So I was hauling up the biochar I made about a week ago. And when I checked on the water hole I dug - lo! The water level was much higher. I thought I would need to dig deeper, and maybe I do, but as of now, the water table only starts about 3 1/2 feet deep into the ground. It looked like a beautiful pool of deep drinking water! Wow!!
That is an amazing treasure considering Professor Guy McPherson predicts people not having water as being dependent on their electrical water pumps or various other "grid" water supplies. Not me - if I can drive up north - I can survive into the apocalypse until the radiation gets too bad. haha. I have WATER!
Now - how to keep it warm in the winter! I have plexiglass over it as passive solar but there's no direct sun - and so it won't be enough. So I began putting up the pallets - and the steep A-frame was held up very tentatively by the cardboard - thick cardboard "rims" to the pallet - edges to hold up the boxes of the pallet - stapled to the pallet.
So I used tensegrity to hold the A-frame together - first I had the cardboard edge going one direction on one end of the pallet and the other direction on the other side - to kind of "lock" the two pallets together - one holding the other pallet up on one end and vice versa. If I didn't do this the two pallets did not stay up at all - so it was still quite tentative.
As I was digging the hole to live in - I hit roots and had the typical reaction of not wanting to dig out the roots. Until I realized that that Native indigenous use of roots is as cordage! So suddenly I had the means to tie the pallets together at top - as the roots are quite strong when dry. So I made 7 ties of 7 roots - which then made the 2 pallets fairly stable.
But obviously a strong storm, and ageing of the roots - it's not gonna hold. Besides I needed some kind of "eave" over where the two pallets joined together - and I noticed this big stainless steel edge to a truck - like the mud step to get into the truck.
So this is how I like to operate - just go with the flow, use "found" parts on the fly - and McGyver it - as the t.v. featuring a supposed Minnesotan would do - and I put the metal long edge over the top of the two pallets.
Now to hold the metal in place - I had lots of clay but I knew it needed a binder as the clay would just get soft when wet. So I had all the biochar and reasoned - it should work as a binder. One - the black biochar would be great to hold heat. But also lime ash from wood ash is used to water proof "cement" so I figured it must have some wood ash to it and also biochar is extremely absorbant.
The liming capacity of biochars could be attributed to their CaCO 3 equivalent (Fig. 9.) and surface functional groups. hereSo with clay it should work to increase the water-proofing along with insulating - the clay would store heat and radiate it out. Sure enough Biochar is mixed with Clay as a "plaster"!
Then I realized the clay and biochar would also absorb the toxic glue that was used to create the "plywood" - that was really particle board. It just smelled like fresh cut wood to me - but doing the alchemy training requires fresh clean air. That is the great benefit of this forest land - the air is very sweet from the evergreens or the tamarck I mean - that is blooming now with soft needles.
O.K. so the biochar clay plaster as it dried got very strong! Now the A-frame seemed solid - but keep in mind that each end does not even line up - one each side - one side could just "fall" down if pushed hard enough. So then I reasoned that weight on the other side of the "free" side would help to hold it from falling - as the board on top would push it back into the ground. AGain to utilize tensegrity principles. So I added extra weight on the opposite sides of the A-frame against the opposite side of the lower level of the A-frame.
Then I used the biochar clay - I had to keep adding water from buckets or pitchers that I dipped into my water hole and soaked the clay and then broke the clay up into small pieces to smash the water into the clay. Then mix the clay into the biochar - again just like cooking - get an ideal mixture that is like bread dough.
Only now I was plastering the sides of the A-frame so didn't need as steep or heavy of a batch as on the top. The weight on the top then held the A-frame down, again using tensegrity - the weight worked against the two sides to drive them against each other. So this is definitely a "free standing" - shelter - as the code states something "fixed" to the ground is a structure that needs a permit. But also the structure has to be higher than 30 inches and yet this A-frame is only approximately 24 inches high. haha.
That's why I dug the trench - or coffin if you will - I call it a reverse Cot-Tent - instead of a cot above ground, it's a "cot" below ground. I didn't finish the digging as I then have two more plans. The new Hunter stove will be experimented with to see if my duct pipes that I bought can be "turned around" to the floor - to heat the floor and then go into the water hole. So I have to dig under the A-frame to a lower level to the water hole - to get the duct pipe through to the water hole. I'll seal the pipe in so the exhaust fumes don't come back into the A-frame.
And then on the other end - outside of the A-frame I am piling up the clay I dig out - into a wall outside the perimeter of the trench. This wall then will enable the trench to create enough space for me to stand up in. That's the plan - as then I will put the canvas tent on that open end only the tent will be elevated off the wall. So the tent will only need one end supported by the center pole. As that Army pup tent has 2 sets of poles in the center, made from 3 sections each, but the pole sections are not very stable. Only one set of 3 sections fits together well.
So this way the A-frame will support the Amy pup canvas tent on one end but the tent will angle down to the A-frame, from the higher up wall that will hole the other end of the tent with the pole. And the sides of the tent will go to the wall.
