Tag Archives: rocket stove

Earthbag home photos

View from the front. The rock retaining wall for a garden along the front is our project this weekend. It runs the length of the house and will be about 2.5 feet tall.Image

Picture of the back, which faces north. This will be bermed quite deep with only the windows of the office space peeking out.


The other night was a lot of fun. We fired up the mass heater and listened to music and danced. The acoustics in the round room are amazing. Our couch not only provided a toasty place to sit, but made our tea for us too. We’re looking forward to cooking all kinds of things on it.



And for the bulk of the cooking and additional warmth in the kitchen, there is this wood cookstove.


Having water is kind of important. Our inside tank now has almost 6000 litres of harvested rainwater stored for the winter.




Earthbags and a fire breathing couch

Laying earthbags for the final room on our house is well under way. So far the wall is about 6.5 ft tall. Still a ways to go though. This final room will be almost 20 feet tall.
Actually there will be one more very small room attached as well to hold firewood for the winter and will have a back door to the outside. Looks like it is going to rain all weekend so work will shift to the inside. Plenty to do in there before we are able to move in.


The picture is of the north side of the house. There are no windows because this side will be bermed with earth to further protect us from the harsh north winds we get in winter.


This is is the rocket-mass-heater (fire-breathing-couch) as it is right now. I still need to add about 3-4 inches of more cob to it and then a final lime finish plaster. So far, I am very pleased with how it functions. It roars with that awesome rocket sound and there is no smoke or smell coming into the room.

Homestead update

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.