Alex Arn wrote:Anything involving storage of water for longer than 24 hours requires permitting from the state engineering office. It not a complicated process but it something that takes time.
Trees are hard to grow here. The wind dries them out and the winters are long. I would go take a look at the site before you buy and make sure you understand who has mineral rights.
Obviously, I didn't pursue this idea, as that land was for sale 2 years ago. That said I wonder, would a swale fall under that permit rule from the state engineering office? Or does that apply to catchment that doesn't allow rainfall to enter into the soil? I have to admit, I find the rainwater rules in Western states to be weird.
John C Daley wrote:Some thoughts;
- Land is low cost for a reason
- sometimes that reason is that anything usual will cost heaps
- But something done differently may work well
Differently is definatly what I had in mind.
- Why not allow walkers to grab a drink if they need one?
Only because leaving the pump infrastructure in place puts it at risk of vandalism, although there might be a way to do it without much risk of loss to the overall system.
- Have you any thoughts about what you wish to do?
My thoughts are just to build some swales in one year, plant some trees in the next. Basically create a private camping lot, with a small amount of stored water. Another way I thought about doing it (if the soil isn't rock) is to bury a pond liner a few feet under the soil, directly under the lowest swale, in a concave shape. Basically as an artificial "impermeable layer" to create a groundwater pocket. Then put a driven well head near the bottom of that pocket and a shallow well pump at the top and let it be. it won't likely be nice to drink, but it would be fine for watering a garden. After a decade or so, it's either going to be a tiny oasis or nothing. Something to gift to my grandchildren, I suppose.
I don't know where this topic should actually go, so I'm putting it here...
I was today old when I learned about the Natural Resources conservation service, an agency dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. I say it, even though it's redundant, because it's not been my experience that government programs do what their name implies.
Well, this agency has a program for financing support of "high tunnel" type greenhouses; primarily for the support of "small scale urban agriculture"; i.e. farmer's market scale producers. I learned about this agency from yesterday's podcast from Jack Spirko. Veterans also get preference for such funding.
Jay Angler wrote:I know a bunch about the things that weren't considered and just how difficult it would really be to create a "life" on Mars or in any spaceship, compared to simply "existing".
And I think that this has a lot to do with why this path of research is valuable. Certainly, effectively growing crops on an improved Earth is a far easier path; but a wise man once said, "Gaia isn't sick, she's pregnant!". And while I'm not a Gaia-ist myself, the thought experiment of imagining the whole of the Earth, humanity included, as a single meta-organism does have merit. In this context, humanity is the mind of Gaia; as the only portion that can think critically, learn, develop technology and act according to a purpose. So if Gaia is pregnant, humanity is a necessary component to get the newborn off-planet. To that end, we have to understand ourselves and our environment well enough to replicate it in a tiny fraction of volume and mass, and keep it in balance long enough to establish itself elsewhere.
A few years ago I attempted to grow corn on my property. Rather than either a row garden or a three sisters hill method, I chose a hybrid of those two. I planted the corn in a spiral. I took a pole wrapped in string and used it as my row planting guide. I inter-planted a bean as well, I didn't add squash.
That experiment was a complete failure. Corn grew, but whatever was produced was destroyed by wildlife before I ever saw it. So I abandoned the test to the birds & the deer. I suspect that the root of my failure wasn't the animals, per se; since there were many lots of traditional field corn growing nearby. I suspect that my property lacks important nutrients to grow corn effectively, and I'm entirely unwilling to resort to artificial fertilizers.
I'm thinking of trying this again with sorgum/milo as my primary grain. I intend to plant, then largely leave the lot be for the season. My goal is to find a grain crop that I can grow for animal feed, not human consumption; but one that doesn't require much attention. Has anyone here had experience with sorgum that might be applicable to this concept?
