20080331

Kitty in the Broccoli


Kittyin the Broccoli
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
It is rare occasion that our house cat is invited to work outside with us. Scardy behaved very well on his leash and is seen here enjoying the bees and broccoli rab.

Raised Bed


Raised Bed
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy spent the day preparing areas for our next raised bed and herb gardens. Both of which will be using grey water for most of their moisture.

Battery Cleanup


Battery Cleanup
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I spent the day cleaning the battery terminals, battery acid, and refilling the batteries with distiller water. You can see the cleaner batteries on the right and the dirty batteries on the left.

20080330

Photosynthesis Boards


Photosynthesis Boards
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I've been making multiple grow light boards at a time. It greatly speeds up my production to do the same repetitive soldering on three different boards one after another. Here are three more ready to go out.

E-Panel battery and pv wiring


E-Panel battery and pv wiring
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

I spent most of the afternoon figuring out which direction and how many cables need to enter into the junction boxes for the batteries and solar panels.

e-panel wiring


e-panel wiring
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

The is MidNite Solars e-panel connection hookup diagram for pretty much my setup. It is the most useful document of theirs I have found.

PV Battery Connections


PV Battery Connections
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I drew up the connections for the PV batteries. I'm going for 48V running in parallel across three sets of eight batteries. Each battery is 6V.

20080329

Spaceman


Spaceman
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar

Spaceman a papercreter who built himself a amazing dome in El Paso, TX was visiting us for the last twenty-four hours. He had some great suggestions for making sure that are PV install is code compliant. Notice the bizarre camera he has around his neck. It is a pair of modern cannon digital cameras. They both are running hacked firmware to take 3D photos and do much more. One camera is mounted upside down and they have a usb cable linking them.

20080327

PV Gear Mount


PV Gear Mount
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We got some e-panels mounted up in the battery room today. Unfortunately we have a incorrect door for the left side which means back to the vendor for a replacement. We probably have other issues before completing hookup so I am going to figure out what we are missing this weekend.

Battery Moving Day


Battery Moving Day
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy and I were really lucky to have made a barter deal with our neighbor, Davey earlier this week. I help with a busted computer and he helps move some batteries. As it turned out the computer was really busted which helped justify him moving 3,000 lbs of batteries. They are finally in the dome waiting to be charged up.

White "Paint" Recipe


White "Paint" Recipe
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
We had done three coats of lime wash in our dome. Probably due to the
prickly pear cactus juice we had some areas that were off color. We
decided to go with a more energy intensive homebrew paint and use
white portland cement, lime, and water. We ended up using.

- 6 lbs of lime
-10 lbs of white portland cement
- 2 gallons of water

This gave us a very strong smooth bright white finish that felt a bit
like a swimming pool. We plan on using a similar recipe on the rest
of our domes both internal and external.

20080324

Better Living Through Experimentation

Wendy and I have been preparing for our waste event this April. Here is the latest flyer.

Light Replacement


Light Replacement
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy installed a new light on our front gate this morning. The electric company stopped by to read tge metee and didn't seem to care.

20080323

Fridge Based Water Heater


Fridge Based Water Heater
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I cannot get over how nice this old fridge water heater solution is. Paint a old water heater black. Hookup water connections and place in old fridge. At night close fridge to help store heat longer.

Rolling in It


Rolling in It
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Asher shows me his super slick poop shoot. A humanure setup that is on wheels to easily switch compost bins. I like his use of pallets for holding the poo.

700 Miles on 4 Gallons


700 Miles on 4 Gallons
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I returned from Tucson, AZ today be figured out my total grease mileage. I can do about 700 miles on 40 gallons of grease with plenty to spare for driving around Tucson and not coming back on a empty tank. This is a photo of The Raven's Nest in Mimbres, NM where I picked up 7 gallons of filtered WVO.

