Episode-735- Listener Feedback for 8-30-11 — 34 Comments

  1. Buying with cash has its rewards. Last year the A/C in my wife’s van went out. It was the start of summer in Memphis, so it wasn’t too bad, but we got a couple of quotes and started saving cash. Finally we are close to what we need (estimate plus some extra since there was going to be some diagnostic tests done to see if anything else failed). I took the van to a small, “mom & pop” shop that was recommended to me. 2 days later when I was called to say the van was ready I headed to the bank to the get the cash, arrived at the garage (thanks to a co-worker) and got the total and started counting $100.00’s. The bill was $1180.00, when I got to $1k in cash the owner of the garage asked “is that 10 of those?” When I said “yes”, he replied “that’s good, your paid up, here’s your keys.”
    So, I saved $180 on a repair bill by using cash! yes I still use that garage for car stuff I can’t do, and I still pay in cash and still get discounts.

  2. Jack,
    I wonder if the reason so many people are returning unwanted prep item is that they were charged on their close-to-the-limit credit cards.

  3. @Jack,

    These dolts with “buyers” remorse are just low key mobs, acting without any thought in their heads. They’re mindless when they do nothing, they’re mindless when they buy a generator.

    These are the Hoarders, emptying shelves ahead of any weather event.

    On the flip-side, I was listening to a report about a Home Depot in Florida that had filled its aisles with storm-prep stuff, but that people were “holding off.” These people are just as insane as those who rush out to buy. Why the heck don’t you people in common Hurricane zones not have things ON-HAND to deal with your weather?

    It is very scary to realize that the common sense of our Grandparents has so quickly been bred out of the majority of the populace.

  4. you think cash is hard to let go of.. try aocs rounds!

    thinking about parting with my precious metals turns me into a downright miser

  5. I’m surprised the guy who returned his generator to Home Depot was a supposed contractor. I do handyman work on the side and wouldn’t be without a generator for that reason, let alone a disaster.

    • @Frogger keep in mind there are many forms of “contractors”, for all we know he is a contract computer programmer, etc. Either way he ain’t very bright IMO and if you are correct that he is a conventional type of contractor than we must all simply truly shake our heads.

  6. Hi from Australia. RE: KEYPOINT DAMS. I think you got this in reverse when you were talking about Keypoint dams. Because of their location they have a very efficient amount of water storage vs the amount of material used in the dam wall, the opposite of what you said 🙂 This is one of the key benefits of these dams. Here is a link to Permaculture Master Darren Doherty explaining Keyine

    • @Evan Young,

      I think you and Darren are talking directly below the key point where the land is fully merged over to covex shape. I was quoting Lawton directly from the PDC they did that is now on DVD. Exactly at the key point you have to move a great deal of material to hold a small amount of water and here is the KEY, as opposed to how much water a key point to key point swale will hold in the land scape for very little effort.

      If you draw a concave slope turning to convex you can then draw an imaginary damn, if you move a bit lower you will see a direct increase in water held vs. earth moved.

      So why dead on the key point? The efficiency is in the ability to move water, it never goes up for free, the key point is the first point where you can capture a reasonable amount of water for the work done, you can then begin making the water take the longest slowest path down from there.

      Keep in mind you have to move a lot of material simply to make the low side of a damn come up even one foot to match the high side, more than you might imagine. As you drop below the key point the convex contour has provided much of the ponds shape for you.

      This is my understanding of how Lawton and Mollison explained it but I will watch the segment again to be sure it is what they are saying.

    • We might be agreeing here and I am just being technical, if so I apologise.
      The contour line of the keypoint is used as the water level for a keypoint dam, or pond as you guys would call it. Given that the ridges on either side of a keypoint get further apart as you move downslope, the further you go down the more material you will have to move to impound the water as the wall will have to be much wider.
      Adding swales will increase the catchment of a dam as will adding v-drains or roads which can serve the same function.

  7. If anyone’s paying down/off their credit card, take a moment to look at the statements (I’m sure most of us do). My wife and I just paid off a bank of america card in order to cancel it. We received their statement yesterday stating we owed $4.61. I looked at the itemized stuff towards the bottom and it showed our balance as $0.00 on Aug 22. Three days later on Aug 25 it showed a $4.61 interest charge.

    Unless I read it wrong, bank of america charges a hell of a lot of interest to keep a zero dollar balance for three days.

