I’m making the move from blogger to wordpress. I have had it with the crap over at that site. They keep changing the user interface every 20 minutes. I especially hate the new one. So to hell with them. I’m still forced to use plenty of other googley products for work. Im sure there will be things about wordpress that will take me some gettting used to.
Lots of action here on the homestead ever since spring has hit. We’ve finalized our plans for the new home and have started laying earthbags for the final phase. It’s a twelve foot diameter room that will hold our offgrid electrical stuff as well as a 1000 gallon water tank. There will be a few other things in this space as well like a hot water tank. Also, we are putting in a loft for a spare bedroom.
Last fall we built a rocket mass heater in the living room. Although it worked well most of the time, it did have a few issues that really concerned me. Like once in a while the smoke would back up into the house. I didn’t have enough time before the deepfreeze of winter to test and tweek it properly. So a complete rebuild was called for. I am very happy with the new one so far. It draws well, has that awsome rocket sound and is a better fit for the room than the last design. One thing I learned while doing more research is that I probably did not have enough volume in the space where the gasses exit the heat exchange barrel. The proper way to figure out what you need for this space is outlined at the rocket stove forum in the helpful hint thread.
Some quick numbers for rocket stove enthusiasts: top gap from riser to barrel = 2.5 inches; gap between insulation and exchange barrel = 3 inches; overall system diameter = 7 inches; burn tunnel size = 5.5″x7″. I used the inside of a hot water tank for the insulation container and another for a container around the feed tube. Perlite was used for insulation of both the riser and under the burn tunnel as well.
Other projects we have been working on include plastering the earthbags structures already in place. Mrs. Mud has been working tirelessly at this. Tirelessly is probably the wrong term. She seems pretty bagged by the end of the day. Then she gets up the next day and goes hard at it again. We have such a short building season and so much to do. I recently started building rock retaining walls. To start with and get some experience, I built pedestals to put the rain barrels on. They actually turned out pretty good. Fencing the new garden areas is complete so we should end up with no cat shit in the gardens this year. Rainwater capture has been working out well for us too. All our water for drinking, coffee, tea, cooking has come from the sky now for a few months. It’s free and tastes a lot better than the water from our well. It will be nice when our rain capture can supply showers too.