keith s elliott

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since Jun 16, 2014
Ruxton Island
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Recent posts by keith s elliott

Hi Gregg, very sorry to hear of your problem.

I'm no electrical expert, but your question seems to have been answered already.

What I don't understand is why doesn't your inverter have a sleep mode built in?  That seems odd to me.

I lived for nearly 20 years off grid and had a 3,600 watt inverter, with a sleep mode of course.  When things get quiet at night and you turn the last light off you can hear the little "bong" that the inverter makes, so you know that it is sleeping.  I honestly can't imagine how bad that's going to be for your battery bank.  I used to get around 7 years life from my battery banks, but that was because they could "rest" every night.  That constant draw with no rest isn't going to help at all.  Honestly, I think you need to do whatever it takes to change that inverter for a different one.  Good luck!
3 years ago
Chris, to the best of my knowledge, the gabion wall cages are quite costly up this way.

The department of highways uses them by the hundred in this area.  

Even in the small town I live in, there are several dozen gabion walls.  They do look good for sure.
3 years ago
Yes you can always use a mix of earth and stones, just remember to pack it really hard.  I think it's probably easier to use one of those 10" by 10" hand tampers in your case.  We were able to use a mechanical tamper which saved tremendously on our old backs.

Don't forget that much of the success of this system relies on the drain rock that you place behind the tire wall.  You don't want water accumulating there.  As long as the water has a path to get out, you should be OK.
3 years ago
Hi there: we live over at Anglemont in B.C., so our climate is very similar to yours.  I will say that there are a number of tire retaining walls in this area, and by the looks of them, they have been here for a number of years.

In order to avoid the potential problem of your tires "floating" which I don't think they should do, may I suggest you try this.

First dig about a foot below grade where you need to place your tire wall.  Put about 6" of sharp rock in the trench.  Use a tamper to pack the sharp rock really well. Add your first row of tires and pack it hard with dirt, I don't think you need to use expensive stones, but if you have fist sized rocks by all means use them.  Fill behind the tires with at least 6" of sharp rock again.  Repeat until your tire retaining wall is at the height you desire.

We did a retaining wall last year, but out of concrete blocks.  Honestly, it was way too expensive.  But we used the method above, using the sharp rock to provide adequate drainage behind the wall.  We did use a tamper to pack the stone hard between layers, and I'm told that is a critical step.

We have just gone through a terrible winter, very cold, lots of snow and now lots of rain.  I know our relatives in Calgary are complaining about the SNOW today!  It has been a strange one.

Our wall - so far - is still just as we built it.  So it appears the system works.
3 years ago
Sorry to hear about the tray problem. I would think that since the company admits it is a design flaw that they would adjust the design and give their customers a new version of the tray at no cost. I must say that I have never heard of a tray which doesn't let the liquids pass through. The liquid will sit for a short while on the housing of the unit, from where the vent system evaporates the liquid slowly into the atmosphere.

The chimney is a very important part of the system. It should most definitely exit well above your roof. As far as I understand the same applies to the toilet vent as to a woodstove chimney. That means that your vent should be at least two feet above any point of your roof within 10 feet of the vent pipe. If you are still getting odour on the other side of the house, a higher exhaust vent may eliminate that. There is a sort of laminar flow of air over your house as the wind passes over and around the house. The boundary layer of air shapes itself to the house if you will. The higher you get the vent exhaust, the farther away from the boundary layer of air it will be, thus less odour.

I'm not familiar with black fly larvae, but it might not hurt to try. Probably easier to try and find an alternate source of peat moss. I use all sorts of different wood shavings here instead of peat moss, and I think most of it isn't really that good at decomposing, yet it seems to work OK. Olive is a hardwood, and if you can chip it small enough it just might work. It would be worth a try anyway. Perhaps if you chipped a whole lot of it and then heaped it in a pile and added water, the decomposition would start first. Then maybe add some partly decomposed mix to your toilet to see if that would help. Adding stale bread slices will sometimes help as well.

