It never seems to end. The more work I do the more work I uncover that needs to be done. We still have no Kitchen, no bath, and no hot water. And the rainy season is approaching and I am a little concerned about the roof.
To top it off I am experiencing allergies, and the medicine they give you for that here leaves much to be desired. I can barely breath, and that is really putting a damper on progress. But there is still progress.
1. Rocket Stoves, Rocket Stoves! I have been really looking hard at rocket stoves lately. I plan to incorporate a modified rocket-stove-kamado along with the brick oven. I did a mockup of the stove with loose stacked bricks to test it out. It worked OK but smoked more than I thought it would. These things are supposed to burn with very little smoke. The smoke was far less once the combustion chamber got hot, but that took a few minutes. I think in a fully built and insulated stove the performance would be much better but I am thinking I might try it with thinner bricks (i.e. less thermal mass).
2. Structural Repairs: A couple of weeks ago we actually had a real live carpenter in for a couple days to help us replace rotted or insect damaged structural members. It was a big job. We replaced the dodai along one whole side of the house, and raised it off the ground by about 30 centimeters. We used jacks to lift each post where the beam intersects and set the post back down on stones that I found around the place. I am told they were millstones for making Miso. Then I filled the new 30cm gap between the ground and the dodai with large cut stones that I also found laying out by the barn (glad the former owner was a stone cutter). I was going to use CMU block but the stone looks so much better!
In the Chashitsu, we replaced 6 meters worth of termite eaten main floor beam, and added another large post and tied it into the existing post since the existing post was pretty well eaten up to and we were concerned it wouldn’t hold in an earthquake.
3. The Humanure Compost Bin: I spent all of 20 minutes making this bin out of old doors and other wood that came from the house. Even the tarp was one I found in the field next to our house. I have been trying to reuse materials where ever possible. All the scrap wood from the house is being used to build other things (like our firewood rack, or the compost bin), or it’s cut for firewood, or if it’s already somewhat decomposed it’s going in the garden to build a hugelkultur bed.
Anyway, we dumped the first two buckets of “produce” into the bin once we had liberally lined it all with straw. Then covered it with another layer of straw. Buckets were cleaned and placed back in the toilet room to collect some more!