Sunday, January 22, 2012

Snow the four letter word!

I knew our nice dry winter was too good to be true, but we did need the moisture.
 Not only did it snow for 3 days but it also rained off and on for 3 days.  This is the only reason we don't have 3 feet of snow on the ground.  I think the wet heavy snow measured about 8 inches before it started melting down.
I posted pics from the start (more or less) and the finish of the snow.    

This is to show the working "dry" creek in action.  Starts with the drainage from the road.

Drains some from the roof and garden.

The cement behind the mound is drainage that comes from the roof and goes under ground to the creek. 

 Yuccas and southwest desert plants do much better in colder wetter climates if they are high on gravel/sand/fast draining soil mounds and not in low wet areas.  Wet feet can kill faster than the cold. (usually)

 SW desert oak, high and dry.  First year in the ground, we will see how it does.  
Yucca baccata, with wet feet!  This was planted here before the path went in that blocks the drainage.
Lucky for me it does not stay wet for long.

New path is damming the water from draining.  I hope the put a drain pipe to the dry creek and eliminate this water pool.

This is a good shot of a good micro climate working well.  More than just heat from the wall, drain the water away and drain the soil.

If I could do this over again I would have made a berm/mound with better draining soil for this yucca elata. I lost its friend the Joshua tree that was planted next to it.  It might still be here if it was high and dry. 
This Yucca elata sits atop of this mound without problems.  This mound is high enough only native soil is need for drainage. 

This is King-Kong of my garden world.
  My big Yucca brevifolia is going to be just fine after losing its crown to last years winter kill.     

And this is where the road, house, and garden all drains. I think it is big enough too name!  It is also where I get all my extra dirt from.(when dry!) 


Monday, January 16, 2012

Idaho's first passive solar house.

Went for a small road trip and headed north to Fairfield Idaho to see Idaho's first passive-solar home.
Of course many homes get some of their energy needs from the sun through the use of south facing windows, "this is why my own windows face south", but this home is different because 90% of the heat needed for this home comes only through the south facing windows.
No solar panels, fire place, windmills, electric or gas needed to keep this home warm.  Almost all the warmth comes through the windows.  I would love to get into more detail about this home but I am not much for writing long boring blogs.  So I will post some pics and a link to more info.  I thought I grabbed his email, but can't find it or his website.  He does consulting in passive-solar and other green-home methods and has much knowledge on the subject.

On the outskirts of the wild west town of Fairfield.  

Inside of the home, sealed tight and mocho installation, inside and out!

This is the hot water supply tanks. The pipes heat the water inside the barrels and the pipes are heated from the heat-collectors in front of the house. 

More pics of the house inside and out.

The heat collectors that heat the hot water, but can also be used to heat the floor through under the floor pipes.

 The windows that does most of the heating.

The hot water heaters/ floor heaters.

6 inches of ridged foam on the outside.  

Sunsets when I got home later that day.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

Picking rocks, pulling weeds.

Many more rocks needed.

One more trail busted!

 A good start.

Another out of focus sunset. 

I found this, could make for a cool planter.
Yucca brevifolia, looks fine this winter.

Not normal for this cactus to get winter burn, and a mild winter?

And a Yucca baccata with major winter burn?  Must be a cold spot in the yard?