We like to cook up a big batch of taco meat (usually ground turkey, sometimes ground beef) and freeze some of it for reheating later on. Serving is easy, since it only requires chopping some avocado, tomato, and onion, and condiments like sour cream, salsa, pickled jalapeno pepper slices, and having some tortillas on hand.
Soups usually get a few servings frozen for later whenever we make them.
Growing up we always had batches of meals put up in the freezer, Stuffed peppers, stuffed cabbage, roast turkey with gravy and stuffing, turkey soup, pot roast, meatloaf, Italian sausages, American chop suey... It was both a way of saving money by buying things on sale, and also saving the preparation time for mid-week meals. It was also variety! It would take my mother and me too many meals in a row to finish a whole turkey (not that we didn't like it, or didn't have it four days in a row anyways), but it was a gift to our future selves to have a turkey dinner waiting in the freezer. All we had to do was boil a few potatoes (or even potato flakes) and some vegetable (usually carrots, or frozen squash) to complete the meal. Sausages, stuffed peppers, or stuffed cabbage could be reheated in a canned sauce while the pasta boiled. Turkey soup was usually frozen with just meat and broth, and fresh or frozen vegetables were added, along with egg noodles when it was reheated.
I hope that your other half is willing to have a go at preparing your meals if it is simple? Some chopping, or boiling some potatoes or pasta? A mile in your shoes...
If you have a food processor/robocoup or a blender, a gazpacho is super easy to prepare for a novice cook.
I don't know if you have "meal preparation" services there (such as Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, others... here in the U.S.) or prepared meal subscription services... Basically you get all the ingredients, prepped, and shipped for a meal for two, OR fully prepared meals like soups, noodle bowls, etc... delivered to your home. So that eliminates the shopping and preparation, leaving just the cooking or reheating to do.
It always seemed to me to be just a luxury for busy people, but it could also be an adventure for a new cook, or a support for someone like yourself during a convalescence. There are often introductory pricing offers for new customers (usually with a required # of deliveries).
Austin Shackles wrote:The difference is in the pints, but since a quart(er of a gallon) is 2 pints...
US pint is 16 fl.oz., but a UK pint is 20 fl.oz. So a GB pint/quart/gallon is 25% bigger. Hence for example a US gallon is 3.78 liters, but a UK gallon is 4.54 litres.
Cups are a whole other thing. I believe, however, that the fl.oz are the same regardless, and hence if you know how many fl.oz. are in a cup, it should work out.
In some ways (although as a Brit I don't like to admit it) the US pint is more sensible, since a pint of water weighs a pound (16 oz.), whereas in the UK it's a pound-and-a-quarter.
Knowing a few metric conversions by heart, I saw 4.54 liters and my head spun!
so... 10 pounds of water = 1 Imperial gallon? that sort of makes sense... compared to U.S. gallon = 231 cubic inches? what?
The ounces are slightly different due to the divisions of pint = 16 or 20 ounces and the starting point in weights or volumes...
An imperial fluid ounce is 1⁄20 of an imperial pint, 1⁄160 of an imperial gallon or approximately 28.41 ml.
A US fluid ounce is 1⁄16 of a US fluid pint and 1⁄128 of a US liquid gallon or approximately 29.57 ml, making it about 4.08% larger than the imperial fluid ounce.
I'm amused that a Canadian cup = 250ml (1/4 liter) instead of 1/4 of a quart.
The driveway where I work is gravel, and it gets plowed in the winter. This means that the gravel gets “rearranged” each year, and areas of puddles appear in the spring. So, the gravel that the plow moved gets replaced in the puddles. It’s also a tricky spot in the corner of a large building with a shed-style garage alongside. Three lanes wide and two cars deep near the building, one car deep in the farthest lane. A LOT of water falls off the roof and the slope of the driveway is quite shallow, almost flat, so grading matters... the town repaved the road and things got worse, since the road was higher by just an inch or two. We added a dry well and perforated drains to control water near the building and added gravel to adjust the grade to once again drain towards the street.
In your compacted, puddling areas I think more gravel would help, just enough to eliminate the low places.
You then could tackle the remaining area, as you have time, removing the gravel and fabric, screening out the weeds and soil, and returning the clean gravel. I’d make sure your slope is correct and that you don’t accidentally create low spots or reverse the dlope towards the building.
