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Frank De Block-Burij

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since Nov 07, 2012
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De Pinte, Belgium
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Recent posts by Frank De Block-Burij

I have serious doubts, so be careful before you are tempted into investing
these people have plans to grow shrimps and pretend they have succeeded
but I can find nowhere on their website what shrimp species
3 years ago
last fall (2018) we have hung some nets under our two walnut trees, just like they do under almond and olive trees
that allowed us to harvest 90-95% or more of the walnuts
The "nutwizard" will only work if you have a very short trimmed lawn under the trees, else it will only be a source of frustration
last year I have also in time harvested green, unripe walnuts, soaked them for a whole winter in a mixture of wine, lemons and herbs
the result is a very Vermouth like "aperitif"
should any of you consider to do so, time is rapidly fading to harvest green unripe walnuts, give or take one month away
I also have bought a similar "fruit picker" to pick apples and pears high from our trees
just need to find and buy the best available expandible handle to reach up high enough
I have drunk a lot of wine this winter, and kept all modern bottles with airtight screw caps for next fall,
to bottle our own apple juice and, who knows, our own apple cider, maybe even our own distilled "Calvados"
5 years ago
Hello Theresa,
I am in flat area with a high water table, so going underground is excluded

I have designed what is not a Wofati,
but a quite large two story aquaponics farm building, constructed out of recycled containers

I applied for the building permit just 2 weeks ago

for more than one reason (corrosion, ground pressure, light, ...), the building will not be covered with dirt

instead, on the north, east and west side a moat wil lean against the ground floor containers (meant for production),
in which I will try to apply the principles of PAHS (Passive Annual Heat Storage)
a large greenhouse will lean against the south side

the first floor containers (meant for living, farm tourism and education) will be insulated on the inside

you can have an impression of this building on my facebook page CSA De Pinte:


10 years ago
indeed excellent ideas, Andrew:
the proof of the cake is in it's eating
and I am convinced that the PAHS theories, if well studied and applied
show no fundamental flaws
10 years ago
one way of avoiding to waste money is to buy this book and read it
whichever way your decision goes afterwards:
whether you decide to apply the principles or not,
you will at least know why or why not
what I read is a lot of speculation

looking back at the drawing,
at first sight it seems to me an earth sheltered house built on the wrong slope of a hill
in the northern hemisphere you should have a slope from north (highest) to south (lowest)
only then can you in summer hope to catch the most possible sunlight during the largest part of the day to stack it in the earth for annual storage
only then can you hope to catch all possible sunlight in winter too, stack that too
this goes for any concept meant for solar heating: if your plot slopes from south (highest) to north (lowest) in the northern hemisphere,
don't even bother
sell the plot, buy another one that does have the right inclination
or buy flatland:
you don't need a slope, as you can cover your building (that stands above the water table) with a moat
much simpler, much cheaper,
plus you get a free pond downhill, where you excavated the necessary dirt for the moat

if you are stuck with a plot with the wrong inclination,
better forget solar heating alltogether

the second umbrella in front of the house, to avoid stored heat loss can be very small, as long as it is adequate

I guess I have answererd all quetions so far, after all


11 years ago
just a simple question: how many of you have bought and read in depth and after that reread John Hiat's book ?
11 years ago
one can not hope to build up solar energy that is in contact with the water table:
the earth must be dry, which can take several months to two years to achieve under the umbrellas
a first layer of coarse sand or gravel or pebbles will avoid capilarity, this could be the water barrier
moving the house up 1 m in height against the hill will allow for the second umbrella,
which is the thermal barrier you suggest
this umbrella doesn't need to be large at all,
as long as the solar heat is contained in dry sand or soil
there is no flaw in the concept, it just may not be applicable everywhere
11 years ago
the solution is simple and well explained in John Hait's PAHS e-book:
you need a second umbrella under the front of the house
see here:
John Hait’s book, PASSIVE ANNUAL HEAT STORAGE, Improving the Design of Earth Shelters, is still the best available book on PAHS.
You are cheating yourself if you don’t read it before building ANY earth sheltered home.
11 years ago
great, Bethany
very valuable information for me too
especially with your father and brother's experience
shows me that in my project, even if I have faith that they will not collapse,
I'd better reinforce the sides covered by the moat too, just to make sure
which should be simple and easy
the frame is indeed the strength which makes containers stackable
together with the corrugated sides and ceiling makes containers incredibly strong
geometrically speaking you are absolutely right:
just try to break an egg without exerting force on any point
eggs are strong
11 years ago