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Author Topic: My Gulching Experiences  (Read 9424 times)

Roy J. Tellason

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #30 on: April 26, 2007, 02:30:58 am »

I think using the term "gulching" to mean isolated self-sufficiency is misunderstanding the original Galt's Gulch.  There must be a better term to describe that lifestyle than "gulching".

I get the impression from reading a lot of what's been posted in here over a fairly long period of time is that the hope is that what will result will be a community of that sort,  as opposed to an isolated individual or family in one single household.

The challenge is to find such a place,  or build one,  if you can.
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freewoman

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #31 on: April 26, 2007, 05:15:26 am »

IMO, the use of the word "gulch" specifically ties homesteading and self-sufficiency to some sort of objectivist sentiment, as well as making a connection with libertarian ideals.  Homesteaders are of all sorts of political persuasions; gulchers tend to be of the libertarian/anarchists mindset.  The word "gulch" isn't often used outside objectivist, libertarian, or anarchist circles; most other homesteaders have no clue what the word means, or from whence it came.
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bobcat

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #32 on: April 26, 2007, 08:27:31 am »

Shevek,
I just finished your 'essay'.  Excellent job.  I could not believe what I was reading.  Some of it was a mirror reflection of the way we have lived for the last 20 some years. 
We:
- are middle aged, but quite active
- live in a northern clime, but not as far north as you.
- live in the country, 10-20 miles away from 'town'.
- live in a relatively small home on modest acreage in the woods
- burn wood as primary heat, cutting wood off of our property.
- have lots of wood 'critters' as you mention, -its a game.
- have gobs of deer & turkey, coyote, bobcat, no bears/wolves
- have lived to stay out of debt
- have built a significant portion of the house with our own hands.
- have the same issues with zoning nazis and have taken a similar tack.
- know there is always 'more' to do WRT independence.

You are most fortunate to have come across the '40 square', when you did.  You have done quite well.  As you have discovered, wealth is not just in $$, but in leading a low stress life.  Over the years, I have elected to commute long distances to the 'big city' rather than give up our 'retreat'.  Glad we stayed put.  However, we are actually looking at moving further west and north into a lower population density.  It's getting 'crowded' around here.  I can actually see neighbors when the leaves are down.  Good neighbors, just too close.

Living this way has allowed us to laugh at winter storm outages that drive other folks from their homes.  We have been w/o electricity for over 3days at a stretch without any real problems.  We average two or more outages (greater than an hour) every winter.  Several minute 'blips' are common.  No big deal.  We learn more every time it happens.  Oh, to be able to remove ourselves from the grid, or at least have the option.

While I am new posting here, it would appear that I have run into some like minded folks?  Independence, liberty, plain speaking?  I am hopeful, as well, encouraged.  I look forward to 'interesting conversations'.

In Liberty,
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Bobcat

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jdemaris

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Judge William Cooper and community building? Gulching??
« Reply #33 on: April 26, 2007, 09:11:26 am »

IMO, the use of the word "gulch" specifically ties homesteading and self-sufficiency to some sort of objectivist sentiment, as well as making a connection with libertarian ideals. 
 The word "gulch" isn't often used outside objectivist, libertarian, or anarchist circles; most other homesteaders have no clue what the word means, or from whence it came.

Words are ambiguous without context. That's why most legal documents require specific word
definitions that pertain to words used in those documents. If such definitions are not supplied,
words must revert to everyday common meaning.

One case in point is my incipient reaction when first seeing the word being used at this forum.  I
wandered to this forum after it being mentioned at the Survival blog. When I entered here - and
saw the word "Gulching" - yeah, I was kind of wondering . . . "what's that supposed to mean?"  
Since my interest at the outset was a level of independence and survivalism - the rubric of
"Gulching" had me thinking of a forum about military tactics and killing people.  "Gulching" is a
military term sometimes used for setting up ambushes.

I have a background in crop and dairy farming.  Perhaps due to that, "gulching" also got me
thinking about digging ditches and draining land to make it more useful for farming.   And,
someone else might think that "gulching" is some sort of overindulgence - i.e. "eating like a pig."
 I assume that whoever started this forum - connected to the word "gulching" - wants some sort
of adherence to . . . whatever he/she wants it to mean.  Seems to me, it's too late for that.
Considering this forum is on the Net where anybody can come across it - "Gulching" is going to
mean different things to different people.  The only thing that seems to be CLEARLY
DEFINED in the header for this forum is an interest in self-sufficiency.

