My plans changed and I didn't end up in southern Alberta.
From my reading of dealing with chinooks, the trick is keeping the roots cold to prevent the trees from waking up prematurely. In other words, don't let the snow melt. Methinks the solution is thick bushes to help block the wind. As you are already setting up a wind block with pine trees, I would also consider planting blueberries in front of them. Blueberries love the acidity pine trees provide, and should help slow down the low-down winds from reaching the maples in behind.
Being in growing zone 2, and on a north-facing slope, you may not have much success with fruit trees, walnuts, or oak. I know there are some trying to grow fruit trees around Grande Prairie, and that my be your best source for seeds that will survive. Prairie Gardens farm may be able to help you out.
In the winter, I simply open the windows to cool it down. I never use the heat, since the surrounding units prefer it warmer than me.
In the warm months, I just accept that I'm going to spend an extra $70 on AC. That's only problematic when the building hasn't turned on the compressors (April) or has shut them off (October).
I did find one thing that greatly improved the efficiency of the AC: when they constructed my unit, they failed to properly tape some of the duct work, so cold air would recirculate inside the HVAC unit instead of being pushed out. A little bit of aluminum tape later and now the place stays much cooler.
I like the eastern sun first thing in the morning, so I don't close the blinds, but in a previous place facing west I found that blocking out the sun made an immense difference.
Another thing to consider is nearly every bit of electricity used by a device will end up as heat. If you're using AC, saving a watt saves you roughly double.
Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I think of allergies as being a dose dependent condition...
If I get a little bit of maple pollen, then no big deal. But, if I get a little bit of maple pollen, and a little bit of dust blown in from the badlands, and a bit of dust from the neighbor's mowing their lawn, and a bit of dander from my woman's dogs and cats that are allowed to sleep on the bed during the day, and a little dust from the carpets in the house, then pretty soon, all those little insults have added up to a big insult. Then there are the things that are big insults all by themselves: mowing the lawn, the yearly flowering of the cedars, a desert dust storm.
I think of allergies as also being an inflammation condition...
So if I get a little bit inflamed from drinking a glass of milk, then no big deal. But if I get a little bit inflamed from drinking milk, and a little bit from eating wheat, and a little bit from soybean oil, and a little bit from too little water, and a little bit from an artificial sweetener, then pretty soon, all those little insults have added up to a big insult. I can eat a single helping of wheat any time I want without it causing noticeable problems for me, but if I eat is routinely, I get inflamed and sick.
So by the time I combine a big insult from the things I breathe, with another big insult from the things I eat, it's pretty easy to get into trouble with allergies.
Exactly this. I used to have to stay indoors May through September during pollen season.
For me, my allergen elimination has included gluten (and oats), soy (horrendous headaches), msg (bad headaches), tartrazine (aka FD&C#5; headaches, stuffiness), and aspartame (headaches). I now never eat any of those. Ironically, Claritin contains tartrazine... so the medicine was fighting its poison.
I still have severe/anaphylactic reactions to ginger, pine, nitrile, and methacrylates, but I can now spend all the time outdoors I want. Pollen can still bother me if there's a lot of it, but my eyes no longer swell up and my nose no longer runs the moment I go outdoors. I still get stuffy on smoggy days, and if someone uses Pinesol I have to leave the building before my trachea swells shut, but day-to-day, eliminating allergens from my diet made an incredible difference.
I'm impartial to the wood, but what's missing is some green! Permies is about permaculture, which is about growies, and they're missing!
My other thought is that the forum view is cluttered and very not mobile friendly (which is also bad for SEO).
One solution that may solve both issues is to put the "best of" stuff below the left hand menu. That would declutter the forum to focus on the thread titles, reduce the minimum width needed (allowing for easier zooming on phones), and having the "best of" on the thread view will give people who come from search engines something else to click on to. Make it randomly pick best of this year or month, and then maybe only show five things to make it less overwhelming. The pictures would add the missing growies/colour and lessen the darkness of the plain wood in the thread view.
Overall, the feel is much more modern, which is nice.
Michael Cox wrote:Paul - you might also consider "outsourcing" the creating. I'm thinking much as Cassie is doing many of the dailyish emails. If you want a video on the wofatis for example you could give a bounty to one of the ants to do the shooting and editing, then publish it under your patreon. You are still responsible getting it out there and driving it forward, but are not necessarily doing all the nitty gritty.
paul wheaton wrote:The goal stuff feels a bit like an obligation. So if I were to say that if I hit $10,000 then I will build a freezer wofati, then I would worry about the obligation of building it - even if I already spent all that money on other stuff.
