There's a phrase about "free" things ... "Free Kittens aren't the same as Free Beer".
Beer you get to drink ... and that's that (other than some marginal liver stress and some brain cells lost). A Free Kitten is anything but free as the "free" kitten comes with a lifetime of food costs, vet bills, scratched couches, etc.
Its wrong of a person to parachute in and tell you that you MUST do something more or you are a bad person. You've done a good thing by looking after this cat - and you are probably getting some benefits too. But the question isn't really about the one cat and a littler of kittens, its about stewardship of your land. Cats can be a much more effective rodent control than other means - and if you've got a good mouser then it might make sense to keep the line going and cull later on. If you don't have a rodent issue then the cats are just a menace to birds and you (really "we" as the top of the predator pyramid) should consider neuter/spaying or even euthanizing the cat & kittens as part of your stewardship.
jordan barton wrote:Than i hook onto the fence line using house wiring(which is insulated wire) from the energizer.
Just to be really clear here ... you're using standard "household" electrical wire to connect the energizer to the fence. Hello internet, that's not connecting the fence to the AC power in the house! Big difference.
Jordan - how's that working? And any reason you are using THHN or Romex instead of the insulated fence wire? (um, cost & availability?) The catch is that the household wire is rated for 600v, and electric fences can run in the 10,00-20,00 volt range. I'm not convinced that the conducting wire itself is any different or less capable (copper is a much better conductor than steel), but my electrician tells me its an issue of insulation - specifically how thick it is. The insulated fencing wire (for running underground, through structures, etc) has REALLY thick insulation, maybe 20-30x more than THHN has. The whole issue of insulation as safety is kinda funny because we're trying to energize a BARE UNINSULATED wire, but there are places we want the juice and places we don't so insulation is helpful.
Anyway, I'm curious to hear of any benefits or liabilities you've found in using household wire.
Well geeze Anne, now that you've invoked Google Scholar my answer feels about as lightweight as it actually is! That's a good reminder...
So nothing scholarly here, just observation. We've had a bunch of scotch broom in one pasture and along edges of others. We've just been mowing & pulling the stuff and am winning the war as scotch broom hasn't overcome the power of the brush mower. Even where the broom was really thick, it had lots of grass underneath. After mowing (and pulling...) there is no noticeable decline in the grass in that area. Conclusion - nothing strong going on.
Thus, my observation suggests that although the scotch broom might have an unpleasant substance it hasn't been enough to bother other plants. If you concentrate it all into compost ... well, yeah you might have a problem. But its probably a problem of concentration, not presence, so spread thinly or otherwise dilute the amount of broom in your piles.
I'd say that not only is what you've done no problem, but desirable. The benefit is to provide multiple paths for the electricity to flow, thus if there is a break or weak point in one wire the electricity can flow through the other wires to the end of the fence, and then back up the the affected wire to the break point. You've made resilient fencing!
I've got 15+ acres of pasture that isn't in great shape (not terrible, but clearly not great) and I'm slowly bringing it along to a better state. Grazing cows is helping, as is the addition of externally sourced hay for winter feed.
I'm not adding conventional fertilizers or cutting hay, so in a sense I'm "wilding" the pastures to see what forage thrives. At the same time I'm trying out some additions of clover, annual rye and orchard grass - and last summer a bunch of hawk weed (boo!) moved into the whole area.
Converting highly maintained lawn into natural meadow is a great idea. There are many parallels to what I'm doing ... except I need to feed cows at the same time. The need to create forage for cows suggests different species and, notably, generally preventing grasses from going to seed. Does the need for forage create an entirely different problem, or can the same processes used to turn a lawn into meadow be utilized for pasture improvement?
I liked this passage from your publisher's excerpt:
You don’t have to live off the grid to help the environment. There is a reasonable middle road to lightening your burden on this planet. Among the many options easier than giving up everything to live in a cabin in the north woods of Maine: Consume less. Buy locally. Cut back on meat and dairy. Compost your food waste. Grow some of your own food. Use public transportation whenever possible. Fly less. You can also grow a meadow instead of a lawn.
