A free press, for free people, in a free state.
Arky of the Woods and her Crystal Cottage of serenity.
A little over a year ago, at 45 years of age, “Arky”, as she is affectionately known as by her friends and admirers, decided to walk away from society as most Americans know it. Raised in the Arkansas mountains as a little girl, Arky grew up raising chickens and goats, and working in the gardens with her parents. Canning foods and collecting eggs were part of her daily routine, as well as jaunts down to the local swimming hole for a quick dip on a hot summers day. Like most kids raised in the rural areas, the city life calls with promises of wealth and consumption that tends to build bigger dreams than realities, and like most of them she eventually left to pursue higher aspirations. After slaving out an existence as an internet service provider, and owning and running a restaurant, she woke up one day to realize that her pay check to pay check lifestyle had left her unfulfilled as to her big dreams of her youth and self-fulfillment. The thoughts of her younger years, working on the family homestead, were more enriching than any corporate or self-employed endeavor had ever been. Like a dog chasing its own tail, the dream just never came true. The pressure and hours of her lifestyle (60 to 70 hours a week) were catching up to her and taking their toll. Thinking back to her childhood and the simplicity of the self-sufficient way that her life had been, put her on a quest to return to this simpler time. Diving into homesteading books and doing research and trying to remember a path that she had already taken, she finally put it all together one day and made the break from the grid, back to a more natural life style. Read more.
Ernie Wisener discusses the absence of creosote in Rocket Stoves.
Rocket mass heater.
I was able to correspond with Ernie on the topic of creosote build up in in rocket stoves which is a question that arises quite often right after where's the smoke and will the hole thing just burst into flames? Anyway this what he had to say, it's quite informative and sorta puts the lid on the subject.
ERNIE WISNER: Essentially a rocket mass heater is a controlled chimney fire with a re-burn in the barrel (bell). if the stove is functioning properly there is little to no creosote build up. As with all stoves the fuel is a major factor in this so if you are burning green scotch pine you might get a little. most of what you will get is a bit of ash in the exhaust ducting and barrel. However this does not change the maintenance schedule on the RMH; you still must clean the stove once a year to catch any problems that might develop. most times this is accomplished by running a shop vac down the exhaust duct to vacuum out the light fly ash from paper and such. Remove the barrel to do the same with the same tool. The outside of the heat riser will probably be black but this is not a problem, the burn will happen here and no one will be the wiser (the re-burn is supposed to be here). if you did have a creosote fire in a properly built stove you would never notice it as the mass would keep everything safe.the other factor that plays in here is that there is almost no O2 in the exhaust and is a very wet a fire in this part of the stove is almost impossible (there might be a condition that this is not true but i have not found it yet). The short answer is that any creosote forming tars are burned up in the re-burn. To date every properly built stove has not had any creosote problems or build ups. Prevention is to use dry seasoned wood and never block the intake to try and smolder over night. As with any stove the hotter you burn it the less creosote forms so you should never ever choke a fire down.We are very careful to provide designs that have been proven over time to work.
Thanks to Ernie for taking the time to share that with us. Ernie Wisner is a master stove builder with more then 700 builds to his name and offers courses and information in real life or through his website www.ernieanderica.info .
Finding Jewels in the Emerald city.
After a recent trip to Seattle I was highly impressed with the perm-urban-culture that I witnessed going on in all the little burrows of the city. Every outing led to something new somewhere in somebody's yard.
Seattle Solar, Check this bad boy out, if you live in this neighbor hood then you definitely know where I was. I will give absolutely no style points for this but a 10 in creativity and ingenuity. That is a 55 gallon plastic tank attached to the roof of a two story house with what I would say is a 35 gallon hot water tank attached as well. This is providing 90 + gallons of hot water to the house for free, that is a pro. The con I would say is that that is a lot of weight to have on your roof. 1 gallon of water weighs 8.35 lbs. that is over 750 lbs sitting on the roof that wasn't designed to carry that sort of load. And this system is inefficient to a true solar hot water collector that would put a lot less stress on the structure through a series of pipes that would would heat the water quicker and be more pleasing to the eye, but hey buddy I still give it to you for initiative, This system is ideal when placed on the ground towards the south sun and heat can easily be harnessed for low flow in-floor heating systems or heat exchangers. particularly in greenhouses or chicken coops. These barrels can store and hold a lot of energy. Again I am not judging, who knows maybe this guy has 5 teenage daughters and his electric and water bills alone are a second mortgage, as the tour moved on I saw a makeshift aquaponics system hooked to a pond in a back yard and beehives and
there were rain barrels and beautiful gardens at every turn, both floral and edible. But the other thing that got my eye was the amount of chickens running around in peoples yards and for the most part they were all quiet and noninvasive, just going about their business of eating bugs and relaxing. One neighbor hood in particular, you couldn't go 3 blocks without hitting a hutch. All in all it was a positive trip, there were window gardens hanging and solar cells solaring, fresh food was in abundance and everyone was separating their plastics and aluminum and paper. It was permurbanculture at its finest. Big green thumbs up to Seattle from Offgridding.com.
A Grand idea in the Tetons.
Vertical Harvest Conception
Vertical Harvest has one Grand idea of building a vertical garden in the center of town. Jackson Hole Wyoming sits at 6200 ft above sea-level nuzzeled in between the Teton and Bridger mountain ranges. Sun is scares in the winter months which seems to be more then the summer months but the people at vertical Harvest just don't seem to care, they're going to bring the sun to them. The proposed idea is a three story vertical garden attached to the public parking structure in the center of town. This is what V.G. has to say about the project-"What makes Vertical Harvest so utterly unique is that it is able to speak to a vital community need via innovation at every level. Vertical Harvest will be the first project in Wyoming completely dedicated to serving our citizens with disabilities, providing a range of meaningful jobs for this population who at present have very limited work opportunities. In order to maximize the amount of jobs we are able to produce on a small site, we are going up, creating one of the country’s first vertical greenhouses.In addition to creating unique life-long opportunities for an underserved population, Vertical Harvest will grow local produce for our community, extending its four month growing season to year round. Because hydroponic farming requires less water and less land than traditional field farming, researchers-turned-growers in some U.S. cities see it as ideal to bring agriculture to apartment buildings, rooftops and vacant lots. Vertical Harvest will add community value, efficiency and beauty to a small urban space.With your help, we can move forward with this project that embodies innovation on many levels, and Vertical Harvest can serve as a model of what communities can achieve in small spaces".
You had me at year round produce and employment, this is an overwhelming project that is still currently on the table, Vertical Harvest is in the process of raising enough money to qualify for grants from the local government. Visit verticalharvest.org for more information on this life promoting project.
Karen Hogans Mason wood stove was on hand from Fire Belly Pizza to help cater the awareness and fundraising event held by Vertical Harvest. The pizza's that were flying out of this bad boy were so delicious that I may have embarrassed myself. When I first saw the oven I wanted to run over and hug it, it was truly magnificent. Built in Italy of brick and mortar it is able to reach up to 800 degrees of hot even heat and Karen's secret crust just soaks up the smokey flavors.
UPDATE:-VERTICAL HARVEST is approved for their grant and plans are moving forward.
Amazing women survives off-grid in Siberia
for 70 yr's.
If this family knew what we know now, they would have achieved Utopia. Please watch this touching Documentary on the strength of the human spirit. ♥♥♥
Know No Knead Bread.