Sunday, November 20, 2011

Winter will be kept outside this year

Our earthbag house is closed in just in time for winter. Roof is finished, windows are all in and the rocket mass heater is mostly constructed as well.  This winter we'll be able to get some interior work done.
Insulated heat riser
The cats enjoying the warmth of the first burn
I really do love rocket stoves. I burned this one for about three hours and ended up with about a cup full of ashes. For the burn I used the slats from about one and a half pallets. These things are just amazing. The exhaust coming out the exit was mostly steam and only warm, not hot. There was a faint smell of wood in the exhaust but not like smoke from any other fire. And the large amount of mass holds this heat for a very long time, releasing it slowly.

Now we are onto to some of many, many other projects. Mrs. Mud has started on building a bat house to be put up near the end of winter. This is going be be a huge help around the homestead. Summer here brings a lot of mosquitoes. I've described my problems with mosquitoes in a previous post.

We've also recently acquired a 7 week old golden retriever pup. So that meant putting a doggy door in to the porch for him, putting up a fence for a dog run and building a dog house. The dog house was actually pretty easy. We re-purposed one of the door forms from the earthbag structure. All the wood in this was originally salvaged from the dump. I'm not sure what purposes it served before I got hold of it, but this will the second thing it has done for me. It may even be part of another project before it ends up heating my butt in the rocket mass heater.

Friday, September 23, 2011

We just make shit up as we go

For everyone that has read and commented on my blog thank you. I appreciate that you have taken the time to do so. I've just been to damn busy or exhausted to respond. It's been a while since I blogged or even had time to read any of those that I enjoy. For a couple months I was working two full time jobs and trying to get work done on the domestead as well. I'm down to one job now and I get to work from home.  Can't beat that with a stick.

One of the cats has been very busy too. While nursing some kittens, she went and had six more. My plan was to wait until a couple of them were about size 11, then hollow them out to make some slippers. But overnight 5 of them disappeared. Could be coyotes, owls or foxes. There's more life than you might expect on the bald-assed prairie.

exit form for rocket mass heater
Plans have changed on the house once again. A few months ago we realized we would never have time to finish doming in the three we needed most (or even work at all on the other two) so we decided to roof them go for more of a castle shape. I'm glad I built a complete dome from dirt on the property a couple years ago or I would have to consider changing my internet name.

Standing bags between beams
roof will be embedded in bags
After the OSB plywood, I laid down a sticky roofing membrane then screwed tin on top of that. Then the final row of bags (laid flat) will lock everything together. And finally a few more bags to give that knobby-castle-thing look.

The rocket mass heater has finally been worked on as well. The temporary mock-up I built gave awesome results. So now the burn tunnel is mortared in place and ready to put the riser back on and get to the next steps. I was lucky to find a riser with a 7 inch inside diameter and 1/2 inch wall thickness.

And finally, to those dipshit Canadian delegates that walked out on some guys speech at the UN: You should be publicly ridiculed and humiliated, then fired for deriliction of duties and stripped of your citizenship. Assholes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My mosquito costume

OK, so it may be the best 15 bucks I've ever spent. A mosquito net jacket with full hood and face coverage. The arms and waistline have drawstrings to make sure nothing can get in. With this and a set of gloves, I'm invincible outside. I can't stand bug spray so this item is a welcome addition to my wardrobe. On the fashion side of the equation, it is a complete fail. It makes me look like some sort of Taliban Tranny ready to hit the stroll. But I don't care. There's no one for miles around to make fun of me anyway. And besides, the mosquitoes around here come in swarms and get get quite huge. Last summer two of them threw me to the ground while a third tried to fuck me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Back to Building

This year I'm paying more attention to tamping. Before I sure tamped the tops hard enough until the bags were like rock. I also whacked the sides with a piece of 2x4, but didn't do that part as good as I could have. It makes a big difference when it comes time to do the plastering. A smooth, even wall is a much faster-plaster-blaster experience. Takes a lot less, which means fewer mixes need to made up just to make things even.
This years bags will have a much flatter vertical edge
By the way, tamping can be exhausting after a lot of lifting earthen mix. I can only leave it so long too, or the mix in the bags starts to dry out and then it would be too late to get good compaction. I usually tamp after laying about four bags. If you can trick some poor sucker into doing the tamping for you, it would be well worth whatever blemish you end up with on your conscience.

Shown below are pictures of how we close our bags. I fold the top like and envelope, sides first, then ends. They are pinned shut with a nail.

Shown under the bag is the slider I use most often. It was once a door on the side of a grader. It's quite sturdy and I got it for free. The place I work at has a mountain of things torn off of heavy equipment. There's enough stuff there to rebuild civilization. Granted, everything would be yellow and black and with the Caterpillar logo all over the place.

It sure is good to back working on our domes. We have such a short building season and I've been itching to get back at it. We laid about fifty bags last weekend and are off to a good start this year.