20080322

A Day with Brad


A Day with Brad
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I visited Brad Lancaster at his home in Tucson. Brad showed me his catchment systems, food, power, showers, and fire pole. He has a incredible amount of knowledge and was willing to share all of it. Brad made me a lunch fresh from the garden and we spent some time working on a stand to help organize found materials. Even the stand gets a roof for catchment.

B20 Fuel


B20 Fuel
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I was looking around Tucson for some B100 to fill my starter tank. It seems both roadrunner and Go Go Mart have removed their Bio pumps. I ended up getting B20 from safeway. So far I have been getting about 300mpg on dinodiesel due to burning primarily WVO.

Shade ... Ahhhh

Mikey's in tucson and since I was still scratching my head about what to give him for his birthday I decided to build him shade. I made this roof out of left over framing studs that we had no use for. They are tied to metal lath with tie wire that's attached to welded rebar which connects to the shipping containers. Its a nice industrial look.

20080320

Flat Tire


Flat Tire
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Yeah it has been that kind of week for me. Despite the patch and plug
in this new tire it is dead! At least it is under warranty.

Ed Conley


Ed Conley
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I stopped through Silver City on my way to Ticson yesterday to meet with my papercrete brother Ed Conley. He showed me his beautiful home which is pretty far along. A very nice project.

A Visit with Asher


A Visit with Asher
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I visited Asher Gelbert in his home grease lab located in Mimbres, NM. He showed me around his massive 270 gallon totes full of b100 biodiesel and WVO in various states of being cleaned. Those of you traveling through the southwest in diesels might want to score some fuel from him.

Bad Brakes


Bad Brakes
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
After a lot of problems with my new brake pads, calipers, and tires I finally made it on my solo road trip to Tucson. The last thingthat happened was I noticed a air leak in a tire that had only 90 miles on it. Unbelievable!

20080319

Film Crew


Film Crew
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Another documentary film crew in town. This is Avi and Derrick working on a film about technology. The people they interviewed sound great. I can't wait to see it.

20080317

Greased Up


Greased Up
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
After we stained the wood trim with grease I kept on filtering. Another 30 gallons of WVO for my upcoming trip to Tucson, AZ. This is about all I can carry without straining my cars suspension. There is a 21 gallon aluminum tank full of WVO and I prefiltered another ten gallons in the two containers. I'm also bringing my pump/filter setup along in case I score some grease on the trip. My friend Asher says he can hook me up with 10 gallons in Mimbres, NM which is on my way.

Spearmint


Spearment
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Ahh what a refreshing site. A green mobile home with trim made from waste wood and vegetable oil.

Grease Wood


Grease Wood
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
The princess and I ditched out of the food meeting and headed home to get some work done. We made a bunch of trim for the mobile home windows and sliding glass door which came out quite nice. How much time and money can we put into a 40 year old trailer?

TBA Meeting Redux


TBA Meeting Redux
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
It is the third Monday of the month and you know what that means. Yes, another lengthy discussion of who can we find outside massive room of people to get some work done. This was the local food group "The Bountiful Alliance" meeting which occurs at a church down the road from my place.

20080316

Home Made Veg Oil Heater

I made a veg oil heater for my obtainment filter out of some magnet wire and aluminum tape. The last wrap heater I bought cost me about $80. It sure looks pretty, but I can make about 64 wrap heaters now that I found the materials I need.

20080315

'Tis the Season


'Tis the Season
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I kicked off my first test run with the LED grow lights today. One outdoor clay planter with 5 cilantro seeds and another under my desk. The planter under my desk has the 40 LED grow light "SEPT" hanging about six inches above the pot.

20080314

We got Blink


We got Blink
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I hooked up the first SEPT unit and it happily blinked away with my totally untested code. I'm going to speed up the blink rate since I'm only pulling 1/2W right now.

SEPT assembled


SEPT assembled
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Assembled Circuit Board in Altoids case.

SEPT Boards arrive


SEPT Boards arrive
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
The circuit boards I designed for my mini grow lights arrived today. They are tiny!

