Monday, April 19, 2010

Talkative pirates...

Just when I think I am getting the hang of this language. And then of course I discover that it's a place of talkative pirates - Who wipe the sweat from their brows and say 'hard yakka I could sink a schooner'. And then drink a tankard of beer...

Inge has been "crook mit der floo" (the mix of German and Australian is very entertaining, and great fodder for an imagination like mine). So today she made her way across to the local African exibits to check we hadn't starved to death or frozen in her absence and to discuss the impact of the volcanic ash on flights in Europe (hey we don't have a lot of local disasters, beyond the stock prices at the saleyards). She was telling us about the hard yakka her daughter had been doing. Which turns out to be not yakitty-yak (talk) but work. And Chris introduced us to a schooner the other night at the pub - which did not sail off so much into the sunset as down his throat. White froth sail and a brown body?

shrug. "Angaaz." (which proves merely that we exhibits have our own code.)

Anyway, it's very humid and we got really hot even early this morning, cutting up some tree-trimmings which might be good for tail-end of winter fuel. Winter is creeping closer, and we're trying to do our own as the price of cut wood is quite a bit higher than South Africa - labour costs. $80 a ute-load, as compared to Mfanjane's $18 a ute load. Besides, being fuel self-sufficient is one of our long term goals (But if you think that means I am going to cut up trees with a bow-saw... I am not that idealistic.)


  1. Portable Passive Solar Heating. A friend of mine became increasingly angered by the steady rise of propane over the last several years. He uses it to heat his "deer camp". Which is basically a single room cabin 12' wide and 20' long. This is the base of operations against the White Tail Deer Horde.

    Last summer he saw a quick bit on passive solar heating on TV and decided to check it out. He used this as his starting point:

    He asked his friends to save up aluminum cans for his project.

    He modified the one linked to by lining the inside with a insulation material used here in the States which is 1/4" foam lined on one side by foil. He also used a computer fan powered by a Radio Shack solar cell to pull air. He kept his portable so he could put them inside when he isn't there.

    When I saw Kirby in January I asked him how it worked out. He said it significantly reduced the amount of propane because he did not have to run any during the day if it was sunny, nor have to crank the heat up in the evening to bring the building up to temperature. And it got _cold_ this year.

    I think he built three. If I were making one I think I'd figure a way to pull air from the near the floor of the house instead of heating outside air.

    Anyway, at $80.00 per load if it cut daytime usage by half it might be worthwhile.

  2. Hi Dave and Barbs

    I think I might be logged in ?

    The Midlands writers are alive and well.

    Would love to get such a variety of fish at Cooking Bear - hohum.

    Best rgds


  3. I am sure if you come over you could take some back with you?? Frozen??

  4. Peter - look at the selection in the picture I just put up on today's post - Abelone, mullet, huge wrasse, flathead, clams and a crayfish weighing 1.7kg.

  5. Quilly -I really like that (and drat it, parted with the ideal fan before coming here. Surely a coil of black pipe with a fan would work just as well?

  6. Dave- Sure would make a smaller foot print! I think everyone started using the stacks because they do not require a fan...yet everyone seems to end up adding one. I know there are designs for solar hot water that use something like that.

    You could make a mock up without a frame or lexan to see if the temperature goes up without spending much. If you get hot air then you could proceed forward. Something to fill your copious spare time ;)

  7. I believe those makeshift black tubes will provide an appearance of tech and efficiency that is baseless- all those detours as the air works its way around through the drilled holes and the pulltabs will negate any possible advantage. Convection will happen perfectly well in an unobstructed black-lined box (just feel how much hotter it is just under your ceiling than down at the floor.

    That 15° rise from 80° to 95° -- pitiful. A simple solar cooking oven, made from a big cardboard box and a smaller cardboard box, with crumpled newspaper between for insulation, and a glass lid, will get to 180° to 240° depending on atmospheric clarity (my own experience). Wonderful way to cook a chicken, or beans, or bread, no fuel costs, yummy food. Seafood? I have zero experience.

    For passive solar house heating, look up trombe walls. Of course, for many articles, you will have to replace "south wall" with "north wall."