• Living Inside An Organic Shelter

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    Nothing is more inspiring to a home cook than seasonally rotating fruits and vegetables. The taste, the freshness, color and variety are dramatically noticeable when one starts buying seasonal, local, fresh produce. The tastes of summer come alive in fresh peaches, berries and watermelon, and in the winter hearty root vegetables become perfect for a satisfying soup or to add much-needed color to the gray days ahead.

    by Jeffrey Green

    In the video below, builder and innovator Bob Cinque takes us to his small voluntary community and inside his own organic shelter.

    At the heart of his “Yurtle” is the “Innovative Hearthmaster Stove” which is of paramount importance living off the grid in Washington state.

    Bob describes the Hearthmaster as follows:

    Once the fire is burning hot, a door is closed which sends the flue gasses down and horizontally under a stone bench that is warm and inviting to sit on. Copper coils circulate water for baths and dishes.

    This amazing stove produces twice the heat with half the wood, plus, it heats all the domestic water.

    This means that the woodpile lasts twice as long, with more heat delivered to where it is needed, not up the chimney.

    Normal woodstoves send 60-70% of their heat up the chimney. The Hearthmaster retains 60-70% and sends the rest up, reversing the figures, doubling the woodpile.

    I have noticed in my Heartmasters (we have 2) that the fire does not need to roar in order to produce a lot of heat, it’s just a kind of meandering, calm flame that nibbles the wood, doesn’t consume it voraciously.

    In my 30 years of heating with wood, I’ve never seen anything come close to this stove.

    While Bob's small community is self-sustaining, his Yurtle concept is designed specifically for those who wish to keep their options open about moving as needed. Just like a turtle's shell, it is a shelter that you can take with you wherever you go. Bob states that there are many ways to move about:

    This option all depends on you. Yurtles can be built on Trailer frames to be hauled down the Rd. Yurtles can be built on log skids to be towed across land where trailers can't go. Yurtles also can be taken apart and placed on 2 separate pallets for shipping or to be stored away.

    In addition to the innovative use of steam as a source of power, Bob discusses the resilience of the “living roof” structure that he has designed.

    Outside the structures, Bob has employed a large fish pond/garden system which incorporates the concepts of aquaponics. The aquaculture side offers nutrient-rich water that is provided as natural fertilizer for plants. These nutrients are normally a disposal problem for fish farmers who need to eliminate the toxic waste. On the other side, plants benefit greatly from the nutrient-rich water. It is a productive relationship that forms its own mini-ecosystem. As Bob points out, this is also a great system for those who might not have the benefit of a stream running through their property.

    Bob's organic shelters come in a rang of sizes, but are so efficient that he even lays claim to “The World's Smallest Home” – a 100 sq. ft. structure that incorporates basic necessities, while offering an easily upgradeable construction for later expansion.

    This seven-minute video is chock full of Bob's great inventions that offer economical housing solutions, while incorporating the means to live a fully self-sufficient lifestyle in the most productive, creative, and fulfilling way possible.

    So it becomes best to use both knowledge and common sense to determine which produce can be eaten without worrying about developing some horrible disease along the road. But regardless of whether you buy organic or non-organic, it is best to try adding fresh produce to your diet, because if worrying about whether or not to buy organic is preventing you from adding produce to your diet, chances are you won't make it long enough to worry about the long-term effects.


    Staff Writer

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