Sunday, August 05, 2007

Random Musings

How's Life? What is Life and What does it Mean?

Spacey Thoughts.


deb said...

Thanks for the new threads Christopher:-) Much faster to load now.

Cheryl said...

Christopher, the new threads look great.

I found an interesting site recently, Worthless Word for the Day.

Sometimes it's not so worthless, for example, this recent posting:

the worthless word for the day is: resipiscent

[L. resipiscentia, < resipiscere to recover one's senses]
/res eh PIS ent/
returning to one's senses; learning from experience (also, resipiscence: repentance for misconduct;
return to a sane, sound, or correct view or position)

Christopher C. NC said...

The Democrats keep pretending that they are about to be resipiscent and then they cave in to the cry baby in chief.

I really have to wonder what is the insanity that permeates Washington and our politicians?

John G. said...

cool threads...
Well...They had to not only get real but stay real, this they did not do...orr...they were provided with info once they got into office they did not previously have and it changed their perspective a bit orr they are waiting until they take the executive branch in 08 and then planning a clean sweep. Bottom line real average middle class Americans feel like they have no voice where the decisions are made.
Recently our local hospitals have reported a sharp increase in "staff" infections...I had to go and see if I could find what they were missing. First thing was the elevator ride up, when the doors opened and I stepped in the first thing I noticed was that space between the elevator and walls which is usually covered by two sets of doors, there was a thick gross powdery mold growing in the corners on the wall behind the doors, everytime the doors open and shut a draft would blast a small amount airborne into the halls and elevator. The tops of the doors into and out of the rooms as well as the top of the underside of the beds were caked with powdery dust and grime. The vacuum cleaners they were using had an outer "dirty" bag which kicks up a cloud of aerosol everytime they were flicked on and stays airborne for possibly hours. they need to use hard body cleaners with antibacterial bags and sealed hepa filters.
I promptly contacted the hospital administrator and pointed out my observations. I feel confident he was grateful and will take immediate action. Hospitals are not cruise ships the maintenence staffs have to go where this stuff hides and disinfect as well as sterilize not just pretty up what visitors or patients see. Next time you go to your local hospital look in these areas and see if they are not cleaning these areas also, it may help reduce hospital caused infections.take care thanx for the new threads christopher...

Cheryl said...

Thank you John. You'll never know who you helped, but I'm sure that it is a lot of people. My husband had a staph infection from an IV at the hospital.

Also on the health care theme, Barbara Ehrenreich has a column comparing pet health insurance to children's health insurance. Just sad enough to make some people think. I hope.

Richard Yarnell said...

On staph infections:

Several days ago, I saw a report on clinics, not staffed by doctors, being allowed to prescribe and administer antibiotics. In body of the report, a woman was interviewed about the treatment her kid had gotten for a simple ear infection. You guessed it: an antibiotic, rarely needed for an earache.

I understand the proximate cause of ever more virulent hospital infections, including staff, has been the use and misuse, even the overuse of antibiotics.

Richard Yarnell said...

It's started: phase one of the Shambles retrofit begins today or tomorrow.

The first stage is the "Crafts Workshop" or "replacement accessory building" which cannot, for political reasons, be called the Studio that it actually is.

Your correspondent is suffering a bit of sticker shock, although some of the elements of the studio project are shared expenses with the main house. The thought (mine) had been that a) use of a pre-engineered steel building would make a simple and cheap place to start; and b) that the County would accept it since they dot the landscape on working farms all over the county.

a) the shell was cheap but the rest of the project isn't and b) I'm sad to report that the building department is bereft of imagination. Our GC believes it will be easier to get the house approved even though it is under ground and loaded with non-standard gismos.

Among other things, we have to provide water for various construction activities. Right on schedule, we started having trouble with the pump going off for no apparent reason. I was methodical in approaching the diagnosis - simplest things first.

I'd found quite a bit of debris in the bottom of the toilet tank but had no idea how long it had been there. One thought - well collapse that had covered the intake screen on the pump itself. Since the pump was cycling on/off too frequently, it might have been that the pressure tank had flooded. We looked for leaks but could find none.

Susan finally figured it out. She has exceptional hearing and during a rare quiet moment, heard water running down near the barn. Although there was no sign of water on the surface, there was about two feet down where the llamas had cracked the nipple that attached a frost-free to the lateral. But it took all day to find and about 10 minutes to repair it. That is not what I'd intended for Sunday.

Advice I've probably mentioned before for everyone living on a well. Spend the $150 and install a load sensing cut off switch. It will save you having to replace the pump - expensive if you use a submersible.

40 days from today we move stuff out of the house into the studio so demolition can begin the old farmhouse.

Wish us luck.

Christopher C. NC said...

Good luck! May the building gods grant you much patience.

Can I guess that all the extra expense in the Studio/Steel building is the foundation work and the accessories to make it livable while you build the real house.

Richard Yarnell said...

Some of it is that, but I'd counted on that. For one thing, we added a step wall to raise the height of the building 18" and we're putting the tubing in the floor for a possible use of radiant heat if we end up having to install a heat pump as back up in the main house. The studio is close enough that we can run it as a zone of the house. (We're installing the Yarnell/Moore grid which is a departure from the usual layout of such tubing. It's a reverse flow pattern that I used in the solar business which, apparently, hasn't ever been used in the heating trades. The GC, best name in Portland, couldn't get a contractor to do it so I'll be laying it out myself. They will install a hot water heater temporarily to test it (infra-red thermometers, etc. If it works, as I know it will, we'll write it up and publish it and then use it in the house. I'm saving about $2K by spending a day punching holes and clamping plastic hose together.)

We're also finishing the floor the same way we'll do it in the house so we can "audition it." Ditto the counter top (Caesar Stone) which is reclaimed dust from high end counters that's then encapsulated in resin. No seams but looks like well finished concrete (which is too soft and stains even though it looks great.

There is an explosion resistant exhaust system and a tankless hot water heater. There's also a self supporting storage loft, but that isn't a big deal. I know because I put a much larger and heavier one in the barn.

What did surprise me was how much the framing is costing. Two end walls, the bathroom (very small with no lav, just toilet and stall shower) and the insulated but unheated storage 6x8 on one end. Code requires 6" exterior walls and it will be spray foam insulated.

The floor will be colored to match the local soil, but that's only a package of dye thrown in the transit mix truck at the last minute. The bees wax seal and polish is all of $450 on top of an extra careful finish trowel job.

We found the perfect sink at the recycle place; ditto an arched window.

We're routing all the juice for the farm through the studio so there is a bigger than normal breaker panel or two. And I'm one of those folks who hates to dig into walls to change the wiring diagram, so there are probably more circuits and switches than in the normal building. For example, I put switches on every counter top duplex and we divided at least three of the lighting circuits and put them on two switches.

But keep in mind, when these folks are finished, I still have to go back and add the "window seats" and insulate the exterior. The insulation will be protected with shotcrete, of what color, I'm not sure.

Oh, if I haven't mentioned it, I just finished installing the four camera security system that will serve two purposes: security - this is a rural site and construction theft is rampant; and a record of the construction recorded at 2 frames per second as long as anyone is moving. The cameras record to a 160 gig HD, display on a TV set. After construction is finished, we'll install the cameras at each door (each of which is on a different floor (plus the studio) and use it to avoid trips up and down the stairs. The reduction in insurance premium pays for the $399 system in two years.

Their first day on the site is tomorrow and leaks of anti-climax: they're removing the forest green barn siding roof of the studio saving it and the rigid insulation I put under it for use later in the job.

More than you wanted to know.


deb said...

Thanks for the tip on the load sensing cut off switch, Richard. And looking forward to the publication of the Yarnell/Moore system! Are you posting some of the pics on your website? BTW, I lost the link to that site...would you post it again?

Good work on finding mold in the hospital elevator, JG. Mold is a serious health hazard that is under researched. I am guessing that too many variables come into play where mold and health are concerned. Some people are affected and some are not, illness may take years to develop and the cause is not readily identifiable, not everyone presents with the same disease after being exposed, and it seems that "the powers that be" don't fund much research on environmental causes of health problems anyway.

Christopher, how's your project going?

Christopher C. NC said...

Maybe we will be pouring the cement for the foundation next week. We are getting closer to having all the forms and steel in place to be inspected.

I do have electricity on site now.

Richard Yarnell said...

Right on schedule, there's a bumper crop of wild Oregon blackberries.

Right on time, too, it's going to rain. All the berries that are ripe
or near ripe, will doubtless mildew. Even as it was getting too dark
to distinguish color, we were out trying to get enough for a batch of
iced cream (milk, now) and for a bowl in the morning.

