Sunday, February 28, 2010

Monumental snow

IMG_2968.JPGWhile up in the Catskills visiting my parents, we have received more snow than I have ever seen here -- 57" on the ground. Just day after day clearing snow, and the gasifier is trapped in the garage. Luckily the storm seems to be dying out, but flakes are still falling every few hours.  We miss Texas! As usual we are busy getting ready for the trip back. It looks like the syn-gas generator is coming to TX. Since the gasifier is mounted to a trailer, we will have extra room for tools, building supply's and our stuff.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Snow and more snow

Since we got back the weather has welcomed us with snow! Last night's snow fall left us with 16" of heavy, dense snow, so we spent the better part of the day clearing my parents' steep driveway. Tomorrow is supposed to drop another 12", just so we don't get out of practice. I have also placed the syn-gas fueled electric generator on eBay so check it out: Auction Link.

Trailer mounted Gasifcation
This is something very useful, so if you know someone who might be interested, let them know! Thanks.

We are also considering working as consultants since we get so many emails looking for plans or designs, and they all need to be handled on a case by case basis. This will allow the more complicated questions and requests to be addressed. We are also considering answering questions in video format, so we might give that a shot some time soon.

Well, tell us what you think about some of these ideas.


Sunday, February 21, 2010


Now that we have a stable internet connection we will be updating We have already added a solar power page, and we are planning a power
storage page and topics for the economics page to be added soon. We are making lists and gathering stuff for our eventual trip back to TX. We
have been helping my father, who has injured his knee, get stuff done
around here like feeding the horse and doing repairs to the 19th century home. I am no stranger to this work, as I grew up doing this stuff -- but
I have never been a big fan of doing it in 15 degree weather (not
uncommon in the Catskill winters).
Until then, keep surfing and if you have any suggestions or questions please comment!

Friday, February 12, 2010

We have arrived

Sara and I are back in the north east after driving through a snow
storm that lasted from Arkansas to New Jersey. While were are back we
have a lot of stuff to attend to, such as try to figure out how to get
the remainder of our stuff down there. I plan on towing the syngas
electric generator which should provide useful electricity and be just
perfect for giving bio-fuel demonstrations. Hopefully we will get some
AVCHD editing software working again and edit and post the many hours
of video we have accumulated.

Thanks for reading


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Road Blog!

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Hey everyone, this post is coming from a motel room in Stanton, TN. We hit the road Sunday morning and traversed Texas, coming to a rest at the Arkansas welcome center.  It had been foggy and rainy since Midland, and we expected more of the same, but soon after we got back on the road yesterday the rain turned to sleet and then snow.  Basically we got stuck in the middle of the historic blizzard, and spent all day creeping across Arkansas at 30 mph.  Snow is bad enough, but snow in a southern state is even worse! We saw vehicle after vehicle after vehicle that had slid off the road, probably one every mile. I'll post some pictures after I've had a chance to upload them from my phone (the good cameras were all packed away in the back of the truck). 
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Well, we got through Arkansas OK, but after driving through Tennessee for a while the snow turned into sleet.  The sleet seemed even more dangerous than the snow had been, because it didn't look like much.  The water and ice accumulated on the roads and drivers were even more foolish than they had been in the snow!  I guess because it didn't look as bad, they thought it was safer.  The accidents we saw along the road were getting worse; not just cars that had slid off the road but vehicles that had careened into guard rails and other cars.  We got off the road late in the afternoon and decided to hole up for a while.  I'm sad that we're going to be so late in getting to my family in New Jersey, but at least we'll be safe if we go slowlycellphone 057.jpg.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Long Road Ahead

We've been greatly enjoying being indoors and not having to use a tent in our new house!

It's been a beautiful past few days, with extreme fog and extreme sun. In the past few days we have been putting some finishing touches on the house, such as primer and a few more windows.  We also cleaned and tidied up our friend Arick's cabin, in which we had been staying until our house was ready to inhabit.

