Shelly Stern

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since Jun 24, 2011
Minnesota
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Recent posts by Shelly Stern

S Haze wrote:Hi Starr,

I still check this out occasionally, missed the notification this time.  I'm not very close to Duluth, much closer to Iowa.  I know of permie groups in the twin cities and there has been a get together around labor day at harmony park north of Albert Lea for several years now.  I'll mention to that they hosted the north american permaculture convergence in 2014 in case you missed it.



I wanted to go to that get together at Harmony Park but I didn't have any more time off work since i used it up going to other festivals there, lol I love that place, I wish we could live on that land!
2 years ago

Marcos Buenijo wrote:

Shelly Stern wrote:I just don't feel smart enough to understand this biofuel stuff, i'd need to find someone who knows how to do it and pay them to do it for me too! lol



Biofuels like vegetable oil, biodiesel, or ethanol are generally not economical except where an individual happens to have ready access to the required resources. For diesel fuel this means inexpensive vegetable oil, and for ethanol this means inexpensive fermentable sugars. In general, the process is not cost effective unless one can get these resources at virtually no cost... and this is rare. It's all really fascinating, but rarely practical. Wood seems to be (to me) the most practical biofuel. It will heat a home, heat water, and can even be used to fuel internal combustion engines via gasification. If one desires to live off grid and achieve energy independence, then a combination of photovoltaics and wood gasification is the best system I've considered. A gasifier can be used with wood fuel to provide space heating and water heating, and it can power a generator for battery charging during inclement weather when the solar system is unable to generate sufficient electricity. In some settings (such as a cold climate) it can be practical to use a wood gasifier exclusively for heat and power generation. It's also possible to use wood to power automobiles.

This video might interest you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz2v4f2UNL0 . This individual was using vegetable oil to power his engine while collecting the heat from the engine. It's a very efficient system when most of the energy is put to use. Interestingly, Mr. Boak experienced difficulty in acquiring vegetable oil shortly after this video was taken. He then modified his system to be fueled by wood chips using a gasifier. Here is a link to his web site where this conversion is discussed: http://www.powercubes.com/listers.html .

This video features Mr. Wayne Keith who has done amazing things with wood gasification for automotive use: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JlNACAEa3vo



Thanks, Marcos! I'll check those links out! I didn't realize vegetable oil would be hard to find or expensive, the family I saw doing it just picked it up from resteraunts for free and they never had any problem finding it.

I am leaning towards a wood burning stove to heat my future house, or built in fireplace.
5 years ago
Wow Jennifer, that is amazing!! I always feel silly for explaining to someone why I can't do something when they had it worse than me and overcame it anyway! Your story is truly an inspiration!! Thanks for sharing!
5 years ago

Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:

Shelly Stern wrote:What a coincidence you mention vegetable oil, I was googling sustainable RV's this morning and found a couple who drives their RV around the country that runs off old grease and oil from resteraunts! But they didn't say how they did it, I mean how do you just make an engine that runs off that? I actually thought it was illegal because why isn't everyone doing it then? lol



The folks I know locally who use reclaimed veg oil get it from a guy who collects it, processes it and resells it. It's my understanding that you have to modify a diesel engine vehicle (the folks I know both drive old Mercedes). You can make it yourself but you have to have the right setup.

The Dervaes family (Path to Freedom) in Pasadena makes their own biofuel - you can see a list of related blog posts here: http://urbanhomestead.org/journal/category/homebrew-biodiesel/

I find it fascinating what alternatives people come up with!



That site looks awesome!! Thanks!

I just don't feel smart enough to understand this biofuel stuff, i'd need to find someone who knows how to do it and pay them to do it for me too! lol
5 years ago

Jennifer Wadsworth wrote:Shelly - You could even power your "Permie RV/Bus" with reclaimed vegetable oil...

It truly does all depend on location and application. Use what is in abundance locally, especially if it's a "waste product".



