Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Our Blog Has Moved!

Update your RSS feeders and links! The Dacha Project blog has moved!

From now on, we will be posting on our own domain, at http://www.dachaproject.com/blog.

We’re super excited about the move, because it gives us more flexibility and control of the site. And we’re starting to need it as our traffic starts to increase. As of June 23rd, 2010, we have had almost 9,000 unique visits, and the monthly numbers are only growing.

So update your links and tell your friends, the Dacha blog has a new home!

After mulling for weeks about how to finish the ceiling on our straw bale cottage , we still couldn’t decide what to do. Should we go with drywall, the (cheap) material of choice for nearly everything built these days? Or tongue and groove wood, which would definitely look amazing, but would cost at least 4-5 times more.

As we wrestled back and forth, an opportunity fell into our lap. While hunting for a bathroom vanity at the Finger Lakes Reuse Center, we noticed that they had reclaimed barn boards for sale at a very reasonable price. Before long, we were driving back to the Dacha with a truckload of miscellaneous planks, most of them oak from 60-80 years ago. The boards were a dull gray on the outside, with a thick layer of dust and the occasional worm hole. They looked dingy, about what you’d expect for a plank that’s been in use inside a barn for the larger part of a century. You could still see deep saw marks from now-antiquated milling equipment.

Continue Reading »

So here we are again. The summer is giving in to the spring and we are finding ourselves with some sunshine on our backs and tools in our belts. We can shed the insulated jumpers and slip into something a little bit more comfortable like a straw hat.

On the sill

We can take breaks outside.

Tori sitting amongst the infused mushroom logs

On one of these sunny days, our glass wine bottles cast a decorative light around the “sunflower window.”

Sunflower Window

Sometimes we get down to business and play wack-a-mole.

Wack-a-mole

But seriously, the dacha crew whistles while it works and is taking advantage of this weather to prepare for another productive season.

~Russiandollfigure

On April 10th the Dacha hosted it’s very first workshop led by Danila on inoculating logs with oyster mushrooms! The event proved what a group of 15-20 novice naturalists can accomplish with a little knowledge, 750 spore infested dowels, and several drill guns. Although many of the attendees were new to mushroom growing, almost thirty logs were successfully inoculated.

To maximize efficiency (and to let everyone try their hand at each aspect of the process) the students formed a loose assembly line: drilling holes on all sides of each log (the hardcore part), whack-a-moling the dowels into the holes (the fun, anger management, part), and painting the holes with wax to keep them moist (the messy part).

To witness this feet of fungal mastery, check out the little wooded patch at the dacha, where the logs are casually leaning in a patch of dappled sunlight preparing to pop little white oyster heads.

-Torikins

Striking a pose with your inoculated mushroom log is said to encourage mycelium growth.

The Dacha Project is in Checkhov’s Dogs, a very special documentary (in progress) about Russians, Mushrooms and the Diaspora!

Katya Gorker, a Russian-American filmmaker from Philadelphia is “tracing the cultural tradition of Mushroom foraging in Russia and the diaspora.”   (all music by Animal Hospital).

While far from completion, with a trip to Russia still on the horizon, Katyachka has put together a short excerpt from the footage  shot at the Dacha Project and somewhere else in NY (a place clearly special as far as the footage tells us).

Check it out, and let us know what you think!

Photo of Week: West Side

West side of house, notice the retaining wall and the berm coming up to it.

Visitors beware when you step inside the Dacha Haus you’ll see colors and glowing orbs.  While not quite the illumination of the divine, all hail the awesome sun as it catches the diffused color of all-dry-now wine bottles.

Yes, after seeing many pictures on homestead blogs and in straw bale building books, we have joined a movement of people using recycled wine bottle as passive energy light fixtures.

We’re just at the beginning stages of this, but these photos are cool!  For more visit my flickr Dacha Project set.

-LSF

Marina plugs up wine bottle-sized holes in the oh-no-zone layer (our insulation) with wine bottles.

Wine bottles! Cut in half, with the bottoms of each bottle tuct taped together and fitted into a wall.