If the pipe size is generous, you don't need much fall. Where I am, septic pipe gets one quarter inch fall per foot (7 or 8 cm per meter, I think). You could squeak by on less, maybe. You could also do the "U" shaped feed to the tank which doesn't have pipe in the air over a long distance, but that has to be drained when freezing is possible. Put your tank as high as possible to allow for some gravity feed. On that slope, a level pad for the tank may be a challenge. Run the tank overflow into your swale system.
Easy to come up with ideas if you don't have to live with the results or do the work, eh?
Marcos Buenijo wrote:Listen to podcasts available at www.battery1234.com. Also note that Steven Harris has done about 15 such podcasts on The Survival Podcast hosted by Jack Spirco. These are packed with practical alternative energy information.
Steven Harris considers the hydrogen production from batteries to be neglible, but you'll have to listen to the podcasts to get his full discussion (starts at 65:45 of part 1).
Well, I certainly wouldn't want to steer us down that slippery slope. I agree that those input costs take a big chunk out of chemical farmers. I'd be glad to see them spend an even larger slice until any hope of turning a profit is dashed.
I watched your keynote @ the 2013 san diego conference last night.
You seem like exactly the kind of person I would personally get along with and learn a lot from (Charismatic w/ a decent sense of humor/broad knowledge base) I like that you'll swear like a sailor in front of large audiences with no shame. I have found it's a good trait in an employer.
I really appreciate what you are doing with this site. Many thanks for putting up with everyone (myself most definitely included)
I am currently up to my eyebrows in my own projects and trying to save my families land. Otherwise I'd be seriously thinking of sticking out my thumb on the side of I-90 right now (and honestly I have been thinking about it).
Who knows what the future holds - perhaps in time if you are still looking for people I'll look you up again and make my way there.
Wishing you the best of luck and the least of stress. In the meantime I'll do my best to put the word out for permies. World domination awaits.
The most expedient way to judge whether something has merit is to search out several credible sources who have come out against it. If more than one of those who I deem credible, refute the idea completely, I move on.
I can't possibly do all research myself. It takes 5 minutes to investigate most ideas. My favorite is the Skeptical Inquirer. Many really smart people involved there.
Tom OHern wrote:That looks great. It works on the same principle as a rocket mass heater, charging some mass with excess heat that gets radiated back slowly. I could see this being used for home heating with an attached greenhouse. Let the sun heat up the air in a greenhouse and then pump that air through pipes embedded underneath the flooring of your house. The flooring would then radiate that heat slowly over a long period drastically reducing the need to heat the air in your house. Great idea!
Yes I thought of that as well. In fact the rocket mass heater thing is something that fascinates me at the moment and I've started another thread about an idea about that in the Rocket Mass Heater forum (otherwise it will get confusing!).
Back to this sand climate battery - anyone else think its a good idea? Does anyone know any details? Is there a better way to prevent overheating in a greenhouse and usefully store the heat?
@Michael Cox Excellent points! We'll definitely try to leave things nice for when we move out, and it's good to hear I don't need a 6ft pile to see the benefits of a hugel!
@S Benji Yeah, we definitely weren't going to plant vegetables directly into the soil! Part of the reason I wanted to do raised beds was to get around the possible lead issue (although we are planning to have the soil tested). To fill the hugel/raised bed hybrid, I was planning to take a bunch of brush, soil, and compost from my grandpa's yard in Massachusetts. He had a massive garden for decades but as time has gone on the oak trees in his yard have shaded it out, and brought along with them scores of chipmunks that have eaten up everything he's tried to plant. He still composts faithfully though, so his compost pile is taller than I am!
Since I've lived in New York for the past ten years, I've only ever done container gardening in sub-irrigating planters I've made myself. That's what my shrubs and trees are planted in (bananas, Meyer lemon, Calamondin orange, strawberry guava, pineapple guava, red currant, nannyberries, black huckleberries, an experimental pawpaw just to see if it can be done in a container, etc). My herbs are in commercial sub-irrigating pots from HDPE plastic that were weirdly discounted at Home Depot (I think maybe based on their color?). Oh, and I am doing a screen like you suggested! I'm using arctic and hardy kiwi in one area, and in another I have a few different Phyllostachys bamboo in containers with maypop and other passionflowers running up them. For the raised beds, I was initially thinking of putting chinkapins, hazels, berries, and anything needing protection in them, so that I could easily just hardware-cloth off one area.