Glad to see an example of institutional-sized lawns (Mt Holyoke) in transition! I'll have to see what intelligent questions I can ask about the differences/similarities between lawns, meadows and pasture.
Mike Haasl wrote:Look at a pintle hinge. Either the screw in style or the long carriage bolt type. Not sure which would be easiest to adjust.
My reaction to this is "you HAVE to use the lag bolt style", but it really depends on the tree diameter. A lag bolt goes into a relatively short hole you've drilled and then your adjustment is limited to one full twist of the threads.
the bolt and nut type ... whereas the lag bolt use threads to hold on, the bolt style effectively squeezes the post between the nuts. On a tree you'd have to drill all the way through, then tighten it down.. At that point it would behave almost like one the TABS for tree houses...the tree would do its best to grow over the washer and then the nut, and any adjustment would require hacking at the tree to free up the washer and nut. I think that would be hard on the tree.
Also, the long bolts get pricey. If the tree is larger than 12" you might not be able to get one of these off the shelf...
Douglas Alpenstock wrote:The bolts/lags certainly could be backed off every year.
The only thing I worry about is the effect on the tree. Does opening the wound every year open the door to disease or insects? I don't know.
Arborists tell me that the sample cores they like to take don't bother the tree. Sample cores are significantly smaller than a 1/2" lag bolt, but they also go much deeper. I think the larger issue is the time of year... if the bolt is adjusted when the sap is running, the tree has no problem filling the void. In the dead of a frozen winter... probably not. I think the other caveat is "healthy tree" - a sick tree might be pushed over the edge, but you won't know how sick it is until its dead...and then you just put in a post.
One of the weak points on a fence post is the end-grain exposed top - water gets there and starts the decomposition process. So placing a cap on the post to shed water - just like a roof or a rain hat - makes sense.
There are boat loads of commercial options for your basic 4x4 post - copper, solar lights, mitered wood, etc. But they are expensive and I'm using round posts or variable diameter so options are needed. And since I'll need something like a hundred of them I'm not interested in crafting them.
Any suggestions/experience on post caps? Old pie tins? hubcaps? just slabs of wood? dessert plates and a blob of silicon? freakishly large jar lids?
The issue with trees of course is that they grow and get wider, and absorb bolts and nails and such. The fence lag bolts are relatively short and will eventually be absorbed entirely and then become the bane of anyone with a chainsaw or chipper. How quickly they will be absorbed depends on species and conditions ... I have redwood trees with 3/4" growth rings which would render a lag bolt useless in as little as 5 years.
The plans I found are roughly 12'x8', so 96 sq ft with 80-100 birds. Which we can roughly say is 1 sq/ft per. So 3.2 sq/ft per will be luxurious.
But Jordan has an excellent point... its not just movement space but also forage. So there is also a question here about how often you want to move the tractor - and that depends on the quality of your pasture.
1 ) species of wood matters a lot. If its on the list of rot resistant trees, then that's a good start.
2) shelter matters. An exposed trunk will rot, but the larger the dry space the better.
and I'd add ... soil moisture matters. Keeping the exposed trunk dry is great, but if there is moisture in the ground then the stump will rot from below. So consider slope, and it might be important to add a drain trench around the perimeter.
So ... a yurt. The space under the yurt will be dry, but all the stumps towards the edge will be more exposed and will rot. Since a yurt isn't that big, a lot of the stumps (maybe all?) would count as being "towards the edge" and thus at risk. And any exterior decking won't protect stumps under it.
I got upset at all the plastic regardless of the content. Many alternatives (Schmidt's paste for one) just gave me rashes. I settled on a simple mixture of rubbing alcohol, some water and drops of essential oil. Placed in a little pump spray bottle this works very well. The bottle is totally reuseable, the mixture is cheap and every few months when I mix up another bottle I can alter the oils I use.