 I'm still not sure what this forum is about - and maybe that's because it is NOT just about one
central theme.
I've been highly independent for most of my life -when judged on a relative scale of modern
society.  But - go back 100 years and my lifestyle would be more common-place.  In some
rural areas today, it is still commonplace.  I have several Amish farm-communities in my area.
Are they gulchers?  Ask them and they'd probably laugh.  Yet, they grow their own food, save
for the future, homeschool their children, have a common interest and religion, etc.

 I have been cursed my whole life with the inability to stick to one job or skill.  I like learning
new things and doing for myself.  That is a career-killer.  My wife is the same way.  I tend to get
very interested when learning a new skill, will spend a few years at it, get pretty good -
sometime very good at it, and then get bored and move on to something else. I've worked as a
plumber, electrician, house builder, finish carpenter, baker, butcher, dairy and crop farmer,
maple syrup producer, farm and diesel mechanic, welder, well driller, and a computer program
writer, gun smith, a garbage man, a truck driver, a real estate salesman, adjunct college
instructor - and probably a few other things I've chosen to forget.  I lack a proper career - but -
as a benefit, have always had a certain level of independence and self-sufficiency.  My wife is
close to the same - except she's been the asst. director of a living history museum for 15 years
now.  It has a water and steam powered saw and grist mill.  She teaches older living skills such
as clothes making, wool spinning, weaving, ice cutting and storage, wood and oil stove cooking
and is also a curator. She lives the same way at home.  I suspect she's lasted so long there
because - an 1800s millsite is sort of an escape from modern society.  And, many people in the
same line of work - i.e. living history museums  -have a common interest. That of preserving
older living and farming skills.  So, maybe - these museum people are "gulchers?"  By the way, I
am only referring to the workers, and not the high-end administrative blowhards who often only
have an interest in making money.

 I read these posts because I am interested in reading about new strategies of living amidst
modern society yet not acquiescing to it. I have four grown children - and they have their own
children to worry for.  My wife and I have a "new" three year old - and for that reason we try to
look ahead.  I don't expect nor do I trust our government to look out for my family.  It is our
responsibility to look out for ourselves the best we can. Anything beyond that is a plus if it ever
happens.  A person who sits back and expects all to be handled for them?  Hey. . .  fine with
me - but don't automatically assume YOU can rely on those that did work to prepare . . .  later
- if you've done nothing for yourself when you could of.  
Hmmm. . . .  is that anti-Christian of me?

 My wife and I own several large parcels or remote wood and wetlands - and they all offer the
potential for some degree of self-sufficiency. Labor intensive, yes.   Tax intensive - well yes, and
getting worse all the time.  We have never owed a penny anywhere - no loans, no mortgages,
no credit card bills, etc.  But taxes -  they can be killers.  And - much of that tax money - taken
from us - is handed over to some people that make no effort to care for themselves. So, I guess
my "Christian" duty is already forcibly fulfilled by the town, county, state, and federal taxing
authorities.  At present, we pay school and land taxes in four different towns and counties.
 I will add that my wife and I are not anti-social, but we ARE un-social. We don't like relying on
others for work, barter, or amusement except with only a few people amd for only certain
things. In 30 years, neither of us have ever paid for "work done" other than doctor and dental
care. We have traded labor with several farmers and loggers.  We grow much of our own food,
cut our own firewood, built all our own buildings, put together and/or maintain our own cars,
trucks, and tractors. We are of course subject to things e.g. buying gas, diesel, grocery store
foods, etc.  I do have the ability to run a car, truck, tractor, and electric generator on mostly
scrap wood (gas collection system).  I don't look forward to ever having to rely on it, but it has
been done  - especially overseas during W.W.II.  
 If supplies got scarce, our method of farming would have to change. Most modern farming
relies on petroleum - for fertilizer, for pesticides, for herbicides, for running tractors, chainsaws,
etc.  To revert back to small scale non-petro farming would be very labor intensive.  Also
would not work well with many newer hybrids of plants, nor does it work well with many
modern breeds of farm animals  -but that all is a different subject.
 About like-minded people living in symbiosis.  I stayed at various hippie communes back in the
mid-60s.  I was really there to chase the "free spirited" women and the wine and drugs.   I didn't
care much about the rest of it - whatever "it" was.  Like "Gulching" now, the mindset varied
back then - and for the most part - the communes did not work and did not last.  I will say
though, that I was working in northern Vermont late 70s for a logger  and discovered some
communes there with some aging hippies still trying to make a go of it.  Come to think of it, isn't
that where Ben and Jerry - of Ice Cream fame - came from?