Yeah...I'm almost obscenely excited about all of this...
IMO you should choose materials that will last in the environment you place them. It is wasteful to build something that will disintegrate or become a health hazard. Also, improper use of 'alternative' materials is what gives them a bad reputation and keeps them out of code approved construction.
I like strawbale buildings IF built with good drainage and roof overhang. I've seen bale buildings with parapet roofs and bad drainage and people are surprised the house is falling apart. A building technique is only as good as the setting and attention to detail used.
there are many options to how the land should be distributed. I saw in a book once that had an areal photo of a town and on the outskirts was farm properties with no houses. while hear in the states it is like every property has a house plus the towns and cities. I want to some day start a conservation business but was wandering if any body can think of a book that talks about how the land should be distributed.
I've heard several people say that muscovy ducks will get rid of mosquito problems. With all that water they should be quite happy there! They'll also add fertilizer (our grass never looked as green as when we had ducks and geese pooping everywhere - stayed green right through a drought!) and eat slugs and other nasties.
Do you have any animals yet?
I agree with the others, haying removes fertility.
I've had a lot of people tell me that weeping willows suck the moisture out of the soil, making marshy areas much drier - they also make good livestock fodder. And they're FREE if you can find a weeping willow tree you can get cuttings from - just stick the (pencil-sized) cuttings in the soil (make sure the right end is in the soil - some do it by cutting the bottom at an angle and the top straight across) in early spring before they've started to leaf out and you should have a new tree in no time. Some say they're messy trees, dropping branches and leaves but all that is organic matter that adds fertility to the soil!
What clay soil needs is deep rooted plants to increase life in the soil that feeds off of the sugars roots release just for that purpose and feeds off the dead roots. Those bacteria, fungi, etc. will fill the soil with threads that open it up and hold air spaces to make it absorb water better, hold nutrients and make air pockets so the plant roots can grow even deeper. The roots only grow as deep as there is "top" sticking out of the ground to support them, so mowing not only cuts the tops off but also makes the roots withdraw back toward the surface instead of pushing ever deeper. If you mow but don't bale, you add mulch to the surface which will break down to feed soil organisms and be carried further into the soil by worms, so that will increase the fertility some but it will happen in winter without any gasoline, machinery or effort as well.
If you really are years away from pasturing animals, it could be the perfect time to establish some lines of food forest/windbreaks. Many of those trees can be free as well - plant rows of seeds from apples, peaches, plums, cherries, nectarines, apricots, etc. and see what comes up next spring. Then transplant them to locations where you'd like them to grow (or you can plant them in place but you may risk them getting lost in tall grass and smothered before they get a chance to grow).
Some are in favor of keyline plowing but I've also read that in some soils you have to do it every few months because it doesn't last very long. IMHO making some swales to push water along and collect it in ponds would be a better use of your money.
If your ponds don't have any fish in them, release some bait minnows (live, of course). They're native to the area, reproduce rapidly, and will eat the mosquito larvae for you. Plus they're super cheap. I got a pound of them from a fish truck for $8.50. If you have rain barrels they also harbor mosquito larvae but get too hot for minnows - get some cheap feeder goldfish (usually around 10 cents each) and put 2 in each barrel. Also see if your husband can clean out your rain gutters, they often harbor mosquitoes. We've found that lemon balm leaves rubbed on our skin helped repel them pretty well, but a clean diet with lots of green leafy vegetables IMHO makes you a less desired host to them.
I have MCS too but not as bad as it sounds like you do. I have to use Milk of Magnesia for deodorant and vinegar and baking soda instead of shampoo. I wash the laundry with oxyclean with a vinegar rinse to get residues off the clothing. I only clean the house with dish soap, vinegar, and baking soda, sometimes oxyclean or Barkeeper's Friend if I need extra help. I get a migraine from walking through a perfume section of a store or the cleaning or fertilizer section.
Tim, I got them off in the mail, so you should be able to start them this week. I'd suggest keeping them in pots through this coming winter, and maybe even the next. If you let them get about 6' tall in a 5 gallon pot, then they should be big enough and have a root system deep enough to make it through your winters.