I think the bottle is 4 ozs, and I either use full alcohol or 80/20. Then I add about twenty drops TOTAL of essential oil. The alcohol does a good job of terminating unwanted bacteria and the essential oils have totally random (to me...) but probably beneficial effects.
Michelle Czolba wrote: The area right behind the rubble pile is in need of a retaining wall though.
With many retaining walls backfilling with gravel or rubble is recommended. The hard material creates air pockets which prevent water from soaking the back side of the retaining wall. And/or it helps to direct water to a drain pipe at the base of the retaining wall. And as you often don't have enough dirt to level up the soil behind the wall, the rubble can essentially be buried 2' or so down to minimize dirt fill.
That's what I've done. We had rubble from chimney deconstruction ... largely cinder block and cement fascia blocks. The big ones have been used in walkways, the rubble went behind a big (5') retaining wall where it allowed a HUGE reduction in the amount of soil we need to move. We did cover the rubble with a layer of heavy structural fabric just to keep the dirt from settling into all the cracks. Its a win-win in my book!
Lorinne Anderson wrote:The thing is, at the end of the day, the undisturbed earth is a much stronger placement, and way less hassle then digging, forming, pouring and placing the pole.
I second that. Ranch-scale fencing can be done with tractor or skid-steer mounted post drivers. Some are weighted hammers, newer ones are hydraulic impact drivers. They can take a blunt railroad tie and just ... push it into the ground. Everything I've seen agrees that this is more resistant to pull-out and tipping than just about any other method. But it can still rot...
Two questions ...
1) What size tractor? My 21hp could maybe convince a t-post to go in, but that's it. Larger excavator and dozers certainly have weight to throw around, but not mine!
2) the steel roofing.. were the naysayers just worried about the lack of support between the posts? I'm just imagining that a wind-storm could exert tremendous pressure on the screws and possibly pop them off, or would leave the fence with a scallop bend in it. Please do report how it holds up!
Daniel: Absolutely can be done. There are multiple types of brackets, some are set in wet concrete others are attached to dry concrete, and then the fence post is held up above the wet soil. Not a bad solution if you just have access to commercial pressure treated posts, enjoy mixing concrete and like digging big holes.
I prefer the spikes ... both get the wood out of the ground. But a lump of concrete is just about forever and you have to worry about frost heaving too. Spikes are reusable and, if necessary, recyclable. Also made in China ... so there's that.
Concur that concrete is just about the worst method - it feels good and solid at first, checks all the boxes "for doing something" and is a liability thereafter.
For wood posts, I prefer to just set them in gravel. I tend to go much deeper than normally recommended - without the weight and surface area of a blob of concrete the deeper hole provides more friction against uplift and a greater arm against leaning. I tamp the gravel carefully. While putting any wood post in the ground creates conditions for rotting, the gravel mitigates water problems, requires less equipment to install and if the post is ever removed/replaced gravel is much easier to deal with.
In Wisconsin a local fence company made a name for themselves by using steel posts just pounded in. The posts had two wings that flared out underground and provided greater stability. These didn't rot and weren't subject to frost heaving, but I never liked the bare steel post, and the machine to pound them in made it a non DIY job.
My Wisconsin solution was to use split steel posts - one piece into the ground and then a steel post mounted to that. I used ones from Oz Post (https://ozcobp.com). I'd tried using the spikes with standard 4x4 timbers but found that it was nearly impossible to drive the spikes in a co-planar line. Every rock or root would make it twist. Instead I used 2 1/2 round steel posts because then I just had to get them aligned in two planes. With an electric jack hammer the spikes go in fast... its clean but noisy. I then built wood boxes to cover the steel post.
Others make similar spikes - OzCo seems to have the heaviest ones with the largest range. They can be pulled and re-used too.
Kenneth - Its amazing how the shutdown has had immediate, pronounced and visible effects on the environment. Emissions of all sorts are way down. Animals are partying. Consumption of oil is greatly reduced. And yeah, we might just have learned that a bunch of "necessities" really aren't.
