast the dirt back down into the tunnel. When I do that a couple times, they go elsewhere.
I was amazed by the way they built a fence from native materials and the rock jack method of supporting the fence (when it's too rocky to dig a post hole) is very interesting indeed. I took notes and pictures.
Then we tossed his bike into the truck and drove up to the lab.
He showed us what I think is the second wofati. What an amazing structure! Must have taken a lot of labor and good design to put it together. It's amazingly quiet inside. Love the rocket mass heater. It's the first one I've ever seen with my own eyes. Wish I could have seen one operating but time is short. It's a shame to see such an awesome home standing empty. I imagine someone could live quite comfortably in that place, even in a Montana winter.
Then we saw the 1st Wofati, a smaller version of the empty one where two of Evan's fellow Ants were making dinner. I saw the straw bale compressor and the cob mixing station, and took some pics of the cob straw bale wall. That's too cool! Man I wish I lived closer!
Then we drove out to the TeePee and we saw the rocket mass heater there plus the electric fence protected Bee hive. Evan was talking about putting straw bales around the hive when it gets seriously cold.
Then we drove around to Evan's place. He has quite a garden. His ducks had put themselves away by the time we got there so he just filled their water and closed them in. He's going to make a Duck Wofati for them as well. He dumped the old duck water (heavily manured) to a likely spot in his garden and that got me thinking. There are many places in my half acre yard that could use a shot of that Manure water. I might just have to get some ducks. The weaker of my two grape vines (the ones I'm growing as a visual barrier between my deck and the neighbor's) could definitely use some of that brew.
We saw Even's future home that's under construction and it looks like it's going to be a nice place. I asked him how he was going to trim the wall boards and realized one of the saws from my bug out kit would be very useful there. Before we left his place Dad gave him his two 6 gallon water jugs and since we had decided not to camp, I handed over the carpet I was going to sleep on and that saw (plus the fee for the tour).
Then we saw the lemon tree site, with it's double sun scoop. That should be interesting.
On the way out I took a peek at the dump truck. It has an old style non-electronic NTC-350 Cummins engine. It's been a long time since I've worked on one of those. It's so old the manuals aren't available on the Cummins website. I've got a paper manual that's close though. I could provide technical support on getting it running but I can't get back out there till spring myself. I'd need to know the symptoms, how it failed, does it crank? (when the batteries are hooked up), that sort of thing, before I could determine a cause of failure and a possible fix.
Evan let us out the gate before it was fully dark and we took off to the hotel. It was a fun day and an awesome tour. I can't wait to see how the place develops over the next few years.
If bitcoins go nuts in value as I suspect they will, I might be able to retire early and become a wandering mechanic for Permaculture communities like this one. That would be fun.
4 years ago
Hi all! I'm a heavy diesel truck mechanic, on vacation this week and would love to swing by and get a tour. I'm perfectly willing to pay the going rate for that service. I'm driving out from Seattle so I'd like to know who I'm dealing with, exactly when to show up, and where. I've never been to a PDC but I've viewed much of this material and have listened to (and enjoyed) all the podcasts, and I've been employing some basic Permaculture methods in my half acre yard here at home. If my tour guide accepts bitcoins I can pay in advance, otherwise I can bring cash. I'll check back several times today and tomorrow for responses. Thanks!
Alright! Looks like I've got a contact and will soon arrange the time for my tour. This is going to be awesome!
4 years ago
I might have listened to 217 if it were free but the subject is of little interest to me so I skipped it. 218 was ok but much of it is above my eco level. I've never even heard of Art Ludwig until today. If I can get some time I'll check out his stuff. In this life you either have money or time but you almost never have both. Right now I have money but time is limited. I was glad to get the collection of podcasts while I was at the download site. 25 bucks is pretty reasonable.
Love this topic!
I let my debts get out of hand about 18 years back and it taught me a lesson. In fact that lesson was driven home every month as I paid it off (over about 2 years). Since then I've been cautious about debt. It's like a power tool, very useful but one wrong move and you could be harmed so badly that it could take years to recover. With that in mind, when I got tired throwing my money away on rent, I decided to buy an affordable condo rather than bankrupting myself on a house. I wanted something I could payoff quickly, rather than taking on a load of debt that I would struggle to keep current, for decades. The mortgage was only a bit above my yearly income so I was able to pay extra every month and still have a lot of extra money. Then once I paid it off (in late 2010) I found that my usual spending (on everything) totaled only about 30% of my monthly take home pay. I saved for a year or so and then saw an awesome house on a half acre, only 16 miles from work. It already has fruit trees and it's just made to order for a permaculture lifestyle. I'm a city guy, I must admit, but I'd really love a decent sized garden. The patio garden here at the condo just doesn't cut it anymore.
The total house payment (including taxes, insurance, ect) will take 28% of my take home pay, and the mortgage total will be 210% of my yearly income. It's a bit more aggressive than my condo mortgage but not too arduous. As soon as I move in and get settled, I'll polish the condo up and turn it over to a renter. I also plan to rent the two extra bedrooms in the new house (and assign to each room, one room in that huge storage building in the back yard). With the combo of the shed plus a storage locker the size of their bedroom, plus the very modest rent I'll charge, should decrease renter turnover. In fact once someone gets in there they probably won't want to leave till they can buy their own place. And even with the modest rent I'll charge, the rents from the condo and the spare rooms should quite easily cover my entire house payment. My goal is to aggressively knock this mortgage to zero in about 5 years. Then if all goes well I'll be on easy street till I retire.