Even if this guy lives in his NYC apartment in the dark & without heat, he's still probably neglecting a lot of external factors. It's impossible for him to live there without both water service & sewage transport & processing. New York City is unique in the fact that every building taller than, IIRC 7 stories is required to have it's own water storage system & it's own water pumps for higher floors; and residents cannot be charged for this directly. Also, practically every city has pumping and processing facilities for sewage and other wastewater that he definitely makes use of, but isn't considering in his data.
Granted, adding in the energy required for water treatment, transportation, and sewage treatment isn't going to blow up his conclusions alone; but I suspect that he's neglecting a lot of other factors as well. Let's take the no-heat in winter option at a glance; because these people are living in apartments that have other apartments on at least 2 sides (and a floor, probably also his roof) these people who live without heat are still getting some heat from their neighbors. It's a form of freeloading, since part of the advantage of an apartment is that your space's exposure to the cold is limited by your neighbors' heated spaces.
Nicole Alderman wrote:
Would you like to help with testing and fixing this glitch, or would you like me to try and fix things for you so don't have to deal with this any more?
I would very much like to be a part of the solution. What prompted me to do it this way was because I learned about the early-bird stuff from the new kickstarter from Jack Spirko, and I was trying to determine how much of it I already had before deciding on my pledge.
I had to make a new account, because my regular account has been broken for a few weeks now. I still get the Dailyish, but whenever I click through I get an error page that says roughly "We can't contact you via your email address...please change it to a real address". So I click through and try to provide another address, but it won't save anything either, so I'm stuck in a loop; and I couldn't even post to this forum without a new account. I waited this long because I was hoping that it was something that someone with power would notice, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen.
Help! My Permies account is broken! For whatever reason, for about a week now when I go to the permies forums, I encounter a notice that there's something wrong with my email address, that "permies is unable to contact you at your address" and that I'm forced to change it. Except there's an error every time i try to save those changes. So today I gave up hoping that someone would notice that something was wrong; and started looking for the "contact us" link. But I couldn't even see this thread without logging out first. Can anyone help me, please? Also, as far as I can tell, my email is working fine. I still get all the dailyish emails. -Creighton Samuels
There is a slightly different arrangement that is worth considering, particularly for ground mounting. The east-west solar array, with two identical panels arranged as two sides of an equilateral triangle (the third side being the Earth or bottom support) so that one panel faces roughly east while the other roughly west. This arrangement has been shown to produce a very "flat" power curve across the solar day, permitting it's use for many functions without batteries, or minimum batteries. One function that comes immediately to mind are direct connection to a well pump, one that is properly sized to the solar array for near-maximum flow rate across the solar day.
Alternatively, the east-west array can be mounted on just about any shed roof that the apex of the roof roughly runs north-south.
Steven A Smith wrote:I scanned through most of this (12 year old, very long) thread and didn't see much reference to the use of literal *heat lamps*.
Actually, many before you have mentioned using incandescent (heat) lamps to both directly heat & illuminate a space or a person. I can understand if you overlooked those posts, since this thread is, indeed, 12 years in the running. What you seem to be describing in the rest of your post is commonly referred to as a "heat bubble" here, after the research & resulting article/video by Paul Wheaton that started this thread. True incandescent bulbs have become hard to find in the US these days, unless they are of the red light kind, due to regulatory reasons.
I know that, previously, 4" rocket mass heaters were abandoned because the internal drag on the natural draft was too much to work. However, I was listening to one of Paul's recent podcasts wherein he discussed a RMH in an apartment. I got to thinking, could an urban & stealth RMH be developed that could share the exhaust vent normally reserved for a tenant's clothes dryer. I know that, permies being geared to off-grid, independent lifestyles, developers of the RMH don't like to introduce grid-dependent technology to their research. However, I was wondering if anyone has tried a forced draft method to allow the 4" RMH to work? What I mean is, attach a vent fan; preferably one with a variable speed, to the exhaust end of a 4" RMH in order to force air to move in the correct direction and out the side of the apartment building via an existing dryer vent.
Lucy, can you give us a review of the long term service of your Katydid woodstove, please? The ups and downs that you can remember? I'm researching into replacing my existing woodstove, and am very interested in the Katydid.
