Shrub Willow Just Might Save Us, If We Start Planting Now

People are always putting off the idea of fixing climate change with the idea that some genius somewhere is going to invent some sort of Dr. Suess like machine that is going to magically take all of the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses out of the air and make big cubes out of it that we can then bury in the ground somewhere. There are many serious problems with this idea:

  1. We will never be able to develop this technology in time to make any kind of difference with climate change. The ‘final hour’ is upon us right now.
  2. Carbon Dioxide represents a mere 0.0391 percent of the air we normally use. In order to get any real amount of CO2 out of the air, our machine has to sort through an incredible amount of air to get to a relatively small percentage of CO2.
  3. These machines will need to use massive amounts of energy to function. Where is that energy going to come from?

Shrub willows can easily grow about 8′ a year

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Glutton for Punishment: Frost Seeding 650 lbs of Clover and Planting 466 Chestnut Trees by Hand

The last month has been taken up by me trying to accomplish the impossible. I’ve been preparing 42 acres of steep hillside that I ravaged with a bulldozer to become a productive chestnut & hazelnut orchard. The first step to doing this is to seed the disturbed soil. My original idea was to have a neighboring farmer come in with a large tractor and a discer and seeder to seed it with medium red clover. As spring progressed and my land got more and wetter, I realized there was no way that was going to happen, any heavy equipment was going to get hopelessly stuck in the clay mud. I still have 6-8 culverts I need to put in, and without them, most of my property is impassible by anything other than an electric bike (and marginally at that).


Having a Sur-Ron electric dirtbike makes it a lot easier to get around my hill

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The Madness That Is … Not Going Solar

I’ve been procrastinating about going solar for a long time, probably too long. I’ve been waiting for panels to get as cheap as possible while the incentives are the best they can be. With Trump’s tariffs on solar panels I didn’t think that now would be a good time to go solar, but once I ran the numbers I found out I was wrong. Today I signed my soul away to Renovous so I could go solar.


So here’s a bad image showing you how awesome my solar installation will hopefully be. Essentially I’m getting a $24,811 installation for $8,956 out of pocket. That includes 8.28Kw of solar panels and a 7Kw inverter. To give you a comparison my wife has an off-grid system with a whopping 1.5Kw of panels and she is into it for almost $10,000 and it was installed for free by a close friend of hers. Of that $10,000 about $3000 is batteries and she is already on her third set (spoiler alert, get Trojans, everything else sucks ass).

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Putting the ‘Tiny’ into ‘Tiny Chestnut Paradise’

My son and I have been working for about 1 day every week for the last 6 months on building one of the coolest tiny houses I’ve seen yet. The construction is not yet complete, but I thought I would give you a preview of how far we’ve gotten done in such a small amount of time. Typically we work only 4-5 hours so we’ve gotten to the level of completion in the video with only 300 man-hours of work (~125 each + 50 hours for the work party).

The first work party where a few of my close friends showed up to help put up the walls and the roof

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It Begins

It all began with 7 days straight of driving a bulldozer 7-8 hours a day.


The D5 dozer from Carson Rental in Ithaca was very affordable at only $2000 for a week (included delivery & damage waiver)

Cleaning off the frozen clay took me 14 hours with a pressure washer. I don’t advise doing projects like this in the winter unless you’re a masochist.


I was able to dig 14 ponds and swale out 30 acres in one week

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