 From what I've seen - only groups like the Amish and the Mennonites have made a go of it  -
and they are having their own problems with modern society and children not carrying on
tradition.

I've gotten very long-winded here - but I guess no one is forced to read - so no crime
committed.  Since "Gulching" seems to have come from some book, somewhere - I'll cite a
book of interest.  I live near Cooperstown New York - a pretty popular tourist area in the
"Leatherstocking" area of New York. Has the Baseball Hall of Fame, Farmer's Museum, etc.
The guy that founded the town was Judge William Cooper. His son, James Fennimore Cooper
wrote "Last of the Mohicans."  Well, Judge Cooper regarded himself as a community and town
builder.  After all, he built Cooperstown.  He wrote a guidebook to townbuilding entitled "A
GUIDE IN THE WILDERNESS, &c", published in 1810.  He opens the book explaining how
to select the proper people for a successful community.  He states - that if a person wants to
move to the new town - and that person possesses many skills - YOU MUST GET RID OF
THAT PERSON.  His mindset being - an independent person ruins things for others - since
people need to be interdependent.  
I guess Mr. Cooper would of banished my wife and I.
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jdemaris

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #34 on: April 26, 2007, 09:40:24 am »

     Outstanding essay! Thanks for taking the time to share it.  It largely parallels our 'gulching' experience except that our electrical inspector just beat the snot out of me with all his nitpicking over my homeowner/contractor electrical work(you have to use green wire nuts on the ground wires,

WTF?  I've never heard of such a thing...  Hell,  for ground wires I wouldn't bother with a wire nut at all,  probably.


Most if not all U.S. states use some form of National Electric Code. Not every state uses the same one or version.  And, it is up to the local code enforcement agency to interpret that code and how it applies to your situation.  National Electric Code is very clear about colors in general.  If I was an inpector, I would not allow yellow wire-nuts on grounds, not would I allow red nuts on neutrals, etc.  NEC states that any grounding conductor must be green, green with a yellow stripe, or bare  - and nothing else.  There are bare-copper crimp unions for grounds and also open-ended or closed green wire-nuts made for ground wires. Not very complicated.  When colors are mixed  - it  can cause problems later to someone assuming code has been followed and the colors mean what they are supposed to mean.
I've had a few situations where I had to use a white wire for a hot wire - but that was allowed as long as I wrapped it with black tape to signify such.

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penguinsscareme

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #35 on: April 26, 2007, 10:09:36 am »

Quote
It's getting 'crowded' around here.  I can actually see neighbors when the leaves are down.  Good neighbors, just too close.

Living this way has allowed us to laugh at winter storm outages that drive other folks from their homes.  We have been w/o electricity for over 3days at a stretch without any real problems.  We average two or more outages (greater than an hour) every winter.  Several minute 'blips' are common.  No big deal.  We learn more every time it happens.  Oh, to be able to remove ourselves from the grid, or at least have the option.

Living beyond the reach of powerlines is one of the most powerful deterrents to potential neighbors.
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O Lord,
Thine Ocean is so great,
And my boat is so small.

Sportos, motorheads, dweebies, wastoids...they think he's a righteous dude.

The utter waste of our $2,000,000,000 a day military-industrial machine was never demonstrated more vividly than on 9/11.

You do what works.

bobcat

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #36 on: April 26, 2007, 10:46:00 am »

Quote
Living beyond the reach of powerlines is one of the most powerful deterrents to potential neighbors.

Could not agree more, Penguin.  As we look for property, my only initial requirement is water availability.  By available, I mean that I can drill for it or pump it myself.  Certainly not 'city' water.  If I ever have electrical service on remote property, it will be buried all the way back to point of service.  That way, it is out of sight, out of mind and out of reach for someone wanting to splice in.  Besides, I would BUY the line and dig my own trench to the nearest transformer or P.O.S., thereby, preventing a 'neighbor' from tapping into MY line.

We have a buried line from the transformer to the house now.  Best move I ever made.  Worth every penny.  No storm worries with trees and looks good.  Phone hardline follows the same method.

