Saturday, September 29, 2012

Geodesic Dome Greenhouse - Part 10 - ROCKET MASS HEATER

I won a bid on eBay for 48 fire bricks. I picked those up today. I paid 1 Euro! I also bought a new oil barrel that will be delivered. And I bought a metal chimney pipe we can use for our stove. I have a bid on the pipes I can run through the floor. That's local, so I could pick those up if we win the bid. The total cost of our green house rocket stove will be about 50 to 60 Euro. Juergen and Nicole built the brick wall for the front of the greenhouse. We will build the bottle wall next week (hopefully). It is looking good, thanks mostly to Nicole and Juergen. Nicole especially has worked hard. I hope it turns out well, and she can use it as an art studio. Here is a good video on building a rocket stove. Ours will be smaller, but basically the same idea. Our stove pipes will be shorter, but run under the floor. Our greenhouse is much smaller then the one in this video.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Romney Knocks Obama At Clinton Global Initiative: "I Will Never Apologize For America"

Romney Knocks Obama At Clinton Global Initiative: "I Will Never Apologize For America"

colored glass

Nicole put down the foundation for half the green house today. Jessicas teacher had an appointment, so I just took Jessica shopping. While I was out, I collected colored glass for our bottle wall. I got 2 kinds of purple glass, white glass, blue glass and also green and orange glass. It will be a very beautiful wall. The glass will be in the shape of a cross. Once the foundation dries we can start using cement blocks to build up a small wall that the bottles will sit on. It will be beautiful I think. The weather isn’t very nice. It’s a little cold. I wish the house was finished and we were drinking tea inside it!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

greenhouse construction + rocket mass heater how to tutorial

Nicole and I want to build a rocket stove in our green house. I won bricks on eBay yesterday. Juergen helped me buy the bricks and cement for the foundation. We also bought the wood for the frame of the front and back walls. He helped me allot. I know I could have done it (poorly) with out him. But it will be much better with his input. And we found a good door we can buy. I just didn't have the space in the car yesterday. We also want to build a giant cross on the front with glass bottles. It will be a stain glass window in the shape of a cross. Juergen helped me figure out how to do that technically. So, Nicole and I will do most of the work, and Juergen will do a small amount of the work too. We just don't have the expertise he does. I know I've posted this video 2 or 3 times, but he idea is so cool. I think this is how we will heat our green house this winter.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Dad

It was my dad's birthday yesterday. I almost forgot because I was busy in the garden. I guess that's the best way to honor my dad. He loves plants. Nicole, Thomas and I got the plastic on the greenhouse today. Now we need to build walls for the front and back. That will be the hard part. We need to put in one window and a door. But so far are we are doing well. Love you dad! I'm always trying to build a garden you would be proud of!

How to Make Homemade Sauerkraut

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The high tunnel green house

Nicole and I took the tent down today. And with part of the frame we began building a green house. Juergen is afraid we will not be able to do it well. We are determined to use all the information we have gained over the past few years on building. We have already put the metal frame up. At the base on one side we have a wooden base rail. We build another base rail on the other side. Then we also build braces on the side walls to make it more secure. And across the top I'll also add some wooden framing. The polls will have very large and long screws sunk into concrete at the foundation. And on one end wall we want to do an earth bag wall using a mix of wet sand and concrete in sandbags. You first build a base of gravel. The first row of sandbags go halfway under ground. Then you add barber wire between the rows of sandbags. And you can also add rebar to help make the wall stable. This is the part Juergen is nervous about. Will our wall fall down? We will add glass bottles on the outside of the wall for looks. Eventually you cover the wall with plaster. And we want to also mosaic the plaster. We are excited about this project, but Juergen is nervous. I hope we can surprise him with a very good greenhouse. One that does not blow away, and does not cost much, and stays warm. We want to build a rocket stove to keep it warm. And we will run heating through the floor. Yes it's ambitious, but I think we can do it. And if it works we can be very proud!

How to Make a Brick Rocket Stove for $6.08

Monday, September 17, 2012

A good weekend

We had a very full but good weekend. Saturday I attended the graduation of the International Health department at the University of Heidelberg. Then we hosted the graduation party for the students and their families. We expected 75-100 people, but only about 60 showed up. I think many family members had jet jag and could not come. But it was an amazing group of people from the entire world. The weather was beautiful. Nicole and I spent the entire week cleaning the house, but the party was basically in the garden because of good weather. And we used our party tent. We had a really nice bon fire. We also used the straw bales I got from the summer camp as chairs. That looked good, and worked out well. The department at the University hired and paid for the catering. And the catering was awesome. They brought the tables. They also set up their own food tent. So we had 2 tents. It looked great and was very nice! I did not take pictures. I was too busy. But I'm sure I'll get pictures from the students. Then on Sunday Nicole and I went to a Hill Song church worship night. It was 3 hours away. I drove the car, and took 2 others from the youth group. It was a very good service. I am blessed to see how much churches are growing in Germany! But we drove for 6 hours & I'm so tired today. I would love some down time! I started again to study for the End Times seminar Juergen and I teach in October. I made some good progress today. The weather is very good. Maybe I'll go plant some flower bulbs?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

