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The Shoot Tech Systems Raptor Advance Compound Bow

Insanity.


That is what the Shoot Tech Systems Raptor Advance Compound Bow represents.

Complete insanity.

Specs
  • FPS 410 - 485 (Depends on different ammo weight.)
  • Adjustable Draw Weight 40 – 80 lbs
  • Adjustable Let Off 60-80%
  • Axle-To-Axle Length 32"
  • Mass weight 4.8 lbs
  • Brace height 7"
  • Doubles as a giant slingshot. What????

 I am not saying I am for or against this style of compound bow. I haven't shot it. I don't know how well it shoots.

But from a design perspective, whoever engineered this clearly wanted to completely change how a compound bow is supposed to work and threw out all the previous designs to make something completely new and different.

If someone brought me this bow and asked me to repair it I would need to be careful about where to even start, depending on what the exact problem was. It would not be your standard "Oh can you fix my compound bow?" situation. Even if it was a minor repair issue I would be very fascinated to get a look at the inner workings of this bow's unusual design.

Would it be fun to repair? Maybe.

Would it be interesting? Definitely.

According to reviews the bow provides a buttery smooth draw cycle, but with blistering speeds that put even high end crossbows to shame. Clearly STS should be taking this tech and building a crossbow version.

...

Except they do make a crossbow apparently, but it doesn't look anything like the compound bow. More insanity. Below, the STS Raptor 32 Tactical.

Of course they had to put the word "Tactical" in the name. You almost wonder if they did that as a joke. Who is going to buy this???


Looking for archery lessons in Toronto? Cardio Trek provides archery lessons in Toronto on weekdays and weekends.

Off Grid Greenhouse Designs, Research Ahead of Time

So when it comes to building your own greenhouse, I firmly believe people should do more research about the type of greenhouse they are building - and pay attention to its architecture, because a lot of people are being lazy and ignoring various fundamentals of architecture and engineering.

And issues surrounding snow.

In the video below you will see the owner of the greenhouse explaining what went wrong with his greenhouse. His greenhouse is basically useless during the winter because he made the structure in the shape of a half cylinder, which means the upper part of the roof is almost flat and collects snow. What he should have done is made the roof peaked in a sharp triangular shape, so that the snow is forced to slide down the sides rather than collecting on top of the roof.



In the next video you can see how easy it is to build one of these half-cylinder greenhouses... which is great if you don't mind snow collecting on the roof. The clip is from "This Old House", an American TV show based in Boston, where they don't get as much snow as Northern Ontario does. Boston gets average annual snowfall of 43.5 inches. Sudbury meanwhile gets average annual snowfall of 103.7 inches. And then there is the issue of accumulation. In Boston, the snow is more likely to melt within a few hours or days. In Sudbury, the snow just piles up and rarely melts until Spring. Thus a greenhouse in Boston doesn't really need to worry about snow accumulation, but a greenhouse in Ontario does need to worry about it.



But there is actually a solution. DO MORE RESEARCH BEFORE YOU BUILD!

And if you are living in northern climate, then you need to choose a design that will cause the snow to slide down the sides of the structure.

#1. The Shallow Peak Greenhouse

Take the example on the right. Is it an improvement over the half cylinder design? Yes. Could it be better, also yes. The top and sides of the structure could be a sharper and steeper peak.

The design is very similar to the one shown in the "This Old House" clip, but it can definitely be improved by making the roof taller with a steeper peak so that snow is more likely to slide off with ease.

Would it really cost that much extra to just make it 2 or 3 feet taller? Or take that much extra time to build? No and no. So just make it taller, as a shallow peak really won't be doing its job of keeping the snow off.

Plus the taller the structure is, the more sunlight/heat it captures and traps inside the greenhouse, and you have more room for shelves up higher for a 2nd layer of plants.

#2. The Sharper Peak Greenhouse with Vents

So the builder of this greenhouse went for a more wood design, but they also designed the peak with adjustable vents so they can control the amount of heat being trapped in the greenhouse.

The wood structure with bricks, gravel and cement around the base suggests this is meant to be a more permanent structure, so they decided to be more thorough with their design.

The roof has a nice 45 degree angle peak, which should be excellent for keeping the snow from accumulating.

The extra cost of all the wood in this design means that they likely chose to make the greenhouse smaller for budgetary reasons, but on the plus side this design should last a lot longer.

#3. The Asymmetrical Peak Greenhouse

The peak does not have to be in the middle of the greenhouse. Indeed, if you are building the greenhouse next to an existing structure, you could just make the peak on one side so that all the snow falls down the other side.


