Tag Archives: off grid tips

Cookin’ it new school

Summer is about food

Kickin’ back with a frosty beverage I started thinking about all the amazing meals I’ve made already this summer. Grass fed beef burgers. Tacos. Burritos. Soups. Ribs. Fresh fruit salsa. Fresh veg salsa. Might note I’ve been on a bit of a salsa/corn tortilla kick. Freshly picked fruit. Veg.

Walked up the tree line and picked a few raspberries. Okay. Maybe one in ten made it into the bowl.
Walked up the tree line and picked a few raspberries. Okay. Maybe one in ten made it into the bowl.
Salsa. Pesto. Discoveries!

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The wacky wonder of wallpaper

Wallpaper. experiment #1

When I went to buy wallpaper I went to a shop that sells recycled bits. They had wallpaper paste, wallpaper brushes, wallpaper trays; all donated. And two enormous bins of wallpaper. Very few with two rolls to match.

Tools of the tacky trade. Whoa. he's on an alliterative apocalypse.
Tools of the tacky trade. Whoa. he’s on an alliterative apocalypse.

A pair of volunteers, lovely ladies of a later generation than even mine, hurried over when they saw I was looking at the various bits and bobs with my typical expression of puzzlement when faced with a new to me technology.

Lovely laughing ladies

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Bokashi test 2

Testing Bokashi in a muldering toilet design
(or Poo digestion: phase 2)

Problem:

For my primary material management I use an envirolet toilet (muldering toilet in a plastic box). But just before Christmas the cold weather meant frozen material had formed a mountain and plugged the exit.

For the remainder of the winter I use a Sawdust Composting Bucket Toilet. This is a trigger for my interest in Bokashi.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: the envirolet test

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Shou sugi ban cedar siding

Shou sugi ban tests with 2 updates

Well. In this exciting post I turn perfectly good white cedar boards into crispy Shou sugi ban siding.

Shou sugi ban is the Japanese technique of burning cedar planks to make a long lasting maintenance free siding.

It’s a slow process though. As you can watch in this video.

For pictures and more

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Pickle your Two

Bokashi culture pickles poo

I know. Kind of an odd topic, but while off grid waste management is seemingly without surprise, here’s a tip I picked up last year: Bokashi style composting toilets.

Horse bedding and bokashi inoculate:  a new waste management solution  now on  hand.
Horse bedding and bokashi inoculate: a new waste management solution now on hand.

Bokashi is Japanese for “fermented organic matter.” You make an inoculate or microbe laden mash and by combining it with various organic materials use it to ferment and very rapidly compost those materials. That’s the theory.

Sawdust toilet test

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Batteries and bus bars

Wiring batteries and bus bars
Simple improvements in bus bar and battery wiring can improve efficiency and longevity of your solar battery pack.
Simple improvements in bus bar and battery wiring can improve efficiency and longevity of your solar battery pack.
Improving efficiency and lifespan

Batteries are currently (ha ha) the weak link in the off grid solar equation. If you’ve gone through my site you know I’m a HUGE fan of lithium iron phosphate batteries. Basically flooded lead acid batteries are the equivalent of a 70s automobile. Ya. Looks like a car. But …

Still, if you’re doing a small off grid solar electric install lead acid aren’t horrible and they are cheap. So here are creeky’s top tips for improving efficiency and lifespan when hooking up lead acid.

Creeky’s 6 Top Tips

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Cool cats on a hot tin roof

Passive solar cooling using a metal roof
The basic concept.
The basic concept.

There was some research done around 2008. First by a fellow in Africa looking for a way to cool the metal roofed homes that poor families lived in. Under the hot sun they became ovens. And he worked out a method of using two layers of metal roofing to draw cool air from the ground up between the metal layers of the roof to expel hot air at the roof peak. This cooled the tin. Keeping the homes usable for longer periods of the day.

Another researcher in Texas found he could use roof ridge vents, metal roofing and foil covered polyiso sheathing to move air out of the test home attic, cooling the attic from 130F to 80. Pretty significant.

My experience

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