Monthly Archives: June 2011

Rock, Wood, and Clay

It’s turned into something of a running joke here at MC that just about any problem can be solved with rocks, wood, or clay.  Andrew and John made replacement stove knobs from pieces of wood, and I built a replacement starter for it from clay.  We also cleared a path along the creek, and to deal with all the creek crossing and drainage we either used rocks as stepping stones, or logs for steps or water diversions.  We planned on making a wooden bridge, but opted for redirecting the path and using stepping stones instead.

House Progress

John, Jesse, and I finished putting in the base layer of the earthen floor last week(clay and rock).  It will probably take a month to dry, and so during that time we’ll be working on the porch area.  The wall on that side is not well protected from the weather until it gets built so it’s a priority.  We’ve already done some prep work, prepared the back wall and cut and cleaned the cedar support posts.

Straw Bale Cabins

The straw bale house has performed amazingly with all of the above-average hot weather.  So much so that we’ve started dreaming up a small ultra-cheap and easy one-room straw bale cabin design.  Our current cost estimates put it at about $300 for ~80 square feet.  If it performs anything like the main straw bale house it may be all-season housing.  We’ll probably begin on that later this week.

Garden Deficiency

All of my new garden beds have been quite a disappointment.  The new beds have some severe nitrogen deficiency. I noticed that there is quite a bit of wood chunks mixed in the compost I get from Columbia.  I think that it’s not finished composting, and when I mix it up by spreading it onto the beds it’s like turning a compost which reinvorgates the decomposition process and locks up the nitrogen for months.

I’ve added blood meal and urine to the beds and it has certainly helped, but some of my crops have died and others are stunted and will likely be delayed significantly.  I think the key to using that compost is to make the beds in the fall so they’ll be ready in the spring.


As far as inhabitants of MC go, John has been here for about a month now.  Tom arrived from Canada via 31 hour bus ride last week and will be here for a month or so.  Andrew from St. Louis spent 10 days out here helping on the creek path.  Jesse spent the last week out here and I think he plans on spending this coming week as well.