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Why I don't want my farm to be reliant on electricity

 
gardener
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It has come to my attention that many people don’t share my aversion to integrating electricity into my farm as I develop it. That’s fine, but I would like to explain why I feel this way. I currently rely on grid electricity from hydroelectric dams in the state of Washington. I will continue to use this resource for as long as it is available and affordable, but I want to have backups that require no electricity at all.

That includes from solar and wind power, and here is why.

Let’s start with grid electricity. I live in a country whose infrastructure is aging; in a lot of places blackouts are becoming more and more frequent, and in my state a lot of our dams have not been maintained properly. Many have cracks, including a local one (Riffe Lake) which was largely drained due to earthquake hazard. Whatever your politics, the United States has not had a government which has been responsible about infrastructure maintenance in a long time. I don’t feel secure relying on grid electricity anymore, and I don’t foresee a government in the future that will do what is necessary to overhaul our electrical infrastructure. I don’t know if one could really afford to, honestly.  

Now, yes the government could aim for more installation of solar and wind. But if they don’t have the money to manage and maintain our existing system I can’t imagine this will happen. Two issues are also transmission (one aspect of the system whose maintenance has also been sub par in the United States) and integration into the grid. To be succinct, they would either need enormous backup storage (battery, pumped hydro, etc) or they would need to have hydro or fossil fuel plants online and ready to help with peaking power demand.

Even if this all were possible, this doesn’t mean that it will actually happen. Regardless of your politics (and I really don’t want this discussion to become politicized) our government is and has been chaotic. It makes poor decisions all of the time that are not to our long term benefit regardless of the party in power.

Now, on to off grid electricity.

A friend of mine uses solar panels on her farm, and they’re vital to the maintenance of her aquaponics. Her panels stopped working this year and, with solar technology evolving rapidly, she wasn’t able to find parts compatible and tried to replace them. Because of the trade war it was hard for her to afford to due to the tariffs. I don’t care about the trade war or politics here--my point is simply that relying on electricity, whether home generated or based on the grid, seems to me to be an insecure way of setting up my farm. The trade war could have just as easily been a recession compromising her income and ability to afford solar panels or some other event. The production and maintenance of components needed for off grid electricity are reliant on the wider industrial economy. The materials (metal, plastic, etc) are mined using oil or are made out of oil. They are shipped and refined using energy from fossil fuels, etc.

This isn’t a criticism of people who use solar panels or wind electricity. They may actually be sensible options for our society to shift to, and I understand that people who use them are trying to be more resilient and environmentally friendly in their own way. At the same time, I don’t feel comfortable being reliant on them, because to me that means trusting a system and economy that I don’t feel can continue existing in the future. Love it or hate it, our industrial economy is outside of our control. This isn’t to say that I live in terror of collapse or that I don’t trust anyone or any institution. I trust my community, my friends, and even parts of my local and state government to do good work and help us all adapt and be resilient.


Note: This speaks to my experience living the in United States. Other countries may have different situations with regards to their grids and capability of local creation of non-grid electricity.

Other note: Some of this writing was pulled from my post on this thread here:
https://permies.com/t/102218/Coming-rainwater-collection-system#851022

Third note:
I’m still trying to figure out how to aerate a pond without electricity. You can give me ideas here. I did see a pond in China with a gravity fed system recently.
https://permies.com/t/84242/Advice-Needed-Natural-Fish-Pond

Example of the dam hazards that I’m talking about:
http://www.chronline.com/news/earthquake-fears-tacoma-power-plans-prolonged-low-levels-at-riffe/article_b34e4642-f452-11e6-a01f-9bda5b04f57b.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/65-foot-long-crack-washington-dam-repairs-itself-n45606

Sources talking about outages becoming more common:
http://insideenergy.org/2014/08/18/power-outages-on-the-rise-across-the-u-s/
https://cleantechnica.com/2014/02/01/power-outages-become-much-common-severe-coming-years-better-start-adapting-now-research-finds/
 
master pollinator
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James Landreth wrote:
I’m still trying to figure out how to aerate a pond without electricity.



A pond with a proper ecosystem doesn't need aeration.  Oxygenating plants do that job.  An aquaponic system will probably need artificial aeration, but a pond should not, unless it is overstocked with fish.

 
pollinator
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We would like to go off-grid too. Our grid here is a mix of dirty, dirty COAL and wind. I am happy that we’ve got wind now. But the coal is what bothers me and what has prompted us most in terms of trying to cut our use of electricity. We have switched to LEDs almost exclusively. I now realize LEDs are not ideal either, but ... damned if you do and damned if you don’t it seems. I am concerned about our carbon footprint with that danged coal.

