Thursday, May 3, 2012

Blogging good, blogger bad.

Blogger has pissed me off for the last time. I really hate the new changes. So I've switched my blog over to Wordpress. Seems like a lot of other folks feel the same way. I want to thank all those who followed my silly little blog and for taking the time to comment on my blather. If you like you can see my future posts at It will take me a bit to learn how to use the new site but I'll do it. I've found a lot of good blogs while here and will continue to follow them over at Wordpress. As for you dickheads at google who are bent on world domination, suck my exit.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Know your rights

Today there was an announcement that the Canadian government will be giving Thailand's police force seven million dollars. This really burns my ass. Meanwhile the national police force here at home doesn't even know Canadian law. I guess we can't afford to train the Thai police AND our own.

OK, yeah yeah, I got another speeding ticket recently. I asked the officer to show me some identification.  His first response was that he did not carry any and that officers on duty typically don't. ????  So I politely informed him that it is the law that he must carry picture ID and a badge and that it is my right to ask to see it. He goes back to his vehicle to prepare my ticket. After what seemed like about 20 times what it would take to write a ticket he returns to my vehicle to present me with my tax bill for driving over the posted limit. This time he brought a grouchy little friend with him.

I asked again to please see some ID and a badge. The grouchy fellow asks me why I think I have the right to make such a request. I let him know it's the law. I get the same answer I always do in this situation, "Uniform, stripe on the leg, gun on the hip, police car. What more identification do you need?" I always come back with same reply, "A badge with a number on it that matches your picture ID." Finally the first officer shows me his badge and ID. He says this is so " We can all go home having had a pleasant experience". ???? I'm sure he didn't want a report filed that he was negligent in his duty as a Peace Officer. That is a criminal offense. I won't bother with letting their superiors know what rude, lying bastards these officers were. I'm just satisfied with knowing that two more cops are aware that one more citizen knows his rights and will insist upon them being honored.

Please, please, always be courteous in these situations. I don't want anyone to get hurt. If things seem to be escalating, just back off. It's not worth getting beat by some cop. There's enough of that already. I do however urge everyone to learn what their rights are and start insisting on them. Our rights and freedoms are being taken away with alarming speed these days. We have to do what we can to ensure we keep them. Once they are gone, we will not be getting them back very easily.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Rocket Mass Re-Build

We've had a freakishly mild winter this year. Works for me. Although surviving through multiple week stretches of -40 weather is kind of a badge of honour many Canadians are proud of, I hate that shit. It's almost over anyway, and the season for building things and growing stuff is so close now. Today was a beautiful, sunny +5 C day with no wind. Mrs. Mud and I went wandering around the acreage looking for scavenging materials that we've probably seen a dozen times but still hadn't figured out what to do with. As new projects develop there is often something laying around that seemed to have no good purpose until just right now. Also, today I cleaned one of the guns, went outside and put 25 rounds through it. Wandering around the property with the old lady in beautiful weather and then some shooting adds up to a pretty wonderful day.
I have nothing to complain about. Well, except that my government (and probably yours too) is filled with a bunch of peckerheads bent on turning the country into a corporate free-for-all while 'real persons' struggle to survive and pay the politicians lucrative salaries and pensions.

My rocket mass heater is acting weird. I'm thinking of tearing it apart for a complete rebuild. That certainly doesn't cause me to complain. On the contrary. How many people with 'traditional' heating systems in their 'traditional' homes can just rebuild it themselves? That's why I love owner built homes using mostly natural materials. I'm in control. I don't need some overpriced furnace guy or electrician to come into my home, do some weird voodoo I don't understand and leave me with a huge bill. (I don't mean to rag on plumbers or electricians in particular, I'd understand if they felt the same way about some overpriced GIS dude handing them a bill for something they didn't understand or need and could have likely done a different way themselves for free.)

When I first fired up the mass heater it worked great. And has since, but not consistently. Sometimes it will reverse. All of a sudden, the airflow will change and blow smoke into the house. Then it reverses again, sucks smoke back into the feed tube and makes that satisfying rocket sound, just like it should. I have some ideas why this is happening. One is that the vertical stack at the end of the run within the mass is just not getting warm enough. There isn't enough heat left by the time it reaches the stack to combat the push from the column of cold air fighting against it. That's one possibility anyway, I'm not sure if it explains the 'pulsing' motion of air flow though. Another possible issue may be that my bell chamber between the barrel and the beginning of the run the mass might have too much volume. Another problem may be that since winter got here before the thing was completely finished there may be minor air leakage around the bottom of the barrel. All these problems can be easily dealt with in a rebuild. I will go with a shorter run through thermal mass. Also reconfigure the layout so that the final vertical piece of pipe that leaves the house would be positioned right against (or darn close) to the heat exchange barrel. Both these things would increase the temperature of the gasses in the vertical stack, thereby increasing the 'suck' at the feed tube.

As much as I wish no changes would be required I'm glad to learn this now instead of after moving in this fall only to be smoked out in the winter. I don't want to be pondering improvements to the system standing outside in January watching smoke billow out the windows.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Going off grid and off politics.