As you say, once the tray problem is addressed, the problem should be self eliminating.
6 years ago
Yes, when a bamboo plant is young and small, it does take some time to get going.

For example, the 14' tall plant started out reaching about four feet, then it increased in size every year until now. They do tend to do that as their root mass grows. Some of the very small ones have barely increased in size at all. It's all a matter of which plants you select. Like I said, the fellow at the Bamboo Ranch really knows his stuff, let him guide you. He also has a price list you can peruse. Not sure if it is available online or not, but it would be worth asking.
6 years ago
I better learn to spell better as well it seems, pseudosasa, that's better, I think.

Look to the lower left in the first pic and you will see a new shoot from one of the three plants there.

Next one is a small running bamboo, quite short, I think less than two feet tall. And again, it has been there for several years and has traveled maybe 5 feet.

Last one is a very airy looking bamboo, quite an elegant little plant really (name???). It is a clumping bamboo. The soil there is really bad, and even though it is by the pond it hasn't got any water this year at all except rain.

About 35 years ago I had a big running bamboo over in the Fraser Valley and I contained it in concrete. I have since found out that you don't need to do that. Every bamboo plant that I have here has very shallow roots. So there is no need to go to great lengths and depths to contain a runner. The few that I have contained I have cut a plastic barrel into three sections and used that to contain the plant. The bottom of the barrel can be open. So I guess each section of barrel would be about a foot tall. There must be other ways as well.

But why worry about that at all? Just buy the clumping bamboos, which if memory serves would be any of the phyllostachys (?) and avoid the problem all together. I did look for either of my bamboo books and they are definitely not here. But I did remember the name of the place on Saltspring. It's called the Bamboo Ranch. You've never seen so much bamboo in all your life. Everything under the sun.

Now one last thing is that most of the bamboos we grow here do not attain the heights or girth that they would in their native land. The chap at the Bamboo ranch will tell you all about that. And BTW, he has by far the best prices.
6 years ago
Well, I managed to bugger that one up. Let's try for the first two pics again...

OK, I see what I did wrong.
6 years ago
Hi again Erin:
OK, I have a few pics to try and show you some of the different bamboos. As long as these post in order my comments will fit OK...let's hope.

The first one is Pseudosasa Japonica, or arow bamboo. My plant here was just small when I got it and this years shoots are some 14' high. It is a clumping plant.

Just a few feet in front of that one I have a small clumping bamboo which is only about three feet tall at the most. Nice small leaves and a fairly compact plant.

The next one is a running bamboo (don't know the names of the others, lost in the mists of time) and as you can see it too is quite short. It has run a total of about four feet since I bought it, and I think that was either 2008 or 2009, so not exactly a world traveler.

We are limited to three pics per post so I'll do another after this. I'll give you a couple of generalities about bamboos. Most of them don't take off like rocketships at all. Perhaps it is due to my lack of water here, but none of the plants have strayed more than 4 or 5 feet in all that time. You may have a different experience if you have more water available. You will see large and small leaved plants, some quite dense and others very open in their structure.
6 years ago
Hi Erin:
We most definitely are in the rainshadow here. I used to keep the weather records here for several years, hi/low temps, rainfall, and while I was doing that we averaged 37" a year. But one thing I noticed is that just about every year we get one really driving rain sometime in August. We may get well over 1/2" in under an hour. It's quite amazing.

Regarding bamboos, what I did was to do some reading first. Unfortunately most of my library is up in Kamloops and I cannot remember the names of the two best bamboo books I have. It's the old timers setting in again. One in particular is really good and it's about bamboos for temperate climates. Then I went over to Saltspring and got a whole vanload of bamboo plants. Something like 35 all together. I have lost maybe three or four over the years since then. They don't seem to have any trouble overwintering here, regardless of how cold the winter gets, like last winter for instance. But they do like a good drink once in awhile, which suggests to me that a hugel would be a good place for them.

If you were to put a few running 'boos in your big hugel, they would make a great windbreak/hedge. Have you been to the Japanese Garden at Royal Roads in Victoria? Some nice 'boos there.

I could snap a few pics if you like.
6 years ago