Monday, July 26, 2010

hillbilly air conditioner

Although we live in Georgia,we have no central air conditioner or even a room air conditioner. Most of the time our single fan keeps us cool enough to be comfortable but  over the last few weeks we have been having quite a heat wave. Temperatures have been in the mid nineties with high humidity so the heat index has been  at 100 or more  for several days now and is something we are not all that accustomed to.  If we were employed perhaps we would just go out and buy an air conditioner but were aren't so we have to make do with what we have on hand in order to try and cool ourselves down a bit. In our internet travels over the last couple years we have run across the hillbilly or redneck air conditioners that folks have made so we decided to give it a whirl and see how they work.

This is not green or exactly eco friendly, but it is using what we had on hand, recycling it  and making the appliances that we have already sucking juice work a bit more  to earn their keep. This is also not anything like an air conditioner and will not cool your home down like an air conditioner, but it will bring the temps down to a more tolerable level.

Rather than make a whole new tutorial on this, I will refer you to the tutorial that we used for our project. We  mostly followed this, but we used an old water cooler instead of a foam one and we used an  inline diaphragm  pump from the old trailer we scrapped instead of the one like they use in the tutorial. We  made the copper tubing able to be untied from the fan so that we can move the fan  and use it as  needed. Lastly, we hooked the pump up to a battery rather than electricity because we could.

This cost us zero dollars to make and took about an hour of time when it was all said and done.  The other day after setting it all up we managed to cool the room by five degrees in about a half hour. The one down side that we have seen to it is that the ice melts rather quickly  and because of the style of pump we used we can only run it for short periods at a time. No matter,  it has served its purpose and it has been fun to experiment with.

We made ours with a box fan complete with dust, but we have seen them  on all types of grated fans.
We then took a coil of copper, already coiled even and attached it to the front of the fan. Most people use zip ties to do this but we wanted to be able to use the fan as a fan so we used yarn to attach it. Most tutorials we have seen use copper for the coil. It keeps the cold better than other tubing would although we think that most any tubing could work in a pinch.
We drilled holes through the top of our water cooler so that we could  set the pump on top and run the tubing through for the water intake and out put. Most folks use a submersible pump  that  actually goes in the  cooler itself.
Because of the the pump that  we used, we put  an old piece of carpet on top of the cooler  so that when running it would cut the noise level and so the pump wouldn't rattle itself off the top of the cooler. Next simply put water and ice in  and put a towel or something under the fan  for any condensation and  chill out.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

around the homestead-starting fall seedlings

It is hard to imagine starting seeds for fall gardens when it is 100 or more degrees out but now is the time to be getting them going.Yesterday I started our fall transplants. I should have actually gotten them going about a week ago in order to give them the proper amount of time before transplanting but I was busy with other things and lost track of time. Hopefully the babies will be ready to go in the ground at the proper time or I will have one overly full greenhouse this fall.

Many of the fall seeds I direct seed just as in late winter or early spring, but the cole crops, onions and various lettuces,I start and transplant. Instead of putting everyone in little individual grow cups this time around I instead planted them all in flats. This saves me time and space since some of the seedlings have to be sprouted in the refrigerator rather than outside or in the greenhouse. This time of year the fridge is full enough with fresh fruits and veggies, trying to find room for a hundred cups is too much work.

Yes, I know starting seeds in the fridge seems a bit odd but to have lettuce in the fall months grown outside it is what needs to be done. Most types of lettuce will not germinate if the soil is above 70 degrees so in order to force them to germinate and grow, their temperature needs to be kept under 70. To do this without having to walk down to the root cellar each day, it is easier to simply throw them in the fridge for 8-10 hours at a time and then take them out for the late afternoon and evening hours. In the fridge I have three flats of 18 eggs with 6 types of lettuces and two bacon flats of the Siamese dragon salad mix and mesclun salad mix.

Down in the greenhouse I have two flats each of onions, cabbage and broccoli or about 70 plants of each.I am also thinking of direct seeding a few of each just to see how they do or if they do. Of course in order to do that it really needs to cool off just a tad because it is just too hot to be out working for more than a few minutes at a time.

In a couple weeks I will direct seed all of our fall and winter greens, some turnips,carrots and a plot of fall peas. I wanted to do a small planting of fall potatoes as well, unfortunately I let the date for planting pass and it is just too dang hot anyway, so what we have stored will have to do.