I've been watching a bit of American politics lately. The live debates for the Repulsives and the speech by the leader of the Dumbicrats, who also happens to be president at the moment. I can't predict who will win the next election. The best outcome would be none of the above. However after watching a few hours of current American politicians, I can safely make this prediction: If you live in the US, you are going to be screwed for some time to come. If you live in a country that has anything to do with the US, things don't look good for you either.

The other night was my first yoga class. Power yoga. I tell ya, that shit ain't easy. At least not for a 6'3", 220lb pixel pusher. I'm sure it will get easier with practice though. My fitness goal is to end up a 5'10", 180lb jaguar. We'll see. Mrs. Mud is awesome at the yoga. No surprise, she excels at everything she takes on. I really like her yoga outfit.....

This winter is crunch time. Got to figure out the rest of the systems for the earthbag house we're building. I thought I had pretty much figured out the off-grid electrical stuff but it's turning out to be pretty complicated. Matching the estimated power useage to the ability to recharge the batteries, the right size generator, wiring, fuses, line losses and a whole lot more. I kind of wish Sixbears in the Woods was my neighbor. Sounds like he has helped several people setup their solar systems as well as his own. The Outback user's forum is proving to be quite helpful. My system will be based around an Outback Flexpower One 24 volts. I've pretty much settled on four 6 volt Surrette batteries with a 20hr rate of 680 amp hours. We have 2kw of solar panels and about 3 hours of insolation in the deep of winter. Well, that's one good thing about Canadian prairie winters. (If I can think of another I'll have to put it in another post.) There will still be times a generator is required. Especially when it is time to equalize the battery bank. Our system has to provide enough power for the basics and for me to continue working from home with various computer equipment. And for Mrs. Mud to do her thing, which also requires computer power. And of course to maybe plug in a vehicle for a couple hours so it will start at 40 below.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Winter will be kept outside this year

Our earthbag house is closed in just in time for winter. Roof is finished, windows are all in and the rocket mass heater is mostly constructed as well.  This winter we'll be able to get some interior work done.
Insulated heat riser
The cats enjoying the warmth of the first burn
I really do love rocket stoves. I burned this one for about three hours and ended up with about a cup full of ashes. For the burn I used the slats from about one and a half pallets. These things are just amazing. The exhaust coming out the exit was mostly steam and only warm, not hot. There was a faint smell of wood in the exhaust but not like smoke from any other fire. And the large amount of mass holds this heat for a very long time, releasing it slowly.

Now we are onto to some of many, many other projects. Mrs. Mud has started on building a bat house to be put up near the end of winter. This is going be be a huge help around the homestead. Summer here brings a lot of mosquitoes. I've described my problems with mosquitoes in a previous post.

We've also recently acquired a 7 week old golden retriever pup. So that meant putting a doggy door in to the porch for him, putting up a fence for a dog run and building a dog house. The dog house was actually pretty easy. We re-purposed one of the door forms from the earthbag structure. All the wood in this was originally salvaged from the dump. I'm not sure what purposes it served before I got hold of it, but this will the second thing it has done for me. It may even be part of another project before it ends up heating my butt in the rocket mass heater.

Friday, September 23, 2011

We just make shit up as we go

For everyone that has read and commented on my blog thank you. I appreciate that you have taken the time to do so. I've just been to damn busy or exhausted to respond. It's been a while since I blogged or even had time to read any of those that I enjoy. For a couple months I was working two full time jobs and trying to get work done on the domestead as well. I'm down to one job now and I get to work from home.  Can't beat that with a stick.

One of the cats has been very busy too. While nursing some kittens, she went and had six more. My plan was to wait until a couple of them were about size 11, then hollow them out to make some slippers. But overnight 5 of them disappeared. Could be coyotes, owls or foxes. There's more life than you might expect on the bald-assed prairie.

exit form for rocket mass heater
Plans have changed on the house once again. A few months ago we realized we would never have time to finish doming in the three we needed most (or even work at all on the other two) so we decided to roof them go for more of a castle shape. I'm glad I built a complete dome from dirt on the property a couple years ago or I would have to consider changing my internet name.

Standing bags between beams
roof will be embedded in bags
After the OSB plywood, I laid down a sticky roofing membrane then screwed tin on top of that. Then the final row of bags (laid flat) will lock everything together. And finally a few more bags to give that knobby-castle-thing look.

The rocket mass heater has finally been worked on as well. The temporary mock-up I built gave awesome results. So now the burn tunnel is mortared in place and ready to put the riser back on and get to the next steps. I was lucky to find a riser with a 7 inch inside diameter and 1/2 inch wall thickness.

And finally, to those dipshit Canadian delegates that walked out on some guys speech at the UN: You should be publicly ridiculed and humiliated, then fired for deriliction of duties and stripped of your citizenship. Assholes.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

My mosquito costume

OK, so it may be the best 15 bucks I've ever spent. A mosquito net jacket with full hood and face coverage. The arms and waistline have drawstrings to make sure nothing can get in. With this and a set of gloves, I'm invincible outside. I can't stand bug spray so this item is a welcome addition to my wardrobe. On the fashion side of the equation, it is a complete fail. It makes me look like some sort of Taliban Tranny ready to hit the stroll. But I don't care. There's no one for miles around to make fun of me anyway. And besides, the mosquitoes around here come in swarms and get get quite huge. Last summer two of them threw me to the ground while a third tried to fuck me.