Underground Home and Sustainable Farm Pt 1 Earthship Hidden Grove Homestead


Journey Soup


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I welcome the hidden Grove homestead my name is Ethan I want to show you around a little bit but before I do I'm gonna give you a little slice of history what's been going on out here eight years ago when we got the property it's my dad's property there was nothing here it was just trees rolling hills dilapidated pond since then we've been doing the best we can with what's readily available and what we've got and we've made quite a bit happen so far just trying to live the American dream out here and be free and be happy the abundant so I'll show you around and you can see what we've been doing so this is the outdoor kitchen it was one of the first structures that we got up out here it's kind of the hangout spot and it's also where we now do all of our canning so we have this outdoor for the brick oven here which is converted for canning right now then you can also as you see right here you can put bricks across the top with those grates close the top and you got a brick oven all right now we've got a simple rocket stove set up and this is also our main water catch structure so on this metal roof we put water in this tote here and then from there we'll siphon it we used to bucket it out of here and get it into our tractor and take it uphill but we also have the outdoor shower here but uh we take the water out of this thing and take it uphill to another tank which is essentially our water tower and then from that water tower you can use it I mean it's just a tank uphill but it's like how water works in the city you don't have to pump it you can just use it in the after-hour kitchen use it to fill up tanks inside the earth home all sorts of stuff so this right here is a solar water heater the bottom broke off that or whatever but you can see in principle you have to fill up each tube but it's like a one-way mirror on the inside and a vacuum insulated chamber on the outside so then you can dump the whole thing all at once into the trough and that'll do about five and a half gallons of water so it's enough to like watch a bunch of dishes get canning going or have a nice hot shower all right so this is the entrance to our root cellar and this was kind of like a warm-up test trial to the whole earth bag construction deal so I hope the lighting is all right and you can see but it's partially plastered and you can see here the actual earth bags those are filled with just subsoil it's basically the dirt the light-colored soil underneath it's primarily clay and sand and when they go when the soil goes into the bag it's all crumbled and you moisten it so then when you tamp it and flatten it when it dries it becomes like a brick and then this stuff here is a earthen plaster earthen lime plaster and it's got a bunch of biochar or activated charcoal mixed in which we just made ourselves and that helps control mold so like in the winter which we're getting ready to do right now you dig up the roots you put the potatoes carrots onions not onions but you put a bunch of roots in here you could even put cabbages and apples and stuff like that but in the summer it tends to get mold problems so I've been battling that with a natural plaster and these barn boards here same deal they're three by twelves and there's three feet of dirt above our heads right now so like the whole idea with this seller is that in the winter it stays just above freezing and then in the summer we don't really use it right now but if we can get a handle on the mole but mainly under control right now but we finished the plaster we can use it for fermenting beverages and kimchi foods etc so this thing's working pretty good for now and it was like a big test trial for us when we were doing this earth bag thing we'd never done it before you can see right here where we actually had to cut away to put it in the door frame there's some mold there and if I mean it's yeah it hurts to hit so that's as hard as a rock and these walls are almost 2 foot thick - so pretty sturdy so this here is like our little herb berm right on the house just outside the door of the earth home it's filled with like medicinal and edible herbs and it's also got a lot of pollinators stuff in it this is spearmint here we have seven different kinds of mint I think this one's from Washington these are chives you have sage there's a bit of garlic in here that's a mulberry fruit inside it one to grow some lemon balm then you further up we have oregano thyme this is valerian this is sleeping a medicinal one there's some like ornamental stuff a lot of echinacea you can see it's like the cone flower it's already done we can dig up the roots now these are three years olds they make excellent medicine and then most everything in here is perennial we do have stuff like cilantro and dill that will just come back on its own and seed really heavily and then we also have little stuff like rhubarb and then like this is a service berry or a Juneberry it's lost most of its leaves already but uh it's kind of like a blueberry but it does a lot better in our region here so it's a big mixture of stuff in here to bring in B's and just to make tea and grab something to cook with the nice functional beautiful deal we got here so this is like our one of our major skylights on the building and it's also a vent so when we pull on a rope down inside of the building it pops this out and I won't be able to lift it but it pops this thing out and lets a bunch of air out of the highest point of the building now you can also see we have 55-gallon drums which we've turned upside down and those make an excellent skylight as well much cheaper than a $300 version they offer not quite as fancy but it it really bounces