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Re: [MedievalSawdust] Help, 11th-13th century village needs houses

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  • Bill Schongar
    Are you trying to build the structures as authentic to period as possible, or as cheaply as possible given the constraints, with an exterior facing/roofing
    Message 1 of 15 , Feb 8, 2012
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      Re: [MedievalSawdust] Help, 11th-13th century village needs houses
      Are you trying to build the structures as authentic to period as possible, or as cheaply as possible given the constraints, with an exterior facing/roofing that’s more authentic in appearance? Depending on that you may have a wider range of options available..

      Personally, if I were going to build one in my back field (I think my wife’s early warning system just went off..) I’d go for one of these methods:


      Simply due to low cost of material, little need for building skill, etc. Given the climate you’re in, a combination might work best as this gentleman describes at the end of the article:

      http://buildnaturally.blogspot.com/2010/12/strawbale-vs-cob.html

      Since then you get some insulation (strawbale) and some thermal mass (cob)

      -Liam
      (Who hasn’t ever pondered trying to build anything in his back acres Nope, not me... that’s my story and I’m sticking to it)


      On 2/7/12 10:06 PM, "Prior Helmut von Meer" <priorhelmut@...> wrote:


       
       
         

      Hope that caught your attention folks, cause this is a doozy. I don't know if anyone can help but from my experience, here is the best place to start.

      We are setting up a small medieval village in a secluded little valley in Montana. We can't cut down tree's and must bring in wood but have limited funds as we are not rich people in MT.

      We are doing 11-13th century and are mostly interested in earth walled and or sod roofed structures within the period where we can minimize costs like wood (we have to haul it out too).

      I know medieval construction can be very cost effective, and thats what we need. Something we could survive a few nights in a Montana winter, not that I'd try it,yet.

      We have ton's of carpenters, but not tons of cash. The water tables low, we need to drill a well so dug in homes would be useful. Feel free to include middle-eastern designs if any can.

      Our concept is a village in the crusades with buildings of different cultures brought there by the crusaders. Allows the widest range of cultures our shire does and fits the terrain when its not snowing.

      Wind is heavy sometimes also. I know I'm asking a lot but this old monk is doing it for his shire, and it's a lifelong dream of many of us.

      We are in the first stages,  so I'm hoping to mine your brains for gold. Thank you, really any ideas,plans,etc are appreciated.

      Prior Helmut

       
         


    • Julian Wilson
      Hmm - I note the thread with interest. Traditional historic low-cost worker-housing in our Island of Jersey would have had random-rubble walls of the local
      Message 2 of 15 , Feb 8, 2012
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        Hmm - I note the thread with interest.
        Traditional historic low-cost worker-housing in our Island of Jersey would have had random-rubble walls of the local Granite [recovered free from the beaches and local cliffs],  with puddled clay floors [ a few local clay deposits] , and roof structures of rough branches most likely "thatched" with dried seaweed, of a type know locally as "vraic' " to be taken free from the beaches after any winter or summer storm. [Why not straw? a) now large fields to produce a surplus; b) more valuable to farmers as fodder, cattle-bedding, floor coverings, woven mates, baskets etc. - whereas the vraic was only good for fertiliser or roof coverings].   Strange as it may read - if you pile enough dried seaweed on a roof as "thatch" and hold it in place with old fishing nets [or something similar]  it DOES keep the rain out, and some of the heat in. And best of all, from the PoV of the Jersey working folk - it came free from the sea just for the labour of gathering it and transporting it.
        Julian Wilson,
         "old" Jersey.


        From: Bill Schongar <bschonga@...>
        To: Medievalsawdust <medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Wednesday, 8 February 2012, 13:56
        Subject: Re: [MedievalSawdust] Help, 11th-13th century village needs houses

         

        Are you trying to build the structures as authentic to period as possible, or as cheaply as possible given the constraints, with an exterior facing/roofing that’s more authentic in appearance? Depending on that you may have a wider range of options available..