This after most of the bushes near the house were trashed during the
razing of the old studio. (I can't believe I actually miss that
rotting trap of a building - I'd grown accustomed to its antique

But if they get the forecast right, there will be another third of an
inch of fire suppression - that is until the new grass and weeds grow
up and dry out.

I persuaded Susan to take a spinning wheel out to the now barren site
of the studio. She put on a skirt! and sat down to spin. The llamas
were clustered in the far background. The plan is to pose her in the
same place once the building is erected to produce a before and after

Enjoy the weekend.

Cheryl said...

Yum. It's been a while since I had wild blackberries.
Sounds like a great before & after shot.

Richard Yarnell said...

I posted the same article on my Pomona Class of 64 list. There ensued a lengthy discussion by the attending physicians and researchers about the anti-cancer properties of black raspberries and most of the _Rubus_ family. Mouth, esophygial, stomach, and colon seem to benefit.

Eat 'em fresh or frozen: jam doesn't count.

Richard Yarnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
deb said...

Here in NC we are past the berry season, except, maybe the higher altitudes (berries up on top, Christopher?). The blackberies and wild blueberries are delicious here.

We had a hard freeze just as spring burst into full bloom and the early apples didn't make it, but the later apples are coming in now, yum! My Granny always believed in the "apple a day" for health. Any truth to the theory?

I make applesauce and apple butter with just apples (no sugar added). The apple sauce only cooks for a short time after the batch starts to boil, but the apple butter cooks for about 12 hours, so I'm guessing that most of the nutrients are cooked out of the apple butter.

Richard Yarnell said...

An apple a day, particularly in winter, was a hedge against scurvy, among other things, as winter wore on and nutrition declined.

Probably still works as we eat more and more prepared foods. Lots of fiber.

Christopher C. NC said...

I had some Blackberries from Tennessee when Annie came to visit last month with her friend who lives there. Then much better bigger and fatter Blackberries picked from behind the house my sister rented in Maggie Valley about three weeks ago. I have seen all kinds of folks picking them on the side of the road, but not so much of late.

Up here I have been killing the thorny things. If I will have Blackberries, they will be where I put them, not where they decide to be.

deb said...

It sounds as if your garden is going to take shape as your first cottage is being built. Mine is an after thought, but I can't wait to get started...too much to be done inside right now though:-(

I found this while reading the news, it sounds pretty exciting:

Google Sky Allows Users to Tour Galaxies

Richard Yarnell said...

cc said: "Up here I have been killing the thorny things. If I will have Blackberries, they will be where I put them, not where they decide to be."

Wanna bet?

Christopher C. NC said...

Richard, amazing things can be accomplished while one putters through the garden. One just has to nip the fruits of birds behinds while they are still young and small.

Richard Yarnell said...

Cane berries are my one concession to the herbicide market: I spray them in the fall just as they begin to suck the life out of canes and leaves before winter. If you don't kill the crowns and ALL of the roots, they will regenerate.

John G. said...

Is there a known relation to insects (particularly ants) and the "hum of the earth" and lightning strikes? If you study ant colonies in the area with the highest concetrations of electrical flows and grids both man made and natural you can almost predict lightning strikes to within a square foot of where they will strike. The grids will then change as will the insects routines. It would be interesting to know the electrical currents, temps and other factors related around areas where bees seem to disappear.

Cheryl said...

I know that ants love to build nests under black berry bushes, and in raised garden beds. The loose soil may have something to do with the lightning attraction. Holds more water?

deb said...

Wikipedia has a good page about lightning: Lightning

Another of their pages that is updated regularly is Colony Collapse Disorder

Richard Yarnell said...

Finally, some real progress, in spite of the plans approval people.

The foundation was just poured for the new Shambles Workshop.

I expected to have problems getting the permit to build the earth sheltered house. I did not expect to have problems on a steel building on a slab to replace a plywood building on stilts. From a tinder box to fireproof - they didn't want to listen.

When we pour the slab, we'll pour colored concrete to approximate the reddish brown color of Jory clay loam (slightly more brown that the gumbo around Atlanta). For the privilege of coloring the footings and exposed concrete that will be visible from the house and garden, they wanted the princely sum of $2K. Now way. So when they strip the forms off in the morning, I'll be out there with a bucket of mud, dyeing the concrete myself - no approximate color for this workshop.

I'm sure Susan will post photos on her blog this weekend.


PS: I think the bee problem is a combo of things. But I think the principle cause is the fact that we've had to put sub-lethal doses of miticides in the hive continually to deal with both the tracheal mite and the varroa mite. I suspect the bees' immune systems are shot.

In those places where the crops are grown, I suspect the foragers are being killed in the field by plants that have been altered to produce their own insecticides.


John G. said...

Heard about the spider web in Texas? It will probably be hit by lightning in a few days...

deb said...

Hadn't heard about the spider web...fascinating:

Got arachnophobia? Here's your worst nighmare

Spider Web Engulfs Texas Park Trail

What's with the lightning stuff, JG? Lightning is basically random. A few living thing on the surface attract it, mainly because their roots reach into the water table and they are the tallest point near where the "earth charge" and the "sky charge" are going to connect. Which, now that I think about it, might also apply to power poles, especially in the flat south where the water table is just a few feet below the surface. As far as insects go, you'd be hard pressed to not find large numbers of ant beds in a field in the south that has gone a while since it was tilled.

Also, as Cheryl said, ant hills tend to be where there are moist conditions. I've heard that a large, old ant hill was a good place to start when digging a well.

But, thinking about where lightning is going to strike does make me wonder if we could build an underground salt battery, say in a high strike zone (Fla.?) with a tall tower and capture some of that energy. Perhaps, even then there would be no guarantee of lightning recharging the battery.

Richard, Would you post the address to Susan's blog?, your blog? If it was posted before I've lost it and would like to see your project.

I have spent quite a bit of time mudding for my project. We put stone on the basement level of the house, and I have ceramic tile in the basement rec room and all of the baths. I'm currently working on the top and back of the wet bar which is slate tiles. Working with tile and stone has been a favorite job for me, the stone is just random and with the tile those little spacers make it easy to do it right. I found that a boat cushion (life preserver) worked for me better than the knee pads, easy to scoot around and the mud cleans right off, whereas the knee pads either cut off circulation or fell off when I stood up.

Bees: from wikipedia


"In May 2003, the DGAL (Direction Générale de l'Alimentation du ministère de l'Agriculture ) indicated a case of bee mortality observed in Southern France related to Fipronil acute toxicity. Intoxication was linked to defective seed treatment, which generated dust. The involved Syngenta seed treatment has been since forbidden."

Richard Yarnell said...

The old house has figured out its fate and is taking revenge in advance:

First, the kitchen sink clogged up. When I went to fix it, first the trap collapsed in my hand; then the tail piece on one side, did the same after the nut shattered. By the time I'd used up all the parts on hand, the tail piece on the second side came apart;

Then, for no apparent reason, when I turned on a double outdoor fixture to check to see whether they were indeed fluorescent bulbs, the circuit breaker tripped. After dismantling the circuit, piece by piece, I've determined that the short is in the wiring between the switch and the fixture - all buried in the wall. So much for putting ordinary incandescent lamps there so that the cameras have enough IR radiation to show us what's happening;

Then I had the bright idea of unclogging the kitchen drain before fixing the trap assembly (dishwasher can't be used either and taking dishes to the laundry sink is a drag). I have this gizmo that swells up when you put water into it so that it seals the pipe and puts pressure on the drain. It did that, but the clog was so substantial that I was blowing water out the vent on the roof. I went up there and tried reaming out the drain but the snake wasn't long enough. So, putting pressure on the sink drain and my hand on the vent, I forced at least some water down the drain system. But it was still clogged.

When Susan opened the shower door, there was dirty water in the tub and a wad of goo pushing its way into the tub. So far, all efforts to get the tub to drain have failed. Neither of us understand why the utility sink, lav and toilet are still working. There is a clean out plug, but the sweetheart who designed this abortion of a system put it within two inches of the exterior wall in the basement. After 50 years, I doubt that we can turn it anyway.

If they don't get the studio finished soon, the house, taking its revenge in advance, is going to put us on the street in our skivvies.


dan said...

Richard, while some might write off the timeing of your misfortune as coincidence, I do not. Like many jilted lovers, your old house is bitter at being cast aside for a younger model. I hope her wrath subsides soon. Best of luck!

deb said...

Political leanings linked to brain activity

deb said...


Prisons Purging Books on Faith From Libraries

Richard Yarnell said...