In terms of cars & traffic ... there is a whole heaping of "depends". The electric motor is obviously not consuming power when not moving, and it recovers some energy every time the car brakes, so the motive part of the equation is unequivocally in favor of electric. But yeah, running heat or AC is the bane of electric cars because every watt used for climate control is a watt that can't go to the motor. AC does add to gas consumption, heat is essentially free - but the big difference is that my car has the equivalent of 2 gallons of gas on board and so it doesn't have the same margin to be wasteful. So Arizona and Alberta might not be great places for the current generation of electric cars.
An old car lightly driven can be a good choice. Absolutely. But cars do die and the system we're in has us replacing those cars with new ones. Maybe not you, but others sure are. Which car would you prefer they purchase?
The first link works, the second doesn't. I'm having a hard time replying while staying within community standards. I'll just say that first link contains no facts only uninformed conjecture, thus there is nothing there to inform an argument on the relative benefits of electric cars vs ICE.
I've got this old fireplace insert. For an assortment of reasons its dead to me and will never again be used as originally intended. I'm headed to the scrap yard soon and wondering if this idea will keep it around
What if I
a) Cut the back off at some spot calculated to have a certain volume in the box and then...
b) went all Frankenstein and stuck the metal bit onto a bunch of carefully arranged bricks* with a bunch of cob
Would I then have a clever box to function as a batch box? Its got a door that seals and that seems to be a big stumbling point on batch boxes. It also has the glass in it for an atmosphere bonus.
I'm sure I might need to do some interior surgery as well, maybe increase the airflow and strip out the "second burn chamber" in it. It has a shroud and a circulating fan that will have to go for sure.
That's good initiative. I hope something comes of it.
In my area this information is part of the county's GIS system. Its free to use, so others might verify what's available before a subscription to a service.
There seems to be a whole new industry of private equity buying houses that aren't on the market. They are very active here, and I get at least two letters a month and I've even gotten phone calls and text messages. I find them an ominous indicator of eroding economic equality and I reply accordingly. But the folks in your area might not be targeted for this, and I agree that a hand-written letter and a chance to sell a property without commissions might appeal.
There's no lead in these cars. The UCS in 2015 determined that the lifetime footprint of an electric car was half that of a comparable car - time might show that isn't 100% accurate, but there's no overlap with your statement that a Prius leaves a bigger footprint than a Hummer. If you can provide links I will read and respond.
And if you don't approve on any current powered vehicles for mass transportation, is there one from the past or future that you'd nominate?
Agreed! In many ways the argument of gas vs electric cars misses the larger point. The whole "Car is King" era has to go away - and electric and ride-share and self-driving and ... don't really change that fact.
I was astonished to learn that within the Portland, OR city limits fully ONE THIRD of the city is right of way. Some of that is for sidewalks, but the bulk of that 30% is to create an artificial environment that cars thrive in.
I'd love to see some car-less developments that I read about in Europe...
Eric - thanks for coming clean! Its hard to track some of these changes that seem to occur in the background, and are not direct consumer items. Sure, some of us notice that we no longer subscribe to a printed newspaper or magazines and can draw conclusions from that change but things like power generation sources, lbs of glyphosate sprayed on corn, etc seem to most of us to move invisibly. And yet, being humans, we tend to fix on single points of data and cling to those conclusions.
Weight is a definitely an issue, and that does have indirect impacts. I hadn't thought of the extra wear on roads, tires, etc. That is indeed local and it takes some of the wind out of my argument.
In the over all scheme of things, I'm not sure there is much more improvement to suck from ICE engines while battery technology has been improving dramatically. Way back in 2016 (and sorry - not sure what the current state of affairs is) Argonne National Lab decided that, pound for pound, in 2045 electric cars and ICE would be comparable. That roughly translates to batteries having about 30% the energy density of gasoline. Clearly we're a long way from 2045 and technology predictions are iffy (flying cars!), but we should be seeing improvements in energy density which will translate to lighter vehicles.
There is also the problem of upending funding mechanisms for roads. For now I'm perfectly willing to be that obnoxious, morally-superior fellow who says "Giant gas-sucking SUVs should be penalized and pay more for road maintenance since my shiny electric car is a gift to the world." But clearly that won't hold and there will be a change.
