Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The beast

I'm still trying to get this diesel gen to run the way I want it to... it really is the one big project out there that *should* get done. everything else is just maintenance or fun. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Rebuild on the Earth Oven - part 2

My first adaptation on the earth oven was to add a metal chimney with an air vent on the bottom.

Well, I finally felt the old thing was getting to a point that it needed some serious repair, and quite possibly to be torn down and rebuilt.  As I started digging in, I decided that I'd just re-do the doorway. Here it is with all the bad stuff removed:



Shots of first round of extra cob for a new archway door and official chimney hole.


Lucky for me I had help!


Add a few tiles, a bit of earthen plaster, and fire it up!  


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Readying for Winter


Already got 15,000 gallons off the roof!


Got to cut this off the road during the last big storm!

People always ask about how the mud house would stand up in the rain. Here's the only bit that got wet during this last 3 day huge storm.  The tip of the SW buttress.  We keep saying we're going to put tiles on that slope. maybe next summer. 

First pie crust!

for a venison pot pie!

I don't think I ever posted about my carport water collection system.  The gutters are on, and the double flush system is in place.  

I have some additional filter material within the pipe itself, but I still need to work on how best to keep the water cleaner.  Still, full tank!

Friday, November 07, 2014

Redesigning, rebuilding the cob oven, part 1

Finally felt I needed to deal with the crumbling around the door of the earth oven.  At first, I was thinking I'd start from scratch, then realized I'd probably need to go to the quarry for more sand if I did that, so went for a retro-fit.   First, scraped away the loose stuff:

and wet it down with slip so I'd be ready to attach the new stuff

Got a lot of painting help down low.  Here you can see that not that much was removed:

Later in the day, I'd mixed up a batch of cob and sculpted in the new door idea, with a chimney coming out the top:

The plan is to have the metal chimney easily slip down into the hole, extending the draw:

We have more cob to add before we're through:

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

new end table

So, we knew there were bugs in the madrone end table. It finally drove me crazy and I yanked it out of there.  Here's a cross-cut of the wood, where you can see the many holes dug by the grub, before it comes out as a beetle.

  I had a good helper to deal with the dust and dirt of ripping a cobbed-in table off the wall:

it's kind of cool to see the old cob underneath all the plaster:

I got the new redwood piece in place, and plastered it in:

 Then there was a lot of white wash to redo. Again, supervised:


Doesn't look too bad... in this light:

I could do more polishing and painting... and probably will.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

and we KNOW the trap works


a Post on Posts

Here you can see the various stages and tools of hardwood (madrone) pegs, from right to left, from firewood to finished peg.  I haven't timed it, but it probably takes about 20 minutes per peg.   The car port only needed 20 of these. 

This is a notch in the (lower/northern) beam that will be the seat of the rafter-joist.

Another view of the rafter seat, with rafter perspective:

Doing the last hole for the last peg for the rafter. I was concerned that the pegging wouldn't hold much, but they seem to have really worked well.  Notice this is from up on the high side, on the ladder:

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Brackets, Firewood and Apricots

Very happy to report I got help from a new neighbor who had access to a 'hammer drill' thing that helped me put bolts into the concrete footings for the brackets for the car port. We're getting more stable!
 Just a little firewood brag photo of all the wood I split and stacked while my niece and nephew were to stack the stuff on the left.   They're beginning to learn about some hard work, but they have plenty to go.


49 small apricots plus sugar heat and time make 8 jars of jam.  Love it!

Monday, June 09, 2014

Baby Evidence

Someone in our house keeps trying to open the bathroom cabinet doors WAY more than they should be opened.  This is the second time I've had to do a glue job on splinters.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

2 bed frames = 1 generator frame

With my neighbor's grinding tool, I cut up 2 of these:

and ended up with this frame for the generator and alternator:
Then I went and used his drill press and put a bunch of holes in it to bolt it together.

Lifting and Tinkering the Lister..and beans

Well, one concept I had was proven out very well. I built a standard boy scout lashing tripod and was easily able to lift up the generator with the chain winch. 

I wanted to lift it up to put on the new frame I built for it from a couple of old bed frames.  (maybe I haven't posted pictures of that yet?)

and, solar cooked beans: 

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Mouse problems. killed the fan

So, I have a fan to blow the hot air away from the back of the fridge (it's complicated)

and I noticed the fridge seemed to be not as cold as it should be... I go and check the fan, and find that a mouse has gotten himself caught in the fan, stopping it, and it seems, burning out the motor of this $110 fan. Great.  rodents. 

Friday, May 09, 2014

Strawberry problems

Great. now there's this.   Some sort of disease that messes with the genetics?? oy. 

These are the first strawberries out of my 'store bought' section.  Searching around, it seems it's something called phyllody or at least it's connected to that. I'm going to have to go out and destroy those plants, and hope it doesn't get into the others, or worse, get into the wild strawberries up here.  Apparently bacteria transmitted by bugs crawling around.  if it's not one thing it's another. 

Apple Tree Problems

In an attempt to get feedback and be able to show people my tree, I wanted to post these photos of my 4-kinds-of-apple-grafted tree that has been doing well, but seems sick to me this spring.  It seems like it might be a nutrient problem, but I don't know. 

The tree has been in place for maybe 7 or 8 years, and in good years, even as its a small tree, we've gotten 20 some apples off it at harvest.   

This is most of the tree, taken first week of May.  It had good blossoms on it, which come out first, but now it seems like there's no leaving, or very little. 

Close up of blossoms and leaves - the leaves seem healthy... 

 Here's another apple the same age (years in the ground) about 15 yards away from the sick one. much more green going on. 

I was worried it might be crown rot, as I did have one apple die of that, but checking out the crown, it seems just fine, and here's a picture of the apricot just 8 feet away... so I don't think it's bad draining soil.

it just seems sick and pathetic.  I have given it the same sort of soil amendments I always have, which I believe are nitrogen heavy and maybe somewhat acidic, but good organic material. 

Notchin' to it

Getting ready to put up some beams, working on a long scarf joint.  That's a lot of wood to remove!