THEY aren't pretty but they were free.... And they are deer proof and extend our PNW food growing season.
THE BOXES: For years I collected wood no one wanted. In 2020 and 2021 I used the entire pile to make 8 planter boxes. Though they are not pretty they work well. The bottoms are mostly 24" tall, and they are 4x8. I added 2x4s and scrap 4x4 to the corners and centers to secure the boards to. Some are lined with weed blocker fabric to see if they extend the life of the wood.
THE GREENHOUSE TOPS: Using scrap cedar I built the tops frames and added precut wire fencing to make deer proof domes. I used reclaimed greenhouse plastic stripped off commercial greenhouses from a friend. They roll up and clip to the cage tops in the early spring and fall- extending the season by a few months.
TALL TOPS: Some of the boxes only have side pieces to protect from deer so one can grow tall crops like tomatoes and herbs.
THE HINGES: I even made funky hinges from bent rebar bits and plastic pipe I had around. But this was clumsy so eventually I just bought galvanized hinges.
GROW OVER WINTER: Last year I left stuff growing in one closed off section and it survived until summer! giving me a head start on usually annual herbs that die off like cilantro, Italian oregano and fennel.
USING THEM ALL: I made 8 4x8 boxes which seemed excessive, especially when I bought over ten yards to fill them. That took a long time!! But I found that I use all the boxes even though I am feeding only myself and give a little to friends. It makes it easier to rotate crops and leave veggies to go to seed collection.
OFF-GRID HOT TUB
How great huh????A HOT TUB after a long day in the art studio....and it cost about $400.
While waiting for my well to go in, I decided to prep the off grid hot tub. For about 100$ I bought the water trough, $40 for concrete pavers, and used scrap cedar siding for the lid and seat. The lid was then sealed with outdoor sealant to prevent warping.
The inside has a cedar seat with curved back. But I ended up taking it out often because I could get more submerged without a seat.
Above right is the Nomad heat exchanger I was planning to use.....
UPDATE: Nomad never returned my calls when I went to order so I switched to a 2 system option:
1. MADE a HEAT EXCHANGER MYSELF: I bought two rolls of 3/4" copper tubing($200) braised fittings on ends and inserted in tank fittings -all bought at home depot.**
2. BACK UP HEATER: a propane eccotemp + pump + filter. This change added about 300$ to the project. One needs a small inexpensive propane on demand heater like eccotemp or Marey. Then you need a 5 gallon propane tank, a small booster pump (mine plugs into electrical plug) then be sure to add an inline filter. So a pipe from hot tub leads to filter, then pump, then heater, and back to hot tub. I manually turn things off and on at this point. The tub water gets hot enough I turn it off. (will post pics soon)
Finally a year later I got the systems going. Here is a picture of the heat exchanger at work! Tubing might be too narrow and I added ball valves** at juncture to tank fittings which was probably a bad idea, since both things limited the syphon flow of water through tube. It rattles and shakes a little making an obnoxious noise so will remove valves and try that way.
It took 2 hours of heating and it was ready! I love it.
if you live off grid it's likely you use propane. It's a fossil fuel and I suspect it will eventually be phased out.
I just added a 500 gallon tank after placing the gas lines myself with help from my father (that saved a lot) If I had bought my tank, supplies and propane fill a year ago or more I would have spent a lot less. It was about $4500 for everything!
The moment that tank went in I was planning its camo job!!! Using green and brown paints I had around...I used spray cans to add a few layers, and then cut ferns and branches with leaves to create the foliage effects. Working fast and loose, it only took 30 minutes to do. And it is so invisible that friends walk by without noticing!!! well almost....
The best thing about it is that now I have steady heat for the house AND the studio (almost more important). (UPDATE: I only fill up once a year! Because I only have heaters and a cookstove attached, and due to my conservative heater usage I spend about 500-900$ a year.
Hi! I am an artist and a carpenter living in the woods of Washington! This is my off grid story.
All photos and images on www.loralin.com
belong solely to the artist.
Copyright 2008-2023, Loralin Toney