Sam Green

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since Dec 18, 2014
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Recent posts by Sam Green

I love the idea and will probably get it to support it, but since taking Geoff Lawtons PDC, theres a better way to make the walls. Now all due respect to Michael Reynolds, I first saw earthships in 2004 and fell in love with them, theyre a "gateway drug" into alternative living. But he kinda had the same idea Bill Mollison had in the 70s about incorporating our garbage into our systems.

Just like the PDC's dont really get into using old mattresses to plant potatoes and such like they did decades ago, its time to get rid of the tires in walls. Geoff is going to make an "Earthship on Steroids" video where you use an excavator to dig a pond and use the fill and the excavator packs the walls, much faster and cheaper. Thats the only change id make, its a beautiful concept, and it looks awesome!!

I know some diehard dogmatics may disagree, but while im doing my earthworks anyway, id rather build my house with no toxic tires (I know they claim they dont offgas, and maybe theyre right, but why chance it to use a system that takes more time, more man hours and more money.

Not meaning to sound harsh or critical, just trying to make a good thing even better.
9 years ago
Hi Rick, I will pick up your book for sure just on that topic of animals in the greenhouse alone, im glad to hear the greenhouse as a barn works well. Im located in maritime canada so we get a mix of summer weather both dry and humid.

I had thought of using a concrete envelope (walls, floor, roof, etc) with lots of insulation and earth berm protection for the north and east sides, and using the climate battery concept to pump the warm moist air underground in a gravel filled concrete envelope, insulated from the earth to minimize heat transfer to the ground, for storing the heat for winter use. Whats your thoughts on that keeping the summer humidity down?
9 years ago
Hi Rick, am excited to hear your advice on greenhouses, esp with a survival aspect to them. Im looking at building one as my main living structure, kind of like the guys in Basalt, CO did, and others. Wondering if you have any tips/tricks for making the shift to one on the side of your house to making it your whole house. I like the idea of a "climate battery" or annualized geo solar, and such concepts, your input would be greatly appreciated. Also wondered your thoughts on using one to keep chickens/ducks/geese/pigs, heck if big enough even a cow or two through the winter, im up in eastern canada so its wet and cold here then. Thanks.
9 years ago
Hi there, its great youre looking at building a greenhouse to keep your animals, and push the envelope both in building technique and climate. While I like the wofati idea, i have some reservations that it looks like youre addressing which is great. PAHS is great and if it works its nice to have free heat and cooling, but i liken it to flying a fighter plane without an ejector seat, its on the edge and if you have no safety net, it can be bad.

As far as the depth of insulation at the top of my head i dont have any data on it, but i have seen something similar on another websites earthship forum about them using insulation below the frost line in scandanavia, so it makes sense on an intuitive level that youd want a thermal enevolpe that doesnt give heat back to the earth easily but has earth around to buffer the cold wind, etc.

Id look at geo-solar, Geoff Lawton did a video on a greenhouse in canada using it, id look at having the tubes blow that warm air back down into gravel contained in your thermal enevolpe instead of directly to the earth, it might be a bit warm in summer, but all that warmth will be held more for use in winter. Its an expense in the beginning but will pay off quick and is passive. Next id look at a rocket mass heater, its not passive, but its as close as possible for an active system, uses little wood and if something isnt quite right, you have a heat buffer that might someday save your animals in winter.

You might add solar hot water, or extra solar air heated "wings" off to the sides, a popular one is the aluminum cans painted black in cells, but im not an expert in them, maybe theres something better out there now, you could blow that warm air in winter and it wouldnt cover your main greenhouse windows.

If you have enough heat in winter you might check out some aquaponics systems to grow forage for the animals, plus you can eat the fish and grow veggies for yourself too check out the book solviva for a neat example, good luck.
9 years ago
Hi Jay and others who replied, thanks. Maybe I wasnt as clear in my post, I got the impression that Jay thought I meant learning by building other peoples wofati by myself, what I was referring to is, its the kind of structure youd want to work as a helper on some other peoples ones first before building your own.

I also did have a question in my post "My concern and question is what do you do if the design isnt just quite right, can you add a rocket mass heater, etc", although yes my post is was also part statement, guess not putting in the question marks may have made it harder to see, basically my question restated is how easy is it to put in supplemental systems for heat, and/or retrofit one in if you discover after that you need one?

