Showing posts from August, 2014

Charry Charry Night

So, you might be curious about the topic of this blog post. Here I will talk about a fascinating topic called Biochar.

Bio-what? ... yes, of late I have been fascinated with this whole biochar thing. This is the concept of taking charcoal and putting it in the ground. Very simply, doing this improves the soil's ability to retain moisture and minerals as well as allowing microorganisms to attach to the soil and thrive. You can think of it as turning a desert into an urban megalopolis for microbes, with attached supermarkets! Some tree and vegetation roots have a symbiotic relationship with the microbes, where the roots and microbes mutually benefit from each other. The carbon itself is an inert material (the housing apartment blocks of the microbes), but one that lasts for hundreds or thousands of years.
The natives in the Americas used this very technique many moons ago to great effect, with the added benefit of treating their waste streams to be recycled back into their…

Cooking with wood!

Howdy folks ... it was the middle of Feb 2014 when I last wrote to you. Times and seasons have changed and many a blogging event has come and gone - but alas absent was any corresponding blog post. Woe abounds ... however, I've decided to break this stretch of silence and hopefully get invigorated back into the swing of blogging our experiences at Atamai Village.
Rayburn Wood Cooker
As with many folks building a new house we ran out of money shortly after we moved in, so a few things are now on slower time scale. We hadn't been too cold this winter as the house is equipped with great thermal insulation, and the sunny Motueka weather gives us excellent solar gain which the house captures well. We have also managed by layering on more clothing when needed and occasionally using the electric heater. However there is no doubt that things are more comfortable with a bit more heat - particularly on those cold cloudy winter days. A strong impetus to complete this project …