Doorway between living room and bedroom. My shop in the background.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Cost of Weasels

So I posted this on my facebook page:

The government tells us inflation was 3%. WTF? Do any these of these assholes buy sugar, flour, or fuel? Or is it that the only thing that went up 3% was the cost of sucking off some corporate weasel?

And my wife posted this reply:

Oh my God, are you kidding? Fuck. I totally would have sucked off more weasels had I known the price was going up. At least taking it up the ass is still free.

All I can say is my old lady is the smartest, funniest, hottest babe this side of anyfuckingwhere.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Not now honey, the game is on.

As much as politicians like to think they are so important, they are not and no one gives a shit. We have some pretty serious voter apathy in this country. Can't blame us, there is no one to vote for. The leaders of all our parties make me cringe. I feel like I'm being asked to choose between a cracked skull or a punch in the balls. On the national propaganda airwaves (CBC) this morning they said that all the leaders of the political parties agreed to change the time of one of the debates because of a conflict. What could be more important than hearing what the leaders have to say about what they would do if given the most powerful position in the country? Get this, it conflicts with a first round playoff hockey game. Well, give the people what they want I guess.  I feel much better knowing that if China-mart has a sale on the same day as the election, the election will probably just be rescheduled. People do love to get tons of poor quality junk they don't need. More people go to China-mart than watch hockey, so here is my free advice to the leader-losers we have in this country. Check with ALL the big private corporations before scheduling your meaningless, annoying, time and money wasting election if you want anybody to show up.

Actually, if we had no government at all, people wouldn't even realize it for quite some time. After a while you might start hearing things like "Hey, have you noticed things seem a lot less fucked up lately?"

I certainly don't buy into this argument that if I don't vote I have no right to complain. Bullshit, I've read our constitution and it doesn't mention that. Nor is there any law, statute or regulation that says so. I'm guaranteed freedom of conscience and expression. Now if all our asshole politicians started reading, understanding and obeying the Canadian Constitution and The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that would be one hell of a good start. It may even be enough to convince me to take 20 minutes out of my day every fours years to go down the street and vote.

But as it is now,  I certainly don't give a shit who votes or who wins. Spring is here and my focus is on gardening, earthbag building and increasing my self sufficiency skills.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Two Bucket Gardens

We get our buckets for free from bakeries. They come in different sizes, but most are 4 or 4-1/2 gallons and all have lids. Bakeries are a great source because you know that the buckets are food grade. Best of all, they are free. There are some things that it's important to have plenty of because of the myriad of uses. Duct tape is one of these. I now believe that free bakery buckets is another. We've used several already for storing preps like grains, beans and even candles and matches. They also hold a variety of other things we always need held around the domestead.

Well shucks, if there ain't just another way cool use for these darned things. A two bucket system for container gardening. Check out this site

I won't go into too many details because the kids on this site lay it all out very well. That's right, I said kids. Shortish people that you usually find going blind in front a video game console or texting each other across the room. These young people actually put a lot of effort into showing the rest of us how to make a very effective but simple garden bucket. This weekend we made five of them in under 2 hours. Ours are slightly different because of materials on hand, but basically the same.

Water is always an issue here because we only get about 11 inches of rainfall per year. Our well water is too salty for using very much on gardens. So water conservation practices are an important issue for us. If you could get blood from a stone, these hot prairie winds would dry that sucker out in about half an hour. So we are looking forward to trying these buckets with a few different crops this year including pumpkins, peppers and goji berries.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Can you think of a reason NOT to prep?

I urge everyone to prep. Sometimes only once or twice though. Some folks seem to get amusement out of calling me paranoid. You can't argue with them. If they refuse to acknowledge the need to have some preparations in place then they are delusional.

It's not like we can't all see the warnings. Shit, even the mainstream media is even reporting things are not good. Inflation, corporate fraud, political crimes, homelesness, unemployment, natural and man made disasters, blah, blah blah. Oh yeah and war. Everybody was pretty bored with the 8 year old ones, so time to start another.

Prep everybody. Prep like your life depended on it. Prep like a motherfucker. Who knows, perhaps everything will be rainbows and unicorns will fly around farting glitter. If I'm wrong then feel free to call me a dipshit and drop off all that useless prep stuff you collected at my place. (Just call ahead and I'll remove the spike belt.)

Monday, March 7, 2011

All Aboard?

Got a dream? Got a partner? If you have both, you may have a problem. That is unless your partner shares your dream or at least fully supports it. The bigger your dream is, the more important this is. The size of your partner doesn't really have anything to do with this. If your dream is something like riding a horse one time then you can probably fit that in without causing your significant other any grief.

But if your goals, dreams are long term, lifestyle type things then you have two choices. First, get a new dream. Or, second, get a new partner.