 The two sides don't need to be even either. If one side of the structure faces south, it might make more sense to make that side of the structure longer. In the example below they reused an older brick wall from a previous structure.


#4. The Pyramidal Greenhouse

You aren't stuck using a single peak running the length of the greenhouse. There are many other shapes you might consider, such as a pyramid-shaped greenhouse. It will take more effort to design and build a pyramidal greenhouse, but the single sharp pointed peak will definitely keep the snow off of it.



#5. The Geodesic Dome Greenhouse

This particular design works well in warm climates, but it won't be so good in a northern climate because the top of the roof is not steep enough. A way to fix this would be to make the top of the structure a sharper peak rather than a rounded roof.


#6. The Hexagonal Greenhouse

The example below fixes the design problem mentioned above by adding an extra section for a peak at the top, which also functions as a vent. The design is also fairly easy to build, and part of the structure is brick for added permanence.



OFF GRID ISSUES FOR GREENHOUSES

Once your greenhouse is built, you will need to determine what amenities you want for it, such as water and if you think it needs electricity.

Rainwater off the sides of the structure could be collected into rain barrels, and thus used for the plants.

Ideally you should place any such rain barrels inside the greenhouse to prevent it from freezing during the winter, with pipes leading up to troughs. A valve and pipe system could be constructed to prevent water from freezing inside the pipes, but also for distributing water to the plants.

Some people will want electricity for venting the space, but that can be accomplished without using electricity by opening doors, windows and ceiling vents. If heat is still an issue you can also soap up the walls and ceiling of the structure, as the soap residue will block out sunlight.

Some people also talk about using a gas heater, electric heater or even a wood stove to keep their greenhouse warm during the winter, but if you are resorting to such things then you clearly designed a low efficiency greenhouse that is not insulated enough.


If you need more insulation, during the design process you could have simply added an extra layer of plastic with some space in between the two layers of plastic. This barrier acts as an insulator to keep the interior of the greenhouse warmer.

The guy in the video way at the top mentions adding an electric blower to blow air between the two layers of plastic, but this is unnecessary if you simply design the structure to have a few inches of space between the inner and outer layers of plastic.

The pros and cons of a double layer inflation are:
  • Improved insulation.
  • Protects from wind better.
  • Can sometimes push snow off the outer layer.
  • Costs more to build.
  • Costs more for the electricity to inflate the outer layer.
  • Requires you have access to electricity, which may be harder to get during winter months.
Having the 2nd layer of plastic with a space between already improved insulation, and helps protect from wind damage. If the structure has a steep peak then snow really is not an issue anyway. Using electricity to inflate it seems rather unnecessary to me if the structure itself is designed correctly to prevent snow from accumulating in the first place. Inflation seems more of a thing to do if you were lazy during the design and building process and didn't think to add a steeper peak to keep the snow off.

How to Fix a Half Cylinder Greenhouse and make it a Double Layer with a Peak

Basically all you need to do is build the 2nd layer and make the outer layer have a steep peak to keep the snow off. It doesn't matter if the inner greenhouse has a round roof because it is the outer layer that gets snowed on, and that is the layer that needs to be a steep peak to prevent snow.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Some people are just making things harder than they need to be.

So what design would I choose?

Honestly, it depends on the size of the space and the budget I have allocated for the greenhouse, but I would probably go for the Asymmetrical Peak Greenhouse design and have it facing south. I would make the roof very steep with lots of room for shelves above. By making the structure taller, it adds more room for square feet of shelves for "growing space".

To feed a family of 4* during the winter a greenhouse would need to be fairly big, roughly 80 sq feet of "growing space" per person. So a family of 4 would need 320 sq feet of "growing space", which does not include where you walk/etc. The more space you have to grow the better, so 360 sq feet would be even nicer.

* So that estimate for feeding a family of 4 during the winter is based on the idea of each person consuming an average of 4 ounces of veggies per day. 16 ounces is 1 lb, so you need to be growing an average of 1 lb of edible food per day during the length of the winter. Different foods grow at different speeds and yield different amounts of food, so you really need to be smart/wise about which foods you choose to grow in order to get a greater yield per square foot of greenhouse garden.

If you have 3 shelves on each side of greenhouse (6 shelves total) and the shelves are an average of 4 feet wide by 15 feet long, that is 60 sq feet per shelf, x 6 = 360 sq feet.

