Jan, thanks for the link! It's entirely likely that I read about this back then (article is from 2014) and internalized it. It's been bouncing around in my head for a while, and just makes sense. Of course, with physics, making sense is not a good metric... so I've always left it as a shower thought. But, it's nice to see I retained something with some reasonable accuracy!
I read it! But, I doubt I'll get to commenting meaningfully as you're writing more than I can digest at the moment.
Suffice it to say, your thoughts are compelling, and you're not alone in some of these existential struggles.
To me, death is just the natural degeneration of a wildly complex chemical reaction that eventually runs out of inputs and buffers needed to perpetuate itself. It is no more or less meaningful than that. Life has no purpose or goal, as far as I can tell -- even the "purpose" of reproduction is vacuous at best -- saying we exist to replicate our DNA is circular. I've come to the conclusion (not based on any study on my part, just stoned shower thoughts...) that we are, essentially, a reaction to incoming energy from the sun. As materials absorb energy, they have to "handle" that energy somehow. One solution is to use that energy to build more complex structures, and once you start down that road, you can eventually end up at "life". With no purpose in life, might as well enjoy what you can without unduly making things worse for others. At least, that's my current philosophy. It's probably pretty naive.
I'm looking forward to these Hadza videos. Thanks for linking to them. And thanks for your continued updates. I'm getting value from them.
Just catching up after a couple weeks spent dealing with a loss in the family. Love the updates. Very cool to see the effectiveness of vinegar on the poison oak. We, so far, seem to be free of it. And a neighbor says she only sees it at higher altitudes than us (we're at 250 feet...).
We're still not on our property full time, and won't be for a couple of years, probably. So, I've been waiting to do any kinds of planting, since we're not going to be there to care for any of it. But... seeing your seedballs and the mix you're using, maybe this fall I'll do something like that in a few areas where we've disturbed the soil. You've got me thinking.
Just got caught up with your posts. Good stuff Mat!
Also, what a lucky find, that estate sale. And lol at the hookah ;)
Can you elaborate on how you're raising azolla/duckweed? What's the source of nutrient in the water?
I think if you put basically any kind of thing around the aerator, like a tube of window screen or even hardware cloth -- just something to help keep the disturbance localized, that might help. Also, you can get air tube metering devices for cheeeeaaap at the aquarium store. Or heck, even the right binder clip to restrict air flow might help.
Hi Mat! Glad to read an update, and sorry to hear about your struggles. I can sympathize -- I'm only now, at age 51, starting to realize the extent to which I'm probably ADHD, anxious and depressed. Sigh... gonna be a lot of work, I think. But, gaining understanding of your conditions has got to be a crucial step towards building a happy life, right?
Dried favas -- how do you prepare them? I've long enjoyed having a simple middle-eastern bean dish, ful medames, for breakfast, though I rarely actually bother to do it. It's so good, keeps well in the fridge, and is easy to prepare, once the beans are cooked. Garnish with the fresh veg of the season, and it's a winner. Maybe I need to get off my butt and make some...
Your too damn big kale looks awesome!
Loving the ongoing story of your efforts, and I appreciate whatever updates you have capacity to provide. Stay cool in this heat wave.
Congrats on the possible gig! I enjoy your writing. Hopefully, they will too!
Everything looks gorgeous. I'm so jealous of the time you have to invest in this, while fully understanding it's probably stressful and scary for you to be making a go of it like this -- planning to live only off your own produce.
I am soaking up all your lessons, hopefully .
I appreciate the content you're producing, but also think you have to focus on yourself first. If that means no video, so be it, I'll still come read your updates.
For privacy, you're going to want a little height, yes? Hazelnut, black hawthorn (make sure to get a proper local variety). In my, very limited, experience, huckleberry, all the cane berries, etc, aren't going to be tall enough to provide privacy. Maybe some willows are appropriate, too?
Hi from Harlan! We're not down there full time yet, but working on it. I agree with others, the resources from OSU are great. Andrew Millison has some great videos on youtube, just in case you haven't found them yet.