A brief report on the housing project here and then a rant:

What started out to be a simple project - installing a steel shell and finishing it to be a clean workshop for weaving, spinning, and all those things you don't want to be covered in sawdust, has turned into a much more difficult and expensive affair than I could have imagined. The shell itself, 20x32 is a bargain at around $6K delivered. Then the county got into it. The footings and foundation are massive. I'll admit that we wanted to raise the height by 18" and US Buildings would not add that length onto the straight sides of their "S" style (why, I can't tell you). The county is also suspicious that we are going to live in it despite the fact that we're building a $500K plus house next to it! They nixed my use of PVC to provide the hydronic tubing in the poured concrete slab. They couldn't come up with a reason and ignored the advice of 3 architects that since the pipe would be buried in the slab it is technically "outside" the building - that is it is not subject to UV radiation, fire, or freezing, all things that do degrade PVC. I wanted to use PVC because it costs half as much as CPVC and less than quarter as much as PEX if PEX had the tubing sizes I needed. So after first receiving clearance to use the PVC from the contractor - they consider it a concession to let me work on my own building - I made up the two manifolds that will supply and take away the warm water that may be employed to warm the slab only to learn yesterday that the County had dug in its heels. Three of us searched Portland and the web for the right fittings in CPVC and I suggested that we replace the flexible PVC pipe with rigid CPVC so that I could get a new system built in time for inspection on Tuesday in time for a pour on Wednesday.

We'd intended to dye the concrete slab until we found out that the dye costs $500 and cleaning up the truck costs another $750-$1000! We will pour plain old grey concrete and stain it with the same stuff my folks used in the Ranch house 60 years ago. It will be the color of the local Jory Clay Loam (think of the red soil around Atlanta). You can guess why.

They expect to erect the shell in three days - I'm betting two. It'll take 3 days to frame the end walls including the storage area and bathroom.

They county nixed my spray foam and shotcrete insulation plan - they might have this one right except that they're applying a residential standard to an auxiliary out building. [The building has very deep corrugations on 2' centers. I reasoned that if I sprayed and inch or two of foam on the peaks and filled the valley's with 3-4" of foam (inside and out) and then covered it all, inside and out, with shotcrete, there would be the equivalent of 4-6 inches of insulation on the whole shell. They only count the thinnest application (2-4") and point out that the metal will conduct heat from the peaks to the valleys. As a result, we lose 7-8 inches of interior space to metal studs and drywall which will be a challenge, even for the pros given the 20' arch.

In the meantime, we're sweating the much more novel and complex main house. I've managed to persuade the engineers at the Builder's office that it will work and, truth be told, now that their solar consultant has told them that my theories and gadgets will work as advertised, they're truly excited to be building it. I'm told there's quite a competition among the subs to be included since the Kelly Company intends to publicize the house just as much as I intend to myself.

I'd intended to use steel framing and concrete floors poured in pans a la your common commercial building. They wanted to use timber framing but finally changed their minds in view of the attached greenhouse and below grade design. They wanted to use Dura Block, a wood fiber filled concrete block that has the cores insulated with foam and light, fiber filled concrete. I wanted to use concrete to which they acceded when I pointed out that the ground has a constant 55F temp so that insulation isn't a big deal. However, a local company has just installed a factory to produce the block less than 100 miles away (otherwise it would have come from Ontario, CA) and has pointed out that it will be have as expensive to use the block which doesn't need to be stapled into the ground behind the building so long as the floor joists support it from the inside at not more than 12 ft intervals. Bedroom floor has 9' ceilings and the public (2nd floor) has 10 foot ceilings.

We've solved the problem of removing excess heat from the greenhouse (humid air) by using a standing seam roof to which the solar panels can be easily attached without poking holes in the metal, with another metal sheath below it made up of the same pan material that holds the concrete floors. Warm air from the greenhouse will be drawn between the two metal membranes and drawn off in a duct at the peak. If we have to install a heat pump, we'll use an air to water heat exchanger and warm a tank of water to use as a heat source. If not, we'll be able to control venting out the top of the house.

In Oregon, everyone has said that you can't build a "balanced" passively heated building. Too hot in the summer and not enough sun in the winter. I disagreed and compensated by having a lot of south facing glazing sufficient to heat the building in the winter and then controlling the amount of sunlight that gets into the building in the summer by using movable louvers outside the greenhouse. These do double duty by providing a way to avoid night time heat loss from the greenhouse due to black sky radiation - you can freeze a greenhouse on a clear night that way. When their solar consultant finally got that message and did his calculations, he was on board.

The solar hot water system took some doing, but I persuaded the manufacturer of a really slick evacuated tube (think thermos bottles) system to modify the manifold to which 30 tubes are attached so that it can be used in a pressurized thermosyphon system.

The storage tank is installed above the collectors. As water is heated, it naturally rises and collects in the tank. In the meantime, the coolest water in the tank sinks setting up a natural flow without use of a pump. I'd designed a system like this that my father built in Carson City using just flat pieces of copper soldered to copper pipe and painted black. In Oregon, where we do have our share of clouds, the evacuated tubes work even when it's cloudy - though not when it's raining. I'd used evac tubes before but had to use liquid silicon because they temps got so high. The new ones have a similar closed loop in each tube and a heat exchanger at the manifold. They're designed to be self limiting at just under boiling (95C) I'll probably end up storing 350 gallons of warm to hot water and will use demand (tankless) water heaters to supply additional heat if needed. The collector manufacturer is providing their engineering for free since they see a new application for their product.

Now that we know we can get by the code on the floor heat, we'll install that even though we don't expect to use it in the main house. My folks didn't have to borrow to build their house (nor do I) but did find that when they tried to sell it, the banks balked when they found out there was no conventional heating system - even though the house had been operating for 10 years and they could show them the full year instrumentation that proved the temperature was stable within four degrees (if I recall the lowest temp was 70 and the highest was 74). Since it would be expensive to install a system later, we'll put the tubing in place to which the heat pump can be attached if needed. I think I'll use a smaller pair of evacuated tubes 20 tubes each) to heat the Endless Pool. They work better in the winter in this climate than the usual swimming pool mats do. However, since I want to control the temp in the pool, I'll attach those to the water conditioning system that has a pump installed in it.

There is a program (actually a competition) in the sustainable building movement called LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The standards are very high and include not only building systems, but materials, how far you have to ship them, and even how much trash the building process sends to landfill.

My consultant (the VP in charge of custom home construction at the General Contractor's offices) is an authority on LEED and is giving a workshop in San Fran next weekend. He spent a couple of hours, rehearsing, now that I think of it, by telling me how you can be far more respectful of the environment by not chasing the LEED standard. One example: if you install a 95% efficient conventional heating system, you're awarded 15 points toward the 80 required to reach the coveted "Gold" LEED standard. However, if, as in our case, you don't install any heating system because you instead control orientation and the amount of light that enters the building throughout the year, you get only 1 point for "innovation." The LEED leadership is not going to be happy with Monty come next weekend.

This has gone on way to long and I'm sure most of you gave up long ago, but for those who got this far, when I got the latest draft of the drawings, I admit to a misty wash in my eyes. It's turning out even better than I'd expected. And to have such enthusiastic support from a company that usually does upscale McMansions, is only a bonus. We're doing some real innovation and I believe the company will change direction as a result. (I may even wangle a consulting job on their "Street of Dreams" house in 2009 which will not only be green, but like mine, will be Universally Accessible, a glaring omission in all former Portland Street of Dreams homes.


deb said...

Impressive home Richard, sorry about all of the trouble that you are having with the shed. I'm wondering if you put a small pop-up or pull behind trailer on the property if the county would give you less grief. You might even know of someone who has one and you could save them parking fees by allowing it to be parked on your land.

You might put in a formal complaint to the LEED committee over their award points on alternative heating and cooling. You'd think that someone who promotes innovation would be able to think outside of the box;-)


How would I go about figuring the angles for a window to be placed in the front eave of a cabin so that it is fully covered by an extended ridgeline roof in the summer but the sun shines into the window during the winter? General latitude is Asheville and the wall that the window is on is facing south.

The window will be able to open to allow warm air from the highest part of the ceiling to escape and create airflow through the house in the summer. This window will be positioned above a front porch, the porch acting to block the sun from coming in the front door window and 2 side windows. Thanks.

Richard Yarnell said...

These three sites should suffice.

I'd suggest that you adjust the shading to correspond not just to solar angle but to the locally warmest months.

Another alternative is to use an adjustable awning.


Richard Yarnell said...

Guess I should have included the Urls.

Christopher C. NC said...

You have put an amazing amount of thought and engineering into this project Richard. Some of it makes my head spin as much as the geothermal tubing.

You probably should expect some resistance when you are so out in front like you are, particularly from a government office. Perhaps as they get used to you and the project things will get easier. It will help to have your contractor being enthusiastic.

The cabin roof overhang was for me. Thanks for thinking of me Deb. An awning would be difficult to get to and to me just another moving part to wear out.

