Thursday, October 15, 2009

The tree collards are expansionist! They already got Trilby and Sasha....

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I woke up in the early morning hours last night to the sound of rain and lay in bed for a moment before I realized I was also hearing the gurgling of the first flush diverter filling (part of the rainwater catchment system).  It just so happens that it is right on the other side of the thin, stick frame/stucco wall, from my bed, and I had spent the earlier part of the day frantically doing finishing touches that would allow the water to actually flow from the gutters into the first flush, so once I realized that I was hearing the sounds of the system filling, I was wide awake.  I even jumped out of bed and ran outside into the dark and rain to see what I could see.  With my hand on the large vertical pipe, I could feel the vibrations of water inside.  

The first flush, for those of you who don't know, is a larger diameter pipe that is attached to the side of the house vertically, is closed at the bottom, with a valve that can be opened, and has a holding capacity of about 5 gallons.  There is also a small ball in there which floats on top of the water,  and plugs access once its completely full, diverting water to the diagonal pipe which flows to the tanks, for the rest of the storm.  The purpose of this is to allow the roof rinse water- that first 5 gallons that flows over roof that's long been dry and has potentially collected  dead animals and poop on it- to be diverted, and not stored in the tanks along with all the  "cleaner" water.

Thanks so much to everybody who was here helping install the tanks earlier this year.  Last I checked, this morning, it appears that the first flush is full and the water is going to the tanks now. Bring on the rain!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

October Work Parties

Pod Plaster Party
October 11th

Earthen plastering is just about one of the most satisfying pieces of natural building. There's nothing like the feel of smooth clay sliding onto a wall! We'll be plastering Trilby's earthbag spiral creation and Massey's woven bamboo building.

Permitted Natural Building - Light Straw Clay!

Saturday Oct. 24th, 1pm-5pm
Sunday October 25th, 10am - 5pm

Join us as we fill the walls of the back house with light straw clay, a traditional natural building technique and wall system that provides insulation as well as a plaster substrate. The mighty local materials of clay and straw, tamped into the wall cavity, replace industrially manufactured insulation, drywall, plywood, and siding, and hugely reduce a building's ecological footprint.

We'll prep most of the mix Saturday afternoon, and build the walls on Sunday. All are welcome to build, but there is plenty of celebrating to be done for those who just want to come hang out and be part of it (rumor has it there will be lots of food and music perhaps).

Monday, October 5, 2009

City Homestead Tour- Saturday!

Go to if you are interested in going on a tour this coming Saturday to various homesteads in western Contra Costa County.  You have to sign up ahead of time and to see the map and descriptions of the 18 different places, but its absolutely free and there looks to be an assortment of interesting gardens on the tour, many with small livestock and various composting and water systems as well.   Yes we are on the tour, and if you don't make it out Saturday, you can always come Sunday for the workparty!