In lieu of grid power, one can run a genset/battpack/inverter for lights/fridge.  There's always a propane fridge...  Speaking from experience, gensets are expensive to operate.  One of any modest size (5KW-8KW) will consume at least a half gallon of fuel/hour.  Run the numbers, diesel or gasoliine, it gets expensive quick.  And then there is on-site storage of a fuel 'supply'.  The grid starts looking pretty good as compared to just a genset.
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penguinsscareme

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #37 on: April 26, 2007, 12:15:49 pm »

Quote
In lieu of grid power, one can run a genset/battpack/inverter for lights/fridge.

I was thinking more along the lines of solar/wind/hydro, and maybe a backup generator on standby.

Hydro is by far the best alternative, orders of magnitude better than solar and wind power.  If there is running water, there is power.  The river runs 24/7, 365 days per year.  It runs when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow.  It makes power all the time.  You don't need a very big turbine to catch the energy nor a big battery pack to store the energy because you know you're never going to have to go for hours or days with no power production.  You only have to size your system to be big enough to generate and store more energy during the night than you consume during the day.  A hydro installation can also be much more discreet than a solar, wind or internal combustion power source.

There are also cheaper ways of replacing fossil fuels such as propane, natural gas and diesel fuel.  Everyone knows by now that anything that runs on diesel can be made to run on waste vegetable oil.  But now it is also possible to run an oil furnace on waste vegetable oil or waste motor oil very cheaply.  Organic waste from kitchen scraps to grass clippings to manure can be harvested not only for compost material but also for methane gas, which can run anything that uses propane or natural gas for fuel.

My ideal homestead, from the standpoint of fuel and power would be: domestic electrical power produced from a stream, creek or river; diesel implements such as vehicle, tractor and standby welder/generator fueled by waste vegetable oil collected from restaurant fryalators; oil furnace powered by waste veggie oil and/or waste motor oil for domestic hot water and heat; gas range/oven fueled by methane collected from organic wastes.
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O Lord,
Thine Ocean is so great,
And my boat is so small.

Sportos, motorheads, dweebies, wastoids...they think he's a righteous dude.

The utter waste of our $2,000,000,000 a day military-industrial machine was never demonstrated more vividly than on 9/11.

You do what works.

jdemaris

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #38 on: April 26, 2007, 01:33:41 pm »


Hydro is by far the best alternative, orders of magnitude better than solar and wind power. 

 I don't agree - at least no in general. That seems to apply only in rare circumstances.   The majority of property owners do not have access to a good, stable, water-supply capable of meeting their electric needs.  And, even those that do are often limited by legal restrictions.  I own two properties that have suitable water most of the time - one is an old 1790s water-powered millsite.  Legally , I cannot install a turbine into the creek.  There are possible work-arounds but it gets very complicated.   Also, water flow and water path can be unpredictable - with spring floods, ice jams, and summer droughts.   My wife works at a water-powered millsite and they use a water-turbine and an overshot waterwheel.  Summers it gets to dry to be used and they revert to steam power.  And wet springs have caused many flooding and plugging issues.
 Water turbines have other issues to deal with also  - but I guess this isn't an essay on the water-power.   
Solar, on the other hand has no moving parts to deal with and the panels last a very long time.  I live in a poor area for sunlight - in central New York State and I've done very well with my 5400 watt solar-electric system at my farm-house, and a 1000 watt system at a cabin in the Adirondack Mountains.  For somebody living in a suny area, they could do better then me with less.

In regard to the concept to getting some degree of insured privacy by buying property far from the grid?  I don't think that works like it used to.  I'm often looking around for remote property deals.  Even 10 years ago, properties with poorly maintained road access and/or a distance from the grid were pretty good buys.  Not so much anymore.  I've been seeing houses built  and being used by people that is pretty surprising.

In regard to using gensets - yeah, they are not very efficient. But, a genset is most efficient when run at full capacity.  If you have a 5000 watt genset, and use it at times to make 1000 watts - it will be VERY inefficient.  It's hard to size a genset that way because loads vary all the time. That's why a hybrid system with genset and battery bank works much better.  You draw whatever you want off the batteries, and once they get to a certain rate of discharge,  you run the genset at full capacity to recharge the batteries, and then shut it down.  My systems uses the solar-panels, diesel genset, and a battery bank.
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penguinsscareme

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #39 on: April 26, 2007, 01:52:03 pm »

Quote
The majority of property owners do not have access to a good, stable, water-supply capable of meeting their electric needs.

