Kevin David

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since Feb 21, 2016
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monies building homestead
Grand Rapids, Michigan
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Recent posts by Kevin David

Happy Bourdain day to all. I believe Eric Ripert said on the first Bourdain day to have a good drink on Bourdain day. I recommend elachi chai. It’s cardamom chai. I don’t have an exact recipe for you, but here’s some tips.

I like a lot of cardamom flavor. Crack about 10 green/blue cardamom seeds with a rolling pin or something else to release the aroma. Don’t make much black tea, but make it dark and strong. Simmer the cardamom pods with the black tea for 5 minutes minimum. Longer might be better. Do this because you’ll add a lot of milk(or milk substitute). I’d say about 3/4 milk, 1/4 strong black tea. If you don’t use real milk, I recommend barista style oat milk.

Make it fairly sweet too. In India chai is usually quite sweet, but the serving is very small. So really it’s not more sugar than a large Starbucks drink order with “less sugar” because that large amount is just diluting the same amount of sugar as the super sweet chai in India. I prefer this strategy of a smaller, sweeter drink that is slowly savored.

That said, I’m a huge low carb guy these days, but tea and coffee are one exception most of the time. I often use monk fruit when I’m being strict but it isn’t as good. Some days I treat myself with honey, which is wayyy better.  Real sweetness with carbohydrates work best to bring out the cardamom flavor. This is why I recommend oat milk for a substitute, it has more carbs and natural sweetness than some other milk substitutes.

Mix the milk with black tea, gently simmer together another 5 minutes. Turn off heat, remove cardamom. Add sweetener. Well, maybe I did give a full recipe. Whatever. Happy birthday to my hero.
1 month ago

Mike Haasl wrote:Thanks Kevin!  Sharpening tools is also in the SKIP event if that gives you a bit more flexibility.

Great! In that case, I won’t be so interested in building a hugel since I’ll probably do it at the PTJ. But I’d still like to strip and fell trees during SKIP.

EDIT: I just read a post from Beau stating that felling and stripping will be a part of the picnic table and bunk bed. If it’s true that it will be part of the bunk bed build, then I won’t need to fell and strip during SKIP.
2 months ago

Mike Haasl wrote:The other instructors and I had a prep meeting via zoom yesterday and got many things sorted out.  I have a few questions for the attendees who, I hope, are watching this thread...

1.  How many of you want to do the junkpole fence building work at the end of week 1 track 1?

2.  How many of you want to do the rock jack build at the beginning of week 1 track 2?  The rock jacks need to be built to enable the fencing so if lots of people want to build fences and no one wants to build rock jacks, that would be good to know now.

3.  How many of you want to build a hugelkultur?

4.  How many of you want to fell trees?

5.  How many of you want to make shakes?  Cedar supply is limited so knowing if there's lots of demand would be good to know now.

6.  Does anyone want to run into Missoula to do the Freecycles bicycle build on Saturday to help complete your toolcare badge.  This would need to be coordinated by the people that want to do this activity.

7.  Does anyone have a neat plan for the two day weekend that we should know about?

Sorry I didn’t see this earlier. I really want to fell trees and strip them.

I also really want to build a hugel bed

Everything else you listed isn’t nearly as important to me.

Both of these are scheduled for the PTJ, however they are both being done at times when there is another event I really want to attend. So I would love it if I could do these during the SKIP event instead of PTJ. That way I can still learn cob on the trombe wall and learn to sharpen tools during PTJ SKIP track.
2 months ago

Mike Haasl wrote:

Kevin David wrote:
1) I would need to cook my own meals, mostly meat. Every time. Most carbs ruin my life and one meal of rice and beans would wreck me.

2) I may have times where I am fatigued and want sit or work slower. It’s possible I may even want to opt out of a particular task completely if I’m feeling really spacey and it seems dangerous. My energy level fluctuates a lot.

3) I may need extra bathroom breaks

1. That's totally cool.  The kitchen may be in use by the cook but there are rocketey devices to cook on plus if you have a camp stove, you'll be all set.
2. Not a problem at all.  You don't have to do anything if you don't want to.
3. Totally fine.  More of the time we're around basecamp where there are several willow feeders.  At the lab there are willow feeders near all the places we spend time.  Occasional activities would take us away from a toilet but only once or twice and you can skip them if you want.

Thanks for the quick response Mike. I just bought a ticket.

I have a camp stove, camp kitchen setup, etc.
2 months ago
I’m really interested in this. I’ve been hesitant to do anything at Wheaton labs for years due to some health issues. I have Crohn’s disease. And because of that, I’m anemic and underweight.

These are my concerns:

1) I would need to cook my own meals, mostly meat. Every time. Most carbs ruin my life and one meal of rice and beans would wreck me.

2) I may have times where I am fatigued and want sit or work slower. It’s possible I may even want to opt out of a particular task completely if I’m feeling really spacey and it seems dangerous. My energy level fluctuates a lot.

3) I may need extra bathroom breaks

If this is ok, I would strongly consider buying a ticket later today. I’m looking for land to build a temporary shelter, followed by a house to code. This curriculum looks like a lot of stuff I need to learn.
2 months ago
Jt, thanks again. You’ve given me a lot think about.

I’m gonna try the sand point well first, like in the above linked bushradical video filmed in the UP.

Any recommendations for wood stoves?
I was watching some other videos from the bushradical guy and he just used a camping stove. I’ve been watching this 3-video series over and over on making a cheap cabin anyone can build. I’m abandoning the cordwood idea for the temporary shelter altogether since I may not be ready by frost. I am considering the A-frame suggestion as well. Been watching videos on that, including bushradical’s wife ‘girl in the woods’ whom built an A-frame alone. The fact that they are in the UP in these videos adds appeal to me. But I still plan on making a practice cordwood shed next spring followed by the cordwood house to code.

