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Elisa Breland

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since Feb 15, 2016
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Recent posts by Elisa Breland

Just a quick update to this thread.  We are currently working on a two-room round house that has a small dome (mechanical room) attached.  We did find a good clay/sand mixture that we purchase by the truck load.  We're hoping to get the great room and bedroom completed enough to move into by late October and then next Spring we'll be adding on a master bedroom.
3 years ago
Hello, I have 40 acres in the Okanogan highlands and am really interested in attending these meetings.  Can someone tell me if there are still going on?  And if they are, when?
3 years ago
Thanks everyone for the input, I really appreciate the time and thought put into your replies. After doing the research here and in other places it looks like our solar system, batteries and running the generator to suppliment our solar we should be able to support everything we are hoping to power.
3 years ago
We are off grid. We have a small solar system that is big enough to run our internet and phone. The idea I'm working with now is that I've just ordered a 4000 watt generator and am planning on using it for a couple hours every evening to power devices and also a small chest freezer. I would like to freeze ice in the freezer and then transfer it to a refrigerator that we'll be using as an "ice box". Does this sound like a feasible idea?
3 years ago
I'd like to reach out to whoever might be interesting in coming to the Aeneas Valley above Tonasket Washington to help us with a "natural building" project this year.
Beginning in late April, we're going to start building our home using natural building techniques, specifically, we're planning on earthbag domes.

What do we need?

- A crew of 3-4 people, static or rotating, onsite from the end of May thrpugh September.
- If you are local and would like to help but stay in your own home your help is also welcome!

What's in it for you?

- A beautiful place to pitch your tent for the Summer.
- Food and showers.
- Knowledge of some alternative building practices.
- Comradery and satisfaction of doing something fun with fun people.
- Helping our family get into a home before Fall of this year if all goes well.

What else do you need to know?

- In addition to this 3-4 person rotating crew, myself and members of my immediate family will be working onsite as well.
- We are planning on having a "foreman" someone with a good amount of building experience onsite, as well as myself to help make decisions and to guide and direct (cause if you knew me, you'd know that I like to be in charge, lol).
3 years ago

Unfortunately I can't offer what you're seeking. But, I wanted to say hi. My family has 40 acres in the Aeneas Valley, with the closest town being Tonasket. My parents built their cabin last Summer and my husband and I are building an earth bag dome home this Summer. We are also off grid.
3 years ago

Thanks for your thoughtful replies. I am planning a meeting with the manager of the local limestone quarry here. Scoria is just not available within any driving distance that we can afford or, afford to have delivered. We can purchase small amounts at the building store an hour away but that won't be economical for building the entire dome complex. We are using Owen Geiger's Eco-Dome II plans. I do already have near 1,000 poly bags so if I decide to go that route we have a good head start on that part, I also have done enough research to know how to get more to me at a reasonable price.

Delivery will also be a problem I'm sure. We live in the mountains, literally. We are lucky enough to live close to a fairly well-maintained road. An 18 wheeler would be able to get to our property and possibly unload at a flat area on the lower part of our property. But our building site is about 1/3 mile up a windy, narrow, bumpy driveway with very little space at this point to turn a vehicle around in once at the house site. I do know a gravel truck can make it up there as we had some gravel delivered last year. Thanks for the reminder about the amount of material needed and the delivery of the material, it will help me in determining the final cost and method.

We "left civilization" about a year ago actually. Before we moved here we brought load after load of things we thought we might need for building, but in the end, it turns out that due to circumstances during this year of living here our plans have changed and some of the building supplies are just not going to work any longer. Some are, and it's wonderful to already have windows, doors, etc.

I really wish we could use our "dirt" locally we call it "moon dust" it's actually very fine granite dust. We have about 6-12 inches of this dirt and vegetation roots on top of huge granite rocks. Unfortunately, the dirt on the property wasn't something we were really looking at upon purchase.
4 years ago
Glenn, thanks for the reply, your thoughts are aligned with what I was thinking. I am also in Okanogan County! I am giving some serious thought in using a product from Pacific Calcium in the place of the Portland Cement if they have something like a lime powder or fine gravel. Cost is a huge issue for us right now so I'm also working on finding the best deal for the most viable option.

I haven't made a decision yet about water-proofing. I am working on exploring the idea that adding lime instead of/or in addition to Portland Cement in the Papercrete may help to make it water resistant. The other idea I had was to plaster the dome with papercrete and then use a marine grade paint on it. Painting the dome would not be my first option, I would much rather go with the idea of Papercrete with lime to make it waterproof.

I know that a roof in this climate would be the best but the cost of adding a roof is prohibitive so I'm going to hedge my bets that we'll be able to come up with a method that will work.

Glenn, have you done any natural building here in Okanogan County?

Edited to say - Glen, please disregard my references to you living here in Okanogan County, I just re-read your message realized that you were referencing where I live not stating that you live here as well, lol.
4 years ago
Hello, I have no clay available where I live and am planning a hyperadobe, or earthbag dome home. So, in exploring other options I came up with the idea of using papercrete in the earthbags or hyperadobe tube. My first thoughts are that this would work quite well. I am concerned that I won't have much mass for collecting heat.

Does anyone have any advice, opinions or experiences they would share with me?
4 years ago
Rebecca, we are a poly family, in our early 40's. We've had our 40 acres in Eastern Washington for about a year and a half now. My parent's also live on the land, they managed to get their cabin built before first snow this last Fall. My family will be starting our earthbag home as soon as the ground thaws this Spring. My dream also is to be as self-sufficient as possible, however, I know that it will be a few years before we are to that point.

We have three adult children that do not live with us and one almost 7-year-old boy. I'd love to have another child around for our son to play with on a regular basis.

We will be off-grid, the cost of running power to our land is prohibitive, even if we wanted to. We are learning as we go and had to take a rental on neighboring property for the Winter.

Our family consists of two females and one male, we are not looking to add to our family romantically, but might like to add to our little community. We might be interested in talking more with you.
4 years ago