Up on the roof once again

The heat and humidity has descended on the Southland once again (see huge white cumulous clouds over the San Gabriel mountain range in bottom right photo). We are not one to complain, but this weather is just horrible and very uncomfortable especially if you have to work outside. You expect it out east, south whatever but in this dry climate with humidity is just awful (yeah, I know I already said that).   Yesterday the humidity is over 50% and with the high heat and humidity and the guys along with Jordanne are having to work on the roof.   Shirts look as if they’d been drenched water, tools and even wood were hot to the touch. It sure feels like we are back in the South.   Justin said that it was so hot that the redwood perlins were burning hot. Of course, with our roof having a 8/12 pitch, Justin was tethered and wore a safety harness especially helpful when you needed to use both hands and picking up the heavy plywood pieces.

Not a very good day for roofing, but the work had to be done, we are so far behind that we needed to do some work during the hottest part of the day. Normally, we’ve worked in early morning of late evening, but with 100 pieces of plywood to put up there was no getting around it this time.

Taking a break in mid afternoon to rest from the heat, I whipped up, in our hand cranked blender, a pitcher full of peach (from our garden)-raspberry (leftovers in the freezer) smoothie made with homemade yogurt – delicious.   With the heat, one doesn’t feel like eating much.

Besides finally having a roof over our heads, another reason I can’t wait till the roof is done is the scrap plywood that I already have plans for one of our next projects is to build asolar food dryer. We madethis sun dryer out of cardboard a few years ago, but I likethis plan better – more compact and sturdier.

Most of the back yard continues to smell like linseed oil after applying a coat to the cob oven last week. Hopefully, in time the smell will dissipate when the oil eventually dries.

In the garden

Fruit isle: there’s more peaches, strawberries, last of the figs, apples and elderberries to pick. The guavas have a few months yet.

Veggie isle: tomatoes, eggplant, cukes, winter squash, yacons (almost ready), beans, peppers, lima beans

After gardening for nearly 20 years on this property this is one of the years that the garden has gone through the most changes with the removal of the concrete (by ourselves) last fall. So there’s still getting to used to the new set up.

Clay pot bed. Cob oven amongst the tall tomatoes (and our clothes lines)

The clay pot irrigation bed (photo on left) is still looking lush and growing strong since planting it sometime back in May (I think). In the bed we planted basils, chard, parsley, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes and a few flowers. That’s been a successful experiment in reducing water by using an age old method of “drip” irrigation.

“The clay pot irrigation system is twice as efficient as a drip system. This method of irrigation dates back nearly 2,000 years.”

By filling the clay pot with water then cover, the water slowly diffuses throughout the porous walls of the pot and irrigates surrounding soil. This helps reduce needless evaporation and conserves water. (more photos of the clay pot irrigation-rock bed being made)


Self-reliance is a mindset {}

…Obviously there are some personal requirements for becoming self-reliant: You have to want it badly, and you’ll have to be in pretty good shape. You’ll end up in excellent shape, but you should be fairly healthy to begin with. It helps to dream big and visualize what you want because that’s what keeps you going, but focusing your energy on the task at hand is what makes it happen. Have a plan and a list of priorities and start transforming wishful thinking into labor. You are smarter and more capable than you think. You can’t learn if you don’t try. If a task looks daunting, get started anyway. Take it one tiny step at a time. Dream big but take baby steps. Write down a plan. List your priorities. Number them. Start in. You want to design your own house? Go downtown and buy graph paper and a ruler. Go to the library or magazine rack and look at house plans. Ideas will snowball. The mind does funny things when you give it a problem. It keeps on working overtime. In fact, you can’t shut it off. It’s important to get started with something tangible. Make a model. You’ll see there’s no big mystery to putting a house together. The sum total always looks bigger than the parts…but a house is just one board put up at a time. My house was one log at a time. To achieve self-sufficiency, you have to delay gratification. The only instant satisfaction you’re likely to get for a while will come in tiny increments like hammering a nail in straight and cutting right on the line with the saw.
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Why the Survivalists Have Got It Wrong  {}

…Imagine you and a number of other people are in a house and the house catches fire. Do you look around the house for other people and help those out that you can, or do you bolt out of the house at the first sniff of smoke? The survivalists are like the latter, like those who were first off the Titanic in the first lifeboats that were launched half empty. I deeply question the morality of responding to a crisis by running in the opposite direction and leaving everyone else to stew. For me, peak oil and climate change, and the challenge that they present, are a call to return to society, to rebuild society, and to engage society in a process that can offer an oil free world as a step forward and an improved quality of life.
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Study: Summer is Getting Longer {Yahoo! News}

The lines between seasons are blurring and summer is getting longer in North America, a new study indicates.
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Zero Waste Strategies

Surprised by the sight of trash bags piled twice as high as you are? Ever wonder what the history books will say about you and your 15 visits
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{Thanks for Sharon for emailing and sharing her article with us}
California breaks ranks to limit greenhouse gases  {}

California aims to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter over the next 14 years in a landmark deal struck by the Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the state’s Democrats.
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The Demise of a Techno-fix Psyche  {}

I would describe myself as a recovering energy engineer. Technology has been an integral part of my life. At one time I had viewed advancing technology as the answer to all of our problems and the only tool necessary in improving our relationship with the natural world. My own personal journey over the last several years has changed that….I came to the realization that no combination of alternative energy strategies was the messiah I had long thought.
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Global Meltdown  {}

Scientists fear that global warming will bring climatic turbulence, with changes coming in big jumps rather than gradually
…”We used to think that it would take 10,000 years for melting at the surface of an ice sheet to penetrate down to the bottom. Now we know it doesn’t take 10,000 years; it takes 10 seconds.”
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No Comments

  1. littlejennywren says:

    Thanks for the link to the claypot irrigation article. I have just read about this in Earth Garden magazine(Australia) and now I have even better information. I think it will be really useful here in Tassie as we face a long dry summer.

  2. claire says:

    thankyou for the links. hope your re-roofing goes smoothly.

  3. tara says:

    The links are great. I read “why the survivalists have it wrong” and felt hopeful. But I worry that the author may be to optomistic when it comes to the general public. I think Energy Descent Planning is a great idea and towns that engage in EDP are very wise. But, NPR’s coverage this week stating that there is twice as much violence in New Orleans than before Katrina even though only a fraction have returned home, makes me wonder how most people will react when the conviences they take for granted are gone.

  4. Anais says:

    Thank you all for your comments – glad to hear that the links we find interesting are helpful to you all in your journey.

    Your comments and supoort and greatly appreciated.

    Claire – thanks for your positive thoughts re our roofing project. 😉

    Tara – thanks for commenting. Good points that you brought up. Human nature is our worst enemy…