20090331

DDU: Bathroom Roof Remesh


DDU: Bathroom Roof Remesh
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Our dome ceiling was remeshed this afternoon. We still have a lot of patch work to complete the inner ceiling and then more work to complete the top. Our bathroom walls are next. We avoided using the chop saw all day and used the hydraulic rebar cutter for the additional support pieces I needed to weld in. It is so pleasant to just listen to podcasts all day without the damn chop saw making a racket. I bet my neighbors feel the same way.

Return of the Dumpsters


Return of the Dumpsters
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Three large dumpsters full of glass were dropped off at our place by the city yesterday. We need to finish digging out our foundation ring, make some concrete and start placing our bottles upside down. The city was not able to provide enough glass fast enough for our building schedule so we will be using all the wine bottles in their entirety and just crushing the remains as fill for our foundation. Remember we are in a crazy flood zone only two blocks from the rio grande so good drainage is critical.

Welcome to Team Sprouting


Welcome to Team Sprouting
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

After about a week of sprouting lentils we sat down to a pair of messy breakfast bagels and sprouts. I also like red onion, capers and tomato (SF style) on my bagels. The lentil sprouts were pretty tasty and I felt like I had a lot of energy today (perhaps unrelated). Maybe next we will sprout some of our other bulk foods. Almonds, chick peas, sun flower seeds, garlic....so much to try. The strawberry trays worked well. I sprouted in a east facing window with three rinses a day.

20090329

Raviolis with Scardy


Raviolis with Scardy
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

We have been making raviolis twice a week. Stuffing them with the left over almond stuff from our daily almond milk. Plus whatever else we can find. Yesterdays ravs included pine nuts and some blue cheese on top of the usual almond solids. I've posted about this before, but I just wanted to mention it again since we enjoy them so much.

Raviolis with Scardy #2 Raviolis with Scardy #3

DDU: Guess Who Built a Loft


DDU: Guess Who Built a Loft
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Yep, we did. Our bathroom ceiling rebar is feeling pretty good. I sat climbed all over it with 30mph winds as we applied the final ladder style welds this morning. It still needs a few random sticks of rebar, plus the usual remesh, and lath. It looks like we will get a really nice lofty storage space above the bathroom.

DDU: Guess Who Built a Loft #2 DDU: Guess Who Built a Loft #3 DDU: Guess Who Built a Loft #4 DDU: Guess Who Built a Loft #5 DDU: Guess Who Built a Loft #7

Big Wind == Good Times


Big Wind == Good Times
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I spent a good part of today staying out of the windy cold weather. The rare occasions that cause us to take a day off from physical labor let me go back to my technology roots. My desulfator which has been taking forever to complete is getting really close. I am now in the final few hours of board layout.

Dirty Business


Dirty Business
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Our 36 sq. ft. east bed required a bit more dirt be filtered before we start transplants next week. Wendy and I did two trips to the river to collect twelve more buckets of future soil. You might see from the photo of wendy sifting the dirt that she kicks up a lot of dirt that ends up coming downwind and going into my face/mouth/head area. She claims that this unfortunate situation is unavoidable.

20090327

Close cold call

I almost planted my seedlings this week. After all the last frost for my area is march 15 or the 30th depending on your source. And it was well into the 80s this month. But I waited even though these seedlings are jumping out the window and we froze last night. Whew .. Close call. I think I'll wait till April 5. Does anyone know if seedlings suffer from prolonged stays in the starter trays?

Lentil Sprouts Day #3


Lentil Sprouts Day #3
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
My lentil sprouts are moving along slowly, but nicely. I can see a tail on most of the lentils at this point and it grew significantly between this morning and evening. I've left them in a east facing window which gets soft morning light, but nothing direct past 10AM. I had expect them to be further along by day #3. The strawberry containers seem to work OK. A few lentils have managed to sneak out during rinsing.

20090326

Cheezy Kale Chips


Cheezy Kale Chips
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Our dehydrator arrived this week. I finally broke down and purchased a 4-tray excalibur. The 4-tray excalibur only draws up to 220W, whereas the 9-tray is over 640W. This means we have enough juice on our PV system to dehydrate overnight as long as we are not running our swamp cooler simultaneously. We just learned this kale chip recipe from a raw food class we took earlier this month. Kale, lemon, salt, chipotle, onion powder, and ground brazil nuts.
Cheezy Kale Chips #2 Cheezy Kale Chips #3 Cheezy Kale Chips #4

Almonds in One Year


Almonds in One Year
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I was shocked when Wendy pointed at our tiny almond tree and said "look - nuts". We just planted this tree at the end of summer 2008. It was a little guy from the local nursery. Now we have over two dozen visible almonds. I'm tempted to plant all these almonds and grow some more trees. We have been going through 10lbs of a almonds a month in our bulk purchasing.
Almonds in One Year #2 Almonds in One Year #3 Almonds in One Year #4

20090324

Hide the Potato


Hide the Potato
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy started burying our east facing potatoes this morning. They have been performing better than our full sun potatoes by quite a bit. She made a light mix of soil with sand, pete moss, and humus. The plants get buried a bit enough to cover some of the leaves and leave some exposed.
Hide the Potato #2 Hide the Potato #3

Good Looking Grapes


Good Looking Grapes
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We planted four grape vines last summer. I forget which kinds. All winter they appeared to be incredibly dead looking so I had my doubts they would perk up this spring. Well, looky here. They are doing alright after all. I'm looking forward to making some raw dolmas with these grape leaves.
Good Looking Grapes #3

What is This Plant?