Bobcat isn't talking about a specific site but a hypothetical one.  If I were shopping for a homestead site, I would hope for one with running water.  If that's not available, then it's time to resort to other methods.  But I stand by my position that for a given amount of money, a hydro set will outperform any other means of generating power on site.
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O Lord,
Thine Ocean is so great,
And my boat is so small.

Sportos, motorheads, dweebies, wastoids...they think he's a righteous dude.

The utter waste of our $2,000,000,000 a day military-industrial machine was never demonstrated more vividly than on 9/11.

You do what works.

bobcat

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #40 on: April 26, 2007, 04:21:53 pm »

Initially, my water reference was for drinking/sanitary use.

Hydro may indeed be a good way to generate electricity, but it requires a lot of flow and pressure to make it work very well.  You allways have to have a lot more water available than you need so you can regulate for a constant flow/pressure. 

We have a creek that runs through our property year round, but it flash floods and then goes back to only a few dozen feet per hour.  I have though about trying to tap in to that power, but it is just too variable.  You really need a river or stream that in considered unnavigable and has fairly constant flow year around.  From my experience, property around places like that tends to be pricey.  A dam is out of the question, as the Department of Natural Resources has to get involved.  Been there done that.  Hydrology studies, impact studies, adjacent owner permissions, public hearings.  Ugggghhhh.   Not fun...

So, while Hydro is certainly a good idea conceptually, it will be difficult to put to use for the vast majority of folks.  That's why I'm thinking a battery pack of AGM deep cells with wind/solar for maintaining charge and using the genset in an 'emergency' to bring the batteries back up and run certain appliances while the genset is on.  A large enough battery pack with an inverter (not a model of efficiency either) to 120VAC would allow critical appliances to be run continuously, while running the genset once or twice a day.  Gonna have to crunch a bunch of numbers on that.

jdemaris is absolutely correct, gensets are best when taxed to near capacity/capacity.  When we have outages, we cycle a 4.4KW off every three hours and on one hour.  During that hour, everybody knows to 'get your chores done now'.  Even with a schedule like that, it's rather expensive on fuel and a lot of work to fill it each time and get up in the middle of the night to make a run.  Plus, somebody has to stay home from work and 'mind the store'.  Yeah, I know, there are autostarts and I could rig a bigger tank, but it is forcing me to be economical and think of more efficient ways to set it all up for the 'next' time.

Interesting discussion...  good ideas
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Bobcat

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Shevek

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #41 on: April 26, 2007, 05:07:00 pm »

Quote
A weak rectifier that is easily replaced with something better.
Yes, the mechanic who used to help me maintain my truck told me years ago that the problem was the rectifier pack. Once upon a time I started to look for after-market replacements, but for whatever reason never continued that search. The alternators do not fail, only the rectifier pack. I kept the previous old alternator because I was one day going to find a better rectifier pack.

Quote
Regardless of which one you have - it it's failed three times - it is NOT a design problem.
I guess that depends upon perspective. :) When the OEM manufactures a product with inferior parts, then the problem is, to me, a design problem. I remember my 1984 Firebird SE. The headlamp relays would burn out quickly. About nine months later Pontiac came out with redesigned relays and they never again burned out when I owned the car. Possibly the last alternator I bought was refurbished and used the same el-cheapo rectifier pack. I don't remember now. Perhaps the newer OEM models, although costing more, have better rectifier packs installed.

Quote
There must be a better term to describe that lifestyle than "gulching".
Perhaps. As I stated in my essay, I never conceived of the term until several years after I built the house and was living the basic rural-be-prepared-for-occasional crap lifestyle. The term gulching does seem appropriate for the mindset of wanting to divorce one's self from mainstream society, however. I might later modify the name of the essay, but for now I'm just enjoying the feedback.

Quote
Over the years, I have elected to commute long distances to the 'big city' rather than give up our 'retreat'.
I worked that way for several years, but not recently. That is part of my current dilemma shared in my Am I Free essay. I really do not want to return to that lifestyle, living on the road and in motels.
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jdemaris

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #42 on: April 26, 2007, 08:03:29 pm »

When the OEM manufactures a product with inferior parts, then the problem is, to me, a design problem.

That's not the way I see it.  A design flaw is . . .  a flaw in the design.  Not repairable until the design is changed.  A component that fails due to one inferior part that does not meet design requirements is a quality-control issue. That part - in this case the failed rectifier - did not meet AC Delco specs. Just happened to be a bad run of them, probably from some Chinese supplier.   They didn't all do it, but enough did.  And, it was easily repaired to meet proper endurance specs. with a proper quality part.

