Living Sustainably

Aquaponics | Rain Harvesting | Composting | Other Green Products

Archive for January, 2006

Toothaches & Headaches

Ok, so not a real headache, But the VeggieGen is fast becoming one 🙂

I took off the head, and things didn’t look so bad. Pistons looked good, valves looked ok, but when I removed the valves we found the trouble. The exhaust passage behind the valves is full of carbon buildup. We believe that it’s not so much a veggie issue but one of not putting the engine under enough load, or a combination of the two. It’s a 68 hp engine with a 12kw gen head and rarely sees a 8kw load. I’m busy cleaning valve stems and scraping carbon out of the exhaust passages.

Complete disassembly pics can be found in our photo album.

Toothache? Temporary relief was found by soaking a bit of cotton in clove oil and sticking it in the tooth cavity.


Valve cleaning

This morning, amidst a major toothache (Can’t eat, Can’t drink, Can’t close my jaw, it’s being pulled tomorrow), I removed the valve cover, and checked for bent pushrods and stuck valves. All looks well from this view, so this afternoon we will remove the head, remove the valves, clean them up and reassemble.


Blowing sparks out the stack

We did it again. Carboned up an exhaust valve, it won’t close all the way, and we are blowing sparks out the stack. Did this last year, and paid $300 for a valve job. This year I’m cleaning the valves myself. This comes from running straight V100 without a (bio)diesel startup/shutdown. I ran out of diesel, had no biodiesel made up, and was running straight veggie full time without switching. We tell people not to do this, Oops……


VeggieGen Control Panel

It’s an icy day, the kids are off from school due to bad roads, and the State Police say it’s a good day to stay off the roads. I finally got around to starting my new project, a control panel for the VeggieGen. I bought an ignition switch, am remounting my fuel selector valves, and picked up a switch for my electric priming pump. I already had an Oil Pressure gauge, but still need Ammeter, Voltmeter, and Water Temperature gauges. I’ll draw up a electrical diagram shortly, and load it into our photo album.


UFO Collecting

It got down to -7F last night, so we left the VeggieGen running all night. It’s 23F this am, and we are off to do a collecting run at our local restaurants for more Used Fryer Oil (UFO). I’ll have more pics when we get back. I’ve started a book about this stuff.


Filtering Veggie

7:30pm: Luray, Melvin and I started filtering our veggie oil. When we went to bed last night, the boiler was full of 240F WVO, tonight it finally had cooled to 130F. It’s 4F outside, and we were filtering at 40 gallons per minute through a 5 micron bag filter. We filtered five 55 gallon drums full. We then filled the suburban and the jetta veggie tanks, and filled 3 drums for the veggiegen. Two hours, start to finish, including a nice hot shower afterwards. More photo’s can be found in our photo album.


Let it Snow!

Yesterday we took delivery of 6 facecord of firewood. Since I was out dewatering veggie oil yesterday, it didn’t get stacked indoors. Old Man Winter decided to cover it with 6″ of fluffy new white stuff. Isn’t it pretty ……..

The Veggiegen started up fine on 7F veggie today, with some help from Mr. Ether.

New Veggiegen and Geodesic Quonset pics are uploaded to the photoalbum.


Log Home Living

A note from one of our Log Home Talk Members:

Ok! if it’s not one thing it’s another! LOL!
So, last year it was those nasty “not” ladybugs and they were everywhere (they can get in thru the tiniest of places). Then there were the wasps (& they were BIG wasps) we killed at least three a day, practically everyday throughout the summer. Then, what was I thinking, we had an old hollow tree removed that was next to the house, doing so apparently uprooted a large family of skinks who, (since I had destroyed their house) decided to move into mine.

Now, a mere 23 days into 2006, it’s one thing that I have already killed two wasps. So, what do we find laying in the middle of the upstairs floor, but a big nasty (almost 3′ long) snake-skin. Now I may not be the sharpest tool in the shed but where there is a snake-skin, I’m thinking, it’s previous tenant might not be too far away (I just hope it’s not on the friends and family plan). I was thinking about doing that food-chain thing – you know bring in something that eats the other and so on, I’m just scared where it might all end. I tried the cats for the mice thing (did I forget to mention the mice). Cat #1 disappeared in October, we tell ourselves it just left home, but… (they were some pretty mean looking mice). I believe Cat # 2 has given up and wants to leave, as another wasp bangs against the light fixture, while I carry the snake-skin to the trash can, the cat just looks at me like “Hey, this wasn’t part of deal, I only signed on for the mice”

Say it with me now… we love our log house. We love our log house. We love our log house. 🙂



Flip & Chilly Pimp Mom’s Ride

Check out our friends Flip & Chilly as they “upgrade” Mom’s ride to more environment friendly technologies, and Exxpose Exxon’s new movie “Toasting the Earth“.


Wood delivery, WVO Dewatering, Alternator install

8am: I installed the new alternator. Ok, it’s new to us. It works, it was free, and it’s got a few miles on it. The important thing is it’s charging our new 850 cca battery on the Veggiegen. It was 31F this am and the veggiegen started right up on the second revolution. And that was on semi gelled veggie, not diesel.

9am: The wood truck arrived with 6 face cord of cut and split firewood. $40 per facecord. Dumped it right next to my woodshed. Needed chains to get out of my driveway ….

10am: Lit the fire in the WVO boiler. 300 gallons of used fryer oil, brought to a boil using slab and scrap wood from the sawmill. Was at 240F in 6 hours. Boiled the water off, and let it sit for the night. Will filter it tomorrow.

6pm: Made my favorite dinner; Rice, Black Beans, Corn, and Venison Sausage.

Busy day, and I’m beat. See ya tomorrow. It will be WVO filtering and wood stacking day, provided nothing goes wrong with the Veggiegen.