TJ - after re-reading your post a few times I'd just like to highlight a few items:
Water - yep, that's important. On a still developing property I don't have water distribution, so the laneway is relevant to getting the cows to the water since I can't get water to the cows. Interesting that sheep use so little water that it seems an afterthought.
Perimeter fence - that's your permanent fencing! Its the essential piece of infrastructure that makes it so easy for you to toss up the paddock fencing. My perimeter is an aging, decaying, unreliable and totally not electrified frankenstein of pasture fence and barb wire. And as my pasture blob indicates, very little of my pasture actually contacts the property line. Thus my need for an equivalent. And not be combative, but half the point of semi-permanent or permanent fencing is to save time and not have to recreate the same passageway every time I plan to move the cows to the Eastern end.
Compaction/cattle paths - this is indeed a loss I'm incurring. Between pastures, I don't know how else I can do this without converting a bunch of forest. Degrading a strip seems preferable. Within a pasture I agree that randomizing paddocks makes sense but I don't see a good way to do it. A semi-permanent laneway allows me to alter the size of each paddock, and every year or so I could pull up the t-posts and shift some of the laneway over.
Not attractive - well, yeah. But its a farm, not a National Park postcard.
I was trying to not go to a "what should I do" format, but I guess the issues I'm facing - and the need to experiment a bit - are inextricably linked to the geography. So down below I'm attaching an outline of the areas I have for the cows - the vertical scale is 1/8" mile (660') and the pastures run about 3/8" mile horizontally. My main problem is the need for a laneway to move the cows between these pastures. I really don't see a time-economical way to do this without a semi-permanent installation.
Within the pastures, I agree with TJ that the step-ins are great. I love my Gallagher step-ins with the orange top and I should buy about ten more. I've got a boatload of fiberglass poles too, but I've mostly relegated those to supporting the polywire in between the t-posts.
I'm not familiar with the "mini reel" - I've found I use three of the reels at a time - two to define the sides of a paddock, running from the laneway to a perimeter and the third just defines the next paddock up so I have the next day ready to go. In some areas I don't have a good perimeter fence to reach, and then I have to wrap the line around a bit more. That's sort of ok, but the reels are really designed to hang on a tensioned wire... and the step-ins and the polywire don't work well. The polywire between t-posts is also not willing to support that weight so I generally figure a way to mount the reel sideways on the t-post - NOT recommended but I haven't got an alternative yet.
My cows have always been ok with the single wire - but they are super chill. If they are out of a fence it means they are expressing dissatisfaction with forage - or it snowed and all the fence lines sagged. The calves sneak under the single line and tease their mothers - little brats! The laneway is double-line, but the paddocks are all single. I used to try and do a double line paddock, back when there wasn't a good laneway and a paddock was more like a portable barnyard.
A benefit of using polywire is the ease of working with it. Its more expensive than steel and its not going to last nearly as long, but there is a lot to be said for minimizing labor when still exploring grazing parameters. It is easily cut with a knife, tensions up well with a simple pull of the hand, is easily spooled up for re-use elsewhere, and can be knotted easily.
I use just two knots ... the classic bowline and the lesser known tautline hitch. I don't seem to have a photo of a tautline, but its a simple knot that resists loosening but is easy to tighten. As the polywire stretches its very easy to tighten up the knot and restore tension to the line.
Backdrop - I've got about 15 acres of pasture, separated into 5 distinct pastures of varying sizes and terrain. The pasture health is ok, but has LOTS of room for improvement. I got cattle back in winter of 2018 and its been a learning experience!
