Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   pole in the cold
Sunday, November 23 2008
While Gretchen was participating for the second day in this year's ThanksLiving festivities, I took the dogs over to Tara and Brian's new house at the foot of the north end of the Shawangunks (just south of Rosendale). The new house is off-grid and as self-sufficient as possible, with lots of south-facing windows, a wood stove, and, eventually, a pole-mounted photovoltaic array to provide for household electrical needs. It was for the elaboration of photovoltaic hardware on a pole that I'd come out today. Brian and his team of helpers (I'm still wondering why these people have so much time to work for free — though some of them might be paid) had already installed the six inch by 12 foot pole, which sat at the end of a fifty foot long trench. The pole's bottom end was embedded in a block of concrete made from 25 eighty pound bags (roughly a half cubic yard).
The thing that had to be placed at the top of the pole was a large H-shaped structure made from square steel pipe. At first Brian had the idea we could prefab the whole H, but it was well over 100 pounds, so we ended up handling it piecemeal. At some point Brian showed me how the pole's tracking technology was supposed to work. The whole array balances on a pivot that continually shifts as the sun crosses the sky, powered only by the transfer of freon from one parabolically-heated side to the other. When the sun moves, it heats one side more than the other and the fluid shifts, causing the whole structure to tilt toward the sun. The whole thing is completely passive.
Later one of Brian's mysterious helpers (the one who lives in a yurt, not the one who builds earth batteries) showed up and helped get some of the smaller rails up onto the frame we'd installed. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get any of the fancy freon technology up today. By this point the clouds had obscured the sun and a cruel wind was blowing. It wasn't quite as cold as it had been yesterday, but it was hardly ideal for outdoor work.
Meanwhile Tara was cutting and putting up tongue-and-grove siding on the front of the house beneath some of the windows. At some point she went out and got vegan bagels (containing tofutti instead of cream cheese) for everybody.

It wasn't quite dark by the time I got home tonight, and I was able to do a few little carpentry things on my greenhouse.

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