20080731

Bioremediation


Bioremediation
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Lately Wendy and I have been saying to each other that we have really taken on a bioremediation project more than anything else. The landfill that Holy Scrap is built upon is mostly sand. We have put a lot of effort into turning sand into soil.

Big Wind vs. Big Tomato


Big Wind vs. Big Tomato
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Obviously big wind wins. Our largest tomato plant in the back yard lost a match with some fierce winds this evening. A brief thunderstorm tossed the plant on its side. Wendy ran out to rescue it as the lightening receded. Fortunately, we did collect another 20 gallons of water from the brief shower.

Mr. Swampy


Mr. Swampy
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Our beat-down swamp cooler decided to stop working today. Normally it is a pretty amazing device. Using only 200W and a very small amount of water to cool our 1200 square foot trailer. We turn the swamper on around 3pm when the temperature really starts to peak out on a hot summer day. When I flipped the controls on today I didn't hear or see the water pump kick in. After a quick panel removal and several hard wacks with a screwdrive the pump came back to life and we were back in business.

Irrigation Disaster


Irrigation Disaster
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We were making some great progress on our second irrigation zone earlier today. I decided to go back to our first irrigation system and correct a tiny leak. This turned into a two hour repair project as I botched critical a PVC joint. We ended up doing the drive of shame to the local hardware store to get replacement parts for the ones I wrecked. As always when working on a irrigation system the weather quickly changed from sunny to massive thunderstorm. The white mans rain dance.

20080730

A Pretty Local Dinner


A Pretty Local Dinner
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We had a simple salad for dinner with fresh peach slices on the side. The lettuce, sprouts, apple, parslane, and peach were all grown locally.

Irrigation Zone #2


Irrigation Zone #2
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We began installing our second drip system today. We made a cool little PVC manifold so that we can control the water flow to different trees and raised beds. Sadly, at the end of the day we realized that we had tapped into a dead water line. Fortunately, a working water line is only 15' away.

20080729

Chance is Back


Chance is Back
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
After a very long stay with our local mechanic chance is back home. Our Mercedes grease car went in to get a oil leak fixed and a A/C repair. Both of which were taken care of to some degree. The mechanic was quite proud of the bailing wire, water valves, and general hackery he utilized to get things working.

A Better Fly Trap


A Better Fly Trap
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I am not sure what the greenish liquid is, but this fly trap seems to be very effective. I encountered it outside a restaurant while harvesting veggie oil.

Free Peaches


Free Peaches
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We scored some free peaches from a neighbors tree. They are out of town and told us to enjoy them.

Check Out Them Apples


Check Out Them Apples
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
These small green apples are ready for eating. We have seen two drop and the branches are starting to bend from their weight. We probably have over 50 apples. We ate a few in a fruit salad yesterday and they were excellent.

Golf Cart Repair


Golf Cart Repair
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
The trouble with owning five vehicles is having to repair five vehicles. Our golf cart has been out of commission for a few weeks. The accelerator pedal no longer has a effect. I ordered a small part after reviewing some threads in a vintage golf cart forum. The micro switch replacement did not have the desired effect and the vehicle stills needs more trouble shooting.

Purslane


Purslane
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
A neighbor came by yesterday and said that the "weed" we had growing in our yard was a edible plant known as purslane. Delicious in salads and very high in omega-3. We better start harvesting it while its young.

20080727

27W broiler pan grow lamp

This is my latest 27 watt grow light using a filthy broiler pan. There are 12 red and 5 blue LEDs. This one I included a plug for the found power supply which is a 18V @ 1.7A from a HP inkjet printer. The AC draw of the light is 65 watts. This light will sell for $180.

20080726

Back Fence is Up


Back Fence is Up
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
It is nothing to brag about, but our dumpster dived back yard fence is up.

Hurricane Dolly


Hurricane Dolly
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We are picking up the remaining moisture that hurricane dolly has brought to New Mexico. We have had a few short rains and are scheduled for a lot more today. Our water catch containers have already collected 100 gallons.

20080725

More Fence


More Fence
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This fence is progressing. We sunk three more found fence posts into concrete today. Tomorrow we will close off the back yard.

