Monday, December 6, 2010

The Walrus

I am he as you are he as you are me
and we are all together
See how they run like pigs from a gun
see how they fly
I'm crying
Sitting on a cornflake
Waiting for the van to come
Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
Man you've been a naughty boy
you let your face grow long

I am the eggman
they are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

Mr. city policeman sitting
pretty little policemen in a row
See how they fly like Lucy in the sky
See how they run
I'm crying
I'm crying, I'm crying
Yellow matter custard
Dripping from a dead dog's eye
Crabalocker fishwife
Pornographic priestess
Boy, you've been a naughty girl
you let your knickers down

I am the eggman
They are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

Sitting in an English garden
waiting for the sun
If the sun don't come you get a tan
from standing in the English rain

I am the eggman
They are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob

Expert, texpert choking smokers
don't you think the joker laughs at you
See how they smile like pigs in a sty
See how they snide
I'm crying
Semolina pilchard
climbing up the Eiffel tower
Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna
Man, you should have seen them kicking
Edgar Allan Poe

I am the eggman
They are the eggmen
I am the walrus
Goo goo g' joob
Goo goo g' joob
Goo goo g' goo
goo goo g' joob goo
juba juba juba
juba juba juba
juba juba juba juba
juba juba

John Lennon

December 8th 1980.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tree Huggers on Easter Island (updated)

It seems easier to get started this year.
Looking back over our seventeen years in the bush here we can see the dramatic ways our environment has changed.

Nobody had lived here for several years. The small cabin, with all its windows shot out, had been taken over by swallows and mice. A half dozen wrecked vehicles dating back to the fifties, dilapidated outbuildings, and old, weathered garbage strewn throughout.
But aside from the small stain of human's existence, this spot on earth was peace.
We cleaned, patched up the cabin, re-used the wood from the outbuildings, but kept the wrecks around for parts and art.

We're coming out of a very long winter. Spring is here but slow. The lake is still covered with ice. The garlic and parsnips coming up slowly. Fruit trees are showing signs of life. Should be a bountiful season.

Seventeen years ago we camped on the land. For a cool, rainy week in September we relaxed here. The mornings were enveloped in mist. There were hundreds of ducks and geese sliding through the mist, into and out of the reeds that surrounded the small lake. We were going to stake as a place to live. Isolation.
Around the lake there was a mature lodgepole pine, spruce and Douglas fir forest and there was an incredible display of mushrooms. Enchanted. Easy forage for oyster mushrooms, boletes, field and horse mushrooms.There were dozens more we could not identify.

Since then pine beetles and the mills have taken all of the mature forest. Left a few mature firs here and there. The mushrooms, bats and now the moose have mostly disappeared with the forest.
The province has a bounty on wolves. Anyone with a hunting license can shoot a wolf any time.
The science behind the wolf cull is so flawed. It's all about votes and money.


doubt we’re are going to burn every drop of oil and burn every pound of coal. A forester once told us, when we were trying to stop the mill from cutting the forest around the land we live on, that there is not a safe stand of trees in Canada and that it’s only a matter of time before they’re all cut.

10% of the world population owns 85% of the world's assets and half of the population of the world owns barely 1%.

Terrorism, fighting for freedom…We haven't seen the worste yet. Blaming it on fundamentalists and extremists while hanging onto our decadence.
You would fight to save yours and who exactly are the extremists.

Our standard of living was built on the backs of slaves.The Conquistadors.
It’s not complicated.

Tree huggers unite but watch your backs

or you’ll get eaten.

Aki and Scott

Our business.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Moving and Static Photovoltaic Systems.

By static I mean solar panels mounted on your roof, facing south and angled at 20 degrees. They don't move. Controller, battery bank or grid tie, inverter, your load...your demand. If you know how much electricity you want it's fairly easy to calculate the photovoltaic equipment you will need. There is so much information out there.

Pretty much maintenance free. Electricity generation on your roof top. Simple and 1/2 the cost of what it was. Now solar equipment is inexpensive and oil is cheap/life is cheap. Everyone is a bit scared of cloudy days.