Giving myself 4 feet between the shelves to walk and carry tools, this greenhouse would need to be a minimum of 12 feet wide and 15 feet long, plus the dimensions of the structure itself. So lets make it a bit bigger and go for 15 feet by 20 feet, just so there is even more space.

And if we make it slightly taller, maybe fit in another set of 4 feet wide shelves to grow 33% more food, since 8 shelves is clearly better than 6 shelves.

Another way to improve the structure would be to make it square, say with an interior space of 20 by 20 feet. With that shape you could have 2 aisles for walking (4 feet wide each) with 3 rows of shelves. So instead of 6 shelves, 9 shelves... and if tall enough for 4 shelves per row, then 12 shelves.

By then you are looking at...

4 feet wide, 20 feet long shelves = 80 sq feet per shelf. X 12 shelves = 960 sq feet of growing space.

That would be more than enough space to grow all the veggies a family of 4 eats all year round, even if some of the plants have terrible yields. You could be growing it and giving away excess food to friends and family members and guests.

20 x 20 feet of space isn't unreasonable either. Many backyards in cities have 400 sq feet of space available. In the USA it is true that backyards are shrinking, but many people would not have too much difficulty fitting in a small or medium size greenhouse into their backyard if they wanted to - especially anyone who lives in the countryside and has ample space.

So yes, for my purposes an Asymmetrical design facing south, 20 x 20 feet, and I could have 3 shelves in the south row, 4 shelves in the middle row, and 5 shelves on the north row. That would provide all the veggies my family and I would need, with lots left over.

Anything left over I could turn into jams/pickles/etc and give away or sell.

How do you fit the Plants in?

There are many ways to organize your shelves and space inside the greenhouse, so you will want to consider your options here too. The design below use PVC tubes and works well with any greenhouse that has slanted walls.


You might decide to use normal shelves, you might want your shelves to be tiered like steps, or inverted tiers...

Or you might even want the shelves to rotate with a crank so you can get easier access to shelves that are otherwise harder to reach.

Replacing Compound and Crossbow Bowstrings? Go to the source!

Q #1


Good Evening,

I recently dug my old compound bow out of my parents house. I won’t lie, it’s probably 18yrs old, has been laying dormant for 17yrs, and has never been re-srung. I don’t want to part with it, but I would really like to have it safetied and restrung, so that I can start using it again. I also have a crossbow that is in the same condition that I would like to have looked at. Hopefully, you are able to help me out. Thanks

Best,
Brandon



Reply #1

Hello Brandon!

What make and model is the compound bow?

Do you still have the compound bowstring and cables? Doesn't matter what their status is in terms of broken or damaged, it is more handy to know how long they are/etc in term of measurements by having the originals.

Is anything else wrong with the compound bow that I should be aware of? Eg. Damaged cams, missing pieces?

I don't normally deal with crossbows, but I might be able to help with that too. Same questions as above for the crossbow. I cannot guarantee I can help with that, but it won't hurt to discuss and see.

Photos are also potentially helpful if there are specific issues you are worried about.

Have a good weekend!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
ProjectGridless.ca



Q #2


Hey Charles,

Sorry for the delayed reply. The compound bow is a Nova, and is still strung, so I have the original string. I don’t believe there are any missing or damaged parts.

As for the crossbow, no worries if you can’t fix it. I more just looking to have it restrung. It needs a new sight, but I think that’s it. More pics attached.

Best,
Brandon






Reply #2

Hey Brandon!

So you just need to have both of them restrung? Nothing else wrong with them?

I am going to save you some money then. You don't need to be talking to me at all. Instead I recommend you making a visit to Ballistic Bowstrings in Angus.

Their place is about 50 minutes north of Vaughan. They used to be in Bradford which was closer, but they moved back in March. I recommend making an appointment.

Address: 8954 MCKINNON RD, ANGUS ON L0M 1B4
Phone: (905) 775-4416


They can set you up with new custom strings for both your compound and your crossbow.

I get all of my strings from them, so even if it was me installing the strings for you, it is really them who is making the strings. So you might as well cut out the middle man (me, in this case).

You can check out their website at: http://www.ballisticbowstrings.com/

It is possible to just order online and have delivered, but the last person I recommended to them went there in person and they strung his crossbow for him, and being there in person means they can double-check to make sure it fits properly. So going there in person has its advantages. You can read about his experience at: http://www.projectgridless.ca/2018/04/crossbow-bowstrings-and-how-to-replace.html

I do know two people local here in Toronto who also makes strings, but they only make bowstrings for longbows and recurves. They don't make any for compounds or crossbows.