    My wife phoned them immediately and politely asked them to waive the charge and they did so right away.

    Keep your eyes peeled when you mess with these entities please.

  8. @Jack – just now listening to this podcast and heard you talking about getting a 20KW generator for the property. Before buying one please do some DD on “wet stacking”. I’m not an electric wizz but I think you would be better off with a mep-003a 10kw if your draws are going to be close to mine.

  9. I kind of wish you would get off the Colorado water “oppression” thing. Denver gets around 12″ of rain a year, at this rate you’d fill the 2×96 gallon stealth rain barrels in maybe 10 years? Rain barrels are just not worth the effort here. Better to do as you suggest – store the rainfall (which can be torrential at times) in the ground. My swales here have done me well so far, but it’s now entering another hot and very dry spell for me. Interestingly, the water laws came about as a protection for the “little guy”, as “first in time, first in right” prevented a big mine owner from coming along after the homesteader and diverting their stream.

    • @anotherkevin,

      Sorry to say you really need to do a little math before making such claims. I just went to this website and put in a random address in Denver and picked one of the smaller roofs in the neighborhood that popped up.

      The results? It says based on average rain fall you could capture 75,850 liters of water from that roof. So that is just over 20,000 gallons and some change. That would fill your two 96 gallon cans a total of 104 times a year. Considering Earthships in the New Mexico Desert collect enough water for an entire house hold your claim seems well, utterly ridiculous given 10 years I could fill those barrels over 10,000 times, compared to your suggested claim of one time. So you are off by what 10,000 to 1, LOL.

      Perhaps you have been led to believe the resource you are not permitted to use isn’t valuable, but it most certainly is.

    • Don’t know how to reply to that. I’ve put out buckets, barrows, and plastic trailers to collect rain, and got at most 1″ of water during the heavier (infrequent) storms. Who do I believe – the web site, or my lying eyes? I agree strongly in the value of water in this semi-arid environment, I just don’t believe that a rain barrel is the be all and end all, especially when Marjorie, in her video, states that no matter what, it will not provide your water needs.

    • Let me correct myself, when I used to put 5 gallon buckets under all my gutter downspouts, I would get typically a third to half a bucket, for 4 buckets. So that’s up to 2 gallons in a storm that I have actually collected, yet the web site you use says I will AVERAGE 54 gallons a day? I don’t believe it.

    • I apologize for spamming the thread! But I just had an AHA moment. I realized where they get these (IMHO) phony numbers from – they include snowfall, which really bumps up the water volume over the year. Of course, it’s of no use to any gardener for watering in the winter – but what about accumulating it and then using it in the short growing season? I was trying to think why I’d given up with rain catch, other than that the amounts in the summer were not worth it, and then I remembered – every rain catchment container I’d used had filled up with snowmelt, and then re-froze and split, sometimes in half! I stand by my assertion that rain barrels in Colorado are unworkable.

  10. @Kevin, no man you clearly don’t have your downspouts catching all the rain on your roof of something. An inch of rain on a large roof will catch hundreds of gallons of water. One inch of rain fall on 1 square foot will amount to about .62 gallons, math doesn’t lie man. Say you have a house that is 60 x 30 feet that is 1800 square feet. So that is .62 x 1800 = 1,116 gallons from and 1800 square foot roof, even half that size is still over 900 gallons from one inch of rain. I am not sure what your issue is but these numbers are accurate and well understood. Also most snow melt would also be caught anyway, but that still doesn’t change the math on an inch of rain. I don’t know man do you have gutters and how many down spouts do you have? All I can say is you are doing something way wrong.

    • I put 5 gallon buckets under each of my 4 gutter downspouts, and just didn’t get that much. The rain here is very sporadic, but I think there’s more than I’ve been able to catch due to lack of a true catchment system. I do think the 54 gallon/day average is laughably untrue. When I say 1″, I mean measured depth, in a container – similar to what you’d get with a regular rain gauge. Our rain often comes down sideways in the heavier storms. I think I need to revisit this, because there’s obviously some middle ground between my experience, and your research (and experience), but I don’t see any way around the freezing water issue. FYI, where I am, south of Denver (rural) we can go from drought, to above seasonal average precipitation, in one day, with a blizzard or severe thunderstorm.