not looking good in the world

Juergen and I both think Israel will bomb Iran soon, before the election. Obama shows uncertain support. If they bomb Iran before the election Obama will have to support Israel to get the Jewish vote. After the election Israel has a friend if Romney wins, and maybe not if Obama wins. Things are looking very ugly in the Middle East. I think we are looking at WW3 about to happen. And another recession sorry to say. I hope I’m wrong.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

sleeping in

Nicole volunteered to get the kids off to school this morning. I honestly don't know what I would do with out her. She is so helpful. We are very blessed to have such a gift of a daughter! Today we keep getting the house ready for the big party on Saturday. It's really good motivation to do all the stuff that gets put off. In the end, I'm so glad to have a super clean house and garden. And after the party a professional cleaning team will come in and clean up. So for a few magical moments I'm going to have a clean house. Very nice! It will not last. Order always moves towards chaos, but for a short time we will see order. Because I'm more rested from sleeping in, I have the time to think about the seminar Juergen and I will be teaching in October. I'm begging to think about the application part. What real ministry can we bring to this teaching on the end times. You do allot of reflection on the darkness that is in this very worldly world. It is pretty disheartening. But things where also dark for the early church. We are salt and we are light. We can not lose our taste and our function. And I personally get discouraged about this. But the church should get better at building up it's people. We must be salt and light. And I hope we can help build people up.

Monday, September 10, 2012

First day of school

Philip was gone before I got up. He loves school. He doesn't care much about learning. It's just a good social club to him. Thomas doesn't like school. That's because he has trouble with friends. But he is smarter then Philip. And Sarah was happy to go today. She will start in the 3rd class. We want her to go to the 2nd grade. The teacher said we would talk. They may not have space in the 2nd class. I know they will pressure us to keep her in the 3rd grade. But they don't see Sarah melt down from the stress of home work that's too hard for her. I feel out numbered. But I'm praying a place opens up for her. I'm praying she can move into the 2nd grade. I feel it's very important to firm up her foundation before we move forward. She can go farther in the long run if she is really strong in the basics. I'm making grape juice from beautiful grapes my friend gave me. I need to wash our walk ways. There is allot of work to do to get ready for the party we host on Saturday. Jessica is out with her teacher. So it will be a very busy week of hard work. God help us!

Dig for Victory

I got a DVD in the mail today called Dig for Victory. It's a BBC film about the garden movement in England during WW2. 1/2 of the households in England grew at least part of their own food. They grew their own food to free up the food for the troops. It was their part of the war effort. America also had victory gardens. I guess Germany also had the same thing going on during the war. Imagine what would happen if we all would just dig up our grass and grew vegetables instead? Why can we do it in war time, and stop doing it today. We may not need to feed the troops, but there are hungry people in the world. Maybe we should fight the war on poverty? We have the land, and the know how. Why do we have huger? Why grass and not potatoes?

Sunday, September 09, 2012

back packs

School starts tomorrow. I went through the boys back packs to help them get ready. They hadn't cleaned them out from last school year. But there wasn't and dead food, so it was OK. They will get a list of a million things the teacher wants them to have. I'll stand in a long line trying to buy these things. That's an annual stress test. We are going to try Sarah in the 3rd grade. I personally think we should put her in the 2nd grade from day one but I'm over ruled by Juergen. I hope he is right. She has caught up in math, but is still very far behind in German. We will see. She may still be put back. I just think it's easier from the start of the year. The kids quickly forget. In the middle of the year everyone has already formed friendships and you are the outsider. So I hope it works because it will be harder in the middle of the year. As I write this I feel like Juergen and I still need to talk. I just don't feel good about moving Sarah forward. She is too far behind in German. And in Germany every thing is German. History tests, and Biology all have to be written in German. And they do not just judge your ideas. You do not get allot of true and false...or answer A B or C questions. You have to write you answers out in German, and you have to be grammatically correct. And in the 3rd and 4th class you need to do oral reports. Sarah could not do that because of her extreme language dely. She needs more time. Great, she has caught up in math...but German is everything. And she will not make it with out extreme stress. I do not think a few days of social stress is anything to the stress of feeling always behind.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Jessica is 21 years old

Today is Jessica's 21st birthday. I told her I would take her shopping for her birthday, so she was up at sunrise. Nicole came with me. I took a photo of them together. Jessica is so much shorter then Nicole. How could these 2 be sisters, and Nicole is the "little" sister. Jess bought a stack of books. And she will tear them all. That is so sad, but that is what she does. She got tired very fast (I guess because she got up too early). I also bought her a hair brush with her name on it, some nice smelling shampoo, and a very soft blanket that has zebra strips. I use to get very sad when Jessica had a birthday. She has never had a party with friends. Every birthday was a reminder that she is still 100% dependent. And even things babies can do, like talk and feed themselves, Jess can not do. I use to cry allot about that. But her name means God's gift. And she is a gift. She teaches me that life does not need to be as perfect and normal as you thought to be worth something. Jessica can not do a million things other 21 years olds can do, but we don't waste allot of time thinking about that. Instead I think about what is there. She is kind, lovely and compassionate. She dearly loves to laugh (a line from pride and prejudice). She is smart. And I hope she will one day learn to write independently. Then we will see the thoughts and feeling that are there. We just have not gained access to those thoughts yet. Anyway, happy birthday to my oldest daughter. One day in heaven we will sit together with your Oma Heymann and eat lunch. You will do all the talking.