The shrinkage shouldn't be a problem, since generally, you are beginning with approximately similar moisture within all the frame members, and shrinkage is least along the length of the wood. Draw-boring for pegs ought to help with the little bit of shrinkage of the half of the joint that is the width of the wood.
Usually a tenon doesn't bottom out in the mortise, the strength of the joint is at the shoulders, so that has to meet first. Framing M&T joints are often "housed" (the mortised member cut out to receive the full end of the tenoned member) such that the full width of the timber is bearing, not just the tenon. The housing also gives straight/true bearing surface for the shoulder, in either round wood or rough lumber.
With braces, they can also be housed (one of your photos shows this) again so that the whole brace member is bearing on the post/beam. And the braces are working in opposing pairs, since they are strongest in compression (pushing the joints tighter), rather than in tension (pulling the joints apart, and relying on the pegs). The dovetail brace is doing both, since it can't pull out in the direction of the load.
Jenny, maybe your neighbor sees Roundup use as easier, or less labor than frequent mowing, or other methods of keeping the fence line cleared? In the spirit of "good fences make for good neighbors", maybe you could offer to mow the fence line to keep it clear so that he won't need to use Roundup on your boundary anymore?
To some extent, it is "your fence" too, for example if it keeps his livestock contained, it's in your interest to maintain it as well.
I second the rental option. Your neighbor's anecdotal evidence suggests that it works, and it is much more machine than the Harbor freight option, which only comes with one size auger (so additional cost for other sizes?) where the rental might have choices of a few sizes included?
The main thing with tool rentals is to plan and prepare, so that you are using all your "time on the clock" using the tool, not clearing a path, or going out for gas or other supplies, or doing other parts of the job that could be done later. (Extra hands and splurging on pizza delivery can be a great help too.)
Another trick is understanding the rental times, sometimes a 1/2 day= 4 hours, and FULL day= 8 hours, but a "day" could also be 24 hours... like pick up one morning, return the next morning. Sometimes, a "Sunday" rental goes from closing on Saturday to opening on Monday (sometimes even the Tuesday following a Monday holiday)
There's all sorts of costs of ownership: storage, maintenance, parts and repair, fuel... small engines, only infrequently used can be a real hassle. Renting leaves most of these costs on the rental agent, and most of the time you are renting a "commercial" machine, which will do more and faster than a "consumer" version.
I've heard a saying that if you've borrowed or rented a thing 3 times, maybe you ought to go buy your own... I've also gotten A LOT done, faster, with a rented machine... maybe it's the focus of the tool needing to go back?
Rebecca Norman wrote:I'll pile on with another question.
I live in high desert, very very dry. I started new gardens 3 years ago, and it's been difficult to build up soil fertility and organic matter. There is very little waste biomass, but there are some people in my village who burn their leaves, so I did manage to get several large sacks, hard packed, of leaves last fall and lass the previous fall. But they stayed bone dry, and with some difficulty I mixed them into my garden soil. The sacks are that woven plastic tarp type of stuff, will probably flake off if left out in the sun. But maybe I should pour some water down into the sacks and just leave them? Should I try to inoculate them with fungus or just water them? What do you think? I'm pretty excited about the rhapsodies for leaf mold on this thread!
Hi Rebecca, I've been making leaf mould for years and I usually shred the leaves (100+ cubic yards/year) and it's wet enough here in Boston, that they break down well by the following summer. I have however, found pockets of whole unshredded leaves within my piles when I have had a neighbor drop some off, or I got some bagged leaves and dumped them out without shredding them, and the weather was dry when they got piled up. I'd find them intact in the spring when turning the pile. I'd be sure to mix them around well when turning.
I'd definitely get rid of the plastic tarp bags (send them back and ask to get more leaves?!) before they break down into tiny plastic bits... Been there, it's heartbreaking.
Corral the leaves with some fencing and get them wet as you build your heap, turn it periodically to get the drier outer leaves inside the heap and water it as you do.
I do the screening thing as well, the already broken down small stuff gets used for mulching, and the big stuff gets piled again to break down more. I have a motorized trommel screen, so it gets a good mixing at the same time.
I prefer #2 Perennial Permaculture. I also find cursive fonts and curly fonts to be problematic, and it is quite specific to the use. (My partner's business uses a curly font...) A company name, or logo can work, but it can also be difficult to read a lot of text in cursive.
