thomas rubino

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since Apr 14, 2013
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cat pig rocket stoves
13 acres in extreme rural Montana 100% off grid since 1983. Solar and micro hydro. Summer time piggy farmer. Restoring 2000-04 Subaru outbacks wagons for fun and a little profit. Not quite old enough to retire YET but closing on it fast... until then I must occasionally leave Paradise "home" and run large construction cranes on union job sites across the inland northwest. I make (Well try) A-2 A-2 cheese, I love cooking with my wood smoker for everything! Would not live anywhere else but rural Montana ! My wife Liz runs "Rocks by liz" a successful Etsy store and we have a summer booth at the Missoula peoples market. We currently breed and raise persian cats but are about to retire all the girls and let them be happy kittys for the remainder of their days.Oh and my biggest thing is... I LOVE MY RMH !
latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Recent posts by thomas rubino

Hi Yannick;  Welcome to Permies!
I am far from an expert about this, but here are my observations and opinion.... for what they are worth!

From your pictures,it appears that currently all is well?  No water issues with the way it is?
I see your concern that some of those stones could roll into your wall and crack it.

If it were me , I would simply fill the gap with clean washed gravel.
Do you need a water barrier between the wall and clean gravel?  In my opinion, no you won't.
Rain should simply pass thru the gravel and soak in/run off the same as it is doing now.
Any of the large rocks, might start a slow creep , but will not be able to suddenly crash into the wall.

9 hours ago
Hi Morgan;
First let me tell you that I have been 100% off grid since 1983...
I've seen many changes over the last 37 years.

Your System)  100 watt panel, a 35 amp hour AGM sealed battery (you can not check water in these) and your new charge controller. I assume you bought the 10 amp?
You mention an older inverter?  How old ? Many older style inverters use a fair amount of power just to be turned on!
Another bit of information you may not know. Is that a pure sine wave inverter , or a modified sine wave?  Big difference to sensitive electronics.

Right now you have a very basic stand alone system.
For things within its capability's it is perfectly fine.
To ask it to run more will require upgrades...  

Your question) For a stand alone system(not grid intertie)  Your solar panels or any alternate DC power source are run to a battery bank. This bank must be sized as mentioned earlier to your total needs.
These battery's are in a location where you also locate your large pure sine wave inverter.  
The A/C output from that inverter is then run into your homes breaker box.
Your home is 100% normal household wiring.  The magic takes place in the power room!
12 hours ago
Hi Morgan;  Big Welcome to Permies!

A little more information about your system would help.
You mention 2 inverters?  Why two?  
Do you have any charge control hooked up to protect the battery?
What type and size battery are you using? How are you monitoring it? Just a voltage reading? Do you check the battery itself? Water level, specific gravity of the cells?  

As you discovered, any electric heating device will run down your battery.  
Bigger or more battery's would delay that. But a heating element is a hard draw and should only be used sparingly.

Sounds like you are wanting to create and use your solar energy when you can and use utility power when the sun is not shining?
A 100 watt system just can not do very many things.  
500-1000 -2000 watt systems can run bunches more things, but it comes at a cost.  
Bigger better battery's, large charge control, pure sine wave inverter's ... the list goes on.

To use what you have, turn on more things when the sun shines.  
Lights, stereo, fans, TV ...
Just monitor the battery and turn them off when your using too much power.

14 hours ago
Hi Anne;
That's super you guys are giving happy homes to rescues!
Since these guys are just for happiness, find a treat that they dearly love and BRIBE them!
Fruit, sugar cubes, alfalfa/molasses ??? Who knows what it is they like... but when you figure it out, they should respond.

Shelter ,food,clean water and maybe treats... it will take time but eventually they will come to trust that you mean them no harm.

Gates are easiest if you have a wooden post to hinge from.  
But I have built many gates with t posts alone.
Just like a field gate , the bottom slips into a loop and the top is pulled over into another loop.
When these are built with smooth wire they are easy to handle.
When you have cattle and they are built from barb wire , gloves are needed.
For doggy's it should be easy.
16 hours ago
Hi Anne:   Its just going to take time to gain their trust. I agree about leaving the halters on for safe handling.  
Donkeys are incredible animals if they like / trust you... Donkeys and mules are a favorite pack animal for retrieving wild game from the mountains.
At 5 years old these guys are going to take time to decide if your worthy of their trust.
Do not strong arm them... they will not forget.

I see they are rescues.
Were you just offering them a safe happy home? Or are you hoping to pack /camp with them?
If you are hoping to pack with them, you might consider a third donkey.
Best would be a trained packer but a happy youngster might do well at helping your rescues  adjust.

Hi Jiang;
If I were you , I think I would finish the semester you are in.
And then I think I would take a sabbatical from higher learning.
Your degree is worth having in the long run. But considering your current online options , I would delay rather than rack up your dept higher.
See if you can find a place this summer to get some hands on experience.  

Might I suggest the Boot camp  experience at the Wheaton ranch as a good choice?  
1 day ago