January update, 2019

The month has been pretty slow as far as backhoe work, and the rush I put on last month during a dryer period was well timed and made a few critical additions to keep further possible flooding under control.

The middle dam has had a problem with breaking out on the left side, but the added clay has raised it out of danger, and the spillway on the right side of the wall is now connected to the contour pond below.
After being connected to the middle dam with a swale the contour dam filled to it’s highest point. The soil here is quite porous and infiltrates water very rapidly, but gradually as muddy water fills it time after time it is holding water for longer periods
The upper dam still in the process of draining after heavy rains and even a bit of snow.

Mostly though this month has had more moderate rainfall,and the main work started was installation of a larger drain in the upper dam. At first it was quite piecemeal, with the pipe only half way through the dam. This allowed the pipe to be put in below the water level at the time and then digging out the couple feet that remained allowed the water to flow to the drain pipe.

“Upper dam during temporary drain installation, the circular “pond” actually surrounds the pipe opening By burying the 3″ drain pipe in the back part of the dam still above water I was able to then open the front part so the water could start to drain. Even then I had to reset the pipe a few times, digging the drain down deeper as the water in the pond went down.
after being torn up and too wet to work for almost a month, the drain pipe is completely installed well down in the wall, and will keep everything manageable if there are more heavy rains.

With the water level brought down substantially by the 3 inch temporary drain, lower rainfall and continuous running of the existing 1 inch pipe drain got the water level down much further. Finally this week the top of the dam had dried enough to do a proper installation of the drain pipe at an even lower level. At present I need the pond to stay at least down to this level, but when all the excavation is completed there will be a stand pipe placed on the drain regulating the water level at whatever is desired.

January also saw the chipper back in action,and more work cleaning the back of the pond of debris is needed so more clean clay can be excavated for the dam wall. The wood chips will also come in handy for mulch projects.

The lower water level will dry out the access routes on both sides of the dam, but it is likely that regardless of rainfall, the final dam height will not be reached until July or August simply because of soil saturation and the time it will take to dry everything out really well.

garlic peeking out from it’s warm mulch bed

The garlic is doing well in the garden, these new plants are a calculated upgrade to what had been planted in other years which I got from the local farmer’s market. the technique was simple, clean the soil, pulling really big taproots and wire grass. Then a layer of cardboard, punching a hole for each clove, setting them in place, and then covering them with about three to four inches of grass and leaves finely chopped with the lawnmower.

strawberries have seen better days

Other beds need some serious attention, grass invaded most of the strawberries, and the underground runners make it tough to weed, so very soon I will be going through making a hard choice of sacrificing everything to a deep cardboard/newspaper mulch, followed by pine needles, and new plants set in a handful of fresh soil within the pine needles. I may also opt for some drip lines under the mulch.

Elephant garlic in desperate need of attention
Tumeric in the greenhouse lost it’s leaves over a month ago, this one pot yielded three nice clusters. I replanted each cluster in it’s own pot, (minus a few of the tubers). These need a great deal of patience, and I don’t expect to see greenery till june
close inspection shows these wild garlic plants have been nibbled, likely deer, witnessed by the disturbed earth of a hoof print. Everything I want to keep needs to be protected from the critters. So far 2×4 welded wire fencing seems to keep even the rabbits out

The small Koi I bought in the fall have done quite well inside this winter. I set up a separate solar panel and a couple batteries to keep a small filter going, and gradually I’m getting them to be a bit bolder coming up for food. The goal is to train them to take food from my hand.

This of course takes the idea of a Koi pond out of the realm of a possibility into the world of necessity. And the more I think about it, the more likely it will become an extension of the pond at the corner of the kitchen garden. But of course much bigger and fancier than the existing small pond.

It will eventually be fed from part of the house roof drain, so that should be one of the cleaner sources of water. And of course it will be much closer to the house, where I can keep my eye on it. It’s tough to think about herons bothering goldfish, but even more difficult to think about them eating an expensive Koi.

