You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2011.

I got a crazy idea. Well not original but still crazy. Back in college we use to put out a small pool every summer. At night it would get cold in that pool. So we would duck tape the hose to the kitchen sink and turn on the hot water. It was a complete waste of natural resources and we did not have a clue about it, we were kids in school. Sooo, some time later I can use that experience with my kids. As we all know the water from the hose is very cold. Why not fill the pool with hot water? Because that would be a waste right. No, not in my case. Why? Because I have a hot water heat pump. That’s right. Heat goes into the water and cold air comes out the top. Since that cold air is going to offset my whole house AC system it does not waste anything or cost anything extra.

So I heated the pool for my 4 year old daughter. She loved it! No, I did not duct tape the hose to the kitchen faucet. I went to the store and purchase a boiler valve and a tee brass fitting.  I did it the right way.

I also drained the pool with a pump and used that water to water my garden and plants. Double bonus! That is why  my kids call me crazy daddy.


Or should I say, hand cranked swiss army knife of radios. I have been wanting to replace an old cheap hand crank radio that broke a few years back. I think it only lasted a few months. Since it had a solar panel on the top I would just set it in a sunny window and it would stay charged. But I think the sun degraded the plastic. I need a good, high quality version of what I had in the past. I started looking around, I came across the Freeplay Company.

“The Clockwork Radio”, as the device was first known, was proposed as a means of halting the spread of Aids in Africa through better education. Traditional radio, although widespread, relied on an electrical supply or the availability of disposable batteries – both of which were in short supply across the continent.

The idea for the radio was born to serve the needs of developing countries. Durable, no batteries and functional. That is exactly what I want! I am always willing to pay good money for good products. I have decided on this model. It has AM/FM/Weather Radio, hand crank of course, and solar panel on top. Don’t forget the LED flash light!

At normal volume, the EyeMax will play for approximately an hour per 1-minute wind, and can be wound more at any time for as much play time as you want.

I think this will also make a great tool for camping!

I have had Duke Energy’s “Go Green Power” for almost 2 years. I purchase Carbon credits for 500kW hrs a month. In a typical month that is well over 50% of my usage. Lately, it has been bugging me. I feel like I am just giving my money away to Duke Energy. The cost per month is $10 for a yearly total of $120. $120 buys me 6,000 kWhrs of carbon offsets. For simple math purposes I will use 2lbs for every 1kWhr. (Very close BTW) That means my 6,000kWhrs is equal to 12,000lbs. If I were to go to a site like TerraPass that would cost me about $70. Where does the extra $50 go?

Currently, Duke has two trackers on my bill, the clean coal adjustment and the coal gasification adjustment. Beside the fact that they seem to be the same thing to me, they cost me $6 to $10 a month depending on my usage. Duke is already getting my money for something that is supposed to be environmentally friendly. I fell like I am just lining there pockets.

What does Duke do with the Go Green money? They say they buy Green Power. But you and I both know that when you buy in bulk, of anything, you get a better price. So, this leads me to my decision. I am going to cancel my Go Green Power and just buy carbon offset credits myself. For the same cost, I could offset the entire electricity usage for the whole house for the whole year.

I was looking at old posts. It happens to be the right time of year to start a garden. Sooo, basically, all that stuff I said I was going to last year, I am going to try it this year. Anything that gets the kids outside is good with me.

My daughter wants flowers, lots and lots of flowers. We will plant some but my neighbor has hundreds that I think we will just go visit. 🙂 My son wants to try corn again. I heard corn loves fertilizer, and lots of it. From what know, farm run-off from corn fields is what causes a dead zone in the ocean by the mouth of the Mississippi River. I won’t use that much.  I think it is better to fertilize more often with less.

I am trying to grow winesap apples from seeds that we got from the local apple orchard last year. They tasted great and are an heirloom variety. I need at least two for pollination but I will see how many of the five seeds germinate.

I would like to get the remaining strawberries in the sun. When I checked on them a few days ago I only saw three. But they can spread fast. If I can save them, in a few years I will have plenty.

I still want blueberries and raspberries. I need to find a good place for them. The original spot now has a black locus tree in their spot. Maybe I can plant them underneath? But both like a nice sunny spot. I am sure my hill will have a nice area.

I wonder how much I will really do this year. If I can just get the perennial stuff in then that would be a great start. Same time next year?

So the well is a bust, for now. Link for the history. I know I have water down at 11 feet. I have checked two different ways. But the cheap pump I purchased ($100) just does not want to work. I had thought about using a Shurflo DC pump. Then, I could try a solar setup. But since it is only 15 feet from the house an AC pump makes more sense. The issue I have now is the cost of a new, good, well pump. They cost in the mid $200 range and that is a good chunk of change for something I cannot be 100% will work. I think what I need to do is buy something from the local store and check on the return policy. Then if it works I am in business. If not I could just return it and get my money back. At least I can use the old pumps accumulator tank. So it is not a total lose.

Too bad I can’t get a larger diameter well down in the ground. Then I could get a Grudfus deep well pump. I could water to his heart’s content and still have plenty to go around. O’ well, wishful thinking.

If I ever take the next step I will let you know. I think when all the rain is over and I have to water, then I will look at this again.