I am hoping that when we are able to install a wood burning stove we can reduce our electric consumption even more - our furnace blower utilizes electricity, and our backup heat is electric. That electric backup is unacceptable to me and I want to end our use of that, if possible.

We’ve looked at solar setups, and they are coming down in price, slowly. We have a detached garage with an unshaded south-facing roof. We’d like to set up solar panels there. It’s on the ToDo list.
 
master pollinator
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Here the main grid has removed hydro dams and nuclear power and has fortified the grid with solar and wind power instead. If we did it here, where we have a history of reliance upon hydro power like Washington State does, I see no reason why it would not do likewise.

Equally back up power generation is now easy and affordable.

I had a 20 KW PTO generator given to me, and all it needed was a $180 PTO drive shaft. That could power two houses. And while that might be a nice gift from a friend perhaps, what about if I had to buy the generator?

Well, I know a used equipment place that has a 25 KW PTO Generator now for $1700, and has a few diesel engines for $1700 as well. For a mere $3400 a person could power (2) homes. An engine from a junk car could do it as well, or just use the farm tractor in an emergency situation. Either way, the 5 gallons in diesel fuel to run my generator for 8 hours is not a lot of fuel consumption.

To get 25,0000 watts with solar or wind, a person is going to have to pay significantly more than $3500 (engine and generator). And with all the exotic heavy metals from unseen mines to make solar or wind to work, I don't see a few gallons of diesel fuel consumption as being any worse envoronmentally. If it did bother someone though, producing biogas or biodiesel would require far less money than solar or wind for the same amount of KW's (25,000 watts).

There is nothing wrong with alternative power, but while many cite how the cost of solar and wind is coming down in price, they fail to say that the cost of fossil-fuel powered generation has tumbled even more so since 1999.
 
pollinator
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Petroleum has always been cheap because the cost accounting of petroleum is incomplete. If the cost of cleanup, for producers and end-users both, were calculated into the sale price, I have a feeling that oil extraction would be far less lucrative.

I see a good deal of sense in having non-electrical power storage. A wind pump feeding a water tower that slowly drained into a pond from a height would aerate.that system, with only the size of the tank limiting running duration.  

I think that homestead power generation would be much more attractive if we had a method of, say, building giant batteries, preferably of common materials, perhaps on the scale of shipping containers, that could be refurbished on the homestesd, or at least locally.

But yes, I think there is an inherent wisdom to selecting passive resilient systems over failure-prone technological solutions, at least in terms of backup systems. Yes, parts in your wind pump might fail and need repair or replacement, but it would, at least, be conceivable that a mechanically-minded average homesteader might be able to fix it himself.

-CK
 
James Landreth
gardener
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My biggest concern is probably having access to water. I have a hand pump on my well but it can only do small quantities if water. I have wood heat which is great. I'd like to figure out a gravity fed irrigation system using stored rainwater
 
pollinator
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Pond aeration has traditionally always been done using small windmills. I tend to agree that a pond will only need aeration if you are trying to push it beyond its natural energy state. Of course that is what most gardening and food production is... How effective a wind only solution would be depends on the wind at your location. For solar there are a fair bit of direct drive pumps out there which have only a panel and a pump so no controllers, no batteries, just a pump to wear out and a solid state solar panel. It would stop when the sun goes down but you size accordingly. All tech has its strong points and drawbacks. The windmills have mechanical parts that require maintenance and replacement.

https://www.koenderswindmills.com/Koenders_Windmills_FreeAir.html

https://www.pondpro.ca/ows-windmills/
 
pollinator
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You may have already researched this, but look into Ram Pumps - electricity free pumping, if your setup/conditions are right.

Electricity free solutions are beautiful, cost less, and better for the environment - I cringe every time a new product or "mainstream" person   looks to gadgets/powered solutions to their problems; why pay for a treadmill, pay for the power to treadmill, when walking outside is cheaper, better for you, and doesn't take up space in your crowded house?
 
