20071130

Hot Damn


Hot Damn
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I was really amazed to see how hot the Mercedes heat exchanger was getting from my trip today. At one point while driving around Albuquerque I measured this temperature of 171.5. This is just before the heated filter which ties into the cars injection pump.

Albertsons - "It's Your Store"

Once I dropped off Wendy at the airport in Albuquerque I went over to Trader Joes to pickup some groceries. Unfortunately Trader Joes does not open until 9am. I decided to look around for other sources of grease and found a large Albertsons grease bin nearby. I managed to pickup about 5 gallons. Just enough for the return trip home on grease.

The Greasy Journey


The Greasy Journey
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I left before sunrise to get her to the airport this morning. We took the Mercedes for its first voyage onto the interstate in grease mode. It did amazing. Here you can see the grease in the fuel tank was reaching 150F before even moving toward the engine.

20071129

Green Means Grease


Green Means Grease
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I took my first grease fueled ride in our Mercedes today. Removing a leaky hacked together temp sensor from frybrid kit was the fix. It is running great and I am taking Wendy to Albuquerque tomorrow on grease.

Grease Patrol


Grease Patrol
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I had a successful day of grease gathering recently. We managed to pickup about 10 gallons of good grease from restaurant grease traps for our Mercedes.

Have a Pink and Foofy Xmas

Today I stopped into Dust and Glitter, a killer vintage clothing store in town, to see this foofy xmas tree made by the store's owner Susan. Various ruffle slips and undergarments are topped off with a vintage doll in similarly girly attire. Too good dont ya think? She was pretty happy about doing all her holiday decor from reuse.

Fireside seating

I've been wanting to make this for ages. Its 4 inch foam with a vintage wool rug top and reused shade cloth bottom and sides. Its for comfy seating by the firepit. I had to hand sew everything but the wool stars I added on... Whew! But it was well worth it. Making a couch from scratch is now seeming possible.

20071127

Dome Home Metal CAD


Dome Home Metal CAD
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I spent some time drawing out a scale model of our first 380 square foot guest room dome. Once I knew the dimensions I calculated the costs of the metal we use. It is impressive to see just how little the metal will cost. Even though the bulk of the structure is metal, there are other costs.

Total Rebar 221 sticks @ 4.19 each = $926
Total Welded Wire Mesh @ $90 each = $315
Total Expanded Metal Lath @ $3.80 each = $844
Total Metal = $2085
($5.50 per square foot)

Double Scaffolding


Double Scaffolding
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I spent some time stack our borrowed scaffolding two high. It eventually went together with some bangin' and drilling'. Now we can mount the solar racks.

Nice Fence


Nice Fence
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
The papercrete fence down the street that Antonio built is looking super with its new brown stucco coat.

20071126

Chinois Strainer Light


Chinois Strainer Light
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I quickly replaced a nasty light fixture in our bathroom with a chinois strainer which she had been hanging onto for nearly a year.

Fire Police


Fire Police
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
What drum circle around a fire would be complete without a visit from the local cops. Yes, we had a noise complaint last night and the police promptly arrived at 7:20pm to ask us to keep it down.

Coleman Camping Stove Bath Cabinet

For the next issue of Craft magazine I wrote about my friend Andrew
Martinez and his Coleman camping stove conversion. He turned one old
stove he found at Goodwill into a bathroom cabinet with masonite
shelves that he added inside. How genius!? Did you catch the airport
wire loop, yeah that's the towel holder. You can read about the
conversion at length in the next issue of Craft Magazine in my column
called Re: Fitted where I cover innovative folks working creatively
with reuse.

Campy Sci-Fi Horror with Aliens

Last night a new T or C resident named Tobias shot a scene for a film he is making, a campy sci-fi horror movie called Andrombulance. We provided the fire, my friend Phoenix was the fire dancer and Tobias casted a beautiful traditional indian dancer who also lives in town. Oh yeah, and he brought the aliens. Mikey brought out one of his fire toys, a bunch of electronics and a sensor that when activated shoots a fire ball into the sky through a decorative metal post. You can play it like an instrument once you have a feel for it. I'm happy to report Phoenix is now offering weekly fire spinning classes in town. It was a very sweet and playful night and I'm happy that my fire pit is a beacon for those who love fire.

20071124

Tree Stump Seats


Tree Stump Seats
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Little Joe went cut a thick log in to two stump seats for our fire pit.

Parking Stop in Place


Parking Stop in Place
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
After cutting down our random telephone pole it was quickly transformed into a parking stop to prevent anyone from driving in to our papercrete fence.

Telephone Pole Parking Stop


Telephone Pole Parking Stop
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Little Joe stopped by today with a good deal of wood for a fire we are having tomorrow night. Since he had his chainsaw out Wendy asked him to cut down a telephone pole on our property.

20071123

Dome Home Sketch


Dome Home Sketch
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy sketched this beautiful sci-fi dome dwelling to help me with
the CAD work.

