I haven’t written a blog entry for this site in over 2 years! I’m not sure how that happened. Since I last blogged, I built a bucky-dome greenhouse. I finished the door, since this photo was taken, and I’m still working on the automatic opening/closing vents.
I’m still heating with the outdoor wood stove, when it’s cold enough to justify a fire. I had to replace my heat pump this year, because the old one died. The heat pump is great for mild winter days, and to maintain the temperature when I’m not home to stoke the fire.
My supply of firewood is not as ample as it could have been. I herniated a disc in my lower spine in early 2017, so I wasn’t up for a lot of lumberjacking.
My solar water heater is still providing 99% of my hot water. I found another slow drip in my plumbing the other day that I will need to address. It seems like there is always something around here that needs attention, but that’s the nature of being self-sufficient. You can’t have all these systems without maintaining them. I think that’s why a lot of people just want to rely on the grid for everything. Personally, I enjoy the work, and I take pride in having designed these systems in such a way that I can maintain them.
We’re heading into winter, now. I probably won’t start any big projects before the days get a bit longer. I’ll try to keep you up-to-date on my progress.
The winter was rough, and spring seemed unwilling to commit itself for a long time. My garden barely happened, this year. I have some wonderful spinach, but that’s all I planted. I guess I’m going to learn to be a better forager, this year.
I’ve been kayaking a lot. The filamentous algae in my local creek is really bad, this spring. The extension agent told me it is most likely due to the excessive rainfall we’ve had, carrying in lots of nutrients from the surrounding area. The algae chokes out fish. It’s a good reason to be very careful about how much fertilizer you put on your lawn, and when you apply it. Personally, I don’t use any chemicals in my lawn. It’s more of a meadow, than a monoculture of manicured grass, but I like it that way, and the local wildlife definitely prefers it. The wildflowers provide food for pollinators, and the birds find lots to eat.
Here is a photo of my outdoor wood stove. I still owe you a detailed explanation of it’s design and operation, but I’d rather do that after it is completely finished. In a nutshell, the square duct in the foreground carries hot air into the house and the round duct in the background returns cold air from the house to the enclosure to be heated by the wood stove that is mostly embedded inside the enclosure. No smoke gets into the house, just heat from the stove. I still have a good deal of work to do to make the wood stove fully functional and more efficient. As I mentioned in a previous post, it got me through a hard winter, but I learned a lot from the experience, so there will be improvements before the next heating season.