Myrth Gardener
pollinator
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James Landreth wrote:My biggest concern is probably having access to water. I have a hand pump on my well but it can only do small quantities if water. I have wood heat which is great. I'd like to figure out a gravity fed irrigation system using stored rainwater



We have gutters and downspouts on one of our barns. We have slowly, over the last 5 years, been buying large stocktanks when they go on sale. We placed a tank under each downspout. They fill to overflowing during each rain. During the winter we empty them and turn them over to avoid freezing, except for one for winter use.

In spring we set them up and we use that water for young trees all through the growing season. Our setup is pretty good for our current climate. We can only store about 1000 gallons right now. This would not hold us during a drought, but it's a start. I want to get more storage for garden and household use.

This is currently a very simple barebones rainwater storage system. It is not set up to divert first rainfall. It is not set up to filter it or pump it. We use buckets. It is open storage. We keep goldfish in the tanks to eat any mosquito larvae. In a crisis we could run it through our black Berkey filter for human consumption.

We could hook up hoses to the tanks but have not yet.
 
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I live among the Amish.  They have very little solar for electricity.  They have very big propane tanks.  gas everything, lights, refridge, generator [you do not think they milk 50 cows by hand].  they have engines every where like hay baler that they pull with horses, etc..  they hire people to transport them  and their goods a lot,several people here drive for the amish and make a living doing it.  If you go to their hardware store bring a small flashlight!!  it is long and narrow with lots of windows and gas lighting down the middle.  takes a few minutes for eyes to adjust on a sunny day.  from the cash register to the back warehouse about 150 feet is a 2" dia pvc pipe, the cashier honks a air horn into the pipe when some one responds he gives the info [ customer coming back for 2 bags of 10 10 10}

some of the things they do are down right dangerous, bush hog powered by engine  pulled by horses, the driver stands on a small platform.  Last week or so a mule got spooked and took off running away dragging a 21 foot pipe a 15 year old boy tok chase, mule jumped guard rail and pipe went up in air and hit the boy in the head killing him

the average Amish farm is 70 acres and generates $ 125,000 per year after expenses.

new  amish buggy price  average $ 5500,  horse will cost 4,000 more but will be trained and ready to go
they make their own drum brakes, based  from a 1960 voltzwagon car.

sory to have rambled

 
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A basic principal is you don't want any major functions totally dependant on a single item.  

This is true for cropping (financial survival depending on a single crop, be it corn, tobacco, apples or puppies).  A single accident, disease or market event out of your control can take you out.  It is also true in other areas, including power and transportation, even on who you rely on.  A broader base with multiple backups is the idea.

We have become very dependant on electrical systems because they are mass producable and portable, one you have power to the site.  There are ways to dramatically reduce electrical needs.  As has been pointed out, propane is an option.  Wood gas is also, although isn't as easy and you need a fair amount of wood.  Wind pumping water up to a pond that can generate electricity as it drains down is an option, if you have the elevation.  

Our actual needs aren't that great.  Our wants though are a huge list, and usually growing.  Think about what you're willing to give up.  Each "want" abandoned will reduce your energy needs.

I guess the best answer is "depends on your situation".  A few general principals are that
1.  The lower your power requirements, the less you need to generate
2.  the more you can conserve of what you have, the less you need to replace it (i.e.  insulation, proper food storage, fewer trips into town).
3.  Each energy conversion has losses, the fewer conversions you can get by with, and the more efficient the better.
4.  Look for other ways of accomplishing your goal (ride a bike, pickle rather than freeze, swamp cooler rather than air conditioner, go to bed and get up with the sun. To reduce lighting requirements.
5.  One of the things I like about permaculture is it focuses on understanding the systems, the interactions between the parts, and then making our decisions, consciously.  Maybe, after considering your options, you decide that you are going to keep driving that pickup because you need to move large volumes and its 50 miles to town.  But now you've thought it through and hopefully have some fallbacks for when the damned thing breaks down or the price of gas goes through the roof.  Maybe you've developed a wood gas or methane option and have it in your back pocket.
 
gardener
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Low tech and dependable always beats out high-tech and fickle.  That's why permaculture as a design science is all about appropriate technology that will last for years with minimal inputs.  Something as simple as a well-designed swale can capture hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to fundamentally change the hydrology of your land.  Every gallon of water that I can save and store in the soil profile is a gallon of water that I don't have to pump later in the summer.

Gravity is free.
Sunlight is free.
Soil microbes are free (but you've got to feed them to keep them happy).

Having said that, it's amazing how many great products are coming to market that are dependable, low-voltage, solar powered, and incredibly time and labor saving.  Electric fencing has come a long way in this regard.
 