3-part series in UP. Seems like the easiest, quickest, post-frost, skill-free solution I’ve found. I plan on substituting some of the toxic parts for permies-friendly materials.

Speaking of code and permits. Is anyone aware of problems camping on their property while building a temporary shelter? I know I asked this earlier, but I’m coming at the question from a different angle now. Many places in the UP have a special category for short term stays with names like ‘hunting cabin’ or ‘recreational cabin’. The time one can stay in these places is limited. So I’m thinking I should be careful to check with officials to see if there is some time limit I have to finish this temporary shelter and apply for a building permit.

I assume I’ll have to get my building permit before I can stay in the temporary shelter beyond the allotted time for “recreational” stays. The amount of time allowed at cabins of this nature seems to vary. I feel like I’ve seen anything from two weeks to two months, but it’s been a while since I looked into this and my memory is a bit fuzzy.
3 months ago
I’m still a bit confused. I get that the easement/deed thing can be a bit messy and unreliable.  And I get that not having that could mean being land locked. However, it sounds like there is a third scenario some of you have eluded to that I don’t quite get yet. Both of those two scenarios I mentioned sound pretty bad to me. It makes me feel like I would want to completely avoid property without public road frontage.

Am I missing some exception? I feel like some of the posts suggest there might be access roads that don’t have an easement/deed and aren’t land locked either. If so, what is the situation with this type of access road?

For example,

An access road can be a frontage road that offers access to a property.

this sounds like a normal public road to me.

I’m really glad I asked this question. I see why the google results were so confusing now. Thanks for all the details and warnings.

EDIT: oh, I’m guessing the frontage road in the above quote is not public road frontage, right?
3 months ago
The more I search on google, the less I understand. What exactly is an ‘access road’ in the context of undeveloped rural land for sale? I see some similar, yet slightly different interpretations even amongst those whom are talking about rural roads as opposed to highway exits.

Also, I remember Paul bringing up access roads on the Quest For Land podcast episode, but I believe he got sidetracked and never explained what his concern was. So while I’m at it, I’ll also ask why an access road would be of concern when searching for property.
3 months ago

R Scott wrote:Mail is actually a big problem some places. I don’t need a building permit for a small off grid cabin, BUT I needed a septic permit to get a mailing address and will need a building permit if I want grid power. Even if only for an ag building or barn with no house on the property. Ag buildings don’t need permit, permits are tailored for houses only. It is a backhanded way to require zoning when the state has exempted agriculture buildings including worker’s housing at the state level

Water really depends on what you have to work with. Do you have a truck or trailer? How hard is it to travel your road? How far to get the water? How often do you go that way anyways?  

My preferred budget method is a food grade IBC tote for home storage. It is by far the cheapest in gallons per dollar I can find. A second one to put in the back of the truck is convenient if you have to make a special trip for water. A transfer pump will move the water easy without buckets.

Can you drive a sand point well?  

I believe I can drive a sand point well. Fantastic video. However, your questions really drive home the point that I may not need either a well or a IBC to begin with. I think I may just fill up a jug every time I go into town—because I do imagine I’ll be going into town once or twice a week. My only concern was the water quantity needed to mix mortar. However, I’m now leaning towards a different building method for the temporary shelter anyway. Which I’ll mention below.

Thanks to jt lamb and r Scott for the water info. Valuable perspectives to me.

Right now I’m still in the knowledge-building phase and I have no solid plans. I’ll be heading up to the UP in a month to look at land. I don’t want to rush the process, so I’m thinking I should plan on a building method for the temporary shelter that can be worked on in colder temperatures. If I build a log cabin, I don’t have worry about mortar.

What do you guys think would be an easy and quick temporary shelter that could be built in colder temperatures and keep me warm in colder temperatures? My understanding is that heating a tiny cabin(12x12) isn’t too difficult even with thinner walls—is this true? I’m guessing the property I purchase won’t have large trees, which is one reason I favored cordwood. However, I’ve heard vertical log cabins can be made with thinner logs. I also don’t understand why I couldn’t then just make a regular horizontal log cabin with thinner logs.

What if I made a log cabin using the pass and butt method with green wood of a smaller diameter? Say, 8”? What if some logs were 6”?

Or would the vertical method with a timber frame be better?

To be clear, this doesn’t need to be a structure that stands the tests of time. As long as it lasts long enough to safely get me to the house, it’s good enough.
3 months ago

I've used both gas powered and electric chain saws.  
Gas powered is faster, but, electric is easier to operate.
Electric is quieter and doesn't give you a headache if you use one without ear plugs.
Electric is also lighter and easier to control.
But, with electric you are either going to be near a power source, bring a power source (aka generator), or re-charge batteries over and over again.
With either, keep your chain sharp, which means keeping it out of the dirt, which dulls a chain quickly.

Thank you for this. I’ll definitely go with electric if I decide to use a chainsaw.

I'll second the thoughts about hand tools often being quieter, less prone to spoil the job; as well as possibly safer or faster.

I'll add that anything you might do with a machine or power tool, if you don't already know how to do it by hand, the machine will only help you goof it up faster!

Often the "setup" time exceeds the time using the tool. So for one-off jobs I go for a hand tool more often than not. I can file a radius on a corner of a piece of metal at the bench faster than walking to two separate machines to do the same.
I can break the edges of a four-foot-long board with a hand plane, and it's done, no setting up the router, no sanding required. If I had 40 feet of edges to round over, I'd use the router.

More reasons I think I should start with hand tools. Especially that line about screwing up faster with power tools. The goal is simply to get a shed built quickly. When it comes time to build a house to code I imagine that might change things due the quantity of wood needed.
3 months ago