Sometimes, some letters or some words just look weird in a particular font, you might have to try a few to get a good fit. Or, maybe modify it so it looks right and make it an image? I'm sure there's reasons for using a font versus an image of text, but I don't know enough about the pros/cons of doing so.
In this case, I agree that the "N"s are a bit weird, and the "A" reads a bit more like a "CI" with that opening at its top... I like the tail on the "L" as Nicole pointed out.
Here in New England, we've got Eastern White Pine (pinus strobus) and the cones have a lot of sap on them, and just a few makes for great fire lighters. Maybe another use for you?
I'm not sure what that pitch would do in quantity inside a tiny kettle-in-a-woodstove retort? If your cones have a lot of pitch, maybe start with a few, and work up...
I bet the cones would work well. My OCD would have me arrange them in neat rings inside the pot, like wreaths, to get the most inside. Maybe a layer of sawdust to take up the gaps, and layer until full. (suddenly hungry for dolmas or stuffed cabbage)
My partner is now a member of a "shared commercial kitchen", after her having two prior kitchens (one solo, one shared with one other business). It might be something to look into, since the costs of "ownership" of your own commercial kitchen are high (setup, equipment, inspections, licenses, maintenance, supplies, rent, utilities). Sometimes churches have certified kitchens that they rent out, or in the shared kitchen model, there's a dozen or so fledgling food businesses, sharing the space at different times/days, for a reasonable fee.
Packaging, yes, same experience here. Supply chain breakdown...sellouts, shortages, and delays. Maybe there's jars, but no lids... maybe there's a hundred in stock! hooray! or maybe the inventory is off... punt and get a different jar? hope our labels fit?! Hopefully this gets back to normal before the fall.
Sampling, rules are usually set by local boards of health, and can be permissive or restrictive, there's not much getting around it though, you comply and serve, or don't serve. If they inspect on-site, they can shut you down if you fail.
Some places allow you to dispense your samples at an event, others they must be pre-portioned and sealed beforehand in a licensed kitchen.
2274 people have watched the video on kickstarter.
In a single email to almost 100,000 people, 21,000 people opened it.
21,000 people read one email, but only 2274 people have watched the video on kickstarter.
I do think that this is ... different. Really different. Hard to get your head wrapped around. At the same time, I think the video does a really good job of explaining it.
In an effort to try to understand stuff I am taking an intense look at these two numbers: 21,000 and 2274.
I think that this says that the poetry I wrote to the 21,000 was not inspiring enough to get people to look at the kickstarter and watch the video. Does this seem reasonable? Might there be other factors I haven't thought of yet?
Paul, I think that I mentioned this during discussion of one of the past Kickstarters... My dad once told me that the mortgage company that he had worked for would send out unsolicited marketing mail, and they would get 0.1% replies.
So for you, 100,000 emails --> 21,000 readings --> 2274 actions = 2.27% conversion rate. You have an email list that is made up of folks that are in some way at least interested, know who you are, or are previous backers; so I'd expect that sort of response.
I think your base of loyal backers is growing, but organically, not virally. I remember one past Kickstarter there was a bump (twice) when you tapped into others contact lists (Spirko, Harris). I'm guessing there was some shared/crossover interest in that project (rocket ovens, I think?). Anyone on board this go-round?
What sort of crossover do you see for this project (those who might have a contact list/subscribers to share)? YouTubers (Homesteading, DIY, Gardening, etc.)? Farmland trust organizations, already trying to maintain farmland and connect to new farmers?
Any idea about how many first-time Kickstarter backers in the mix? I know that I had already backed a couple of other projects before any of yours, so I was already familiar with the concept of crowdfunding, and the process itself... so that's another hurdle for some, but it's also a prime demographic.
I'm sure cracking the Kickstarter algorithm is a factor... how to get to the top of their ranking, of "liked projects", to get your project in front of fresh eyes that are already on Kickstarter looking for something to back.
I see one or two of these a year at our town's transfer station metal recycling heap... I've got a set of those legs, too bad there's not a doorway from my Boston to your Boston that I could just pass them through.
I've seen the "W" type, but also eight short straight legs that connect to a second ring on the ground? I feel like these designs allow for temporary placements on soft ground such as a lawn, and dragging aside to mow below. I imagine that more permanent installations with altered legs could be made.
