heat for the kids

it’s been a busy time for me here at the farm. it’s warm outside and the maple sap has been flowing since January. (Nearly 2 gallons of syrup from then)  it’s been rough a time or 2 but this winter has been softer than last to be sure. it was actually -6 F the other night. for of out of nowhere as far as i could tell. regardless, i’m sure the brutal cold will be back and if i’m going to heat my world with rocket stoves, i’ve got to make them in places that are part of my daily life. a warm barn will keep the barn a happy place, well, happier. as i’m already out there twice a day, with the prospect of milking shortly, i figured it was time to get on it. my MULE if working and here’s what i’ve gotten done so far.

i cleared, leveled, and tamped a space outside the back door towards what will be the new coop’s door.on this i assembled my brick pad. the riser is mortared together firebrick with a 1 clay/4 sand mortar, a slightly sandier version of the final coat in the Seedhouse, without the cattail fluff. (upper left picture) the system downstream is a 6″ round duct so the internal brickwork maintains a 6 x 4 1/2″ dimension. i actually have a small pile of 6×9″ fire brick. made it a lot easier.

as i’m using a 55 gallon drum as the over barrel, i have 22″ of inside space to fill. among other things i’ve amassed over the decades is a pile of “soft brick”. these things are insulation with no thermal mass. or very little. i used a dull bow saw to cut them. they are weirdo ceramic engineering super materials. 2500 deg F on one side of the brick, barely warm to the touch on the other. these brick are not usable in anything but fire/heat environments as they have little of the durability of “hard” or firebrick. magically enough, i had exactly enough of these bricks to fully insulate the riser to a 19 x 35 1/2″ pile. (remaining 2 pictures)

as yet i’m unsure how i’ll proceed. this leaves me with a 1 1/2″ space all the way around. i know that i need to go over the brick to knock off the parts that are still sticking out. the soft brick were left unmortared because doing so didn’t fill any need. my decision now is whether to cover the pile with sheet metal, mortar the entire outside and make it smooth, or both, or neither.

ok, so that’s not my only decision. this thing will be buried  in the floor, i’ve still got that to See clear. and then there is still all the floor that needs filling in and tamping. ug