There is a women in Charleston SC who is building a new house and doing the LEED certification for it. She posts about it now and again on her blog Tales from the Microbial Laboratory

John G. said...

Tint the windows...Is there such a thing as solar windows, as in solar power collector? In the fifth grade we were living in the south pacific and had a teacher that believed our generation would be the one which would have to deal with global warming and alternative energy. Our class rooms were basically long walls of windows with a ledge that ran along the base approx 36" tall. All along this ledge she positioned those little anniversary clock looking solar toys. You know, the ones that had three horizontal twisted small spoon looking panels that would spin on a vertical shaft as sunlight hit them. When the sun went down or rain clouds moved in it would stop. I used to get lost in thought as certain cloud covers would only let one or two light beams through and it would spin until the clouds reformed and blocked the light beam. The speed it rotated depended on a lot of factors, time of day, angle of beam, temperature, humidity, time of year. Sometimes when everything was just right it would spin just so you could make out three little dots..., while observing those it was easy to follow the independent beam that was making it spin at the moment. You would be surprised as to where those light beams took us and our imaginations...(on second thought, no you wouldn’t) Sometimes we would have class discussion and follow the light beams all the way to the Enterprise and the latest episode of STAR TREK. At that time the class as a whole generally believed when the time came the world would be checkered with these little devices of clean alternative energy. The sole purpose of these devices would be to feed the power grid, no batteries required, if the sun went down or the water stopped moving there would be no more power in the grid from this point and it would simply be pulled from somewhere else on the grid. As this economy evolved scientists would learn to study light beams and water properties to maximize energy efficiency/production from these stations. In your experience in the power industry why is it we think solar power or panels on large shopping centers or schools should be used exclusively for the institution utilizing the device requiring batteries or some sort of storage requirements? Why is that energy not just fed directly into the grid for immediate consumption by the network and redirected back to the site from other sources as needed (rain cloud moves in)? It would seem it should only be a matter of switches and meters. The development of batteries and there disposal would be left to the automakers. Energy companies should consider donating every school in the nation some of these little solar toys to reignite interest in science. After all they are cheaper than computers and while it is accepted belief NASA helped inspire a generation into science, some would argue back in the day in order to witness NASA'S latest it generally required the interupption of the latest episode of STAR TREK and a glass of Tang. Which is more cost effective?

Cheryl said...

Solar power is great, and slowly becoming economical. Many states have started net metering, where the power company is required to buy back any excess power you generate.

Renewable energy is also good for the economy. I can't find the article I read a few days ago, but this one is similar. Would you believe that Texas is one of the leading states in promoting renewable energy?

Reaping the Rewards: How State Renewable Electricity Standards Are Cutting Pollution, Saving Money, Creating Jobs And Fueling A Clean Energy Boom

Cheryl said...

I am so dissapointed in Wes Clark. He's endorsing Hilary Clinton. What's the rush? Can't he give someone a chance to become the front runner?

deb said...

My guess is that she is offering him the veep seat. Very shrewd move on the part of the DLC. With Clark campaigning as veep beside her she will pick up many of the progressives who have shunned her.

Progressives have been against her from the start, even those of us who respect her devotion to her beliefs and her lifelong work which always represented healthcare for all, family and women's issues. [Hillary is the reason that women are now being tested in medical studies concerning health issues that affect both men and women (heart, cancers that affect both sexes, etc.)]

She (and probably Obama) represent the DLC. Wes Clark was a completely independent dem in the last election. He's a brilliant guy and perhaps he sees this as having the potential of being able to influence foreign policy and have his chance to end the war. I still believe he is a selfless person who "gets it".

Unfortunately for those of us who want real change, the DLC has the money behind them. Unfortunately for the DLC, they have no media outlets. The repubs have the media and the progressives have the internet.

I am leaning toward working for Edwards. I have been dissapointed by Richardson. I still greatly respect Kucinich and still believe that he is unelectable. I am hearing much that I like from Mike Gravel, but haven't researched enough and don't have a clue as to his ability to win.

Oh, I still believe that repubs and even former repubs will come out in droves to vote against Hillary and the election would be so close that a few cheating districts would again control the election.

Richard Yarnell said...

From what I've seen, Gravel isn't all that bright, much less so that Kucinich, and is a not starter as a campaigner on the national stage.

I'd still like to see Hillary with the Presidency with Edwards as her Veep doing domestic chores. The president is going to have their hands full with the international rebuilding. I'd put Powell or Clark at Defense, tell Obama that he needs to earn his stripes by getting more experience on senior Senate committees. If it's legal, I'd appoint Bill as ambassador to the UN (I don't think that's a cabinet position). If it is, make him ambassador at large. Richardson might be a good choice back at Energy. The beat goes on.

But don't rob either the House or Senate of its senior democratic members.

Cheryl said...

Gravel doesn't have anything to lose, so he can bluntly say what he thinks. He brings a bit of honesty to the debates. I think that the only reason he's running, is so that he can keep reminding the Democrats that they really do have the power to end the Iraq occupation.

Kucinich has the best platform, but the media will never let him be taken seriously.

Hilary is way to cozy with big corporations, the medical industry, and NAFTA treaties for my taste. A rock would be better than our current president, but I really hope that she doesn't get the nomination. Besides, we would lose her senate postion.

I agree that Obama is interesting, but needs more experience.

Of the candidates with a real shot, I'm leaning toward Edwards. He's the most populist, and we could probably convince him to propose a real health plan if he were elected.

Clinton/Clark is giving me flashbacks of Bush with Colin Powel as Secretary of State. Bush/Powell is many level of magnitude worse, but it does have a bit of the dynastic flavor to it.

dan said...

While I greatly respect the views of Deb and Cheryl, I'd be very comfortable if Richard's slate got elected.

deb said...

This is what I believe will happen if Hillary wins the dem primary:

Monicagate will continue where it left off, full force, along with other women (who the repubs have dug-up/found/paid) saying that they sleep/slept with Bill. Which leads into the Clintons' supposedly having a marriage of conveneince and on Hillary's part it's a marriage that supposedly she is in in order to become more powerful.

The accusations that Hillary stole historic items from the Whitehouse as they were leaving (even though lies) will be constantly repeated. The way the media gets away with such garbage is by saying "people are saying... or everybody is saying..."

Oh, it's a long's the Wikipedia version.

But, what will happen is that the media will tear her to shreads 24/7 from the primary until the election, until everyone (including those of us who know it is spin) is sick of hearing her name. This will promote dems to not go vote and renourish the repub base to the polls to vote against her.

Fair or not that is what is lying ahead if she wins the primary.

The corporations who are currently courting her are just using her to ensure that Edwards or Obama don't win the primary, she will be much easier to beat than either of them. I believe that Edwards would garner so many votes that there would be no way to cheat the election if he takes the dem primary.

I believe that Fred Thompson is who the neocons are aiming to put into office. Putting him on a popular show on TV was a shrewd move. BTW, he was on the Nixon investigation comittee, and was the person who informed the Whitehouse that the committee knew of the tapes...we know what happened then.

We would actually be lucky if Ron Paul decided to run as an independent/libertarian, but I do think he would pull votes from both sides.

John G. said...

Yup. Americans are tired from the dynasties. Gore will probably jump in about March or April and select Edwards as his running mate. Voters from 2000 will feel vindicated. GOP really does not have anybody that can enter and overcome that wave. Depending on what they do for the next eight years Edwards will be a seasoned shoe in for 2016. Pretty shrewd and ingenious on the part of the Dems.

deb said...

The rules have changed this time around. It's now or never for Gore and really too late. The first primaries are in Jan. Can parties impose order on '08 calendar?

Questions JG: What are you hearing about the candidates in your neck of the woods? Who do people like and believe would be the best next pres.? Could Edwards win in your county? Hillary? For that matter, could any dem win if O'Reilly, et al, are trashing them constantly and promoting the GOP candidate?

Cheryl said...

While Hillary isn't my anywhere near my first choice, I do think that she would make a competent president. Wow! isn't it great to have a whole list of people that would be OK.

Unfortunately, she would never be given the chance. There is a persistant, irrational, rabid, hatred of her around here. They give lots of reasons, but I suspect that one of the most common real reasons is that she is an intelligent, capable, women with opinions. Some find that very threatening.

If by some miracle, she won the election, they would hound her endlessly, with a fervor far worse than Bill Clinton received.

I'm sorry that I don't have any solution to this situation, but this is where we are.

Cheryl said...

Today's sitemeter smile.

I've been so dragged down by the summer's heat, that I haven't paid much attention to my blog. I'm glad I took a peek at sitemeter today.

