Micah Helser

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since Nov 06, 2011
Saint Ignatius, MT
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Recent posts by Micah Helser

Hi Owen, I have a question using whole-farm Keyline Design and integrating irrigation water from off-property storage (we have ditch water rights through our irrigation department).

Like most western mountain valleys (we live in the Mission Valley of Montana) snow melt is stored in mountain reservoir and the distributed throughout the irrigation season through a series of ditches controlled by our irrigation department. Most folks pump it through expensive pipe and sprinklers using subsidized cheap electricity. Cost alone is enough to prevent me from doing that, but i feel there is a better way...enter Keyline.

I like the benefits of passive rain water catchment and distribution through Keyline, but also want to establish ditches for "flood-flow" irrigation during the dry months using these off-property water stores. My question is- after plowing on Keyline, how should i cut my irrigation ditches related to contour? Our water enters from a single point on the high spot of our property, so from there if i route my ditches along the Keyline, sloping down from the valleys towards the ridges, i couldn't continuously deliver my water around multiple ridges. It would stop at the first ridge. So should i continuously slope these delivery ditches on an approximate 1:400 downward slope to deliver the water across my entire property? I figure about 200' between these ditches, with trees planted on the downhill berm, creating basically an alley crop system that is plowed on Keyline between each ditch. I would then use plastic dams to flood-flow each section between ditches. Am I on track? Thoughts for improvement?

Thanks!

5 years ago
My family and I are currently building and off-grid cottage with a 900W PV powered battery bank and I am looking for efficient ways to reduce our electric consumption.  When it comes to the fridge, I know there are all sorts of possibilities (propane, efficient electric, geothermal, etc.) But i was thinking the other day as i walked out of the cold into a warm gas station just to hear the fridges humming trying to replicate exactly what was happening outside...cold.  Could one build a insulated box inside, against an external wall that had a low electrical load "valve" that opened and closed via a user set thermostat?  This would allow cool air into the insulated box and not suck up the watts from a compressor.  Of course this would only work in non-summer weather but then you have fresh food to eat and no use for refridgeration.  A root cellar is definately in the works for the future, but I think this would be a nice little convienent option that depending on the valve device would be relitivelay inexpisive.  Anybody have any ideas on what could be used for this vavle?
7 years ago