Friday, September 07, 2012

The big tent

It took a few hours, but the tent is now up. And I think I will turn it into a green house after next weeks party. I found out you can make it shorter and thinner. So instead of having a greenhouse that's 5 meters wide, and 8 meters long, we can have it 4 x6 meters. That's perfect. I will need to buy the wood to frame in the end walls, cement for the foundation, and green house plastic. But the whole thing will be so much cheaper then the high tunnel we where looking at. Juergen has even said we could maybe weld the metal together to make the frame solid. Awesome! We get soil on Monday for the greenhouse area. And Tuesday the mulch comes. So the ground will be ready for the greenhouse. The garden is almost ready for the party. The kids go back to school on Monday. I should be able to clean the house for the party. And they hired caterers to do the rest. So I hope it will be stress less. I'm very glad to get a clean garden and house!

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Thomas had a nice Birthday

It was Thomas' 15th birthday. We had a small family party. He will have a big party in a few weeks, after school starts. We want to take him to this indoor soccer hall where they can play soccer. The place also has a coach you can hire. I think the boys would love this. But it's the final week of summer vacation and most everyone is still gone! His gift still hasn't come in the mail. I ordered a new ipod. He was ok about having to wait. He has grown in patience and understanding. I'm glad about that. I ordered it over a week ago, but the mail doesn't always move as fast as you need it to.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

dead fish

Nicole found one of our fish dead in the pond. It was one of the Koi. She pulled it out and studied it. Now she is drawing it. And I wouldn't put it past her if she doesn't dicect it. She does not see a dead fish, she sees a model.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

what should we do?

Sarah is again afraid of school. School starts on Monday and she has to write a paper about her summer vacation. She feels so much fear. I think she isn't ready for the 3rd grade. She is probably dyslexic. We still have to get this tested officially. That will happen this fall. But I see little advantage in sending her to the 3rd grade. I think it's better for her to over learn the basics then move quickly and feel like she is sinking. I was held back in the 3rd grade. At the time it seemed like the end of the world, but I became a better student. We have given her a choice, but the way she is acting I feel like we should rethink this. Perhaps we should call her teacher and see if there is a place in the 2nd grade. I think if she just had one more year, it could make a very big difference for her. German is a hard language, and she didn't begin learning it until she was 4. And she has speech problems...and maybe dyslexia. My gut says we should hold her back.

New cloths

I took Sarah, Philip and Thomas to buy new cloths yesterday, and new shoes today. School starts on Monday. Oh, and Philip got new glasses and braces. My bank account is drying up fast! I had the boys go through their closet and empty out what was too small (and that was nearly everything). Oh man! But I put what was nice aside to give away. I also have a giant basket of cloths from Sarah. And she had some very nice shoes she didn't wear out. The boys old shoes look like....well not so good! Actually, most of their pants can be tossed too. Only their sweaters and shirts are worth passing on. But I'm glad to buy them a few new things. It's awesome to see how proud they are to be wearing new shoes. There was a time when they did not own anything. I remember when we picked Philip up from the orphanage in Bangkok. They would put a basket of shoes onto the floor, and the 15 kids in his group would put a pair on. It didn't matter if the boys had on girls shoes, or the shoes were too small. A pair was a pair. And they didn't have enough shoes, so some kids just had to go with out shoes. That's just how it was. They had over 300 kids in that orphanage. Imagine trying to feed and cloth 300 kids. Philip got new glasses today. I saved his old glasses. I save all the old glasses. They need the frames in orphanages. My kids may forget what it was like to have nothing. I'm glad if they forget. They are not orphans, they are loved children. But I don't ever want to forget. There are over 150 million orphans in this world. Only 30 million will ever know the love of a family. We can not forget the others.

Monday, September 03, 2012

A cast iron stove

My parents have an iron stove in the basement. I love the look of an iron stove. This stove has water pipes running through it. The water heats up from the fire, and is stored in a water heater in the basement. This water can help heat the whole house. This stove provides 19kw of heat. On the coldest days our house uses 24kw of heat. So a stove like this could take a big bite out of our gas bill! But where could we put it? I don't know! But I really like it!

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Saturday, September 01, 2012


I went to pick Nicole and Philip up from camp today. They had stayed an extra day to help with the clean up. And the camp had bales of straw they needed to get rid of. So I asked if I could take some for my garden. And I could take 9 bales of straw. That's so cool. I will re-mulch my vegetable garden over the winter, after the crops are harvested. The ground should be in wonderful condition next spring. We are also looking at wood stoves. And the garden loves ashes. So if we burn wood I can add the ash to my soil too. I've seen documentaries on you tube of the farmers in England that made potash to add to the soil. They had very large ovens to make the ash. Wood ash isn't the same thing, but it helps. Wood ash can be useful in yard if used with caution, read HERE.