Annie Hope

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since Mar 05, 2012
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Recent posts by Annie Hope

Hi- continuing an old thread - but I wanted to pick up on the comment about using river sand as a rock dust.  The closest source of rock dust is three hours away, but 1-2 times a week I go to a monastery church in the valley of the Tararua Ranges (New Zealand), and there is a river beside it with rocks and sand of various size for the taking.I don't know what type of rock it is (though I do know it is dredged into huge piles and collected nearby by the truckload - I think by a road-building company), but I am wondering if I can only do good by collecting a few buckets of sand each trip and spreading it round our 8 acres.  We are near the ocean on very flat land.  We have sandy soil, but no mountain run-off.
2 weeks ago
Thanks for this - I can understand a separate pen for farrowing, but is there any evidence for a separate pen to encourage mating?  We have had a really hard few years in terms of  weather/flooded pasture/low feed, but looking at a good spring ahead (we are "down-under".  I am wondering if I should put the time and money into a separate pen or planting heaps of fattening fodder crops (e.g. beetroots) and hope increased body mass will do the job.
4 weeks ago
Hi - this is an old post - but hoping that it will "ping" to some people who replied before.  I have a similar question.  We have had 2 sows and a boar for a few years that have not breed.  They were raised together and are living in a small pen, and we take them to a movable pen we rotate round the garden and then "mow and carry" a lot of grass for them.  We know someone else in a similar situation, and they have been told by a university "expert" that the problem is that they will not mate successfully when they live together, but a separate enclosure is necessary for the boar.  Apart from the time and money involved to do this, it also seems rather unfair to the boar, as pigs are such social creatures. 

Any comments?
4 weeks ago
I am looking at starting a micro-dairy to provide our family and small organic food business (fresh produce and food cooked from it) with a source of organic milk, yoghurt, and soft cheeses for cooking (paneer, one-day greek feta for spinakopita etc).  This is definately worth doing.

I am also trying to rationalise whether it is worth having the extra cow or two to make a few kg of butter a week for baking when we can buy mainly grass-fed butter (we live in NZ) for NZ$10-14 a kg, and the milk needed to make this could be sold for $30-40 and be as cheap as the non-organic supermarket dishwater. 

The way to justify it would be to feed the skim milk to the calves.  There is reference to this being done by Laura Ingles Wilds, so it has been done for centuries, but on the other hand, I consider butter and cream the healthiest part of the milk when feeding my family, so I also wonder why I would I want to raise my next generation of milk cow on it.

We could use it for a later top-up feed once they reach 3 months or we could feed it to the pigs or chickens,  but as this also seems a waste to just selling the milk.  We are specifically testing and raising A2 cows, but once you get to butter I thik this becomes a rather non-issue.

Annie
1 month ago
Hi,

As well as making a classic thermal mass rocket stove with 44 gallon drum on top as re-burner, I am also wanting something that will just heat a large pot really fast and then keep it at temperature for a while - for canning jars, pasturising straw for mushrooms etc.  This will often be in summer when we don't really need the thermal mass.

What will do this faster and more wood efficiently, a basic fire-bricks rocket stove with the flame directly on the pot, or sitting the pot on top of the 44 gallon drum re-burner?
2 months ago
Hi,

The main purpose of the lean-to is not to be a greenhouse for plants, it is mean to:
- Act as a cheap retro-fitting double glazing on the house, with thermal mass heating it as well
- To extend the area of the house that does have dry soil underneath (we have a pier and beam house that does not have plastic on the ground under it, so we are going to do this under the house, and also in the greenhouse area, and put stones top of the plastic to make a thermal mass.
- To act as a retro fitted fly screen in summer and shading of the west windows from afternoon sun.  We plan to high-power fan vent the greenhouse out, and can open the house windows then as well.  Otherwise we have a choice of flies or a hot house in summer.
- To expand the living areas of the house - e.g. put a large dinning table in the greenhouse area near the kitchen, and a court-yard retreat from the guest bedroom.