20080724

Our First Tomatoes


Our First Tomatoes
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We pulled two small and tasty roma tomatoes off a plant in our yard today. They were excellent on some home made sun oven bread with tofutti, red onion, and capers. We also enjoyed our second cantalope from the garden this morning.

Failed Kombucha?


Failed Kombucha?
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy woke up early and began to bottle up our third batch of green peach kombucha. Unfortunately this one tasted like "barf". Wendy thinks she didn't add enough sugar. We are going to let the kombucha sit in the plastic bottles for 5 days and see if the anaerobic bacteria can help.

20080723

Slime Molds


Slime Molds
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This is one of about six slime molds we found on the mulch in our yard. They are a form of fungi that is not edible and are highly migratory. They appear after heavy rains in moderate temperatures.

Fence Progressing


Fence Progressing
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We have enclosed about 30' of our backyard over the last two days. Claire Dishman from NYC was helping us put fence post holes.

Grease for Papercreters


Grease for Papercreters
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Two new papercrete friends of ours from Marshon Texas were driving through our town yesterday. We made some time to talk about papercrete and alternative building. They had a Mercedes diesel much like our own so I filtered some grease for them to take on their journey.

20080722

Now Look What You Did


Now Look What You Did
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy made me press on and work much longer than I wanted to today. I
took this photo of us durig a thunder storm still mixing concrete for
fence posts. It was a mad rush to get all the equipment and concrete
bags out of the rain. We got soaked.

Fence Posts


Fence Posts
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We began installing a back yard fence from pure scraps today. We have
almost 60 feet of fence to put up along with gates. We managed to fix
the fence post drill by welding the augger to the chuck. We also
placed 5 fence posts and concerted them into the earth.

Reasons to live in NM

... There are many. Among them colorful skies every day and no traffic!

Peppers up!

Oh la la what a little rain will do

I see a pasta in my future

20080721

Fruit Flies


Fruit Flies
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Now that we have the humid weather of late summer there are some new creatures showing up in the house. We have found the fruit flies around our indoor compost container to be especially unwelcome. I tried putting a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar in a jar then punch two holes in a lid to make a fruit fly trap. The flies get in, but they don't get out. I caught over 30 fruit flies with this little Trader Joes pesto jar in less than four hours.

Irrigation Electronics


Irrigation Electronics
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This is what my first generation of irrigation electronics looks like. I am using a plastic container with clamp on lid to hold the circuit board and transformer. The small mint tin has a slice in it so the LEDs can easily be viewed to see just how dry the soil is. There are four sets of wires running out of the box to the solenoid, moisture probes, circuit power and transformer power.

Fence Post Hole Maker


Fence Post Hole Maker
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
My neighbor Davey stopped by this morning with a tool that he was very excited about. This was a $10 score at a local yard sale. Davey demonstrated just how quickly this drill rig could create a 2' deep hole for fence posts. It was quite fast.

20080720

Dump Chairs


Dump Chairs
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We took a drive to the dump today to get rid of the some of the building materials we thought we were going to use. Another truck pulled up behind us and was dumping all sorts of nice stuff. Wendy jumped in and grabbed two of chairs and a pot. She is sitting in one of the chairs here.

Zone #1


Zone #1
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We installed our first irrigation system today. This zone includes 2 apple trees, 1 fruiting mulberry, 2 melon plants and a almond tree. I designed the controller to measure soil moisture levels and water whenever the soil begins to dry out.

Cantelope


Cantelope
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This morning we ate our first cantelope that came from our garden. They are popping up all over the place. Best melon I ever had.

20080719

Monster in the Garden


Monster in the Garden
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This green looper caterpillar was found with a equally green buddy on a basil plant in our dining room. I got a close up shot of him under my microscope. This caterpillars are dropped off by white moths and rapidly consume all the foliage on a plant. A large tomato plant also showed signs of their droppings (black pellets) and eating pattern (center of leaf). Several web sites suggest spraying a naturally occuring soil bacteria called "BT" on these and maybe letting a few live.