And, yes, the nettles are coming in strong. Bleeding hearts were blooming for us last weekend, too.
Our land is either flat or south-facing slope (pretty significant slope, too). And the water table appears to be pretty high -- up to near ground level in the depths of winter rains. I think digging into the slope, and then ensuring we insulate and shade well, is really our only option.
Do you get a bad summer drought as well? If so, I can remember reading about someone who built a *really* large above ground water tank, and then built a lean-to cold room on the north side with some berming as was available and lots of insulation. Don't know if that gives you any other ideas.
Yes, we do get that drought every summer. I like this idea. There's a corner of the property where it might make sense to do that... hmmm...
I was already planning on putting 2-3000 gallons of potable well water up the hill behind us for gravity fed domestic supply. But an irrigation tank not quite so far up, with rainwater collection feeding it, and a root cellar on the north side is a solid idea.
Another alternative is to build against the hill, berming on the south and west (or east, depending on where the house actually lands) with the entry on the east (or west, depending), and the berm could extend a little bit to provide additional cover to the entry. The house itself could provide additional cover to the south.
Andrew Sackville-West wrote:We have a south facing slope behind the house site.
In a perfect world, for a root cellar, you'd be looking for a north-facing slope so there's never any sun on it. Depending on the height of the house, it may shade it in the spring/fall/winter, and maybe you can plant things that will shade it in the summer. Even if it's earth-bermed, the less sun, the more consistent the temperatures will be. Temperatures that fluctuate a lot are more likely to encourage condensation.
Yeah, I'm aware. Our land is either flat or south-facing slope (pretty significant slope, too). And the water table appears to be pretty high -- up to near ground level in the depths of winter rains. I think digging into the slope, and then ensuring we insulate and shade well, is really our only option.
Jay Angler wrote:
Andrew Sackville-Wesrt wrote:This is based on the assumption that I won't be successful keeping the water out, so plan on it being there and figure out how to keep it moving.
If you read some of the threads about the wofati housing, part of keeping things from drowning is to use more the concept of "earthberming" than "underground". I'm looking at a spot which is a heap of dirt with some very large cedar trees to the south, and a path to the north. There's a good slope to the west which should allow easy drainage for some sort of drain, and there's forest in that direction to provide shade also. That just leaves the east side which shouldn't be too hard to do a wide shallow ditch to move the water elsewhere.
Yeah, berming is an option, for sure, though I'm not sure how my wife will feel about it. There's really nothing appropriate, currently, for supplementing with berming to make a reasonably sized root cellar. It really is flat or south facing. But, maybe we'll have some spoils from construction that can be used to build a berm. But, we have a long time before we get to that point. Who knows what we'll end up with :).
Watching this with interest as I'm thinking of a root cellar in a few years. We have a south facing slope behind the house site. There's tons of water around (Oregon Coast Range), so seeping and drainage will be an issue. I'm contemplating not bothering to try to actually waterproof the walls, opting instead to use gravel and french drains to move the water out. This is based on the assumption that I won't be successful keeping the water out, so plan on it being there and figure out how to keep it moving.
I've been enjoying the heck out of Sally Pointer's youtube channel, and if you haven't seen it, it's worth checking out. She's doing a number of things relevant to this thread, and has several videos on dying textiles naturally. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5XFNQc8zPWyYGCtvB2l9pA
It's unclear whether you're looking for cheaper shipping, less expensive undyed/unbleached clothing, or more durable (due to being undyed/unbleached) clothing.
But, for what it's worth, I've been trying to buy more durable, more sustainably made, clothing for a little while, and have come to the conclusion that clothing manufactured in any kind of sustainable way is just expensive. It's the realities of getting away from the economies of scale that come from fast-fashion. To get sustainable clothing off the rack, that clothing can't be shipped around the world, and must be made from fibers that are sustainably produced. The result is the cost is at least two orders of magnitude higher. But, the benefits are there, and the trade-off is worth it. My few higher-quality, more sustainable items, are holding up well and are wearing out due to wear, not due to lower quality and lighter weight textiles.
In the end, I think it's a choice between paying a lot, or making it yourself.