The goals are monthly goals. If you hit $10k/month, I think you're doing pretty awesome. They're just pledges on your part with no obligation. You don't have to have them.
On the other hand, if there was a list of projects and people listed out that they would put up $5 for a freezer wofati (with video), $10 for an 100 page ebook on hugelkultur, $1 for a youtube video about chickens, etc. Then the idea is that all those smaller amounts might add up over the years. And then there might be $10,000 waiting on me if I create a freezer wofati and make a video. So then I build the freezer wofati and make the video, and put the video up and collect the $10,000!
I like what you've done with the different "rewards" so people can indicate what they like. I don't think you should make it any more complicated than that. People like me will support you for all the awesome things you do. Just keep doing more in whatever order you want.
You should write a description for your Patreon much like you do for Kickstarters, but instead of having one goal, just showcase all the things you do with lots of links and pictures. Having an introduction video is a good idea.
Cassie Langstraat wrote:a different new reward: $140 - includes megaglory AND we will find a way to make HD download available but these will be very large files
The files shouldn't be that huge. Maybe 10GB a piece? Also, if you hosted them on Amazon S3, that would cost less than $1 per each 10 GB download. Take them down after a month (or pay $0.30 a month in storage each). I don't see why that's not possible for even the 8DOWNLOAD reward.
If you'll only be moving the shed in winter, using corrugated metal roofing on the bottom of runners will make even the big shed slide very easily on snow. Maybe too easily. You only need to see melting snow slough off a metal roof once to understand. It will also slide better than wood on soft ground. Make sure to bend it up both ends of the runners so it will compact snow. I would also countersink the screws so they don't shear off.
I would also add corner to corner cross bracing on the back side. It's likely when you stack wood inside that there will be a lot of weight pressing against the sides before you even move it. If you ever have to jerk the shed to get it moving, there's an excellent chance the momentum of the wood up top will have enough leverage to deform or break the shed. I would also consider removable corner to corner bracing for the front side.
I would build your new sheds at half the height where you won't have to worry about the momentum of the top wood, with 4x4x8 dimensions (1/4th the size). For a roof I would use a single sheet of plywood, perhaps hinged at the back, with a stick to prop it up when needed. If you're opening it daily in the winter the snow build up will never be that much. Make sure to fill it up enough to support the plywood while drying. Most rain falls straight down, so there's no need for much of a roof overhang, especially with the reduced height. The whole thing full of 2 year dry wood would weigh about 3000 lbs. That's manageable with any tractor. With four small sheds you can also spread them around, build narrower roads, and get them closer to your wood sources. At 3000 lbs, you could easily put wheels under them, too.
It's probably stale DNS entries. Whoever did the move forgot to set a low TTL on the DNS records a day or two ahead of time, and so when the switch happened lots of people had cached DNS entries pointing to the old server until those caches expired and the new records were fetched.
With very careful design, you can get away with an absolute maximum of 12% of the floor square footage in window square footage (I'll use feet because I'm more familiar with that unit for house dimensions, but the percentages I'll derive apply equally to any measure of area). That is, 120 square feet of window for a 1000 square foot house. Any more than that and you will end up with over-heating during the day an excessive heat loss at night. If you're not carefully designing the structure to handle the heat load, a maximum of 8% is recommended. The same applies in all climates, with the amount of insulation and thermal mass varied to regulate temperature.
If you are designing for solar illumination, you probably want your interior walls no more than 12 feet (4 m) away from the outside edge of the house. So consider a house of 24 foot (8 m) deep and 40 feet (13 m) across, or 960 square feet. That would give us a maximum of 75 to 115 square feet of windows. Considering you live in a warm climate, I would suggest erring on the smaller side, even with careful design. Heating is cheaper than cooling. If you are building a small home, I would really try hard to find ways to increase the thermal mass inside, and again err on the small side for windows.
In general you'll want the majority (70-85%) of the glazing on the sun-facing wall, a moderate amount (10-15%) on the east wall (to capture morning heating), a small amount (5-10%) on the west (to avoid evening heating), and a minimal amount (0-5%) on the shade wall (to avoid net heat loss). Also pay careful attention to overhang over the sun-facing windows to avoid direct sunlight penetration in the warm months (you are far enough south that the sun is always north of you, even at the solstice). Using the 24x40 square foot example with 8 foot (2.5 m) walls and 8% glass, that would be about 60 sq ft of the 320 square feet on the sun side, or roughly 20% of the sun wall, 10 sq ft of the east (5% glass), 6 sq ft of the west (3% glass), and perhaps 2 sq ft of the shade wall (1% glass). Putting most of the glass on the sun side maximizes winter gain, and minimizes summer gain from sunrise and sunset, an especially important consideration at your near-tropical latitude. Of course, these are guidelines, but the most important part is to resist the temptation of putting in too much glazing.