I pass a house on my commute, that has a trampoline "installed" in the yard. There seems to be bricks encircling it, and I can assume that it is over a shallow pit to allow for the trampoline to do its thing. I feel like this could be an option if you can't salvage the legs?
I also think it could be safer? since an errant jump/bounce wouldn't be an additional 30 inch fall to the ground. Trampolines here seem to be equipped with a net to keep this from happening.
Your plan seems decent though. I've seen some of the "W" legs with half the tube rotted away (in the heap), yours doesn't sound that bad?
Mike Haasl wrote:Lots of workee clothes vs fewer "work from home" clothes?
More about the ongoing upkeep - laundering/dry cleaning - of what, for business attire, is essentially an entire second set of clothes worn daily, 5 of 7 days.
But also about the quantity...? A bit of the need versus want distinction. (also: quantity --> larger closets = maybe a larger home to heat?)
"Fashion" also has a carbon footprint, as "new styles" drive sales and replacement of "old styles", not based on wear...
So not "wanting" to "stay in fashion" can free one to make choices about comfort, utility, durability. Wearing clothes both more often and for longer, that are repairable (and that have been repaired), until they no longer fit or are worn out.
I'm sure there's pros/cons to fiber choices: Natural, but maybe grown unsustainably? Synthetic, and shedding micro-plastics? More suited to a situation, synthetic winter outerwear? natural summer wear?
What does 7 billion pairs of wool socks per year look like? sheep everywhere? McDonald's Lamburgers?
Commuting versus work-from-home versus self employment/home-based business. Not a simple calculation to make, since traditional employment is tangled with wages/benefits/healthcare/degrees/training, and therefore switching jobs/careers is a weighty decision... Where to live could be easier to choose, especially if you are renting.
What is the yearly cost per hour of commuting to a 40 hour/week (full-time) job? 5 days x 50 weeks = 250 hours/year in a car with a mix of 40 minutes highway and 20 minutes city driving each hour, at (20 MPG hwy./15MPGcity) maybe that's ~$6.80 ($1700./yr.) in fuel cost (650 gallons/yr. burned = 6.383 tons CO2)
What else could you enjoy doing for 250 hours? This amounts to 31.25 x 8 hour days...or...6.25 weeks of "vacation from a workee job" (switch jobs and gain 5 weeks of vacation?! what?!?!)...or...possibly consider a one eighth pay cut...since you commit 45 hours to the job and are only paid for the 40 you are there for.
Other considerations: tolls, paid parking, business wardrobe, meals out...
I like the "Garden Way" cart (the large one) for things that will fit, and I usually can manage a load 1-1/2 to 2 times the height of the sides by standing a few "stakes" on the sides to contain the upper stuff.
For larger brush, like saplings or limbs from felling a tree, I prefer to just grab one or two by hand and drag. Anytime I've tried to get more clever, I spend extra time picking up the pieces when my "clever method" fails, than just making an extra trip on foot.
I have also used a hatchet, axe, and machete against a stump to chop small limbs into kindling-size pieces. It is quite fast.
I find that breaking down larger branching sections with lopping shears first, makes that chopping easier to manage. That said, a lot can just be cut up with the loppers, without bending over so much.
As you mention, patience is another approach.
You could just do a short session of cutting per day/week, to not injure yourself.
Loppers use more of your body's larger muscles and are less likely than hand shears to produce a repetitive-motion injury such as carpal tunnel.
As the brush dries out you could break it down just by walking over it, utilizing your full body weight, and your largest muscles in your legs!
Do your own due diligence!! (homework) I have gotten some IBCs from local manufacturers that have held various things:
vegetable oils used for plastics molding (probably safe)
agave syrup (natural sweetener, definitely safe)
sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (not so great, harmful to aquatic life) seller represented as "a derivative of coconut oil" since that's the odor one smells from it (and technically it is). Not very useful to me as any part of building an aquaponics system... It might rinse away with LOTS of water/pressure washing/soap, but the investment in time is better spent finding suitable IBCs in the first place. I'll use them for thermal mass in a greenhouse.
Here's what https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sodium_laureth_sulfate says about it.
