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jack vegas

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since Mar 09, 2013
Edge of the World - PNW
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Recent posts by jack vegas

More than you are willing to pay taxes on is too big.
2 weeks ago
What did I do with a tough old bird?

I married her!
8 months ago
Too late this year I suspect.  Buy a large yet inexpensive surplus military tent and tent stove, then rough it till spring has sprung and winter has went.  You might find tent living suits you.  About 20 years ago I did this and liked it so much that after a few months I built a simple elevated wood platform to keep the tent high and dry, reinforced the frame, and converted it into a wall tent.  Lived in it in Oregon for two years.  Very cozy and comfortable.  Ah, youth...
1 year ago
Any time spent relaxing and talking with my dog.
2 years ago
I'll bow out of the conversation since it appears to be a lot more about tasty recipes than the meal costing less than a dollar.  I will repeat however that without a qualifier, under a dollar has little meaning.  Its a lot like saying, "I can drive all day on less than a gallon of gas".  Without knowing how far one has driven, its hard to judge the value of having done it using one gallon of gas.  How many calories is in the under a dollar meal?  If the nutritional value is too low, then under a dollar is not really that inexpensive.

I don't count calories often either.  I simply eat till I'm full.  I've found that to be an adequate personal yardstick if I'm eating healthy food.  However, If I say I can make a cake for under a dollar, the size of the cake is relevant.  Baking a 3-layer frosted cake with coconut icing would be difficult to do for under a dollar, but baking a single cupcake for the same amount would be pretty easy, though probably not as satisfying!
3 years ago
One big factor missing from this discussion is calories.  A "plate" of food for under a dollar is pretty easy, if you reduce calories to a low enough value.  Suggest some attempt at calculating calories along with recipes.  Ideally a split of protein, fat, and carbs too!  I assume a plate is a meal, so something that is roughly 1/3 of 1,500-2,500 calories would be nice.

A couple years ago a bunch of celebrities including Ben Affleck entered a $1.50/day challenge for a week to highlight the plight of hungry people around the world.  They whined quite a bit, mostly I think to feign compassion for those less fortunate.  However, I can testify that it can be done with a reasonably healthy 1,800 cal diet.  I did it for a month and have incorporated a lot of what I learned into my daily diet from then on.  I'm pretty frugal...

Buying bulk is important of course.  Sorry Mr. Affleck, not from health food stores, but feed stores (ya think they buy food from health food stores in the 3rd world?).  Also, growing some vegetables (allowed in the challenge) to supplement purchased foods, and forraging.  Seasonally I gather acorns, chestnuts, and various berries.  I also gather all parts of dandelions nearly year round.  What a treasure trove of nutrition and most people try to kill the stuff!
3 years ago
I realize this is a dormant thread, but thought I'd chime in anyway. I too followed the FORMBLOCK stuff for a while but concluded that their mold system was too expensive, unless you plan on building a number of structures.

Instead I looked at homebuilt molds that would give similar characteristics. What I came up with is very similar to what the guy in this blog used:

Scroll down to where he is building the garage to see block details. The molds are inexpensive and easy to build from wood and provide key-ways at the ends to interlock blocks as they are cast.

Reasons for not casting too-big blocks - avoids cracks from shrinkage and it keeps the mix size manageable. It also produces the esthetically pleasing and familiar appearance of block construction.
5 years ago
The short answer - no matter how much rainfall you get, rain catchment is a good idea. There is nothing like a rain water shower!

The long answer - We live on a relatively remote section of the Washington coast where annual rainfall is about 70 inches/year. We have community well water, and although it is "legally" potable, it tastes terrible due to high levels of manganese and iron. I also believe it to be marginally safe biologically. We don't let our dogs drink it. We currently use the well water for washing and flushing the toilet, but all drinking and cooking water is filtered using reverse osmosis. About 1 year ago I installed an experimental independent rain capture system. Basically a polyethylene sheet mounted atop the garage feeding five 55 gallon poly barrels. I chose to build an independent system rather than capture rain directly from the roof for two reasons. First, the roof is currently covered with asphalt shingles so the polyethylene cover provides an essentially food grade collection surface. Second, we get a LOT of rain and our water needs are small, so a 10 ft x 20 ft rain capture area is adequate, at least as a first step.

Our lowest rainfall months are July/August when we average a bit more than 1 inch per month. This still delivers over 120 gallons/month, which is fine for drinking and cooking. Some of the winter months average around 10 inches/month which is a lot more than we can use. Also, we can presently only store 250 gallons. In winter months we also shower and do laundry using rain water.

A rain water shower is a true luxury so this summer we will triple the capture area to 600 square feet and double the water storage volume to 500 gallons. This should allow us to use rain water for just about everything, year round.

So far the poly sheet system has stood up well. It has stayed put through a couple winter gales off the Pacific in excess of 60 mph. Because our sky is overcast a lot of the time I expect the poly sheet will stand up for at least two years, maybe more, before it needs replacing. 600 square feet of poly costs about $70. A bargain considering the quality of water it delivers.
5 years ago
Here's the straight poop on using deep soil temperature to condense water out of warm air. Discussion, tables, and handy calculator are included. The author tends to ramble just a bit, but there is plenty of useful stuff in the article. I haven't tried it myself since I live in an area with an annual precipitation of about 70 inches per year.
5 years ago
I have to second everything Erica said. My wife and I live in a 750 sqft cabin on the Washington coast. We re-insulated and sealed the place when we bought it, and even when it is 25F outside we seldom use any heat. Of course we also subscribe to Erica's last suggestion. We have two big Newfoundland dogs to help keep us warm!

Adding thermal mass to a motor vehicle seems very counter productive. Every pound you add further reduces your gas mileage. Weight and drag are your enemies. If you don't move much but stay parked, why not place the burner and thermal mass outside the van? Build an insulated box or tank to hold the thermal mass (dirt or preferably water), then pipe the heat into your van using circulating air or water. You could make the connection with insulated flexible hoses that could be disconnect periodically for travel. If you pull up stakes, dump the dirt or water and take the unit with you.
5 years ago