Work on the house and other happenings

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!

This entry was posted in 田舎暮らし, The Garden, 古民家 and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Work on the house and other happenings

  1. kenelwood says:

    Wow! Brodo, looks like you’ve been really busy there. O-tsu,ka,re. Too bad about the allergies. I recommend not taking the clinic medicine here. 8 years ago I took some and got mild Beau’s lines across my finger nails. Anyway, every year since I’ve rejected drugs and now I’m actually allergic to nothing, not even the sugi trees. Adaptation as a birdie to the F#cked up environment we now live in. Just look at the Allergy Business in Japan, Insanity! Where’s the outrage?

    You should back-fill some True Comfrey roots around your Humanure Compost Bin. Any of the nutrients lost deep into the ground will be sucked right back up into the comfrey leaves, and in turn you can use them as liquid fertilizer or insecticide or mulch or medicine. Don’t let your shit get away! Lemme know on the Comfrey, I’ve got more than you could shake a stick at.



    • brodoland says:

      Hey Ken, yeah the Comfrey sounds interesting. Is it something I can get easily in Japan? On another note I am rereading Fukuoka Masanobu’s One Straw Revolution. That is really helping me bring everything I am doing back into perspective. I hadn’t read it in some years. Think I might try broadcasting barley and white clover into the field this coming september/october, right around Kabosu harvest.


      • kenelwood says:

        Hi Brodo, Comfrey is interesting, although I’ve never seen Comfrey seeds for sale here, including on the internet. Google コンフリー. But sometimes I do see pictures of Comfrey on Japanese blogs and herb websites, so I wonder where they got theirs. Anyway, the Comfrey here was established 14-15 years ago. And so rooted than it grows to a height of almost a meter. I can chop it back to nothing two times a season! (and use its leaves).

        JohnE lent me One Straw 5 years ago. I Read it, got inspired, and sent it back.



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