Rosa Rugosa, a wonderful prickly rose bush with big hips, and it is trying to keep me out of my garden. It started as a few small plants and graduated to this thicket. I’ll use the backhoe to dig it out, then divide the roots, prune and replant. The black pot is the cherry tree that has taken a stand and I’ll attempt to replant it, TWT
Banana stalks look forlorn, but each spring they come back even stronger. Unfortunately they are taking up prime real estate next to the house, and what started as an experiment has become a ground hog. I want to plant Kale and tomatoes and hot peppers and the grape vines there need more space too.

There are other changes planned for the spring, moving the banana plants away from the house, relocating a rose bush/clump that has taken over too much of the garden, along with a cherry tree that dove down into the soil there and to lift the pot it was in would likely kill the tree.

This sort of mud makes building anything out of clay impossible. Even just moving the backhoe around creates more of a mess .

Swales to build, and trees to order and plant. I’m currently thinking about hundreds of whips,- willow, locust,plum, hawthorne, mulberry, and many others.

this cut into the south face of the slope provided much needed clay for the middle dam wall. now it will become a thermal wall to radiate heat back to more delicate figs that need a little extra help getting through the winter. It may also end up being the back wall of a greenhouse if the micro climate doesn’t work well enough

Down below the lower greenhouse is an area in front of a cut I made in the bank to get material for the middle pond. That area seems a likely place for a micro climate for the many figs I currently have in pots moving in and out of that greenhouse .

Dams , 12/29/2018, Primer and Update

The red lines are general property boundaries, tan/yellow lines represent earthworks dams and swales, the blue areas are potential water stopped and held by the Earthworks according to general topography. These are the dams and ponds I’ll be referring to here. The general topography is going downhill from lower right to upper left, and the dams from right to left are upper dam,

middle dam,

and contour pond.  The pond just above the contour pond is really just a hole in the ground that doesn’t hold water, and i call it somewhat optimistically the ridge point pond. The very top pond is a potential gully dam , that may never actually be completed since it overlaps the property line and would require a joint cooperation  .

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Another very nice rain, and fortunately the 2″ prediction didn’t turn into 8″, although at this point it hardly matters, the cold keeps the ground moisture from evaporating, and whatever falls at this point is just adding to the overall totals.

The middle  dam has been raised now, and the connecting swale nicely tied in. This will allow any future water that threatens this dam to be automatically diverted over to the contour pond.  This pond,  which  mostly has existed as a dry hole , finally started to fill with excess water from the main gully. My storages are really not totally keeping up with all the water falling, the dry days aren’t dry long enough to do any serious work with the backhoe, and the wet days are starting to defy my attempts at control, but the success of the connecting swale here means the next step is to focus in on the swale that extends beyond the contour pond. That is the next big opportunity in ground water storage and a safety valve to keep the contour pond from overflowing.

One of the lessons I have learned on a very experiential level is the old axiom  about how the desert  is a flood waiting to happen. When the ground is dry, the sun is hot,  and machinery can work easily, it is sometimes difficult to imagine the same area overflowing with water. Thirsty plants in the summertime do not automatically bring floods and chaos to mind.

But that is exactly the situation I find myself in. It is true that I have held back a great deal of erosion. When thinking about the large volumes of water that used to scour out the channel beside the drive there is a great feeling of accomplishment, but also a knowledge of more things that need doing.

Thinking about increased fertility in the gardens, and watching new spaces for gardens open  up beside the ponds fills my head with plans for the next growing season. But right now I need to look for places to put all this water that seems to be falling without end., My situation is not one of desperation since the reality of the extra water storage has made everything better overall, but now I find myself somewhat greedy.

Watching a two inch pipe steadily running water instead of flooding erosion is a nice step,  but now I find a new drive to harness even that  two inch flow of water.

PA Yeoman had lots of ideas about water, but probably the central theme was always “no runoff.”  Watching that 2 ” pipe I’m starting to understand. It’s not that I want to hoard all the water in the world, obviously that could never happen anyway. But when that 2 inch pipe leaves the fishpond, it has nutrients that could do wonders for a garden, and i find myself thinking about the next project.  Maybe this year I’ll finally get into setting up a garden down by the creek and take that water through a taro patch before I let it go.