What a coincidence you mention vegetable oil, I was googling sustainable RV's this morning and found a couple who drives their RV around the country that runs off old grease and oil from resteraunts! But they didn't say how they did it, I mean how do you just make an engine that runs off that? I actually thought it was illegal because why isn't everyone doing it then? lol
5 years ago

r john wrote:

Shelly Stern wrote:Thanks for the replies, everyone! I got a similar answer in another forum, it all depends on location. I am very unsure about where I want to live but once I figure that out, the rest will be a piece of cake! It's also helpful to know about energy loss during conversion.



The answer is simple. Buy a south facing plot with a spring fed river running through it with sufficient fall to make a hydro scheme economic.



That sounds perfect for me! And there are definately a lot of rivers in my area, if I were to stay up here.
5 years ago

Miles Flansburg wrote:Shelly, have you heard about WOOFERing?
There are lots of permie folks all over the country and the world who need help with their projects. You could sign up, drive the RV to a farm, spend time learning and sharing and get to travel at the same time.

Check out some of the posts here...

http://www.permies.com/forums/f-27/WWOOF-organic-farm-volunteers-interns



I was actually a member of WWOOF a few years ago, but got caught up in depression and trying to find a job and got sidetracked. Now I don't have much free time with my job, but still would like to try that someday! It seems more suited for a young person just starting out though, who doesn't have bills and stuff yet. I just feel bogged down by needing a job. If I were to buy an RV, it would take me at least a year or two to save up for it.
5 years ago
Jennifer...I am starting to agree, rather than just have paradise handed to you, I agree it would be better to accept the challenge of creating it where it didn't exist before, that would be an awesome feeling! I just wish I was younger, being in my 40's makes me feel rushed, especially since I have no one to help me. I feel like even if I started now, I wouldn't even have my homestead set up for 5-10 years at the least (since I can't quit my job yet and I have little to no free time right now).

I did check out Geoff Lawton's page before I joined this site and I watched a few of his videos and learned a lot already! He seems to really know his stuff! I'm starting to learn who the big names in permaculture are so I feel like i'm getting somewhere with my learning!

I dont think i've heard of the Permibus, i'll check it out when I get a chance, thanks!
5 years ago
Thanks Jennifer!! Wow those pictures are amazing. And you're right, I think I have the wrong idea about how this works, I was thinking you should find the perfect spot, just like those hippies Bill talked about! lol I'm ashamed now that I would be like that. I'm a lazy person by nature though and I have always preferred to get something already finished, that goes for anything in life, for me. I've even considered finding a homestead for sale that someone has already been sustaining and just move in myself! lol
5 years ago

Miles Flansburg wrote:Shelly, There are folks practicing permaculture techiques in all parts of the US and the world. A large percentage of them would and could, argue that their little slice of permies heaven is the best.

In fact I think my spot in Wyoming is the best !

I have known many folks who wouldn't even think of setting foot in Wyoming. I would never live in a place that gets too hot.( I get heat exhaustion very easily.) Even if it was the garden of eden.
So for me it is up to the individual and what they are looking for.
It seems like the beauty of permaculture is that it can be applied to every setting on earth.

So what is it that you are looking for in a place to live?



Ahh, I understand! Thanks for your answer!

And to answer your question, it's actually quite complicated because I have equal pros and cons for every location I am considering, so i'm really unsure. This is clearly going to be my biggest hurdle. I am a perfectionist and it's hard to choose an option when I know there are any cons to it, that goes for anything in life, for me. Ideally I would like to move around, I was originally considering living in an RV so I could travel forever and live wherever I feel like it anytime I want, but then i can't grow my own food, which is one of the main reasons I got into permaculture. It also isn't very eco friendly to use a lot of gas. But I love to travel and hate public transportation, I want to be able to go anywhere I want, anytime. I guess I just want the best of both worlds and that's impossible.
5 years ago