  11. @anotherkevin believe what you want but math doesn’t lie. The daily number is also not valid, you don’t get rain every day to collect the amount of water I gave you in the beginning you would have to catch all the water into a major cistern or what have you. I have explained how water and the maths works, anyone with any knowledge of this would agree. If you want to continue to delude yourself that is your right. It isn’t my fault that you don’t know how to route water into a gutter before you try to catch it.

    • Your math is dead right Jack. Here in Australia we are much more familiar with using rain water from our rooftops. My cousins live in an area of Australia that averages about 12″ of rain a year and they catch all their water in a metal tank. This is enough water for a family of five and their house is not very big. Most houses in the USA are much bigger than Australian houses too.
      @anotherkevin, in order to get around the freezing issue you will need metal or concrete vessels to hold your water 44 gallon drums for example. Also you might have leaking gutter somewhere or another downspout that you aren’t aware of, because there is no way that you could be getting that little runoff from your roof unless your house is tiny!

    • I concede that my math is wrong, and that my anecdotal information is of little use. Here’s my issue – lets say that the 2 x 96 gallon trash cans are in place and collecting. Denver got 3.4 inches of rain in July (it was very wet here, in fact to saturation point). The stealth barrels are full, but you can’t catch any more because it’s so wet you can’t empty out at all. This is definitely normal for our precipitation patterns. Come August and it dries out. You use up your nearly 200 gallons, but it hasn’t rained since. It’s also set to not rain in September either. If you can’t be sure of a regular refill, then how does a rain barrel really make much of a difference? And if the only way to catch water correctly is in a cistern then why bother with a barrel? It’s not that I disagree with rain catching (I came from England to here), it’s that the rain is torrential and then there’s none, so the potential 20,000 figure really ignores the impracticality of catching roof run off here.

    • @anotherkevin as I said continue to delude yourself if you want to. Your July rainfall gets you through August, then you are into September, temps break and you need less water. If you can’t see that I can’t help you.

    • Rain Barrels are never adequate water storage. We laugh over hear when we hear you guys in the US talking about using them. The mininmum water storage I would have would be 1000 Gallons and this is not enough. The house I am renting now has a 5500 gallon tank made of concrete. I live in a area that gets severe frost and occasional snow. A body of water that large is less likely to freeze than a smaller barrel as well. My advice is that the USA needs to follow Australia’s lead in adopting rain water tanks or cisterns as the norm.
      These cisterns don’t have to be big round things either. We have designs that run along fence lines or the side of the house, others that are inflatable bladders that can sit under the house, etc.
      You are right about the limited use of rain barrels, areas that don’t have regular rain need much larger storage than this to be of any use

      • This is my problem with Jack’s argument. When you can get your entire months rainfall in one day a pond or cistern will help, a rain barrel will not. I get more mileage out of my swales than I ever will out of a 96 gallon garbage can. This year we had next to no snowmelt, and almost all of our years precipitation in a handful of storms during June and July. Since then, nothing. I’ve been gardening and weather watching here for five years, so I may not be good at math, but I do have hands on experience with the Colorado climate and precipitation patterns.

        • @anotherkevin, at this point for your own image I would just stop man. You started out saying a rainfall on your roof wouldn’t even fill one 5 gallon bucket. It is just getting silly now and you are looking poorly in my opinion. I would quit while you are ahead if that is possible anyway. I have explained it, you don’t agree fine rock on but if you read your own comments from the beginning you will watch a circle that would make a dog chasing its tail appear to be going in a strait line by comparison.

      • Its all relative dude. If I store 200 gallons for a small garden and drip 4 gallons a day into it on days without rain I can do that for what 50 days between rainfall. 4 gallons of drip on heavily mulched beds will take care of a really nice sized kitchen garden. With a 15 dollar part from the hardware store and 12 bucks worth of fittings and tubing I can automate the entire thing. If I did that on three sides of the house I could grow about as much food with such a system as the average person even grows in a home garden. Assuming I get rain in at least 60 day intervals, well, I can go strait though the summer and not touch a garden hose.

        Even if I need twice the amount you do know about watering restrictions right? You can only water on say two days a week, well fine if the barrel is real low and no rain is in sight I can toss the hose in the catchment system and fill it up on one of the days that the gods of government say I can turn on my faucet and go another 30-60 days.

        See I think there are two kinds of people, those that think of one way to use something and get boxed into limitations and those that adapt, improvise and overcome. For instance our friend here anotherkevin is correct that swales or a rain garden is a better way to make use of water in Colorado and stay within their draconian laws. When I go to Colorado in a few weeks to teach this it is exactly what I will tell them. Yet it won’t work for everyone.

