Monday, February 13, 2012

There are other ways

I have never been very good at doing what everyone else does. As if you didn't know that already. Part of it is rebelliousness, I admit. But mostly, it's because what is considered 'normal' by most of us first-worlders is plain bloody stupid. Please take a look at Derrick Jensen's A New Declaration and tell me if you can disagree with any of those statements? Yet for whatever reason, we find an excuse we can hide behind and we go along with it, failing to question the fact that we simply cannot justify our way of living much past the point of 'yeah well, we're entitled to it'.

Rocket Mass Heater with cob bench

I consider myself fortunate that the American/English/Canadian dream never did much for me, so I'll pass on that one, thanks. And though I didn't expect to end up as an aspiring self-sufficient homesteader, I knew I wouldn't live a 9-5 suburban existence. I was good at my office jobs back in the UK, and for a couple of years I managed to successfully portray myself as yet another anonymous suburban drone "chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need". So much of what goes along with that package is wrong. It's wrong, and at the same time it's unquestioned by the majority. It is supposedly the only way of doing things. It is supposedly what everyone wants and aspires to have.

Humanure toilet

Well, I don't want it. And thankfully, there have been thousands of people who came before me, their quiet voices fighting against the all-conquering mass of 'normal', who have gradually built a network of alternatives for those of us who refuse to flop comfortably into the warm, fluffy mould of ignorance.

Simondale House

We're already considered weird by a lot of people for daring to even question where our food comes from. We're crazy for choosing to grow our own food and raise livestock rather than munch away on the so-called 'food' from the grocery store. Because chemicals and factory farms are... a good thing? I have no idea what they will think of us after my next few posts because I'm thinking of doing a series on things like rocket mass heaters, humanure toilets, cob, earthships and compost. Fascinating, right?

Michael Reynolds: Garbage Warrior (awful title, awesome documentary)

There are other ways of doing things, and I intend to explore the options to find what works for us.


  1. I used a rocket stove with a friend of mine for making maple syrup a few years back. Cool stuff. They burn hot and make a cool noise. I am not convinced that they are the end all solution for "home heating" (though that is radically different than most peoples idea of home heating). Main problem is they require a bit of attention, at least the one we were using. I liked Kiko Denzer's err.. design? He basically made a masonry "hat" for his small box stove. He claimed it would hold heat for 12 hours after a one hour fire. You could easily just burn dry pine and get that masonry good and hot in the morning and be set for the rest of the day. 12 hours later light again for the evening. This wouldn't be ideal for cooking but thats not the intended function I don't think.
    You seem to have done more research on rocket stoves, so I will ask you- how long to they typically hold heat with an average fire?

  2. *By "attention" I meant that they require feeding and stoking at shorter intervals.

  3. I love the look of the Simondale house!

  4. Ricson: I'm still a newb when it comes to RMH so I can't answer that. One of the main problems with them seems to be the fact that they're all build to individual specs so there are no real guidelines to their efficiency, as far as I can tell. I love the concept, I'm certainly going to end up with one, but I still don't expect it to be the 'sole' heating/cooking option. The big-ass Pioneer Maid cookstove will still be with us. I'll try to get my post up in the next few days...

    Chai Chai: yup, I love the place. Here's the site if you haven't seen it already: