That’s some great multi faceted experimentation your doing. Thanks for the interesting descriptions. I’m curious to learn more about the direct DC cooling project. Sounds like you’re very involved with your food and energy which sounds great.
Digging a root cellar, dehydrator, etc makes total sense. Use all the passive possible. My understanding is there are wide temperature changes there in the semi arid region. That makes design a bit more challenging and opens up possibilities. As was mentioned earlier that placing food outside at night or seasonally can be effective.
I wonder if you could run water through “chillers” at night and store cold water. Basically solar hot water panels running in reverse. A tank in the ground (root cellar) and a tank up in the air above the collectors. You would have some cold water and some hot water most of the time. And a pump may not be necessary if it can thermosyphon due to convection.
There are large “chiller” panels from big refrigeration walk in coolers. I had one and wish I still had it. It was aluminum and I think it originally had ammonia or a refrigerant in it. These would be interesting to play around with.
Kate, nice to hear from you again. It’s understandable that it’s slow going when you are placing energy into many things. Been there,....I’m still more scattered than would be ideal. But am working towards more focus and clarity this year. There was a Canadian blogger who shared a lot about the challenges of solar in Canada.
FYI. Last I read Electrodacus has plans to run his home in Canada entirely on 13kw PV with his own design non mppt controller and low voltage PV. As a owner of a high voltage mppt system I am intrigued. And I’d consider it if I was to do it over and if low voltage wire runs were not very long. But you haven’t installed anything yet so you could sell your equipment and start designing from scratch. Many people are not satisfied with their first system and build another. But some plan so carefully they are satisfied. And if one is shopping for bargains then one gets by with what one finds.
I’ll second the suggestion to study theory and principles.
Great post. I did extensive hedgerows on my site before I became nomadic. It was mixed Pacific Northwest natives, useful exotic, fruiting, pollinator, and ornamental. I noticed a big increase in the birds, insects, and wildlife as the hedgerow developed. And the privacy on a main county road was wonderful. It was slightly analogous to a stretched out food forest. I planted close and planned on thinning and coppicing.
I hoped planting densely would discourage blackberries. There is probably threads on Himalayan blackberries, I’ll check. But one thing I noticed was between my conservation plantings, food forests, hedgerows I got overwhelmed by the blackberries. Because mowing is no longer applicable. And the increased bird population brought the blackberry seeds into the food forest and hedgerows. I’d do it all over however.
I didn’t gather data but it seemed the hedgerows helped create micro climates.
Nice to hear from you again Kate and Amanda. Wow, the pictures in Visalia look fun. Thanks for that up close look across the pond.
And Maggie, your mountain retreat in the High Sierra looks sunny and bright. The Pinyon Jays are fun to see in that Pinyon Pine Forest. Have you checked out the work of The Rocky Mountain Permaculture Institute? They pop to mind for high elevation.
Kate, you get the award for doing Permaculture in Canada. I think all the folks up there should get some recognition for exploring Permaculture in that climate zone. My friend near Guelph says she still has snow?
Jeremy in the verdure Skagit Valley near the Salish Sea (Puget Sound).
Ok, thanks, I’ll PM you. I’ll be stopping at my mining claim in S. Oregon as it’s a lovely campsite with old growth firs. I bought it mainly to keep it out of the hands of miners and to steward it. But it’s fun for a little gold panning, rock hounding, swimming, and r&r.
Hello Folks, it’s April, sorry I was absent from this thread for 5 months of Winterlude and regrouping. Hope y’all fared well overwinter and yay it’s Spring!!! No, I have not settled on a place to do Permaculture, community, solar, and steward land yet. My travels got cut short and I needed to move my base to a friends property. That was a process in Winter!!. I’ve been in Washington where I store my old Motorhome. Have been upgrading the Motorhome solar and helping with a couple electric vehicle conversion projects. And doing a lot of reading and thinking. The plan is to fix a better short bus/cargo trailer I found to go visit sites and be semi nomadic. So this season is planned to install a lot of the van and bus conversion materials I’ve collected then sell and donate what’s left. I wish I was building a van or bus together with others. That would be fun. I’ve been catching up on rocket heaters technology wondering if anything could go in a short bus. There is and rocket stoves have come a long way since I was into them 20 years ago. The walker batch stove and double shoebox 2 stove with glass cook top look very promising.
But it’s not all work, this Spring I’ve a couple trips planned over the North Cascades to the Methow Valley to continue my nature studies and then down through Eastern Washington, Eastern Oregon, to N. Cal to visit a couple of permaculture sites. Then back to WA to work on the bus conversion and continue downsizing materials. If anyone wants a awesome solar energy system I’d love to bring the equipment I have and help install it. Can always use some productive work along the way to keep the “show on the road”. And of course to visit sites and share Permaculture.
Next week in “April showers” the Allis Chalmers model G electric conversion project for River Farm Community goes into full swing as all the parts will have arrived. After that’s done and I sell some extra solar stuff I plan to take much of May to do the trip previously mentioned. Mays a wonderful month especially if one enjoys botany and birding. April showers bring May flowers.
All for now.
My dream still is to check out permaculture sites and offer free suggestions, like a free consulting, and get to know folks. Please contact me if you are interested.
Lots of good ideas. What about looking at the entire house or dwelling as storage. The entire house as a integrated system. For a look at what one electrical engineer would do if he wanted to rethink solar and integrate it into many facets of home design check out www.electrodacus.com. If I was to start all over with solar and home design I would consider these options.
Solar panels are at a subsidized low cost presently. I’m curious to see what will happen in the next few years. And batteries of course. These factors all play into the design.
I have NO affiliation with Electrodacus. The schematics and codes are all open source. Actually I’ve noticed some similarities to Paul’s use of crowdfunding and a educational aspect.
Good topic. I mess around with various energy and heating systems and ideas. I’ll name a few: small electric dish radiators. They are like sitting next to a hot fire with the infrared radiant heat directed in desired direction. I’ve seen small radiant heating elements of 250 watts that thread into a light bulb socket. A nice dish could be fashioned to make this a very effective heater.
I looked on Amazon and there are dozens of inexpensive heat mats. Both for industry or for health purposes. I know of someone who has a 3 gallon solar shower bag on his dashboard with a 60 watt heat mat (12 volt) under it. With the combination of sun on top and electric underneath he always has warm water. The bag can be used as a hot water bottle if not used for shower.
Hydronic heating can be “micro heating”. My Motorhome has PEX tubing going from the floor heat tubing to a small 4 horsepower Diesel engine that charges my batteries. I can preheat the engine to start it and heat the floor when it is running. The floor essentially becomes the radiator. There is also PEX tubing going to the shower which has a small radiator. I keep it warm enough for plants in the shower. I could run PEX tubing to whatever I wanted. It will be connected into a batch rocket water heater before next Winter. Currently it is heated by a small custom propane water heater as my heating needs are relatively light here in the Puget Sound area. I used maybe only 35 gallons of propane last Winter so I didn’t finish building a wood fired heater.
I started reading about far infrared heat panels. I thought about a couple of these on the ceiling in strategic places like above a favorite seat or above the bed. Then I remembered I have a roll of heat mat for greenhouse use. It is 6 feet long and I measured 105 watts consumption. It is warm to the touch and was nice above my bed.
It’s nice to have something to simply “knock the chill off”. Micro heaters can do this. Another good strategy is to have a big heater that is only on a few minutes then a small heater that takes over to “keep the chill off”.
As fabric and battery technology increases I imagine we will see more solar fabric and heated fabric. There’s massive research going into these.
Good Old Raisins and Peanuts, GORP, is the heater we used when I was a outdoorsman. Take a few into the tent to stay warm at night too.
One of the great things about hydronic heating is the zones. With a turn of a valve a zone is turned on or off. Maybe because my parents house had hydronic floor heat I’m biased. I grew up walking on cozy warm floors. The cat loved it. So I added hydronic floor heat to the house I remodeled and then to my Motorhome. And I plan on it for my Skoolie. Like nearly everything doing it well isnt as simple as it sounds. I read a textbook called Modern Hydronic Heating. But PEX pipe sure helps. My Dads house had copper in cement I’m assuming. It may have corroded long ago. I’ve seen it done in cob at Ray Kelleys. In a downstairs room that was always cold so they added a cob floor with PEX tubing.
Check out www.electrodacus.com . He is going to run and heat his Canadian house with all solar but will add 13,000 watts of solar. There’s no reason why hydronic couldn’t be all solar with enough panels.
I’d like to design a Permaculture wagon wheel shaped community for nomadic vehicles or tiny houses in zones around a central space. In the middle would be a big dome greenhouse with a RMH central boiler. Hydronic heat would be pumped to each zone on demand.
Hey Ryan, Propane fridges do work. They can consume a bunch of fuel. Again I’ll suggest going with better solar and all electric. The propane fridges are dang reliable. I’ve know people to run them for 20 years. If they are a electric/propane combination they can use a lot of power on the electric setting also. All fridges can greatly benefit from a insulation jacket added. Except one I’ve found. It’s the small fridges which have the coils embedded under the sheet metal sides instead of behind.
The fun starts, designing energy systems. I still think if you go with a 24 volt system you can have the option of expanding bigger and more economically than a 12 volt system.
Beware of that voltmeter. I’d be worried about it starting a fire. What is that bare wire on the back. Is that some kind of current measuring shunt?
I’ve let the magic smoke out several high frequency inverters similar to those. Make sure there is no moisture or leaks anywhere near. Or high temperature locations. Try to locate your battery where the temperature is stable. Cold battery’s are sluggish and can lag. But they can live longer.
We had one nice system with expensive components out in the woods stolen. They took their time and unbolted all the panels also. And the 80 lb inverter charger and batteries. So if it’s a remote place beware. Where this theft occurred was an area near Concrete, WA known for a lot of Tweekers.
Sorry to sound negative, most often a there are not issues like this. Just be extra careful. It looks like you’re fusing and going to be careful. It’s normal for the wiring to be a bit untidy when one is learning. It takes practice to learn the relative placement of the components.
And it’s normal to want to cut corners when on a budget. But keeping the system small and basic like this helps. Some of the big bus bars I’m looking at currently are over $100. My friend reminded me saying “it’s not a boat, it doesn’t need to be coast guard approved” as I tend to oversize everything.
Frank, I don’t think the solar arrays are damaged by reverse testing if not over powered past the level they can rated for. They come with a 600 volt rating. But I’m no expert. If they already have hot spots one would need to turn the power up slowly and watch them. One tester I saw went up to 3000 watts. They need to be able to plug into a ordinary wall circuit to test most system quickly.
Ryan. That creek sounds like a nice asset. Ive been thinking about designs for undershot waterwheels. I’m not confident about getting a lot of power from one. Maybe a dual fisher paykel motor (from junk washing machines)would generate enough to be worth it. Perhaps a 30:1 gear ratio to the PM alternator would work. A overshot water wheel has gravity pushing on the bucket all the way down so a lot of torque and speed is gained. A undershot is different. The water is simply pushing through at the speed of the current. In the old days they would build a weir and flume and divert some water to get more power.
Here’s a link to a floating water wheel
http://www.hydro-electric-barrel.com/index.html Your post brings up a good topic for hydro design which is planning ahead at least an entire year and doing flow measurements at high, low, and average stream flow. Ideally talk with someone who knows the stream over years to learn about stream flow events. Stream flow can be checked quickly by timing a floating object over a certain distance. Repeat several times to make sure no errors were made. In small streams a 5 gallon bucket can be used at a small drop to measure the flow.
