Dan Wallace

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since May 27, 2010
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Recent posts by Dan Wallace

I'm somewhat new to compost toilets and have begun using a bucket toilet with a urine diverter with dry sawdust as the cover material. This is inside a very small cottage (120 sq ft). Most of the time there is no odor but sometimes there is. It's not offensive really but its not exactly desirable either (and its hard to describe). I'm wondering what I can do to decrease odor. Each deposit is covered completely with sawdust, usually two handfuls or so. I know in the Humanure Handbook he recommends using only rotted sawdust, not dried sawdust. I'm going to try to experiment with this but I'm hoping I don't end up with a fungus gnat problem with the added moisture

Any advice would be greatly appreciated
5 years ago
I'm zone 9 as well in the SF Bay area and am unfortunate enough to have both bermuda grass and kikuyu grass.

The only thing that has worked is laying down thick cardboard, tarp, carpet, etc to smother and kill it. If the covering is not thick enough, the grass will just dramatically bust right through. Once eliminated though its smooth sailing. They spread mainly through rhizomes.
6 years ago

R Hasting wrote:

Dan Wallace wrote:

R Hasting wrote:
Dan, I have an alternative idea. When you finish using the light, turn it off maybe?



I go to sleep around 10:30pm. In the summer it gets dark around 7:30pm and in the winter around 5:30pm. Average of 4 hours.
Should I just sit in the dark?



No Dan. You should have enough light to do whatever you like to do. But do you turn on all the lights for that four hours? Or just maybe a couple of them?
Do you go from room to room like we do in our home. Kitchen to dining back to kitchen back to dining. Living room for a while (lights off as we plug in to the tube), to the kitchen to grab a drink, back to the tube, back to the kitchen to make popcorn, back to the living room. bath room break, living room, bedroom, bathroom, bedroom, bathroom, bed room, lights out. Or, when you leave a room, do you turn off the light? So, you have, typically one room lit at a time? Unless you have one bulb follow you throughout the night, you rarely have one bulb on for more than an hour.
Or did I miss something?


I light only where I occupy and need the light. That's 1-2 lights. Even with 1-2 lights there is still obvious savings. I live with 5 other people though and they of course need light as well
6 years ago

R Hasting wrote:
Dan, I have an alternative idea. When you finish using the light, turn it off maybe?



I go to sleep around 10:30pm. In the summer it gets dark around 7:30pm and in the winter around 5:30pm. Average of 4 hours.
Should I just sit in the dark?
6 years ago
Just watched your latest video Paul and while I appreciate the discourse and effort involved, I think your bias is very strong and any of the positives of CFLs have been ignored

It's long been recognized that CFLs are NOT suited for locations where they are only on briefly. Like your video showed, their life is significantly decreased and the cost savings doesn't make sense
HOWEVER
What should be stressed is that CFLs do save power and money when used properly and installed in locations where they are on for long periods of time.

The electric rate is critical when making cost savings calculations. The rate you used in your video, 10c/kwh, is not representative of what most people pay. Most baseline rates are between 12-15 and then quickly go up from there when your household exceeds a certain amount of power. In my area, if you use 200% of your baseline, your rate goes to 29.5c!
That aside, here's a simple calculation

Here cost per kwh is 14.6c
For a simple example, lets say every day of the year a light is on for 4 hours and we will compare an 80w incandescent and a 19w CFL
365*4*(80/1000) = ~117kwh
365*4*(19/1000) = ~28kwh
The CFL will use 89kwh less and save about $13 a year.
This is of course only a simple example and only demonstrates a single light and a baseline electric´╗┐ rate. If the rate was 29.5c, using that one CFL would save $26.25/year


This is all of course talking strictly dollars. I concede to the fact that CFLs are complicated devices filled with toxic materials. I just wanted to clear away some of the bias and show that CFLs can have a place
6 years ago
I live in the CA Bay Area (earthquake zone) and most homes are 80-100 years old. New homes have to meet strict codes and are likely to survive an earthquake. Older homes need retrofitting
6 years ago
I thought I would also add for those who don't know, the greens are also edible
6 years ago
I'm currently living on a farm on Maui and am interested in using some of the local material to build a small cabin. Can anyone recommend a good resource that would help teach how to build with bamboo? I'm also interested in learning about thatch roof using lauhala or grasses
Thanks in advance!
I bought a home in urban N. California with the intent to rent out the bedrooms to pay for the mortgage. It's worked out well, the rental market is strong. My mortgage is $1470 and my income from housemates is $1815

It's by no means a free ride, there's always maintenance to be done and you play a managerial role but it is huge in that you don't need a 9 to 5 and can do the things that you really want to do.
7 years ago
Our whole neighborhood is covered with pokeweed. Started with one house, now its the whole block. They're pretty good for chop and drop mulch, hard to kill and deep taproot
Birds spread them which makes sense why they don't germinate without acid. Just feed some berries to your local birds
7 years ago