I think alot of people will do like in michaels post in that its probably wise to learn by building some outbuildings first and then do your main structure. The statement part of my original post is that im concerned that people will get all excited to get back to the land or whatever you want to call it, see wofati and if thats all they can afford as a house, build it, and its a great concept when it works right, I guess i can see alot of city raised "screenagers" as Geoff calls them building one and freezing or being wet all winter.

9 years ago
Interesting thread, think we all would like to do something like this, my 2 cents would be to examine what they used in France, seem to remember the bocage areas gave us a hard time with mobility in WW2, and see what similar species would grow in your zone. From the pic you supplied, it seems youre more interested in weaving the branches together to provide the main stopping power, so maybe some type of more flexible tree (willow, birch, alder, etc) and go for the thorns as a secondary consideration. I usually, like alot of the other posters tend to think of thorns when envisioning a living hedge, but if you can weave together enough branches, that might not be necessary and save you alot of pain putting it together.
9 years ago
Hi again, sorry ive been away for a bit. I like what youre saying about the grains used for livestock vs us eating them, its totally the way we should be using them. Ive been watching Mark Sheppard and like his youtube video where he talks alot about the oak savannah. I could work chestnuts into the mix and have more stable production, and its high carbohydrate and less work to process than acorns, just not sure about the time to harvest vs quick bearing newer oak varieties, not sure if chestnuts have been worked on much lately. Also his no bull approach and being tough on limiting inputs is probably the way ill have to go, cause the money for huge earthworks will be limited. Also been watching Ben Falk, hes close to my area so taking in alot of what hes saying as well. He was talking about feeding squash to ducks in winter, was interesting, long storage feed crop instead of buying grain.

Wish I could grow sweet potatoes well up here, just too cold, maybe in the greenhouse, am hoping to put my bucks in to a climate battery greenhouse type structure as my main living space (i lived in the tropics for a yr and miss it) also would like to have green veg all winter if possible, with a few smaller greenhouses to hold my chicken, ducks, etc. figure the chickens can feed on compost and the heat of it and the birds will help, could even add a rocket stove, and can grow some greens for them to eat all winter instead of buying grain, and if I can sneak a few plants for me in there well its a bonus.

Hope the new year is going well for you, cant wait to hear more about your place
9 years ago
So the idea of the wofati house seems great, cheap, no heat needed, no worrying about southern access for passive solar, etc. My only concern and this may be just as a total newb with them, but it seems to be based alot on getting the design right with no mistakes. In most houses you have a margin for error, put in more insulation, a second or bigger heater, etc. My concern and question is what do you do if the design isnt just quite right, can you add a rocket mass heater, etc(i know that technically no longer makes it a wofati). It just seems that its the kind of house you should have built a few of them first for other people before building your own to live in.
9 years ago
They are different in that the country has a Gross Happiness Index, i believe, kind of a GDP for peoples happiness. Theyre mostly Bhuddist so on paper a peaceful area, however there has been strife with Maoists in nearby Nepal so not sure if id want to live there just yet, they take visitors, its expensive though for a pass/visa, but I think thats to manage tourism and not get overwhelmed. At least thats from what a remember last time I was hearing about them. Interesting place

ps. and i LOL'd & did a doubletake when i saw the name of the interviewer, hes a famous journalist near my neck of the woods.
I first heard him on "" it sounded great, saw the video and it made sense esp. after seeing a bunch of geoff's videos, and lastly listened to him on the grow your food summit. As far as the religion, if youre religious, great, if not, just take the info, try not to let it turn you away from good info (btw full disclosure im not very religious). His system I feel would remove alot of the work in permaculture in the pioneer stage, just prepare your land, plant your final food forest and put the chips down as your ground cover/mulch/nitrogen fixing.

In the grow your food summit this summer he said he doesnt use any more chips on his plants, he has enough, he uses compost from the chickens, he also had his soil tested and it was far and above what is required for growing. Not to mention you can burn wood chips in a designed rocket stove/use for paths, etc. and you can get them free or low cost and make them when thinning/maintaining your woodlands,trails,roads, etc. what more could you want, its probably a bit more work in the first year or two of a new property, but i think it would save alot of work for all the years after, plus it holds so much moisture you need less earthworks,swales and ponds as you dont need to irrigate and thus feed as many ponds.