I'm fortunate enough that the goals I have are shared by my wife. She and I have developed goals that fit both our interests. And it's a damned good thing too. Going off grid, living in the middle of nowhere in a frozen wasteland building a house made out of dirt isn't something a lot of people itch for. For all I know we may be the only two.

My lovely wife taking a much deserved break

We've moved many, many, many tons of earth in 5 gal. buckets

Recently we were kind of hitting a wall with the design of one of our rocket stoves. We were both frustrated. But since the project is important to both of us, we just worked through it until we arrived at a solution we are both happy with. No bloodshed, no torn larynx, just arriving there together.

Got convergence?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Earthbag domes calling to me

Soon (but not soon enough) I'll be able to get back outside and get some work done around the domestead. It's been a long winter. They always seem long, but usually there are breaks when I can do things outside. Not so much this year. About all I can do with my domes right now is post a few pictures I was looking through. The first one is the first earthen dome my wife and I built. It is shown without the plaster so you can see the tubes we used. It was a fun project and we learned a lot. This dome was built as a sauna. Heated with a large 'pocket rocket' it gets very warm in a short time.

So then it was time to tackle something a little more challenging. Yeah, just a little. We decided on five larger domes connected with arched doorways. Completely off grid too. "Oh, and lets do a ton of permaculture landscaping while we're at it" we decided. Installing solar panels, batteries, doing our own plumbing at the same time we plant 300 trees and bushes that are ordered shouldn't get in the way of the 1500 earthbags we still need to place. Gardening all the while. Good thing there's two of us. Perhaps going over the deep end will be a blessing and we won't even notice the inevitable exhaustion that's sure to come this summer. Here's a few pics of the domes during various stages during the build last summer/fall.


I'm very happy with the way the arches have turned out. I was a little nervous pulling out the form for the first one, but everything remained rock solid. I've even added more layers of bags above and tamped (pounded) them and still no shift whatsoever. Guess maybe those ancient types knew a thing or two after all.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cold frames on a cold day

I'm so anxious to get back outside and do some work around the domestead. There are still about 1500 bags to fill with earth to finish off the new home. Rocket stoves to build, wiring and plumbing to do all will take a considerable amount of time too. But right now it's still too bloody cold out. We have a long weekend and it's still -30 outside. It's not like we don't go outside at all in this kind of weather, but you can only do so much. We did go out for a couple hours to plan some landscaping, measuring out where trees and bushes will be planted. Also have to take the humanure out to the compost bins every couple days no matter what. So for indoor work this weekend I made a couple cold frames for starting seeds and some 'scabs' for the dome windows. All the materials I used were either scraps from previous projects or things I have scavenged and saved from the landfill.

The scabs are embedded in the walls between layers of earthbags. The purpose of them is to place a chunk of wood in the wall so you can screw or nail something to it after the wall is complete. The ones I made this weekend will give me a place to affix the header boards for the windows. The 2x4's are cut-offs from a previous project. The slats are cut from pallets that were headed to the dump. I beveled the 2x4's with a good whack on a chisel. This allows the bags to lay nicer on the wood, without leaving a gap or the sharp edges of the wood puncturing the bag. At first I was thinking of doing this bevel with my ancient table saw but then a little voice said "Fuck that, you don't want to spend the rest of the day at the hospital".

Having kept my fingers from the previous project I got started on the cold frames. Again, the wood was scraps from previous projects. Even the screws had a previous life holding together the temporary frames for the arches in the earthbag walls. For the first one, the glass and frame was from a picture that a friend had displayed at a trade show. It would have ended up in the dumpster after the show. The glass for the second one (no pictures, not complete yet) was found under the stairs in the farm house we bought a few years ago.

The rest of the weekend has been spent polishing my trophy wife.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cherry scented decline

So this morning the wife says something like "Happy-Bullshit-Spend-Some-Money-On-Hallmark-Day". God, I love that woman. We're the same when it comes to Christmas. If we want something or want to get each other something we can do just that on any ol' day. We love each other the whole year round, and don't feel the need to prove it on days that the corporations have specified.

This weekend I needed to pick up some windshield wiper fluid. I just could not believe my eyes. They actually had 'Cherry Scented'. WTF? Next thing you know, you'll be able to buy cinnamon flavoured tires for the car. I swear, the people running the corporations must have achieved so much success already that they just spend most of their days getting drunk and smoking crack. Or maybe they have so much money that they've decided to try a little experiment called 'what would happen if we just let retards run things?'

There is no doubt in my mind that we are already in decline. As our governments go broke, they restrict our freedoms. As corporations, structured around ever increasing profits don't get them, they become even more clever and agressive with the trickery and pressure tactics. And bankers, well these assholes can pretty much get away with murder because so few people are willing to understand how they even operate.

