Tag Archives: recycle

Project 6 – “the butt warmer”

Everyone, I’m sure, has seen the posts about the terra cotta pot warmers.  The little “heat your room with a candle’ posts from Face Book to Pin and it and just about anywhere else.  This is not exactly that.  A friend of mine gave it the name James and I have taken to using, the butt warmer!  You see he works in a rather chilly little building where a little extra heat is called for.  He made a heater to go under his chair (a camping chair, so the heat came through) and referred to it as a butt warmer.  James and I decided to experiment with design and waited for the coffee to run out so the can could be used.1.15.15 015

armed with the coffee can as the outside, and inside can and the ‘holder’ can we discussed why the terra cotta was a better option if one had extra or felt it worth the cost to buy new.  Thermal mass and heat absorption was the conversation as holes were punched and a healthy scoop of cold ash was put in the bottom of the coffee can.

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James lit the puppy chewed candle and set it in inside.

1.15.15 020It didn’t take long for the heat to start coming off the inner can.

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Just to test how hot it was a little bit f water was put on top.  It took about 4 sec for it to start to boil and sizzle away.

1.15.15 035After a number of cans and patterns of wholes this is the one we learned worked the best.  Lots of little holes on top, a few medium  holes on the top of the sides and big holes at the bottom of the side.  A number of other patterns just but the candle out or did not send the heat out very well.  This spring when little garden pits go on sale we plan to buy a number of terracotta pot with plans to help take the chill off the green house with candle heaters.


Work on the Cabin

I have been asked several times what part is the most difficult about going off grid.  For me it is time.  The shifting from a life of jobs, debt and schedules to an off grid lifestyle is not a matter of just stepping from one place to anther.  It is a process.  I still have to go to work, and pay my bills, and watch a clock. 

Summer for me is the busy time of year.  Being the Grounds Keeper for the town, and running the Community Garden takes up a great deal of the day and leave very little left over for work on the cabin or the yard around it. 

Having built more than one homestead I have learned to be kind to myself.  That is my number one advise to those new to the building and living an off grid life.  Be patient.  Do not try to rush to get tasks done in order to prove to others that you know what your doing and have made a good choice.   The second advise it to be aware of the area your in.  Watch the sun and sky, feel where the wind is coming from and do not forget to invest attention to all the seasons. 

That said, work on the cabin has been happening but perhaps, not at as fast a pace as I’d like, but at about the speed I expected.  Last I posted the cabin was in place, since then the windows have gone in.  june 2014 004

Purchased at a recycle-and-reuse store I got a set of three.  They had been cut out removing the outside flare used to screw them in place.  It made installation a little more difficult but nothing that was not easily adjusted for.   Two of them were 3’x3′ while the third was 5’x4′.  Great deal and now the challenge is to try and match them the rest of the way around the house.  That may or maynot happen. 

june 2014 008The big one went into the east wall. 

june 2014 001The two small ones went in on the south over what will be the main kitchen counter, stove and sink.  Main windows in the next step is t get the basic inside lay out and begin to insulate.  Many o of the walls will be slipstraw and cob, I am just waiting for the red clay.  A neighbour has both the tractor to load and the clay, I just need to line up a truck for a day she can load for me.  

The wall between the kitchen and the bathroom will be bottle bricks and cob.  I am just waiting for my friends to drink to enough wine to save me the bottles. 

The counter tops are already purchased and waiting for installation.  That will be the next project.  Each step brings it one step closer to being the home my son and I dream of.  While I could go and work on the cabin right now I must remind myself too be kind and patient.  Wait until the temps drop and the tasks become enjoyable.  That is after all, the point.