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posted by [personal profile] 1ngi at 07:02pm on 02/07/2015 under ,

I want to write my heart out on a page, lay out my fears and joys and name them.

Realise some painful truths... )
Trying to find a new dream... )
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posted by [personal profile] 1ngi at 06:49pm on 09/08/2012 under , , ,
Mood:: 'curious' curious
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posted by [personal profile] 1ngi at 05:57pm on 27/03/2012 under ,
We went on an Eco-Homes Safari last Sunday. It was organised by Transition Llandeilo and involved boarding a coach at Llangadog along with 18 other assorted Tywi Valley folk. We left at 9:30 and didn't get back until 18:00. The tour took in 6 properties and 60 miles around North Carmarthenshire and the Brecon Beacons.

What we saw at the different properties. Read more... )

So after a completely knackering day, and I did enjoy nosing around other people's houses, was it worth it? Actually I think it was a brilliant use of our time and doing reading research is never a substitute for going to see these things and finding out exactly what it takes in terms of costs and teething troubles in real life situations.

In terms of general advice, if you have an easy to insulate home and can afford it, get a ground-source heatpump and solar thermal and you will be doing really well. If you are in a hard-to-heat property things become a lot harder to work out, but as the lady in Llanwrda demonstrated, there are a lot of improvements you can make to an old place that don't mean wholesale rebuilding. Our challenge here is that we bought Brodawel after it had been refurbished and pulling off newly done stuff would be criminal and a different kind of waste of carbon.

What I learned from the day and some plans. Read more... )
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posted by [personal profile] 1ngi at 02:58pm on 18/10/2011 under ,
There seems to be this mythical fuel management nirvana with woodfired ranges where people try to keep the fire in overnight. The principle is that you let it burn down to a nice handful of hot coals in the bottom of the firebox, lob in the biggest lump of hardwood you can, shut the wheel and the damper and go to bed.  In the morning you'll be able to come downstairs to a toasty warm kitchen and with a few deft pokes at the still smouldering embers the fire will blaze back into life.

After much messing about and experimentation, we've managed this exaclty once. By dint of me going to bed late and Sion having a bad night last night and just happening to be up early enough to take advantage of the situation. Even so he had to stick on a pile of kindling first so it wasn't that far removed from having to light it again anyway. On top of that the log you put on last thing smoulders like a massive smelly wick which as well depositing an acrid smell in the kitchen, presumably deposits tar over the inside of your newly swept chimney.

Thing is, if the Rayburn is still really hot when you go to bed, the kitchen will still be all warm in the morning even if the fire goes out. Which is lovely. So I think this whole keeping the fire in probably suits people that go to bed late, exist on 5 hours sleep and get up again really early in the morning. Like poor housewives of yore.

One really good thing about the range being pretty much up to temperature this morning is that we've been able to lob in flippin' huge logs rather than smaller ones and so far have heated the whole house and have a massive pan of chicken stock  on the go with just three giant logs today. It's taken a while to learn that the air intake (wheel on door at bottom) is only needed for lighting stoves and that once it is nice and hot, you can slide the damper (slidey thing at bottom of flu) down to a slit and get amazing fuel efficiency. Tonight's experiment will be to make sure it's stoked rather than smouldering when I go to bed and then just light it first thing and see how much it has cooled down and if the massive log thing still works.

Still learning to cook on the damn thing, it makes AMAZING roasted baked things, and you've never had a baked potato until you've had one cooked in a range. Did not know they could taste so good. There have been a lot of dinners that have turned up on average about 40 mins later than they were expected and I keep forgetting there is a big temp difference between the top and the bottom of the oven. Also, I'm learning not to put something big and cold into the oven as temp nose-dives. You bring stuff to boil/heat on the hotplate first and then hurl it in the oven. So the big question is - do I dare myself to cook family Christmas dinner on it this year?
Mood:: 'amused' amused
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posted by [personal profile] 1ngi at 12:32pm on 15/06/2011 under ,
Firstly thank you everyone for your supportive comments yesterday due to hayfever fail. I've adjusted my medication and I'm feeling much much better today.

Following on from visit from Log boiler installation man today the possible plan is to install a log boiler in the garage (underneath the holiday cottage) which will have an accumulator tank - as large as we can fit - that will then supply both current hot water tanks. As well as 'recycling' the hot water tanks we have, it will also mean that it will buffer the system if both us and the holiday guests suddenly want showers all at the same time.

Read more... )Read more... )
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Got really really miz today about climate change. I'm sure some kind of transference is going on for me here but still. This came about from reading that we are probably not going to reach our target of a change of only 2 degrees C. due to this last year having the highest carbon emissions yet.

George Monbiot summed it up for me today:
"We cannot keep burning fossil fuels without cooking the biosphere. We don't like nuclear power. We don't like onshore wind. We won't like the costs of the other technologies. We reject all the means by which electricity is generated. Yet no one is volunteering to stop using it."

It feels utterly overwhelming, despair inducing in fact. 

For my part, I'm not going to give up. If you are someone who isn't going to give up either, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. I thought I should tell you I wasn't, just in case you were feeling hopeless too.

I'll still do arm-chair campaigning (when health improves I'll do more) and in the meantime we are going to do something about the 5.5 tonnes of carbon our oil-fired heating system punches into the atmosphere every year, to say nothing of the £1200 hole it will punch into our finances every year. Oil has doubled in price for every three years for the last 15. There is nothing to show that this will change.

We had a report done by an energy consultant who, based on our budget and location, recommends we go for a gasification log boiler. This got comprehensively agreed with by a chap we saw just over a week ago at the information desk at the Centre of Alternative Technology - who just happened to be writing his thesis on log boilers. Nothing quite like a geek on his pet subject when he's sure of an interested audience!

At the mo we are having a think about getting solar thermal plumbed in with it to heat the hot water in summer or to set it up for a photovoltaic thermal in the future. We also need do some planning faff so that the holiday cottage can be heated this way too.

I may also have to learn how to use a chainsaw, well I know how to chuck an axe about now - feel my biceps!

Sod it. This feels like so much bravado in the face of impending doom...
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I'm really not knowing what to post on LJ these days. In lieu of something more thought out, have an update:

Saturday: Shopping in Carmarthen and waxing lyrical about birds... )

Sunday: Sunday lunch and building wardrobes (anyone want to buy a pub?) )

Mon: Planning our future woodland )

Tues: Nasel problems and wheelbarrows )

Today. Half the village turn up and so do some sheep... )
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posted by [personal profile] 1ngi at 02:16pm on 05/04/2011 under
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posted by [personal profile] 1ngi at 06:40pm on 03/04/2011 under
The house viewed from the woodland garden.

I've been wanted to make a 'we've moved' post for ages but we've been busy and knackered and there is always something to do first. So I'll try and redress this a little now.
Read more... )

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posted by [personal profile] 1ngi at 09:01pm on 27/02/2011 under
Going off line for about 2 weeks from tmrw am as Virgin picking up their equipment before the move, and broadband for new home gonna take some time to go active. Might be able to pop in via mobile depending on reception. See you in Wales :)


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