        Let me ask you how valuable would two 100 gallon barrels be tied into something like Larry Halls self watering garden? I would recon you could water 40-50 feet for about 60-80 days with it. Again it is all about how you adapt different systems and what is or is not available to you.

  12. I feel that my comments to date in this thread have painted me in a poor light, and not really contributed much to the discussion. If you’ll indulge me one more time I believe I can make some sense of my postings, provide a little humor for the readers who are eye-rolling at the direction this has gone, and impart some useful information as back story for your presentation, Jack.

    Let me tell a story, the Scotsman and the rain barrel.

    Jock McSprocko was a Scotsman who moved to Colorado. He didn’t know Colorado, but he knew rain capture like nobodies business. He arrived in April and quickly purchased 3 x 96 gallon garbage cans and fittings and hooked them up. A heavy, wet spring snowstorm gave him plenty of snow melt to start his planting season and filled his “barrels” significantly. He planted seed on an 80F sunny day, while the ground was still moist and warm. Two weeks later two foot of snow landed and covered his garden for over a week. The wet conditions rotted all his seed.

    Lesson #1: no-one plants in Colorado until Memorial Day. Those who risk it, almost always lose out.

    Jock re-plants and is rewarded with warm sunny days and the forecast of rain. His ground is drying out and he looks forward to a rain storm. One comes, but he receives less than 1/10th of an inch. His co-workers report some more substantial rain, and the Denver metro area rain average is normal. It’s raining, he’s just not getting any.

    Lesson #2: Because of its altitude, Colorado has extensive micro-climates that make very localized weather. Conditions vary massively 10 miles from each other.

    Jock has used up nearly all his snow melt and it’s getting warm. It’s now June and he looks forward to the monsoon season beginning. Until now each rain shower has produced little to no rain catch. Soon he is rewarded with a monster storm and his rain barrel is filled 2/3rds. A couple of days later it’s filled completely with another storm. And another. The storms come every 4 days or so, but his barrels are full, the ground is soaked, and he can’t store any more. This goes on until July when it finally stops. By the end of July the ground is nearly dry and he starts watering. He waters all through August and it never rains again. He is surprised at how much water he uses and the barrel is empty by September 1.

    Lesson #3: Colorado is 20% humidity all the time. In August the chinooks winds appear and it is hot, dry, and very desiccating. No matter how much mulch you use, it will dry out.

    All through September there is no rain. Jock is now watering exclusively by hose. Rain showers that occur produce less than 1/10th of an inch of rain. If anything, it is hotter now than in July, but the evenings are cooler. On Halloween the garden abruptly ends with a killing frost.

    Lesson #4: That’s the growing season.

    Jock waits for the winter snow to replenish his rain barrels. These come in November and December. Heavy snow, followed by warm sunshine. He thinks he will get plenty of water but is astonished to see the snow not melt, but sublimate! If he hadn’t seen it, he wouldn’t believe it.

    Lesson #5: Hey, I didn’t believe it till I saw it.

    This soon passes and Jock is rewarded in January and February with heavy, wet snows that replenish his barrels. After one particularly wet storm in February, a cold front moves in. It doesn’t get above 20F for over a week. When Jock finally checks his barrels each one has a hogshead of ice, and an 18” split along the bottom. He replaces the barrels.

    Lesson #6: It’s almost impossible to store water outside in February. I lost a pool to this.

    Jock continues on, insulates his barrels and disguises them to thwart the Colorado rain nazis. By July things are looking good. On July 5th, a hail storm destroys his roof, truck and garden.

    Lesson #7: Most people don’t garden in Colorado. Because they can’t.

    I do not believe that water barrels offer any benefit here other than during 1 month of the year. However, I do believe that swales truly work in this climate. My initial point was that yes, there are unenforced restrictions on rain capture (they do look for illegal ponds btw), but that barrels make a negligible difference in your overall water pattern. I think I’ll try one for my chicken house roof to fill the duck pond, and maybe as a tertiary source of water, but that’s it. I hope this helps, and I apologize for wasting time earlier, I just struggle to make my point in a web form. This was composed offline.

    • @anotherkevin, just ignore reality and math if you choose to you are now boring the fucking shit out of me. Yes you look bad because you are doing that to yourself, the above didn’t help you one bit.