Try to think of ways to heat the people directly, and put less effort into heating the airspace less expensively. Yes, electric resistive heating is a very expensive way to heat a house, but an incredibly cheap way to heat just a bed or couch. I use a heated mattress pad for the beds, and turn the house thermostat down to 65 Fahrenheit (18 degrees C)
Your comparison doesn't really address the issue for me. I'm talking about machines with ARM chips. That chromebook uses an Athalon. From what I've read every low power chip designed by Intel or AMD has kinda sucked and been driven out of the market by those with the ARM architecture.
Ah, sorry. My of my exposure to ARM has been through raspberry pi's and half the software I was interested in hadn't been ported to arm. How's the situation now?
I had a similar problem early on with using my RaspPi4 as a desktop. What I discovered was that the problem wasn't the ARM processors, per se; but the fact that (prior to RaspPi3) the chipsets were 32 bit, while a lot of the software that I wanted to run was written and compiled only for 64 bit processors; so the stable release of 32 bit Raspbian Linux was (quite deliberately) handicapped. I suffered through this for a time, but eventually got fed up enough to force a complete upgrade to 64 bit Raspbian, since the RaspPi4 could handle it. The most obvious bit-rot was when some (not all) Youtube videos switched to a newer codex that I couldn't find for the 32 bit Raspbian, all I could do was hear the audio.
It was like night and day. It all just worked, as if I had just bought a new iMac. The feel was the same, but it was obvious after upgrading that the 32 bit version was being ignored by the developers in favor of the 64 bit. Now there's an "upgrade available" notification that I see on the top bar every few days; I click it to see what's changed, then approve it. It downloads and installs within 5 minutes and I've never had to screw with looking for missing libraries since.
Creighton Samuels wrote:
Or you could build your own out of a Raspberry Pi 4 compute module, if you have that skillset or would like to develop it. The RAspPi4 has USB 3, but does have expansion capabilities that may permit a USB 4 "HAT" (hardware attached top) to be added in the future.
Another really good feature of the Raspberry pi is the low energy use
I've used a Raspberry Pi 4 as my primary desktop for over 2 years now, and I can attest that the low power consumption is very real. The power supply I have is only rated for 10 watts maximum, but I probably average about 3 watts while I'm using it. It drops down to less than a watt when in full idle. It's a RISC processor, I believe; quad core. I also know that when it goes into full idle, it's only using processor zero. And it has power reduction features that'd you'd expect from a portable or cell phone, when you turn off the wifi or bluetooth radio, it's off. It can run it's own fan, but I don't use it anymore; as I bought a case machined from aluminum that acts like an oversized heat sink, and that probably saves me about 2 watts. The RAspPi4 also has underclocking available, if your particular use case doesn't require 1.5 Gigahertz and you desperately need lower consumption; dropping to 1.2 would probably work great for a working laptop, that should be fine for anything less than a Youtube/video development computer. This doesn't include the monitor or speaker power consumption, however; either of which probably takes more than 10 watts alone.
Granted, it sucks at any level of gaming more recent than the past decade; but it does make for an excellent desktop otherwise. Since the chipset is derived from cell phone hardware, the hardware audio processing is excellent; Audacity runs like a champ. Video processing is a bit lacking, but it can still play video files to 4K without skipping or losing sync, as long as you're not trying to do anything else in the background. (at 1.5 gigahertz)
IMHO, the greatest concern about buying a laptop for the long term is the fact that laptops, in general, cannot upgrade their ports. As such, the greatest issue is choosing a laptop with the most recent non-proprietary connector standards, and at least as many of those ports as you currently require. Right now that'd be USB 3, iirc; although USB 4 should be coming very soon. If you're buying a brand new laptop, it might be worthwhile to require a USB 4 port in your shopping list.
Or you could build your own out of a Raspberry Pi 4 compute module, if you have that skillset or would like to develop it. The RAspPi4 has USB 3, but does have expansion capabilities that may permit a USB 4 "HAT" (hardware attached top) to be added in the future.
