Amit Enventres

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since Mar 24, 2011
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Recent posts by Amit Enventres

Also remember that climate control really starts outside and works it's way inward- after all, isn't that where the temp you don't want comes from?

So, if you haven't already,  start with sun direction and wind direction.  See how you can manipulate how that hits the house to benefit your climate needs.  A berm (compensating for drainage) in the wind direction? Hedgerow? Wall? Shed? Etc. Last is pulling out the kindelling, in my opinion.
5 days ago
I'm in a completely different climate but I did a bunch of research and want to mention some principles before ideas of exactly what to use:

Houses suck: i.e.: your temp difference between inside and outside and the amount of transfer space between the two determine how much energy you need to maintain the temp you want.  So your leaky floor insulation is still helpful! Same if you inefficiently insulate your walls so that air/moisture can escape but just not as much.  Modern insulation people try for a complete seal, which is a bad idea on about any old house, even here.

Your biggest bang for buck is typically the roof and main wind direction.

Thermal mass can maintain a house at a temperature for like 24 hours.

Fires happen.  If you insulate with something flammable, you might end up with a lot less insulation and house.

Now for specifics:

If in summer you get any sun inside,  block that out.  I had heartache over that here, but it lowered our air conditioning bill to about zero.  If it's on the roof, try a fast growing non- house- eating vine or trees.  They will also help slow down that rain on the roof a bit. Radiant barriers (i.e. aluminum foil) slow heart transfer, but if it's hot or cold for days on end, they don't help.

To doublepane the windows, you can try shower curtains. Staple it to the top of the frame and attach a wood dowel to the bottom end so you can roll them up when you don't want it.  These cost about $1 each.

Another simple insulation is blankets.  Good moving blankets cost about $10 new.  I wonder if you can ask for damaged ones from a moving company.  They are used by those who make music as sound insulation and can be cut to curtains or hung as tapestries.

As for thermal mass, cob is great for that, but so heavy! Can your floor support it?

Wood is about as insulating as the rigid foam, so if you have access to wood planking, logs, etc. you could use that. A way to get it on the walls and yet not is to build cabinets with backing against your walls. Put the stuff you want to sit on towards the center of the house so you don't get the wall drafts.
5 days ago
Hi again!

There's a lot of good people in Cuyahoga doing good sustainable stuff, but do they ever meet and collaborate? As far add I can tell there's groups, but they don't really come together.  That right?

Me and a friend want to start perhaps monthly collaboration meetings if no one else already fills that niche.

Thanks for the input!
5 days ago
Never heard off the payment method, but check out: It's really easy and lets you do just that, without the shed. Very nice guy made it to try and make the world a better place.

I do like the communal shed idea.  What happens when someone arrives and says I got broccoli for $2 and you got celery for $2, let's swap.  Is there a way they can communicate that without arriving in the shed at the same time?
5 days ago
Very nice!

I am a little more primitive than ya allšŸ¤£

I found sticks, acorns, pine cones, and pretty leaves wandering in the house and getting used as much as the expensive plastic stuff.

Flowers in the garden and interesting leaves get used when we are out doors about as much as the plastic toys. I had a flowering house plant for a while so my daughter could pick flowers indoors.

With an old rubber band, a stick can be made into a bow or sling shot.  We used those as kids.

White clover makes necklaces. We did that as older kids.

A large branch a sword or staff.  A small one a wand. I've turned these into gifts. I think there's a picture in the homemade gift post in the frugality forum of the wand.

Certain rocks draw and different colors too which is exciting.

A friend had a party and with some willow branches, string, and beads the kids made dream catchers.

A feather is a tickler.

A bin of potting soil must be sealed because otherwise it's too enticing for little arms to reach and feel. 

Sticks and  old blankets can turn into a fort.

Gourds and pumpkins are also intriguing.

These things aren't perhaps the most marketable toys,  but -and maybe it's because so much is plastic now- these things are especially exciting.

I grew up with a craft room and have one now.  It's like Thomas Edison's lab.  There's a little bit of everything in there (not mercury tho!) and as kids we were taught basic skills and cautions to use it. When my daughter had friends over, they almost always disappear into that room making things out of scraps of wood, fabric, paint,  etc.  I've heard this is better for brain development than a toy with specific purposes or uses.

As for my teeny fella, he loves looking at house plants and sometimes kicking at the leaves. I guess I could give him a slice of hardwood branch to chew, but we have so many other exciting things and 2nd generation toys,  I haven't seen the point. 

I'm bad at instructions for construction, but I guess link over to the homemade gifts in the frugality forum for more stuff like this.

6 days ago
I agree. My first use of a tree trunk in a cold climate I had questions too, but I just screwed in the wood plank and three years  later I've had to do no maintenance. Trees are fine. Fence is fine. Winter freezes didn't seem to affect it. Coyotes where I grew up, in southern California,  ate threw chicken wire, but I didn't grow up with foxes at the hen house. Good luck!
6 days ago
My understanding is that the founders of permaculture wanted to keep it free from a religion or too much of a club because you then have those who do it and those who don't.  I have seen people who would be insulted if they were accused of doing anything hippie set up a permaculture inspired landscape. As they say, fame isn't everything- I like the covert penetration of the ideas and philosophy.  I was taught the best way to convince people of an idea is to make them think it was their idea to begin with.
Yeah, I noticed getting the word out can sometimes be challenging.  Try garden stuff in mid winter- hah!

Well, reviewing what I've done maybea good exercise for me to gain insight anyway. Any advice/ honesty opinions are appreciated.

Thank you!
2 weeks ago
My project had been: how sustainable can a" normal" family be in a suburban northern environment.

It's a long on going project since I refuse to be too abnormal about it and get special help.  I have considered writing about it: book, video, blog, whatever. But I see a lot of people doing the "hey! I did some permaculture! Look at this!" And I don't want to waste my time if I'm going to be just another one of those.  I know no one is doing exactly what I'm doing and I know I can be a good writer.  I'm not just poking around in a garden.  I'm poking around in the home.  Going for minimal inputs and out puts. Zone 5-6, 0.22 acres.  I keep tossing the idea of publishing my experiences on it around,  and then thought brilliantly that more brains on this idea might poke it in one direction our the other. Your thoughts? Publish our no? If so,  what medium? Thanks!
2 weeks ago
This is a cardboard box covered in an old shirt. My husband loves it. This could be a gift box. Put in some shredded paper and home cooked goodies and your set. I made it because we needed a place for small winter gear.
3 weeks ago