30 August 2008

Solar Continues

Solar hot water installation continues. The heat sink pipe is now in the ground and has been covered up.

21 August 2008

Solar Hot Water System Started

We decided to install a solar hot water system to provide domestic hot water and also heat the house in winter. We already use a combination hot water heater/boiler that provides our domestic hot water and the in-floor radiant heat for the house but it is propane fired.

We are in an excellent area for solar and hope to reduce our propane consumption by at least half. Our house is set up facing south with a huge roof area that is perfect for solar. No tall trees would shade it and we have the in-floor system already so it should be fairly efficient. We can put the extra storage tank in the garage and the pipes can come direct into the equipment room from the solar collectors.

Should be nice when it's all finished.

Our other option was a geothermal system that uses a heat pump run off electricity and many hundreds of feet of pipe in the ground. However, this is Garvin Mesa, we have rocks, lots of rocks. Digging a 6 foot deep trench over 600 feet long was going to cost an unknown amount of big heavy equipment time. So we decided to go with solar which only needs a single 4 foot by 4 foot deep hole to bury the heat sink pipe to drain off excess heat in summer when you don't need as much.

Guess what we found when digging, a huge can't be moved by our backhoe size rock, right in the location the hole was supposed to be. Ken ended up moving the hole a bit and found even more rocks there. But he got it all dug.
The solar collectors arrived today and Ken got the landscape cloth and the first layer of pea gravel into the hole. Tomorrow is installation of the heat sink pipe and more gravel and then fill in the hole. We should be done within a few weeks if the rest of the parts come in on time.

Edited 28 August
I will reject comments that are just links to various solar companies. So don't even bother to keep adding them.

Some of the Horses

Here are a few of the mares out on pasture. We've run out of grass in back so they are getting hay.


The first batch of dinner chickens are ready to butcher. These guys are a bit smaller than last year burt are 2 weeks younger. The difference in food costs may offset the smaller size. Anyway, we've been out of chicken for a while so it will be good to get them done. We do our 100 chickens in roughly three batches as that's how many fit into the crates.

10 August 2008

Spare Bovine

We had a spare bull show up at the house yesterday. The neighbor had borrowed a bull to breed his two cows and the bull decided to go on a walkabout around the entire mesa. He visited several places including us.

After strolling past the house he went back to harass the guard dogs. He then walked along the edge of the mesa and was last seen heading north. I have no idea whether the neighbor ever caught him or not but at least the bull has not been back to visit us!

North Fork Fiber Guild

With the loom assembled the next step was to tie it up and get it ready for warping. Margaret, Monica and Elena all helped me learn how to tie everything up and set it up for weaving. Here they are doing their spinning, naalbinding and knitting after we got the loom tied up.

We set it up for a balanced twill and tabby just to play with initially.

Here I am testing out the treadles to see if I can reach them all easily.

Sheep Show

Thursday was the sheep show at the Delta County Fair.
We took nine sheep, three ewe lambs, three ram lambs and three aged ewes.
Stephanie and Jacob trained the sheep with me and we all three showed in the open classes. The poor judge had never seen little black sheep before but he did talk about them and explained how he placed them very well. We had a lot of fun and got a lot of questions and comments from people at the fair.

Chicken Show

Tuesday was the Delta County Fair Open and 4H Poultry Show. The Helleckson's and I show chickens in the open class. Here we are in the judging lineup with our old Gold Penciled Hamburg hens who were molting and looked pretty scruffy. Stephanie took first, Jacob second and I had a barely not disqualified third. My birds' tail feathers are not properly marked clear to the end but that was ok. I had fun getting them ready and showing them anyway.

Cleaning Up

We've been cleaning the garage in preparation for some modifications to our heating system. Here is proof that Ken is actually throwing away a computer. Of course it isn't a working one.

Loom Assembled & First Fleece Skirting

The big Glimakra loom got assembled in the shop on 4 August.

My friend Elena Dent came to visit and got roped in to not only helping assemble the loom but also to help start the skirting of our 2008 fleeces. Normally we are done by now but with the construction I didn't get started until now.

Sheep Shots

31 July we gave all the lambs their first vaccinations and also did a deworming. Nose bots are a real problem this year so we have had to watch carefully and deworm more frequently. Here the sheep are going back up to their grazing segment. We use electronet just as a guide rather than a herding dog to move our sheep from place to place.

Crane Assembly

Ken found an additional use for the Woolevator. Crane assembly assistance.