20 March 2009

Local resources

We were graciously gifted this week with some treasures, to us anyway, another's throw-aways. We have been looking for a stationary bike like this, to experiment with bicycle-power generation. There's countless uses for a sturdy stationary bike like this, grinding flour, threshing grain, spinning butter... But the way that we currently do these chores is pretty efficient, and the bike would not necessarily be a great improvement in these areas. The most valuable part of this bike is the heavy wheel, it acts like a flywheel once the bike is in motion, and would work great as a generator. So we are on the lookout for a 15amp alternator and regulator, like you would find in a ride-on lawn mower. Our solar panel generates enough power when the sun is out, but on cloudy days, we run a gas generator for 30 minutes to charge up the batteries. So the pedal-power generator could conceivably be used to supplement our solar panel, and eliminate the gas generator, and the monthly cost of the gas. Usually, on sunny days, we are outside doing plenty of physical labor, but on cloudy/rainy days and in the winter, 30 minutes on the stationary bike would be welcome. So we'll post more when we get some parts to play with...


And from another neighbor came a collection of Mother Earth News from 1977-81, the good juicy peak years before all the adds. So you can guess what I've been doing this week...



There's an article with Helen and Scott Nearing in each magazine...

And oddities like this steam powered bicycle.... hmmm, well we've got plans for a wind-powered electric bike....

And we've been brainstorming about a solar oven, for the summer months when the wood cookstove is unbearable... of course, there's dozens of designs that Mother Earth tested and trialed through the years. This one looks good, we are going to modify it a bit, but we definitely need something that will focus the light up here, we really only have strong sun and heat for a few weeks in late July, early August.

And of course there's piles of recipes and interesting tidbits, lots of solar heat collectors and solar hot water designs... It's the original blogosphere. But to be honest, I find a lot more relevant and useful tips, designs, news and stories on my favorite blogs. But we are grateful for the gifts.

5 comments:

Chiot's Run said...

OOOO, those Mother Earth's would be fantastic. My grandma used to subcribe. I wish I had all those issues from the 70's & 80's.

anne said...

what fun! Coming up with a quick release to hook the flywheel of each implement would be good ...I've always wanted to do that too.

Anonymous said...

You can build a very powerful solar oven in about an hour using the plans here: http://solarcooking.wikia.com/Fun-Panel

Tom Sponheim
Solar Cookers International

Country Girl said...

Wow, What great recycles. I love getting good stuff from others. Clever idea with the bike!

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

Chiots, we're still going through all of them, lots of tidbits.

anne, great idea! We started experimenting with the alternator, but we would have to gear down for the grain mill etc, it goes so fast the grain flies everywhere!

Tom, thanks for the link, there's some great plans up there. We are curious to see how well solar ovens work at our latitude and humidity.

Country Girl, we're always good for hand-me-downs, we love to re-purpose things.