        Personally, if I were going to build one in my back field (I think my wife’s early warning system just went off..) I’d go for one of these methods:


        Simply due to low cost of material, little need for building skill, etc. Given the climate you’re in, a combination might work best as this gentleman describes at the end of the article:

        http://buildnaturally.blogspot.com/2010/12/strawbale-vs-cob.html

        Since then you get some insulation (strawbale) and some thermal mass (cob)


      • Geirfold
        I have uploaded a slide presentation of the building of a Grindbygning by Baron Guttorm Arnesson of Northshield with his permission. This building could be
        Message 3 of 15 , Feb 8, 2012
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          I have uploaded a slide presentation of the building of a Grindbygning by Baron Guttorm Arnesson of Northshield with his permission. This building could be done the way he is doing it and mostlikely be comfortable in the winter (he lives near Fargo ND). Also this could have sod put around and over it and be periof for Iceland in the time frame you are looking at doing.

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalsawdust/files/Guttorm%27s%20Grindbygninga/

          --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Prior Helmut von Meer" <priorhelmut@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hope that caught your attention folks, cause this is a doozy. I don't know if anyone can help but from my experience, here is the best place to start.
          >
          > We are setting up a small medieval village in a secluded little valley in Montana. We can't cut down tree's and must bring in wood but have limited funds as we are not rich people in MT.
          >
          > We are doing 11-13th century and are mostly interested in earth walled and or sod roofed structures within the period where we can minimize costs like wood (we have to haul it out too).
          >
          > I know medieval construction can be very cost effective, and thats what we need. Something we could survive a few nights in a Montana winter, not that I'd try it,yet.
          >
          > We have ton's of carpenters, but not tons of cash. The water tables low, we need to drill a well so dug in homes would be useful. Feel free to include middle-eastern designs if any can.
          >
          > Our concept is a village in the crusades with buildings of different cultures brought there by the crusaders. Allows the widest range of cultures our shire does and fits the terrain when its not snowing.
          >
          > Wind is heavy sometimes also. I know I'm asking a lot but this old monk is doing it for his shire, and it's a lifelong dream of many of us.
          >
          > We are in the first stages, so I'm hoping to mine your brains for gold. Thank you, really any ideas,plans,etc are appreciated.
          >
          > Prior Helmut
          >
        • conradh@efn.org
          ... Joy, my grandmother was born in a soddy. in eastern Colorado in 1902. Sod roofs are warm and windproof, but she said the problem was rain. Rain outside
          Message 4 of 15 , Feb 8, 2012
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            > Wow. That sounds so cool. Now I want to do one too! I saw a house in
            > Nebraska made of sod and then the inside was painted with coatings of lime
            > until it was smooth and shiney, Not smooth like flat walls. They were very
            > lumpy but satiny to the touch.  I am thinking lime is period correct but
            > you might want t check it out.
            >  
            > Joy in OK

            Joy, my grandmother was born in a soddy. in eastern Colorado in 1902. Sod
            roofs are warm and windproof, but she said the problem was rain. "Rain
            outside for a day, rains mud inside for three."

            They had nothing in the way of waterproofing for it, of course--but our
            own technology often doesn't stay waterproof under soil, especially soil
            on a slope like a roof. The soil creeps slowly, and bits of rock or grit
            are dragged slowly but with great force across the "waterproof" layer.
            Metal survives as long as it doesn't corrode, but the same slow scratching
            can disrupt paint or galvanizing too.

            The steeper a roof, the less of a problem this is. Thatched roofs need to
            be quite steep. No one bit is waterproof, but water leaking through is
            slanted outward, so that it finds its way out above the eaves before it
            gets into the house.

            Medieval Icelanders lived in turf-covered A-frames, steep as a Swiss
            chalet. The turf was still alive and growing; there are accounts of
            flowers blooming from the roofs, and goats climbing up there to graze.
            Iceland has snow, bitter cold, rain and high winds, sometimes all on the
            same day. Something like those might be a useful part of the village.

