Sunday, May 31, 2009


For years I have wanted to experiment with an idea of using the earth’s thermo mass capabilities as a means to reduce the heating and cooling demand of your home. So on Memorial Day weekend I decided I would dig up my back yard to experiment with the idea. Went to the hardware store and bought a bunch of pipe and tubing to put in the ground and some grounding rods to work as temperature conduits. I rented a mini excavator to dig a trench. My plan was to dig down about 9 ft deep (the temperature stays mostly constant below 12ft) and then sink grounding rods another 8. I was going to dig a 20 ft ditch and install 15 grounding rods. I estimated this would give me approximately one ton of cooling capacity.

So I put together a manifold of pipes and tubes (see picture). The manifold was to allow me different ways to test my theory. I rented a mini excavator and started digging. First problem, I hit caliche (dirt as hard as rock) at 4 feet and couldn’t go any deeper. The excavator would just scrape the dirt. I decided I had already made the manifold so I may as well put it in at 4 ft. Next I tried to pound the grounding rods with a 25 lb jack hammer. I could only get them about 2 ft into the soil. So I got an auger hooked it to a drill and could get down about two feet that way. So in all I was only able to sink the grounding rods about 4 feet. It was frustrating,

So I made a mess of my back yard. Spent a lot of money and couldn’t get it deep enough. I may still be able to get some information from it. I will have to see if it ends up saving me any money on my cooling bill. At least I tried to do one of my new year’s regulations.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

April 2009

Last month I helped my daughter move to Idaho. Her husband is going to school their. It was a great brake from the regular grind of work. They were able to find a county home to rent. It’s great their closest neighbor is about a half mile away. There are fruit trees, a garden spot and lots of cows.

I’m really a country hick and loved being on the farm. I would trade them houses if I could move my job their. It was nice to get away from the desk job and spend some time doing real physical work. They had a huge crab apple tree that needed trimming so the owner let us use his chain saw and trim it. We also pruned the fruit trees. It was especially nice to be able to spend some time working with my son in-law and getting to know him better.

My daughter in-law also went with her daughter. It was good to be able to spend some time with them, my daughter and her daughter. I’m truly blessed to have such great children, son and daughter in-law and grand daughters. They don’t come any better, and it’s not that I’m bias. They and my wife are truly the greatest blessing in my life.

On our way up my son in-law and had the privilege of attending the LDS general priesthood session (A semi-annual meeting for men 12 and up) in the new conference center in Salt Lake City. This is the first time I have had the privilege of being in the LDS conference center. I was impressed by its size and structure, but I was more impressed to be in the same room with Prophets and Apostles. To hear them speak for our time, the things that are coming, and receive their advice how we should live our lives and prepare for the future.

It was also a privilege to be a building with 21,333 other good men. Not that any of us are perfect, but to be with that many other men who were listing and seeking to improve their lives. To think that there are also thousands more gathered in chapels throughout the world listing to the same messages. I sometimes get frustrated over all the evil in the world, but it’s comforting to know there are also a lot of good people. That gives me hope in the future. Hope in knowing that as the wicked get more wicked the righteous will get more righteous.