Tying in new swales is also a way to harness that runoff, and it points to the idea that no matter how much you plan, a design is always going to evolve. The main idea is to make sure your design is not so hard and fast it gets overwhelmed with unexpected productivity.

I had thought about some sort of a final  reed bed  to do a filter /harvest  of nutrients before the water finally went to the creek. Of course it seemed far in the future at that time but here I am today watching water escape, anticipating more fun.

DSR update 12/25/2018

The double shoe box rocket is elevated off the floor about 18 inches, and instead of an exhaust on top- in front, it is channeled horizontally under a glass stove top from left to right.

Having the water tank inside the bell was an idea suggested at http://donkey32.proboards.com   that led me to my design, which in appearance is like a glass stove top, with an extended simple porcelain covered metal counter top.

This extended bell houses a naked 20 gallon water tank with two fittings, one for cold water at the bottom and one for hot at the top.

The top fitting connects directly into the hot water feed for my house system, and while in operation the hot water valve to the shower head in my tub is left open, and the cold water flow to the tank is shut off. This allows excess pressure to escape safely, and notifies me when the water is hot as steam starts to escape. Note that this is primarily proof of concept, and not yet ready for prime time water heating, it could easily have safety features added that would further ensure a more automatic type system.

note the new visions fry pan  “door” to the batch box, The lid I was using had broken into two pieces possibly from rough handling, possibly the lids are not as thermally  robust as the pans

Last night I was burning the third batch of wood in the firebox,low grade poplar and some mystery wood, likely not completely dry, when I started to hear the steam. That produced a luxurious long (10 min at 4-5 gal/min), very hot shower (mixing lots of cold water). I was concerned about stratification, and the possibility that all the water would not heat evenly, but the length and relatively constant heat of the shower indicated this was not an issue.

The design inside takes the combustion gases exiting under the stove top into a very broad vertical opening that directs the hot gases forward into a circular motion around the whole vertical surface of the tank, with some small horizontal space over and under the tank. These gasses that are further cooled start to sink to the bottom as they circulate. The “stack” entrance is below the bottom of the tank in back of the system, so the exhaust comes in contact with about 270 degrees of the surface of the tank, with some minor contact top and bottom. Note that this stack is actually a powered exhaust by a very cheap, low wattage (about 10)fan. This provides a more or less guaranteed exhaust even at startup, and the exhaust is so cool (around 100F) that more robust (and expensive) equipment is not needed.

The test run last night reached temperatures on top of the port between 900 and 1000 F during the third batch of wood, with a very robust secondary burn at the port. Without testing equipment I have no way of knowing just how clean this is burning, but it appears that the system gets more efficient into the second and third batch of wood by the size of the secondary burn. Perhaps using insulated Fire brick at the port would get the port to temperature more quickly (it is currently standard , full fire brick), and adding ceramic fiber blanket over the stove top might also enhance the temperature build up by reducing convection and radiation losses there.

 

The Roof, update 12/23/2018

The roof is performing better in this new temporary state, and with strong winds and very heavy snow loads and lots of rain, it kept everything dry inside, although missing some fascia boards and gutters, I’m getting a fair amount of water accumulating around the foundation.

I could say I planned it this way to test my drains and bring them into good functionality, but the truth is that’s just a happy coincidence, because at the end of the gutters the water pours down and forms a lake right next to the lowest part of the earth around the foundation.

So with the heavy rains, the drains (after much modification, are finally handling  water infiltration very well, although not without some sleepless nights  sweeping water to the drain and chiseling deeper channels in the concrete floor- (I knew there was a reason I didn’t tile the greenhouse right away).

So now that the drains are really working, maybe it’s time to actually add some gutters and take all that water over to the actual planned destination, a pipe that goes under the driveway into the kitchen garden.

I have been upstairs rearranging, cleaning if you will, but really it’s just a warehouse, with space at a premium, and there’s only so much condensing and organizing a person can do before it’s time to let stuff go.

