February 29, 2008


Construction Pix

More Pix

I took more pix, here they are:

This is Bob up on a scaffold that he made, he was putting up more panels of wood on the south side of the cabin, the scaffold is about 12 feet in the air.


These are in front (south facing) of the cabin.


This is on the west side of the cabin, this is where a lot of activity is going on, you can see one of the concrete (soilcrete) walls, it’s not much to look at, yet, but it’s a work in progress.

This is the same pix as above, I highlighted the concrete wall in red, it is poured in layers, each layer is about a foot deep, the first layer is highlighted with yellow, the next layer we poured is highlighted in magenta. Between the yellow and magenta layers, we poured that layer too thick, the problem that occurs is with the weight of the concrete, if the pour is too thick, it will cause the form to bulge, we got lucky, it did bulge, but not too much. The form for the next layers is the wood panel that is above the concrete, highlighted in orange. This is only part of the concrete work, this is sort of a bump out, the other concrete work is being done under the cabin just behind what is visible in this picture. The bump out is going to house part of the water system, the top will be as tall as the floor on the cabin (about 6 feet in the air), sorry if I’m not explaining it well, I’ll take more pix as we get more done, it’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words. :)

This is Bob removing the wind part of the weather station, he had to do this in order to put up one of the panels on the cabin. You can see what is referred to as a radar net or camoflage net, it’s old military surplus, we have several of these, it works good for us to hide the work in progress, we don’t want our few neighbors who can see us to have to look at the half way done work on the cabin, it also helps us to blend in with the natural scenery, Bob eventually wants to place one on the roof so that when Google Earth updates their satellite images, our place will not show, we like being hidden from the world. ;)

I took more pix today of the cabin from much farther away, it will take me a few days to get it placed on the blog, it’s quite a process, I have to take the picture with the camera in my cell phone, I have to send the pix from my cell phone to my email address, then I have to go to my …

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Going to town…


Pizza night went very well, the dough I made rose very well, I love a happy dough! I used spaghetti sauce for the pizza sauce, I cooked some ground beef, I had some left over(cooked) deer sausage, but it smelled a little off, I set it outside well behind my cabin for the wild animals to eat. I used fresh spinach, chopped onion and mozeralla cheese, it was very good and quite fun, everyone enjoyed it.

Today was a good day, we drove into town in the bug, we left out about noon, it is the first time in over a month that we went to town on our own, I have gone to town with our neighbor many times, but this time Bob and I went together, it was quite fun. To my knowledge, we have the only VW Bug in or around town, we are getting to be known a little, I believe people are beginning to recognize the little blue bug, it’s fun! We went to the resale shop, the sales here benefit the local animal shelter. It was full of lots of fun things, I got a couple of shirts (for $1.00 each), Bob got a pair of shoes, and we got a few other misc things.

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Let the Earth Keep You Comfy

What better way to go off-grid and be cozy then to let the Earth’s own geothermal work for you.

Geothermal, GeoExchange, earth-coupled, ground-source, or water-source heat pumps are all use the constant temperature of the earth as the exchange medium instead of the outside air temperature. By doing that this system has a much higher efficiency (300%-600%) on cold winter nights then air-sourced heat pumps (175%-250%) on cool days

Since many areas if the US experience seasonal temperature extremes, from scorching heat in summer to sub-zero in winter, a few feet below the ground the temperature remains relatively constant. This temperature ranges from 45°F to 75°F (7°C to 21°C) depending on the latitude. Think of a cave, it’s warmer then outside in the winter, while cooler in summer. These GHP systems take advantage of that when they exchange heat with the earth through their ground heat exchanger

Geothermal and water-source heat pumps are able to cool, heat, and supply the home with hot water (if equipped). Models available of geothermal systems can include a two-speed compressors and variable fans to increase comfort and energy efficiency. Another plus is that compared to air-source heat pumps they last longer, need less maintenance, are quieter, and outside air temperature has no effect

The dual-source heat pump uses both geothermal and air-source heat pumps. By combining both systems best aspects you get a higher efficiency then the air one alone, though not as efficient as the true geothermal unit. The lower cost of the dual-source system and ability to work almost as well is a strong plus for this system.

The cost of a geothermal system is several times that of the air-forced system with the same capacity. This additional cost is recouped in your energy savings over the first 5-10 years. Since the internal components have a life is estimate of 25 years, with the ground loop at 50+ years, you will be reaping those energy savings for a long time to come. There are four distinct types of geothermal systems, three of those are closed-looped and 0ne is open looped.


The horizontal closed-loop type of installation is generally most cost-effective for residential uses, especially in new construction where land is available. It requires trenches to be at least four feet deep. The most common layouts are either to use two pipes, one buried at six feet, and the other at four feet, or two pipes placed side-by-side at five feet in the ground in a two-foot wide trench. The Slinky™ method of looping pipe gives more pipe in a shorter trench, which cuts on the cost of installation and makes horizontal installation possible in areas where conventional horizontal applications would not fit.


For schools and large commercial buildings vertical systems ar e often used because the land area required for horizontal loops would be a problem. Vertical loops are also used where …

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