We hope to upload many videos and pictures from our trip onto the site.  Big Bend Telephone Co has scheduled our install no later than April 20th, so hopefully we'll have internet at the house soon after we get back.

Today we made our last trip into Study Butte by way of Lake Ament road instead of the Terlingua Ranch road, and it saved us over twenty miles of driving.  The views were amazing too. Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

February 02, 2010


Well we are officially indoors now, because we have installed our door!  The sliding glass door gave us a little bit of a headache because it is recessed into the living area, but we figured it out, despite the confusing and poorly photocopied instructions. It definitely makes the house feel more like a home, and we love the added sunlight inside.  After we sheathed the stub walls of the recess, the house was officially closed in and it immediately became heatable and therefore much more comfortable. Even we were surprised when upon returning home from our trip to Study Butte on Monday, we opened the door and were hit with a rush of hot air.  Apparently it had been warm enough while we were out for the house to get some substantial thermal gain, and the thermometer was at 90 degrees when we came in. The stagnant hot air gave us a good impetus to install our windows, so now we have one of them in what will soon be our "computer nook" corner of the house.


Another great upgrade to our standard of living was the installation of our stereo.  Casey salvaged the stereo head unit from my car after it was totalled in the collision last year, and held onto it in hopes that we could use it in our small house. So on Sunday we pulled it out of the box it had been inhabiting for the past ten months and Casey wired it to the input cables from the battery bank to the inverter, that way we can use it without having to run the noisy inverter. For off grid living car stereos make a great solution to the problems associated with other systems.  Car stereos are designed to run on direct current electricity, and therefore integrate easily into battery banks or to solar power directly. The car stereo also has a much stonger radio reciever than the battery powered radio we had been using before, and a better tuner.  My favorite benefit of car stereos is that they are equipped with a low-draw setting that turns the head unit off except for a small current to keep time and presets. This is the state your car stereo enters when the key is off in your vehicle, and I think it's great for anyone who wants to eliminate excessive power usage from their lives, whether they are on the grid or not. There were definitely a few moments of being weirded out by the idea, especially when Casey wired up the system and the cd player immediately started playing the disc I had been listening to before the collision.  It didn't start in on the same song, though -- that would have been disturbingly creepy.

Sprocket seems increasingly better at entertaining himself these days, though sometimes I worry what havoc he might be wreaking elsewhere.  It seems as though he has found the remains of a young buck somewhere in the hills around our property, and he occaisionally brings back bones to gnaw.  So far he has brought us an antler and some jaw pieces, but we have not yet coaxed him into taking us to the rest of the skeleton (if there even is anything else).  I can only assume the young male was taken down by coyotes or some other predator, since it seems unlikely that human hunters would leave antlers from a kill behind.


Today was a pretty unusual day meteorlogically, as we were treated to a beautiful sunny morning only to be enveloped by huge, thick clouds that came slinking across the terrain from the northeast. The prevailing winds around here seem to be from the southwest, though close to the ground be have a lot of turbulence and unpredictability.  Still, it was unexpected to see this grand scale air mass moving contrary to my expectations.  At around 11 am we noticed white plumes rising out of the Little Corazones Springs valley, and at first feared a fire in the valley.  It became apparent that it was mist; a low cloud creeping over the hills.  We watched the cloud for an hour or so, and as it neared our homestead the moderately-sized cloudlet revealed itself to be an enormous mass of water vapor, a cloud miles wide and sweeping down from the north across the entire North Corazones, and possibly other regions.  The show reached it's apex when the edge of the cloud began to crest the West Coraz√≥n and spill down the face and sides of the mountain.


It wasn't long after these photos were taken that we became completely enveloped by the cloud.  The rest of the day was a wall of white, and we opted not to install the ridgecap on our roof.  Instead Casey fixed our stair problem, so now we no longer have to climb the ladder to enter our house (though Sprocket has almost mastered going up and down the ladder).

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