Rebecca Beidler

+ Follow
since Sep 11, 2014
Apples and Likes
Apples
Total received
0
In last 30 days
0
Total given
0
Likes
Total received
3
Received in last 30 days
0
Total given
2
Given in last 30 days
0
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Rebecca Beidler

I think Wine Caps or King Stropharia mushrooms are known for being good nutrient absorbers in a water runoff situation. I am thinking of growing some Stropharia in a deep bed of wood chips that a gray water pipe is running into. I personally don't feel I'd want to eat them, but considered using the mushrooms as slug bait then feeding the whole lot to our ducks.
2 years ago
We happen to be running a crowd funding campaign at this very moment (6 days left!) to build a root cellar/passive cooler. There is a thread on it here if you'd like to see the conversation that has already happened around it.

http://permies.com/t/54048//Passive-cooling-system-turn-root

Basically we would like to try something similar to the heat pump and ammonia based closed loop cooling systems mentioned in this thread, but using butane as the liquid that drives the temperature difference and creates ice. The method is dependent on having some freezing winter weather to amass enough ice inside a root cellar, so that it will cool the space over the warmer months. Instead of having to cut and haul ice, or freeze mass amounts of buckets or soda bottles, tanks can be frozen in place. We want to experiment with this principle on a scale appropriate for a small farm. I'm not sure if it could be scaled down for home refrigeration or not, as it depends on having a large enough mass of ice to last for months. There is a lot more information about our plans here:
webpage

For a $10 contribution we will keep you updated about our results for the next 2 years. I promise to try to do better with sharing plans than the Gaviotas group that was mentioned.
2 years ago
Alice, thanks for all the historical root cellar info from Newfoundland. While our project is an experiment with some unknown outcomes, I don't think that the freezing/thawing of pipes will be an issue. The pipes only contain butane, not water, and butane freezes somewhere around -220F, yes, that 0 is not a typo. From what I understand the water in the tanks will get colder and colder until it freezes from the inside out, which doesn't stress the container in the same way as freezing normally does. Time will tell whether the addition of ice tanks to the root cellar could make the cellar too cold in the winter months as you suggest. If that is the case I think we could insulate more heavily around the tanks, keeping the cold from adding to the root cellar space until it is needed later into the spring. Most root cellars in our area stay cool in the summer months, but not refrigerator temps (the low 40s), that is what we are aiming for. Our soil is almost pure sand and we will take care to manage drainage around the cellar so that excess moisture is not a problem.
2 years ago
Our root cellar project has gone through many changes in concept over the couple of years that we've been researching and trying to make it happen. We've decided to go with a poured cement foundation rather than some of the methods that are cheaper materially, but require lots of labor (stone, earth bag, rammed earth) because we don't think it is realistic that we would finish such a project while working off farm and running a farm. However, we are planning to do something with our root cellar that might make it more interesting to permies. We want to add tanks of water inside the cellar that will freeze from the inside out when outside air temperatures are 31ºF or below, utilizing a passive heat exchange system of copper pipes filled with butane. The frozen tanks will slowly melt during the warmer months, cooling an enclosed space within the cellar that can be used as a walk in cooler. Once built, the passive cooler should continue to operate without the need for a power source, saving emissions and dollars.

I've just started a new thread about our project, check it out:
Root Cellar/Passive Cooler Thread
or check out our Root Cellar/Passive Cooler Indeigogo campaign here
Jack Edmondson, the whole passive cooler/root cellar will be underground. Only the door will be exposed and will need to be insulated well. I think that should help the space maintain the constant temperatures you mentioned without needing any additional trenches and fans. Please correct me if I'm missing your point. We are thinking that having the tanks of water in the root cellar will help cool down the space earlier in the fall, even if they are not frozen at that point. Often traditional root cellars are not quite cool enough when you want to pull things out of the garden in September/October.
2 years ago
We are looking to build a root cellar on our farm in northern Vermont, that can serve as a cooler in the warmer months of the year. We plan on holding onto the cold of winter by freezing tanks of water inside the root cellar utilizing a closed loop system of pipes containing butane. The plan is explained in writing, pics and video in our Indiegogo campaign below

Root Cellar/Passive Cooler at Peace of Earth Farm

We are trying to raise enough funds to enable this project and be able to build and monitor this cooling system. The concept has been tested by a friend of ours in a smaller, less insulated situation. He was able to easily freeze a tank approximately 4 cubic ft and hold ice until late July/early August. We think we can hold onto ice and its cooling power longer than that in a space that will stay cool longer (a root cellar). We'll have to play around with the number of tanks needed to maintain the temperature in the space, and also how the tanks are insulated to balance holding the ice vs cooling the space. I welcome any questions you have about the project or suggestions based on similar experience.

If you think this is research that would be valuable to you or others, please consider contributing to our Indiegogo campaign and helping us spread the word!

Thank you
Rebecca Beidler
2 years ago
I'm not sure if I am replying correctly, but here goes. Jay Muir, thanks for checking in about our project and sorry for such a slow response. We do not have cedar growing on our land, though it can be accessed locally. From what I understand the eastern white cedar is not nearly as rot resistant as the western type which gives cedar its reputation for longevity. We looked into tamarack and black locust which are much harder to find locally. With having to purchase and ship logs, plus the cost of a waterproof membrane, building with logs seems like too expensive of an option. We are actually planning on going with a poured cement foundation now.
I like to make a blend we call VT Earl Gray. It doesn't have any black tea in it- but has a taste similar to the familiar Earl Gray.
The primary herbs for that astringent/tannic flavor that imitate black tea are raspberry leaf, lady's mantle, and nettle. To imitate the bergamot oil flavor we use Bee balm leaf and flower (the red flowered is best), orange mint, and sometimes lavender leaf/flower.

This year we also made a new blend based on berries- mostly their leaves. It included raspberry leaf, black currant leaf and berries, and blueberry leaf. In the future when we have more berries I think it could be a great way of using berries like elderberry, aronia, hawthorn, buffalo berry, highbush cranberry (I am not certain about all of the leaves of those berries though, elderberry leaf is poisonous). Tea is a good way to access their medicinal value and flavors without adding a lot of sugar.
3 years ago
Thanks for the insider info and pics Zach Weiss. In the log cabin style root cellars are the logs still round or cut to fit into each other? Are they mortared or filled with something? What is the advantage of the horizontal vs vertical arrangement of the logs?
3 years ago
Has anyone built a Sepp Holzer root cellar that might share their experience? Is there a tested life span for it? I really want to try it, but there are many nay sayers about using wood underground. I am wondering about high humidity inside the cellar affecting the logs even if water coming from outside of the shelter is diverted/not allowed to enter because of the pond liner. I can't view the picture that Paul Wheaton posted of an all log root cellar, I'd like to see how the front wall is enclosed. Thanks!
3 years ago