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Julie Reed

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since Jun 23, 2019
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Recent posts by Julie Reed

Josiah Kobernik wrote:  instead of testing each innovation independently with controls, paul likes to heap ten or more innovations into one experiment and then if the experiment is successful, you can successively divide the innovations in half to sort for relative influence.

What if the experiment isn’t a success? How do you then decide which innovations to delete? Same system or? And if it is a success, how do you know which of the ten innovations is doing what? Or how much? How do you even know that any of them except maybe one or two is doing anything? That seems really un-scientific to me. And you also now potentially have unneeded things interacting (for better or worse) with needed things. I’m not criticizing the logic, just not fully comprehending it.

Dry earth thermal mass on the roof, as well as the North, East, and West walls that is disconnected from surrounding soil by a polyethylene membrane “umbrella”

A poly membrane creates a moisture barrier, but not a full disconnect. How thick is the layer of surrounding soil? For the dry earth to act as a thermal mass, it needs to be below frost line and separated from any source of conduction. So the barrier will prevent moisture migration, but not thermal transfer. If the barrier does not also include insulation, the surrounding soil would need to be much thicker than whatever frost depth is, no?
There’s several (maybe dozens) of YouTube videos along those lines. What most designers have found is they need several air exchanges Per hour for it to work effectively, which of course requires fans and power for the fans, ie- not passive. But still a great design!
That’s somewhat a question of time, Cory. How fast do you want to get things done? Gearing and hydraulics allow us to ‘cheat’ to get more out of small equipment, but overall, the more HP, the faster you can work (to a point). If you do a lot of mowing, the size of the mower you can run, as well as ground speed at which you can mow, are directly tied to net HP of the tractor. I mean, you could mow 10 acres with a 5hp push mower, right? So, you can do a lot of work with one of the little Iskei or Yanmar 15hp size tractors, but in bite size pieces. The bucket moves a few cubic feet of dirt per load, instead of half a cubic yard.
Having run everything from 12hp to over 100, I really think 35-40 is the sweet spot for a small homestead. You have adequate power to run attachments, good fuel economy, and enough weight to give stability. It’s not fun to constantly feel like the tractor is unbalanced. I also would lean strongly toward 4wd, if you will be operating much in mud or snow.
And if you ever scale up your operation, there’s still not going to be much you can’t do with 40hp of diesel tractor. The flip side is that it’s still small enough to be fuel efficient, maneuver easily, and not ridiculously heavy if you do get it stuck.
I think the best question to ask yourself is what is the most need for power you plan to have, then add 30%. It’s never good to be operating equipment at its limit all the time. Maybe even consider renting a couple different size tractors for a day and see how they feel?
6 days ago
Great links C Jones! Thank you, can’t wait to spend some time on those when the rain keeps me inside tomorrow.
1 week ago
Heidi- do it now, or in the spring, not fall. If you’re that far north they will not establish roots in time to make it through the winter. Here’s pics I posted on a different thread, about how quickly the cuttings root (2 weeks-ish). You could do it this way too, right now. Good luck! It’s really fool proof.
1 week ago
Sorry, couldn’t resist! 😁
1 week ago
Every time it rains hard you have standing water on flat roofs, nothing to be scared of. As I mentioned, they aren’t really flat, they have to be designed to drain! So they have multiple angles leading to drains, or sometimes simply one pitch to an edge which may have gutters or scuppers. Flat roofs are even more waterproof than pitched roofs, simply because they are designed to hold water for short periods of time. The only concern is snow load, in the north. (Interesting side point- our wasteful country, in the 60s, designed large buildings with deliberately poor insulation in the roof so that heat loss would melt the snow, which was considered far cheaper than constructing a stronger roof).
While the wet roof idea is obviously far less costly than A/C, it would be interesting to do a side by side comparison in 2 identical structures (storage sheds would make cheap test labs). I realize it would never lower inside temps as much as A/C does, but might be adequate. It could certainly reduce the cost of running A/C, and it would also be a great companion strategy with something like earth tube cooling.
1 week ago
As Jeremy mentioned, cottonwood (or any member of the aspen family) grows ridiculously easy. You can stick cuttings in wet ground and they grow. You can bend saplings down and pin them to the ground and have all those branches become trees, as the original takes root along the entire length. You can coppice them. But once they become actual trees they are a nuisance. Everything above also applies to willow, which does not become as large, and grows almost as fast. I’ve used both to establish great windbreaks while waiting for the slower spruce trees to catch up.
1 week ago

Matthew Nistico wrote: It also won't work on a flat roof, like the tar or gravel roofs of some commercial buildings, or on the flat roof of an RV.

I’m thinking it would work just fine on those roofs (better, really, since they get hotter than sloped roofs) but you’d need a different way to disperse the water, like a sprinkler or soaker hoses. Flat roofs are not truly flat, they all have very slight pitches toward drains. But even if they didn’t, you just need to control the water flow so it keeps the roof wet but doesn’t create standing water, which would be wasted. On an RV, the water drains off the sides or ends. Again, just a slight misting to keep the roof wet is adequate. Where this will not work particularly well is on a steep metal roof, since the water will simply run off too quickly.
I like the idea of a solar panel to run the pump. Similar to the roof vent fan units that incorporate a solar panel to run automatically when the sun shines. If you have rain barrels, the downspouts are refilling them with any excess runoff. Once you had a sense of water usage, you could have spigot water on a timer to top them off, to compensate for evaporation loss.
The 12v RV pumps typically run a gallon per minute at 30 psi, which would be adequate. They draw less than 5 amps, which would be a 60 watt solar panel- less than $50 and not very large. So, yes, this would be very efficient compared to running A/C!
1 week ago