            Ulfhedinn
          • conradh@efn.org
            ... It does. The Irish get a lot of storms on their west coast, and people there tie the thatch down; a sort of crisscross net of ropes that are weighted with
            Message 5 of 15 , Feb 8, 2012
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              > I know cob building goes back a long, long ways.  A thick thatched roof
              > has a pretty high R-value, though I'm not sure about its durability in a
              > windy area.

              It does. The Irish get a lot of storms on their west coast, and people
              there tie the thatch down; a sort of crisscross net of ropes that are
              weighted with hanging rocks below the eaves.
              >
              > You may want to mix in some anachronisms in terms of place or time period-
              > the 11th-13th century was during the Medieval Warm Period, so it's
              > doubtful that most places in Europe (save perhaps Scandinavia) would have
              > seen anything even close to a Montana winter.

              Actually, medieval Europe wasn't _that_ warm. Americans forget just how
              far north Europe is; we're used to seeing the US on one page of the atlas,
              and Europe on another, and unconsciously equate the northern US with
              northern Europe, in spite of about ten degrees latitude difference! Once
              you get east of the maritime influence of the Atlantic, winters get harsh,
              and even during the "Medieval Warm Period" there was plenty of snow and
              ice in Eastern Europe. Housing ideas from there might be good additions
              to the village.

              Some Slavic people, especially forest dwellers, made temporary/poverty
              homes that were quite a lot like Native American dwellings in parts of the
              Intermountain West. A big round hole three or four feet into the ground,
              roofed with brush and thatch, and entrance and smoke holes. Another
              possibility that can get people through a hard winter.

              Ulfhedinn
            • conradh@efn.org
              ... I don t think seaweed is widely available anywhere in Montana, but using it for thatch in a coastal area was a trick I hadn t heard of. Thanks! Ulfhedinn
              Message 6 of 15 , Feb 8, 2012
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                > Hmm - I note the thread with interest.
                >
                > Traditional historic low-cost worker-housing in our Island of Jersey would
                > have had random-rubble walls of the local Granite [recovered free from the
                > beaches and local cliffs],  with puddled clay floors [ a few local clay
                > deposits] , and roof structures of rough branches most likely "thatched"
                > with dried seaweed, of a type know locally as "vraic' " to be taken free
                > from the beaches after any winter or summer storm. [Why not straw? a) now
                > large fields to produce a surplus; b) more valuable to farmers as fodder,
                > cattle-bedding, floor coverings, woven mates, baskets etc. - whereas the
                > vraic was only good for fertiliser or roof coverings].   Strange as it
                > may read - if you pile enough dried seaweed on a roof as "thatch" and hold
                > it in place with old fishing nets [or something similar]  it DOES keep
                > the rain out, and some of the heat in. And best of all, from the PoV of
                > the Jersey working folk - it came free from the sea just for the labour of
                > gathering
                > it and transporting it.
                > Julian Wilson,
                I don't think seaweed is widely available anywhere in Montana, but using
                it for thatch in a coastal area was a trick I hadn't heard of. Thanks!

                Ulfhedinn
              • Prior Helmut von Meer
                Wow so many Ideas I thank all of you. These are exactly what we need, and cost is a problem with some more than others, as we are letting people build their
                Message 7 of 15 , Feb 8, 2012
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                  Wow so many Ideas I thank all of you. These are exactly what we need, and cost is a problem with some more than others, as we are letting people build their own homes within the covenants that it exists within the 11th-13th century in design and looks period to the eye.

                  The haybale seems wildly promising as it is currently a hay field.