I don't know if this is the place to mention this but here goes. Part of keeping a frugal lifestyle and a stable financial outlook was to avoid the whole marriage thing. Back in 1997 after yet another friend went through a horrible divorce, I looked at the odds of something like that happening to me and what the most likely outcome would be if it did, and then after agonizing over it for a year or so I decided to skip the whole marriage and family thing. Its too bad because I know I'd have been a great husband and an awesome father but the risks involved in marriage are so severe that I just couldn't justify it.
Somewhere out there is a woman who would have been my wife (if things were just a bit different). I'll wave goodbye to her right now. She'll just have to find her way through life without me. The legal system and the family courts have just made her too dangerous to live with. If I married, I'd be risking my entire financial and emotional future on something with a 50% failure rate. Nope. I just couldn't do it.
7 years ago
Great job! Anything is better than nothing (That's my motto) and you've made a great start here.
That's one of the things I'm going to do as soon as I get out of this condo. I have 11 days till I can start moving into a house on a half acre that I'm buying. I'll watch this thread for updates. Maybe you can give me some pointers.
7 years ago
Alright! This is my kind of subject. I agree, debt is very close to slavery. Close but not exactly since you have some choice in the matter.
I bought a condo (back in 1998 ) rather than bankrupting myself on a house and paid it off in 11 years with only a little extra effort. That mortgage was my last debt and that dropped my usual spending to about 30% of my take home pay. Now later this month I close on a house that's 15 miles from work and has a half acre lot that's awesome for urban permaculture (including a gentle slope facing west). My plan is to rent out the two extra bedrooms in the house, using some of the ideas I got from Paul's experience in the green lake house. Got one of the rooms rented already. I'll also rent the condo out, as soon as I can give it a little paint. The condo rent should cover about 60% of the house mortgage and the two room rentals will cover the remaining 40%. That will drop my usual spending to about 25% of my after tax income, leaving a lot of extra financial power that I can use to payoff the house faster. I consulted an amortazatin tool online and with a bit of effort it looks like I can knock that mortgage to zero in 5 or 6 years. I'll be 52 or 53 by then, increasing the possibility of an early retirement.
During the the next 5 years I want to move the half acre lot into a permaculture system that's beautiful as well as well as productive. I hope to provide an inexpensive and healthy living experience for my roommates (in return for their very modest rent). I hope to create a place where they can unwind and recharge from the day's efforts. A place of beauty and comfort that produces nutrient dense food (which will of course be shared as an additional perk for living there). I might even be able to arrange a guest spot where my fellow permaculture people from out of town can kick back in while attending conferences or convergences in this area.
It should be fun and I can't wait to get started.
7 years ago
Woo Hoo! Getting a house!
It's a bank owned place in Kent, Washington, close enough to work that I can keep my awesome highly technical blue-collar job but far enough out to have a decent sized yard. It's sitting on a half acre with fruit trees and a big, fully fenced yard that's made to order for an urban permaculture system. I have so many things I want to do, like adding solar, rain catch, and a shed that's close to the house with a rocket mass heater that will be ducted to the intake of the central heating. That way the place gets the benefit of the rocket mass heater without risking an insurance problem if the place burns down. I want a couple big compost tumblers and compost nearly everything. I compost here at the condo of course but I can't wait to do it on a much larger scale. There's a hedge that I want to replace with blueberries or some other food producing shrub, but I'll keep it trimmed neatly since it's in the front yard but gradually I want the place to have a more wild look even in front. There's a plum tree that's struggling out front (too dry), so I want to divert some gray water to it and add a Hugleikur berm for good measure. There's even a bike trail nearby that will give me an almost straight shot to work. It's a bit far for a conventional bike commute but with my super dooper 2800 watt electric bicycle I put together, it should be a breeze. And on days where the weather isn't too bad I can ride my 60mph/80mpg scooter (and commute almost 3 days on a gallon of gas). I plan to transition away from using a dryer but in the winter (when it rains all the time) I'll have a heat exchanger to recover some of that heat and direct it into the house, perhaps through the central heating ducts. I plan to dumpster dive a cracked charge air cooler from one of the large diesel engines I work on and re-purpose it to be a heat exchanger for the dryer.
Shortly after I get settled in, I'll want to hire a permaculture designer to help me hash out the basic design (so I don't make too many time consuming mistakes). I love Permaculture but I haven't taken a PDC yet (but I'm not above hiring an expert rather than struggling with it myself and making mistakes). I'm also going to want a roommate who's into this sort of thing. I have two rooms I plan to rent out but my Dad has already snapped one up. He's getting too old to take care of his place so he's moving in with me. We've always got along great. Finding a roommate for that 3rd room, who can tolerate the eco lifestyle I want, won't be easy. It might take months to select the right person but I'm not under financial pressure so I can take my time.
I plan to do food the same way Paul did in the Greenlake house. Meaning everyone buys the groceries they want (I think I'll throw toilette paper and cleaning supplies into that category) And at the end of the month, it's a 3 way split. Both my Dad and I are leaning toward vegan and we want to make more progress in that area, but we're also both inclined to stray when we're out of the house with friends or at a restaurant. One of the biggest problems in a roommate situation is that people can be tempted to steal food but if the food is everyone's anyway, there's nothing to steal.
Another problem with a roommate situation is filth. Basically different people have different levels of filth that they can tolerate. The one with the lowest tolerance tends to clean a lot, then the others tend to slack off and then finally the one who cleans starts feeling taken advantage of and then stops cleaning. That's when the place turns into a total disaster. To avoid all that I plan to have a schedule (probably using excel in a wall mounted tablet PC). Each week certain areas will be cleaned and the kitchen will be cleaned even more often. When I or one of the roomates does the job they initial it. Each of those jobs is assigned a monetary value. At the end of the month the total for all the cleaning that was done is added up and split 3 ways. Then the amount of the scheduled cleaning that I or the roommates do as individuals is applied to the total, increasing it if they slacked off or decreasing it if they applied some elbow grease. That way if someone does more than their share or less, they won't feel guilty or taken advantage of since they will pay more or less to equalize the issue. If each of the three roomates do an equal amount of cleaning, then no money chances hands. But if I have to be constantly cleaning up after the roommates, it's not a problem since I'll be paid. The less time I have to spend on that though, the better. I'd rather spend that time changing the place from a conventional american house to something more closely resembling a suburban homestead.

