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


Lovely music productions

Just finished recording and mixing on this date! Twenty-three days of sessions spread out on almost two months of time... but produced 2 awesome CDs for a couple of extremely talented japanese musicians that have been around already for quite sometime and surely are going to do so, more and more from now on...
 Ladies and gentlemen: Genjiro Hoshiya and Seto Yutaro!



Home made hemp pasta... gnam!

Too much of a rush to take pictures and cooking at the same time... all by myself: this is the only shot of the "making-of" Hemp tofu ravioli with miso and sage topping!

Very special filling too... 


Traveling duo under the sun

It's been a bit more than a month since our previous experience of driving trio on the mountains so this time we had to repeat moving along the same way, but with a different load with just one passenger and whole sale groceries from the town.


Flower power... waw!

Can you imagine what these flowers can do to your food?

Well: I could... but I had to try various experiment anyway! What a fun time playing in the kitchen!!! This is such an endless and tasty game...


Beetroot wine brew

Here is another one of the experiments that I am developing in these days: it is actually my first brew ever! So I have just made treasure of the words of wise friends and expert parents and tried to play around with some interesting local elements...

This is a 5 liter bottle of beetroot wine...

The magic of red cabbage

In these days I have started (or actually continued...) to experiment with natural food coloring using a few different vegetables and flowers to add a little creative touch to our daily meals. I have always loved red cabbages!
This is the red cabbage "tea", the liquid that is left over after boiling the vegetable. The one on the right here on the previous picture is the full 100% cabbage-tea, on the left it's diluted with lots of water.

In the next picture you can see how it turned regular dehydrated-soy-protein nuggets: the cabbage-tea was poured when it was still boiling hot, adding a good pinch of japanese hijiki seaweed and letting it there in the pot with the lid on, for about 15-20 minutes.

In the next picture the final meal, ready to be served: burmese noodles with hijiki and red-cabbage sauce. The texture of these noddles it's really interesting and tasted very good: there are round in section, quite fat and long.

This is the only instructions that where in the package. Beautiful design, isn't it? Giving big thanks to the kind gift that brought it on our table. Buon appetito! 


Handmade pots

Here is a quite nice and easy way to make your own garden pots. Well... if you have the right hand tools and especially the right raw materials!All you need it's a pair of garden scissors, a stick (in this case a reused bamboo stick), and the right palm...

Monorail sliding door

Here is the first setup of our bathroom sliding door. Extra diagonal supports are definitely going to be needed and it's going to be alright... zero budget for this, after scoring the piece that became the main rail from a good neighbour's wood pile!

The decorations are hand drawn by my son... it's a crowded monorail train with all kinds of animals and funny characters! Blends in very nicely even from far away... I like it!


Insect kirigami

Walking around in the garden, here's what I spotted! An interesting kirigami... made by an insect. Quite wild as it happened by total chance.


Kitchen ready!

Yeah, plus/minus a few little touches our kitchen it's all functional since last night! Drain still a bit leaking but it's hard to do it without a proper sealing glue... 

Dinner, breakfast and lunch already tested and enjoyed so... we are ready for guests anytime!


Bikes on a bike

Yeah... these pictures are really taken by myself while I was driving... I know it's a bad thing to do but I was alone and riding at a reasonably low speed. Anyway this guy had an crazy load on his vehicle!

Clean-up before yourself

There are many useful solutions that ripe in your mind after having to repeat on-and-on the same boring thing! Some of these many handy tricks may look like as obvious as:
be safe, take good care of your tools, work in a comfortable position...  

It's all really important stuff and on the long run they are really going to improve your results, whatever job you're trying to accomplish. But there is one thing that is going to improve right away...


Kitchen top growing

The birth of a kitchen top was just a few days ago. Now, after taking out all the propped pieces, the tricky part is to redo the sink's tap and catch this good chance to extend the pipes carrying water to the back side of the garden.

Resident lizards compost tea

In these days of high heat, all the rain is very welcome and lots of activity keeps happening all around: it maybe because of the full moon coming up for tomorrow too, but anyway lots of local friends are getting busy and active all day... some are busy all night but it's not easy to take pictures at them!
These two pictures and those that follow were taken in the day time at very lucky moments around our place, in Pai. Experimenting now using their droppings to make some sort of a liquid compost for our plants. Check it out!


Wild bees castle

Some days ago, during a nice hike in the forest we bumped (not really actually, otherwise we would have destroyed it...) in an amazing insect nest popping out of the ground...
What is this?


The birth of a kitchen top

In these days I have been working hard to prepare the first pieces of the kitchen top that we need in our place. The challenges are (1) to keep the investment as low as possible, (2) to use just the very few hand tools available (or kindly borrowed) and (3) to use recycled materials, local teak wood or bamboo. 

This is the layout of the first pieces... all just propped together for now.


The first rain of the season

It's been raining... the first rain of the season in Pai, northern Thailand: what a gift for all of the living beings! Giving thanks for the elements, for the Sky, the Earth and all the Nature itself! 


Spirulina feast!

In these days we've been treating ourselves really well with super healthy food... we feasted on spirulina using three different kinds of it, from different sources: two dry and one fresh too... which is really an amazing super food!

Waw! the Barbapapa' shake...

Hey check this out! The Barbapapa' shake... what a treat! We all really enjoyed it and we're looking forward to make more as soon as we get some other essential supplies! Guess, guess... guess... it's not strawberries in it, what could it be?! ;)



A stack of stoves

Just playing a bit some nights ago... indeed I had realized that I could do this before but this is just the first time that I got myself around it and actually did it! Stack up various part of different-size Elsa stoves and see it fire up!