Please let me know how it goes. It is handy to get feedback from people.

Have a nice day!

Sincerely,
Charles Moffat
ProjectGridless.ca

Get ready for higher electricity prices as Doug Ford prepares to sell Ontario Hydro

I don't usually talk about politics, but this bit really effects people who want to off grid and use solar power.

Hey Ontario, are you upset about your hydro bill?

Just wait.

Doug Ford is going to sell Ontario Hydro (and Ontario's stake in Toronto Hydro, Hydro One and other companies).

15 years ago Mike Harris left Ontario with a fiscal mess and had sold off major chunks of Ontario's electricity grid, namely by privatizing the sale and distribution of electricity - which only led to higher electricity rates.

That sell off combined with the murder of Dudley George and the Walkerton E-coli Massacre, led to Mike Harris's unpopularity and 15 years of the Liberal Party trying to fix his mess.

Unfortunately, they couldn't backpedal on the sale of parts of the electricity grid. That mess is here to stay.

So along comes Doug Ford and guess what he wants to do? Sell off and privatize Ontario Hydro - sell everything. Let the people of Ontario fend for themselves when higher electricity rates become the norm as electricity companies (mostly foreign investors) swoop in and buy the companies, and then resell the electricity to the people of Ontario at a higher rate.

So when is this coming?

Doug Ford has on numerous ocassions talked about how "great" it would be if Ontario sold off Ontario Hydro. He thinks it would result in cheaper rates for customers. Ha, what a lie that is.

He has not set a timeline however for when he intends to sell off Ontario Hydro and its related components.

What he is doing however is:

  1. Ending the cap and trade policy for companies, putting a lot of companies in legal limbo after purchasing billions of dollars of cap and trade from other sources. Their cap and trades are now basically worthless.
  2. Scrapping the GreenON rebates program for solar panels, which gave people a rebate if they bought solar panels, installed energy efficient windows, and other renovations for improving energy efficiency of their homes.
  3. Scrapping parts of the Climate Change Action Plan which targeted greenhouse gas emissions, and by scrapping we mean completely gone with no plan to replace them. Basically it gives big corporations free reign to pollute the air as much as they want.
So this is things he has already done in the first weeks of being in power. And for the off grid community (and people who want to go off grid) the 2nd one which I highlighted in red is actually really important, because that is the one which effects people who want to go off grid. Those rebates for installing solar panels made them more affordable and allowed homeowners a degree of flexibility when it comes to choosing a larger solar panel system for their home.

The rebates were so important that they lowered the cost of solar power in Ontario, such that manufacturers could focus more on mass production - which created jobs in Ontario's solar industry for both manufacturing, for sales, and for installation.

With the rebates gone, that is going to hurt jobs in Ontario's solar industry and it is going to raise prices.

Coupled with selling off Ontario Hydro and rising electricity prices, the people of Ontario are going to be looking for alternatives.

The obvious alternative is to go off grid and produce your own electricity. But without the rebates, that option just got more expensive.

Thus people wanting to go off grid in Ontario now have to weigh more affordable options like:

  • Wind turbines
  • Hydro power
  • Wave power
  • Gasoline / Propane Generators

And those options don't work for many homes.

  • Some locations are not windy enough - or are in a town or city which has bylaws prohibiting wind turbines in residential neighbourhoods.
  • Hydro power requires the property to have access to moving water, such as a river or stream on their property.
  • Wave power requires their property to be on the shore of a lake.
  • Gasoline and propane generators can be noisy, which disturbs neighbours, and thus are likewise not allowed in urban or suburban areas.

Thus solar, quiet and nigh invisible solar, becomes the one option that homeowners can put almost anywhere that they have access to peak sunlight.

So cutting the rebates for solar ahead of a strategy for selling off Ontario Hydro, well that is just going to put Ontario in a position to be taken advantage of by whomever ends up buying the electricity grid.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charles Moffat was, at one point, a door to door salesman for Direct Energy, a company which sold electricity and gas to homeowners. A job he loathed and later quit. He has since set himself a goal of someday going off the grid completely. Eventually.

Tesla Solar Roof Tiles

DISCLAIMER - Tesla has not paid me any money to mention or discuss (or criticize) their products. I just happen to like what they are making, although I do not like everything as you will notice if you continue reading.


So one of the innovations coming out of Tesla (not just an electric car automaker) is their new solar panels which feature textures and different colours, so that they look like regular roof tiles.

