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Michael Young

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since Jan 09, 2014
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Recent posts by Michael Young

I had to deal with something similar. GIANT heating and cooling bills.

First, I started in the attic. I scrounged styrofoam sheets. I cut the styrofoam sheets in pushed it between the rafters in my ceilings to a thickness of 3". Then I pushed the blown in insulation back over top of the styrofoam.

Second, I started building walls. I framed up walls against my existing walls using 2x3 lumbers. I placed 1" of styrofoam against the existing wall and then framed to where the new studs would hold the styrofoam in place. Then I filled the void with insulation (that I scrounged up for free from construction dumpsters). Then I simply installed sheetrock and finished the wall. Doing this allowed me to add approx. R20 of ADDITIONAL weatherproofing to the interior walls.

Third, I installed a wood stove and upgraded to a more robust blower. I get my kindling wood FREE construction dumpsters. I have the wood delivered to my house FREE by simply calling local tree companies and giving them a place to dump their wood.

Those steps did a great job. Better than chopped my bill by 2/3.


I attended a seminar where they told us that ONE load from the dryer will completely suck out ALL of the air from a 2600 square foot home. When we use a dryer, we're taking air that we've PAID to heat or cool, and sucking it in and blowing most of it outside!!! SEAL your dryer (there are inlet vents for fresh air). Seal your dryer and run a fresh air pipe straight up into your attic. Now, when you run your dryer, you're not sucking all the air out of your house. You're using makeup air from the attic. Also, in the summer, the attic is hot. So not only are you using pre-heated air (ie, less energy heat the dryer air), you're also taking advantage of the fact that you're REMOVING warm air from the space overhead (also reducing radiant heat).


Solar air heaters will use the sun to warm air in your house. I don't rely on solar air heaters to heat my house. I use them as a supplement to the furnace. The more BTU's I can steal from the sun, the less fuel I have to burn to keep the place warm.






3 years ago
I can get my paws on an old 500 gallon diesel tank. Is there any way to clean the diesel tank so residue from the old diesel fuel won't kill my plants or fish
3 years ago
I like Peter's idea. I don't know that I would want to try "snail trail" with my raised bed gardens.

But I'm thinking that idea could be GOLD when it comes to my three giant hugelkulture mounds that have never really done much.

I love it. I'm going to make a big slopping slurry for those hugel mounds
4 years ago
Deb is right. not exactly *instant*



I love Colin's idea. How cool would it be if you could simply roll out a 10' x 4' pre-seeded garden mat; something that would make instant gardening easy for anyone. I know quite a few older folks who would love to garden, but the weed problem and "working the garden" just isn't physically practical for them. Anyone have any idea on how to create and instant garden mat that could be pre-seeded, where all you do is roll it out... and bam. Instant weed control and instant garden all in one swat; something that builds the soil and doesn't require any after-season cleanup.

My 70-year-old mother-in-law should be able to have a garden if she wants one.
4 years ago
If you don't know, seed bombs are used to distribute seeds as a form of guerrilla agriculture.

several years ago, I attended a class on sheet mulching. I've been using that technique ever since.

For several projects, I had to buy a concrete mixer.

So here's the idea...
take a 4'x4' sheet of cardboard (your sheet mulch)
build a frame out of 2x2 square stock
throw some some clay and topsoil (and any other amendment) into the concrete mixer
fill the 4' x 4' square with your mixture
set a piece of lumber on top and weight it down to squeeze out the water and to compress the material
drill a hole every 12" and put a seed in there.

now simply set your instant garden slab anywhere you want and wet it down

your garden slab will act as sheet mulch
your topsoil mix will give your seeds what they need
instant garden - just about anywhere

any thoughts on this???
4 years ago
my front lawn is 50-feet wide x 100-feet deep. The soil underneath is very RED CLAY. So I've sheet-mulched pretty much the entire yard and buried it all with a thick layer (4" or more) of wood mulch. I have two raised beds (4-feet x 40-feet); I have one bed 8-feet x 40 feet; and I have a large bed 20-feet x 40 feet. In between all of these beds, I have planted fruit trees.

An apple tree was delivered the other day and when I dug the soil, it smelled like sewage and was very wet. I planted my tree higher than the heavy moisture to keep from drowning it. We've had some wet weather. Is the wood mulch causing the ground to sequester TOO MUCH water?

Is the sewage smell a problem? or should I just ignore it (not that I would have any idea what to do about it).

my soil amendments are horse manure, pig manure, bio-char, wood mulch (mostly hardwood), and a few buried logs here and there. Most of the fruit tree are starting to throw off some new growth.

Anyways. long story short. The soil smells like ass. Is that a problem? or is that a good thing?
4 years ago
not really hugelkultur - but shares some roots

I have a HUGE tree that died and it broke in half and fell. The remaining half of the tree is a 12-foot tall "stump"

I'm a plumber. I have a 3-1/2" boring bit in my bag of tools.

Instead of taking down the 12-foot tall stump.
I'm thinking to take my boring bit and bore out holes as deep as the bit will go (about 8" deep). Bore the holes at a 45-degree angle
Fill with topsoil and plant strawberries (and some herbs and etc.... but mostly strawberries)

Then go to the very top and use the chainsaw to create a basin about 12" deep - and bore more holes in the bottom of the basin (to make it deeper)
till that with topsoil and plant. The deep basin would allow the stump the hold water
and I don't know if the roots would pull up water from the soil anymore or not.

anyways. that's the plan
any ideas on whether or now it would work?
Because I think a 12-foot tall strawberry tree would be cool as hell.
4 years ago
lots of talk about efficiency. I have a woodstove installed and I have a force-air furnace. Burning the woodstove creates heat and causes the forced-air furnace to cycle less, which saves me money on my gas bill. As for efficient burning, I don't choke down my wood stove at all. Instead, I just put in an overnight load before I go to bed. In the morning, that sucker is still blowing hot air. Every BTU that wood stove puts out is a BTU I don't have to pay the gas company for. As for wood efficiency, It would take me three seasons to burn up all the wood I have here now. So I'm not too worried if I don't squeeze every ounce of heat out of those logs.

You mentioned having trouble starting your stove. I go to job sites and take UNTREATED lumber out of their dumpsters. Then I take it home and split it into kindling (but you dont have to split it). The cut/waste lumber from construction is GREAT starter wood. It lights easily and burns hot. That wood was headed towards the landfill anyways. Better to use it I say. Most of the contractors are happy to see you take it. They pay by the ton when they dump their job waste. So if you make several trips to one dumpster, you can easily squirrel away several tons of lumber. (my favorite pieces are the scrap ends from 2x12s

You can also use your woodstove to produce biochar at the same time you're enjoying the heat. But that's another subject I reckon
4 years ago
check with your local community college or university. If they have a class in microbiology, you'll hit the jackpot. Just pop by and chat with one of the microbiology professors. Trust me, what those poor professors normally do with their office time is a chore; talking shop with you (community outreach) will be far more interesting than anything else they have going on.
4 years ago