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Notes of Music, organic gardening, eco-building, Permaculture designs and explorations along this Path in Life.


Theater knots in a camp site

In some of the previous festival, we had to prop up a tent in a very bushy spot where hammering a pin down was really impossible: so, instead of chopping down the weeds I thought I could use them by keeping them alive. A bundle of weeds still attached to their roots has a lots of stregth, anyway just enough for that purpose. Super quick fix too.

In another spot I found a better option readily available: the best natural mantegno* ever. It made me giggle...

*mantegno (teatro all'italiana) : italian theater technical language, it's a strong wooden bar where to tie ropes.

From inspiration to reality

In these days we have started to prepare for the Hemp festival (Payaka Asa matsuri) beginning the construction of a very special stage ready for this event. Indeed the hexagonal inspiration of the last days came beautifully to reality, following up the amazing style and design that we had already started working with before.

This is the first half...

Then we kept going... adding another half (total 18 + 18 pieces) but it wasn't enough: more were wanted! So... more we made!
In the picture on the right you can get a bit of the detail of the construction of the corners: magic of the hexagon! With colors it started really getting alive... here is a sequence of the coloring.

Finishing the day... a new magic appeared, the magic of shadows over these freshly painted solids! Waw... amazing three dimensional design!

The next day the stage appears in all its beauty...

 I like this shot...



Electric power and hemp body

...excellent video on hemp!
at the beginning it presents also a revolutionary electric powered hemp car!!!
check it out and share it widely!

New elements for the next stoves

In these days I have finally spotted some raw materials to prepare other stoves. An efficient recycling system is the basic need for creative projects, especially for those committed to "be the change we want to see in this world". Indeed a good recycling center can be just like a gold mine of... cans! hahahahaha...
Some interesting square-type big cans as well as this super lucky piece of roof gutter with a hole for the pipe, perfect to cut out the cone of the Elsa... luckiest piece ever!

The square ones are going to be the next challenge for the Elsa design... stay tuned for the updates!


Carbon negative teapot

In the regards of Carbon negative certification, with the conscious thought of proceeding a little bit more in the good direction, here is a tea pot heated up while producing a total of 19 grams of biochar, from two batches of 9 + 10 grams. This charcoal was then added up to a bigger batch now getting to 82 grams, now being prepared for a more consistent deposit soon.

During these two batches I have tested a new way of regulating primary air: the steel plate holding the base of the stove, contains the same amount of water in the bottle on the right when it is completely closed. So taking the water out of the plate at the beginning, then pouring it down in the plate again a bit at the time... and it's working! The wood was toasting really slow and hot... after I had poured in slowly half of the water then up to 3/4.

 Indeed it's been really good tea...
...and here two short video clips of the flame burning! Check it out...


A morning full of insect meetings

Waw!!! I couldn't believe my eyes... in a very short time this morning, one after another, I had several meetings with various insects, having the chance to witness the daily happening of Natural events from the very tiny perspective of insects in their wild wild world! Check it out: the first meetings is with this big fat green caterpillar.

Indeed it is a very voracious and active one: by the time I took these pictures it had munched and let fall 2 or 3 flowers... and compared to my finger it's not much smaller!

At some point I noticed that a little spider was riding on its back... not that there was much movement at that point... but definitely a small spider was sitting there: very hard to catch it on focus but maybe you can guess in the last section before its curly tail there is some sort of a little shade. That's it!

Then one of the most crazy stories ever! While I was unloading some stuff from the car, one of the young cats of the house came out from under the bumper playing... with a big nasty wasp! An old one already tired to fly, with one wing already much shorter than the other: still very dangerous though! I didn't have the time to give some warning to the playful kitty... that he was already badly bitten on his right paw!!! Poor little kitty... 



The kitty was able to bite off the sting quickly by himself... but he was in obviously in atrocious pain! My son came later on and said that he saw the cat actually crying... so sad! So anyway while I was checking on the cat as well as the old wasp, that kept crawling around even if it had lost a good chunk of its abdomen stinging that poor cat... and on the other side a small black ant had already found the sting of the wasp and was carrying it away! So incredible fast...  

Luckily the cat, after looking really helpless and miserable for quite a long time and taking a long rest, he was able to walk again on its paw... but later on in the evening the stung paw was still swollen compare to the other.

 Poor little kitty...

Trying to recover from the shacking story of the kitty and wasp, I raised my eyes and there was standing a very funny looking sort of flying bug, with 4 wings like a rocket! Never seed anything like this!


Amazed again. I turn on the recycled oil tank that I was cleaning for some new stove project and there I found it completely under assault by a fleet of small black ants: two kinds of them, sort of workers and sort of soldiers, hard to guess in the following picture though; all busy scooping up the leftover traces of the hemp oil that was inside the tank!

Then I turned my eyes and the camera on the other side... and there I saw in the middle air a small green caterpillar dangling down on its own thread, shaking and moving while another nasty black ant was wildly attacking it! Again another very hard subject to get on the macro of my little camera but surely from this sequence and the video at the end you'll get how wild this fight was!



Waw... what an intense morning! And it all happened in less than 30 minutes.

Endless inspiration from hexagonal geometry

Playing around with half equilateral triangles the combinations of designs are pretty much endless... what a fun game to play! Thinking about water crystals and the spinning wheels of Natural cycles.
It's such an interesting and playful mind game: here I tried some square patterns using the same half equilateral triangles... and there are really endless combinations! All good practice for bigger models that are under construction here in these days for another building project with wood! What a wonderful opportunity to work and learn at the same time! Giving very deep thanks...



An interesting discovery: my first wood vinegar

One day, after doing the usual dry quenching of the super hot biomass that I had pulled out of my biochar making stove, I noticed some sort of a stain on the floor, like a print of the container used for the quenching... but like if there was something wet. Indeed, under the metal plate that I used as a lid of the container there was some condensation. Very interesting: what could have that been??? 


Further tests while a stove is growing

In these days, as we are gearing up for the next festival where I will be able to organize another biochar making workshop, I have started testing my stove a little bit more closely, with a chronometer and an electronic scale. In this way I hope to get some deeper insight while I size up the Elsa design to burn bigger chunks of wood for a longer time.


This is the combustion chamber on the top, all connected using a 5 liters recycled tank, a tomato can and some roofing metal sheet. In my idea, the top "mushroom" chimney it's all going to hold tight together so when I have to open it to do the quenching (possibly again without using water, just by chocking the hot charcoal in a proper airtight container) it's going to be easier and less dangerous...

Detail of the inside of the chimney, with the usual cuts and blades to mix secondary air with the smoke coming from below. 
I have also started weighting how much biomass I put inside and how much charcoal comes out at the end: this is an important proportion to check the whole process and to imagine what to expect while sizing it up. With the present stove, I can load about 60-65 grams of biomass and in a couple of burns I got 9 and 8 grams of biochar, which is less than what I was expecting, but considering that the type of quenching return super light and dry biochar maybe it's alright on these small quantities.


Also I have started checking about the speed of the whole process: with the super light biomass that I am using (used chopsticks and small twigs) I can get only to about 10 minutes leaving the primary air always open. In this test I have tried to close the inlet of primary air putting some small rocks all around the base of the stove, where the air comes in from underneath. In this way I was able to arrive to almost 12 minutes and in proportion it's already a good improvement. I have also checked the weight of my biochar volume unit (a tomato can), so that now I know how much biochar I have dumped around in the bush or handed out to some people: it's 35 grams.
Now I need to keep producing a bit more biochar and find a good location for a bigger deposit: surely there are many areas nearby that can benefit from it! Keep going on...