Someone in Australia did a google search on "great green grimes of greasy grimy gopher guts", and got my suggestions on how to improve Bush's speeches.

deb said...

LOL Cheryl, the truth is accidentally revealed yet again;-)

Your statement about Hillary is right on and explained much better than mine. It's not just the south either, seamans/watermans unions are just as bad. The unions are about 95% male, who also claim to be dems, but Hillary jokes are very common. I can't think of any of the union guys that I know actually voting for her. I believe they wouldn't vote.

BTW, it is the media that did this to her. I'd still sign up for a class action lawsuit against the whole lot, for their part in promoting the war, and make them pay the pricetag (at least the monetary one).

John G. said...

"Questions JG: What are you hearing about the candidates in your neck of the woods? Who do people like and believe would be the best next pres.? Could Edwards win in your county? Hillary? For that matter, could any dem win if O'Reilly, et al, are trashing them constantly and promoting the GOP candidate?"

We hear a lot about Hillary in the media. However this is predominantly a military state and most on the street do not believe if she is elected she will be taken seriously by the Muslim world considering their view on women and also I sense some fear that she will pull back from the war on terror or pullout of Iraq diminishing the sacrifices made by many in the region. A local mayor and his antics have pretty much ruled Obama out for no other reason than his skin color. John Edwards was in town recently visiting with Carter and our healthcare system in the state is deteriating. Local chat boards are kind to Edwards with the exception of a few hard core comedians because most in the area can relate directly to his pleas for HC reform and the problems that plague the present system. Sam Nunn floated a balloon about entering the race and if he does he has a lock on the area. He is a democrat and former head of the armed services committee. Right now if voters had to pick between the three my money is on Edwards, but he needs to do a better job getting his message out and be sensitive to the sacrifices by the military and its families. I believe they want their people home but deep inside they want to bring them back heroes. A pack them up and leave approach is sure defeat for any democrat but I believe that is the case nationally as well. 911 is a hard pill to swallow, most will not admit it, but it is still a determining factor when you walk into the polling booth. As of now the GOP has no one that really stands out and can promise anything other than more of the same. O'reilly is humorous but most do not share his standard of living and lifestyle so they cannot relate. We have a lot of Katrina survivors in the area and all the while we have had more than our fair share of natural disasters and received little or no assistance from the fed.
If you do not have employer sponsored health insurance you have very few options in the area. There is no place to go and receive affordable, comprehensive & understandable health care coverage. The companies providing plans to the self employed and uninsured are consistently in the media for fraud. The quality of care is directly related to the level of your resources and even then it is questionable. Most want to pay their own premiums, but they want access and they want to feel as if they are as valuable as the president if ever they need health care. They do not want to live in decaying homes and ten year old cars to afford aspirin and they want everybody to pay their fair share. New hospitals would not hurt; probably well funded smaller community hospitals make more sense for the area than one or two megaliths that make shit up as they go and have a take it or leave it culture. If Gore or Nunn do not enter the race, Edwards is the only one who can realistically expect to be taken seriously. He will have to drill his message home, have the backing of the entire DNC, Be sensitive to the realities of life and understand the armada of the health insurance lobbyists rallied against him. They are his greatest threats for they have the most to lose if he is elected. Whoever the DNC puts up needs to blitz the state with advertising a simple message daily until right up to Election Day. If they pop in two or three days out of the month and stump in the lobby of the air terminal people will feel as if they are not being taken seriously and give back more of the same.

John G. said...

We must also stay mindful of the fact many of the Military personnel within the state do not keep permanent residence here so they vote elsewhere. If they do vote here they still have roots and family elsewhere that they exert huge influence over. So while campaigning to the state, in a sense you will be campaigning to the other 50 as well.

Cheryl said...

That's probably a pretty accurate assessment of most of the South, and I suspect, most of the other conservative parts of the country. I wish we could get over our pride, and admit Iraq is a failure, but there are a lot of people that put pride over other people's lives.

If Edwards has any sense, he'll hire you as a consultant. Or at least give some thought to your analysis.

deb said...

Good idea Cheryl,

JG, Edwards has a contact form soliciting ideas and suggestions. I believe that your input would be welcomed.

John G. said...

send it... My mom always tells me 10 minutes with that guy and we would change the world for the better. Thanx for asking.
Am learning a lot from the other thread, WOW! Whodathunkit?;-)

John G. said...

This Dial up is certainly a handicap. You know those economic indicators you read about all the time? Unemployment, housing starts, interest rates, etc? If not already, uninsured should be added to the list. considering the economic impact healthcare has on our economy and family budgets lately. It is nothing to be proud of and could rebalance an election if taken seriously...

Cheryl said...

Dial up is a pain. I usually start a couple of links loading while I read the first one. Going from window to window is so much faster than reloading the previous page.

Health care has reached the point where almost everyone knows we have a problem. The powers that be can't just say it ain't so. All they can do, is add enough confusion to keep us away from universal coverage.

The uninsured are relativly easy to count. It won't take much to put them on some sort of over-priced inadequate plan, and pretend everything is fixed.

The under-insured are the real problem. You can't know how bad your coverage is until you need to use it.

I feel like screaming every time I hear about "choices". What is that supposed to mean? I can choose between full coverage, and rotten coverage? I can choose to cover either MRIs, or CAT scans? I expect an apendicitis attack in 11 months, so I better add coverage for it. Maybe I only want health care on Tuesdays?

deb said...

Yep Cheryl, pretty hard for "them" to portray healthcare as that proverbial "silk purse". When the Clinton admin tried to address the healthcare crises, the media talked incessently about the Canadian healthcare problems, but Canada has funded their system since then and has a much improved system...which is currently much more effective than ours for their population as a whole. I wonder how the "spin" will unfold this time.

Dial up: Let's brainstorm a bit on how to make this site easier to load. Any suggestions? Would it be easier if the news section wasn't on the side of the page? Would we be disappointed if the pictures were gone? New threads more often? What do y'all think?

This is out of context, but something I read in the news this morning has gotten me a bit baffled. I've always been under the impression that cancer was NEVER contagious...but there is an article about tasmanian devils spreading cancer to each other. Just trying to wrap my brain around this fact that seems incongruent to what I've believed to be correct.

Tasmanian Devil falling prey to cancer

"The study also found that the facial cancer was genetically identical in every animal and had originated from a single contagious cell line, spread throughout the population by biting during fights for food and mates."

Christopher C. NC said...

Deb is this blog that much slower than other sites? I don't see how it could be when it is so pared down compared to most sites these days.

I can dump the pictures and news feed. The pictures are not a big file and I don't think the news feed would be a big file either since it is only a link. Maybe the archives could be removed as well?

John G. said...

This site is a blessing for dial up. The constraints come when we go to a link posted on here or any other site for that matter where it requires streaming video. Often times it seems we are ignoring each other or just plain dumb when we ask questions that have been answered already through other threads or links when actually it is just a case of not having the luxury of time to go visit other sites and then return here to comment, it is much easier to just ask one of ya'll. Plus it saves us the embarrassement of truly looking like a doof to the masses when the question is truly a dunce one. Personally I would not request you change anything unless you are adding to it. The pictures are totally cool and often times when we visit and really do not have any knowledgeable input to add to the topic of the day, we visit to see what cool pics christopher has found to post. One can get lost in thought just looking at the pics. You have a unique talent christopher and it is not just humor.
Surfing "tv" the other morning and came across John Edwards on "meet the press"...He gets it. and that is the correct message to send to the people. "We cannot afford to lose this election" Canada healthcare vs American healthcare? American healthcare have taken 48 million plus people out of the loop and underserve another 48 million plus, why would we not be able to run an efficient system? you are exactly correct, leaders cannot ignore it any longer and if they do it will simply fix itself through the power of the people and exclude them in the process. Their choice.

Cheryl said...

I was just grousing about dial up in general. This site is one of the better ones for loading.

There is one benefit to dial up though. Telemarketers can't call when the phone line is in use. I've left the internet on more than once just so that I wouldn't have to hear any calls from telemarketers for a while.

deb said...

70 Punished in Accidental B-52 Flight sheesh

Military action last resort in Iran This time we are supposed to believe it???

And finally...the answer we have all been waiting for (lol)...oh, wait, we'll have to watch the show:

Show Tests Roaches' Radiation Resistance

Random's been a long day...hope ya'll have a wonderful autumn weekend...btw, the fall colors are gloriously beautiful here.

Cheryl said...

"unprecedented string of procedural errors,"

"Highest ranked among those punished were four officers who were relieved this week of their commands, including the 5th Bomb Wing commander at Minot - Col. Bruce Emig, who also has been the base commander since June."

Problem solved. It will never happen again. No need to look further up the command.

deb said...