WP Pump Switch


WP Pump Switch
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
The power switch for the pump in our tub room was sparking occasionally. I ripped off the old outlet today and put on a new weather proof toggle. Once inside the wall I realized that someone had left the ground wire floating, that is fixed now.

Prepare for the End


Prepare for the End
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Bear Stearns has had a terrible week. The stock has dropped to less than half its value in almost 24 hours and the fed has had to come in and offer a indirect loan to keep them in business. I think this is why my cat "Scardy" is hiding in the cabinet with a few weeks of food and sleeping on a pile of trash bags.

Sewing...Pfaff


Sewing...Pfaff
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Before we left NYC Wendy somehow came up with a fifty year old sewing machine. It didn't work and it took us about three years to finally get the machine going. Today she is making more outdoor cushions out of old shade cloth and these bizarre plastic things she buys from surplus city.

20080313

Papercrete Bermuda Grass


Papercrete Bermuda Grass
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I noticed that one of our papercrete walls has some bermuda grass successfully growing within it.

Night Light


Night Light
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
While I messed around with getting the Mercedes ready for our next road trip and worked on another greasy mon board Wendy did some lighting work. She installed some shiny outdoor fixtures which look a lot better than what we had.

Painting the House


Painting the House
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Now that we are guest free Wendy immediately got back to work. Today she is painting the side of our house with a mismatch paint she picked up from the local hardware store at cost. It is a pretty green.

20080312

Cheap Meat


Cheap Meat
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I went to the local car shop to pickup my ancient Mercedes. My car just needed a new set of tires and brake pads. While I was waiting to get my key a man with a UT heat (University of Texas) came in selling steaks by the box for $150. The women who worked at the car shop was in quite a pickle. The steaks sure looked tasty, but $150 is a lot of money.

20080310

SEPT Gerbers


SEPT Gerbers
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I finished the circuit board layout for my LED grow light board
today. It is just about the same cost to have 12 circuit boards made
instead of just two. I should receive the boards by Friday unless
there is a hold up (and there often is!). It will fit in a altoids case!

20080309

SEPT Progress


SEPT Progress
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I've been stalled on the "Super Efficient PhotoSynthesis" project for
days. The parts arrived and I had to make a huge correction for the
size of the LEDs I was using for grow lights. Now I'm doing the final
routing and trying to finish the board by tonight so I can receive
the first batch of 12 by Wednesday afternoon.

20080307

Paul Motchan


Paul Motchan
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy's Dad is in town. He is a retired electrician with a lot of good ideas about how to properly rewire our place. He is seen here struggling to put on a vest he scored while stranded in Albuquerque for a night.

20080306

Stranded


Stranded
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Our Veg Oil vehicle finally screwed us. Wendy was on a trip to Albuquerque and the car's gas pedal stopped working. She pulled over and called me. We did some troubleshooting and quickly found that the throttle linkage had snapped. After a trip to Lowe's she came up with this crazy thing so that she can drive home. Not related to the grease, just a twenty-four year old car issue.

20080303

Tree Planting


Tree Planting
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
Wendy managed to plant four trees today. I think they were two willow
pines and two pear trees. Notice the extensive cardboard, mulching,
and hole digging.

SEPT - Schematic


SEPT - Schematic
Originally uploaded by mikeysklar
I spent the morning putting together a schematic for a new gadget. This device is a LED grow light designed for a single large plant. I am currently calling the project "SEPT" Super Efficient PhotoSynthesis. There are 40 LEDs most red and some blue. The lights will blink at 720Hz and come close the ideal light wave lengths that plants desire (red 680nm / blue 440nm). If the device is on for 16 hours a day we should see a very fast growing plant with only 2W of power driving the device. This is about equivalent to a 100W high pressure sodium light. Ideal for growing herbs in the kitchen, or for the cubicle slave that wants to make their own lettuce in the office.

Tatooine

I was watching Star Wars Ep IV last night with Wendy as part of a "research project". We knew that our FC/PC dome looked something like what Luke was kicking it in on his home planet of Tatooine. I'm actually surprised just how much they look alike.