the light around like kind of like a fiber optic effect or something but it really scatters the light nicely inside the house so those were good for like around the outside and then this was like our main one and we also have solar power [Music] but we've got four panels here and there are about 240 watts apiece I want to say and collectively it's 960 watt array for just about a kilowatt of power if they're at full output but generally its sized up to be enough to run like a small cabin without any major appliances so if you have less power you just have to be smart about how you use it so these have these do everything we need them to alright so here you see the front of the earth home but I'm about to take you over to where all the action happens and that's the stage [Music] all right so you can see we just entered a little food forest this is just now four years old some of these like this is a chestnut I believe playing in front right now filbert hazelnut this was planted as a little sapling four years ago we have like maybe 40 plants all in this little area they're gonna grow up nice little VIP backstage entrance deal you know so this thing was built just a couple of years ago and everything we used was salvaged once again no surprise so the floorboards are from a barn is actually heavy-duty trusses underneath my feet right now and you can tell this thing isn't going anywhere I mean it was really over built as far as the deck goes and like some people said well if you ever change your mind you can turn this into a little house but uh the uprights are barnwood as well four by sixes and some trusses the whole shebang so we might put a we might put a tin roof over this and you catch them like crazy amounts of water here in a couple years but for now we don't know what we'd even do with the water so this is generally where we we use this for many different things but the main thing like we have a share fest for Independence Day weekend and it's just a thing where we share the space with everybody and everybody comes out and shares what they have and that what they like to make a party and artists come out and share their gift of music and everybody even if you got you know hug and a high-five sometimes that's a needed thing for party too so we just all get together potluck style type of party so this is like ground zero for all that action and as you can see it put we play the music right up into this natural amphitheater so once this food forest grows up we'll have like a nice little natural Bowl right here between the trees and the earth itself so out here we use like a no-till mulch system we've been doing it for a couple of years now so we just use grass that we cut from out here and we rake it ourselves and it helps keep the weeds down and it also helps like feed the organisms in the soil to mycelium and keep the soil nice and happy and all that good stuff it's a big bonus to have to weed less but we have it's fall now you can tell the gardens on its way out we had a nice hard frost recent but uh sweet corn and popcorn that we haven't taken down yet there's some melons we didn't pick there's some why the big weed out there it's Mullen we let some weeds grow in here if they're beneficial or useful and the peppers basil brussel sprouts some Tomatoes and there's some kale and celery still in this garden yet they're already harvested our onions and garlic and all sorts of stuff getting ready for winter [Music] all right so we're draining the pond right now and we're as you can see like in those neat cattails over there and on the bank as well it's dropped probably 15 inches or so we're and you can see right here in the bank as well but uh this is the device that we're using to to drain the pond it's actually a siphon so it's just 2 inch PVC and the whole concept with a siphon is that you have more length of hose or pipe or whatever on the downhill side on the other side of the dam so it you fill the pipe up with water so we have a valve there we shut valve at the bottom we shut we open this cap up fill it with water we open both ends and as long as that ends in the water it basically pumps the water up and over the hill so we've got 3 pump it's just general siphon but it's 2 inches so it's draining it a good rate we've got about an inch in 4 hours when it first started but it's starting to lose capacity its draining a little faster since there's less surface area but a good way is a good way to drain the pond because a we're not gonna break the dam down and just let it all pour out at once and be because that that would basically leave a bunch of sediment behind and it would leave this huge trail of mud and it would also overload the creek down there with a huge blast like a tsunami almost so any any life that's down there in the creek can take like a small flow of this water steadily over course of fry a week it's gonna take to do this but it's going and then when it's all drained out we'll dig through the wall and let all the muck out then next year we'll get in there and have to make it a little deeper and reshape it a little bit but it's gonna be well worth it because then we're gonna have something that can support fish which is going to support us again and support the ecosystem and it'll be some fun for us too if we have some good swimmable water right here alright so this is the downhill side of the siphon output or whatever and you can see we use the couple parts pull makeshift slipping slides see how it's fall we're just save the driveway coming down here and the wind has other other ideas of course but I was working the most parts going right down to a little scream and as you can tell on this white tarp it's pretty clear I mean that's the color that it is in the pond so we know we're not stirring up a bunch of sediment in a