RMH Core Mockup 1

rocket core mockup 1

This is just a mortar-free dry-stack mockup of an 8 inch system. It uses fifty-nine firebrick splits for the heat riser, feed tube, and the sides and ceiling of the burn tunnel. It also uses eight 7″ square concrete pavers for the floor. The interior dimensions of the burn tunnel are 5 3/4″ tall by 8 1/8″ inch wide, and the heat riser is 7″ square. Two of the firebricks need to be trimmed a bit for everything to fit more smoothly, so this iteration was slightly off at the feed tube and the bottom of the heat riser.

Once lit, it drew nicely, roared/purred a little, and produced very little smoke, just a bit at the beginning and at the end of the burn. Note that the vertical heat riser is around twice as long as the horizontal burn tunnel. Relatively taller heat riser corresponds to a greater convective draw. It could be taller still to be at a reasonable height for cooking on, which should also improve draw. The next component to test will be the additional insulation around the heat riser, which should improve draw and efficiency of combustion.

Winter Solstice 2014

This morning I woke up on the dirt floor of my future yoga room. Sleeping on a dirt floor is more comfortable than it sounds. Less than a year ago, there were living trees growing here. Many of those trees, with stumps, limbs, bark, and little else removed, now support multiple tons of dirt bermed up against the walls and over the roof.

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In theory, this mass of dry earth will help to regulate the temperature of the space inside, and minimize the amount of additional heating needed to stay warm. In practice, 2/5ths of the walls are still incomplete: mere pockets of air between thin temporary plastic sheets. These walls will eventually be made of cordwood, cob, and several windows mostly facing west-southwest to catch the afternoon sun. For now they keep out the wet, but not the cold.

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It’s literally freezing in here, and I’m highly motivated to complete this rocket mass heater. Once the cordwood walls are done and gaps sealed with cob, I anticipate not needing to run the rmh very often to stay comfortable, perhaps boiling water for tea once a day during the cold months. But this winter, I expect to burn at least a cord or two and not really be comfortable, though it’ll be good to apply lots of dry heat to the mass of earth.

I spent some time today digging up the floor of the apothecary and levelling the dirt in preparation for building the rmh combustion core into the floor. I’m opting to start sub-floor so that the insulated heat riser can be effectively taller and thus have a stronger draft while keeping the cooktop at a reasonable height. I’ve accumulated some fire bricks, and some of the barrels I’ll need, but I’m still hunting down the last of the materials. Got some wood split to toothpick size and ready to burn, though.

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Today was the shortest day of the year, and it would be easy to be discouraged about the house not being done yet, but I remind myself that hundreds of hours have gone into this project so far, and the most important parts are already done. The inside is mostly dry. The roof doesn’t leak. The dry earth umbrella is at least on, if not totally dry yet. And the uphill drainage ditches are actively redirecting water around the structure and away down the hill.

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My current goal is to complete the rocket mass heater before the end of the year, and I’ll be documenting the process as I go along.

Poetry: Mar-Sept 2014

Fall

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Winter’s ‘cicles held aloft by slowest rain, jaggedly tickle the lower sky, hungry upturned snouts, fuzzy backsides, squeal of the light, delight scattered through evergreen branches like grain through an electric fence, static yet not without motion, squinting through snowflakes

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Sensibly the sun rises in the middle distance, alchemical mirrors transmute golden photons into leaden electrons, consciousness drips into cups, still steaming

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Simmering sugary mists and fast-burning flames, awake, awaiting, a syrupy fog rises, leaving ever sweeter potions as the day’s gallons boil down to spoonfuls

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Societal decomposers recollect organic particles, liberating biomass from petro-plastic prisons, perfectly palatable post-non-consumed packaged processed products politely provided to patient pigs and poultry, the cacophony of critters coalesces into concordant consumption, before breakfast, the sacred rite of slop is observed

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Fractal pillars hold up a ceiling of infinite stars, persian rugs of moss, sparkling statues of mica, camped out in a cathedral

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Streaming ribbons of phosphorescent bubble-gum-pink liquid fire, the blood that sloshes through steel veins, fueling a 26-ton yellow dragon of earth-shattering fury

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Beauty in disturbance, reorganization, aggradation, succession, the brightside of a chainsaw, gaps, glades, and golden sunlight

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Awakening, a misty dawn shrouds the day ahead with translucent purity, limbs of familiar friends materialize as ghostly silhouettes, vessels dripping with dew

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Sweet like how the night sounds, fluttering moth wings, rustling leaves, distant echoes of dulcimer music, sweet like how the sky looks, a glowing halo around the moon, shimmering stars sending shivers down my spine, sweet like the dawn’s first ray of golden sunlight, piercing the monochrome shadows blanketing the woods and infusing the world with vivid living color, sweet like the bee’s knees, like pollinating arcadian imagery, like yoga in the dappled shade on a warm and windy day

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A cloudless atmosphere, pale blue sky refracts the sizzling midmorning sun, local brightness obscuring distant heavens, warm air plays a rising melody

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Sleepwalkers rising from matutinal marshlands to ride the rivers of vernal velocity flowing into estival estuaries of ecstasy

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The sky is covered in an inside-out blanket, the earth a patchwork quilt of greens and browns, lining beds with stone pillows, daydreaming of a nap

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Tightly wound fractal strings of information, firefly light show extinguished by precipitation, cosmic ambiance radiantly reflected in microbiological geometry

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The dragon rests at the edge of the woods, savoring its first taste of maple, hemlock, birch, pine, oak, and ash

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Visions of a multidimensional space destined to manifest in stone, wood, and earth, occupy, observe, obsess, following the slope, channeling the flow, concentric arcs of my uphill patio, mansion of outdoor rooms, branching spiraling paths amid polyculture patches, trees, shrubs, herbs, climbers, and their best companion matches, a soft flat meadow for yoga, and a quiet meditation nook or ten, to feel with mind and soul and body, the presence that is zen

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Weaving among piles of boulders, exposed roots, and fallen trees, the freshly upturned earth giving way slightly below my feet, in the once and future woods

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The slow dance of succession, growing green bandages over old wounds

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It’s raining syllables, pouring consonants, cascading communications, an avalanche of articulation, invocations, intonations, and evanescent explications, crystallizing concepts, delineating designs, and immortalizing emotions

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Infinite humidity, swimming through dreams, the crash of non-differentiable waves, falling out of clouds of probability and soaking into neuro-fungal nets

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Arboreal access and arcane arithmetic accelerates arhythmic pitter patter patterns of precipitating particles against my plastic patchwork palace

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Gaps and clearings in the clouds, holes in the fabric of the sky, the brightness of heaven shines through

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Tiny photosynthetic beings with a strong sense of place, rest their petals upon their leaves, folding their heads in meditation, wistful restern west slipping into slumber

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Hands in the dirt, sun in our eyes

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Arachnid allies materialize majestically, weaving whimsically practical patterns of fractally factual actual webs, spectacular silky spirals specifically

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Leaves the color of fire, nature’s reminder, first frosty whisper of winter urges haste, warns of daylight’s waste, seasons unsympathetic towards the unprepared