One of the frustrating aspects of fencing is I find lots on HOW to BUILD (or purchase) fencing, but a lot less on the theory of fencing to guide decisions on where fencing goes. Starting from nothing there are a LOT of questions just about placement of gates, widths, should the fence be on this-side or that-side of the trees, and of course there is tremendous frustration with the guidance that you should "size paddocks to give cattle the exact pounds of grass they need for the time they are in the paddock". Thank You Captain Obvious, but given that a) the herd is growing b) the pasture is improving c) I don't know what the lbs/acre of forage is d) there is tremendous seasonal variation and e)it takes time and money to build fencing, so I'd like to install as little of it as possible, thank you... Thus the fencing problem is dynamic, not static. Eventually the herd size will stabilize, the pasture will reach an improved plateau, I'll know from experience how much forage is in a given pasture at a time of year, etc and then I will have the data needed to properly make these decisions. Until then its really hard to commit to buying gates, setting wood posts, etc.
So I set out to play with fencing and see what worked for me and to try to maximize fence utility without having much sunk-cost to keep me from adapting. I've been using polywire and t-posts and geared reels. I'm definitely doing some re-invention of the wheel here, but it allows me to understand the "why" and not just the "should" of fencing.
I wanted a central spine of fencing the run the property and to function as a laneway to move the cattle from one end to the other. Off of the laneway I want to have easy access to paddocks in each pasture, thrown up by using spooled wire and portable pig-tail posts - these allow me to size the paddock as my eye evaluates the amount of forage. Creating a laneway is really easy... getting the cows through it and into pasture is more difficult as I have to punch holes in the laneway while maintaining its structure (containment and transmission of electricity). Easy in a permanent system ... use a gate, bury an insulated connecting line. A truly temporary system just involves a boat load of fiberglass posts and reels and is a huge time-suck (and its easy to lose containment of cows while re-configuring...). I wanted something in between that would allow me to easily open and resize.
Enter the Gallagher 3-Way Gate Anchor. Its a fancy name for a t-post clip with a piece of galvanized metal with three holes in it that works well with spring handle gate systems. But $7.50 a pop. Ouch. Of course, I can buy pin-lock clips for just 75 cents, drop a piece of metal in there and pocket the difference. So here's where that took me...
This is V1 - aluminum bar cut to length and then drilled. I chose aluminum b/c its easy to machine and highly conductive. But I found I wanted to grind the corners and the rough edges off the holes. I found that the polywire, even when double-wrapped through the hole, would in some instances not get enough contact area and would arc. I'm not sure if this is partly because of the anodizing on the aluminum or if the tight bend was hard on the fine metal in the polywire. I seem to have addressed this in later versions...
I tried cutting a slot in some, just to see if it would be helpful to be able to slip a loop of polywire in there. I think these were made on the bandsaw, with others made more cleanly on the tablesaw (although stacking up a bunch of aluminum plates to cut an angle is a potentially dangerous activity). I've given up on these as I never use that slot.
Aluminum is relatively expensive ... so I discovered there was pre-punched steel. This is much faster and less expensive to make. My first ones I tried to us the existing holes to mount in the pin-lock, but that required grinding out the back of the plate so it would fit. Not a time saver! V2 of the steel (not yet pictured) just involves drilling a mounting hole.
Wrapping the line through two holes seems to work very well, its provides lots of contact area and it also functions as a "ladder lock" that helps to tighten the polywire.
James Freyr wrote:... I see how things sure would be a lot easier for me if I had a wide open square or rectangle to neatly divide paddocks ...
Ain't that the truth. But (as I'm sure James knows) it would be less interesting to the eye and - apologies to my grandfather - as flat as Kansas. Trees and terrain also produce significant variation in the landscape - and shelter. My cows love making little forts in the overgrown hazelnuts inside some paddocks... as a first time cow-dad I was a little alarmed by their disappearing act but then my calls would induce some rustling and a cow would pop a head out of the bushes.