Bad design - in regard to GM would be things like the late 70s 350 diesel made from a beefed up Oldsmobile gas engine, the early 80s 700R4 automatic-overdrive transmission, the 70s Cadillac 4-6-8 gas engine, aluminum cylinderwall Chevy Vega engine, flip-over transaxle in the first 1960 Corvairs, etc.  These were things with bad design that either had to be completely changed, or discontinued. 
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jdemaris

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #43 on: April 26, 2007, 08:34:31 pm »

Initially, my water reference was for drinking/sanitary use.

With any of the remote land we've bought over the years -  an abundance of clean water was alway on the top of the list. If you buy land in area with bad ground water  - you're stuck with it forever.  Where we live in New York State  - we've got some of the cleanest water in the contiguous United States - lots of it.  Our farm has springs, and artesian well, several swamps and ponds, etc. Our land in the Adirondacks also has an artesian well.  We've got  50 acres of land up by Lake Ontario in Northern New York - and it has springs, several beaver-ponds, a trout stream, etc.  After living here for over 30 years, I take it for granted sometimes - until I go somewhere that does NOT have it.  My wife's parents - Michigan natives - recently retired from Detroit and moved to northern Michigan in a fairly remote area. There they had their "dreamhouse" built. Got their well drilled - and it had to go almost 400' and the water is absolutely terrible.  They have all kinds of treatments - i.e. a softener, reverse osmosis, etc.  Still tastes awful to me.  For that one reason alone - I would not buy land there. 

In regard to water to be used to make electricity - I doubt it is ever cost effective for a small user -  but perhaps in rare circumstances.  Water reroutes itself very often. Water gets high, and water gets low. It freezes.  Most mills sites that have historically used water would divert water and trap it in a man-made pond. That makes it more controllable - but it too has its proplems - back in the 1700s and also now.   The millpond and raceway where my wife works got heavily damaged this spring due to floods and record rain.  But - they got a huge grant of money to repair it.  If it was MY pond - and it got destroyed - I wouldn't be getting grants.
  If you buy a modern "sit-on-the-bottom" turbine - it is expensive right at the outset.  And, if it is running all the time - first of all - it is wearing out all the time.  Also, unlike solar - the power MUST have a place to go or it can damage itself.  That's a huge flaw with off-grid water-power.  If you are grid-tied, you can sell the  extra power you can't use back to the power company. They, in essence, become your personal "battery bank."  Having your own battery bank doesn't help with excess power.  Batteries get charged to a certain level - and then can take NO more.   In Holland, they are having similar problems with large wind-power farms.  They have a windy-season, and a non-windy season.  When the wind is blowing - they make so much power that they have to wire it over to Germany and practically give it away. And then, when the wind stops - they buy power back from Germany at a much higher price.  Seems like the Germans have got it figured!
 Solar is the one renewable source that does not have ALL those problems - but still has a few. Solar power does NOT have to be used.  The panels can be in full sun - and  you can short them out if desired - and no damage is done.  The power does NOT have to be used.   But, there is still the issue of finding a way to store extra power when you don't need it.  If you are off grid  - the best answer is to size the system properly. Have a good battery bank - and a way to charge it other than the sun - in case it gets dark for two weeks.  The BIG breakthough would be a variable-capacity battery system - but so far, it has not been invented.

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T.H.E. Cat

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Re: My Gulching Experiences
« Reply #44 on: April 27, 2007, 08:53:35 am »

Very interesting and informative thread.

Shevek, great assay. I also partialy built my house. Matter of fact I'm still at it. Not quite as far out from the main stream as you are though.

For those that are interested in more info about using  water to generate power check out this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pelton_wheel
The pelton wheel would be something for generating your own power. The minimum head or hight of the water must be about 20 ft. for a small unit.


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and  you can short them out if desired - and no damage is done.
 

This puzzels me a bit. Anything I ever shorted out cause the device or wires to be destroyed. A dead short circuit would draw amperage until the weakest link burned up. It would seem to me that an open circuit would not damage the solar cells. If there is no complete circuit no current flows, nothing gets damaged.

BTW jdemaris I also live in NY. South of the Yellow Box. And your right about the water in NY.

T.H.E. Cat
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