And I agree that GNU/Linux is the way to go with any computing choice intended to be used for more than 4 years, as both Apple & Microsoft have business models that benefit from software "bloat" and requiring newer chipsets on the hardware, in order to encourage an earlier upgrade cycle. Linux doesn't care how old your hardware actually is.
Kirsty Pollock wrote:So now it's 2022, everything from food to fuel to building materials costs 1.5 to 2x more. There continues to be no safe inflation beating savings.
I'm going to have to disagree with you here, as by definition, a prior investment in household consumables would most certainly have matched or beaten the average inflation rate; as the average rate (official CPI) is suppressed by industries that haven't increased at the same rate as food, energy & household goods.
This has traditionally been called the "Alpha Stragety" among investment gurus since the 1970's, after a book by the same name was published. It's called that, because it used to be what every household did with extra income well before considering any kind of investing. But you don't need to read the book, as I have, because it just describes what our grandparents would do prior to WW2. A well stocked pantry, whether canned at home or bought from a store. Stocking up on consumables, particularly those that can't be produced by the household or the local community, whenever the consumable in question is on sale or extra funds are available. But the consumable should, ideally, have two characteristics to qualify. First, it should be a significant value in a small volume; so a year's stock of toilet paper shouldn't be high on that list. Second, it should be something "durable", in the sense that it doesn't corrode or rot in basic, dry storage.
As mentioned, a pantry of canned goods with reasonable use-by dates would quality; but other things do as well. Personally, I've discovered that razor blades & shaving cream qualify for myself; expensive for their size, easy to keep for long periods of time. I used to stockpile the replaceable razor heads for my handle; but as I consumed my stock the past two years, I've switched to a classic safety razor made entirely from brass & steel (no plastic at all) and a set of shave soap pucks. I can now go for another 2 years without buying anything, and the whole kit & kabootal fits into a half-cubic foot storage container.
If you already have the stocked pantry, then make a list of the other household consumables that you use. Be specific, mention brand names & product line details if that would matter to you. If you buy branded laundry detergent, put that on the list. Perform an audit of your bathroom cabinets, write down everything you find; preferred hair care products, skin care, etc. Cross out anything on your list that needs to be refrigerated after opening, or can rust/corrode.
Once you have your list, add current prices to every line-item; then re-write the list in order of most expensive to least. Look at the top five items; could you store enough of those items for a least a year, without significant changes to your current storage spaces or options? (if you have to rent a storage unit, it's a fail) What about 5 years?
This is literally what Proverbs 21:20 is talking about...
"In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has"
Thanks Mat. I asked my wife about the weed burner before posting, and she's afraid that it would discolor the brick. But I will definitely try the vinegar. Any suggestions as to where I should look for such a strength of vinegar?
I want to kill the grass in some unwanted areas. Specifically, grass that's growing up over the gravel driveway, and grass that's growing up between the bricks that make up the front walkway. Obviously, I don't want to use any modern chemical herbicides. Any old lore or forgotten wisdom that I could try here?
Is the sailor guy info available anywhere online, like Youtube, or was it a one on one conversation between the two of you?
It was a one-on-one conversation, and a random encounter. I never even thought to ask the guy his name, and never saw him again. At the time of the conversation, I never really thought of the concept as being all that innovative; it was only later that it occurred to me that it was a very efficient way of keeping a declining volume of perishables (plus declining volume of ice) cold for a long time, whenever access to more ice or refrigeration is difficult.
To be honest, at the time, I thought the guy was a crank and was just listening to him ramble for a few minutes; but I'm glad I actually listened to what he was telling me. This same method also works really well with dry ice. In this case you take the dry ice wrapped in a bath towel, and keep it in the smallest cooler. Either alone or with meat you want HARD frozen for a few more days. The smallest cooler lives in the middle cooler with all the perishable that can fit, and whatever water ice will fit from the largest cooler. The dry ice will sublimate slower inside the little cooler, and contribute to keeping the middle cooler cold longer. However, it's important that you don't put the middle cooler inside the big cooler while dry ice remains, nor should you put any weight on top of the little cooler while inside the middle cooler. That co2 can build up pressure inside the coolers, and damage the coolers. I was lucky enough to just have it pop the top open with a surprising amount of force, but I did it wrong on the first try.