                  --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, Bill Schongar <bschonga@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > Are you trying to build the structures as authentic to period as possible,
                  > or as cheaply as possible given the constraints, with an exterior
                  > facing/roofing that¹s more authentic in appearance? Depending on that you
                  > may have a wider range of options available..
                  >
                  > Personally, if I were going to build one in my back field (I think my wife¹s
                  > early warning system just went off..) I¹d go for one of these methods:
                  >
                  > * Strawbale house (Some handy resources: http://www.strawbale.com/)
                  > * Cob house (Gallery of a medieval-inspired cob house:
                  > http://ilovecob.com/gallery/zuker/)
                  > * Earthbag house (Though this tends to work better in dome-ish structures)
                  >
                  > Simply due to low cost of material, little need for building skill, etc.
                  > Given the climate you¹re in, a combination might work best as this gentleman
                  > describes at the end of the article:
                  >
                  > http://buildnaturally.blogspot.com/2010/12/strawbale-vs-cob.html
                  >
                  > Since then you get some insulation (strawbale) and some thermal mass (cob)
                  >
                  > -Liam
                  > (Who hasn¹t ever pondered trying to build anything in his back acres Nope,
                  > not me... that¹s my story and I¹m sticking to it)
                  >
                  >
                  > On 2/7/12 10:06 PM, "Prior Helmut von Meer" <priorhelmut@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > > Hope that caught your attention folks, cause this is a doozy. I don't know if
                  > > anyone can help but from my experience, here is the best place to start.
                  > >
                  > > We are setting up a small medieval village in a secluded little valley in
                  > > Montana. We can't cut down tree's and must bring in wood but have limited
                  > > funds as we are not rich people in MT.
                  > >
                  > > We are doing 11-13th century and are mostly interested in earth walled and or
                  > > sod roofed structures within the period where we can minimize costs like wood
                  > > (we have to haul it out too).
                  > >
                  > > I know medieval construction can be very cost effective, and thats what we
                  > > need. Something we could survive a few nights in a Montana winter, not that
                  > > I'd try it,yet.
                  > >
                  > > We have ton's of carpenters, but not tons of cash. The water tables low, we
                  > > need to drill a well so dug in homes would be useful. Feel free to include
                  > > middle-eastern designs if any can.
                  > >
                  > > Our concept is a village in the crusades with buildings of different cultures
                  > > brought there by the crusaders. Allows the widest range of cultures our shire
                  > > does and fits the terrain when its not snowing.
                  > >
                  > > Wind is heavy sometimes also. I know I'm asking a lot but this old monk is
                  > > doing it for his shire, and it's a lifelong dream of many of us.
                  > >
                  > > We are in the first stages, so I'm hoping to mine your brains for gold. Thank
                  > > you, really any ideas,plans,etc are appreciated.
                  > >
                  > > Prior Helmut
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  > >
                  >
                • Prior Helmut von Meer
                  This is excellent, and fits many of the personas in our shire.
                  Message 8 of 15 , Feb 8, 2012
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                    This is excellent, and fits many of the personas in our shire.

                    --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Geirfold" <hammered_shamrock@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > I have uploaded a slide presentation of the building of a Grindbygning by Baron Guttorm Arnesson of Northshield with his permission. This building could be done the way he is doing it and mostlikely be comfortable in the winter (he lives near Fargo ND). Also this could have sod put around and over it and be periof for Iceland in the time frame you are looking at doing.
                    >
                    > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/medievalsawdust/files/Guttorm%27s%20Grindbygninga/
                    >
                    > --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Prior Helmut von Meer" <priorhelmut@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Hope that caught your attention folks, cause this is a doozy. I don't know if anyone can help but from my experience, here is the best place to start.
                    > >
                    > > We are setting up a small medieval village in a secluded little valley in Montana. We can't cut down tree's and must bring in wood but have limited funds as we are not rich people in MT.
                    > >
                    > > We are doing 11-13th century and are mostly interested in earth walled and or sod roofed structures within the period where we can minimize costs like wood (we have to haul it out too).
                    > >
                    > > I know medieval construction can be very cost effective, and thats what we need. Something we could survive a few nights in a Montana winter, not that I'd try it,yet.
                    > >
                    > > We have ton's of carpenters, but not tons of cash. The water tables low, we need to drill a well so dug in homes would be useful. Feel free to include middle-eastern designs if any can.
                    > >
                    > > Our concept is a village in the crusades with buildings of different cultures brought there by the crusaders. Allows the widest range of cultures our shire does and fits the terrain when its not snowing.
                    > >
                    > > Wind is heavy sometimes also. I know I'm asking a lot but this old monk is doing it for his shire, and it's a lifelong dream of many of us.
                    > >
                    > > We are in the first stages, so I'm hoping to mine your brains for gold. Thank you, really any ideas,plans,etc are appreciated.
                    > >
                    > > Prior Helmut
                    > >
                    >
                  • Prior Helmut von Meer
                    The area gets little rain so the sod is really interesting and effectively free. We are not going to use it during extreme weather, but some adventurous shire
                    Message 9 of 15 , Feb 8, 2012
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                      The area gets little rain so the sod is really interesting and effectively free.

