Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday the 13

What a nice day. The sun was shining. It got all the way up to 50 today. Things went pretty well. (Perhaps I should worry about having a good day on Friday the 13th.)

All the goats went out to pasture. That system seems to be working fairly well. It still takes too much time to set up, but I am getting better. The little ones are growing fast and love being out on the green grass. We got 7 quarts of milk today. Perhaps we'll make some cheese and yogurt tomorrow.

The greenhouse has finally come together, and everything seemed to work today. Everyone has told me that I am doing everything on this greenhouse wrong. I guess I would be more worried if it was just like all the other greenhouses around. Most greenhouses have two problems - keeping them warm at night and venting excess heat and humidity during the day. Usually the solutions to these problems require a lot of energy input. Big gas heaters keep them warm at night and when it's cold and big electric fans vent the excess heat and keep the air moving. When you are trying to find ways to only use energy produced on your own property the big gas heater and big electric fans don't look like such a good option. They are also very expensive to acquire and run. Our greenhouse will use a large thermal mass to store heat during the day and release it at night. It will also have supplemental heat from solar and wood fire hot water. The venting will utilize natural convection currents and thermal siphoning. To accomplish this we have oriented our greenhouse east-west rather than north-south. We have put a high, solid wall on the north side that will be insulated and be the backer for our 4ft x 40ft wall of water. We will have a ridge vent, like a long cupola that will draw excess heat out the top of the greenhouse and cooler air in from the bottom. It should take considerably less imported energy to function. I expect we will be doing some fine tuning this year, after which things should work pretty much as planned. I'll post some pictures of the details soon.

I started a new blog today to explore some of the philosophical underpinnings of what we are doing. If you are interested you can follow the link from this blog and participate in the discussion.
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