I placed a small 15 gallon metal barrel heat exchanger horizontally in the flue above my sheepherder stove. The flue gas swirls around inside then out the shed wall then up the vertical chimney. I don’t go down just horizontal. It’s somewhat similar to the double barrel stove pictured in this thread but smaller and a modified sheepherder stove underneath ( I can cook on it). The 15 gallon barrel heat exchanger has a clamp on metal lid so I can look inside and clean it. It emits a surprising amount of heat (too much then not enough). It is no rocket stove which produce nice steady heat. There is a hot air collection hood over the 15 gallon barrel with a 4” duct and 4” inline blower that blows hot air into my Motorhome. It works but a lot of heat goes out the chimney. It’s my emergency backup heat source. I’m still running on propane until I build my school bus which will have a double shoebox rocket cookstove water heater.
I haven’t used my stove enough to see how much dangerous creosote is produced. Pallet wood burns fairly hot in it and I don’t damp the stove down. Smoldering wood stoves are notorious for creosote but I personally have not seen a chimney fire from a conventional stove that is burned hot. Has anyone seen that happen??
Neat picture. I’ve wondered about using a liquid to liquid heat exchanger as a air to liquid heat exchanger. I haven’t tried it yet but I have a couple similar heat exchangers I got from a scrap pile. They might not be big enough, 2” ports. The heat exchange surface area is important especially for air as it’s lower thermal conductivity than water. Having a counter current might help, the mediums, air and water, going in opposite directions.
It might be good to have clean-out access for cleaning the heat exchanger tubes with a rifle barrel cleaner brush. Because I’m not sure how much flue gas condensation might occur on the heat exchanger. Fuel quality, temperature, moisture content, stove design..... all play into it. Liquid to liquid heat exchangers can get scale build up that impedes heat transfer. I poured phosphoric acid through a copper coil heat exchanger and lots of crud came out.
My understanding is cooling on the downdraft helps the “pump” effect of the flue. But as Glenn mentioned it might not be good to cool the exhaust tooo much.
I’m sure looking forward to building a stove and not depend on propane.
Greetings fellow Permies. Best wishes for this upcoming growing season. And building or what have you. Dawn, best wishes and please keep us up on your journey.
Have you considered a cohousing community? They make a lot of sense for me. Some of them are sort off off-grid. Some were off-grid and went on-grid. I’d be interested in learning more about your ideas for a Earthship style home. I lived in Oregon for 15 years and there’s many aspects I miss. Thanks
Yes, it’s like manna from heaven. I was impressed to read a small induction motor essentially provides for light for a entire village in Kenya. Fifty or so families if memory serves. I’m assuming LED.
Thomas, regarding the OP again and the subject of snow; a thought came to mind that, as you mentioned, the panels are black and will melt snow. It can take a while so maybe it can be speeded up by installing a strip of heat tape along the edge of a panel. Perhaps it would only need to be on for a few minutes to expose some of the dark surface which would heat up and melt the rest of the snow quickly. By doing this daily or several times a day perhaps a thick covering of snow could be prevented.
Also there is a solar testing device that literally heats up the entire solar array. Then they take a infrared thermal image and a electroilluminescense image looking for faulty spots. But if these heaters could be built into the solar systems it would speed up the snow melt and testing both. Isnt that permaculture stacking of functions?? I’ve often wondered if my solar arrays are functioning properly and there is no easy way to test each string.
Good stuff! That Matt’s stove with good chimney sounds great. Hope to hear more about your build. A draft inducer on a side vented chimney is what I’m considering as I don’t want a tall chimney.
I like cob. I like water. Water can be pumped places or thermosyphon places. And soaking in hot baths with the plants in a rocket stove greenhouse is on my bucket list of projects. Dang would that be awesome!
Interesting ideas. I wonder if the night chilled pipe would condense more if in a more humid greenhouse or any humid space. Then reuse for irrigation maybe? I’ve wondered about filling in the unwanted windows in my school bus with stainless steel or plastic chiller plates that drain into little gutters and into condensation bottles at night. I think I could collect a gallon per day from only a few windows.