                      We are not going to use it during extreme weather, but some adventurous shire members have volunteered to try "living medieval" for a few weeks when we get the first few buildings done.

                      We wrote the homeowners association giving them our intentions and will meet up with a ... dowser to check for water. More to come, this is stressful and fun.

                      Prior Helmut

                      --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, conradh@... wrote:
                      >
                      > > Wow. That sounds so cool. Now I want to do one too! I saw a house in
                      > > Nebraska made of sod and then the inside was painted with coatings of lime
                      > > until it was smooth and shiney, Not smooth like flat walls. They were very
                      > > lumpy but satiny to the touch.  I am thinking lime is period correct but
                      > > you might want t check it out.
                      > >  
                      > > Joy in OK
                      >
                      > Joy, my grandmother was born in a soddy. in eastern Colorado in 1902. Sod
                      > roofs are warm and windproof, but she said the problem was rain. "Rain
                      > outside for a day, rains mud inside for three."
                      >
                      > They had nothing in the way of waterproofing for it, of course--but our
                      > own technology often doesn't stay waterproof under soil, especially soil
                      > on a slope like a roof. The soil creeps slowly, and bits of rock or grit
                      > are dragged slowly but with great force across the "waterproof" layer.
                      > Metal survives as long as it doesn't corrode, but the same slow scratching
                      > can disrupt paint or galvanizing too.
                      >
                      > The steeper a roof, the less of a problem this is. Thatched roofs need to
                      > be quite steep. No one bit is waterproof, but water leaking through is
                      > slanted outward, so that it finds its way out above the eaves before it
                      > gets into the house.
                      >
                      > Medieval Icelanders lived in turf-covered A-frames, steep as a Swiss
                      > chalet. The turf was still alive and growing; there are accounts of
                      > flowers blooming from the roofs, and goats climbing up there to graze.
                      > Iceland has snow, bitter cold, rain and high winds, sometimes all on the
                      > same day. Something like those might be a useful part of the village.
                      >
                      > Ulfhedinn
                      >
                    • Ralph
                      ... Where? eastern, western, Bozeman, Missoula,... It really can matter Ralg AnTir (but grew up there)
                      Message 10 of 15 , Feb 10, 2012
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                        --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Prior Helmut von Meer" <priorhelmut@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Hope that caught your attention folks, cause this is a doozy. I don't know if anyone can help but from my experience, here is the best place to start.
                        >
                        > We are setting up a small medieval village in a secluded little valley in Montana. We can't cut down tree's and must bring in wood but have limited funds as we are not rich people in MT.
                        >
                        Where? eastern, western, Bozeman, Missoula,...

                        It really can matter

                        Ralg
                        AnTir (but grew up there)
                      • karincorbin
                        The question was asked a while back but there is a basic ancient construction method that will be easy enough. Dig a narrow trench at the perimeter of the
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jul 31, 2012
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                          The question was asked a while back but there is a basic ancient construction method that will be easy enough. Dig a narrow trench at the perimeter of the walls, insert upright poles to form the walls. Bank more dirt against the outside. Use more poles in a scissor truss type of arrangement for roof framing. Poles tied cross wise onto those form roof which is then covered with sod.

                          Can be made with trees from woodland areas that require clearing up quick growth weed trees such as Alders. Advantage, every piece of the structure is light weight and easy to haul in and back out.

