Friday, 12 March 2010
Monday, 15 February 2010
Is there anyone out there who can help?
Sunday, 14 February 2010
The question that we have been asking ourselves of late is... should we get a farm quad bike or.. should we stay with our old Grey Ferguson Tractor?
THOUGHTS - PROS & CONS
* A quad bike would be very useful for hauling a small trailer
* A quad bike would be good for Gill - easy to drive and manage
* A quad bike would perhaps be easier to reverse than the tractor
* We could use a quad bike to transport the deliveries of manure from the main gate down to the veg garden
* A road legal bike could be used to bring stuff from neighbouring farms
* A new quad would be an added expense - not very Green.
* I see that a good second hand quad bike would cost about as much as a good second hand tractor - and then again we already have the tractor
* A quad bike would be yet another lump of machinery
* I have very little experience of a quad
* Our Tractor is a beautiful machine - not very dynamic maybe, but rock solid reliable
* Our tractor is amazingly easy to service - lots of big bolt on lumps
* Our old tractor is gaining in value... worth more now than when we bought it
As you can see... it all needs thinking about.
Do you have any thoughts out there?
Monday, 1 February 2010
ARE GEESE SELF-SUFFICIENT?
If you have a patch of grass – something like an overgrown orchard – and plenty of kitchen scraps, then geese can manage for most of the year without extra feeding. As William Cobbett says in his now classic self-sufficiency book Cottage Economy (published 1821) …”Geese are amongst the hardiest animals in the world… a goose will lay a hundred eggs a year… we give such things that are going to seed…lettuce… cabbages…they thrive exceedingly upon this food.”
Tuesday, 26 January 2010
We are just about ready to start thinking about setting up a PV system. The main difficulty so far has to do with us understanding just what it is that the various Chinese suppliers have on offer. Our thinking is that we need to start by costing the various kits, all before we start thinking about our specific needs.
And just in case you dont know..... Photovoltaic or PV cells are systems that convert sunlight directly into DC electricity. Solar PV, s can be used at a domestic level for lighting, and for powering low voltage appliances like radio, TV, computer, small water pumps. A small PV system will only produce a few hundred watts of electricity at most, but when linked up with a battery, and when used efficiently, they will provide enough electricity for a small cottage. Photovoltaic systems – sometimes known as PC’s – work by converting sunlight into to DC or direct current electricity. A typical PV cell structure – made up in sandwiched layers – has a back contact, two silicon layers, an anti-reflecting coating, a contact grid, and an encapsulating surface. When the rays of the sun – in the form of photons – shower the structure, the resultant steady flow of electrons produce a minute amount of electricity in the form of a direct or DC current. The amount that each cell produces is minuscule, but if you connect a whole batch of cells – in the form of say door-size panels, or tiles on a roof – and use an inverter to turn DC to AC, then you have a relatively simple and inexpensive energy source. The most common stand alone PV systems are designed to clip on to existing roofs. In action you mount the panels on the roof, plug into existing on-grid connection, and the system is ready to go. As to just how well a typical 1000 watt system will perform in the
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS THAT NEED TO BE SORTED
- WHY IS THERE SO LITTLE INTEREST IN PHOTOVOLTAICS ? Apart from the fact that there is a widespread suspicion of any black-box technology where you can’t actually see the wheels turning, PV’s are still relatively high cost.
- HOW ABOUT SIZE AND WEIGHT? So far we haven't been able to pin the various manufacturers down when it comes to weight and size...certainly they are happy to give us the power potential figures of such and such a panel, but as yet they are not so keen on giving the weight and size of the actual panels
Monday, 25 January 2010
WHAT IS A
Whoever it was that said… that our humanity can in some way be measured by the way that we treat the natural world, must surely have been thinking about wild life gardens. A wildlife garden is place where we – meaning all living organisms, – can meet and come together for the common good. Nature is about balance – like a wheel… and if we get the balance right then everything else will follow. At its most basic level, a wildlife garden is a poison-free environment, an eco-sanctuary for you, for me, for your kids, for plants, for birds…. for all of us.
Sunday, 24 January 2010
When we first became interested in self-sufficiency, people were beginning to experiment with all manner of solar heat collectors - made from old central heating radiators, black plastic tubes, rubber inner tubes, and so on. One system I remember was amazingly simple: water trickled down over a glass-covered galvanized steel roof into a trough and then on into a tank in the cellar, where it was used for hot water and space heating. This system did not look very pretty, and it was a huge free-standing structure almost as big as the side of a house, but for all that it was amazingly efficient, with cold water going in at the top end and too-hot-to-touch water coming out at the other. There was another system where black plastic was wound round and round a massive cylindrical house-high water tank. Just as before, cold water went in at one end and came out hot at the other.