I’m inheriting a bunch of pretty nice stuff from my mom’s house, so it can replace the crap I was using, unfortunately it’s tough for me to throw away anything that’s still functional. So the skeletal additions to the roof  are waiting for clear floor space around the miter saw as well as enough floor space to install the rafters.

I do have some high hopes that I might actually start to move forward on this project in the near future, especially since the first cleaning steps are mostly inside out of the weather. That reminds me, it’s nice out and I left some crap by the door that needs to go somewhere else. Stay tuned.

more DSR pics (double Shoe-box Rocket

Note the opening to the left of the tank, exhaust gases travel counter clockwise around the tank once the insulated top is installed

Two water connections to the tank, hot through the upper pipe, cold through the pipe that exits the enclosure botom

 

I prefer to think of the junk you see as a parts depository, the stove pipe comes up in the center of a poured concrete 2′ wall from the basement, runs horizontally, then down to the ground

The wider area of the pipe after the angle pointing down houses a small fan,

Though it looks solid from the sides, there is actually quite a wide openiong for the exhaust to exit. This configuration keeps the fan dry, allows for a small amount of falling for the exhaust as it cools, and protects pretty well against strong wind

 

sThe tank enclosure has an insulated   top and sides, with just enough room to circulate exhaust around and over the tank to transfer as much heat as possible to the water.

The Roof

I have doubts that I will actually complete my roof this year. With summer heat and other projects the roof got put off and off until I got to the point where I had to do something so I could mount some new solar panels.

That something was to put down some plywood and fasten metal sheets down on top of it. So I can move and service these new monster panels .

The existing temporary  covering on the roof  had numerous leaks and actual open sky damage at times this past year and I knew I had to do something.

While the skeleton of the roof is mostly in place, the finished framework needs to be standardized with approximately 24 more rafters added before I can even think about actually finishing the roof .  But I did at least get the mish mosh of materials off the roof  and most of the metal in place so the  next time I go to add plywood to the roof it will be easier to remove and replace the metal once I add the plywood. The missing skeletal elements can be mostly added from inside.

I could rant on about the hardships of working with salvaged materials, but the fact is I’m happy to be able to do so much with so little.

Now if I get back home after heavy winds and rain and find the place is still dry and the panels are still on the roof, I will be a very happy camper!:-)

If it ain’t broke….  well, this was broke, out with the tarp, these first two roof sections are a bare beginning, with lots to do before they are in their final configuration, so you could say this is still temporary, but it definitely is moving toward a finished roof.

move the solar panels to the side ,slightly less power, but at least some continuity–these will be replaced with larger panels when this project is done.

new fascia board helps to stabilize rafters

When I look around from this vantage the trash really jumps out at me. But in that “mess” is water storage, structural elements, tools and actual garbage. I know, get busy!!

New iteration of the old rocket stove

Hello again from winterland– no snow but plenty of cold, it has even gone down below 20 degrees F already. Inside, the lowest it got was in the mid 50s.

With a new stove build in progress, the place has relied completely on sun for passive heating, and yesterday, the first full sun in several days, I even got out a fan, and was moving the warm greenhouse air into the bedroom. Needless to say the sun gave me lots of surplus electrical energy with the new solar array I installed about three weeks ago.

this project is pretty ambitious, a smaller footprint and less passive mass, but with some luck the   water tank will provide an active absorption and transfer of heat to the mass of the floor.

For now the plan is to use a naked water tank, but depending on how well it works I may look for additional transfer with copper tubing instead.

Last night I got the stove ready and did a small test run to make sure I could count on the exhaust fan, and there was no trace of smoke inside. I prefer to have everything completely airtight so even though  the system is not finished, with positive ventilation it is tight enough to start the drying out process. There was very little heat at the exhaust pipe outside, but at this stage that really doesn’t tell anything since lots of btus are needed  to dry it all out.

Once dry the  btus will be available for cooking and heating water. One other effect of the moisture   is the secondary burn chamber did not function very well, at least I hope that was the issue. I noticed a brief period during the burn when it started to ignite so that was a good sign,but most of the burning occurred in the firebox.

