I am a traveling salesman of sorts so I bought a new car with a hitch recently planning to build a tiny house to pull behind it. Well... undue stress of payments and disillusionment with modern western culture has brought me to a new perspective: I am wondering if nomadic living via horse drawn showman carts, romani vardo, tiny house, and or simple wagon is the answer for some people (like me) to take part in back to the basics fostering of a healthier world e.g. permaculture al a sustainable nomadism.
After long thoughtful study of my truck I realized I was wasting my gas literally I spend 6000 a year on gas and that going up, so I considered hybridization of my vehicle through numerous methods but I realized in the end and that was that the most green and tranquil mover while being arguably the most efficient is the horse. After considering wood gas, I saw the need for machines to harvest the wood so that was out, steam? Again wood. Various alcohols, inefficient destructive molecules that harm gas tanks making new cars even more complex. Electric? Not good for hauling. Biodesiel? Noisy smelly and lacks in aesthetics. When it comes down to it the horse eats what's in front of him and turns it straight into forward motion. Nothing else does this!
I find that nomadic travel via horses is the healthiest thing for humans and our world's ecology if you're going to travel so I took this even further and developed an idea for an entire almost closed loop horse and carriage tiny house: what ever the horses eat gets pooped out well in cities with scenic carriage rides normally this gets bagged in a diaper basically and thrown out but what if we take this and dry it in a solar dehydrator. With the dried manure we burn it in a wood stove used for cooking and hot water production. As for the hot water first the wood stove converts water to steam the steam powers a generator for our electricity needs and an auxiliary electric motor to lessen the burden on the horses possibly allowing slightly increased speed for longer durations from the horses, and then is condensed to hot water for tap. A composting toilet will replace conventional chemical toilets and lighting will be provided via gas lamps running on gas from a humanure manure gasification unit using an electric element, along side this aladdin oil lamps and regular oil lamps could augment this running off of ethanol. As for cooling a swamp cooler or steam jet cooler would be proffered.
As for the permaculture aspect a rabbit hutch and chicken coop designed into storage compartments on either side between the front and back axles will provide some of my meat and a well designed green house will produce ample food for occupants with the waste going to the animals. An aquapinics system will be used for the garden with water being recycled from the urine of the horses and the compost toilet plus rain catchment, filtered and then fed into the aquaponics system.
Now with this I find that this would work best if convoys of maybe five to ten of these could be cooperated because food production and such works best on larger scales so conceivably a convoy could be self sustaining only requiring maybe horse feed if that because preferably wild scavenging and then stock piling could take care of the horses instead of needing to buy feed. Also there are safety in numbers especially with slow moving caravans. With this though there are so many questions to look at so I'm all ears in opinions thoughts and would a mobile commune of sorts really work? What about living roof garden or window boxes? What about solar power for added push with the electric motors?
Where do you live/ travel to and from?
I am wondering where you would be allowed to live such a life.
Just wondering where you would be able to feed the horses and move the wagon as needed and camp.
Firstly forage for the horses , secondly modern roads are not really built to cope with horses, thirdly hassle from verious forms of law enforcement govt regulations and lastly grief from the rest of the public .
I realized I was not brave enough.
I don't like horses. I used to work with them, and my experience has me believing that people in general were very pleased to see the automobile displace the horse. You mentioned a steam engine. I actually think this could be used for motive power at low speeds suitable for long treks along undeveloped terrain. A surprisingly compact and slow moving steam engine can generate extremely high torque, and this would simplify the driving of a large and heavy platform at low speeds. In principle (again, not necessarily practical), a system could harvest biomass while in transit (cutting grass, etc.) and use the heat from the steam condenser to dry the fuel real time before forcing the fuel into a furnace. This same idea has been proposed for a sea going vessel harvesting algae to fuel a modern steam engine system.
Photovoltaics with electric motor drive is another possibility. If travel were restricted primarily to days with reasonably high solar flux, then the demands on a battery system for motive power would be very limited. I suspect travel would deplete a battery system too quickly without a substantial solar flux, so one would be limited in that respect. Of course, one would have to carry around a lot of solar panels. Something like an electric tractor pulling a long trailer with panels mounted on top comes to mind. A backup power source is likely required, and a wood gas engine system for bulk battery charging seems reasonable, and the gasifier can also be a primary source of heat.
J.S. Turissi wrote:Electric? Not good for hauling.
Sure it is. Go look at an electric railroad in Europe, or Japan. The hard part of hauling is starting up, the electric motor in a Prius has 285 foot-pounds of torque at 0 RPM!
Marcos Buenijo wrote:Photovoltaics with electric motor drive is another possibility.
Perhaps, if you are willing to travel a horse pace. The ELF has a solar panel, but it needs to sit in the sun stopped for hours to recharge a full charge (about 30 miles). A Prius with a solar panel doesn't even bother, it only runs the vent when parked. Solar racers are ALL solar panel, and have drag areas around 1 ft². Solar is diffuse, locomotion requires a lot of power.
Thank You Kindly,
Topher Belknap wrote:Perhaps, if you are willing to travel a horse pace. The ELF has a solar panel, but it needs to sit in the sun stopped for hours to recharge a full charge (about 30 miles). A Prius with a solar panel doesn't even bother, it only runs the vent when parked. Solar racers are ALL solar panel, and have drag areas around 1 ft². Solar is diffuse, locomotion requires a lot of power.
Yes, I assumed the OP would be happy with a slow horse pace since he first considered horse power. Horses walk at about 3-4 mph, and oxen slower at around 2 mph (oxen were often used in lieu of horses to pull covered wagons across the plains). Of course, I'm not considering "a solar panel", but a large array of panels (think long and lightweight trailer with panels that can be positioned easily to optimize production). If several thousand watts can be done (roughly 70 square feet per KW - or 11 feet of trailer length per KW for 300 watt panels), then it could be viable (although, I doubt practical as I emphasized before). I sure prefer this prospect over horses. A low rate of travel will not require much power, and it should be a great deal less than the covered wagons of the past due to superior engineering (lighter weight and lower rolling resistance). Also, while the weight of the power system (panels, battery, motor, controls, etc.) would be substantial, it would be significantly less than the weight of draft animals required to pull the same load. Reducing weight as much as possible would be important, and I think the resources available today would be very useful toward this end.
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