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James, I am trying to get a handle on what your objections are to the use of electricity;
Are they based on
= not wanting to rely on the Government
= not wanting to rely on others
= or just being ornary
= its unsafe
Tjanks
 
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This is a great thread, and something I think about all the time (literally, it kinda drives me crazy sometimes). Electricity is not an energy source. Simple, but true. Once I understood that, really understood that, it really changed the way I looked at everything. I think it's amazing that so many of us don't really, REALLY understand how things work, and it's getting worse all the time. I work in tech, and it amazes me how few people who work in technology understand how it all works. Electricity is just this thing that magically appears. The "internet" just magically is in the air.

Once you (I) understand how it all really works, the complexity of our current systems is overwhelming. Is it sustainable? I don't know...with the lack of understanding and of investment in it all, I don't think so. So I admire your decision to minimize your reliance on it, I'd like to do the same. As I type on my laptop, ha!
 
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With regard to this I’ve become rather fascinated by the potential of hand operated pulley systems to perform work. It’s not a subject where I have any expertise (beyond what I learned in junior high physics), but I’ve been to old workshops where you can still see the remnants of elaborate pulley systems that were used for for all kinds of functions, in fact the same system performed multiple jobs. Pre Industrial Age shipyards and ports moved enormous amounts of material using pulley and crane systems that must have been very sophisticated, though I’ve never seen it captured in any paintings from that era. I even have a suspicion that the advent of electricity cut short some interesting work in developing those systems because a lot of the most impressive systems I’ve seen seem to be from around 1900.
 
James Landreth
gardener
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John, it's me not wanting to be reliant on the US government or the global economy. The US government has not been responsible about maintaining its infrastructure. As I mentioned, several key (hydroelectric) dams are in dangerous levels of disrepair near me, just as one example

I had friends who were all set to upgrade their aging solar powered system, but then the trade war hit and the price of solar panels went up here. They couldn't afford it. Luckily grid electricity is still available and then can wait until they've saved enough. Imagine if grid electricity were unreliable or unavailable. Then where would they be?

Note: This isn't me pointing fingers at any particular party or side. I feel that all US administrations have been irresponsible about our infrastructure.

I think it's fine to use electricity while we have it, I'm just saying that I believe it is smart, at least in this country, to be able to live and run your farm without access to electricity or even fossil fuels.

 
paul salvaterra
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I not the job of government to maintain the grid.  That is the power company job.
Why the do such a poor job?
They do not have enough money
Governments control what they charge ANF will not allow prices needed to maintain the grid properly

Most power companies are often out of cash and wait for total failure to then fix

The hope for very hot and very cold so we use more energy which to them is an increase in sales and more profit

Paul
 
Mick Fisch
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Marco Banks wrote:Low tech and dependable always beats out high-tech and fickle.  That's why permaculture as a design science is all about appropriate technology that will last for years with minimal inputs.  Something as simple as a well-designed swale can capture hundreds of thousands of gallons of water to fundamentally change the hydrology of your land.  Every gallon of water that I can save and store in the soil profile is a gallon of water that I don't have to pump later in the summer.

Gravity is free.
Sunlight is free.
Soil microbes are free (but you've got to feed them to keep them happy).


Marco, you nailed it!

So much of what we have is inherently fragile and dependant on the whole house of cards remaining stable.  Human beings are by nature, pack animals, so we are dependant on others (our small group or clan).   We shouldn't be excessively dependant though on what's happening on the other side of the world.
 
pollinator
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When I worked at a feed store we sold windmills for direct pond aeration.  As mentioned, there are mechanical parts and maintenance, but they're pretty low input.  I agree that a properly set up pond may not need aeration, but how sure are you that it's all good?  You'll also experience periods of greater Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD) and an algae bloom can throw your O2 levels off pretty quickly.  Personally, I like the security of adding extra aeration.
 