Have y'all seen the comet?

Naked-eye comet bursts into view

I read about it a couple of days ago and have been watching it in the evenings. It is looks elongated and sparkles in all colors on occasion. It took me a while to first find it because I thought it was a plane, but after searching the same area for a while I realized that it wasn't moving and was the comet.

I was talking to family on the phone and realized that it hasn't made the news or TV. You'd think that a new very bright light in the sky might get a little coverage:-(

John G. said...

You would think... Another reason we must change the people to change the politics...

deb said...

JG: The NAIC needs a blog. They might be surprised at the ideas that could come from people not in the field.

Missing nukes: This article goes a bit off of the deep end at the end, but if the information that Nazemroaya is presenting at the beginning is true, and something tells me that it is, then the missing nukes weren't a mistake:

Missing Nukes: Treason of the Highest Order

John G. said...

They had a blog and were surprised...fell out of their chairs at a few of the demonstrations...however funding for the org. was cut at the end of August and wah lah a short time later The IDEAS started popping up in the their IDEAS. They have left the site open as an archive. With the right people in office we can resecure funding and reopen or at the very least find other funding sources in the process. Did anyone catch the latest "Extreme Makeover" it was about a poor Navajo family that lived in a trailer. The son took an old radiator, some aluminum cans and a piece of Plexiglas (aka trash) and invented a solar heater to keep his mom and sister warm. The house the series built for the family was in tune with Navajo tradition and totally green. The solar panels they installed automatically followed the sun to maintain maximum efficiency, totally cool stuff. Gotta love that show and hope that episode starts a trend for the series. Recently there was a seminar with local leaders and energy execs in the area at a local military base. The base has been tasked to replace a minimum of 10% of their energy needs with alternative sources in the next 5 years. We were surprised to learn solar and wind were not viable options for the area. Instead they are looking at chicken crap and biomass. Sustainable resource industries was a bad IDEA. There is no way to make any alternative energy affordable on localized levels and no effective oversight to keep all the different projects from polluting our neighbors downstream...

John G. said... check it out.

John G. said...

That magnetic sphere that surrounds the earth which was in the article? Do you have anymore links on that? What would happen to physics as we know it if the poles reversed? What was happening on earth while the "great flood" was taking place on Mars?

deb said...

JG, I can't imagine why solar wouldn't be a viable option in S. GA. It might be wise to get someone else to rethink that.

I WANT one of those cars. Cool, thanks for the link.

I know that the poles have been reversed in the past. It has been a long time since I read about it and don't really remember the details and not sure of how it happened or what effects it caused.

Cheryl said...

Florida and Louisiana both seem to have active solar energy advocates. You can get a lot of info from their sites.

And I would love to have a solar powered refrigerator in time for the next hurricane.

deb said...

Judy, Richard,

Heard that it has been a bit breezy out in the great NW. Hope that both of your properties aren't any worse for the wear.

Richard Yarnell said...

From Kitsap County (nearly on the sound, slightly north of Seattle), my father reports that the predicted storm was a bust, at least in terms of wind.

From Beavercreek: we recorded a gust of almost 60mph but, so far as I know, we didn't lose any trees (I don't go wandering in the woods for several days after a storm. Even a hard hat doesn't help that much.) We were without power for about 18 hours, but then much milder zephyrs do that and for even longer periods. Me, I went back to bed until PGE called to say the power was on. In the meantime, the generator was purring to provide power to the sheet rock guys who were installing it in the shop.

But thanks for the concern.

Richard Yarnell said...

Speaking of losing trees:

ABC reported a satellite assisted study that shows over 300 million! mature trees downed or killed by water (fresh and salt) post Katrina. The resulting decay has liberated more CO2 than is scrubbed by the remaining US forests in a year.

Hard to say why they hadn't noticed this destruction earlier.

Cheryl said...

There were brief mentionings of tree kills here and there because it is an obvious and well-known loss due to storm surge & flooding. It wasn't exciting or sexy enough for the networks.

Cheryl said...

Fantasic pictures of rare cloud formations,

deb said...

Awesome pics Cheryl, thanks:-)

deb said...

Murdoch admits he decides the political stance of his newspapers

Cheryl said...

Conservapedia has some interesting information. They publish a list of the 10 most viewed pages. The main page is at the top of the list. The other 9 are variations of the same topic.

deb said...

OH MY...I didn't even realize that there was a fundamentalist version of Wikipedia. The page that you linked just about says it all doesn't it? It seems as if condemning somebody else's sex life is the purpose behind the "conservative" philosophy. It's a shame we couldn't convince the whole bunch that all sex is evil and therefore prevent future "conservatives".

Makes you wonder...suppose they were right...if we only could get people to do it when they are married and only when they wanted a child, then of course global warming would go away, everyone would have access to healthcare, there'd be no wars, the economy would magically be corrected, etc., etc., right? ;-) Oh, I forgot to add that it had to be the "missionary" position and neither person should actually be enjoying it.


deb said...

How Conservatives Manipulate People Into Voting Against Their Best Interests This is the print friendly version as the website page had problems loading on my pc.

Alternet has more than a few articles today that I found interesting. This article might be renamed "How Pharmaceutical Companies Manipulate People Into Treatments Against Their Best Interests": How Scientific Is Modern Medicine?

John G. said...

As long as we are talking about voting and go to sumter regional medical. Thank you

deb said...

The video gave me chills, JG. I hope your hospital wins the MRI machine. I shared the link with people who are likely to vote and pass the word.

BTW, My Mom and I visited Americus and Plains a few years back. We went to the Habitat Center, Carter's childhood farm and the Carter museum. We strolled the town center in Americus and visited some beautiful buildings. I'm guessing they were built when "cotton" was king. We listened to Carter book on CD about his childhood on our journey from AL to Jacksonville via your area. It was a thoroughly enjoyable trip.

John G. said...

Thank you! I have literally been all over the world and take a lot of pride calling Ga. home (born in the U.P.) it is a beautiful state and other than the dog days (heat, summer) would not live anywhere else...but love to travel and see new places. The video best shows what I try to explain or show with still shots, almost makes you feel as if you were there when it hit...huh? calm chaos cold hot quiet noise BAMM! Thanx again.

deb said...

JG, I found this interesting phenomenon: New Property Found In Ancient Mineral Lodestone Perhaps scientists are getting warm as to what Leedskalnin said was the "secret of the ancients".

Christopher, Awesome wall, can't wait to come over and check it out. Have you ever checked out Coral Castle? "The stones are fastened together without any mortar. They are simply set on top of each other using their immense weight to keep them together. However, the craftsmanship detail is so skillful that the stones are connected with such precision that no light passes between the seams. The eight foot tall vertical stones that comprise the perimeter wall have a uniform height. Even with the passage of decades and a direct hit on August 24, 1992 by the Category 5 Hurricane Andrew, which leveled everything in the area, the stones have not shifted."

Christopher C. NC said...

This is a fun little survey and Presidential Candidate Selector

Richard Yarnell said...

Well before the 31st, take a look at today's post on my partner, Susan's, blog:

John G. said...

Solar Engineer?! Interesting. Can you post some links on where we can find Solar panels and all things related? Love your Blog and Christopher’s too. You folks live in pretty country. That wall you are building Christopher, what is that deck you are building in front of? Will it be attached to the home? Awesome view! The whole site looks pretty solid. Reminds me of retaining walls we used to build at our nursery, it was on a hill so it had to be terraced as we expanded. It was the hardest work but rewarding in spring when everything was in full bloom. On Bees - this is a random thought - I recently read an article about air quality tests on the west coast, it was found that an increasing percentage of the smog that lingers over the western U.S. could be traced to china. Would a different kind of smog affect bees? Have bee hives or anything related to bee production changed in the recent past where products needed for bee production are of Chinese origin? Just wondering considering the dog food and toy issues we have recently dealt with...those are things which directly affect our families but bee hives and the like are not as personal to consumers so was wondering if anyone has thought to ask. Or check.

Richard Yarnell said...

No, JG, not an engineer of any stripe. But I do have a practical streak and was given the opportunity to do some design work in both PV and DHW.

It has been some discomfort for our "design/build" contractor to confront a design that's already been chewed over for months, if not years. In fact, we came to a written understanding that we are buying the engineering from them and that if we end up not using their company to build the house, we still get the engineering - plans etc.

As for Chinese bees: almost all beekeeping equipment is made here. It's not a mass market.

I would recommend against buying Chinese honey. In fact, for awhile it was a poor idea to buy Canadian honey because the Chinese were exporting to them and they were then bottling and shipping to the US. I don't know whether that's still true.

The Chinese use some nasty pesticides in their hives and nothing was regulated.