I'm about to make a cross-species comparison - I'm not sure it works. Our local favorite of a dog park seems superior is part because of the terrain. Its a large park without a fence, flowing into soccer fields, a play ground, other turf. But its NOT flat. Its heavily forested and has wide, deep valleys. The dogs at this park always seem more chill than at some other parks. I attribute this partly to the terrain: there is no fence, so dogs can run away if they must (fight or flight... they can fly so they are less likely to fight). The valleys and trees make spaces more intimate, more bounded and reduce that sense of "being seen", while also reducing the amount of perimeter that has to be scanned for possible threats - yes, even in a dog park. We generally think of prey animals being safest in the middle of a cleared field with sight lines that stretch for miles - but my cows seem to feel differently, preferring to hide under the low branches of a douglas fir even when shade isn't an issue. In some sense I think the visually distinct pastures also add some texture to their life - its like the difference between living in a giant open warehouse and a house in which you can go from room to room.
So to conclude ... terrain does make the decisions and the application of fencing difficult, but at this point I don't think I'd trade my rorshach blot pastures for a bare rectangle of grass!
I have a small herd of cattle that I rotate. I'm constantly trying to balance laziness on my part with pasture health. It would absolutely be better for the pasture to give the cows a postage stamp in the morning and another in the afternoon. That's not what happens and they instead spend 24-48 hours in a paddock. But they also have access to a lane that gives them access to a yard, water and minerals - so whatever the size of the day's grazing they have much more room to move.
I have an unwritten - obviously - agreement with my cows. I keep giving them fresh grass and they don't challenge the fence. At other times (such as the winter) I give them large sections of pasture just to explore and find a different tree to sit under. I definitely have to be careful with tractors, carts, etc because they are so curious they are destructive.
I wouldn't worry about them getting bored so long as they get grass - that will keep them interested. You can add other stimulation if you need to.
Its true that a car can't complete many tasks that others can - from carrying bulky items to towing a trailer, and that is especially true with electrics that are truly specialists. We are now at least seeing designs and plans for other types of electric vehicles and I eagerly anticipate an electric truck.
I call my car a "farm truck in disguise" and it regularly hauls the dog, fence posts, bags of feed and even hay (on the roof because it gets everywhere!). But I still have a 12' flatbed diesel as backup (which is probably complete overkill and I should probably downsize it).
I'll agree that the plug-in hybrids are questionable. Its a lot of complexity for minimal benefit - except in the right scenario. I had one that worked well ... but when my driving conditions changed that car didn't appeal to my inner fundamentalist.
I would have thought Denmark had better charging infrastructure! All those windmills... I think your range issues will be dealt with when, in another 10 years?, its time to replace your current vehicle. But for now an electric would be difficult to justify.
Stumbled here and was surprised at the absence of what I thought were well-known perspectives, and also how much may have changed since this thread first fired up.
First, as to CO2 emissions per mile driven, yes this is largely dependent on where you live and where your electricity comes from. The UCS has a handy calculator for you: https://evtool.ucsusa.org For my area, my cars have the emissions profile of an ICE that gets 115 mpg. I have yet to see a four-seat ICE car that can do that so the winner here is quite clear. Something like 75% of the USA population would have lower emissions per mile with an electric car vs an ICE getting less that 50 mpg... so there might be some room for hybrids and such.
Second, lifetime emissions. Yes, making those batteries and electric motors and aluminum body panels takes energy. So does steel, gas, etc. Way back in 2015 the UCS determined (https://www.ucsusa.org/resources/cleaner-cars-cradle-grave) that an electric car took 15% more energy to manufacture, but over the lifetime the electric car would emit only half the emissions. Money Quote: "We found that battery electric cars generate half the emissions of the average comparable gasoline car, even when pollution from battery manufacturing is accounted for."
I'm pretty confident that since 2015 the efficiency of manufacturing has improved and the efficiency of the battery & motor seem to inch upward too, and since more electricity is coming from wind & solar that ratio is probably growing in favor of electrics.
There are a few other points ..
Community & Noise Pollution: Cars are noisy things. Yes, as pointed out, we could certainly do with fewer of them and fewer miles driven. Electric cars eliminate a LOT of noise sources - engine, muffler, transmissions, brakes. What you have left is mostly just tire noise on the road. Imagine how much nicer life would be without that omnipresent noise!