So if you're like me and would like to get some ground space for a garden but you don't want to leave the city and the high paying jobs you can get here, then you might be interested in renting that extra room.
Also if anyone knows a good Suburban Permaculture designer in this area, that would be awesome too. Any other suggestions, input or discussion that this exciting new project would be welcome as well.
7 years ago
I think it sounds awesome! Put me down for a 5. It would be a 10 except that I have an outstanding and fun 32/hr diesel mechanic job east of Seattle. I couldn't hope to replace that income if I moved out of the area.

I love the idea of teaming up to decrease expenses. I've done alright alone (paid off my condo, got debt free, & now I live comfortably on about 28% of my take home pay) but that's nothing compared to how frugal you can live in a shared housing situation. I also like having other people around (if they're good people). I've always loved machines, which led to my career as a diesel mechanic but I've also enjoyed gardening as far back as my teen years. Over the last 18 months or so I've really gotten into permaculture. I think it's funny that a guy who lives in a condo is studying permaculture, but I'm doing it. For now I'm settling for a deck garden I constructed but I want more.

Wheatonville sounds like it would be a great place to do all of the above. I'd love to see the land take shape, learn how to build swales  instead of just reading about them. Help build a pond or two with self sustaining fish populations (oh man, that sounds like fun!). And I could also tinker with solar panels, build a rocket mass heater, and maybe even build a wood gas generator, big enough to run a tractor on. Building a permaculture system is a lot like designing a machine. I feel it in my bones that my mechanical vision can translate to Permaculture. I'm not ready to run such a place or build it from scratch (not yet) but I could sure help!

If it weren't for this awesome job that I'm so grateful to have, I'd start packing right now!

I don't see a problem with the owner of the property being in charge. It's his place after all. The owner of such a place is providing a valuable commodity, service and environment. It's expected that he must charge something in exchange for the value he makes available to the community. The charge may be in the form of labor, some kind of barter, money or some combination of them. Even if I were part of the community I'd still want to keep my career. That would mean I'd have less time to contribute, so I'd contribute a greater sum of cash to the situation.
8 years ago