Monday, December 10, 2007
The Story of Stuff
Not sure if you have checked out the Story of Stuff videos yet, but I am thrilled with them. Accessible, compelling without being militant, and very well done. Here's a teaser.
What I am finding in my eco evangelism is that many people understand the need for recycling, energy efficiency, and habitat preservation. But they often do so in a piecemeal form, and lack the knowledge of how it all ties together to be able to Root Cause some solutions. The Natural Step and Permaculture are great ways to provide solutions, but many people are no where near ready for that level of detail yet.
I am more of a "do-er" than a marketer. I prefer to work on the solutions and let others work on marketing. And that is why I love videos like this, books like Omnivore's Dilemma, and movies like an Inconvenient Truth. They are laying a foundational awareness so that a critical mass of the population can be ready for change before it is too late.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Hoop House 12/8 Update
Fall is going out with a vengeance this year. With 8" of snow on the ground from 3 2"+ snow events since Thanksgiving on top of some bittery cold nights (Wed AM was -4 F), this is proving to be a fantastic year for learning's for the aspiring Four Season Gardener. At least that is how I am choosing to categorize my demolished radishes.
2 weeks ago I had added about 150 gallons of water buckets to the hoop house. I had two solid reasons for this. First the water line running from the owner's farm house would not be open forever and I wanted some water on hand, and second I was hoping to add a degree of thermal mass to the interior of the Hoop House to help mitigate the temperature swings. Saturday morning was not warm-only 4 degrees, but it was partly sunny for the first two hours after sunrise, before descending into the more typical overcast. I had not been to the house for 10 days and the fact that the door was frozen shut did not help my trepidation of what I would find.
Good news-the spinach, mache, and claytonia are all virtually unscathed. The Black Radish , which I was gambling to get to harvest size before the bitter cold, are a complete loss
, and the bok choy is wounded, but may recover. Despite exterior temps at 3 degrees, interior was a balmy 28. To better illustrate the weather that had done in the radishes, the 5 gallon buckets of water were frozen solid. Now my thermal mass was working in reverse... But even here I incurred a learning. In addition to the dozen buckets, I also had a large black plastic garbage can I had also filled with water. It too was frozen, but only an inch or so thick. I just need more mass in my thermal mass, and the black helped with solar gain. This bucket was also full of a bushel of Comfrey Cuttings that I was letting stew into a slow brewed compost tea (make that iced tea), once it thaws I will have a nice shot of nutrients for my seedlings. This is my first attempt at compost brewing, and I am looking forward to it!
Everything has its first set of true leaves, and the spinach and bok choy are going on #2. And a huge win is that the Deep Freeze has leveled the weeds that I had missed so it looks decent. This may be small comfort when I look up at the 1/16th inch coating of ice on the inside of the plastic, but I knew I would harvest more experience than greens this year anyhow.
Tomorrow I will bring out two of my home fab "cloches" from last years season extension attempt, and I will attempt to source 2 trailer loads of fresh manure to build a compost windrow over the deceased radish. The thought is that the hot compost will add a significant amount of nighttime Btu's to give the bok choy a chance.
I had hoped for a slower start to winter, but the wonderland that the kids get to play in makes up for it. This year is a great counterbalance to last years non-winter (06/07 didn't get cold until mid January-I took root cuttings on 12/28/06) that provides a good dose of reality to the unpredictability of nature that we are aggravating with Global Warming. My hope now has switched form fresh greens on Christmas to the First Salads of Spring as I seek to overwinter the mache and spinach!
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Four Season Insight
I love my Honda Insight. I love its minimalism. I love its modern look. I love the function over form engineering dripping from every aluminum widget. And I love what it stands for: the first shot in the War for Sane Transportation.
Labels: HybridsStumble It!
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Gasifier Project: Pics
Gasifier Project: Caution Men with Tools!
One of the fantastic spin off of our starting the Sustain Jefferson project is the ability to quickly network with other local Eco Freaks. One net result is a group of us getting together to build 2 working gasifier prototypes-one to be mounted on a tractor for use and display at fair and markets, and with the learnings from that a larger one to be used to produce energy for a home.Gasification is a relatively well know alternative energy that takes virtually any carbon intensive material (typically coal) and through a process of low oxygen burning produces "syngas" that can then be used to power a turbine or even an internal combustion engine. Syngas is much, much, cleaner burning that petroleum or coal. What we are most excited about is that you can also use plain old wood chips to produce Syngas and the gasifiers can be sized to fit even midsize (20 hp) tractors. In fact virtaully every tractor in northern Europe ran on wood chip gasifiers during WWII. But then we conveniently forgot the technology as Cheap Oil took over.
Labels: Renewable EnergyStumble It!