ICEs are nastly little polluters. In addition to C02 the tailpipe can be full of nasty byproducts. Add in the oil drips, transmission fluids and the dust of brake pads... its a mess. Its a mess that has certainly gotten a LOT better with modern emissions controls, regulations, etc - but ICE cars are just a vector for spreading pollution, generally making it someone else's problem as you drive past. Electrics don't do that. Yes, you can argue that I'm saving my neighborhood of pollutants while some coal-fire plant spews a black cloud of doom upon those unfortunate to be downwind - but that's an argument for getting rid of coal plants, not for driving gas or diesel cars.
Electrics are really nice to drive. They produce tremendous amounts of torque, so they hop up and go. They are quiet to be in. The current design architecture places the heavy battery down low so the car handles very nicely.
And ... I never have to go to a gas station! I come home and plug in ...and leave and come home ... and plug in.
There is a lot of poor understanding and even plain mis-information out there when it comes to charging. For me, the charging issue is the critical one for electric cars to solve. I'm fortunate to have a home with an electrical service that can support a 40 amp charger but a lot of people are housed in rentals, apartments, etc and having your own charger is not an option. Using one of the charging services is quite expensive - about 3x what it costs to charge at home, and approaching the cost of gas. This can absolutely be a deal breaker for many people right now - but its important to remember that these are early days and the charging system has been improving dramatically.
We used just a 115v outlet for two years. That charges at about 5 miles per hour. The 40a 200v charger (operates at 32a...) pumps about 25 miles per hour into the car. On a trip, the early DC "Fast" chargers operate around 25 kw - which translates to about a mile per minute. I've done long trips with those and I can't recommend them - they seem to have been designed to give the early 80 mile ranged cars (Nissan Leaf) an 80% charge in about an hour - because its drive-a-minute, charge-a-minute. Those early versions are being upgraded to 50kw and 75kw and even 150kw chargers. I think my car maxes out at 75 kw - which is enough to take the car from empty to an 80% charge (range of about 170 miles) in 36 minutes. I find that acceptable. A fancier car (e.g Tesla) can charge at twice that rate.
I find all of the interest in fluid batteries and swapping batteries and such to be unecessary. Something like 97% of my charging is done at home and I really don't care if it takes all night. Charging at 75kw is totally reasonable for me - and its only going to get better.
Finally, why yes, I am an evangelist on this issue!
I once had something like that but never did get it turned into a greenhouse before we had to move across the country.
There's a possible trap/land mine in your glass that you may not know about ... that glass is probably Low-E glass. This is meant to minimize solar gain (by reflecting that particular wave length) and maximizing internal heat retention (by also reflecting that other wave length back in). Some glasses will just reflect one of the wave lengths. Thus the problem might be that you've got glass designed to reject solar energy and hold on to supplemental heat generation.
Oh disaster! I hope that critter has a bad feeling in their stomach for a few days...
My assessment is that its been touched or drooled on, but it almost certainly hasn't had eggs laid in it. This makes it easier to simply clean or sanitize instead of treating it like water that might have parasitic eggs and needs to be boiled for a while.
Alas, the melting point of chocolate is really low, and the recommended "don't heat over" temperature is just 120F or 49C - well below the 160F /72F that we would heat dishes or laundry in order to "sanitize" them.
So I got nothin but empathy. Every other path is a Rube Goldberg contraption made into a plan.
a thought on titles ...a balloon? maybe a lead balloon...?
If trying to reach beyond folks who've thought about energy usage, trying to get the zeroes and ones, "Passive" seems like a bad choice. Passive is indeed the opposite of Active, but that's only helpful if someone is aware that most greenhouses are "Active" and that there is an alternative. Further the objective of the design isn't that its underground (that's for mole people, or for underground bunkers... and its really just a boatload of lights and some hydroponic buckets).
I haven't followed the plan enough to be certain but -
"No added heat greenhouse ..."
"Cold-Climate Greenhouse with only Solar Energy"
"Low-Cost, No Heat Greenhouse"
"Grow Veggies Anywhere , Anytime, Offgrid"