I figure I should add some details, for academic reasons, as well as to show I'm not a complete dunderhead. I do admit I was unaware that Canada hadn't banned lead paints as early, or to the same extent, as the US.
I'd already planned to divert all non-wood materials to recycling or landfill dumping (insulation, flashing etc...). It was only some of the wood (with assorted nails and screws) I was thinking of burning. The demolition materials are from a barn and a house, both built in the mid '70s, although at least some of the materials are from more recent renovations (ex. OSB stamped 2001). Some of the demolition materials, from the barn, are repurposed highway sign components, mostly posts with a few distance signs. So, the likelihood of dodgy paint seems high. Part of the plan of burning the wood materials was to use a magnetic rake afterwards to collect all the fasteners to recycle.
All that being said, I have already sorted out the easily re-usable pieces of wood. Most of what is in the burn pile was too damaged during deconstruction such that it isn't worth reusing. Admittedly, I was somewhat over excited about a huge bonfire/burnpile I didn't consider lead paints, or aerosol effects of burning... I blame my inner 5 year old pyro... I was also planning on burning down slope from the well, in any case. All the natural wood debris on site is already being stacked separately for future hugel usages, not to mention I'm scoping out the slash piles at the failed development site a few kilometres down the road...
I will collect the unusable, unrecyclable debris and rent a disposal bin at the end of the summer to have hauled off to a landfill... not that this disappears the toxins, but it does relocate them far from home, and contained with all the other local toxins.
Yeah that is a really good article. The only thing I'd take issue with is that his gravity solution misses the most obvious point that, especially if you build it in from the start, you don't need to restrict it to 1 room vertically. Granted, in a typical house, you can't make it really tall, but you can still scale it up by a factor of 3, say, bungalows excepted, and if I recall right, gravitational potential energy is given by mgh where m is mass, g is acceleration due to gravity, and h is height - so 3x the height the same mass stores 3x the energy, etc. It's still less scary than a flywheel, and more efficient - the mass at rest has zero losses. Ideally, you'd also want to use mechanical energy directly for mechanical things, so removing some of the inefficiency. (Like a windmill or watermill, in fact) Old-time factories used mechanical power distribution - they had shafts running around the factory distributing power from a central source.
There are 2 good points out of this:
First, use less energy! The guy in the article uses much less than the average american household, chances are he's decided that washing the dishes by hand and drying the clothes on a clothesline are good options, which of course they are (I doubt readers here need telling that). Someone in the comments also made this point: use yourself as an energy source more.
The other point is thinking small: you're not trying to cope with a 90-day power loss scenario for a whole city block - a reserve of say as week for one house is fine. This same argument goes to the generation, too: renewable can work, and there are many state funded schemes on a grand scale, but what would really work is spreading the power generation in small bits all over the place: to be fair, there is a big increase in the UK in photovoltaics, thanks to a government-backed scheme to get them installed. Naturally, the government have now backtracked on that and the scheme is worth less, but it looks as though there's now enough momentum to keep it rolling. The same kind of scheme would be pretty useful (especially with the typical UK climate and the fact that we're 50+ degrees north and so don't get really good sun anyway) for micro hydro and micro wind and maybe bio-digesters, sadly they don't seem keen to do such things.
yes you can dig some logs in around your newly planted trees, I've done that..you can also place logs on the soil around the newly planted grees, they act kinda like nurse logs and they keep the damaging forces out there away from your baby tree, mark it well, and rot and feed it..brush piles are also helpful around young fruit trees...i've done all 3
if you have to tear up a garden area anyway, go ahead and toss in some branches and /or chips or logs or anything you might have laying around while you are preparing..if you have the time and effort available..it can't hurt
I'm trying to decide between a natural pool and an aquaponics greenhouse system in the old pool in the backyard of where I've moved (Hillsborough NC). The thought was if i go with the natural pool to have fish, and a place where folks can swim - now I need more info on what that actually looks like.
How best can the water from a natural pool be used for drinking in emergency, or is it best to have separate systems in place?