I’ve never thought of using pond water to heat a greenhouse. Or cooling. Reverse siphoning at night on passive solar thermal domestic hot water systems (PSTDHW) can be a problem so they put check valves in place to prevent it. But if it was a designed in Permaculture function?. It seems like a environment such as a Earthship house would have potential to condense humidity.
What about an air pipe? I’ve wondered about a long cloche or crop row cover that goes down and up a hill into a space that needs heat or cooling. It could suck air out of the house at night drawing in cold air to chill the house for the next hot day.
Using the natural temperature swings in your region is a good example of permaculture thinking. Where I live in the Puget Sound there’s not as much temperature swings (delta T).
What is the creek like??? That’s the first thing I would look at. I have several solar energy systems and it gets techy and a bit geeky. But it’s a practical hobby I enjoy. A simpler way but much bigger scale project for the creek in the OP is a big AC induction motor hydro generator. No batteries, no inverter, no big cables, no charge controller, no solar panels.....I like solar but this is an interesting alternative. Of course this hydro only approach would require a predictable and reliable water supply not often found or useable due to “red tape”.
What about a Advanced Teacher Training? Or Advanced Permaculture Course? I know people who have never taken a course in their lives and possibly never will. Interestingly they own land I do not. They are extremely independent and put financing their own land first. I would prefer to move about Ive decided. So joining in with classes and workshops once in a while makes sense to me. I want to be part of a global village. But I’d like to hear more about how folks earn their way while moving around. It’s been challenging.
My idea is to have a nice short bus and cargo trailer with solar energy parked in the USA for use a few months of the year. Id like to something that unites people. Thanks and best wishes
Dillon, whoa, 8000 watts is big! That might be two pallets worth. I’ll likely use one pallet full of panels of the highest efficiency [~17%] I can find as shipping on a pallet full is cheapest cost per panel and easiest for the shipper too. Actually it is called “freight” when it’s a pallet full and goes down into a cheaper rate than “shipping”. Way cheaper per panel rate in bulk but still can be $300-$400 for the pallet load. By the pallet is what I recommend to folks looking for panels. Or split a pallet load with someone else.
So it’s not very scientific doing it this way. More practical. I call it “growing a system”. A pallet is usually between 20-24 medium sized panels. So 20@200 watts, for example, is 4000 watts to 4800 watts. Plenty for a simple 120 volt workshop. But I forgot to mention charging my goal of charging a golf cart. Now it’s starting to stretch the the system. Grid tied simplifies system design and use greatly. The golf cart can charge from solar during the day mostly using grid use timers. With the grid available as backup for the nights just in case.
Another big savings is to use locally available unistrut for the solar array racking. Sometimes it’s called superstrut. I’ve built many racks, tilting, flat, or sloped with only unistrut, bolts and the unistrut joining plates. No welding required. 40,000 miles on my cargo trailer rack and I haven’t found a loose bolt yet. Welding is a nice luxury but not necessary most of the time. Unistrut even makes heavy hinges for building a tilting array OR big gate hinges from a hardware store can be bolted on. Also the panels bolt right into unistrut with 1/4” *20 thread “clamp nuts” that slide down the unistrut track. Use stainless bolts and washers.
My van has 240 watts and two @60 AH batteries on it. I can run small power tools but have not tested how long for with the van. I try to never run my batteries below 50% depth of discharge so bring the cargo trailer, inverter technology generator, or both if it’s a lengthy job. The inverter technology generator starts, depending on sunshine on the panels and battery state of charge, if I’m going to run a power tool or load for a long time.
I like to have 800 watts or more if possible. I like to have extra panels then think of ways to use the features of PWM load diversion to use the surplus energy for hot water. Load diversion or auxiliary relays are standard on many charge controllers. Building a energy system involves a lot of “sizing” components. For example, my inverter runs on 24 volts DC. A 30 amp charge controller is rated for 720 watts at 24 volts. So in this example a 800 watt solar array is a good size. The charge controller limits the current and dissipates surplus energy in the form of heat but that isn’t likeky to happen. Maybe dissipates for a few seconds with “edge of cloud effect”.
