Adapt & Prevail

Attention dumpster divers – we ran out of cardboard again. We’ve drained the Harbor Freight dumpster three times now along with the VFW in Laporte. Anyway – this time we put the sawmill on sliver mode and got it done.

Adapt and Overcome

Adapt and Overcome

Free Lifetime A/C – $40

FirstFrameWe’ve just they french-drain & vent/cooling tubes.  These tubes bring geo-thermally cooled fresh air to the back of the house.  Continue reading

Swingin’ in the Rain !

Tanner & the Sledge

Tanner & the Sledge

Over the past couple of weeks – we’ve got awesome progress. This video segment shows extreme Technologies – Watch a 7 year old swing a sledge hammer while a 27 year old resorts to power tools.
Both are AWESOME !
Many thanks to the volunteers for helping us turn a pile of tires and dirt into our new home.

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The 5 Minute Tire

Rob Berkman pounds a tire in about 5 min with a backfill tamper.

Rob Berkman pounds a tire in about 5 min with a backfill tamper.

This video shows us packing out our very first tire in about 5 minutes with a pneumatic backfill tamper:

  1. It is fast as you can shovel dirt;
  2. Not as tiring as the sledge hammer method.
  3. Sides were a little softer than hand pounding. Two sledge laps pound the tire to totally firm – about 20 hits – under 2 minutes of hand pounding.

In the background there is a 9 hp air compressor.  The compressor is big enough to drive about any air tool – concrete sprayer, jack hammer, insulation sprayer etc.  It was $1K at Harbor Freight, the tamper was $250 on ebay.

If you’ve never pounded a tire with a sledge hammer.  The sledges are about 8 lbs and it takes about 150-200 hits to properly firm a tire.  For most humans this many hits take about 10-30 minutes – and each tire is quite tiring.  Two strong people can pound 20-40 tires per day.  Most Earthships use 800+ tires.  This method brings that number to 150+ tires/day for a 2 person team.

Get organized or …

Lots going on!

Lots going on!

It’s a simple choice – get project organization system or book  a room at Happy Dale’s sanitarium.

It’s 4:00 a.m. – and after glancing briefly at the liquor cabinet – I thought – I’ve got way too much rambling around my head.

Yesterday ended with a review of facebook messages and wonderful volunteers – and experience made it VERY clear that there was just too much going on… Continue reading

Knocking $27K off my roof

Wanna see how I hope to knock $27K off my Earthship’s roof?

Can you glue straw to anything?

Can you glue straw to anything?

Regular Earthships use 2 layers of 4 inch Poly Iso Insulation, tongue and groove decking and metal roofing.  This method costs well over $8 per square foot in materials.

If my experiment works – this straw bale roof will perform about as well and cost about $3.50.  I built sample to evaluate if the model would sturdy enough to pass engineering muster, FYI – Crown Jade Engineering, really understands advanced building and my quest for economy.

This experiment started with a trip to Home Depot and the old feed store to see if I could bond planks to straw to metal roofing.

3D Model – Goes to work

Who would have thought a 3D model could save money?

I’ve noticed the model is helping me to:

  1. Catch mistakes
  2. Calculate Materials
  3. Communicate with the team about design issues.

I’m starting to think it may have been well worth the effort. This video illustraties how I think the evolving model will help to communicate the design and issues.

Rebuild Logic

Looking at the raw family budget started us on a road where we’re making a LOT of different kinds of decisions – even departing from the traditional way of thinking about Earthships.

Here’s the origin of the story of why our decisions & designs look may look strange…

Continue reading

Our Manatee Visitor

We’re in Key Largo FL – and we had a BIG manatee come to hang out with us.   She hung around for about an hour and seemed to enjoy or dinky little boat – or perhaps our family energy.  It was great!

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Excitement Aloft