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Lina Joana

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since Jan 31, 2015
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Recent posts by Lina Joana

A small one - not impressed. The steep sides are difficult to plant in, and tend to erode, and the top is hard to keep weeded. I have switched to raised beds with log sides (unsplit cordwood placed vertically) and some wood/ lots of woodchips in the fill. They hold water just as well, and are way easier to manage.
4 days ago

Jeffrey Loucks wrote:    
    But if we desire to be a part of a first world country we have to pay the price. Being safe and having access to the luxuries we are used to means having some form of government.  Jeff  

Well, the author of the blog that started this thread doesn’t seem to want the luxuries of of a first world country. He lives in a tiny cave on land not legally his, and avoids the modern medical system. There is enough surplus food and clothing in our society to feed and clothe him. He talks about wild birds and animals, but to me his aspirations seem more like a feral cat - willing and able to live on his own and eat from dumpsters or the wild, but willing to accept comforts from people he likes.
I think there is a lot of romanticism about gift economies. I don’t know a ton, but what I have read about gift economies suggests to me that they came with strong societal norms. A gift was not “free”, any more than it usually is in our society. It came with an obligation to pass it on/gift in return. Maybe this would be a better system in small groups where you can keep track. It also can chafe. Growing up, my family culture was generous, but unwilling to accept favors from outside the family: my parents were nervous about being under an obligation to others, especially if they didn’t like them very much. Just think about how stressful Christmas can be, where if you get a gift from someone you don’t know well, you need to scramble to get them a gift in return, without being sure what they would like….
2 months ago
Local feed store is definitely a good option, as they know the local conditions.
I would also check out
I have bought from them and their seeds are great quality. They will make custom blends, and I believe you can ask them for advice as well, they might do free consultations if you buy a mix.
2 months ago
A lot of folks here talk about the negative aspects of taxes, and how to avoid them in order to live moneyless. I cannot disagree that most governments do things their taxpayers do not like, and often get bloated either with corruption or with all of the work to try and curb corruption - often with both. But.
Governments also provide services for the taxes they collect, which benefit moneyless people as well. Riding a bike to town? You are probably taking a road that was paid for by taxes. Hitchhiking? Ditto. For the guy living in the UK, he has access to taxpayer funded health care. Dumpster diving would be a lot more dangerous to your health if the garbage truck didn’t pick up the leftovers on a regular basis.
Now, the guy whose blog started this thread lives in a cave in Utah, and expresses the philosophy that if he gets injured and there is nobody around to gift him healing, he would be content to die. maybe he would stick to his guns in the case of a serious health issue. I am trying to decide if that level of consistency in his philosophy would be admirable. I don’t know if Mark Boyle (the UK guy) has the same philosophy, since I haven’t shelled out $17.50 for his book.
I guess my point is that, as many have pointed out, money is (among other things) a convenient proxy for labor, and taxes are a way of ensuring that the labor to create things we all benefit from is performed. Unless you are living entirely isolated from society, you will reap the rewards of the common good, and it is worth acknowledging that.
2 months ago
Interesting question - I always enjoy listening to the podcasts.
   I own the world domination gardening set.  I also own one of the rocket mass heater sets. I have not watched more than half an hour of either.
  Videos will resonate with a certain set of people (I'm not one of them; I like listening and reading, the video style just doesn't work for me).  If you spend a ton advertising to people who have not found your stuff organically, you might get a lot more people to buy it.  But how many of them will find it compelling?  
   Here is what I would do, were I in the position to, with Paul's stated interests (as I understand them from reading and listening); set a goal of 1000 RMH heaters built in the US as the metric for positive change.
    My opinion is that if you depend on DIYers or consumer driven demand, you are facing an enormous uphill battle, because the activation energy is just so much higher than it is for a standard wood stove.  It needs a catalyst, something to make it easy for a wider audience, that meets them halfway. Let's face it: we are a nation of consumers, and we expect to consume, not build - especially if we are playing with fire.
    Here would be my approach:
       1) Hire the best suited RMH designer (the Weisers, Uncle Mud, etc, whoever has the interest and temperament) to work with an engineer to create a couple of sets of engineer stamped plans, with configurations for various homes.  Rumor has it that code level plans already exist somewhere, so this should not be a huge task.  You'd have to find a decent engineer, but hopefully that would be doable if you had the money and a very well defined request.  I'd say the pebble style and maybe a brick version, cob is too specialized.  Definitely a version that hides or replaces the barrel, since that aesthetic would probably turn off a lot of people. We are thinking about mass appeal at this point.  One that uses a currently available shippable core would be good, although then you depend on that core being available, so a site built alternative would have to be included. A batchbox would be awesome, but I understand they have problems, and these plans need to be bullet proof, both in the building and the operation. The plans would include the weight requirements, chimney requirements, etc - everything a professional mason, builder, or contractor would expect to see, all in their language and in one place. Put these plans up for sale. No idea how well they would sell at this point, but might make back some of the investment right away. You would probably - and this is the part that gets messy, and that I would hate - need some kind of IP protection, so that a professional builder would have to pay you a fee for each one built. So a patent lawyer would eat up some of the money. I imagine you could patent a specific design, with specific features, so that you could sell the plans to commercial builders without messing up the larger RMH community. Obviously, if you didn't care about making your investment back, you wouldn't have to bother with this part.
       2) Reach out to the Masonry Heater Association of North America. All I know about them is that they have a really slick and easy to navigate website.  But according to that website, they have done a lot of well documented research, including work with the EPA to develop testing protocols so that masonry heaters can get EPA certifications.  They also have regular conferences.  Get a build of one of the engineer stamped plans tested so that it has the certifications from the EPA. Hopefully that relationship can also lead to getting a feature on their website and at their conference, so that their members know that this is an option for customers who want something more affordable.  Knowing how uncommon masonry heaters are in the US, I would imagine this as a way of increasing their market share as well. By getting RMH folded into the masonry heater category, you smooth the way for getting more of them actually built.
      4) Once all this is done, you have something that can be marketed to a wider audience - the recent infographic on RMH is awesome, and could be amended to say at the bottom "want one in your home?  Contact your local contractor/mason/masonry heater builder, and get a quote! for engineer stamped plans, got to www..."