Timothy Markus
pollinator
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paul salvaterra wrote:
some of the things they do are down right dangerous, bush hog powered by engine  pulled by horses, the driver stands on a small platform.  Last week or so a mule got spooked and took off running away dragging a 21 foot pipe a 15 year old boy tok chase, mule jumped guard rail and pipe went up in air and hit the boy in the head killing him

the average Amish farm is 70 acres and generates $ 125,000 per year after expenses.

new  amish buggy price  average $ 5500,  horse will cost 4,000 more but will be trained and ready to go
they make their own drum brakes, based  from a 1960 voltzwagon car.

sory to have rambled



Around here the horses cost far less than that.  At the feed store, we took down a block wall and sold the blocks.  A Mennonite had the highest bid, but a condition was they were to be picked up.  A couple of weeks later they showed up in a convoy with small wagons and buggies.  The smallest buggies could only take 4 blocks, but every single member of the community came out.  They came in the front driveway, I loaded them up (of course they helped too) and then they went out the back driveway.  They stretched about 10 blocks in a line.  It was an incredible sight to see and one hell of a display of community.  I don't agree with everything the Mennonites do, but there's an awful lot they do right.
 
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When we moved onto our remote property in the early 1980s I sold everything that had an electrical cord attached. (except my mother's old stand mixer) We lived with oil lamps and a propane refrigerator for some months until we decided that buying A solar panel would be better than trying to make use of a wind generator. The saving grace of that single 35 watt panel was that we soon learned to live within limits. A light on or radio playing. We added a couple more (40 watt) panels and were able to expand our use to include more than a single light on and even a small TV for chosen entertainment.

As time passed and solar equipment improved and became more affordable for us, we replaced the propane refrigerator with an extremely efficient 'solar' one (Sunfrost). The propane we had paid for in the intervening time (some years) would have actually paid for the Sunfrost! And the Sunfrost ran on 2 60 watt panels.

The point I would like to make is that solar is a valid alternative. It just needs for those considering it to be willing to live within what a reasonable system CAN supply rather than require a system to match the availability of supply that a 'grid' does.
 
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I love this topic! I have come to a personal conclusion that it's too much hassle to be generating electricity for everything, especially when the laws of thermodynamics make it so hard. So thus, I'm stocking up on low-tech / manual options for my future tiny homestead. It doesn't mean I wont use renewables, just that I will reduce our consumption to a bare minimum while making sure that vital functions can still be performed without electricity. So far I have some manual kitchen stuff (egg beaters, citrus press, tortilla press, molcajetes, grain mill) plus I want to get my hands on a windmill and an adapted multi-use bike for doing things like milling, blending and what not.
 
master steward
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I love thinking about alternatives to using electric/propane energy. Here's some that I use/come to mind. I find they often aren't much harder or time consuming than electrical means.

electric mixer --> whisk, spring whisk, manual egg beater, fork, spatula, spoon
waffle maker  --> cast iron waffle maker
food processor --> cutting board, food mill, meat grinder, cheese grater, microplane
lawn mower --> reel mower for managing shorter grass. Scythe for taller grass
stove --> wood stove or firepit
well pump --> manual pump, like [this one that can pressurize a pressure tank
hedge trimmer --> pruning shears, long knife (the kind used for christmas tree trimming) or machete
lawn mower/go-cart trailer or even truck --> wheel barrows and wagons and bicycle trailers
power drill  --> hand drill
mechanical sander  --> sand paper and draw knives

...there's probably a bunch more that I'm forgetting or don't even know about!

It makes me really happy when I can do a task without power tools, and it sometimes takes less time than someone using them. We once used a weedwacker to cut down a bunch of salmonberries, and then spent forever trying to tie a rope around them to pull them with the lawn mower. Now, I use pruning shears and put them straight into a wheelbarrow, and I jab the canes in at different angles, to hold down the pile. I can can then just wheel it around with my wheelbarrow. I even wheel it 1/2 a mile down the street to give them to my neighbor's goats. Most people would have used a truck to do that and stinky, loud power tools to do that. I didn't need to!

Someone left a giant spool by the sde of the road. My husband tied it to the back of the bike trailer he was toing my kids around in. It worked great! The kids have a broken-down power wheels that we got for free. My husband tied it to his bike and pulls them down the road in it. They have a great time and learn to steer, and he gets to ride his bike and a good workout.

We once moved a chicken coop/run with logs and shovels as levers. It was really cool to see human power at work!

 
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I'm halfway in the opposite direction: nearly everything i have is electric, though i do have handtool backups (have you used a hand-drill ugh it is a pain).  I avoid combustion.  

My reasoning:  i have solar panels, a neighbor has a propane generator,  you can use priuses as gasoline generators if you void the warrantee and really have to (there are two in the neighborhood) someone on the next hill has wind (though it might be mechanical), our grid is hydroelectric.  I'd bet someone has a diesel gen if i asked.  Ifi  need power for the electric car, or to charge my chainsaw or run a well pump, we could make it happen.