Anyway, enough of reading my blather. If you have someone in your life you love, you'd better get out there and spend a good size sum on proving it. There's only a few hours left.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review of

I'm putting up this review of M.D. Creekmore's Survival Blog for a few reasons. I really like this site, and the most important reason is the content.

There are a plethora of articles that relate to prepping, frugal living, survivalism and so much more. The title at the top of the site's page sums it up quite nicely, "Live Better, Live Cheaper.....Survive When Things Get Tough". We live in times when this type of information can mean the difference between comfort or misery, perhaps even life or death. Guest posts also appear on the site sometimes, giving an even broader range of ideas and experiences than just one person could offer. I was fortunate enough to be able to provide one myself a while back.

Another reason is that I would very much love to win the prize being offered. It's an awesome hand made knife. M.D. Creekmore, the site's creator has offered prizes in the past too. Not everybody does that. Contests for free and useful stuff always create a bit of excitement.

Creekmore has a way of presenting that is a down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach. The site itself is also easy to read. I can't stand sites with graphics behind the text or colors and patterns that try to trigger an epileptic seizure. Creekmore's site has a good font, with appropriate spacing. There are several ads, but they are placed in a way that doesn't interfere with reading the posts.

Due to the large following of the blog, there are often many comments and some interesting conversations develop in the comments section.
For anyone interested in self-sufficiency or being prepared in case of some sort of crisis event, this site is a great resource. Whether you are just starting out with prepping or have been at it for a long time, you are sure to find useful information at

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Consent to be governed

Some things I have noticed "they" want from us since I started paying attention:
Be educated - but not informed or intelligent
Be patriotic   - but not a patriot
Make money - but do not learn how it is created

I've spent some time lately learning about the freeman movement. It's all about living free, casting off the shackles of our government. It has taken quite a bit of research, learning legal defintiions of common words (think you know what a 'person' is?). Knowing intimately how the system works is required in order to abandon it. Our legal system is a tricky fucker. Even most cops don't know the difference between 'drive' and 'travel'. 'Driving' is a paid for commercial activity. To 'travel' (within Canada) is a right guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. How come you have to re-register your vehicle every year? If these assholes can't keep records straight for longer than a year than what makes them worthy of being involved in the important stuff. (Like helping utility companies and other resource rapers expropriate our private property?) Well, it's just a tax grab, pure and simple. Revenue.

I watched a Rob Menard video on this issue and he asked, "OK so you have a driver's license. Did you read the Motor Vehicle Act first?" My answer was the same as everybody else's. "No. I was 16 and just wanted to get laid." I've paid taxes without reading the Income Tax Act. I've purchased permits without reading the legislation behind it. Registered my kids for birth certificates without understanding what was really going on. We aren't serfs because they conquered us. We willingly give them what they ask for.

Well now I am reading all this stuff. Tricky, tricky fuckers. I no longer wish to support a system I find abhorrent. The government extorts our money to casually give billions to corporations that use it to fuck us over again.

So piece by piece, I am withdrawing my consent to be governed.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Will you shop for me?

I avoid malls and shopping centres like the plague. I can't stand going there for any reason any time of the year. Now that I live in the middle of nowhere I don't get to one very often at all. Suits me just fine. However, this year I found myself in a city visiting a relative over the holidays. On boxing day we were leaving town when I decided to go to the store to pick up some stovepipe I need for my rocket mass heater. I don't get to town very often so a nose dive into consumer hell was necessary.

You'd think (silly me does anyway) that the stores would be empty. After all, didn't everybody just get everything they had pressured their loved ones into getting for them? Don't they have all year to get all the junk they don't need (or even want)? Seems like a really piss-poor way to spend a day off. Searching for that one last spot on a horizon to horizon parking lot. Zombies shuffling around in circles desperate to find that one piece of plastic Chinese shit that will complete them. Mixed amongst the herd are the frantic bargain hunters. The neediness on their panicked faces is sad, pathetic. There are no good boxing day sales anymore anyways. The current economy won't allow it. Everyone has cut everything as far as they can in a vain attempt to keep this bullshit 'consume it all' game going a little longer.

I do a lot of my shopping at the local waste transfer site. Recently I scored a really good bike, tools, motors, wheelbarrow, and electronics. Yesterday I picked up a grinder and eight lengths of 2"x10" wood. Who the hell throws away perfectly good wood like that when living on the bald-assed prairie? Sure, the shit grows on trees, but there ain't no trees for hundreds of miles. Whatever. Can't beat 'em and sure as hell ain't gonna join 'em. As they throw out perfectly good items to make room for things they will throw out next year (or sooner), I scoop up many items that are useful for free. There are a lot of projects on the old domestead and I am glad to not have to purchase everything I need.
So, thank you all you mindless consumers, spending, buying, tossing your way to an elusive feel-good-about-yourself place. Without you my excursions to the dump would be nothing more than a stroll through used kitty litter.