What Happened to This Lime Plaster Job? And How I Fixed It

How do you fix lime plaster gone wrong? Early in the building of Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, when strawbale building was a budding technology, people tried some experimental stuff. Well, to be honest, people are often experimenting because not everyone that builds their first house has all the knowledge they need to do it right the first time. We all make mistakes, and the combining of earthen and lime plasters on strawbale exterior walls was one of those experiments that failed. In this video I show you what happens when you put lime plaster on top of earthen, and how it can be repaired to make a long lasting wall surface.

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I Fixed a Dead Chest Freezer and Turned It Into a Chest Fridge

My old superefficient Sundanzer freezer was DOA when I got back to Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage from Florida last spring. This time, I wanted to convert a chest freezer to a fridge with an external thermostat. That way it would be more efficient because it wouldn’t dump the cold every time I opened the door. But when I looked into chest freezers, they were not available and were on backorder for months into the future.

But I noticed a number of appliances on the curb in the village waiting to be brought in for recycling, one of which was a small freezer that still looked in good shape. I thought I’d do some troubleshooting and see if I could get it running again.




What Happens When You Use Frozen Lime Putty in Lime Plaster?

This fall I started a little home improvement project on the Timberframe building at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage. The house had originally been plastered with earthen plaster on strawbale and lime plaster on top of the earthen plaster. This didn’t work so well and over the years the lime plaster has been cracking and peeling off the undercoat. I’d planned to buy all new lime for the project but then I found a barrel full of old slaked lime putty. This had been left out for many years and experience freezing and thawing many times.

I wondered, can you still use frozen lime putty? People around Dancing Rabbit had always spread the rumor that frozen lime putty was no good because it’s chemical structure had changed through the freezing. But I looked it up online and found that that isn’t true. So I decided to make use of that lime putty and redo part of the wall with it. How did it turn out? Watch the video.

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Ramen Noodles For the End Times: Homemade Ramen Noodles in a Solar Cooker

So society is crumbling, there’s limited access to fossil fuel, there’s chaos in the streets, but you happen to have some flour and baking soda and a solar cooker. You can easily make homemade ramen noodles without any fossil fuel.

I used to think of ramen noodles as a low quality convenience food. Still I depended on them back in college and I still love a doctored up packet of fancy ramen noodles from the asian grocery from time to time. But ramen noodles are very popular in Japan, and as with many Japanese things, they have taken it to a level of artisan perfection. You can pretty easily make your own ramen noodles. In this video, I show you how I make ramen noodles without any fossil fuel inputs, using only the power of the sun.

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Supercharged SOLAR DEHYDRATOR that doubles as a COLD FRAME

When I was thinking about building a solar dehydrator, my unused cold frame caught my eye and I thought, hmm, that would make a great solar dehydrator during the off season. I use a cold frame in the spring to get my starts going early because it’s like a mini greenhouse. It gives full natural light early in the season when I start to run out of space under the grow lights.

But once I’m done with starts, the cold frame just takes up space in my backyard until the next season. I thought, why not have it double as a solar dehydrator. With a few modifications, it could become a dehydrator and not only conserve space, but save me the trouble of having to go to the trouble of building a separate dehydrator.

I’ve been frustrated with the inefficiency of an electric dehydrator since it uses over 600W and seems like just a waste of solar electric power when the sun is right there in the summer. So in this video I design and build a new kind of solar dehydrator that can double as a cold frame.

5 Best Tips From a 1908 Gardening Book: Old Timey Organic Wisdom

There have been many universe-jarring advances in agricultural technology over the past 100 years, but sometimes being more sustainable means going back to the way things used to be. A lot of those advances in technology rely HEAVILY on fossil fuel, a finite resource whose limited supply we are arguably still in the sweet spot of, but which is causing climate change on a scale rarely witnessed in the history of the planet.

In this video, I find some of the gems from the Biggle Garden Book. This was before the advent of hybrid crops, biotech, and chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

But the history of agriculture is not all peaches and cream. Many useful technologies and a lot of useful information about how everything works has been discovered since this book was published. This is back when people were ingesting lead, mercury, and arsenic like it was skittles. But it was also before DDT, agent orange, and glyphosate. In the next Biggle Garden Book video, I’ll be talking about the 5 scariest tips.