Really beautiful and special property for sale in Lake County, California. It is 2 hours north of Berkeley, 1 hour from Napa, 2 hours from the coast.
Just 3.5 miles to town, yet very private.
Oak woodland and oak savanna, hilly terrain with seasonal creek. Water well is very good. Brand new solar water pump and water storage tank. Water well is 180 feet deep. Depth to water has never been farther than 15 feet, even during the worst drought. At present, water is overflowing out the top of the well, and this is common in years when there has been average rainfall.
All solar power, off-grid. 2500+ watts. 4000 watt magnum pure sine inverter.
Cell phone signal is good at the property if you have Verizon.
Earthbag and ferrocement cellar.
Small aquaponics setup in-ground with coi, perch, catfish.
600 or so lavender plants, several young fruit trees, lots of rosemary and other garden plants. Lots of white sage and some black sage.
Excellent sun exposure, would be ideal for grape growing.
I am not familiar with that style of construction. It does not look exceptionally reliably load bearing, but it has some great thermal mass. If it were me, I would use timber frames to support the roof and use that as the exterior wall, but not as a load bearing wall. That way, I would know for sure. Wood is easy and quick, and you can know for sure that it can support the mass of a turf roof.
For my home, I used 2x6 douglas fir lumber spaced every 24" as support posts, and I am using 2x10s as roof beams, with 3/4" plywood as roof material. I put three layers of poly sheeting on top, then tarp/garden fabric, then about a foot of earth.
here's what i have going at present. I aim to change the brick configuration a bit, stacking higher in the back and lower in the front, with a kind of parabolic bit of brick-arc just behind the stovepipe to redirect that heat forward.
let me know what you think. if you have ideas for better configuration let me know.
(the metal plate spanning above the stove top is aluminum i got from a salvage place. aluminum is awesome for spreading heat, and it takes the load of bricks no problem.)
I don't have that kind of soil where I am (higher elevation wine country foothills, summer dry and hot, winter cool and moist). Our soil is deep sort of silty, medium low fertility, fairly well draining, not the kind of hard clay in peru's waru-waru.
I dug a six foot hole with post hole diggers and had no problems going deep. Could have kept on going. (Soil was wet). Hardest part was first foot or so, probably from compaction (it was near a driveway).
Oak woodland / oak savannah. We're in the hills - fairly typical terrain. Seasonal stream, etc.
What are some ideal permaculture approaches specific to this region?
For my mind, the main importance is water storage and retention. Swales, lots of thick mulch, and (when there's money to dig one), a pond.
I guess what I'm looking for are the best general principles for this type of region. That includes ideal crops and ideal methods. Focus on trees? on woody perennials?
Also, peculiar tweaks or unconventional approaches for this region or similar regions.
We use clumping bamboo in an outdoor shower that sees regular use. The bamboo gets all the shower water. it was planted in a little pit where the water drains into. The bamboo is very happy.
We're in zone 9a with well draining silty loam. The bamboo spreads only very slowly and would be easy to keep at bay.
Cool. Very good info.
I have seen the piles of stuff these guys take and it looks like they are true to their word. Lumber, no weird junk. They pile it and let it kind of compost for awhile so the time I receive it it's a nice kind of dusty musty dark brown rather than light brown fresh wood look. Honestly it looks like the wood component in most organic potting soils I have seen.
I get that formaldehyde is in plywood, and copper from the green treated lumber. But what about bromide and sulfates? Where do those come from?
It's not an ideal source but I believe it's a good one for the price 20$/ton
My goal is to feed the fungi and provide a thick moisture conserving mulch. And weed barrier.
I have a question about using wood chips from a nearby materials recycler.
I understand that small diameter hardwood would be ideal for wood chip mulch, though as of yet I haven't found a good source for this. I want tons and tons...organic, no funny schtuff...
So, I found a source that sells bulk wood chips for pretty cheap. The wood ships are from construction lumber. I like to be a part of a recycling operation.
Here's the description of the wood chips that they take:
"Any clean wood, nails OK. Wood that is not recyclable includes but not limited to, painted wood, any kind of treated wood, particle board, etc"
That sounds to me like douglas fir 2x4s and perhaps plywood sheets for the most part. Plywood doesn't sound that appealing due to the use of whatever glue is used.
Would plywood glue break down into anything harmless over the course of a few years?
I'm OK with using 2x4s and stuff even though that's not small-diameter lumber, and would be lignin rich. I'm not tilling this into the soil. I just want thick blankets of mulch to keep in the moisture. The more the better. We're in northern California. Hot dry summers.
I was thinking of just using something long, probably a long plate of steel bridging from one side of the brick to the other side of the brick, so that no mass was directly on top of the stove. I'm thinking that an inch would be a good amount of spacing.
I'm moderately concerned that the presence of the mass would reflect the heat back on the stove, heat that would normally be sent away from the stove, and this might lead to problems for the stove. But, it's steel, and I don't think I will be pressing the stove to such temperatures that should cause a problem there. Probably just one of those things that seems hazy until you do it or see it done, and then it's fine.
I made a concrete bathtub. I love it. It looks great.
It's dug into the earth, with a layer of foam insulation and then ferrocement work, layer after layer to make it smooth.
The final layer of concrete brought it to about the level of sandpaper. I'd like to make it smoother, particularly for the side walls.
How do I do that?
I was thinking about some sort of epoxy. Like, for example, epoxy-based garage floor stuff. I haven't gotten it, because I want to be sure that whatever I finish it with, it's -- you know -- safe to soak in. Not sure that an epoxy would ever achieve that.