Driving trio on the mountains

We're all ready to go... 1, 2, 3... go! a motorbike trio across the mountains of northern Thailand! Over a 130 km to go through, from Pai to Chiangmai and back on a tricky mountain road with a very sensitive load.
But we made it... 


Biochar stove meeting

In a sunny morning, friendly hosted at closed doors under the stunning green-living roof of the FatCat organic cafe' in Pai, an historical biochar stove meeting have happened: the meeting between Elsa stove and Planestove.


Check out the following shots and hold on for further developments.


Most scary insect ever

Waaaw... it was night time, after dinner... and while I was washing the dishes it passed very close to the kids' feet as they were sitting down on the porch. They freaked out... and me too when I saw what they were screaming for! 

These are the scars that I made with the machete on the concrete floor during the battle that I engaged with it...


Prayer to the Holy Trees of Thailand

Now in Thailand, again and again... it's the so called smokey season, when all the mountains of the wide area of northern Thailand as well as neighboring countries, fall victim of extensive wild fires, burning over and over all these lush beautiful forests.
My prayer goes to two holy trees in Chiangmai for all the suffering of the living beings in the area during this very harsh time of abuse the Nature and increased air pollution:
may this end soon and never happen again!


Energy from living plants

Waw... this is truly amazing but I cannot hide some sort of doubt about it being another scam: wouldn't it be fabulous to grow your own energy? Apparently the technology it's there already but the time is going to pass before we can plug in on a tree and recharge the computer! Anyway... keep it up guys! Make it happen and share it all!
Links for more details here and here.


Opening the way to development

Not many uploads in these days... but making treasure of some "gift help from the Universe" a few substantial upgrades have happened at the house!

A new opening in the fence attached to the house allows now optimal flow and the kitchen is finally very well lit by a couple of new sky lights. 
We are really very happy about these achievements... check it out!


Second attempt baking in the biochar

Some days ago after Baking in the biochar with very comforting result the first time, I tried again without realizing the "timing"... the exposure to the super high temperatures involved needs to be very carefully calculated or actually guessed... it's about feeling how soon the process it's going to end and in that moment insert the goods to be baked.
In my second attempt I must admit: it went totally wrong! The garlic stayed in pretty much from the beginning and this time turned (surprise surprise...) into garlic charcoal!
I had some of it anyway for ...ehm... personal research purpose but indeed it was too crunchy to be eaten.
Someday I'll take my chances again, when we have plenty of garlic!  


Troubles extending a stove

A few days have passed since in my previous post I shared my idea of Extending a stove by inserting some metal cylinder, adapted can or folded sheet, between the mouth piece and the bottom of an already made stove.
The purpose would be quite positive but I must admit that the application has been not completely satisfactory up until now. The main issue is not getting a complete process as some of the biomass on the bottom of the stove fails to become biochar.

This is almost for sure due to the fact that the joints between the three pieces (bottom, extension, top mouth piece) are definitely not air-tight. Other practical solutions rather than the very basic ones that I tried to apply are not easy to perform at this early stage of development.
I feel it's important to share ideas but also "not-completely-positive" results as somebody's failures or just experiences may be crucial information for others to avoid trouble.

Anyway the rice was nicely cooked and the biochar production was perfect in the other 80% of the biomass load. It's been worth all the efforts, now I will have to proceed in a different way... 


Trippy tree parasites

During one of my morning watering chores in the garden... look what I spotted!
Some of the most trippy bugs ever: indeed they are a colony of nasty parasites as the poor little tree has been badly chewed up in many leaves.


Baking in the biochar

Now that my latest Elsa stoves have grown up in size, making more biochar in one time, today it's the first time that I realized that there is also another bonus and it's that I can actually bake inside the stove!
Look what I wrapped up in aluminum foil and tossed into the stove while it was in full pyrolisys... the first baking test!

Extending a stove

As some basic instructions on how to build an Elsa stove have been given at my previous post The birth of a biochar stove, now I would like just to share some insight about a very practical modification that can be applied on an already built stove or implemented during the construction of a new stove from the beginning.

It's about finding a good point where to cut the stove in two pieces... and extend it properly in order to load more biomass and so having flames that last longer.

At the moment it's just the beginning of some new experiments but I definitely think that having sets of cans exactly with the same sizes and repeating the same joining procedures... you could extend your stove at the desired height. There must be a limit but it would be very nice to discover it empirically try to add more and more extensions to see what happens.

Well, still on the search for other cans with the same sizes, I will have to test some other solutions and see how it goes. Keep checking out the next posts...  


Sad findings in a smokey morning

In these days the smoke in the air it's sadly increasing. It's from forest fires, engulfing the whole Pai valley in a stinky grey haze.

Then look what I found today in the backyard during my regular chores of clean up... it's beyond sad. 


Carbon negative cooking slightly oversized

Some days ago I tried to cook (successfully at the end) using the big Elsa stove that I had previously put together. Not having any adjustable frame handy I decided to hang a pot from above and just give it a try, regulating the height with the length of the rope.
Indeed it worked but... ehm... looks like I needed a much wider pot or an Elsa with a smaller mouth. That's way too powerful! Check out the short video clip at the end of the post you'll see how strong it is...


On the way to Pai

Indeed it's going to be quite a good ride this time... at the guest house in Chiangmai, also the shop keeper came to take pictures!
Going to be One with the road again.
Pai valley hear me coming...

Building around Nature

Lovely spot... this really touched me! It's one of the various amazing points in Thailand where they built around the Nature. Very thai-style indeed in terms of materials and such but the higher purpose is very clear!
This is the entrance of the kitchen of Huean Samila guest house in Chiangmai, a really lovely place very near to Chiangmai gate