Dome Home


Dome Home
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I started drawing up the dome home dimensions today. This is a profile showing the shape and dimensions for our first guest room. This dome will offer 4x the square footage of our battery room, other than that it will be quite similar.

Wendy's Rye


Wendy's Rye
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
The rye seed that Wendy planted last week has started to sprout up. Her plan is to grow tall rye which will help the soil repair itself and overtake the weeds.

Raw Fridge


Raw Fridge
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy demanded that I take a picture of this refridgerator belonging to two raw foodists. It is pretty cook to just have a fridge fill of nuts and vegetables.

20071122

Turkey Free


Turkey Free
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We had a great thanksgiving meal this year. Mostly raw food with a very impressive chocolate pudding made from Avocado.

Coffee T or C, Sketching, Holiday Break

Looks like we're on holiday, all building creativity is temporarily rerouted. I spent this morning's caffeine buzz at the local shop - Coffee T or C - where I enjoyed a live band, dancing caffeinated locals and my sketchbook.

20071121

Spinach Quiche


Spinach Quiche
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy spent the day making two excellent quiche's for Thanksgiving
tomorrow. I am a big fan of this vegan spinach quiche. It goes quite
well with apple slices coated in a thin layer of blue agave, shredded
asiago cheese with some drizzled balsalmic vinegar.

All the Kings Horses


All the Kings Horses
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Here is the story of Humpty Dumpty. We began installation of a frybrid grease kit five days ago. After thirty hours of labor the kit is installed and the car now has a parallel fuel system. We have the electronics hooked up and more or less working correctly. I can switch back and forth from veg to diesel and send the fuel back to the respective tanks. However, our coolant system needs work to move the fluid faster and throughout the entire vehicle. This is what the reassembled car looks like with all the furniture back in place.

Cool It


Cool It
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Gary and I spent some time trying to prime the coolant lines last night and this morning. Sadly it looks as though I will need to find a 5/8" 12V coolant pump to assist us in this endeavor. Time to do some more research.

Electronic


Electronic
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We ended up mounting the grease computer under the drivers side dashboard. The frybrid grease computer has two significant roles.

1. It detects the temperature of the return coolant and allows us to switch into veg mode when the coolant is near 180F.

2. It times the purge cycle and tells us when we can stop flushing the fuel lines with diesel as to remove all the grease in the system and prevent clogging.

Location, Location, Location


Location, Location, Location
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
You can see the final placement of the components on my Mercedes 300D turbo diesel. We have almost all the grease valves, hoses, filters, and heat exchanges on the drivers side under the hood. We only had to fabricate two custom pieces of steel for mount plates. One for the Bosch filter and another for the tee's that break out the HIH (Hose in Hose) coolant and fuel lines. Both custom steel mounts were attached to the drivers side front wheel well.

20071120

Vern's Got Gig

While Mikey was out working on the Mercedes veg oil conversion today
I wandered about town on foot and stopped by what I had observed to be a permanent garage sale at Vern's house on my way to the post office. Further inspection revealed that what began for Vern as a garage sale - to get the $ to move out of T or C - became a FT business selling assorted junk. His home has been converted into a thrift shop of sorts. The intention to move has faded. The best part was the tour was in areas where things are not for sale. There I saw Vern's massive cassette tape collection, home made instruments (which were really impressive!) and VHS tapes of himself performing on various streets in American cities using instruments he made. My favorite tape sported Vern in a full santa suit playing a modified kazoo with a happy man in similar attire accompanying him on an instrument I'd never seen before. Everything in the land of Vern had an unnecessary layer of bright paint, a glob of glitter, or a crystal glued to it. I left Vern's house feeling good. I treasure the gleaner, especially one like Vern who can demonstrate a world within this world that I may not ever have noticed. I think I'll go clear out my shed and donate all my garage sale junk to him so he never runs out of stuff to sell and remains my neighbor a while longer.

20071118

Trunk Done


Trunk Done
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
The coolant hoses, fuel lines, electrical, and fuel gauge bobber are all installed in the trunk. Now we just need to screw the feet of the tank down to the car chassis.

Fuel Lines


Fuel Lines
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I managed to get another six hours in on the grease conversion today. Bringing the total hours to 14. Gary and I routed and placed most of the fuel lines. We still have more to add. The work would have gone much farther if Frybrid I included several 3/8" to 5/16" hose barbs. Along with 5/8" to 3/4" tee's.

Frybrid Tank Heater


Frybrid Tank Heater
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This is Gary holding the heater core for our 21 gallon grease tank. Gary also wanted to see if there was any difference in which fuel line we used. It does not matter which line is send or return from the tanks perspective.

20071117

Hose in Hose


Hose in Hose
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Probably one of the most confusing hurdle to get passed with the frybrid kit is running the fuel line in a coolant hose. Wendy is seen here pushing a 1/4" aluminum hose into a 3/4" rubber coolant hose.

