Tuesday, October 16, 2012

55 gallon drums and a wind turbine - Heating a shed on the cheap

I don't know if I will actually go this far, but certainly for a workshop empty half the year, just to keep the damp out - heating seems to be a good idea.

I may experiment on Delaneys shed first, after all - if it goes kaboom he'll be on the other side of the wall, and I don't think he'd complain too much. I figure it will be bricked in anyway.

I can neither afford the cost or the time of having a commercial connection and set-up, and if things can be done in a renewable way I'm all in favour of it.
If the idea works, then it is a once off cost, essentially, as long as there is wind, there is power - therefore heat - and in Connemara where trees grow sideways that's a good investment.
The picture above caught my eye, rather than an expensive (and very steal-able) copper cylinder, I will most likely try to find and convert a 55 Gallon drum as above. 

Elements etc. for 12/24 volt systems are reasonably cheap and available - whereas inverters seem very expensive.
24 volt pumps are cheap and easily available, as they are used a lot in cars and boats.

The idea of using a wind turbine is feasible as it will supply 12 or 24 volt power directly. 
Pumps etc. still need further exploration, a natural convection system would be better - less moving parts would mean less maintenance. 

Turbines at 300 watt and 12 or 24 volt are costing about €200 and getting cheaper, that would be the single biggest expense, heating elements are about €30so all in all its not a bad idea, but it will need a bit more research - still back of the envelope stuff, but if anyone is interested in helping out or developing the idea just drop me a line.

All feedback, ideas and suggestions are welcome - please do take the time to comment

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Shed Plans

Well, while Im away I have been thinking a bit about a shed - well, two in fact.
The things one does with boredom and an empty packet of cornflakes in foreign climes!!

One in the future is to be a garden shed - brew house, I just need more space.
The other is for Delaney and his latest girlfriend.
So, stuck out in the middle of the Mediterranean, with nothing more than a box of kosher cornflakes, I came up with a cunning and devious design.

The idea is two have a two part shed, one for food and one for shelter so he can come and go as he pleases.
It will also collect rain water so he has a simple source of fresh water at all times.
An open entrance will be protected by a shelter wall, and also face North East, away from the prevailing winds.
 I hope the bugger appreciates the trouble I go to for him.

I am looking as well at underfloor heating systems, the idea being to use a small wind turbine to heat water that is piped through the floor plate, but that is still being researched.

Anyway, its a plan - and anything I learn from it I may be able to apply to another project.
Certainly the independent water, heat and perhaps even power ideas can have other applications elsewhere for others.

Now to try and get it done as cheaply as possible!!

Any advice on wind turbine to water heater most welcome

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Sabbatical - ish

So - there is a time when I need to concentrate on work folks. I'm currently back at work and will be for some time - someone has to work to pay for Delaneys new digs!

I do have a few unfinished or unpublished recipes and when I have time I will try to post them here.

But there are loads of previous posts, and this time of year there are still crops you can put in that grow over the winter or will be ready for next spring.

This is also the time to save seed, make preserves, pickles and make some sauerkraut or equivalent.
Try to store and preserve your harvest, its a shame to waste good food - in particular if you have grown it yourself.

Remember, if you are not growing food, turn the garden over some time between November and January - this allows the frost to break up the ground for you, helps kill off pests and aerated the soil.

One thing I am looking at exploring next year is home brew - the idea being to use my own barley, oats and other veg - so anyone with a bit of skill here is more than welcome to get in contact with me.

Sad thing is things are very tough in Ireland at the moment, with little leadership, vision, imagination or direction - but that really does underline the importance of self sufficiency, self reliance and appreciating what we have.
Growing and foraging food really is enormously rewarding, I started the garden in part to help take my mind off problems, and it has given so much back - and the blog is a way of sharing that -
So thanks to all readers and visitors so far, especially those who have taken the time to comment - next year we will be making booze, so I'm really looking forward to that  - keep on digging.


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