Having a huge heavy battery may not be practical if one is driving long distances or everyday. Having a inverter technology generator and a little fuel as backup weighs much less. My cargo trailer has 6@ 60AH batteries (roughly 350 lbs). So it’s about trade offs. I’ve never heard anyone say “I’ve got too many panels” lol. Yet to see any in the thrift stores. That’ll be the good day.
Thanks Paul for that blast from the past. That cart at the Bullocks might be the same solar cart I was inspired by about 20 years ago. Carts and trailers make a lot of sense. I built a 1100 watt solar energy system for a single axle cargo trailer. That system has powered a lot of tools for a lot of good projects. And also powered outdoor kitchens with bread machines, countertop convection ovens, electric kettles, smoothie maker, and electric programmable pressure cooker.
This year the concept is getting upscaled to a 42 foot semi trailer that will be part workshop, part materials storage, and covered in solar panels. To be determined is if the excess energy can be sold back to the grid from this trailer. I’m guessing they may require the wheels and axles removed for grid tie application. Which may be what happens as the title is lost and I dont want to pay it moved again from my budget. But who knows what the future holds.
Well, I’d like to use this decent small permanent magnet Lakota turbine I’ve had for a few years. It’s has about a 5-6 foot windswept area. Weighs 34 lbs for the alternator and blades. Has carbon fiber blades.
https://www.altestore.com/static/datafiles/Others/Lakota%20Manual%20V3%200.pdf I’ve moved to a site with more exposure to wind and less air turbulence. My new location has a fairly tall wooden pole about 30 feet tall only 50 feet away from the battery. Problem is I don’t feel like climbing a pole even if I had spikes and harness. Joint concerns. And then there’s maintenance access to consider, raising and lowering. A idea for fabricating a metal turbine tower pole that tilts up and is supported by clamps to the wood pole comes to mind. Maybe it could click into a latch at the top. And a rope and pulley at the top also to raise and lower the tower? This design would require someone climbing to attach the latch and pulley. I could attach the lower hinge to the wood pole myself.
I suppose the other way is to slide a metal tower pole up the wood pole and clamp it about 2/3 the way up. That’s as far as my ladder will reach. A hinged tower sounds better for installation and maintenance while down at ground level.
Does anyone know of any suitable hardware that is available?. Or will fabricating hardware be required? Thanks
Thank you. I took the survey. I’ve wondered about the influence of “micro” renewable energy on individuals, families, and society. I also wonder who, what portion of the population, will be sampled by this survey. The population of Permies in addition to whom else?? I have given much thought to how a web based survey is done.
I was slow. The survey took about 15-20 minutes. Coffee still kicking in. Stay with it past the first page of questions if your looking for questions directly pertaining to micro renewable energy.
I love it! Yay to the microbes. Thanks for the timely link. I connected a salvaged sink and kitchen faucet outside my off-grid cabin yesterday and noticed the faucet aerator is missing. I'd like "fluffy" soft water and even more need to conserve water. I haul water and the barrel goes down very quickly!! The 12 volt RV pumping I'm using is doing too good a job. Hopefully a flow reducing aerator will help. And yay for running water with friendly microbes.
The Polar sheds look very cozy. If they are price competitive with wood sheds that's what I would consider if I'd didnt prefer cargo trailers. The cargo trailer route is even better in my opinion. This previous Winter I saw many converted cargo trailers. I was quite impressed with them.
On a side note I've seen people make simple foam structures inside their homes by glueing the foam sheets together into big boxes. On another side note I saw there are videos on DIY paneling covered foam interiors for campers. These structures are more complex and aesthetically pleasing.