I think, if you had builders doing this professionally, a licensing fee/plan cost of $500 would be well born by the market- if the build cost is 6-10k, upping it by 500 should keep it within an acceptable price range for the customer. Maybe it could be higher.  Depending on how initial arrangements were made, some of that might have to go to the RMH designer you worked with. Could you get to 1000 in the first year?  maybe not, but probably in the first 2-3 years, if the professional relationships went well. Some of the other marketing stuff in the podcast might work better at this point - hiring a celebrity to do a clip on firing up an attractive RMH, with a path to buying it the way most people are used to, could offer a better return on investment than getting them to talk about permaculture in general.  The best thing would be to get into the stove stores - when we decided to get a fireplace insert, I walked into 3 different stove stores in my area, and picked the one I liked from their offerings.  I can't think of a way to integrate that though - standard stove installation is too different.

I realize that both the goal and the approach are very different from the "infect more brains" ethos.  On the other hand - once people have an RMH, and it works well for them, would they be more receptive to other ideas?

Jeremy VanGelder wrote:
Ernie and Erica worked extensively at getting an RMH approved in Portland, Oregon. They described the process at their website. An RMH is built under the masonry heater sections of the International Residential Code. In their book The Rocket Mass Heater Builder's Guide they have detailed plans and specifications for several different kinds of heaters.

If you are looking for one built from bricks, rather than cob, you can look at Matt Walker's site. He also includes detailed plans.

What Ernie and Erica described for the code drawings is probably closest to what I am thinking of. Unfortunately, a quick dip into the portland Atc website did not bring up any hits, they must be buried a bit deeper.
Has anyone given the walker plans to a contractor and heard “no problem, this has everything we need”? I suspect most conventional contractors would prefer brick or pebble style to messing around with cob. But nothing about the Walker website indicates whether the plans are engineer stamped, code ready, or even include details like weightand clearance.
5 months ago
I feel like this might have been done somewhere…
Let’s say I am convinced by the infographic, BUT have more money than time/confidence, and would rather pay a contractor to install one for me. Is there a “contractor package”, that puts all the info into engineering speak? As in “these are the plans you submit to the county for approval, these are the weight and chimney requirements for installation, these are the tolerances for size of gravel and spacing of etc. etc.” basically, all the info a contractor would need to install a standard rmh?
I haven’t seen anything like this - all the specs in a single tight bundle- but maybe I am missing it.
5 months ago

Abe Coley wrote:If people are further interested in broader topics of farming as a career or occupation, I highly recommend the works of George Henderson.

Here's a pertinent bit from his 1960 book The Farming Manual: A Guide to Farm Work.

That sounds like a more realistic picture of what would be expected of a first day farmhand. The ability to work hard at an unskilled task, and the ability to learn quickly.

For one thing, how would a farm hand learn to drive a rig with a trailer, etc? If s/he grew up on a farm, then he will probably be working with his family, not working minimum wage somewhere else. Generally farm work is not like fashion or hollywood, where unpaid internships just to get training are a thing. So a farm would have to offer some on the job training.
I grew up in rural (though not big farm) country, and the farmers I knew struggled to get any help, much less day 1 skilled folks. It is hard work for not a ton of money, and most folks don’t find it rewarding.
I don’t think that claiming the boot camp is training - the equivalent of an unpaid internship- for the career of “farmhand” rings true. As an armchair expert in the bootcamp, it sounds more equivalent paying to board and ride a horse vs. working as a stablehand. A boarder pays for the fun of riding and caring for the horse without the obligation- it isn’t training for the stablehand position. If you want to be a stablehand, yeah knowing how to ride would be a big plus, but if you will spend a full day shoveling horse shit without slacking off, that is good enough.
A certain type of person will enjoy doing hard outdoor work and learning new skills. They are willing to “pay” (getting to Montana, meeting their living expenses) for the chance to do so at their own pace, without the obligation to do work they dislike because they agreed to get a paycheck.

5 months ago
I have been trying to find the time you actually plan on launching- had it been in any of the emails/threads? I don’t mind kicking in a bit in the first 3 hrs, but I often go longer than that between email checks, so even the kickstarter notify won’t help much. If I put an alarm on my phone, there is a chance….
5 months ago
The ones I get, a can opener takes the top of fine. Does leave a sharp edge, which I tape over. I have used two as rag bins in the kitchen (clean and dirty) I used one filled with gravel as a miniature Christmas tree (winter branches) base. As I get more, I expect to use them to sort bolts and small tools in the garage.
5 months ago