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The Backyard Farmer video update- Oxygen in the water-what does it do?

www.thebackyardfarmer.net In this video update I explain the importance of having plenty of oxygen in your water and what it actually does for your aquaponics system.
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What Up…

I see from other blogs that posting regularly is the norm, though why i should start conforming to the norm now is another question! Anyhow, thought i could post a “short” one without pics to outline what we are up to these days with the house.
The most exciting (and expensive!) thing recently has been the burial of the power cable and water line to our house from the main infrastructure on the property.  Thanks to John and Cole Barten and their awesome machines, with Jonathan, Roy and Travis on the ground, we have hundreds of feet of cable and pipe carefully buried in the meadow.
At the house itself, the stairs to the root cellar are done ~ yippee! For those of you who don’t know, the root cellar is under the house, our basement really, with a door right off the kitchen..how convenient is that! 
Jonathan and helpers are picking away when time allows at the skirting wall; the footing is almost complete, then onward to building the stem wall.  This is a must before living in the house, to keep the floors warm in the winter, cool in the summer, to help insulate and protect exposed plumbing underneath the house, and as a bonus give us more covered storage (aka hiding places for Jamie and friends!).  There will be at least 2 access doors, and i have finally convinced Jonathan to add glass blocks to one section so that i can grow edible mushrooms (namely Shitake and Oyster, hoping Reishi some day) under the house which like diffuse light and cooler temperatures. Permaculture requires that everything has at least 2 functions, so this skirting project covers that very well!
We have bought tile to lay out this week we hope, that will go under and around the Pioneer Maid cook stove, around the chimney and masonry heater.  We bought beautiful and not too expensive slate tiles, and hope they don’t chip themselves away to bareness…hmm.  
In preparation for tiling, the footing pad for the chimney was leveled.
The kitchen cabinets get some attention when there’s a break in the other projects.
Meanwhile outside, the WWOOFers and I are busy weeding, watering and mulching all the babies we have planted this year and in years past:  apricots from the compost pile, yellow currants, Choke cherries and Nanking cherries, Poplar (Okanese), Lilacs, and Mock Orange, all planted pretty close together to act as a living fence and windbreak….with some luck, the deer won’t eat them all, and yes they do eat everything at least once to try it out.  The Lilacs are well ahead of the others – go for it! 
We also planted a few cherry trees this year, mmm cherries!  A spruce tree was given to us as a house / yard warming from friends who live in Horsefly, and i planted it fairly close to the house to act as grey water catchment, since they love water so much, being from further north or higher altitudes.
I also gave in at a market and bought a Linden tree, supposedly good luck or good Karma or some such…love them…so do the deer!
Oh, and a Blacklace Elderberry was planted too and is doing very well.
In the garden, we have 20 tomato plants doing superbly well, peppers, and 3 large rows of garlic, ready to be harvested this week.  
Next:  mixing and painting the interior walls and masonry heater, first doing some decorative tiling on the heater with Mexican tiles…pretty.  Tiling the bathroom shower and bath and sink areas, tiling the kitchen sink area and window sill above it.  Finishing wiring, starting on interior plumbing.  The ceiling will get insulated and covered hoping with nice birch plywood.  Then the wood floor, using sustainably harvested, tongue and groove Fir from Vancouver Island.   Doors for the pantry and root cellar too, cabinets and sink installation in the apothecary, front hall closet door and finishing, and the list goes on….sigh!  The emphasis is on finishing the first floor so we can move in and finish the second floor during the winter, sleeping in our moveable cabin if need be.  

The house looks more and more like a home every step of the way, and we are so excited, with a move in date of Winter Solstice in mind.  We shall see!

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Comparing the Performance of Two DIY Solar Water Heating Collectors — CPVC vs Copper

Scott Davis has come up with an innovative and simple design for a solar water heating collector that uses CPVC pipes for the risers — its easy to build and performs well.

Scott and his prototype CPVC collector.

The collector uses closely spaced CPVC riser pipes which are silicone bonded to a flat aluminum absorber sheet.    This makes for and easy and fast build.

I did a side by side performance test of Scott’s design compared to the established DIY collector design that uses copper riser tubes spaced about 6 inches apart with thicker grooved aluminum fins to transfer heat into the riser tubes.  In this test, the CPVC design performed within 5% of the copper/alum collector, which I think is very good.

The side by side test of the two collectors.

There are a number of pluses and minus associated with the CPVC design compared to the copper/alum design — things like cost, ease of build, performance, durability, and tolerance for stagnation temperatures are all important.  Which design works out best will depend on your situation — I’ve tried to provide a little data on how the collectors compare in all these areas.  