So while more insulation is needed, and the water tank needs to be plumbed in properly, for the time being I have a cooktop, and can continue the drying process.

 

Here’s the build history thus far

take off watercoil,remove rocket barrel, notice soot–wasn’t burning too clean (except inside the riser, which was still snow white. The batch box I installed last year was made for a 6″ riser, but lining the 8″ riser with “1 inch” ceramic fiber reduced the riser size too much. There also may have been an issue with the port configuration and the way I typically ran the burns.  Getting used to the batch box dynamics requires a new mind set over typical managing of the burn in a regular wood stove.

gone with the old and a new platform  in it’s place note that I’m working here with wet clay in forms a mock up of the batchbox floor with secondary burn tube. This is the tube I took out of the old batch box, but the new dimensions doubled the  size of the tube I had been using for secondary air supply–this may have been part of the problem with excess soot in the old unit Perlite and clay on the back and left side, refractory cement on the right (shared side with oven) . odd bricks and such inside and out are used as wedges to hold split firebrick liner in place as forms while the clay perlite mix is solidifying

Adding the top secondary burn chamber.

In this picture the floor of the top chamber is ceramic fiber using a bit of water glass as a stiffener, but the final solution was giving a slight slope of the firebrick in the lower batch box reducing the width at the top by approx 1/2″  and precariously using the 1/4 inch or so for support of normal split firebrick. These were secured with a layer of perlite and clay keeping them precisely centered. Picture of oven location

With the oven in place. The final configuration with baffles to channel the heat No door on the oven yet, but since the inside of the oven is outside the combustion gas area it won’t stop me from doing a test run, here’s the top gaskets made of ceramic fiber

with the stove top and water tank in place

finally with a hurry up enclosure around the water tank and the first fire, a power vent replaces a draft, and the vent pipe was just comfortably warm outside after a half hour burn

Follow up tests have raised the stove top temperature to 570 F as the clay dries out. Once the temps start to stabilize, assuming a strong secondary burn,  I’ll be able to more accurately test the effects of different baffle placements, and actual potential of the design.

      view of secondary flame through top

 

views of firebox

This was taking at the beginning of a burn cycle. During the hotter parts of the burn the flames are a continuous robust splash against the amber colored stove top glass.. temps here are just approaching 900F.

Please note  much of the fuel is a bit damp. this slows starting and reduces overall performance.

More about Machinery and Permaculture

Some might not call it appropriate technology,  but machinery may not be all bad when thinking about sustainability. The real test is the overall increased output over the life of the system.

It is easy to think that a dam will last 1000 years and therefore becomes worth the immense amount of energy it takes to build a good one. Of course who is going to be able to be around to make sure the dam does not become simply another earthwork to be undone by others in the next generation. The reality becomes one of making projects immensely valuable to new generations so they are respected for the prosperity they bring in the future, not just for the single generation that creates them.

Bill used to talk about creating food forests that were later destroyed by new owners who only wanted to raise cattle. Misuse like that can quickly ruin a dam and even  invasion by trees with taproots could  threaten it’s existence. Almost all dams are going to silt up, so at some point in their history they will need to be cleaned out to remain as water bodies, but this can be a positive productivity, generating fertile land for crops.

To the extent possible, it is good for the dam builder to take responsibility for creating sustainable plantings around and on the dam, and perhaps even guide the next generation of owners in the care and use of the dam for greatest reward. Silt ponds and other  installations can aid in keeping dam maintenance an easy process, but there is no crystal ball that can foresee every possible future assault on the dam’s integrity.

For me, my projects are never guaranteed to be perfect. Like most patterns, the pattern of building a dam with swales to control erosion and hydrate the landscape is one that often works exceedingly well, and as time goes on there will be more and more applications of these patterns as they demonstrate their value. This awarenmess in turn starts to act as a protection, insurance against the vagaries of human insanity.

So I’m willing to spend large amounts of money and material and even fossil energy to create these earthworks as another demonstration to help our public expectations of normal use  evolve / improve.