Lets Just Remove this Post

It is a amazing skill to look at a project and size up how much effort it will take to complete. This pole that Wendy said "must be removed" turned out to be one of those 5 times more effort than we had thought kind of deals. It is just a pole how much concrete could they have used to set it in place? Well a lot. It took us over two hours to get this pole out of the earth. Lots of banging with tamper bars and digging.

Ugg...Empty the Truck


Ugg...Empty the Truck
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We needed to load up the truck with some materials that were so destroyed we could not find a suitable place to use them. Before we could put all our useless scraps into the truck we needed to remove all the mulch. Thus began a hour of moving mulch around the yard again. Eventually we cleaned up our waste pile.

Good Farmers Market Harvest

We really scored today at our farmers market. Plenty of food including goat cheese, bread, harissa, lettuce, eggs, sprouts, corn, peas, onions and shelled pecans. I finally managed to spend over $20.

We Grew a Melon


We Grew a Melon
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We have managed to grow some really nice melons. This is the first cantaloupe that we picked from our garden. More are on the way.

20080718

Irrigation Assembly


Irrigation Assembly
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Nothing like getting high on PVC cement in your yard. Here I am assembling our first home made drip system. I did a little test and the electronics worked, but had trouble closing the solenoid valve. I think I need to get a pressure reducer in the mix.

Coasters


Coasters
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy busted out sewing machine and made these lovely coasters from some fabric scraps.

More Mulch


More Mulch
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
The areas of our yard that were not covered with mulch are beginning to show signs of massive weed infestation. The areas we did cover with mulch are starting to produce some excellent quality soil. We found a local mulch source, no not the x-mas trees we used last time.

Paper Pickup


Paper Pickup
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Our local source of newspaper offered us some large quantities for our next Papercrete dome. They are actually getting $70 a ton, but are letting us have it for free.

20080715

Bath House District


Bath House District
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
A view of Holy Scrap Hot Springs looking out towards La Paloma and Hay Yo Kay Hot Springs. You can see a storm rolling in from the West which happens most afternoons during monsoon season.

Roof Top Panels


Roof Top Panels
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I went up on the roof to deal with two small leaks which had resumed again with the recent storms. I found our PV solar panels to be extra clean and decided to get a close up shot of them.

20080714

Hooped


Hooped
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We finished hooping the dome after a 1 week break due to bad weather. It has become incredibly strong from our recent rains which helped to cover the bottom of the rebar arches with mud.

20080713

Shower Cap


Shower Cap
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
This is pretty much the worst nightmare of any maker of plastic zip lock baggies. A human advertising that they put their bag over their head. I couldn't find my hello kitty shower cap so this 1 gallon bag was used and worked great.

120 Gallon Cistern for $50

Here is a cistern design I came up with today. It is made from expanded metal lath and portland cement. The capacity is 120 gallons and the cost is about $50. This would be used for water catchment or waste vegetable oil storage.

20080712

Water Catchment @ 550 gallons

We now have two totes for water catchment. We installed a new gutter off our tub room so that we could bring our total water catchment capacity to 550 gallons. This is still a small quantity of water considering we used 8000 gallons last month.

20080711

Water Hacking


Water Hacking
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Yes, another half ass solution to keep us flush with water. Our $20 totes have leaky non standard ball valves. I took a 2" PVC elbow and a little stick of PVC at the bottom of the container to seal up the leak. Hardly ideal, but we needed to store our rain water. The last few days have given us almost 4" of rain. We only managed to catch about 70 gallons of water due to our complete lack of planning. Next week we should have it together enough to start filling our initial 500 gallon containers. I can feel a little better about the collapse of society having 500 gallons of drinking water on hand.

20080710

Rainy day sewing projects

It was rainy all day so after washing my hair with a bucket of rainwater (which was completely amazing) I made these bags with scraps I had.

We Made It


We Made It
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
The goal for many food growers of the southwest is to keep your plants alive until monsoon season. At that point the high nitrogen and low mineral rain will take care of the rest. We have seven raised beds of different sizes. This medium one is exploding with life (as are the others). We are regularly eating from the garden now.