This kind of system is replacing or enhancing your connection to the grid.

With the sun, taking advantage when the sun is shinning we track the sun manually as we work. Our main system is 416 watts of panels tracking the sun from a manual tracker that stands 20' high beside our cabin.

Tracking systems can be manual or automated, single or double axis and mounted on a pole or track. Some trackers use movable mirrors and concentrators rather than moving the panels themselves.

(picture to the left is of our
panels and our dish to the internet).

We built a tracker with two axis and for years diligently tracked the sun at tilt and angle. We recently put a steel roof on our place and now track the sun only by turning the tracking pole leading the sun from the time it comes up until it goes down. The steel roof reflecting sun light on the panels eliminated the need to tilt.
The practice of tracking has increased our energy production by 45 %.

Tracking the sun sounds like a chore but is far from it. We work and live in the same location and the tracker is located on the way to our shop. We have become in tune with the sun, always aware of where it is in the sky and adjusting the panels leading the sun by an hour or two on either side. In a 15 hour high demand day we adjust the angle 4 or 5 times. A high demand day maybe a couple of loads of laundry, working with a tablesaw for the day, four hours working on the computer, a couple of lights for the evening and watching a dvd. Since we do all the heavy demand work during sun up our batteries still around 65% in the morning. Most days the batteries are hovering between 80 to 100%.

The pole swivels for angle, as the sun moves across the sky, on its base of 1/2" plate steel set in the ground with concrete. This mechanism, as shown below, is a "T" of larger diameter pipe slipped over the pole end and welded in place. Sliding a smaller diameter pipe through the top of the "T" accommodates tilt.

Click on pictures for larger images

We drilled a couple of holes through one side of the larger pipe at the ends, welded nuts over the holes and then screwed bolts snugging against the smaller pipe within to control the tilt.
We use to tie a rope to the top and bottom of the panels to adjust tilt and a cross on the pole to move with the sun across the sky.

If you snug up to the smaller inside pipe with the bolts you'll have complete control of the tilt with the ropes. It is very simple and effective.
By using standard bolts, there is very little wear. For the 10 years we've operated this tracker the bolts have worn off paint. We figure in about 100 years somebody will have to shift the assembly over a 1/2".

This method of tracking the sun may not be for everyone. There are many solar trackers on the market.
Using recycled scrap pipe our photo-voltaic panel tracker cost us $45 and a days work, installed.

We started living here in 1997 with no electricity and slowly built our system as we needed it.

A second action we perform happens on winter days. On a perfect solar energy filled winter day there are only 6  1/2 hours of sun here. After a couple of dark days in December our batteries are hovering around 20%. First thing when the sun begins to peak over the horizon we'll charge the battery bank for 20 minutes with our  S-10's 2.8L engine. We installed a 200 amp altenator. (*update: since 2015 we've used a generator) While the engine is on we'll pump water, charge batteries for the drill, computer etc... Our batteries are discharged to low levels in the winter. There is resistance that develops in the batteries from discharging, preventing them from accepting a charge. The low amperage the panels produce in the morning is not sufficient to wear through the resistance in time for a good charge during the short days. The higher amp and voltage charge from our charging system is sufficient, breaking through the batteries' resistance and allowing the panels to do their job. During really challenging no sun periods we'll disconnect half the battery bank (undoing a wing nut connection), charge half the bank to 60% then reconnect. A sunny winter we may burn $40 of gas. A dark winter we may burn $200. We are in a good spot on the planet as far as exposure to sun light. On average we are burning 80 - 100 litres per year for our fix of electricity.
This method of energy maintenance has increased our battery charge up to 70% on the darkest days of winter.
This all sounds like a lot of effort but it is not. With a bit of modification it could be simplified further to just flicking a switch. It is a fit that will become standard.

From March until mid October we have more power than we need.
Supposing that the whole point to this endeavor is to find the point at which we find what we need.

For more information on our sun power system and our back up power system please visit,
Solar Power, Engines and Alternators.

Enjoy the sun.

Aki and Scott