If it is normal or expected to have well hydrated, highly productive systems, and the mechanics of the systems are well known, then more and more will be built. If a few don’t survive there will be many more that do. So in a sense everything we do to restore more natural water systems is a gamble, but the odds are good enough that overall they will guarantee success and become a new standard in the mainstream.

That being said, I’m currently struggling with the hydraulics of my second hand backhoe. Struggling is perhaps not the right word, but lately it has not been totally smooth sailing. A lot of the work is simply my own ignorance of machines, and being imprecise with my maintenance.

I would encourage anyone trying to keep a used machine running to know as much as possible before turning the key. New machines may be properly set up with great dealer support, but old machines may have a history of misuse leading to more trouble. Sometimes it requires special skills to repair and then maintain past troubles, but there’s no reason it can’t be done. Just be ready to give the machine a rest now and then when something breaks and follow through on finding the cause and the correct upkeep that keeps it from breaking again (if possible).

My example is the power steering cylinder, and I have installed two new ones that have each failed in turn, which has prompted me to examine the state of the hydraulic fluid in the entire system. It has always seemed a milky color, and a friend told me that was normal, and that the cheapest tractor supply fluid was good enough.

After two new cylinders going bad one after the other in quick succession I finally got the idea that maybe the problem was the machine system, not the cylinder. Dedicating some time to study the issue  I’m convinced of the need to change the fluid- all 25 gallons of it, and put in a premium fluid without so much water contamination.

The next step will be to see if the stop leak product I saw advertised is really a good idea or not. In fact, this whole thing has me seriously thinking about devoting a day out of every five to renewing some system or another in preventive maintenance.

I guess I’m sort of doing that already, replacing seals and greasing fittings, but I know there is a lot more about the machine that I’m just praying I won’t have to deal with. The more rational approach would be to accept the fact that sooner or later I’m going to have to learn it anyway, and the proverb of the stitch in time saving nine is as true now as it was in Ben’s day.

Maybe it’s time for an engine oil change too!

TWT

Remember, if you’re not having fun, you’ve got the design wrong. I’m still having fun- mostly, so I must be doing some stuff right, and the dam is growing incrementally with each period it is running and not sitting idle waiting for a part. Overall the machine does so much work so quickly, that my only regret is that I can’t afford a bigger, newer machine to do even more work.

😉

 

 

 

 

 

My Ponds with Photos

I’m currently in the process of adding newer photos to update progressAt the top of the kitchen garden, this new pond is a salvage that I had to repair using plastic welding techniques.  I tried to create a clay based pond  in this place, but all last year it filled many times and never held water very long, even with lots of clay added to try and seal it. In general, I would never spend money on a Plastic prefabs, but when the price is low and I can repair it, the energy audit becomes much better! I’m also finding that for smaller ponds a liner of some sort is probably going to be the only way to go.

Low Gully Pond

Due to bad weather at the time of creation I was unable to finish  building this dam with the rented backhoe,The water actually started to fill the pond from the bottom, and that water came in as a blue green color, but run off filled it most of the way, and that water was heavy with sediment  then it took weeks of hand labor to get it the rest of the way to this height.

It  overflowed during excessive Spring rain events. but drastically receded during the summer last year because of irrigation water use and being emptied to keep the goldfish pond  filled. The dam  holds water very well and I’m waiting to see if the summer gets dry enough to bring down the water level so I can move in the backhoe and complete the construction.

I’ve already started to build up the first part of the dam wall, but it’s tough to compact clay right at the water line

In another month, if the water is not down, I will drain it and then finish building the dam. (it’s great  to swim in at this level) Once completed I plan to stock it with Koi.

 

PlanThis is an overview of the  half of the property(red boundary). Difference in elevation is about 100′ from lower right to upper left and the two ponds  at the bottom of the picture are all in the same gully that runs downhill from right to left. The small pond pictured just above those two

has never really held water yet, but it does show signs of improving it’s water retention.   This may change over time with organic matter and better integration of the swale, but that requires completion of   the Low Gully Dam.