                          Karin

                          --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Prior Helmut von Meer" <priorhelmut@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Hope that caught your attention folks, cause this is a doozy. I don't know if anyone can help but from my experience, here is the best place to start.
                          >
                          > We are setting up a small medieval village in a secluded little valley in Montana. We can't cut down tree's and must bring in wood but have limited funds as we are not rich people in MT.
                          >
                          > We are doing 11-13th century and are mostly interested in earth walled and or sod roofed structures within the period where we can minimize costs like wood (we have to haul it out too).
                          >
                          > I know medieval construction can be very cost effective, and thats what we need. Something we could survive a few nights in a Montana winter, not that I'd try it,yet.
                          >
                          > We have ton's of carpenters, but not tons of cash. The water tables low, we need to drill a well so dug in homes would be useful. Feel free to include middle-eastern designs if any can.
                          >
                          > Our concept is a village in the crusades with buildings of different cultures brought there by the crusaders. Allows the widest range of cultures our shire does and fits the terrain when its not snowing.
                          >
                          > Wind is heavy sometimes also. I know I'm asking a lot but this old monk is doing it for his shire, and it's a lifelong dream of many of us.
                          >
                          > We are in the first stages, so I'm hoping to mine your brains for gold. Thank you, really any ideas,plans,etc are appreciated.
                          >
                          > Prior Helmut
                          >
                        • lorderec
                          Prior Helmut, you might want to look at wattle. made of very young wood so it s plentiful and therefore should be cheap to free. If you have a tree or
                          Message 12 of 15 , Aug 22, 2012
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                            Prior Helmut, you might want to look at wattle. made of very young wood so it's plentiful and therefore should be cheap to free. If you have a tree or several, arborist techniques like coppice and pollard can produce a wealth of suitable material every year. Plastered with mud will keep out the winds.

                            Would love to see what you have so far, if you've any pictures.

                            -Erec L'Claire

                            --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "karincorbin" <karincorbin@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > The question was asked a while back but there is a basic ancient construction method that will be easy enough. Dig a narrow trench at the perimeter of the walls, insert upright poles to form the walls. Bank more dirt against the outside. Use more poles in a scissor truss type of arrangement for roof framing. Poles tied cross wise onto those form roof which is then covered with sod.
                            >
                            > Can be made with trees from woodland areas that require clearing up quick growth weed trees such as Alders. Advantage, every piece of the structure is light weight and easy to haul in and back out.
                            >
                            > Karin
                            >
                            > --- In medievalsawdust@yahoogroups.com, "Prior Helmut von Meer" <priorhelmut@> wrote:
                            > >
                            > > Hope that caught your attention folks, cause this is a doozy. I don't know if anyone can help but from my experience, here is the best place to start.
                            > >
                            > > We are setting up a small medieval village in a secluded little valley in Montana. We can't cut down tree's and must bring in wood but have limited funds as we are not rich people in MT.
                            > >
                            > > We are doing 11-13th century and are mostly interested in earth walled and or sod roofed structures within the period where we can minimize costs like wood (we have to haul it out too).
                            > >
                            > > I know medieval construction can be very cost effective, and thats what we need. Something we could survive a few nights in a Montana winter, not that I'd try it,yet.
                            > >
                            > > We have ton's of carpenters, but not tons of cash. The water tables low, we need to drill a well so dug in homes would be useful. Feel free to include middle-eastern designs if any can.
                            > >
                            > > Our concept is a village in the crusades with buildings of different cultures brought there by the crusaders. Allows the widest range of cultures our shire does and fits the terrain when its not snowing.
                            > >
                            > > Wind is heavy sometimes also. I know I'm asking a lot but this old monk is doing it for his shire, and it's a lifelong dream of many of us.
                            > >
                            > > We are in the first stages, so I'm hoping to mine your brains for gold. Thank you, really any ideas,plans,etc are appreciated.
                            > >
                            > > Prior Helmut
                            > >
                            >
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