Use your good judgement. If buying directly from a user of the "product" and it is a food business, it's likely a known quantity. If buying from a reseller, check and be sure, identify the actual contents... also make sure you are given what you are paying for (the right ones, not the "right here" ones). If someone isn't forthright, or they aren't sure, I'd pass on it, You don't need to inherit a disposal problem.
How about a simple earthen ramp. Dirt cheap, and a gentler slope to push a wheelbarrow up.
Afterwards, you dig it away and use it for the last of the berm, or just spread it out. Maybe it is made from topsoil, not sand and gravel, to use for a final layer on top or some gardens.
The ramp could also just wind around the berm, and just remain as a feature and be an easy pathway to get up top, for all the reasons you will need to in the future.
Other ideas for a temporary ramp:
a big pile of logs to be cut into firewood later, maybe with a board walkway on top
a big pile of stones to be used for building a wall later, with a board or soil walkway on top
earthbags that would be used in another structure nearby (or carried up and dumped for the final covering)
a stack of shipping pallets, maybe with a board walkway on top. later use them as a fence or for firewood, or give them away.
Michael, how about using a conveyor to get the soil UP onto the top of the berm?
You could feed it at ground level, possibly using the dumping trailer to not handle it twice.
Then you could use a rake or hoe to drag soil DOWNHILL to get it in the correct place if needed.
Probably best to just rent one. You might find an old, used one, but that could be a project itself...
Barbara Kochan wrote:Lawnmower handles are too high (near my upper chest), even on their lowest settings, to make for good ergonomics for us shorter folk. Has anyone figured out a clever way to lower a lawnmower handle without needing to weld new attachments? Thank you
You might be able to bend the handles downward. I recommend using an electrical conduit bender... The bender has to be a good fit to not kink the tubes, however. The benders come in different sizes to fit EMT conduit sizes, not "tubing" or "pipe" sizes, but one of them might fit? (either the 1/2" bender which is more like a 11/16" outside diameter, or the 3/4" bender which is more like a 15/16" diameter)
Your local hardware store ought to have conduit benders and if you brought your mower handle you could check the fit before getting one. If you know an electrician, they could probably do it (again, assuming a good fit) in under ten minutes.
Another option would be to cut away a short section (two inches?) from each side of the handle and put it back together with a hardwood dowel inside and either epoxy glue or some strong tape to hold it.
Another great resource for instruction or advice are home center or hardware store clerks. Often you'll find they are retired tradespeople who really know their business.
If you are there shopping for parts/supplies for a project, it can be really helpful to tell them what you are up to.
They usually know about all the things they carry, and will help you find the right parts, as well as what other supplies or tools you may need to do it right.
Echo, a quick google search for "tongs for lifting stone" found this:
Kerb tongs on Ebay Which is for stone curbing, and for two people (one-handed, and there is a two-person-two handed version as well). Most of the other tongs in that search were more like ice or log tongs, and mostly designed for machine/crane lifting.
Your brick tongs might work? The ones that I have are adjustable (since there's often variation in brick sizes) so, you might be able to get a good fit? You could share the lifting with a helper, one tong for each person.
I've moved quite a lot of fieldstones, and granite curbing (that I could NOT lift solo) plus cobblestones, bricks, and blocks, using a good quality hand truck and some ramps to wheel it up into a truck or trailer. Big, fat tires on uneven/soft ground are nice, hard narrow wheels are fine on pavement.
Jordan Holland wrote:Something else I just thought of: the wooden pins flex and take the shape of the offset, locking the joint in place. I wonder if an unyielding steel pin might damage the tenon, possibly even splitting it?
I think the taper of the steel framing pin allows it to take up the difference between the offset holes without being driven any tighter than necessary to pull the joint tight, then the T-handle allows it to be removed by twisting and pulling rather than drifting out. If the work is done in a shop, it will be together and apart at least once to fit it and move it to the site, repeat inserting/removing wooden dowels and I can see a savings in time and materials.
Some of the photos I just viewed of a raising had a mix of dowelled joints, framing pins, and not-yet-dowelled joints. Whether it's leaving some freedom of movement for fitting parts during the raising, or effective use of labor to get the lifting done NOW and get the pegging done later... I'm sure there's a lot left up to personal preference.
Maybe a "flag" icon that says "SOLD"
Most of the real estate threads just have "photos" or "apples" icons showing, so it would probably be easy to notice while scanning the list of threads.
