leila hamaya

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since Jun 30, 2012
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northern northern california
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Recent posts by leila hamaya

i am certainly not an expert when it comes to specifically bio char or terra preta, but it fits with the natural way of land clearing and can be quite simple.
throwing a lot screened dirt on the end and letting it smother it all night is a good way to go because it also cooks your dirt.  its also good if its out of season, to make sure its completely out before bed.

often its a long process, if you make big moves on landscaping, like an all afternoon fire, and theres first dragging everything over as you go along. so this is the basic gist of how they did it back when, and also adding fresh and partially composted stuff and food waste, as well as new loads of fresh stuff as it got cleared. that green stuff doesnt always burn through, and theres moisture in the leaves and the compost they would put on there.

so yeah basic simplified way to make terra preta - burning piles of cleared brush thats dry, adding lots of fresh stuff and also compost (towards the end) as well as drier stuff, and then putting a large amount of screened soil on the very end, after it rages for a while. now add whatever else you have to inoculate it and also finished compost or good soil if you have some.
2 days ago
this is the only kind of biochar i ever make, the benefit is obvious- because it's easy.
easier for me because its just waste, i have a lot of fires already, i already have the basic stuff afterwards.

.... whatever is left over is...well not "biochar" specifically, but a close enough cousin once you inoculate it with good stuff.
i realize some would not consider this to be the proper way, but for me its good enough. actually much better than good enough =) and bonus it doesnt take very long to make.

as above "terra preta" is probably the proper name for this, maybe. well i would call what i make something more like a terra preta, have a really big fire and actually cook the screened native soil too, above it, or by throwing it directly on the fire. this will sterilize the soil, so afterwards adding finished compost, inoculates or other living soil is needed. scoop all this from a fire pit and you have something good for filling a raised bed or whatever else.
2 days ago
Rising Appalachia , posted here a few pages back too, just put out some really great new stuff -->

listened to more and dug through their older stuff. i like =)

3 days ago
you may be really into the straw bale cob idea, and already decided, but my favorite methods are either adobe block or stabilized block, slipstraw (also called light clay straw) with post and beam, and also i am fond of stone work, slip form stone or slip form anything - like slip straw.  i am also into soil crete, which is cement and subsoil/clay/sand.
more and more too i see the beauty of simple concrete blocks, especially for below grade applications.

well some food for thought. maybe i will be less lazy later and google you some links to explore. if you are curious look into slipstraw...or earth blocks.

another issue to explore for design and materials is that earth buildings and the humidity of greenhouses dont really play well. theres got to be some separation or ways of dealing with that clash. another reason i am more inclined to think on soil crete, stabilized earth, slip form stone rather than the raw organic cob / adobe/ etc
2 months ago

Atomo Paz wrote:

Rob Lineberger wrote:

There are two routes I am exploring.  One is, buy light industrial land or agricultural as you have done, then set up a corporation.  That's very easy to do. This corporation is about, say, permaculture studies and education. Nothing you buy belongs to you, it belongs to the corporation.  The point of the land is not a residence, it is a caretaker or an education center. Then all you need to do is get an occupancy permit for one of the buildings.  I recommend you make the bathroom look very familar to them.  Getting an occupancy permit is easier than getting your house inspected.  Technically they are the same criteria but you'll get different inspectors, or the same inspectors who are expecting something out of the ordinary. Your home will receive a "Maximum occupancy" designation but you don't care about that, right?  As long as the number is as big as your family size.

We seem to have really similar ideas! My secondary idea was to start a small "retreat" center, since I am really close to a lot of yoga instructors and healing arts centers here in town. In fact, I am a massage therapist who specializes in pain therapy and holistic remedies.. it would work. If I built a building as a part of an LLC business, or CORP., would that building need to meet the same requirements as a traditional home? Even if I tell them I'm not occupying it as a residence, is it still going to get hit by building codes? Or does that mean that they just have to be sure the building is safe enough to occupy, and not "live" in which might take more steps?

I really agree with what you said about living in fear on your own land. I don't want to do that at all, and I know it gets hairy when it comes to actually putting plans into reality rather than just dreaming them up. I think of it like trying to get creative with this local government while joyfully refusing to pay to play their game on certain things. I don't think I could afford an architect's stamp sadly. I'd like to build on this land legitimately even if they don't immediately say "YES" to cob/natural building. Honestly, I am just dreading the fees that might come with it. I can't even get the county to answer my phone calls or messages regarding it.

i've looked into this a lot, of course though it depends, specifically on your local codes.
BUT i want to say that getting the building certified and officiated as a commercial structure is more rigorous and requires more inspections and even very expensive equiptment ( like commercial kitchens, or health code things - OSHA, dept of labor stuff)

it would be better to go the residential / farm route. agricultural uses are the most lax, and small farms in particular have the most laid back standards.
i definitely also share the idea of building an agricultural building, and hiding a tiny house within it. this does work best on land that already has a legit house on it already. then it is very easy.