That way I'll have more room for the stove-heater duct pipes, as the stove heater is itself 16 inches tall. The trench is only about 16 inches deep.
Obviously it is difficult to visualize without photos - but up on the Apocalypse land I don't have a camera or phone. haha. It's just me and literally a million or a zillion mosquitoes.
At any moment literally 50 mosquitoes are biting me at once! So I made sure to wear two shirts - since these mosquitoes luckily are small - for some reason - maybe they're still juveniles. But most don't have the strength to puncture through the 2 shirts - and one its long sleeve.
Of course I was covered in mud - or clay I mean. Clay is not so "dirty" but definitely my face was covered in clay. So I washed my face at the gas station - as the watering hole was not as clean any more - it needed filtering. And that is what I saved the last big bin of biochar for and I stored it under my new A-frame. Biochar is quite heavy - and maybe it had just still had a lot of water in it from the rains we got. But we also got a lot of sun so I figured it should have dried out by now. But biochar as a filter will filter out the arsenic - if any - and there is likely some inorganic arsenic, as the first level of clay has it. Also the clay will get filtered out by the biochar.
So overall this is the smallest living space possible - literally a long trench just wide enough to sit in full lotus. Hopefully tall enough to stand up on one end. But it is much easier to heat that way using less wood and the Hunter stove is designed to use as little wood as possible with the cleanest burn as possible.
So I know from experience that the leaves I rake - we get tons of oak leaves - when I made an A-frame shelter before - I was able to maintain 50 degrees temperature in very cold weather - just by having 3 foot thick walls of leaves as insulation. So I plan to bring up the leaves from the yard.
So I call it a coffin as with the leaves, biochar and - pallets - the thing is a tinder box that will go up with a spark. But the fire will be on the other end - with just the canvas tent to contend with and the clay walls. Since the heat will emanate out of that end then hopefully I can keep the leaves away from that end. The clay mixed with the biochar should prevent the biochar from igniting too easily. The leaves will get added only after it cools down enough so the weather is not too hazardous.
Compost as leaves can self-ignite if the conditions are right - if enough heat builds up. And if someone did decide to light up my A-frame it would be the apocalypse for me - but maybe I could bust through the wall at the end into my water hole for quick relief. haha. So we are talking about 3 feet wide and about 10 feet long - as the A-frame with the tent. It's a very tiny space that will be heated. So I'll have 2 other tents for storage of things that don't require heating but will then have some - at least shelter from the snow. Although they will still be frozen, I can then defrost things in my little heated space.
Digging down only a few feet at most doesn't seem to make much difference but actually it felt dramatically cooler - when I sat down under the A-frame - as the Earth does maintain the 50 to 60 degrees. And so with super insulation it will help maintain that - I will then add the 2nd plexiglass on the south-west end of the A-frame - as a window that will get passive solar and also will be on top of the water hole plexiglass. I'll angle it to get better sun and then put the biochar clay around it.
So as I worked - half the time I was just trying to visualize what I was working with and if there was any hope of it working. I'm still not sure but that is the plan to go on so far. It seems crazy and it is but for yogi meditators - like Tibetans will "live in a box" for a few years - to force a meditation position of sleeping upright for a few years. Others will do cave meditation although the caves can be quite spacious. But never the less - meditating in a "hut" does not preclude a small A-frame hut aka trench in the ground.
The key is to maintain direct "contact" with the Earth so I need to make sure whatever material I use as a "floor" is conductive enough. So I will look into that. It needs to be firm but comfortable for sitting on. I like clay but it just covers the clothes - it's a great natural mosquito repellent - but it definitely seals in the crazy hermit look.
So to stave off the apocalypse - at least for me a bit - I need to add "trusses" underneath the A-frame just to make sure it doesn't collapse as easily. I kept tentatively testing its solidity and as the biochar-clay dried - the A-frame felt really solid. But obviously I was not "trying" to pull the thing down. I didn't want to ruin what I had done so far. So I have to make little trusses underneath - and maybe I can then hang stuff for drying, etc.
Actually our house went back on the market as we needed to do more repairs to the house. So who knows if I will ever move into the Apocalyptic A-frame at all! But I needed to get the biochar off our land here - for selling purposes - and now I have used a lot of it already! I just improvised today - as I like improvising. I also was a good food source for the bugs.
So the question I'm trying to answer is about the "double wall" insulated flue duct pipe I bought. Can I use that for the "rocket storage mass" or does it have to be single wall?
The answer so far is a 6 inch duct pipe has 4 times faster flow rate than a 3 inch duct pipe. So the Hunter stove has 3 inch and I bought 4 inch - and so that means it will flow slower with more friction - plus I am turning the pipe 180 degrees - but it is just traveling in a single path after that.
So maybe it will flow slow enough that enough heat will conduct through the double wall duct pipe. But maybe not.
Well I guess I'll find out when I "experiment' with the Hunter stove-heater here once it arrives - I'll build a "mock up" version, like I tried with the Survivor Rocket Stove (the problem with that is I didn't even realize that the Rocket Stove requires the bottom to be completely clear as the air comes in through the bottom. No wonder it didn't work! haha.).