If I had access to a nice shop and lots of aluminum I would build a custom cargo trailer using aircraft construction similar to Airsteam trailers. Mine would be taller. And a blank slate like a cargo trailer with a wood stove.
It's great to see some responses. Thanks Christopher. I'll call you. I'm almost back to a place to regroup in N. Idaho. The places I visited in N. Arizona, W. Colorado were very worthwhile, educational, and inspirational. I definitely recommend visiting other permaculture sites and folks. Perspective is priceless.
I'm excited to build a cordwood addition, heated cob floor, and rocket mass heater/water heater in Idaho this Spring/Summer, 2018. Hope to learn how to document better. Will update soon.
Hello Dan. Is that Viewstsr 404 a older Renogy charge controller? I don't see it on their website. I hope your charge controller didn't go bad. They sometimes go bad when a system is worked on. Some charge controllers only like to be connected to the battery before the solar. I always turn the battery on first but gave forgotten a couple times.
Some charge controllers have auto detect for the battery voltage. I was trying to look yours up. Some have dip switches inside to adjust voltage settings.
If you do indeed have three 12 volt panels in series then you should not need to change them for a 24 volt system. 2 in series is the minimum for a 24 volt system.
I'm assuming you upgraded to a 24 volt inverter and battery from a 12 volt inverter and battery. If the 404 charge controller will auto adjust to 24 volts then it should work unless something else is incorrect. Such as a dip switch inside the charge controller needs to be changed from 12 to 24.
If that doesn't fix it check the input voltage to the charge controller and let us know. Check fuses or breakers.
Thanks for contacting me Gary. My quest to bring beauty down to Earth continues. I'm definitely learning a lot about what other permaculture people are doing from this great forum. And learning from my current situation with a modified solar motorhome and a converted Van. Winters are the biggest challenge. Practicing permaculture in the South would have definite advantages.
Hooray, it looks like I'm headed to Colorado next via central Arizona. I've gotten two fantastic contacts in Western Colorado now which are on my way back to Idaho. I'm excited to see some of Colorado as I've heard so much about it. And see some of the Canyonlands of Utah. In Colorado I'm going to help survey potential for a micro hydro energy system among other things.
My Winter in Arizona was mostly a flop as far as permaculture is concerned. I found zero permaculture contacts on the West side of the state. I was majorly distracted by the logistics of obtaining dental work in Los Algodones, Mexico. Now that is done I can get back on track. I read about the SE Arizona "Sky islands". This area sounds amazing. I wish I had time and funds to go there now. There is arable land near diverse mountains near Mexico. Sounds great to me!
I was not idle all Winter. I built 2 Solar energy systems. One in West Palm Beach to charge electric Porsche conversions. Another in Arizona to light and power a business with solar. And I improved my solar energy, built a custom heater, modified my expedition rack on the Van, and refined my solar cooking and diet.
I also planned to go to N. Cal to help with some beautiful land on a mountain but unfortunately it's on hold. A 4x4 is needed to access the property and I don't have one. " Oh Lord Won't You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz 4x4 Sprinter Van". It's a worthy project to also develop a animal rehab center. The Klamath/Siskyou area is amazing.
Ive learned that at 6'5" tall my regular height van is not comfortable for long term use. I bang my head if I start having any fun. So if I plan to continue doing roving permaculture a high top vehicle, like a Sprinter van, is required (I left my big motorhome in storage until I find a new semi permanent place for it).
So, in a nutshell, I'm headed back to Northern Idaho to regroup via Colorado.
It's hard to find a good base to do roving permaculture from. The timing and logistics are difficult. I'll work on my permaculture charismatic megafauna skills.
Funding is a whole other challenge. There's obviously lots of funds in the world for exploitative and extractive activities. Funds for creative and regenerative activities are a whole different challenge. Luckily I don't require a lot. But the initial vehicle infrastructure is spendy even when I do most of the DIY improvements myself. Currently I have a too big and a too small vehicle. It's sounds like the story of the Three Bears. I'm hoping with a Sprinter Van I'll get it " just right". And better fuel mileage.