What about a glass gallon jug for a solar light? Bigger would be better, right? Filled with water/bleach, or alcohol, or mineral oil?
I'm getting ready to put in some solar lights using colored glass bail-top bottles, a whole slew of them. I plan to use the flashing things with the rubber seals like the genius did in his chicken house youtube video. Instead of using foil, I will paint white the portion of the bottle that is within the flashing.
But, it seems to me that the bigger the vessel, the better. I was wondering about getting glass gallon jugs for a couple of the skylights. Not sure whether they make flashing that big --- maybe for a stove pipe?
I like the idea of RMH, but I already have a cheap little metal wood stove. I watched Ernie and Erica's DVD but went away without the diagram I would have wanted to build one.
Anyway, I want to convert my little stove to a mass heater of sorts by bricking over it with regular bricks. Maybe the approach would be to make the first couple of brick courses mortar-free to avoid any potential heat/portland issue, then mortar over the final course for the sake of neatness?
Is this brilliant simplicity? Dangerously inept?
It's going on a concrete foundation on the ground floor, so no worry there.
It's just a little ol heater, one of the cheapest and smallest out there.
I'm monitoring my battery voltage throughout the day and night. (Solar power)
What should it be getting up to, and for how long, during peak sunlight?
What's the ideal minimum for average nighttime low?
This is a 24 v flooded lead acid golf cart battery system. I'm thinking 28 volts during day for an hour or two and then at night the lowest the ideal would be no lower than 24.0, which would be a 50% discharge, I believe. Is that too low for it to be getting?
Of course, my charge controller manages how high and such during the day, but I also try to use power during the day rather than the night, so depending on what I use, that cuts into the absorption/float stages. I'm wondering how much is too much, how much is ideal to have a reasonable margin for backup power and battery longevity.
Fascinating. I am really interested in learning about natural dyes. I got a book on it and am so surprised at what is available from plants all around me. I'm eager to try it. I guess I was kind of naive and thought that dyes only came from things like berries, things with strong-seeming pigmentation. I will have to look into how these natural dyes wear, and whether they wash out over time, and how to keep the colors fast.
But regarding vegan biodynamics, I know there are elements of BD which have nothing to do with the use of animals, and I'm glad about that. Following a calendar, moon cycles, and composting -- everything makes sense to me there. But I have to say that with regard to the use of animal parts and products, there must be a better way, one suited to those who are vegan. Additionally, vegan BD would certainly look a lot better to some folks who find BD to be antiquated or peculiar specifically because of the ways animals are regarded/used. Adapting and learning a way around the use of animal products but which addresses the same subtle concerns seems pertinent. I personally have some experience with traditional BD and I know that there must be suitable analogues. I just don't know what they are.
Instead of using cow horns, what?
Instead of bladders, skulls, etc, what?
Take for example the importance given to stirring the preps, creating the vortex, swirling back and forth, the creation of chaos, etc. Cool stuff, and it makes some good sense. The container should be earthenware, not plastic. Well, there is some flexibility about what you use, and the reasoning seems accessible: use something good and grounded that doesn't leach. There is in general an absence of, say, dogma about the stirring container. But the sheaths for preps are so specific and at the end of the day that seems a little arbitrary. Because there are many plants of power in nature. Why only these select few, and why only these select few animal parts?
How much is BD about making a certain style of farm, and how adaptable can it be to different modes of agriculture based on different crops and cultures and climates?
It's ok to use a plastic sprayer to spread the preps, because, well, it does a good job of it. But why is it unthinkable to use, say, some kind of earthenware horn instead of a cow horn? And so on?
I would love to read more about interesting adaptations for those who live in different climates or who do not use animals. I would like to read some introspection about these things.
I'm interested in learning more about vegan biodynamics. Replacing all animal products with non-animal products. Sheaths of, say, ceramic rather than a cow horn. And instead of a bladder, what could be used?
I am really surprised I haven't seen much about this. Does anyone have any leads or examples for vegan biodynamic practices?
Yessir. That outdoor toilet sounds ideal. I think I will do just that. Build a little outhouse on a platform (in hilly terrain, that is no problem) and put a vessel of some sort below it to collect the stuff, with BSF.
Red compost earthworms are the same as red wiggler worms, yes?
And would they be in a separate container from the initial poo-hatch (with BSF)? With a chute separating them, say, to prevent the BSF from taking over the redworms?
I use a composting toilet. Normally I just pee here and there outdoors, but I had the idea for an experiment.
I have heard:
Diluted urine tends to be better for fertilizer.
Aged urine tends to be better than fresh urine.
Well, I wanted to add something to that list, based on a basic understanding of aquaponics and compost tea systems.
Aerated systems are better than anaerobic systems.
Urine in an anerobic environment quickly begins to stink. However, what happens when it is aerated, by adding an air stone to the urine collector? I don't know. I am probably like most people. I have no experience with this.
Fill a 5 gallon bucket with a gallon of water and an air stone. Use this as a urinal.
Periodically dump the bucket here and there in the garden.
Alternatively, it would be interesting to try bioponics, adding urine to a basic aquaponics system. I am aware of the obvious ickiness of this, and of the potential problems with this because there are not soil bacteria/fungi to act as a buffer between human waste and food. However, with the addition of an oxygen-rich environment, and therefore aerobic bacteria, would the system be better?
Has anyone tried this? Suggestions before I start selling air stone urinal cakes?