Monday, 12 May 2014


In Northern Europe and the Northern United States irrigation isn't to much of a problem as there is sufficient rainfall most of the year to keep plants growing normally. 

For people living further south there may be a need to water plants frequently throughout most of the year. Subsequent posts will be about the art of irrigation for those who are not on mains water but have access to a river or stream.

Future posts will cover irrigation piping, pumps, eco friendly pumps and water storage tanks.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Storing wood for burning.

Logs for storage should be cut to size to fit in the wood burner without difficulty. Logs should also be stored in the dry. If wood for storage is kept outside, it should be covered with a tarpaulin  to keep it dry.
Wood should not be stored directly on the ground, as this will encourgage insects and beetles which will burrow into the wood and spoil it for burning. Ideal wood should be suspended from the ground with a pallet or frame.
If you intend to store a large quantity of wood it may be an idea to write down the age and date of each batch so you can burn the oldest wood first.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Burning in-mature wood.

First one should never be tempted to burn in-mature wood. Wood should be at least one year old before it is suitable for burning. The problem with in-mature wood is, it will release too much tar, which will clog the wood burner chimney and pipes.

Tar from in-mature wood will quickly solidify and narrow chimney pipes to the point it will be difficult to light. It will also become difficult to keep the wood burner burning properly. If your wood burner has bends in the pipework these will clog up sooner.

If this happens to you, you can try tapping the pipework when the wood burner is cold. You may hear a tinkling sound as solid flakes of tar drop down into the body of the wood burner.

However, the only long term fix is to dismantle the pipework and clean the pipes manually. All wood burners need to be cleaned from time to time, but if you stick to using mature wood of a year old or longer the task may only need to be preformed once each season.

Friday, 20 December 2013

How to fit and position a wood burner.

When you have purchased your new wood burner you'll be wanting to position it where it will produce the most heat for the home.

An ideal place is either in the centre of the room or against several internal walls so the heat will dissipate into surrounding rooms which will make the most of your resource. Although, often even the smallest wood burner running well, will heat the entire home.

There are other things you'll need to take into account before fitting your new wood burner:

1 Easy of cleaning.
2  The chimney pipes will need to be as straight as possible as the pipes will after a while fill with solid tar. 

If the pipe is straight up to the roof a lot of tar can be removed by tapping when the pipe is cool. The tar will fall harmlessly back into the burner. If you have bends the tar will trap and the pipes will periodically need to be removed and cleaned. 

That in mind do not permanently fix the wood burner to the floor and use sections of pipe that can be dismantled easliy when the need arises.

Always use a guard if you have small children as a wood burner can get so hot the metal frame can glow bright red. That is mind make sure there is a clear space around the burner so nothing will accidentally catch alight.

The picture below shows a badly fitted wood burner that will need constant dismantling to clean where the pipe bends into the wall
 This picture is of an ideally fitted wood burner that will be easy to maintain.

 Next how to store wood for your new burner.


Thursday, 21 November 2013

Wood Burners 1

Throughout most of the world utility costs are rising way above inflation. In many countries this means going without adequate heat during the worst of the winter months. Whilst it is understood wood burners are not suitable for everybody, those who can use a wood burner should as it can reduce fuel costs considerably. A modern well fitted wood burner is both clean and trouble free.

 In the next few articles we will look at the pros and cons of keeping a wood burner. We shall also be looking at the advantages of a wood burner as it can be used for more than just keeping a room warm.

We will also look at how a wood burner can used cheaply and efficiently.

The next post will be about how to assemble, position and fit  wood burner in the home.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Wine making

Making your own wine can be a great way to save money especially if you live where it is warm enough to produce good wine making grapes.

 There is absolutely no need to add yeast or sugar if making wine directly from the grape. There are only three major pieces of equipment necessary.

Buckets to collect the grapes
 Large containers (to store the fermenting wine)
Storage bottles

It isn’t necessary to remove the stems from the grapes but we found it was well worth the effort to do so, as the wine was much improved. Basically all that is needed is to tread the grapes and leave the wine to stand for six week and then decanter.
The natural sugars and yeast in the grapes will do the rest. Using this ultra simply process, we have made wine that is every bit as good as what can be bought in the shops. So far we haven’t purchased any special tools or equipment apart from suitable containers.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Renewable energy 4 (building wind turbines)

Assemble the various parts to the proposed wind turbine on the floor. Now you'll need to cut the sewage pipe in half down the centre to make two blades.

Fill a large bucket with cement or concrete and embed the end of the scaffold pole.  You'll need to find a way of securing the scaffold pole so it sets vertical as straight as possible.

Now you need to run a two core cable from you batteries (via a voltage regulator) to the proposed site of the wind turbine Don't forget to leave enough cable to attach to the turbine when assembled. Please note: somewhere along the cable you will need to add a non return diode to prevent power going back up to the wind turbine and spinning it until the batteries go flat.

You will need to find a suitable weather free casing for the motor. Then attach a pole to the motor, and with the long nuts and bolts assemble the blades as seen in the photo on the previous blog.

Use the jubilee clips to hold the finished turbine to the top of the scaffolding pole. Once attached you'll need to check the tightness of the clips periodically.

Attach the cable and for neatness use cable ties to hold the cable to the scaffold pole.

You can use a multimeter to check if the wind turbine is producing current the next time there is enough wind to make the turbine rotate.