That's my update for now. Happy Spring
Thank you Mandy across the Atlantic. Im a British expat happy to make friends in Europe again. I'm still looking for a place to plant permaculture plantings and tinker on cool projects I recently found a penpal in England.
Hello Andrew. Thanks for contacting me and I'm definitely interested in a visit. Your project and that area sound great. I'll send you a email. Jeremy
I don't know of any do-it-yourself pellets. I do solar energy projects. I've been wondering what I can manufacture using solar and waste materials. Maybe pellets? Or tumbled glass? Or a solar sawmill?
I've known some disabled people who benefitted greatly from a pellet stove. I'm a stove designer and I'd rather have a pellet stove and consistent fuel quality than a poorly designed wood stove and unknown fuel quality.
That's a very interesting question regarding under a floor venting of a RMH. It could be done with careful design and construction. You could have a bypass to go straight to a chimney and/or go under the floor.
Insulation, insulation, and did I say insulation. Without insulation under the concrete and trench you're conducting into the ground.
Personally, I don't know why anyone would go to the trouble of building a RMH and not heat LOTS of hot water with it. Then pump the water through PEX tubing in the concrete slab. If you're off grid its a challenge to pump without a decent solar or hydro energy system. But the pumps are small and low power. And I assume you want hot water. It's not that much harder in my opinion to add hydronic heating. Once i lived with radiant floor heat I haven't wanted to go back. The insulated concrete will stay warm for much longer than heated air will.
But if it is for intermittent use you also want what I call a "flash" heater. A stove that flashes off heat quickly when you need it. A exposed barrel or two as mentioned by previous responders.
That's great you are building this year. Take care.
HI Folks. I'm a dyed in the wool permaculture guy. Green thumbed for over 25 years and still love it. Currently everything I own has wheels under it to find a good place to grow again. My solar power plant on a custom motorhome is stored waiting for a new home and garden space. The solar energy system is being wasted. And I'm paying to store it. So I figured I might as well ask to see if a trade for parking and seasonal living/growing space is possible.
I have a cabin in N. Idaho I can rent for $300. It's pretty nice and in the woods. The issue with it is I'll need to pay the rent while I go volunteer doing permaculture in the Winter. It's not in my budget. I'm a sun lover. I follow the sun and the birds South. I use my smaller camper and solar cargo trailer for travel.
I have tools and skills to to build a lot of different things. Designing stoves, energy systems, and construction are other skills I've gotten good at. I did two PDC courses. Temperate and tropical permaculture. The motorhomestead and trailers are in W. Washington. I was going to drive it to Idaho but decided to place this listing first. I was calling it the "mobile permaculture homestead project" for lack of a better name. The motorhome has been redesigned to be more efficient. Added insulation, better heater, big solar energy system, efficient AC. A composting toilet and other improvements are in the works.
I enjoy food forests very much. I've planted and tended some. And diverse hedgerows. But love to grow most anything. I'd like to keep a small permaculture and native plant nursery going. And perhaps do plant tours and native plant and seed collecting.
I had one offer in N. Cal that I like in many ways but a 4x4 is required to enter and exit the property. Well maybe not to exit as its downhill lol. I offered to redesign the steep driveway but it's not in the budget for the foreseeable future. The goal is to have a animal rehab center on that property. Currently some bears and cougars are euthanized in Cal because there's no where for them to go. This is a whole other subject for another thread.
I had another offer of a place in Oklahoma that is nice also. However the land is rented and the owner has little interest in permaculture. It's too much work to risk on such a uncertain foundation. I'm a sincere and dedicated grower looking for sincere place to make abundant and beautiful. Ever since at age 8 I took my Moms potato peelings and tried to plant them in her rose garden. Spring may be sprouting soon. Give me a holler. A community of folks is attractive too. At present I'm in Arizona planning the trip North. I can stop in for a visit on the way??
Any comments or suggestions are welcome. Thanks