As for solar equipment: google what you need. There are many sites that have everything from collectors to controls. Even Uncle Sam has advice to give you through the DOE.

John G. said...

It would be nice to someday in the near future walk into a home improvement store and find aisles dedicated to solar power for personal computers.
This is a cool article...opened my eyes to some things I have been struggling to understand. Now I feel as if I can carry LBT to the next level...Gamma rays? Wonder if it would be more cost effective to get the energy out of those than regular solar rays? Dark energy and matter, If light is charging and spinning electrons so we can see in certain wavelengths than dark matter/energy is either not shown on the periodic table as a known element or it is simply the universes version of time compacted into waves...thick in some areas, thin in others like ocean waves. If this is the case than pointing a flashlight into it would give the impression it is not traveling through when in reality it is and popping out somewhere else billions of light years away. I would also imagine dark matter/energy is very cold if this were the case. Gravity seems to be drawn to heat and pushed by cold time. Make sense of that and we could learn to travel through the universe covering billions of light years in mere nano seconds and make warp speed look like it is standing still in the process. Just pop in and out of wherever we want to be...seemingly. It is my understanding in the expanding universe galaxies are speeding up and at some point will be traveling faster than the speed of light. The result is galaxies we see today through there light will simply disappear from our view...what is to say some have not already? Traveling so fast they have disappeared from our view. They disappeared before "we" ever had a chance to view them. What would that look like? What traces would they leave behind?

deb said...

There ya go again JG...asking questions that no one has an answer to. I'd also venture to state that time travel for humans isn't going to happen during the early centuries of this millineum, so I'll just stick with waiting for a plug-in car;-)

I, also, WANT solar power kits available at hardware stores. I want people who know how to do it to be able to educate me and answer my questions. Even if I wasn't able to feed the grid, just having a panel or 2 would help reduce my personal emission impact.

"design that's already been chewed over for months"...I completely understand, Richard. Thinking outside of the box isn't easy for some.

I vowed that I wouldn't work on the house on I had plenty of blogging time this morning. Jeff is still asleep (we were out late) and we are going hiking on the AT today. I had a wonderful family Christmas in Alabama weekend before last and will have our "official" Christmas next weekend with our kids, my brother, and their partners.

I'm hoping to post some pictures of the house, now that it is mostly completed, on the net. (note: there is a 5 year plan;-) I don't even have a digital camera, so I intend to ask Christopher (wink) next time he is over to help with the picture taking and posting. I'll let y'all know when it happens. Happy Holidays to all!

Christopher C. NC said...

I'll be back in NC tomorrow Deb. A bit bummed that I missed the bigger snow storm.

I'd be happy to take some pictures of your house for you and post them. The question is where?

Cheryl said...

A local gun store has a disturbing billboard up for the Christmas season. It reads

Jingle Bells, Shotgun Shells

John G. said...

Interesting...If any of ya'll had anything to do with this? Thank You!

Also a probe has been launched to the kupir belt utilizing an ion propulsion engine? Its mission is to collect data from two asteroids. Vesta and cepus I think. Anyway one is primarily nickel iron and the other is clay and muddy. They believe it (2) possibly has an ocean a mile deep. The purpose of the mission is to study the early solar system. Long shot but they may find the origin of our moon in the process, (not to say these two objects in particular are culprit) The big dense one could have slammed an earth like planet and the little one is a piece of the "earth" that got slammed just like the moon only it's trajectory and speed landed it where it is. If this is a remote possibility it's distance from the sun is why it's surface is clay and not regolith and it opens the possibility that oceans hide beneath the moons surface, would that not be a surprise?

deb said...

Glad to see the think tank opening back up. "Joining in on the push is U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson from Georgia"...maybe you had something to do with it? ;-)

Water on the moon? As big as it is wouldn't there be a hot center? The water would surely turn to steam somewhere and seep out of fissures if it was there, right?

John G. said...

Not necessarily. I remember growing up in the south pacific and exploring caves we found at the base of a dormant volcano and a trip to Carlsbad in later years. Most think the earth's crust is solid when the reality is it is rather porous. One of the caves we explored was rather large and a days exploring was not enough to see it all. This particular one had a huge crystal clear fresh lake or pond in the middle, base of it and the water was cold. The cave was not easily accessible and had we not been punished for disappearing that afternoon the drawings we found probably would have been found 30 years sooner.
The fissures you speak of are real too and one thing we noticed is many times they are pretty dry. I believe high tides, tsunamis, typhoons or snow storms can at times rise the water levels to the point they pour into these fissures and the result is an earthquake or volcanic eruption that otherwise would not happen. (We will know if the west coast has one or both in the near future due to the recent storms) I do not know if the moon has the same tectonic movement or core so that the same would be true. I do believe it is porous and if it has water it is beneath the regolith in large quantities immune from evaporation due to the properties of the regolith. Does anyone know what happens to the rocket boosters or rocket pieces that are kicked off rockets after launching space craft?

deb said...

Aren't they in the ocean? Or is this a trick question?

If there is water on the moon then I suppose oxygen could be extracted for breathing and hydrogen for when we watch the moon rise we'll see the lights from the condos instead of the lady in the moon;-)

John G. said...

no, not a trick question. I knew the first stage of normal rockets ended up in the ocean, but I was curious about the second, and if one, third stage. If they are still floating around as space junk we may have a use for them...

Richard Yarnell said...

It depends on the system and at what altitude the 1st and second stage are detached.

For example, the solid boosters of the shuttle system (effectively the first stage) are recovered and re-used. The external tank is not and, I believe, burns up as it descends since it is released at a very high altitude.

It's also my understanding that non-reusable booster stages are not allowed to accumulate in low earth orbit. They are equipped with small retro rockets that hasten the decay of their orbits. The US does that; whether China does or not, I don't know (they're the ones that deliberately destroyed one of their own weather satellites leaving several 10's of thousands of trackable pieces in low earth orbit where they are a hazard to a lot of communications and weather satellites.

John G. said...

If China stole the technology for the weather satellites and then realized they had been allowed to steal the technology...It would explain why they destroyed it...
The leftover booster rockets should be redesigned so we could use them on later missions and assemble them to deflect asteroids that could possibly be on a trajectory course with planetary bodies most notably the one due to pass in 2029. In the emerging age of space exploration and nano technology would it not make more sense to instead of building space traveling craft build fax machines?
Take all we know of the universe and tools available through SETI@HOME and its combined technologies channel it through a central local and see what happens.
If there is ET or Time travelers visiting us it is doubtful they are physically traveling through space or time yet they possess an advanced understanding of universal elements and how to manipulate them, we would never know unless we first build a machine to receive the fax. Send a fax to a phone that has no fax hooked up to it...beep...beep...beep...hook a fax machine to it and a ditto document pops out. Useless question but I bet someone is going to build one just because...
COOOL house Deb. One thing I could not help but notice other than it is incredibly organized is the lack of dust, especially in a house under construction?

John G. said...
Watched an interesting program on national geographic recently about sunspots and the suns effects on our environment most notably the "mini" ice ages and more recently our weather and cloud formation, then on a hunch did a little research and noticed a correlation between some of these events and historic records of disappearing bees... Are bees the "canary in the coal mine" Your input would be appreciated.

Richard Yarnell said...

I'm going to hazard a guess which is, by no means, authoritative. However, it may give you some direction if you're interested in pursuing the idea.

I think there are many more, local, stresses on the bees than the temperature changes so far. Drought or floods would be hard on bees, but they're found all over the world and thrive in many climates - yes even the two or three varieties that make up the majority of cultivated or managed stock.

Bees have an eye on the top of their bodies just behind the head. Much of their navigation is successful by using this eye to keep track of the sun. (If you can find a place where bees fly close to the ground in some numbers, find a reflective or at least very light colored flat surface (something galvanized works) and place in under the flyway so the bees fly within a foot or two of it. You'll notice that the flip over and fly on their backs while over this surface.)

Whether a shift in magnetic lines caused by severe helio-magnetic storms would affect the bees, I don't know, but doubt. Their navigation is all local, within 2-4 miles of their hive. They are visually oriented - some keepers put a distinctive design on the front of the hive to cut down on drift between closely spaced hives. Most probably, they keep track of the shape of the design rather than the color.

But as a warning regarding pesticides and other environmental contamination, you can bank on the bees playing canary.


Richard Yarnell said...

Susan and I shared our $33K cup of water a few minutes ago. The next cup will bring the price down to $16.5. We're happy to report Well #2 is a little softer than Well #1 but just as sweet. And, from a practical point of view, it contributes an additional 22 GPM net to the farm supply. The "fire tanks" are filling with the hydrant full open instead of at the leisurely 1.5 GPM I used from Well #1.