As humans we are much more comfortable in rooms that have light coming from multiple directions. I would make sure every inhabited room has light entering from at least two directions. If you have to add more glass on the shade wall to accomplish this, I think it's well worth the sacrifice in thermal efficiency for mental sanity.
Also, keep it simple and keep the walls and windows straight vertical. The winter sun is at a lower angle and will penetrate fine, and the higher angle of the summer sun is more likely to bounce off the window than penetrate. Plus due to differences in thermal expansion coefficients, angle mounted windows usually develop leaks over time.
Travis Philp wrote:Jonathan; you can use that as the soil cover. I think that with hugelkultur especially it's a case of 'use what you've got'. I would highly recommend putting a top mulch on the finished bed. It'll go a long way to keeping that soil from drying out, hardening and cracking. Things that do well for me in heavy soil are:
kohlrabi, cauliflower, swiss chard, celery, radish, leeks, and onions especially, to name a few off the top of my head
If kohlrabi and cauliflower do well, then other Brassica should do well, including brussel sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and kale. I'd also through in rhubarb, which I've personally seen growing in hard earth.
paul wheaton wrote:Next, I'm kinda curious: would it not be possible to have a MUCH smaller engine and get far superior mileage? Granted, there would be less acceleration power, but this guy is already doing lots of stuff to go easy on acceleration.
Yes, that is true. Don't listen to anyone who argues otherwise.
It is true for most modern cars sold in America. It is not true in my truck. My truck is 5500lbs empty, and up to 10,000lbs full, but has less than 170 horsepower peak. Its not quite as slow in acceleration as a fully loaded semi-truck, but, unlike newer cars and trucks, it is not overpowered either. Today the average car - not truck, not sportscar - has 225HP. For trucks its somewhere around 350HP. This is one of the largest reasons why US mpg standards are so ridiculously terrible compared to the rest of the world. Modern cars are not built for "adequate" performance. They are all built to be high performance racing machines - even the station wagons, minivans and compact commute cars.
I have a "compact" car, a Chevrolet Optra5, also sold as a Suzuki Reno in the US. It has a 2.0L 120 HP engine. It's adequate. Acceleration is decent over 3000 rpm. I've towed 2000 lbs with 1000 lbs in the car and maintained highway speeds by gearing down and keeping the RPM around 4000. In my next vehicle, I'd probably want more power.
Cars get crappy mileage in general. The Pipistrel Virus SW with the 100 HP Rotax 912 iS engine burns about 5.5L/100 km (43 mpg) -- at 274 km/h (170 mph)! My car tops out at about 170 km/h, and I sure don't get that kind of mileage.
Denise Lehtinen wrote:How did he get his blueberries to grow next to the roses, etc? Is his soil naturally acidic enough for them OR does he have a method of growing them without the soil being what people usually say is the right pH for them?
pH will naturally stratify over time in the soil if it's not tilled. Plants will put roots in the right pH layers.
I would like to know how Sepp deals with Chinook winds (or föhn winds as they are called in Austria). Not so much the wind itself, but dealing with species that will come out of dormancy during long warm spells brought by the wind only to be killed off once the cold returns.
I've been thinking an interesting way to make an outdoor hot tub would be to use an open pool of water as the thermal mass. If the exhaust pipe is short enough, this ought to work, right? Obviously there would be other design issues with making everything water tight.
Don't change a thing, Paul. One of the things I love about your work, your articles, your podcasts, and your videos, is your authenticity. You have some rough edges, but they're far out-weighed by your charm. When i listen to you speak, it's like talking with a friend.
It's also important to follow your passion. If you've lost your passion for podcasts and have it for hugelkultur, focus on that.
There's no video documentary on hugelkulture. Sure there are bits and pieces, but nothing that puts it all together from theory, to construction, to comparative results, etc. That would be really cool.
Pam Hatfield wrote:Here is a page about the Icy Ball which seems to be a fairly simple project although it still does use ammonia. These used to be manufactured in both Canada and the US.
http://crosleyautoclub.com/IcyBall/crosley_icyball.html There are some links on it to plans for making one, but all the links everywhere emphasize how dangerous this can be.
Any idea whether this would work using something other than ammonia?
Yes, it would work with butane, too. But I WOULD NOT DO IT. Butane is far more flammable than ammonia, and exposing a compressed container of butane to heat is asking to win the Darwin Award. Actually, same with ammonia. I wouldn't build one of these icy ball systems.