I've attached the sketch you sent me to this post. This looks to me like a fairly conventional wood fired boiler system and not a rocket stove. I would think that you are not going to have very clean burns with this and you will be loosing a large amount of heat out of your chimney. The idea behind a rocket mass heater is to create an initial updraft in the burn barrel so that no blower fan would be needed. This initial updraft pushes the air through the horizontal piping until the final riser where the last bit of heat lifts the exhaust out of the system.
I did a quick MS Paint style sketch as to what I would think a RM Water heater could look like. This system would probably explode unless there were the appropriate relief valve or flap cap like you had indicated to that it doesn't become a sealed system. And it might not work at all due to the fact that the water jacket might suck too much heat at the point of the burn barrel and that would kill the draw of the system causing the burn to be deprived of oxygen and thus start to burn not so clean or not draft at all. I also moved the gravity fed spring water line to the top of the system as piping it in at the bottom would run it through the coldest of the water and that isn't what you want.
I agree with what has been stated above. Not enough room in the coop for that many birds. Food left in the coop at night does not help...chickens don't eat at night. If you want to encourage foraging, feed each evening before they coop up and that way everyone goes to bed with a full belly.
Examine stool...bloody, runny? If so, could be cocci as they are out on the land for the first time. If you've kept them inside all this time, they have not had the chance to develop any tolerance to cocci that may be in the soils.
Ventilation in a 4x4 space would have to be incredibly good ventilation to help 12 birds stuffed into less than half a foot of space for each bird, even with roosting space available.
Try some mother vinegar in their water, open up that coop and get some air flow and floor/roost space and give them some food. Paddock foraging isn't the same as free range and all the available nutrients for 12 birds may not be contained on that small of a space, no matter how often you rotate through. Different forage/range has different capabilities and what works on one person's land may not work on another.
Switching them from a grain based diet, no exposure to soil pathogens, and brooder life into a small coop, small amount of forage, little chance of eating the feed, little ventilation, sudden exposure to soils,etc. may be the causes of your bird's demise.
Looking at the Web Archive version of that page, "Australian libraries are allowed to provide clients with electronic copies of copyrighted materials for purposes of study only when it has been first determined that these materials are out of print and cannot be obtained through the usual channels of retail trade." On their Library Catalogue page, they indicate that the publisher stopped printing the book and they they made a reproduction by scanning a copy. I think that this still qualifies as a pirated version because you can still buy a copy directly from the author for £5: http://www.earthhandsandhouses.org/book.htm
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.
So I admit this at the risk of seeming an idiot...I googled "social media for video". I know not the brainiest of options but certainly a simple one. In addition to several listings of video hosting sites (yahoovideo and youtube topping the list along with a slew of others I never heard of) I also stumbled upon a site (linked below) specifically addressing your original question.
Again, I know this is basic and you've probably already done a search of hosting sites like this before, but in the interest of brainstorming I figured I'd throw it your way. I watched the clip and read the article, and I think you are already doing much of what this guy suggests for bringing about more views, but it might be worth checking out. I've not been a huge social media user up til this point, but seconding the previous permie, I know I can do a better job of sharing a video when it's posted.
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.
Adam StJohn, you and I are both living in sheds in the PNW, how funny. My shed doesn't have quite the leaky walls yours does, but it isn't insulated OR warm....my little house that I'm building can't do the mass thing, but if I was going to stay here in this shed, I would absolutely make one.
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.
Tom OHern wrote: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.
Hi Tom, thanks for the feedback. I really don't think microswales will help here. I do have a large swale upslope that traps almost all of the runoff now. The waterlogging problem is not surface water running downhill, but simply soil saturation as the water percolates down from all land above me, and in a really hard rain, probably up from the creek bed as well, since it also gets all the storm water runoff from the roads and ditches in people's yards. There simply no where else for the water to go except here until it drains into the creek.
Dandelions are an interesting idea if I could find bulk seed. I have plenty of them nearby and I let them go to seed, but they don't colonize this area. I thought dandelions would grow anywhere, but perhaps not. They are also a spring only plant here -- they dies off by about May, which would work for the spring storm season but I'd need a similar plant for the fall.
Speaking of swales: I appreciate the link. I have a 3rd problem area that I can't really explain in words, but it is still actively eroding, and one of my ideas was using a series of small planted swales -- not as small as the ones in the link -- to slow down the water. I'm glad to see that it's an idea that's been proven small scale.