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Sarah Joubert

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since Feb 09, 2015
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hugelkultur forest garden solar
Farmed "oldschool" with chickens & beef on a smallholding. Have come to the conclusion there is no "if you cant beat em, join em"with the big boys. You need a David approach to the Goliaths out there.
More D'Ebre, Tarragona, Spain Mediterranean zone
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Recent posts by Sarah Joubert

Pity, but glad we are now on the same page! Hope you get a few folks to help you out.
3 months ago
Now I am confused!? I received the dailyish with a link to MO's 2 books + 3 streaming DVDs. I tried to purchase but got bounced back as didgital content is only for sale in the USA. I mentioned that I would like to help but can't. You replied to try buy RMH stuff through a different link. I don't want more RMH stuff, I have the 4 DVD set from my KS pledge, the rocket oven doc and the RMH builders guide from the 3 RMH kickstarters, along with all the candy provided in other KS so I'm really not interested in buying more RMH stuff. I would be interested in MO's stuff. I thought that as you only have the RMH stuff set up to bypass the vat/GST issue, you were usung that link for payment, but would send me MO's stuff instead of the RMH stuff
3 months ago
I have quite a lot of RMH stuff-having supported a kick starter or 2 along the way. I was really interested in the the Mike Oehler package. Or are you saying buy the RMH package and you will give me access to the MO package?
3 months ago
I would dearly like to buy the digital content but unfortunately, as I am in the UK, I can't
3 months ago
Jose, may I say what a pleasure it was to follow your journey! We have just purchased land in Tarragona in the Ebro River area and I plan to build a RMH so it was good to see a Spanish build, using clay from your area and what materials you found to use.
Your drawings and photos made the project come alive and I love the curves on your kitchen bench.
I was very nervous about doing it right and in a small space - your idea for splitting the bench between 2 rooms solves my problem of how to heat 2 back to back rooms.
Thank you,you have inspired me to try!
4 months ago
Hola from Spain!
We are on the hunt for a finca to live on and have a few on the short list in Tarragona province. I understand the region is very arid for most of the year with occasional rain events so we are looking at building a series of dams on the terraces. Quite by the way, we were looking for an above ground swimmimng pool and I came across several articles that said you need to apply for planning permission to erect one as it's considered a "major project". This got me wondering if there were rules about putting in dams. Anyone know?  
The legalities of buildings is another issue with many of the old casas not on the register and no new building allowed, does anyone know if building underground like the old cave houses requires planning? My concern with building anything that involves hiring an earth mover is that the villages are small communities. As foreigners, we stick out and may be the subject of gossip and anything we do becomes common knowledge -which in turn alerts the local planning office. I'd really like to do things by the book, but a) it may not be allowed if you are only allowed so much major work/acre/finca and b) can get expensive getting an architect to draw all the plans.

Also, we are looking for ideas and contacts for local resources for mulch-straw, bark chip etc. Anyone with a mini digger? Plant nursery? Stables, dairy where we can get manure?

I look forward to hearing from you
1 year ago
Hat's off (you have space!) to everyone who posted here. Inspirational! Makes me feel like an uninspired clod but I shall save this thread and peruse it regularly to nick your ideas..........
4 years ago
I think the off gases (if that is true) would still infiltrate the food, which is why I was thinking of a "mass" style which has a separate fire box and vents out a chimney.
4 years ago
Welcome Knut!
I don't know about hugelkulture beyond what it is. I just wanted to comment on your lack of ability to bring in materials. I know that with hugelculture you add pockets of different materials but still require a decent "topping". My suggestion is aimed more at producing that topping than building hugelkultures. Of course, I have no idea how big your project is and if you visit the site often, but if you are building hugels in stages and you are there a lot, you could "manufacture" a cubic m of compost in around a month using the method demonstrated by Geoff Lawton and others. there are loads of youtube videos  
 and Geoff has a complete soil building video that is very interesting.

I have personally tried it and it does work! I had a site that was in a forest of blue gums far away from my house. I would accumulate a bucket of kitchen scraps (green matter) and take it whenever it was full. I'd alternate with sacks of horse manure (nitrogen and innoculants) I could carry up. I used the bluegum leaves and twigs (you could use pine needles) for carbon and build a 1 square meter pile, as the carbon needs to be around 80%, most of the material is onsite. Once I'd completed the pile-I built the first one over 2 weeks- I let it sit for 4 days before starting to turn. The first pile took about 5 weeks in total but I started building the next pile as soon as I had finished building the first. You very quickly end up with loads of piles! Now, I know (from experience) that turning loads of piles is a lot of work but I found that you could skip turnings -you get days when you just can't face it-which lengthened the process slightly. I am a not-so-young, slightly unfit woman and I regularly managed to turn a fluctuating total of up to 5 piles. Stacking functions really, as I improved my health and fitness levels! Adding pee or comfrey tea is also a great way of adding moisture and nitrogen and can be carried up in a 20L drum. I would advise adding the pee at the beginning to allow time and heat to sterilise.

Just an idea, each one's situation is different. maybe someone else has something else to offer?
4 years ago
It's only cooking in the oven that exposes food apparently. Food cooked in a pot over a flame (hob/stove top) is perfectly safe. I was hoping to avoid mass heating and cooking as it gets very hot here which is why I was interested in biogas for oven cooking.

I think I mentioned diversifying fuel/energy options above- thanks for the reminder about dry cow pats . I suppose I am working on 2 fronts, what I can do for my own homestead and what can be easily and cheaply utilised in poor communities.
The original issue was how far could one go with biogas as an energy source and a few people came up with some great info and useful applications and modifications. My last post referred specifically to OVEN cooking. If biogas is unsuitable for oven cooking, the I have to consider mass again and address the heat problems. I suppose a solution would be an outdoor kitchen for summer use. A communal kitchen shouldn't have too many issues as the space is not living space so discomfort would be limited to a few hours a day. I just thought that a gas fuelled mass oven would be more practical in a communal arrangement as it could end up being more efficient as it's "on" all the time so doesn't cool and need to reheat every time someone wants to use it. There is also no need to arrange a "feeding" schedule (wood, cow pats or charcoal) or the risk of the mass cooling because it wasn't maintained properly. Cast iron ranges are also quite freely available here-old aga s and other ranges.

My question was more a technical one. COULD a communal system feasibly produce enough biogas to run a gas mass oven? Batch fed?
4 years ago