H[sub]2[/sub]S is nasty. When you burn it, you'll end up with sulphuric acid. It's also toxic at 10 ppm, odourless at 100 ppm, and fatal at 500 ppm. If the flame goes out, you'll end up with an invisible death cloud -- it's heavier than air. Surely you know about it, but others won't.
Roger Priddle wrote:
I'm not sure I understand your point about "31°F is a lot warmer than -20°F" - are they the temps at which ammonia and butane change from vapour to liquid? The lower vapour/liquid temp. ("boiling point"?) makes sense to me to make circulation easier.
BTW, if I use propane/butane, what kind of pressures will there be in the system? Would it be different for ammonia? (This question is based on the notion that a system under less pressure would be more stable over longer periods - but I don't know if it's true or not...)
Yes, 31°F and -20°F are the boiling (liquid/gas) points of butane and ammonia.
With ammonia you're likely dealing with a gas only all year unless you live in the midwest (or use a pressurized system). You'll get some convective action in the gas, but it'll be slow.
With butane, when it's 31°F or colder outside the butane will rapidly condense on the inside of your radiator. Like water on a cold window, the liquid butane will stream down the inside of your pipes. When it hits a warmer section of the pipe it'll boil off, extracting heat. Since the boiling point is below the freezing point of water, the water will freeze before the butane stays liquid. Ice is actually reasonably thermally conductive (it's about 15 to 20% more conductive than concrete), so the heat from water outside the ice will migrate through the ice to keep boiling the butane (it would work similarly with any refrigerant).
I don't know what kind of pressure you'd need to use with the ammonia system. For the butane system, if adding gaseous butane only (I assume you'll build this when it's above freezing), you'll actually end up with a negative pressure system when the butane condenses.
The butane system should also be easier to build -- I imagine a simple vertical pipe, sealed at both ends (filled at the top). You shouldn't need anything more complex, as the gas will easily flow up as the liquid flow down the outside. If you decide to do a fancier design, just make sure there are no gravity wells or traps for the liquid to get caught in as it trickles down. I'd go with a thick-walled metal pipe for its better conductivity and it'll hold up to the ice better.
An ammonia system will need a system that encourages the gas to flow. You would probably want a loop of some sort. The "hot" ammonia should go straight to the top, then through coils or folds to cool. You'll then want to pipe it straight to the bottom (while it's coldest) and run it through coils or whatever as it goes up.
I know you don't like hydrocarbons, but butane may work very well. It boils at about 31°F and ought to work well in that fridge setup. It's twice as dense as air (when gaseous), so for safety, cut a hole in the floor. You probably want an emergency drain in there anyway (and make sure that drains straight outside. Don't tie it to the septic (odor) or weeping tile (radon) systems. 31°F is a lot warmer than -20°F, so the system should work far more effectively, and you should be able to get away with much less volume of pipe and gas.
On the other hand, ammonia requires an open flame to burn. It won't burn on its own. It's lighter than air and room temperature and will dissipate. And it stinks bad so you know there's a leak. And it's probably the refrigerant the guy used.
If you got about 60% efficiency, with 150 ft of head, you'd generate about 27 watts, or 650 watt hours per day. If you used all 200 ft of head, you'd manage about 860 watt hours per day. Certainly put your tank as high as possible. But be aware it's only enough electricity to run a laptop or an 8" household fan (barely).
Electricity costs about $0.10 per kWh. Even in the best case, you'd be generating about $2.50 worth of electricity a month.
I might do it just for the fun factor, but that'd be it.
Lots of old houses had a cool room. All that's needed is to keep it reasonably well insulated from the rest of the house, and a vent at the bottom and another at the top to allow hot air to escape upwards while drawing cold air in. It's completely passive. Don't just insulate a room -- you need the airflow to avoid moisture and mold issues. I would also consider another vent to the inside of the house for when it's well below freezing out to allow some heat in. You still need to make sure there is airflow, or you will end up with moisture and mold issues. You can either use the room directly, or stick a fridge in it.
I don't think you need to worry about the valve so much. There may be some occasional manual adjustment needed to the vents, but for the most part the system will be self-regulating. When the inside is significantly warmer there will be a greater convective current and vice versa. This works to your advantage, because when it's cold inside and out you don't want it colder, and if it's warm outside you don't want it sucking warm air in. If sizing/adjusting the vents is an issue you can also regulate the temperature by using thermal mass inside the room, and that's as simple as storing water at the bottom to heat or cool the air as it comes in.
If you do decide you need some additional cooling in the marginal months an exhaust fan should do the trick. If you're running solar, you'll probably have excess energy this time of the year, so efficiency isn't as big of a deal. I suggest picking up a window fan with thermostat (perhaps size your top vent to the fan).