Portable Metal Fab


Portable Metal Fab
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I was cutting, grinding, and welding on the tail gate of my truck during the grease work. It actually worked out pretty well.

Tee Shelf


Tee Shelf
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Our grease conversion required some custom made metal components. I welded 18 gauge sheet metal (leftovers from our gate) to make a little shelf for our Tee's. These metal Tee's separate the HIH (Hose in Hose) Frybrid coolant lines

20071116

Backseat Driller


Backseat Driller
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Gary ended ip using a large drill bit maybe 5/8ths and then a very large saw zaw to punch a hold through the backseat chassis frame for the coolant and fuel hoses.

Trunk Route


Trunk Route
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Gary found a safer route for the grease fuel line and coolant hoses. Now the hoses exit the trunk through the drivers side back seat. This avoids potential crushing or twisting of the hose from the rear suspension and differential.

Gary's Garage


Gary's Garage
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Our Mercedes finally made it into the garage of a local diesel mechanic. We drove out to elephant butte around 5pm and started our grease conversion.

20071115

Dome Insulation Update


Done Insulation Update
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I have about eight mixes of insulation in the some so far. It is maybe 40% complete. I made a bid for a 8HP gas trash pump online so hopefully that will work out. I can only handle so much bucketing.

Dome PC Mix


Dome PC Mix
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I have been having good results with a new papercrete mix for the battery dome. My latest version is:

60lbs paper
30lbs dry sand
20lbs Portland cement
5lbs slacked lime

I add 100 gallons of water and drive for one mile with the tow behind mixer.

Grey Water #3


Grey Water #3
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy is plumbing again today. She installed our third grey water T and ball valve in my bathroom. She is now a expert at boring holes, cutting PVC, and cementing the PVC back together.

20071114

Djembe case

I didn't feel well and tried to take a day off today. I wound up making this djembe case for my new drum. I put cardboard between 2 layers of fabric that cover the head so its protected. People love to use drums as table tops. And if your gonna live in NM a drum is essential for full moon gatherings.

Neighbors Papercrete Fence


Neighbors Papercrete Fence
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Our neighbors papercrete fence is undergoing some work. A professional stucco team from Mexico has come up and begun cover the paper in a cement stucco mix. The right side has received the new mud and left has not.

Green Trees


Green Trees
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Two of the trees in our yard which have been irrigated by grey water from the kitchen sink are still green. The closest tree to me in this photo has bright yellow leaves. Wendy hooked up its irrigation yesterday. I was quite surprised to see how much difference our waste water can make.

20071113

Town Meeting


Town Meeting
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
While at a town meeting I could not help but wonder if there was a recent sale on plaid.

Grey Water Sink #2


Grey Water Sink #2
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy just modified her bathroom sink to drain into a mulberry tree outside the house. This now gives us three mulberry trees that are being fed off grey water. There are two more that need to be irrigated from my bathroom sink.

20071112

Sacred Fire, Cults etc...


Sacred Fire, Cults etc...
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Mikey's previous post about our 'sacred' fire inspired me to finally
begin participating in our blog. Hello!

Humans tend to resist using words such as sacred, we feel funny embracing new practices that pay homage to the elements such as welcoming fire or thanking it for what it brings. So often we get hung in the the words themselves and the awkwardness of new actions and we wonder, "does divining an element mean I'm in a cult, a religion, what cult, what religion, what might happen... our cultural training pulls references from all directions and fills our imaginations to the point of confusion. May I remind us that the inclusion of a new view does not require that we 'give up' our current view, rather it asks that we become more vast and so able to see more than we could before. But in the doing our own view remains safely in tact.

We have already seen what happens when we do not consider the natural world sacred. It is dying all around us and we are dying with it. Perhaps we might forget the semantics or what our culture has programmed us to think and fear and consider that what matters is the point of view that brings health, harmony and happiness. If treating the elements and the natural world as 'sacred' brings us into a relationship of respect with the earth, one in which we protect it, than call it religion, a cult, a state of mind, or simply the right thing to do.

History has shown us that reality molds itself around our consciousness. What has shaped the earth into what we see before us now? Us, our ideas made manifest.

Lets not worry about if fire is really a deity. Perhaps these questions will get answered on their own. If you have a heart to check in with you are qualified to define, create, copy, or invent ways to make sacred what we rely on and have cheated of our respect. What cult does that put you in? The cult of the sane, the emotionally healthy, the I don't shit where I eat, the kind, and perhaps the cult of those alive in the future.

- Wendy

Double Mix


Double Mix
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I managed to get two mixers of papercrete into the dome today. That is about 50, 5 gallon buckets.

Sewing Rye


Sewing Rye
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy started sewing rye seeds into our yard today. This is to kill off the weeds by crowding them out and get some biomass to increase soil health.

More Plants


More Plants
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy has been adding more plants to the property. I think she added six yesterday. I'm not sure what they are, but they are supposed to make our RV park prettier.