Jonathan Combs

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since Oct 07, 2012
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Recent posts by Jonathan Combs

The date (May 10th) for the Field to Fork Festival in Paint Lick Kentucky, near Berea, is quickly approaching.
6 years ago
Marcus, I was very excited to see your post with a link to your site. I'm located in Southeastern Kentucky, which should be pretty close in climate to your area. I'd love to get a look at your build sometime.
7 years ago
I should clarify my earlier comment. Paul is correct that what is thought of as the "standard" 100 watt incandescent bulb has been banned. You will no longer be able to be a 1750 lumen, 100 watt incandescent. It is possible, although admittedly unlikely, that someone could develop a 100 watt incandescent bulb that does meet the lumens per watt requirements of the new regulation. However, it is true that this would not be the "standard" 100 watt bulb that we are use to, and many seem to prefer. I'm not taking a position on whether the new regulation is a good idea or bad idea. I think that Paul did a fantastic job of laying out a case for showing situations where the standard incandescent bulbs are a good solution, as did the OP for showing the other side of the issue.

Assuming the OP is correct (I'm not doubting it, just haven't done the research) that the long life 100 watt Fiet Incandescent bulb is only 900 lumens, it is my understanding that this bulb would not be impacted at all by the current regulations, as they only apply to bulbs that are 72w or greater with an output of 1490-2600 lumens. If that is the case, at least those bulbs should still be available to those who prefer them until the 45 lumen per watt requirement kicks in in 2020. I'm not saying that's great news for those who prefer using those bulbs, but at least it is some, although temporary, good news.
8 years ago
I just finished reading through this thread, with great interest in the topic. I think its clear that for anyone who uses lighting the way Paul does, any savings by switching to CFL or LED bulbs will be negligible, at best. For the rest of us, however, there is a very real savings potential, depending on usage patterns. It is currently winter here in KY, and gets dark by 6:00 PM. This means that we use one light, with a single bulb, for 4 to 5 hours per day. On sunny days we try not to use electric lights during the day, but on overcast days we find it is more efficient to keep the windows covered with insulated window coverings and use electric lighting than it is to leave the windows uncovered to have access to sunlight, which also allows some heat to escape. On these days we may use a single light for as much as 12-16 hours, depending on how much overlap their is in my wife and my schedules.

Light intensity and quality is very important to me when I'm working. I use 27 watt bulbs in my office that output 1300 lumens and have a color temperature of 5500. This gives me comparable light to a 75 watt incandescent, with only 36% of the electricity use. I've been using the same bulbs for a year so far, with no problems, but clearly I can't guarantee how long they will actually last. My primary point is that, for those who find CFLs to be too dim, or who do not like the color of light, it is very likely that the problem is with your selection of bulbs, rather than the CFL technology itself. I agree that manufacturer claims that list an incandescent equivalent for a given CFL bulb are often exaggerated, or worse. The problem, however, is that consumers continue to rely on these equivalencies, rather than shopping based on lumens, and actually knowing the output needed for a given lighting task.

Lastly, I feel compelled to respond to comments regarding the banning of incandescent bulbs. I haven't researched all of the state laws, so it may be that some states have passed laws that ban such bulbs. However, no such federal law exists, contrary to popular belief. There are federal laws that require increased efficiency, which most incandescent bulbs did not meet. However, there is no requirement that manufacturers stop producing incandescent bulbs, just that they improve their efficiency. Many have opted to abandon the technology completely, and focus on the more popular CFL and increasing popular LED technologies. There are, however, some manufacturers that have already developed high efficiency bulbs, that are not CFL or LED, that do meet the new requirements. Suggesting that the law bans incandescent bulbs simply because none met the requirement at the time the law was passed is like saying a minimum MPG rating for automobiles was the same as a ban on trucks, simply because no truck met the requirement. Clearly auto manufacturers would develop new trucks that met the new MGP requirement. Likewise, if there is a great enough demand, lighting manufacturers will develop more higher efficiency bulbs to meet the new law.
8 years ago
Since I am just getting started with my tool collection having a single place where one could acquire a variety of quality tools is definitely something I would be interested in. I can see how the membership could be an attractive option, providing it was structured in such a way that it didn't require a several purchases per year to make it worth the expense. Since I'm getting started, I might would make several purchases a year, but I can imagine that those with a complete collection already may be interested, but may only need to purchase one or two tools annually.
8 years ago
For new users such as myself, a hugelkultur subforum would be much easier to navigate than the huge hugel thread. It would also be great to have everything in one location, rather than spread across multiple subforums. So far I've avoided digging into the wealth of information available on the topic on this site due to the time commitment involved in going through a huge un-indexed thread.
You''re quiet welcome Natasha. Thank you for the information on Pike Valley Farm. I had never heard of them before your post. We went out there today and picked up a few items. Their price on grass fed ground beef is hard to beat.
8 years ago
The link for the place in Berea appears to be for Homegrown Hideaways ( which does have an in-progress cob structure, but it is not complete. We visited during the 2012 Berea Solar Home tour, and Jessa, one of the owners, showed us around. Its a great place to visit, and I'd suggest it to anyone interested in natural building, but there may be better options for seeing a finished cob building.

On the Berea college campus, there is a small structure built from various natural methods. This building has one cob wall, as well as walls made using earthbags, cordwood, and straw bale. The building is next to the Sustainability and Environmental Studies House. I contacted them once about touring the building, but ended up just doing it during the Solar Tour. Information on the SENS house can be found at

The only completed cob home that I'm aware of in this area is located at Disputanta Cob ( in Rockcastle County. Unfortunately I've not been able to tour this home, as the owner's ill mother is currently living there. She offered to arrange a tour for me sometime, so I suspect that she'd be willing to do the same for others. The website contains contact information. There is a small, mostly complete, cob cottage on the grounds that I was able to take a look at when I stopped by.

You might be interested in checking out a blog entry I wrote about my experience with the 2012 Berea Solar Tour, which discusses the three structures above as well as a few other locations in Madison and Rockcastle Counties -
8 years ago
I would certainly suggest the donation page. Agreed that it may not generate much income, but it would generate something, and I can't see it creating any problems. I also liked the suggestion of offering videos and books from third parties. I think this would especially work well if the only items being sold were ones that Paul personally recommends. I'm not a huge fan of sponsors, but do agree that a few well-chosen sponsors are preferable to more general ads.

I think that offering Permies sponsored workshops or complete PDCs would both bring in cash, as well as serving the community. The event could be organized via the site. An instructor could be paid a fair rate for leading the workshop/course, then the rest be used for running the site.