3D Plans - Pebble Style Rocket Mass Heater
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Jay Angler

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since Sep 12, 2012
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I live on a small acreage near the ocean and amidst tall cedars, fir and other trees.
I'm a female "Jay" - just to avoid confusion.
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Recent posts by Jay Angler

My dad was weird, so I came by my weirdness honestly.

My dad was an environmentalist before the word existed. Despite that, I grew up in a city with a typical back-yard.

I would look at two concepts:
1. the things that would give you the most satisfaction
2. the low hanging fruit.

For me, 1 would be growing my own veggies. That's popular now, unlike when I was in my 30's so you've got it easier.

For me, 2 was not buying a dryer, so I automatically had to hang all my laundry.  Line in the basement in the winter.

1. How old are those kids?
2. Have you ever gone camping, and if so, did the wife and kids like it?
3. Have you ever gone foraging? Or even U-pick?

There are huge advantages of being near schools when you've got young children, particularly if your town has safe enough roads for bicycling on. Kids have lost a lot of independence in the last 20 years, not to mention, not getting enough exercise. Unless it was pouring rain, or the few weeks near the winter solstice, my kids had 2 choices - walk to school or bike to school. I went with them until they were safe enough to trust them to be independent.
15 hours ago
Since I'm already way too familiar with the "overgrown mess" version, I think I'd like to try the blank slate if I may?
15 hours ago

Derek Thille wrote:Perhaps an S hook or carabiner could solve your attaching in the up position issue.  If you want to be able to do something with gloves on, it needs to be bigger and / or easier to handle.

Yes, I'm thinking about that too! There is already an S hook at the end of the chain used to hold the pop door in the up position.

I definitely don't want too many parts that ducks or geese will wander off with! These shelters also move 1 rectangle every day, so they need to stay light and with most bits hooked or tied on.
16 hours ago
I was wondering where to post this, and then a fellow permie pointed me at this thread:

I have a canning kettle that I use outside on my corn-cooker for scalding ducks when processing. Its lid is heavy with tiny handles that are hugely difficult for me to handle safely with only one hand. I don't need, nor want, the locking mechanism when using the pot this way.

Imagine getting that lid off with one hand while holding a sopping wet Muscovy Drake in the other!

I needed something better...

My neighbour gave me this old pizza pan, and the handle was from an old pot. It's light as can be, and I can grab that handle even while wearing heat-resistant gloves!

One of these days, I've got a Gander I might just test it on!
1 day ago
Unfortunately the lecture I have on Sat. is by zoom - just not the same! However, if I finish installing a new zipper in Hubby's farm snuggly, I've then got  one of his flannel plaid shirt to patch the collar of. That's assuming I can't get his jeans off him, because he's got a couple of fast expanding worn-to-holes spots that are going to be embarrassing if I don't get on to fixing them!
1 day ago
I have a small fleet of "Mini-Hoops" that I use for my Muscovy to raise babies in. They have pop-doors so that the families can either go out into portable run material, or can actually free-range (age is generally the main factor).

These aren't the most secure shelters to begin with, however, most years it is flying predators that are a problem with babies, not ground predators like mink or coons. Thus, since I can easily have a line-up of moms wanting brooding space, I need to be able to move the shelters easily and operate them quickly.

The biggest issue is that I need some sort of a simple, but secure and quick to operate latch for the pop door:

It's hard to see in the first picture, but I've got two bits of swing chain, one on the door and one on the lower shelter pipe, and a breaching snap to clip them.

Here's a close-up of the snap:

1. Getting the two bits of chain lined up so that the snap can go through is fiddly - particularly if I'm wearing gloves which I generally am.
2. One in the centre isn't as secure as something by the two edges, but two clips seriously makes the process more painful - we have 1 mini-hoop like that and I need better than that option.
3. I would *really* like the solution to be 4 to 6 inches up the door, so I'm not having to get my hands in the duck-shit multiple times per day!

Here's a picture from the inside:

I have considered ideas for the inside, but the mom's aren't keen on me "invading their baby safe zone", and there's an 18" high knee-wall at the hatch door I'd have to step over to fasten something on the inside. I'm willing to consider a brilliant option for this, but it sure would need to be easy to manufacture, install and operate, to convince me!

So my wonderful, experienced, brilliant permies - what ideas can you conjure up for me? I've been mulling this over for some time without any really great ideas, so I will admit I'm here to pick your collective brains. How does that Beatles song go, "Please, please, help me... help me?"
I've been told that white makes a difference, by someone who's Dad did a lot of growing. However, that doesn't mean the suggestion was accurate, as I suspect they were following popular advice which may not have "before and after" back-up. However, my friend specifically said that the value of the white reflecting light was greater than the value of having the wall black for heat absorption.

That said, if you also want to improve the heat retention, and you don't need the heat in the garage, insulating the garage side of the blocks might be worthwhile to consider.

What I have experienced myself is that the glare off white surfaces is hard on my eyes, so I would consider whether you or others would experience that, as it might impact the final decision. The plants will only be covering the wall for part of the year?
If we get a passel of day-old chicks, we fire up our brooder, which is a specific room in what was supposed to be a chicken coop, but was poorly designed for that duty for many reasons. It has both some under-floor heating, and a wall heater and lots of places to put food and water.

To me an "incubation set up" is for hatching the eggs - it rarely has good spots to add feed and water and often isn't all that easy to clean, so I don't like to leave birds in the incubator for longer than 24 hours after hatch.

ETA: under a momma bird is absolutely my first choice, but I recognize it just isn't always possible. If I can get them fostered at an age younger than they're ready to be independent, that would be my second choice. Don't assume you need a foster mom either - our original Gander was an incredible dad, and a young Khaki Campbell Drake did a good job with some young Khaki ducklings which was a huge relief for me!
2 days ago
Wow, Gir Bot and Pearl Sutton have very interesting sounding composts. Mine takes after The Sound of Music...

My Compost's Alive, with the Signs of Rat Shit
With tunnels they have dug, every day they could,
Their work fills my heart, with annoying frustration,
My heart wants the owls, to ingest them now!

Gir Bot, do you think if I sing this to my compost piles, the owls will help me out?
2 days ago