We made a "temporary" connection to the Studio pending our hooking that building up to the new house. I'm going to go christen the new shower with its instant hot water in unlimited quantities.

Christopher C. NC said...

Congratulations. Progress feels good yea?

So was the 33K just for the well drilling or does that include the whole water system?

Richard Yarnell said...

Well, pump, and controls. I do the plumbing myself and will extend it piece meal as needed. Pump was higher than expected both because it had to reach 500 ft and because we opted for a variable speed pump which requires a control system that's really a substantial, self-teaching computer! Times, they have changed.

Richard Yarnell said...

I can't remember whether I've posted this address:

I've been working on it in fits and starts and just got the shell of the studio up in pictures.

In the meantime, Susan has posted a couple of amusing pieces on septic drain fields and the self same well, or its fruits:

deb said...

Richard, I enjoyed checking out your blog and Susan's blog. Great to hear that after all of the expense for the well that the water is tasty. We have delicious water from our well, but the club house just down the road has water that does not have a good taste. It really is a hit and miss sort of thing around here. There isn't a big aquifer underneath us all, the Appalachians tend to be sedimentary rock which are more verticle in layers than horizontal and the water table is at a different depth for every well that has been drilled in the neighborhood.

John G. said...

For Judy B if she still visits and any other interested persons. The US Postal service LLV (long life vehicle)
It is a Grumman Allied USPS truck.
Before deciding on the manufacturer of their one half ton long life delivery truck the USPS had the 3 challengers go through the most grueling endurance test since the M-1 tank. The winning truck from Grumman allied was subjected to 11,530 miles of gravel roads, 960 miles of cobblestones, 960 miles of potholes often loaded with 1000 lbs of mail. The USPS bought 144,000 of these right hand drive one half ton trucks as part of their 202,000 vehicle fleet, the largest in the world.
This vehicle should be the basis for the U.S. big three to work together on in developing the model T for the 21st century as we discussed at SSB. Not only should they be flex vehicles but they should also be basic enough to be “tricked” out to give each unique personality based on the means and creativity of its owners and most importantly each chassis should have a life span of no less than half million miles. The Big three would make its profits from accessories as opposed to new unit sales, creating a niche market and Jobs in the process…

Richard Yarnell said...

In which Andy Stern's future is discussed. It's a long url.

Cheryl said...

Have ya'll seen any of the feud between SEIU & the California Nurses Association? It's gotten ugly.

CNA said,
The SEIU "Signed a deal in Ohio with Catholic Healthcare Partners to impose SEIU as the union for RNs without a single signed union card from the nurses in a rigged election that barred any other union from being on the ballot. The deal also prohibited nurses from talking about the union or the vote. The “union” vote was requested by the employer, not the employees."

SEIU said,
"SEIU is the union we've been working with for years, the union that has stood by us through thick and thin, and the union that (unlike the CNA) represents nurses and other hospital employees in Ohio — including at our sister hospitals in Catholic Healthcare Partners."

Richard Yarnell said...

I'm happy to announce that we've finally gone to contract on the main house. There are still some details of the shop that need attention, but we've agreed to allow the contractor to postpone those until he has crews and/or equipment on site while working on the house.

After almost a year of massaging the engineering and costs with the contractor, we're pretty much where we started insofar as the design is concerned but the cost is quite a bit higher than first estimates.

In order to keep the cost down, we have elevated the earth sheltered house by about 4 feet (a lot of excavating and retaining walls). As a result, while the two main floors still have on-grade access with no ramps or stairs, the "attic" (storage, laundry, and equipment room) requires a considerable ramp for access. The elevator still goes to the third floor, so handicapped access is not in question. We also reverted to steel framed, stucco clad, conventional walls retaining "FasBlock" only for those walls that are below grade. This represents a loss only to the vendor, in my opinion since all of it was to be covered with local soil colored stucco to begin with.

Susan's blog ( speaks of choices that had to be rescinded, but, in truth, she overstates some. Our choices were almost always functional first. Even her cypress bathtub was rejected in favor of porcelain on the grounds that wood would require much more maintenance.

The other economy has been to put up only 6kW of the potential 11kW of photo voltaic panels. 6kW is the theoretical "net zero" benchmark. When we have the money to add the rest, we'll be a net producer of energy.

Demolition of the old house is 30 days from today, the County of Clackamas willing!

Cheryl said...

Great news.
Congratulations & enjoy the build.

John G. said...

I have never been able to visit the shambles due to dial up...over the past weekend we finally graduated to the world of DSL...First stop? The shambles. WOW! Beautiful country & love the astronomy pic of the day. Congradulations...

John G. said...

Just visited (outside) Clyde...never could have truly appreciated Breadcrusts & all it has to offer "infinite wisdom" Thank you guys/gals for your patience the past three years...I know it seemed you had to explain everything, sometimes more than once, had you not I'd still be dumb(er) than I was when this all started...I will spend the next week reviewing old posts and links...& trying to figure out how to get these skid marks off my screen, thanx again, vroooom, screeecch...

John G. said...

South Georgia is the next Saudi Arabia? Anyone remember that big asteroid that hit the Gulf of Mexico a long time ago? considering the amount of oil along the gulf coast, offshore in the gulf, basically around the rim of the impact crater, it would stand to reason South Georgia, Fla. panhandle etc. have pools of it as well, we just need to drill deeper to get it...onshore. I will throw this out there just to stay consistent to my far out theories, When Edgar Casey prophesized about the United States flooding & went so far as to draw maps...I do not think he was talking about water, he was telling us where to find the oil...There was gentleman by the name of English in mid-Ga (Powersville) back in the 80s that believed this & actually built a rig & drilled deep for oil, when he had drilled deep enough & struck oil, someone pulled the plug…Now there is a housing area there...Hope all is well with everybody, take care.

Cheryl said...

John, enjoy the DSL. It's great. I hope your transition went better than mine. If you didn't see it, chapter 1 is at Hen's Teeth.

John G. said...

I'll check it far loving it. Took a strongly worded letter to the phone company & they had to run new lines but everyone in the neighborhood signed up as a result so they lost nothing. worse part is missing you folks...sigh. Having a blast harrassing the web though, few congresspeople too! All their replies seem to have been written by the same page...I predict what they say before We even open them & have been right everytime, go figure!
Heh Deb! Miss ya...hope you got the UFO E...

John G. said...

The Bigfoot thing was not a hoax. The only hoax is the scheme they cooked up that it never happened...
One can only imagine they wish to protect the lil, errr big booger...I'll be sending another E Deb, your not gonna believe this...

deb said...

I still didn't get an e from you, JG. I checked my spam folder and it not there either.

It's weird...from the advent of email until winter of 2007 I never seemed to miss an e, but now it seems frequent.

Cheryl said...

Happy Talk like a Pirate Day.


John G. said...

Google is sponsoring an IDEAS contest & the reward is $10,000,000.00. for anyone interested...See ya'll there?!

People are encouraged to submit their ideas, in any of 25 languages, at through October 20. Entrants must briefly describe their idea and answer six questions, including, "If your idea were to become a reality, who would benefit the most and how?"

Richard Yarnell said...

I'll bet this a more legit effort than the one SEIU started.

Good luck, JG.

John G. said...

It is being reported Steve Fossett was working on a secret project to build a submersible to travel to the bottom of the Marianas Trench in the south pacific. I remember as a young cub scout on the small island of Guam crawling at a 45 degree angle approx 100 feet through a small hole in the ground near some old ww2 plane wreckage before the cavern opened up into a large cave complete with a fresh water swimming hole. There were many more Chambers & tunnels branching off from this cavern & some of the eagle scouts claimed they had ventured farther in & teased our imaginations that they had traveled to the bottom of the trench using only these caves & discovered a large underground ocean. That is why we did not need submarines to travel 7 miles down that could withstand the immense pressure. We were challenged to go one day but being the wimpy daredevil I am about 30 minutes in I lost my flashlight which dropped off a ledge & when we never heard it hit bottom fear drove me back to the surface. If somebody decides to pursue Mr. Fossetts project & they get down there & discover a MP style's mine.

Cheryl said...

great story JG

Richard Yarnell said...

Our holiday greeting can be found at

Be safe out there.

Cheryl said...

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all.

We're having a nice quiet break, catching up with stuff around the house. Kids & work are very time consuming.

John G. said...

Happy New Year Gang...I hope all the best for our Nation in 2009 & you fine folks are the one's safe.

John G. said...
voting begins jan 27,2009
friendly reminder

John G. said...

If I remember correctly you did a blog at SSB about this Christopher...It was one IDEA that was worth a million bucks to somebody. enjoy

Did we ever figure out if capitalism was moral?

John G. said...

New date for voting to begin 03/17/2009