Well today was FUN, we picked up the track hoe,;(again I am amazed that there is such a thing) and after seeing the full sized back hoe up close I defiantly think the track hoe is the better option for us. I was very happy when we picked it up that the hitch held, which I was worried about it. As we left the young man who got us hooked up (literally)

However as you can see when we got very close to home the tire..

...didn't last. Well I called the person about it, and he came out quickly with a replacement. Within 20 minutes and considering where we were sitting that was fast. He even made a joke, as he used the track hoe to lift the trailer. “It comes with it's own jack”, cute joke especially while we were pissed off at the loss of the time.

So we drove it home, the dirt road was so much -fun-; we had no traction and we had to go at about 15 miles an hour to go up the first hill. We had to “get off to the side” twice on the way to the house on the dirt road as no one would yield for us.

So the first order of business when we got home was, COFFEE! For Silver anyway, (btw pics will now be tossed in at random)I set up a new pot of coffee and put cookies in the oven for a warm treat. While he “figured out” how to start it. While he has used heavy equipment before this was a different model than he was use too using. Of course our dogs were not happy with this new loud scary looking device and only stopped barking once Silver stopped using it at about 4pm.

After he figured out how it worked he started on digging the pond out for our fishies to go in. I am also going to grow the edible water lilies and cat tails for food production. We are also considering either ducks or geese to keep in the pond, mainly to keep the algae down. If we get pairs then we can butcher the extras.

So we have a short area for the little fishies and the cat tails to grow in. Then a deeper area for catfish and full grown other fish. We are considering Tilapia. I think the deep part is at least 6 foot deep maybe deeper, hard to tell until the extra dirt is “ground down” and we can tell the “actual” ground line. After we finished it off and worked on a few other projects we discovered something that may be very good news. We may have a spring under where we dug for the pond. I will know more tomorrow after it has sat overnight.

When we finished working the pond Silver went out and dug a septic for the dome out past our tree line. The only problem we had there is he was hitting something too hard for the track hoe to cut through after about 3 foot down. So he had to opt for a wider septic than a deep one, which we would have preferred. Once he finished that he dug the trench for it all the way into the area we have cleared for the house.

The next item we did was “unpleasant”, but necessary. We needed to dig out some more on our current septic. No I did not take pictures of it, I didn't want to take pictures of it shudders it's disgusting.

After that Silver went and turned the garbage pile of things we cannot burn or are already burned and is just the garbage ash. The thing that surprised me was that it seems some of the things “out there” are decomposing. Now before anyone rips my head off. Please recall the post where I commented on the fact that while I really want to be “green” I know in some things it not possible. Garbage, is one of those “things” I burn my trash, then I dispose of the ash and the “unburnables” in a pile that will not if it ever composes down be used for food crops. However, I will be happy to grow flowers over them.

That is all we have managed to do today, tomorrow we dig the trenches for the well and the electric. Then Silver will have to find things to do with it.... I am sure he will figure something out, one thing he wants to do is remove that engine block that was here when we moved in.

I am baking some sourdough brownies right now, and tomorrow morning is a bread/laundry day. Have a happy weekend everyone!

Be Well, Be Safe, and Blessed Be...

Cob stove and oven

7/14/2011 05:45:50


Now I mentioned in my previous post about this cook stove that Silver made for us last year.  Now it was very easy to make.  It has metal from what Silver said was a commercial stove that was left on our property and we discovered it when we moved here.  He took the metal squares from the base and took the legs off which were later used to hold pots over the fire.  The metals squares though were filled with large rock then gravel.  The other piece of metal is that back piece, which was also in the original base.

The next thing Silver did was put two standard cinder blocks on the rock/gravel filled base and then filled them with again rocks first then gravel till full.  Now I want to say you SHOULD let them sit a day or 2 to let the stones and gravel settle.  Otherwise they will get hollow spots in them.  Then Silver put the flat cinder blocks on top of the standard ones, just offset enough for the leg "grate" to go across.  Now that back piece of metal is held in place with a cinder block that is filled with concrete that we found on site with a rock on top.  There was also a broken flat cinder in back to cover and uncover holes on that metal based on how hot you want the fire.

Now here is the only main problem, once you heat the cinder blocks and they get wet.  You CANNOT remove them or they will crack and/or break.  While this can be built in lass than an hour with all the materials like I said take  the time to let it settle the gravel before finishing it off.

Now like I said we are going to do a cob oven and stove, and we aren't quite going to be doing the "standard" way of doing it.  Now I wanted to embed this but I have yet to find the way too so here is a link to the "type" of cob oven we want to make.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lGTGUo6tyQ&feature=channel_video_title
Now in case you were wondering why I am showing you a spot of "dirt" (it's actually clay).  Well this is where we are going to build the stove and oven.  This is the clay from our root cellar dig out (which we are still doing).  After we filled in some "wet spots" on our property where we walk we just had the kids pile it here.  Silver went out and hoed it down then raked and hoed it flat on one side.  Then "tamped" it down a little to make it very flat.  This will be our starting stop for both the stove and oven.  The plan is to have a space between to hold wood for both.  Now the stove will be redone in a more "rocket stove" manner with the outside covered in cob to help keep the heat in while we cook.

This of course is the metal base from our first wood cook stove.  Boy, did we have fun when we took the old one apart.  Seems the local wasps had built a nest in one of the cinder blocks.  It was pretty big too.

Now I'd like to point out that it's 2 pieces of metal in squares measuring a piece 2ftX24inX2in.    So they aren't really all that big, but together they work well.  Silver of course had to level it to make sure it was perfect.  

Isn't that a pretty level it's a 6ft level that we only spent $14 on it at Harbor Freight Tools.  Silver took me to their stores a few times and I was pleasantly surprised by them.  I had never even heard of them until Silver told me about them.  Anyway, I personally think a 6ft level is a very good tool for any homesteader whether you are "urban" or not.

Now a few things have been done here.  First Silver took the broken flat cinders (yep all the old ones broke like I mentioned above)  and placed 4 pieces in the 4 corners of the metal to hold it in place.  Then he put in rock and then filled with gravel.  It has been sitting for 3 days now, partly due to the fact that it was raining yesterday.

We also had (at first) the kids put those rocks along the front, for decoration mostly.  Silver went back through and  straightened it a bit, and added more. He's good at eyeballing pieces that fit together.

Then he went and put gravel all along the flat surface that we are going to build on.  Now the plan is to spread some concrete dust over it and let it dry in place hardening it to prevent "wash out".  the hope is also that the gravel pieces will make little channels for water to go through.    Silver thinks it will be pretty as well.

That is what we have so far, we need to do the concrete on it before we do anything else and for the cook stove we need to get some more cinder blocks.  Silver wants to use earthbags for the base of the oven, we'll see what we can manage.  Well at least the "platform" isn't the only thing we need to concrete.  We also need to do the stairs into our home as it's just wood holding gravel.  We've had to re-make those steps twice now so we REALLY  need to get the concrete in it.

I'll update this as we go along.

Be Well, Be Safe and Blessed Be...