No one has an oil derick. No one has a cracking distillation column for refining to a set boiling point.
Gas cars depend 100% on the outside world.  

All the biodiesel and,woodgas setups ive seen online have not convinved me that they make a consistent product that would bork an engine, or, more importantly that they are safe to operate long term and at volume as more than a demonstration project.  I saw a girl get engulfed in a fireball when she was refluxing ether with sodium in a stil approved for that process in a lab hood with an extinguisher not more than 5 feet away.  Unrecognizable.

Combustion is a wild animal.

Hand tools?  when they break no one i know has a forge.  I guess you could make charcoal and bellows and try to use scrap metal... all the welding rigs that can do more than braze take materials that would be hard to replace in a pinch.

do electric things break? They sure do.  Will i have soldier and,the right capacitors,and resistors in the apocalypse.... eh, probably not.  
 
Nicole Alderman
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Joseph Michael Anderson wrote: (have you used a hand-drill ugh it is a pain).



Being weaker and less accustomed to power tools, I like the hand-drill better. I feel like I have more control, and I don't have to worry about accidentally drilling through my leg. A while back, my husband was using our little hand-drill to drill through a small bit of wood to make a little wooden car. He accidentally drilled through it and into his thumbnail. But, since it was a hand-drill, he stopped before drilling straight through his finger. If he'd been using a power drill, he'd probably have drilled straight through his nail. Even stopping instantly with the drill, it would have made quite a few more revolutions into his finger, while the hand-drill only went half-revolution into his finger.

I also like them because I can carry them where ever without having to worry about the battery dying or whether the cord will reach.

--------------------------------------------

Here's a picture of my wheelbarrow, loaded down with salmonberry. I probably could still fit a bunch more in there! It's quite secure, and not even that hard to push on a level surface. (Yes, I'm oddly proud of my wheel barrow loading skills, LOL!)
IMGP1696.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMGP1696.JPG]
 
James Landreth
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Hi Jain,

I'm not refuting whether or not solar can provide enough power, I'm saying that the production and repair of solar panels is dependent on the global economy, which is powered on fossil fuels and is beyond our control. It will also likely be destabilized by climate change.

The material for solar panels is mined with fossil fuels. The material is transported with fossil fuels on roads often made of cement or asphalt. It is refined using intensive amounts of energy, and the final product is shipped over vast distances.

Permaculture is many things. To me, one of the things it is is a last line of defense should the global industrial economy collapse. Permaculture is, at the same time, a way of transitioning in the meantime towards a more sustainable form of life.

For example:

I live in an seismically active area. If “the big one” hit it is likely that the grid would be down for a while. I have a friend in Sequim, Washington who is active in community organizing and she was told by a FEMA official that it would be at least a month before they would even begin thinking about shifting resources out that way. I think it’s sensible to be able to keep farming even in such a situation, not only to be able to feed yourself but also those around you.

Swales, handpumps, gravity fed irrigation, wood for heat, etc.--these are all relatively simple. They each have an upfront cost but are very sensible.

I accept that I am going to die someday one way or another. I don’t practice preparedness or even do most of the plantings I do for myself, however, or out of fear. I want to leave a legacy of hope and resilience for future generations.

These things do happen from time to time. Puerto Rico is an example. Respectfully, I worry that people don’t realize how possible these things are for them where they live.
 
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I rather like having the ability to use electricity when it's available, but be able to function without it. I have hand tools and electric tools. Given my recent well issues, I do not want to ever be solely dependent on well water, but with a 400 foot well a hand pump sounded unpleasant. I would like to develop better wood cooking options, like a wood oven, and a way to can over a wood stove, for if propane becomes too expensive or not available. At this point we are still getting used to all the systems on this property, and what works for use.
 
Timothy Markus
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James Landreth wrote:I accept that I am going to die someday one way or another.



With a defeatist attitude like that, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy...
 
James Landreth
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Timothy Markus wrote:

James Landreth wrote:I accept that I am going to die someday one way or another.



With a defeatist attitude like that, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy...



