RMH need to be very finely balanced to get the right amount of draft through the burn chamber. By attempting to extract enough heat at the top of the burn barrel to run a sterling engine, or any other system to convert the heat to electricity, would degrade the flow of air enough that I would think you would have a hard time drafting the air through the rest of the system. I remember there being discussions about people trying to incorporate water heating systems into the barrel, and there always seemed to be issues with too much heat being extracted. I'm not saying that it can't be done, just that based on my understanding of previous attempts to do similar things, your idea might not work.
The only way you would know for sure though, is to build it. In 18 weeks you should be able to build many test stoves. Use a large pot of water in place of the sterling engine. If you know the starting temperature and the end temperature of the water, you should be able to calculate the energy extracted from the stove and calculate theoretically how well it could power a sterling engine. The trick will be to see if you can get the stove to burn clean and still have enough draft to pull air through the whole system to heat up a mass after extracting all that energy at the point of the barrel.
If you want to convert heat into energy via a sterling engine, then you want to build a rocket stove, not a rocket mass heater. The intention of a RMH is to extract the heat into the cob/stone/mass/etc and you want to extract it into the sterling engine. These two are opposing needs and I don't think you will get a good design if you try to accomplish both.
I built my first raised beds out of old fir 1x12s that I got free off of craigslist. They are starting to rot out now (6 years later) but I can still get at least one more season out of them. I now build my raised beds out of old concrete chunks (we call it urbanite) that I get for free off of craigslist. I don't expect that those beds will ever degrade. I fill in the cracks with dirt and then embed chunks of moss in them and now they look awesome. Your landlord might not mind you leaving them for the next renters if you can make them look nice enough.
When I come across new you tube channels that I like, I tend to go and check out the rest of their videos. Do you have any idea on how many additional view your older videos get in the days following you posting a new video? I would think that if you posted two or three videos a week, that views that came to see one of the videos, would then also stick around to see your other new videos. In that way you could build views in a cascading style.
Then, when I subscribe to a channel, and I load my youtube home screen, only the most recent videos from all the channels I've subscribed to pop up. So if you are only posting a video once every few weeks your videos are getting buried from the standpoint of most of your subscribers, and then the basic promotional feature built into youtube is not being utilized. I get that you want to focus on promoting only one video at a time, but it seems that the best way to get more views is to have more content and let the passive systems in Youtube do the work.
For those of you who are worried about spam, if you use Gmail, it has a great feature to help. You can append a "+Keyword" to your account name in your email and it will still be valid. For instance, if my email address is email@example.com, I can submit my email as firstname.lastname@example.org. Then I can set up a "Lawton" folder and filter any emails sent to email@example.com into that folder. That way if anyone ever sells your email address to someone else, and they start sending you spam, you can easily see who sold your address and then start filtering all emails from that source directly into your spam folder.
We swam in my grandpa's fish pond all the time... And then later on that day we'd pull out the fishing rod and catch some trout for dinner. It doesn't matter if the water is clear or not. A natural pool with fish is totally doable.
I found my self in a similar situation after college having gotten a Bachelor's degree that didn't transfer well into the business world. I spend years going from mediocre job to mediocre job.
I then went over to the local community college and enrolled in a few of their certificate programs. $3k later (paid cash on a per class basis and never had to take out any debt) I had several documents that said I could do some pretty useful things (useful as far as IT business goes) and now I make double the salary as I did before the programs. In a few more years I'll have my mortgage paid off and will beable to rent out the house for some passive income which will let me and my family move out to some land that we bought last year (paid 50% down and will have the other 50% paid off by the time we move out there).
The point I'm trying to make here is that there are gaps in the system that you can slip through. A mortgage doesn't have to take a lifetime to pay off and there are ways you can set your self up to succeed. You are young and there are lots of options. Don't give up yet!
The trick to a solar greenhouse, is to have all sides of the structure insulated other than the one side that is exposed to sun (the south side if you are in the northern hemisphere). I used 2" rigid foam insulation panels. Then you want your glazing set perpendicular to the average angle of the sun in winter. This is generally going to be equal to your latitude. I live in Seattle, so 45º, which is close enough to 47º, worked for me. If you can afford double glazed windows you will be better off than with single pane windows, but it can work either way. For heat retention, you'll want to have lots of thermal mass in the greenhouse. I use 55 gallon metal barells panted black and filled with water.
In hugelkultur, it isn't that the roots grow into the woody parts and extract nutrients so much as the rotting wood acts as a sponge to hold water in the ground so you don't need to water as much. Unless your wood is already rotted sufficiently before you bury it, digging it in and now isn't going to help much as the tree will already become established by the time the wood is doing its job. At this point, plant lots of ground covers and mulch well around the tree and you will get nearly the same effect.