At the very top of the plan drawing the pond touches a neighbors property and there needs to be some sort of written agreement to establish clear rights and responsibilities regarding it’s construction, use, and maintenance before beginning construction. At present the long connecting swale ends just before the pond location, and if no arrangement is reached that swale will be extended  up along the property line to collect more water that would otherwise flow off the property.

This picture was taken  at a very low water level, and believe it or not there are

catfish that survived the winter at this water level (only a couple feet deep). This year they are  over a foot long!

 

This “high gully dam” is in it’s second year. It overflowed once,

filled two or three times, but is still filling the “back country”. Dams are meant to hydrate the landscape, and the process generally takes about seven years. Currently this dam is the focus of most backhoe energy, while it may not be obvious in the picture, the dam has been holding back the flood with a wall thickness of only 2 feet or less at the top but as this picture  shows, the added mass will more than double the width of the dam wall, and the actual compaction will also be much better.

and a great deal of mass has been added to the dam wall, as well as clearing much more of the area to the left  and top of the picture  to prepare for further excavation.

Goldfish pond (not shown on plan), a bit murky after a rainA close in snapshot of the gold fish pond. This was created when the driveway was put in about 15 years ago, and has boasted hundreds of fish, all descended from a few 38 cent babies from Walmart. There have also been crayfish, herons, and one huge snapping turtle that have all visited the pond at different points. Needless to say I try to discourage the heron(s) and snapping turtles with varying degrees of success.

Last year the fish in this pond suffered with dry weather throught the fall and winter, and the fish population was cut in half. Some of my favorite older fish disappeared and many smaller ones as well. But this year they are making a comeback and water levels are doing pretty good, so with luck they will continue to increase populations again.

 

Nuclear Energy and Permaculture

It can be intoxicating watching u tube videos on Thorium and molten salt reactors. Not enough so I want to dedicate my life to it, but certainly enough to binge watch and change my general attitude toward ALL nuclear energy.

Of course the whole molten salt reactor story seems to reinforce my general theory about government being the best friend of big business, and unable to see beyond the profit motives of powerful corporations/individuals. So it generally appeals to my long standing distrust of all big government, both Republican and Democrat, and as such fits nicely into my world view paradigm.

Of course many of the molten salt researchers and advocates fit very nicely into the 9-5, big business establishment, except  that they have stumbled onto one of those world changing discoveries that could actually remake civilization more toward that Star Trek world of the future where people have all their basic needs supplied for free and no one works for money but simply as a contribution to the common general well being, according to their  personal desires.

So  some of the “advantages ” of a molten salt reactor aren’t really advantages to a person who understands Permaculture, and there still needs to be some training in simple things like water and soil conservation, as well as better agriculture techniques to reduce energy inputs.

So  Permaculture principles do not disappear simply because of cheap abundant energy sources that do not pollute or cause climate change.

Bill was pretty emphatic that Permaculture needed to permeate all realms, micro and macro, and the swales and ponds I dig on my land are just as important as the molten salt reactors reducing CO2 output and consuming nuclear waste.

That’s right, consuming nuclear waste. Did you hear me?

I said Consuming all those spent fuel rods and misc items of nuclear crap trying to find a home, and turning them into electricity, or heat to melt steel, all with limited extra energy inputs, and amazing energy outputs from the process.

Without doing actual computations, it appears that these reactors would actually solve many other waste problems from man’s current activities and supply unlimited sources of energy going forward into the future. And the reality is that Our use of the thorium would simply be a more targeted application with very small quantities (relatively speaking ) of this same element that has been protecting and sustaining life on the planet.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the day when we lay down all our tools, stop work and simply walk around in the garden  as supreme co creators , but I also see the hypocrisy of anti nuke enthusiasts benefiting from coal and fossil energy and unwilling to support something that promises to be even less toxic than solar panels.

If I thought solar and wind could scale fast enough to meet all electrical needs I would still want to know what you plan to do with all that nuclear waste.

Where’s elon musk when you need him , he might have an idea:-)