bunch of muck as we're doing this and the stream down downhill from here is gonna be able to take this this time so as you can see there's a cabin up there it's built out of all salvaged materials and it's nestled on a nice little Grove let's go take a look [Music] so as you can see these are like little garden plots here they've got some sunflowers that have died off now it's fall but I want to put some thornless blackberries in there and there's already some stuff thrown wild there's a little mulberry tree here just let them grow and this is some elderberry trying to not be as wild as it can be this is a salvage sliding glass door someone's gonna throw this in a dump dog scratch on it stuff for whatever reason they're replacing it it's got a screen door and everything it's all about who you know pallet floors these are like a stronger palette but we sanded them and everything and then the wall wood is a cedar from my uncle's house when we helped him renovate it had old cedar paneling underneath the aluminum siding so the inside of it is all nice a cedar and behind that you can see some plastic here still it's insulated with sawdust so it doesn't have a stove in it right now or whatever but it'll also keep the heat out in the summer as well but ah the studs here you can see ones exposed this is Douglas fir these are three by sixes that came out of an old barn that was also going to be burned so and then the same with the stuff on the outside it's tin from a vine it's gonna be you can't burn the pinafores but the other Tim is just salvaged as well out here in the Midwest is a lot of people trying to take barns down and it's just a good way to get materials where you just kind of have to be flexible as far as natural building goes with like what's available in your area like there's always construction waste there's pallets around in the Midwest there's barns so you just have to be flexible with whatever is abundant in your area so makes good shelter a little resourceful so this is a peach tree that was planted last year from a little sapling started from seed it's actually doing really good as you can tell we mulch around them we just recently gilded some comfrey in there some lemon balm and some garlic so just some competition for the weeds but we're starting we've bought a lot of trees that were grafted and we just bought them from different nurseries but we've had so much trouble with the deer that we're trying another method where we just use seed so it's going pretty good so far as you can tell from this one where we've been able to take care of it right near the house here and water it all right here we have what we've commonly called the boneyard and this is just where we put things that we think are gonna be useful you never know type of stuff don't want to let it go kind of halfway hoarding things so for example there's like that tin roofing siding whatever you want to call it some metal roofing there crates that we've made out of pallets you got use windows old farm or old fence post concrete block 55-gallon drums barn wood you name it and then we've even got like little trees in here this is a Hart nut it's a hybrid walnut and these there's just trees peppered all across the property you can tell us one of them taking real good care of because it's really far away from the house just like the body [Music] so this is a mobile chicken coop right here as you can see it's on wheels we took an old trailer that nobody wanted anymore like an old farm trailer and just built a simple little frame on top of it we catch water it's not currently occupied with chicken right now but they're laying hens is what it was made for but uh this barrel can give them access to water on the inside and that now we had a really bad predator problem so we had this done cage this up but supposed to be able to get the eggs right there real easy and then has the door over here okay it was pegged shut because the predator problem just a real simple deal some laying boxes on the side not forget you some eggs another apple tree over here as well that one's about been on the property for probably seven years it doesn't have any fruit on it right now because it was a hard year for him but uh should next year for sure now you've seen what we've been up to out here you might be a little discouraged if you're trying to get started but just remember six years ago I didn't even know how to use a screw gun and I got started with a project on my my grandpa's pool and the rest is history I mean I didn't even know how to garden eight or nine years ago so you just pick something that you like to do and get some momentum going find some friends out there there's other projects going but yeah I'm sure you're working on something and it's picking up some steam by now so hopefully we'll see you here soon maybe at 2019 chair fest some of you might be wondering where to get started or like how to get involved with a project like this and I just want to make a quick shout out to the organization woof USA and it's also an international program it's an acronym for worldwide opportunities on organic farms we've been participating in the program and it's a good way to get involved where volunteers come spend time on organic farms to learn skills and organic farming and it's just like a cultural exchange - a good way to travel and a good way to get in touch with some people in your area and I want to also give a big shout out to a bunch of people who have helped what with countless projects out here we don't have enough time in this whole video to name them all or remember everybody who's helped but that's a big thing - you get something started people want to help so help with a project that's already going or get a little something going and people are gonna jump on the bandwagon [Music]