Where can I find the nesting coolers, or pics of them?
Well, I looked for a long while for a purpose made set; as I figured if this was really a thing, someone would make a set like this. I never found one. In the end, I had to search around with a measuring tape and a bit of luck to assemble such a set. What I did was buy the largest roto-molded 7 day cooler that I could find (it was at Walmart, IIRC) and then search for the middle sized one that could fit down into it with both tops closed. The important dimensions are the depth of the largest cooler, and the distance from the front to the back of the largest cooler at the very bottom. If you look at the inside of these large roto-molded coolers, they all are narrower at the bottom, as they have sloped sides and sometimes even a sudden transition partway down. This means that there's always going to be more insulation near the bottom of the cooler than near the top; which is exactly what you'd expect from a cooler designed to keep ice frozen for as long as possible, because as the ice melts and the food is consumed, whatever remains is going to be lower in the cooler.
I suppose I could take some photos of the ones that I actually have, and I believe I may have done that with another thread about my experiment on this site somewhere....
John C Daley wrote:Creighton, how much time do you spend shifting food and ice about?
Surely there is an easier system?
I use a propane fueled fridge.
As I mentioned, I've done this 4 times in the past few years. The first time was just as an experiment using jugs of milk as my proxy. The other times were power failures, and none lasted 10 days. This is a trick I learned about listening to some old salty guy living out of his sailboat, he mostly lived alone "on the hook" and came to the marina once a week to buy groceries and more ice. He didn't have a fridge. He also had another trick involving boiling stew three times each day during winter on his propane stovetop. Sterilized the stew each time, and warmed the cabin. His wasn't a cost free lifestyle, but it was as close to a life -hacker as I've met in real life. The boat was paid for and his only other transportation was a bicycle. So his only expenses were food, ice, beer and propane, and he fished a lot anyway. He even caught rainwater. I'm pretty sure he took sponge baths if he bathed at all. He looked exactly like what you're imagining right now. He didn't say anything about an income, but it would have been trivial to live on Social Security alone this way.
Obviously, he lived alone.
David Rivers wrote:Why don’t you just use the cooler without all that. Remove bottom instead of making it a science project. You’re overthinking it
I admit I have a habit of overthinking these things. I never did this project. What I did instead is find a set of multi-day coolers that nest inside each other, and buy a set if ice bags from Amazon. The automatic ice maker in my newer refrigerator will fill up it's large internal ice bin every 2 days, even with ongoing consumption. One ice bag is two full bins; o I take the ice in the bin and empty it into an ice bag, and leave that half-full ice bag in that freezer for 2 more days. I top off the ice bag, tie it up and transfer it to my deep freezer; where it stays with about 7 other bags until I need them. Since I've started doing things this way, I've used my ice in storage 4 times.
This much ice, using the system I've developed with nested coolers, can keep some ice (and therefore under 36 degrees) for at least 10 days.
What I do is the following...
Day one, transfer all the meat and other short perishables from the fridge into the smallest of 3 nesting coolers; this one is a large lunch cooler, really. One bag of ice fills it up.
Everything else that we'd want to keep in the refrigerator goes into the middle sized cooler, basically a well insulated 3 day cooler, until it's above halfway. Rest is ice up to the top, but the top must close.
All of the kind of "just keep it cool" things that don't have to go into a refrigerator per se, go into the largest cooler; which is a massive 7 day cooler. All the remaining ice and any ice blocks go into here.
We then make a plan to eat from the smallest cooler first. Stack the coolers; largest on the bottom; then cover the stack with a blanket.
Day two; complete the consumption of the contents of the smallest cooler. If any ice remains, pour it into the largest cooler. Drain melt-water from the middle cooler.
