The Sun is so amazing! I’m able to run all kinds of energy intensive things while living in my truck in the desert off of a single 100-Watt Solar Panel and a couple of batteries. The Sun also powers the life of the plants on this planet and even animals like us!
Continue reading “The Sun as an Energy Source”
A giant spider crawled out from underneath my truck while I was getting some water in the camp! Well, it’s big compared to the spiders where I come from, though when it comes to tarantulas, this one is pretty small.
I used to be freaked out by spiders when I was younger. I was forced to be exposed to one regularly for a long period of time and the fear just wore off eventually. I’m not sure it’s worn off so much that I’d want this thing crawling on me though…
I wasn’t able to have a Wood Stove in the Yurt this Winter, so I put together a makeshift Propane Stove which heats the Yurt up to 70-Degrees inside while it’s below freezing outside!
Watch as I demonstrate how I installed a Battery Management System, or BMS, on my custom Lithium Ion 12-Volt Battery Pack.
Watch as I demonstrate a new way I discovered to transfer Darkling Beetles to other containers in a Mealworm Farm.
Cahlen Lee the Modern Day Wizard demonstrates how he applied essential oils to the cloth walls of his Yurt to prevent mold from growing during the rainy season. Here are the oils I used:
I spotted one of my Mealworms molting and made this quick video to show you the process. They normally have an brownish-orange color to their skin, but they’re bright white right after molting. I think they darken in color pretty quickly afterwards because I rarely see light colored mealworms in the farm and I’m pretty sure they molt regularly.
The long wet Winter is on the horizon, and I needed to waterproof the Yurt’s roof to prevent moisture from seeping inside and mold from growing on the cloth. I purchased some cheap Billboard Vinyl which was once on one of those big advertisements you see on the side of the road, and cut it in a big circle to serve as my new waterproof roof. It’s working great so far!
When the first rains came this year, I noticed that a single specific location in the Yurt was leaking: The Stove Jack! Upon further inspection I discovered that the water was seeping in through a strap that extended both outside and inside.
I decided to try sealing with some old tree sap we have lying around, but that was too brittle once it cooled. Instead I used a Turpentine, Beeswax and Coconut Oil mixture, and it worked perfectly!
Last Winter the Mongolian Ger I was living in was insulated with a thick layer of wool which worked very well as long as the fireplace was actively burning wood. Now that I’m in a simpler and lighter Yurt which didn’t come with its own insulation, I needed to find a way to trap heat inside, ideally with a material that is light and compact so that the Yurt remains easily movable.
I settled on what is essentially Bubble Wrap surrounded on either side by Aluminum Foil: http://geni.us/EcoFoil
This stuff works primarily by reflecting any radiant heat that comes in contact with the aluminum. My makeshift propane stove heats up several firebricks which radiate heat into the yurt, and that heat is bounced around inside the yurt rather than leaking through the porous cotton fabric which was the only thing there before.
It was really easy to install along the walls by sliding pieces I cut between the cotton cloth exterior and the wooden supports inside. It feels like the Yurt was designed to make this as simple as it could possible be! I thought the ceiling was going to be a challenge due to the non-rectangular angles, but discovered that it worked perfectly if I cut a diagonal line down each rectangle of insulation.
So far it’s working out beautifully! I am easily able to get temperatures 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit higher than the temperature outside. I’ve been able to keep it in the 70s in here when the temperature outside is nearing freezing!
I’m really looking forward to the challenge of temperatures dropping another 20 degrees in the Winter. I’ll provide updates on how well the insulation is working once it’s starts getting really chilly.