I would be most interested in hearing your thoughts on the comparison and which collector you think would work out for your situation.

Full details on the performance and stagnation tests, construction, IR pictures, etc. for the two collectors…

Closer view of the test CPVC Collector.
IR image of the CPVC collector in operation

If you go ahead and build a CPVC collector, please let me know how it works out for you.

Gary

Posted on

Comparing the Performance of Two DIY Solar Water Heating Collectors — CPVC vs Copper

Scott Davis has come up with an innovative and simple design for a solar water heating collector that uses CPVC pipes for the risers — its easy to build and performs well.

Scott and his prototype CPVC collector.

The collector uses closely spaced CPVC riser pipes which are silicone bonded to a flat aluminum absorber sheet.    This makes for and easy and fast build.

I did a side by side performance test of Scott’s design compared to the established DIY collector design that uses copper riser tubes spaced about 6 inches apart with thicker grooved aluminum fins to transfer heat into the riser tubes.  In this test, the CPVC design performed within 5% of the copper/alum collector, which I think is very good.

The side by side test of the two collectors.

There are a number of pluses and minus associated with the CPVC design compared to the copper/alum design — things like cost, ease of build, performance, durability, and tolerance for stagnation temperatures are all important.  Which design works out best will depend on your situation — I’ve tried to provide a little data on how the collectors compare in all these areas.  

I would be most interested in hearing your thoughts on the comparison and which collector you think would work out for your situation.

Full details on the performance and stagnation tests, construction, IR pictures, etc. for the two collectors…

Closer view of the test CPVC Collector.
IR image of the CPVC collector in operation

If you go ahead and build a CPVC collector, please let me know how it works out for you.

Gary

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not so free light bulbs – farmer laboratory

www.richsoil.com This video covers: – how the power company charges more to pay for "free" light bulbs – the goal is fewer power plants – a five dollar clothes line would save more – energy audits are lame – the longevity of light bulbs – tested – situations of using a light for 30 seconds or less – the luminosity for the first 30 seconds – the amount of electricity to construct a light bulb – CFL subsidies in australia and the incandescent ban – total energy cost of a CFL – CFL toxicity during construction, during use and after disposal – the 2008 data sheet from the EPA comparing mercury pollution – IQ Drop – impact on concentration – UV burns – catching on fire – epipleptic siezures – cataracts – cancer Thanks to all the folks that chipped in through kickstarter for this video. Including the "executive producer of odd smells" makeitmissoula.com Thanks to Camille Pearl and Durk Collins for playing parts. Relevant www.permies.com www.permies.com www.richsoil.com www.richsoil.com www.permies.com music by Jimmy Pardo
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A New Heliostat for an Innovative New Application

There is an interesting new heliostat being offered for a low enough price to be of interest for building home systems.  The heliostat is made by Light Manufacturing Heliostats.

The heliostat has an area of 2.3 sm (25 sqft) .  The mirror is a stretched, reflectorized film to keep the cost and weight down.  Prices from about $1300.

Details on the Light Manufacturing Heliostat here….

The same company offers a unique application that uses their heliostats to provide heat for rotational molding of plastic parts (like large water tanks).  This solar thermal rotational molding system appears to be simple and cost effective, and (to me) represents some truly innovative thinking in bringing solar to a large industrial processes in a very energy efficient and cost effective way.

Diagram of solar thermal rotational molding system.

In the system, multiple heliostats focus their beams on the mold to provide the large amount of heat needed for the process.  The heliostats can support multiple molds by simply refocusing the heliostat beams on mold as needed.

The first video on this page provides a rundown on how the heliostat heated rotational molding setup works…

Heliostats can be put to many innovative uses — I’ve assembled a few of them here…

Be sure to look at this one at the link above:
“ROME (Reuters) – A village in the Italian Alps is finally basking in winter sunlight thanks to a giant mirror installed on a mountain top to reflect the sun’s rays into the main square.”


Gary

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Young Agrarians

The Young Agrarians network building project I’m working on is growing, and its blowing my mind! Every week there is something going on…  A potluck to go to, a young farmer to meet, connections between people to be made… Young people are coming out of the woodwork from many different walks of life who are focused on food growing and reclaiming their relationships with the land and Momma Earth.

Below is Neil Carrodus and his farm crew at Camp Fircom on Gambier Island.  Its a beautiful getaway just twenty minutes by water taxi from Horshoe Bay. I’m excited to see their food production capacity grow!