Day three; drain meltwater from the two largest coolers. If anything remains in the smallest cooler, it goes into the middle cooler.
At some point, the ice will have melted in the largest cooler enough that there's room to put that ice into the middle cooler, and then place the middle cooler inside the largest cooler. After this is done; all perishables are in the middle cooler, and all "keep cool" items are in the largest cooler (condiments, butter, etc.) on each end in the open space between the wall of the middle cooler and the large cooler. The middle cooler should be packed with as much ice as possible, so long as it can still close. This is the condition that shall exist for the remainder of the time, and no more draining of melt-water is necessary.
So at this point, I have a 3 day cooler inside of a 7 day cooler. The open space between the coolers, if the large cooler top stays closed, is about 45-50 degrees F; while the middle cooler stays close to freezing at any point in contact with the melt-water, so long as any ice remains. I can count on this lasting at least 7 more days.
Pearl Sutton wrote:A memory bubbled up today while thinking about this thread...
I college I knew a guy who lived in an unheated house. He did something he called "sleeping with the laundry" He had four big sheets, safety pinned together two and two, into giant pillowcases, and his clean laundry was in one (the top one) and his dirty clothes were put in the bottom one. He slept between them. When he started getting cold at night because there wasn't much in the clean bag above him, it was time to do his wash.
Definitely using what was at hand, and the things at hand did not include a closet or dresser. So he killed a lot of birds with one rock here, kept his room neater as all his clothes were in one bag or the other, warmed up at night, plus had storage space for his clothes. In summer he slept on top of both bags.
It occured to me just now, that this thread, and this idea in particular, should be translated into German and spread around the German speaking internet. There's going to be a lot of Germans who can use these tips this coming winter.
This is the same mattress pad heater that I've been using for 6 years
I use a mattress warmer but normally I turn it on for ~1 hour before bed and then turn it off as I get in (it conveniently has a built-in 1 hour timer!) However, it's a bit useless in a black-out which can easily happen in my area in any storm due to all the trees around us.
The mattress pad heater is low enough on demand that a deep cycle battery and a small inverter would be a workable solution; if only used as a pre-heat anyway, it'd work even better.
Luckily, we do have two wood burning stoves. They aren't anywhere near as efficient as an RMH, but if we're desperate, one is downstairs in a room that's easy to isolate, although fairly large. The one upstairs can't easily be isolated at all. Our weather only occasionally gets ridiculously cold, so I'd be inclined to do the "hot rock" trick - heating them on top of the woodstove then tucking them into the bed for an hour.
Do you mean a "happy rock"? Wherein you heat the rock up on the woodstove, shove your hand into a wool sock, grab the hot rock with the wool sock; pull in, twist once, push through so that you end up with two layers of wool around a hot rock, then place the "happy rock" under the comforter? Yes, we do this too; with on the woodstove or on the gas stovetop, depending upon the details of the power outage. I have 6 fist sized pieces of soapstone that live upon my woodstove for this exact purpose.
Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Come to think of it, a canopy bed could also be a pocket of cool air on the rare occasions we use our portable air conditioner. It would take a fraction of the energy needed to cool the whole bedroom to a sleeping temperature. Hmmm...
Ever heard of a ChiliCube? It's like a heated mattress pad, but it's a cooling unit.
Now, instead of a twin sized mattress on the top, place a hard board there, you can use it as shelving. Drape some heavy blanket over the edge of that top bunk, edge tucked under the top board, much like how the Japanese heated table works. You're basically making winter curtains for the lower bunk.
Then use a decently warm top blanket or comforter, and you'll do fine in some pretty deep cold. This is the same mattress pad heater that I've been using for 6 years, except I have a king. The heated mattress pad is a joy, but when the room is particularly cold, you'll still feel it in your face. So the bed "curtains" help to make a pocket of heated air, from your own warmed breath and the escaped heat from the mattress pad. It has 5 heat settings, each one adding about 25 watts each. I've never gone higher than 3, and I imagine I could sleep outside on 5 and a decent winter comforter.