What is This Plant?
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We were thinking that it might be a daikon radish or something with really deep roots. Whatever it is the plant seems to be doing well.
What is this Plant? #2 What is This Plant? #3

Bye Bye Dumpsters


Bye Bye Dumpsters
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
The recycle center stopped by and took the three empty dumpsters they had loaned us. When we received the dumpsters two weeks ago they were full of beer and wine bottles. We smashed them up mostly with hammers which took about 3.5 hours. The glass only filled 8 out of 32 sections of our dome. We would need 3x this amount of glass to finish the job. Next time we are going to use more bottles in their entirety and break less glass so we can make it go further.

Here Come the Apricots


Here Come the Apricots
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
The same thing happened last spring. Our apricots were the first fruit to ripen on the vine. We are starting to see small green apricots all over our established apricot tree. Our 1 year old apricot trees have blossomed, but I would be surprise if they produce fruit this year.

20090323

Hooray for Dorkbot


Hooray for Dorkbot
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We really enjoyed hanging with the dorkbot crew in ABQ. My talk on digital homesteading went smoothly. Wendy drooled all over Pat Crows custom gas powered bicycle which boasts 150mpg. Looking forward to the next meeting.

Make Your Own Root Beer


Make Your Own Root Beer
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I haven't tried making soda before. The thought never really occurred to me until my homesteader friend Andy was saying how he'd like to sell it at the Farmers Market. Soda is not that appealing to me because of the high sugar (if you are lucky) or even more commonly the high fructose, but it seemed like a fun way to play with fermentation. I was surprised to learn that home made root beer actually has a small amount of alcohol (.5%) about 12x less than a weak beer. Again, surprisingly simple and cheap to make a 1/2 gallon of root beer.

- 1/8 tsp dry yeast
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tbl root beer extract

Wait 3 days, remove air-lock, and place in fridge. Suggestions are
welcome. Notice our fancy glass bottles and air locks. The bottles we salvaged from the recycle drive collection and the air locks were $1.50 each on-line. I just drilled holes in old wine corks to adhere them.

The World of Sprouting


The World of Sprouting
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I have had a interest in growing sprouts for years. At one point I even purchased a built-in strainer multi-cup system for sprouting (that never was used). I still wonder where that went. Anyway, sprouting looks easy. I followed directions from this instructable. In my case it comes down two simple steps.

1. Soak lentils in water for 1 day 2. Rinse lentils three times a day (no longer submerged in water)

Easy, right? What do you like to sprout?

Herb Starts


Herb Starts
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Our seedlings are doing awesome. It is unbelievable to us to see the kind of yields we get from using starter trays in doors vs. just planting in our garden beds outside. At least a 5x improvement. Wendy planted some herbs inside today. Thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano, shiso, dill, lavender, and cilantro. We are still waiting our back ordered block press for doing seed starts. We also have been planting garbanzo beans from our bulk food order. They make a really pretty plant and don't seem to have any problem growing our climate.

20090321

DDU: Inner Steps


DDU: Inner Steps
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Our dome will soon be much easier to get in and out of. We have been jumping in and out of windows for the last few months. We just poured some concrete to stabilize the inner steps. Once we remesh and lath those steps we can properly enter/exit the structure.
DDU: Inner Steps #2 DDU: Inner Steps #3 DDU: Inner Steps #4 DDU: Inner Steps #5

The Windsor


High Tea
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We stopped in at a local restaurant in town for lunch today. They call themselves the "Grand Court Parlor Tea House". We have been there once before and this time decided to try something a little different. Behold this giant $16 meal known as "The Windsor". Although it has no known health benefits it sure was exciting.

20090319

Make Your Own Butter


Make Your Own Butter
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Have you ever made butter? It is surprisingly simple. Shake up 2 cups of heavy cream in a 4 cup mason jar. We shook for 6 minutes and did not get any buttermilk just butter. Refridgerate.
Simple Butter #2 Simple Butter #3 Simple Butter #4

Bustin Out the Reflectix


Bustin Out the Reflectix
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Somewhere between visiting Burningman and moving to New Mexico I was exposed to double bubble reflectix. The stuff has become essential to life for us. We use it in our windows, curtains, cars, and now the guest room dome. We saved about 50% by purchasing it on ebay instead of locally. We simply tie it to our remesh and pour glass inbetween. This should give us a little bit of insulation around the glass so that we don't have a issue with the glass acting as a thermal mass.
Reflectix #2 Reflectix #3 Reflectix #4 Reflectix #5