I'm so bummed out! My wife gave birth in mid February and had stopped paying attention to the Dailyish Emails and this fourm until this last weekend so I had no idea this was going on... Really wish there was a way I could still buy these DVDs. I guess I don't see the logic in not making the streaming option available for future purchase (assuming that you do all the work to set it up once, why not keep making money off if it?).
If anyone in the Seattle area who bought the DVDs wants to organize a viewing party (or a series of parties) that would be awesome! I'd brew up a batch of beer as a contribution!
Copper sulfate, one of the main ingredients, is used as a herbicide, fungicide and pesticide. It was also used to make pressure treated wood because it is persistent and does not break down. While the bees may not be directly affected by it as long as you do not spray it on the flowers, I would not put those plants in my compost bin at the end of the season as the point of the cooper ions is to disrupt the enzyme process that the fungus uses to reproduce and that would probably have an effect on the fungus in you compost pile.
Also, note that sometimes when bees can't get enough pollen early in the season, they will harvest fungal mycelium as a protein source. If you have persistent copper sulfate in your soil from previous applications, they could be effected by that.
If I were in your situation, I'd see if the tomatoes can recover on their own after laying down some fresh mulch and pinching off any leaves that are having problems. If not, do not grow any plants from the nightshade family near that area for at least three seasons.
The wikipedia page talks about a Pulser Pump which works off the same principle. Here is a video of a small pulser pump which I found the link to on this page (which has a details and theory page with equations that you can use).
This Mother Earth News article has some good detail as well as the Wikipedia page. No moving parts, relies on no computers, makes no noise, and doesn't pollute the environment. Seems like a pretty good deal but I would suspect that you are going to get much more energy output per dollar if you had a small scale hydroelectric system.
It is not possible to get the compaction to the same level as rammed earth if you are using fabric as the form walls. And even rammed earth requires rebar to deal with possible earthquakes or other environments that do not have extremely low humidity. And rammed earth cannot contain large rocks and has to have a carefully prepared soil mix to provided the needed strength, neither of which are being done here.
Don't get me wrong, I think this is a great idea but I think there just needs to be a realistic view of what the appropriate uses for this sort of building technique is useful for. And i think that with a few changes, the longevity and structural strength of a wall like this can be greatly increased. As it is, depending on the environment, I could easily see it standing for 10 or so years. But with very little money and effort, you could make that 100 years or more.
So it looks like you used 10 or 12 gauge steel wire, right? I haven't done the force calculations but I don't see how that will be strong enough once the forces really start to push on it, especially once it starts to rust out. If nothing else, it will stretch. On a 30" thick wall if you have 10% stretch you are going to see 3 inches of movement. Your stucco coating will not tolerate that.
I would use either epoxy coated rebar or something like this [url-http://www.marshallcomposite.com/cbar.php]fiber-reinforced polymer bar[/url].
Maybe I'm wrong and your wall will hold up. Time will tell I guess. But I would suggest any wall that is actually load bearing be beefed up quite a bit.
How to you keep the posts from being pushed apart over time? With only four foot walls this might not be immediately apparent, but eventually the static forces will cause the posts to collapse. The greater the height of the walls of the greater the roof load is, the faster this will happen.
And as far as Underground housing goes, how would these walls hold back the earth berm? There seems to be very little horizontal resistance build in to these walls. With earthbag building you can build the wall sloped into the earth berm and add curvature to give it horizontal strength. I don't see a good way of doing that with this method and am wondering if you had thought through that aspect?
Otherwise, very cool project and I wuold love to see more pictures!
I would dig out the biggest rocks and put in micro-swales. You can use the rocks along with downed wood to help create channels for the water to pool around. Then plant dandelions. Why dandelions? Because they grow fast, put down a good taproot that will create organic material deep down and allow water to drain into the soil. The leaves will hold down the soil and prevent run off during the rainy season plus make a good layer of organic material on top. Once the soil is better established and holding more water, put in blueberries or some other shrub that will shade out the dandelions but will enjoy the acidic soil. To help the blueberries overcome the dandelions, come along every few days and pop off the heads of any dandelion flowers you see.
Running bamboo rhizomes can travel up to twenty feet per year under roads and barriers need to be two to three feet deep depending on the species. If your neighbor gets upset about your Permaculture activities then he won't be very happy if you let bamboo escape onto his property. And when he fails to eradicate the escaped bamboo with his brush hog he'll turn to nasty herbicides that could kill off the roots all the way back to your plants.