There will be plants in pots and the outer corners of the greenhouse, but we will also have heat-exchange ventilation installed as well, so that should also control humidity.
2 months ago
Hi,

I am trying to store heat in a lean-to green house round the house to try and store heat to release at night and help stop heat loss from within the house itself (esp. the single-glassed windows). 

I am lugging home several bags of river stone and sand on the way home from church every week to make a gabion wall and rock stove and portable thermal mass, but I have also noticed that wood has quite a good heat-holding capacity when compared to sand and rock.
https://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/specific-heat-capacity-d_391.html


A google brought up this article: 
http://www.fridayoffcuts.com/dsp_article.cfm?id=307&aid=2612

On the other hand, it is also insulative, so how quickly it will give and release heat I am not sure.  But in theory, a good way to go would be to make a wood box that was a gabion wall on the outside (for aesthetics) - like this:
https://www.bing.com/th?id=OIP.QnXOrXPWkKYS5s2_qTi6VgHaJ3&w=135&h=180&c=7&o=5&dpr=1.45&pid=1.7

If we then put the wood inside, and then a wooden top to form a seat - if we pull in the heat from the top of the greenhouse to the bottom of the box with venting tube as a fan, it should help heat the wood, and also super dry it - a wood drier is another thing on our to-do list!

Anyone tried this yet?  Any other ideas or suggestions why this would not work?

Otherwise I will keep you updated 0 and if anyone lets me know how to attach pictures, I will do so.


2 months ago
Hi,

I know that a panel heater works best when built into a greenhouse type frame, and insulated at the back, but what about the evacuated tubes?

I am retro-heating our house with a mixture of passive heating (making a greenhouse lean-to on our sun-facing wall with thermal masses added) and radiators that are heated with evacuated tubes solar panels to store heat for rainy days.

My question is whether it is better for the evacuated tubes to be within the warmer greenhouse, or if they will work better sitting outside getting direct radiation from the sun.  We have average winter temperatures here of 2C to 13C and never on record under -4C as we are 7km from the beach, so freezing is not an issue.  (And my design will be drain-back anyway).
3 months ago
Hi,

I got second-hand a number of hydronic radiators, and now want to get the risers and water storage tank to get these working.

As anything like that is so expensive here in New Zealand, I am looking at getting a one-off shipment from China, but want to do the maths on what I need for size.

I have a sort of insulated, very drafty 100 square metre / 1000 square feet house.

In winter our average minimum is 2C and and record minimum is -4C as we are near the coast.  I am aiming at 16C.

We are going to make an enclosed porch running the sun-facing length of the house that we hope will pretty much solar heat it on sunny days, and help stop the drafts.

http://www.theheatpumpshop.com/pdfs/heating_sizing_chart_guide.pdf

Going by this figure of 65W per square metre - I would be looking at 13kW per hour though the night on fine days, but if we expect bad weather, we can light the fire in the dinning/lounge kitchen area and drop this to 3-5kW per hour in the bedrooms. 

So planning on 16 hours x 13Kw that is 208kw for overnight on fine days, or two winter days with the fire going.  We are setting up in-home childcare, so we need to heat most rooms for most of the day.   Where do I go from there in terms of Wattage of risers and size of tanks, as there are other factors such as

* how effective the radiators will be as the water cools  (what is the minimum temperature you would want your water to drop to?)
* How many days of cold water weather is it worth storing up (that is, how quickly will the tanks lose their heat naturally?)

Annie


3 months ago
A couple of years ago, we boiled quinces, (probably a few days later) put the juice in the shed fridge in jars and planned to make Quince jelly with it.  A few months later rediscovered the jars.  Some were rotten, but some had turned into the delicious mild fermented drink (?wine) that we had a little of on special occasions for the next year - I was raised teatotaller, did not taste alcohol till I was thirty, and probably drink about half a cup every year on average since then, so this wine was the exception.  The last quinces are falling off the tree here in New Zealand, and we would like to try repeating the experiment.  I can find no recipe that is just Quince Juice without all sorts of other additives.  I do know from bread-making, that if you put dough in the fridge then the yeast activity slows right down and the lactic / acetic acid forming bacteria can take over more.  Any knowledge of this in making fermented drinks?
5 months ago