if you do want to do a business - a small scale home business DBA or sole proprietor is also much more relaxed standards. so basically think small home based business rather than corp/ LLC
2 months ago
i think i would go with the easy way with this - get a good used mobile/trailer. sometimes you can find them incredibly cheap/free for the pick up. even buying them a few thousand should be able to get you something.
then i would build the shop, and see if it could be at least mostly up and covered for winter, because a fam of 6 is a lot of folks, so by then you would be wanting a mobile and another space to spread out.

then in spring - re evalate and see whats what with a house.
i have a similar idea, but a little more complicated where you would then build a tiny house on top of that, only not directly over it, but only half way covering it. extend the top roof of that, and use the other half of the "basement" ish area like a porch/sunroom/greenhouse.

i like the combination of  part cave, part underground /earth bermed, and a big cap...with solar/greenhouse and all light that sticks up from an underground house. i like it all smooshed together like that. the cave balances out the solar, with a lot of thermal mass to store that solar.

fi your curious, i made a post with the design in it -->


but basic gist is  build something similar to what you are describing, ans embed a tiny house over it, but only covering half of it. then have an all encompassing roof the covers all of it much higher up. so this is a tiny house embedded in a greenhouse, basically...with with half the basement are underneath and half on the higher ground. levels .
the other half is open to the greenhouse /porch/ open area.
2 months ago

Daniel A. Shinerock wrote:
One of the most liberating aspects of trying to go off grid is no (or very small) power bill, and if you can get on land with no, or very small mortgage or rent, suddenly you find yourself with time to grow your own food, eliminating yet another bill, so your left with internet or phone bill only.  Its a dream come true for me.  But I have to warn people, you have to be happy with not only less in most aspects of conventional living in a rich nation (social/toys/competing with the Jones's), but you have to be happy to be you.  You have to believe in a cause almost.  I am very adept at being lonely and not needing much, knowing I am living in a way Nature can adjust to.  Its the mission that drives me on.  Setting an example.  So many talk about going clean and green, but very few actually have a realistic picture of what that means, and the reason to do it for many revolves around "what others think of you".  That will result in failure.  You have to believe in your cause for you and your place on the planet.  It should start as a hobby, learn all you can using the existing systems to build fail safes, then slowly step out into the life, and learn to appreciate the finer things in life.  Because you have to give up most of the bright lights, parties, and socializing in order to become a bit more at one with nature, to fully understand and believe in what your doing, and to appreciate all the nature has to offer.  I think people fail because they go cold turkey into the wild and suffer from the shock of reality.  Take it slow, learn first, then tread lightly, always having an out so you don't feel trapped.  You stay because you love who you are becoming.  This is my hobby, helping others realize how easy and affordable off grid solar can be.  Be brave, click on the link to learn how you can get started.  50 off grid solar tutorials with various topics to choose from.  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCl-G3EJMjjdCKJkJdPTvkgg/videos?view_as=subscriber

agreed with this, something like this, this might be one of the most important things to keep you going - you have to value your own inner knowing, tune out all the naysayers and stone throwers and critics, and just go with what you know inside.

agree with the other ideas. being that maybe rare person who says...all in all it is fully worth it, even after ALL the chaos and difficulties and moving and failing again and again and trying again and again...and starting over again and again...i still say it is all worth it. but i do not think a lot of people would be happy with the lifestyle, it is small and not glam and slow and simple...and too many people value all the wrong things and anything but that... in the very very low budget, run off to the mountains to live off grid...what that takes to acclimate to it, how many times you want to go back and give up, and all the so slow progress of setting it up...
2 months ago
it's definitely feral/adaptable and more than a bit agressive.
it spreads easily by self seeding and produces a bazillion seeds. ok not a bazillion, but you get the point.

ok for a spot where theres not much going on, its pretty its medicinal and its pollinator friendly. i like it but would weed it out of any cultivated area of primo garden space. there's enough of it growing in wild spots on its own, so i weed it out. definitely grab up the seeds if you dont want it to spread.
2 months ago
hey, welcome, good post =)
i can totally relate, change a few genders and names and details around, and i could tell a similar story....only like twenty more run on sentences later i did start getting my hands very dirty, and even managed to find some good people and scenes that were much more functional. hang in there!

just felt like saying hi, and i think thats a great thing if you can ground out the land situation near redding. that area, and especially even further north of there into siskiyou county ( and further trinity county too) are definitely my favorite parts of califonia, the most affordable too, though remote...i lived for quite a while in siskiyou, up in the klamath knot. it's a great place for permaculture, for sure, i would love to see a bunch of homesteaders flock there....
3 months ago