Everyone is going to die. I might die elderly or from an accident or collapse. But I will die. In the meantime, I want to make the most of my time here. A farm activist once told me, "I don't know if what I do will save the world, but I'd feel really bad for not trying"
 
James Landreth
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Stacy Witscher wrote:I rather like having the ability to use electricity when it's available, but be able to function without it. I have hand tools and electric tools. Given my recent well issues, I do not want to ever be solely dependent on well water, but with a 400 foot well a hand pump sounded unpleasant. I would like to develop better wood cooking options, like a wood oven, and a way to can over a wood stove, for if propane becomes too expensive or not available. At this point we are still getting used to all the systems on this property, and what works for use.



The Simple Pump (brand name) I use works so that I don't have to pump it all the way up every time. It sort of rests a few feet down and that's apparently normal. My well is something like 160 feet, so I feel you on not wanting to pump that far. I'm not sure if any handpump is rated for 400, though
 
Timothy Markus
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James Landreth wrote:

Timothy Markus wrote:

James Landreth wrote:I accept that I am going to die someday one way or another.



With a defeatist attitude like that, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy...



Everyone is going to die. I might die elderly or from an accident or collapse. But I will die. In the meantime, I want to make the most of my time here. A farm activist once told me, "I don't know if what I do will save the world, but I'd feel really bad for not trying"



Sorry, James, I was trying to be funny.  One day I'll succeed.  
 
Nicole Alderman
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Timothy Markus wrote:

James Landreth wrote:

Timothy Markus wrote:

James Landreth wrote:I accept that I am going to die someday one way or another.



With a defeatist attitude like that, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy...



Everyone is going to die. I might die elderly or from an accident or collapse. But I will die. In the meantime, I want to make the most of my time here. A farm activist once told me, "I don't know if what I do will save the world, but I'd feel really bad for not trying"



Sorry, James, I was trying to be funny.  One day I'll succeed.  



I laughed!
 
James Landreth
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Timothy Markus wrote:

James Landreth wrote:

Timothy Markus wrote:

James Landreth wrote:I accept that I am going to die someday one way or another.



With a defeatist attitude like that, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy...



Everyone is going to die. I might die elderly or from an accident or collapse. But I will die. In the meantime, I want to make the most of my time here. A farm activist once told me, "I don't know if what I do will save the world, but I'd feel really bad for not trying"



Sorry, James, I was trying to be funny.  One day I'll succeed.  



I wasn't sure, so I just went with it
 
Timothy Markus
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When my daughter was 4 she asked how old I was and I told her I was 106.  I didn't think about it again until I heard her tell her friends I was 106.  I had to tell her that I wasn't, but it's been a running joke for us ever since.  

Now I feel I've got to live up to that and make it that far, so that's my target.  Hey, if Willie and Keith can do it, I've got to have a shot.
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

Timothy Markus wrote:

James Landreth wrote:

Timothy Markus wrote:

James Landreth wrote:I accept that I am going to die someday one way or another.



With a defeatist attitude like that, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy...



Everyone is going to die. I might die elderly or from an accident or collapse. But I will die. In the meantime, I want to make the most of my time here. A farm activist once told me, "I don't know if what I do will save the world, but I'd feel really bad for not trying"



Sorry, James, I was trying to be funny.  One day I'll succeed.  



I laughed!


Yup! Me, too!
 
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James Landreth wrote:The Simple Pump (brand name) I use works so that I don't have to pump it all the way up every time. It sort of rests a few feet down and that's apparently normal. My well is something like 160 feet, so I feel you on not wanting to pump that far. I'm not sure if any handpump is rated for 400, though



I just sent them a request for more info, as I'm planning out my system including well/pump, and having both solar power motor and hand power backup sounds great. My thought was to have the well in or near a garage, and have 2 large storage tanks inside. 1 could be filled by rain water off the roof, the other filled by the well pump powered by solar panel and stopped by a float valve. The rain water tank would be for garden irrigation and the well for potable water, and I could have a valve near the bottom to connect both as needed, say in the very dry summer so the well pump could fill both for irrigating.

Having a hand-power option in case something fails is an extra bonus, now all I need is to figure out how to connect that 90 degree hand crank to a sit down pedal power option, so I could sit back and relax with a book while pedaling... oh, luxury!
 
Nicole Alderman
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Mark Brunnr wrote:

Having a hand-power option in case something fails is an extra bonus, now all I need is to figure out how to connect that 90 degree hand crank to a sit down pedal power option, so I could sit back and relax with a book while pedaling... oh, luxury!



If you find out, please post about it! I'd love to get my shallow well to be power-outage proof!
 
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