The tricky thing would be how to follow through on tagging listings as "SOLD". Maybe an automatic expiration, that triggers a GIR Bot reminder(s) to the OP to update the thread? either sold, or still for sale, which would bump it back to the top, otherwise flag the thread as "OLD" if no reply.
A few years back , I did the "Whole 30 diet" (basically no grain, dairy, sugar) and the reduction in joint pain (knees especially) was noticeable. I did it for only the 30 days and slowly reverted to my normal diet again. (part of the point is to reintroduce foods one at a time to notice effects on your system, like a FODMAPS/allergen diet) The first week is the hardest as the habits/cravings are strong, after that it is easy. I did find that there was a lot more meal preparation (fewer prepared foods, more fresh vegetables), and slightly different recipes... like my giant quart-sized mocha latte is just too much almond milk when substituted 1:1 for cow's milk, but 4 espressos in just 1/2 cup almond milk is good! I even made my own ketchup with pineapple juice in place of sugar, since I couldn't deal without having it.
If you need to retain access for yourself, then a stronger gate? Otherwise I'd use boulders, can't burn them or saw them, hard to move them, pretty inexpensive. Only thing cheaper would be a ditch.
You could get a truckload or two dumped in place and block off the road, no other equipment needed if they are good at it. You might even find someone that needs to get rid of some from a construction site.
As others said, the trouble is whether they can skirt whatever you place in the way.
A tomato-meat sauces:
Ground beef, sausage, diced pepperoni, onion, pepper, garlic, tomatoes, Italian herbs. Good on pasta, even better in a lasagna (or three, freeze the extras to heat and eat later).
American chop suey. ground beef, onions, peppers, canned tomatoes, served mixed with pasta (traditionally elbows, but I prefer radiatore, or rotini, to grab more sauce.)
Mexican casserole. 1 lb. Ground beef, browned with onion, add can of tomato with chili peppers, a can of black beans (drained), 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1/2 cup rice, 1/2 cup corn, chili powder, cumin, salt & pepper. cover and cook 16-20 minutes until rice is done. remove from heat, top with 2 cups shredded cheese, recover 3-5 minutes until melted.
Tacos. 50 pounds will take you all year if you stick to just Tuesdays! good thing they're so good you can do Thursdays too! We cook up extra and freeze taco-meat for a heat and eat taco night later, or to put on nachos.
Finally, they're no "killer recipes" just comfort foods and variety; stuffed peppers or cabbage, beef hash, meatloaf, and stewed hamburger.
I made it from shit This beautiful, efficient Masonry Heater
No, I am not actually suggesting we rename RMHs using a haiku.
As its development was a collaborative effort over time, were it named after a person, it would have to be someone universally acknowledged as deserving of it. And probably dead, to be honest.
Lastly, as a sales concept, rather than being descriptive, you could attach a historically weighted moniker to it. I mean, make it feel like "Victory Gardens" or something like that, something that suggests not only personal benefit, but a thing of benefit done on the individual scale that strengthens the whole.
Victory Mass Heaters?
CK, I hope you don't mind, I cleaned up your "shitty" haiku, frankly that sort of low-brow vocabulary is better suited to limericks.
I built it myself
This beautiful, efficient,
Or maybe it's a 575 heater, and there can be a counterculture movement for it's widespread legalization and adoption built around it (like 420).
Those in the know would dedicate a new heater with haiku written somewhere on it.
Folks would talk about setting their thermostats to 575 to save money.
Main problem is that 5:75 or 5/75 aren't real times or dates... but look how 4:20 or 4/20 and PI day (3/14) has caught on!! A number=date mnemonic is powerful, and a yearly reminder.
Thomas, if the handle on your vise is sluggish to slide back and forth, it might be packed with crud in the head of the screw around where the bar slides through. I freed ours up by flushing it with WD40, sliding the bar back and forth, and then wiping away the crud that ran out, repeating until it slid easily.
Thomas, it is insane what the Wilton bullet vises are selling for. I think back to metal shop at RISD and there was one on every bench, there had to be twenty in the shop! Back then anvils could be had for $1-$2 per pound, today it is $5-$6 per pound, unless it is worn out...then only $3 or $4! I wish I had bought more in sooner!!!