My clumps seem to double every year which is enough for me to make trellises and such. My main concern with running varieties is that you can't control what direction they run in. With clumping varieties, it is relativity easy to dig up a clump and move it to where you need it.
I'd start with some clumping varieties and see if you really need a running variety. The running varieties can be very difficult to control and if you don't have experience trying to dig out bamboo roots you might be getting in over your head.
Bamboo Jake wrote:specifically the Earth's magnetic field, I thought wow, what a massive power energy source
The earth's magnetic field is not a power source. It is the result of electron movement with in the earth's molten core (or that is the current theory at least). What we do know is that the earth's magnetic field is oriented in such a way that there is no way for us to tap into it in the same way we can where we are using smaller magnets and wire coils such as is done in electric alternators and generators.
Bamboo Jake wrote:we'd be able to harness or use forces that already are functioning in our atmosphere. I don't know, I'm just fishing for something new.
We already are doing this. We do it with photovolatics, wind and hydro turbines and geothermal systems. We really don't need a new way to generate energy, we just need to get people to adopt the ways we already have. A new technology would be more expensive and would take decades longer to bring to market.
If you can recruit some local geeks (or have the aptitude yourself) you can get quite a bit done in this regard. Back when WiFi (802.11b) first came out many of us started messing around with the technology and were able to use off-the-shelf hardware and get 5-11 megabit network links over 5-15 miles.
If you can get an open line of site view to another location that has a network connection, you can get it to your house too. The hardest thing to do is getting an antenna that is stationary enough so as to not move at all in the wind.
Check out http://metrix.net/ for hardware. These guys were an off shoot of SeattleWireless.net; an effort to create a freely available mesh network in the Seattle area. Lots of cities had them and there is enough technical experience in many of these groups to get internet to just about anywhere. As long as you are willing to learn enough to maintain the systems yourself, it can be done.
Concrete is such a great building material because of two properties. First is its compressive strength. Along these lines adobe is similar (although concrete has more strength per cubic inch). Second, is its weather resistance where it far surpasses adobe.
Concrete's weakness is its shear resistance (or is ability to with stand lateral forces which as you might get in an earthquake). To work around this we usually put steel rebar in as a skeletal structure. To accomplish the same with adobe we add straw (at which point is is now cob).
You still have the problem where adobe and cob are not weather resistant but you can deal with this other ways.
If you are going to use cob instead of concrete and steel you just need to make sure that you have dealt with the weather issue. A cob is going to need to be much thicker than a concrete and steel wall also due to the lack of chemical bonds in cob that you have in concrete.
Heating air is only bad if you have poor insulation and/or your house leaks air. The first winter in my house the furnace would run about 50% of the time that I had it on. In other words, I was producing heat twice as fast as it was escaping from my house. After blowing in a ton of insulation and plugging up the leaks, my furnace turns on once in the morning before I get up and once right before I get home from work. It takes several hours for the house to cool off and I cut my gas bill by about 70%.
A Rocket AIR Heater will work fine assuming that the house is well insulated and sealed.
My wife is an adoptions social worker in our states foster care system. What you are proposing probably wouldn't fly with our states regulations. You need to remember that foster kids are wards of the state and, because of that, the state has to be super careful of where kids are placed because the potential for lawsuits is extremely high. They keep very strict regulations on living accommodations, educational opportunities, financial stability of the foster family, etc. It is a vary hard balance to achieve between stable and safe environments and actually having enough beds for all the kids in the system.
All that being said, call your local state office (different states call these offices different things) and ask to talk to some one in the foster care licensing department. I wouldn't say anything about wanting to run a "camp", just say you are interested in becoming a foster care family and let them know you are willing work take in teens (they will love this!!!). They should be willing to talk to you about what sorts of issues kids might have and help you decide what level of child needs you and your family would be able to cope with given available resources.
I bought a bunch of these (40W equivalent LED bulbs) a few months back and they have been great so far. I still have CFLs for places like my living room and kitchen where I need a lot of light from one bulb. But they work great in the bathroom where I turn them on and off a lot and I have a triple fixture and also on the porch where I leave the light on pretty much constantly.
You will want your glazing to be as close to 90º (perpendicular) to the sunlight as possible. As this changes through out the year you will have to pick an average. Often that is going to be about equal to your latitude but you can adjust if you are going to be using the greenhouse more during the fall, winter or spring. If your roof is more than ~30º to ~45º off from perpendicular to the angle of the sunlight you want to capture, most of the light that strikes that surface is going to be reflected away and the glazing will end causing more heat loss than heat gain.