Saturday Tweets: How about we all make some beer vinegar in a thatched dome?

How to Make a Simple Paint Can Rocket Stove

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Update: Root Simple reader Ruben questions whether it is possible to build a true rocket stove out of metal. Ruben sent me to a Facebook post by Benjamin Rosen who says, speaking of another metal rocket stove, “Actually, you can say that this is not a rocket stove. A rocket stove gives great heat from a small amount of fuel because it burns very efficiently at high temperatures. This is achieved by having a ceramic lining in the combustion chamber that permits very high temperatures because it insulates the combustion chamber, and because it absorbs and returns the heat to the chamber by glowing white hot. A metal lining, as we see in this design, will shed heat to the environment and therefore cannot reach the high temperatures needed for a true rocket stove. Metal, in any case, would melt at the temperatures achieved in a true rocket stove combustion chamber.

Rocket stoves cook food with small pieces of wood efficiently and with much less smoke than conventional wood burning stoves. They also help prevent deforestation since you can burn small twigs trimmed off a tree rather than burning logs. Search the interwebs and you’ll find may different designs. But they are all based on burning wood in an “L” shaped tube to create a chimney effect. Insulating the tube increases efficiency.

A friend who lives in a remote part of Southeast Asia is visiting us this month and we wanted to come up with a design for a rocket stove that could be made from commonly available materials with nothing more than hand tools. Our goal was done rather than perfect. Here’s how we did it:

Continue reading…

Stuff to do in February and March

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Free webinar today, Tuesday February 23rd at 11 a.m. PST: New Times, New Tools: Cultivating Climate Resilience on Your Organic Farm This webinar will also be archived for later viewing. And check out eXtension’s long list of upcoming free webinars.

For Angelinos:

Tuesday, 2/23
Caltrans wants to build an overpass in front of the historic Episcopal Cathedral that will dump freeway speed traffic right in front of a new bike lane. Tell them no! More info here.

Wednesday, 2/24
Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council Meeting to SAVE PROYECTO JARDIN

Thursday, 2/5
Save The Hahamongna Nursery

Saturday, 2/27
Curious about aquaponics? Come help and with the aquaponic installation at the Micheltorena School Garden.

Tuesday, 3/15
CERT training in Silver Lake (the LAFD site erroneously reads “Echo Park”)

Thanks to Lee Conger for the list of local happenings.

Mosaic Artist Jeffrey Bale

Jeffrey Bale is one of my gardening heroes and this video is, in my opinion, mandatory viewing. Bale’s artistic medium is the pebble mosaic and he’s taken his craft to levels not seen since the ancients. Bale spends three months every year traveling the world and searching for inspiration for his work. His astonishingly beautiful and insightful blog chronicles his travels and work.

Bale captures what I think is missing in a lot of contemporary art and landscape design, a sense of the transcendent and the search for what philosopher Charles Taylor calls “fullness”. Our gardens and cities could benefit from many more spaces like the labyrinth portrayed in this short mini-doc. Best of all, in the video,¬†Bale demonstrates¬†how he makes his mosaics. Bale has no trade secrets. He wants us all to participate in creating a more beautiful world.