We have made some solid aluminum faces for the Wilton bullet at my work. We work in aluminum mostly, and the hard steel serrated jaws always needed soft pads to protect your work, and you usually picked those up off the floor once or twice a day! *clank*
The solid aluminum jaws worked so much better, since the soft pads (usually a section of extruded angle, sometimes a bent piece of sheet) would always "roll" a bit when trying to pinch something small or thin up high in the jaws and then your work slipped out.
Dan, I got a cast-iron firepot for a forge while wandering an old quarry. We went into an old burned out stone building, and I noticed that (1) I was standing on the remnants of a collapsed roof, (2) this building had a "fireplace", and (3) there was something, maybe a stump? under a big chunk of the roof... just in front of the "fireplace"... hmmm, where an anvil would sit... So, no anvil. , but the firepot "was" there.
I would check again about the "structure" you could build. It might be that you opened the conversation with "greenhouse" and that rang the alarm bells, where if you wanted a "tool shed" it would be a "normal" request.
I'm in a suburban area, not in the city, but for me there's no permit required for a shed of less than a certain size (for me 150sq.ft.) and the building department only cares that it meets the setback requirements (for me 5ft. from side & rear lot lines, and in the rear of the lot) no fee, or maybe it was $20?, no inspection.
You may truly have a tiny lot, and your setbacks may exclude your entire space, but I'd check.
You might also consider a "seasonal" use of the greenhouse, which might make it exempt? Meaning you would take it down for the times you are not using it... say during winter, mid-summer, and store it away.
Many folks have a shade structure for a patio that would be similar...
Doing the "stealth edibles" and camouflaged rain barrel seems like a good option. Also keeping the garden tidy and attractive would help with neighbors. Maybe combining ornamentals with edibles to make it "attractive" to your neighbors eyes.
Also, using attractive materials for your structures and not cobbling together salvaged junk? (not saying this is your situation, but may be for others...) It might cost more, but not invite the same criticism.
Joining or building a community garden might be your best option. You might turn the tables on the city and get their blessings and help. There might be an abandoned lot or underused part of an athletic field or schoolyard they could "donate".
The obvious would be reuse as a garage door in a new location. It would be fantastic secure storage shed doors, since that's the original design intent. Maybe they could be resold, if they are complete units? (money for something else...)
A row of them side-by-side mounted to posts, could make for a fence that could be opened in sections... mounted upside-down, this could be a variable height fence/screen/privacy fence. They could be mounted vertically as well, the roll would be a "post" and the panel would extend to the next "post", or two could meet in the middle of a wider opening/driveway.
If it is a solid panel, not linked segments, the panels could be re-used as roofing material or as siding material, for almost anything...
They could mount horizontally overhead to make a retractable awning/roof, making a carport, or a "shed" n the side of a barn.
John F Dean wrote:Well, I haven’t looked at it yet, but this thread tells me I should have a look to be polite. I will take the lead from Doug and take some hot homemade bread with me ( hey, those canning jars are getting hard to find). Frankly, prior to this thread, I wasn’t going to look.
I just moved 3 loads of fieldstone and boulders (5 tons? for an upcoming wall project of mine) that I got from a contractor that I met last summer at our town's transfer station. At the time we met, I was loading into my truck a load of tree limbs that he had just dropped off earlier in the day... conversation turned to him having more larger wood to get rid of...
6 loads of wood (2+ cords?). I go to take a look, his remodel also had a brick walkway, concrete paver patio, and some slate flagging... all needed to go. "Could I have them?" "sure!" 7 more loads of materials. Later on... I get a call that he'd taken down another tree, so some more wood... (another cord) Stone walls had been built, but there were some piles of stone here and there around the site..."If you have any stone left over, I'll take it." "Okay, I'll let you know."
All this from a chance meeting, a few visits, and a eye open for an opportunity. I had no idea it would have led to that, pretty pleased it did. You never know if they'll "have something else to show you" or "do you know anybody that wants this thing?" or you see something you'd like and ask, like I did.
Echo, You may already have an electrician to work with that is amenable to you doing part of the job yourself? But if not, you'll want to figure that out first, so you don't waste your time doing something that your electrician can't/won't use. At the end of the day, it's his/her license on the line. If it's done wrong they are liable, and they don't want the hassle of problems come inspection time.
I had some work done to add a sub-panel to our greenhouse. My electrician was fine with me doing the trenching, but none of the conduit or wiring work. We looked at the job together to identify where the trenches/conduits would go, and calculate the materials, he returned once I had finished digging.
You could get a good education by getting a couple of estimates for the whole job (or part of it), they might discover issues to be corrected, or know better ways to get it done (experience, a team, all the tools and supplies at hand).
You might also find out that you could spend your time elsewhere and save/earn more money than on doing the wiring.
Thomas, have you seen the solar power experiments at Tamera, in Portugal? (there is a lot going on...but here's just one piece..)
They are using evacuated tube collectors, and hot oil as the transfer/storage fluid, and can therefore store heat at 200C/~375F at atmospheric pressure. If the TEGs work better with a higher temperature difference, then a hot oil system/storage just to run the TEGs might be another way to approach having a "battery" to get you electricity through overnights and cloudy days. At higher temps such as these for the "hot" side, the "cold" side might be able to be your radiant heat return line on its way to the solar hot water panels to be reheated, or back to storage while running at night, or to make DHW!?!? I'm just following my intuition here, maybe Glenn or Eric could back this up with maths?
<edit> Cross-posted with David Baillie! and he answered some of what I was thinking about...
Thomas, welcome to Permies!
The solar thermal panel is a collector, not a storage device, and therefore does not need/want mass. Your heat transfer fluid (water, glycol?) is the mass, as is your radiant floor slab, and any storage tank you add.
Granular material is not a good conductor, even if the solid it is made of is, since there is a lot of tiny air space (insulation) and tiny contact areas between particles. So, a panel filled with silicon carbide grit, would only get hot at the surface, and not transfer that heat to the heat transfer fluid in the piping.
Gary's plans at Build It Solar for the $2k water heater are neat! and his tests of the performance seem well done.
I can't speak to the TEG, but wonder if it compares at all to photovoltaic panels for output and cost? My understanding was that if heat/fuel was free or was all you had such as a remote oil/gas site, that it was a good way to have limited, but maintenance free power, or a refrigerant free heater/cooler.
Check out NEMA enclosures at McMaster-Carr You may find something that is the right size? you'll need to drill your mounting holes and knockouts for wiring, but the polycarbonate enclosure should be tough enough for the job.
They have a great selection of other components, so check out whether you need new cable, cord grips, fasteners, or whatever, so you can do the repair well, while you are at it.
<edit> Oh, yeah, order by 6:00 PM EST and they ship the same day. (for me in Boston from them in N.J., I see things the next morning!)
Phil Stevens wrote:Jim, biomass pyrolysis is exothermic and in the case of woody matter there is more than sufficient energy in the feedstock to drive the entire process (as long as the wood is dry). So if you're capturing the syngas output of a batch in your solar retort, it will be more than enough to "cook" another batch of equal mass. This is why pit and kontiki methods are so effective: we use that process heat right at the source and dispense with lots of technology to capture, scrub, store, and transport the syngas. Flame cap burns easily achieve 600-700C in the active zone.
So, as John suggests, you could use the solar concentrator to kiln-dry the feedstock on its way into your retort, where the output gas would provide all the heat required beyond startup.
 I just noticed you were aiming for process temps of 600-700F. This won't produce biochar, as it's nowhere near hot enough to drive off the volatile HC compounds and form the aromatic C bonds. What you will get out of that will be torrefied wood. We usually consider 450C to be a minimum for high-quality biochar that does all the good stuff in soil.
Jim, I was planning to comment earlier, and so glad I waited... Phil's reply is what I wanted to say and more! I also agree that drying the wood would be a more effective way to incorporate solar power into the process, since drying the wood in the kiln/retort uses more time and fuel. (I've been dreaming up such a system myself)
I don't know where you are, but the reliability of solar may be the biggest trouble, having both the intensity and duration to char a load of wood, and how to modulate the temperature? Insulating the retort, and exposing it to concentrated solar are at odds as well.
Is your thought on using solar to make the char "for free, using the power of the sun" rather than burning some more wood? If your kiln is wood fired, you could adjust the temperature easily by adding fuel, and overcome a cloudy weather event.
Have you thought of a use for the waste heat from the process? If you could make use of the heat, you might get a greater return than the wood saved to get the char reaction going.