This way the whole roof of a house can be one giant interconnected solar panel (or solar roof as Tesla likes to call it). So for example the image below shows a home with a Tesla Solar Roof, not just on the main structure, but also over the garage on the right side and the solarium on the left side too.


To me this is a big innovation, because it means that solar panels don't have to be ugly things you stick on the roof of your home. They can simply BE the roof. The whole roof, and neighbours will never know you have solar panels unless they recognize your roof as being a Tesla product.

I especially like the textured and slate versions. Those do look pretty nice.

Tesla also has video on their site at https://www.tesla.com/en_CA/solarroof which shows the durability of the roof tiles, showing traditional roof tiles breaking under a 5 cm hailstone is traveling 160 km/h on impact, whereas the Tesla roof tile doesn't break. So that is a nice bonus.

What is Tesla's Goal?

Tesla got into the whole solar panel market because of their electric cars needing to be recharged. They realized that if they were going to be selling electric cars that had to be recharged, they needed to devise a battery system at people's homes where they could fill up the battery with solar power and then transfer that electricity to the electric car's battery system.

Thus the end goal is to make homes that are off grid, but also fuel the electric car at the same time.

So how expensive is the Tesla Solar Roof?

Well that is a very good question.

On Tesla's website you can pay $1330 CDN (refundable) to reserve your position to buy and install a solar roof on your home. Basically you are in a line of waiting customers, and you have to pay just to be in the lineup. They don't actually mention how much it costs, likely because it varies on the size of your roof.

But it would be nice if they listed the price of a 1 meter by 1 meter tile. Or a cost per square foot. Something like that.

So for example if the cost per square foot was $100, and your roof was 30 by 80 feet (2400 square feet) then you would know the cost was going to be $240,000.

It probably is not that super expensive however. $100 per square foot seems like a rather large amount to be paying.

Still it would be nice to know if the cost was in the $30,000 to $60,000 range, or if it was more in the $80,000 to $120,000 range. Or more.

Conclusions

I like the look of the product, but if they want to win customers over they really should be mentioning the price so that people can compare to other solar manufacturers and to wind turbines, hydro-power, etc.

But this is something I have noticed about solar companies. A lot of them don't like to list their prices online, which in my opinion deters people from wanting to buy from them in the first place.

If they want to eventually start selling their products to a mass market audience, they really need to start listing their prices in a manner so that customers can compare prices and consider their options.

Tesla is not the only company selling solar roof tiles or "solar shingles" or photovoltaic shingles. Whatever you want to call them, they have been on the market for years. Five of the biggest companies that make them are:
  • Atlantis Energy Systems
  • CertainTeed
  • RGS Energy
  • SolarCity
  • SunTegra Solar Roof Systems
Tesla is basically the car and solar equivalent of an iPhone. They make things which are desirable, but overpriced when you consider that other companies make equivalent products for less cost but without the sexy name on the product.

Do I like what Tesla is doing by making solar power sexy? Yes.

But I also think they need to be more honest and open about their prices. The lack of transparency scares away skittish customers.

Will the future be an Utopia or Distopia?


So I was watching a video and near the end of the video the guy who made it started talking about whether the future of the world is going to be an utopia or a distopia.

And he further explained his position by stating that some people are optimists and other people are pessimists, but that there are also optimistic pessimists and pessimistic optimists. And of course there is also the realists, who are actually quite rare.

So lets break down what the 5 ideas.

The True Optimist believes the future of the world will be an Utopia and it is going to be Awesome.

The Pessimistic Optimist believes the future of the world will be an Utopia and it is going to be Horrible.

The Realist believes the future of the world will be more or less like it is now and it will be neither better or worse. The argument here is that Realists takes the world as it is, not as they would like it to be, because they have realized that nothing really changes. It is always two steps forward, two steps back.


The Optimistic Pessimist believes the future of the world will be a Distopia and it is going to be Awesome.

The True Pessimist believes the future of the world will be a Distopia and it is going to be Horrible.

So for the people who believe that an Apocalypse is approaching, they have to be a Pessimist. If they also think that the Apocalypse is going to be fun/interesting/provide new opportunities, then clearly they are an Optimistic Pessimist.

The True Pessimist however would believe that the Apocalypse will happen and that there is nothing we can do to prepare for it. We are all screwed, so don't bother being a prepper.

Myself, I don't consider myself to be a prepper. But I do have a bugout bag just in case.

And I admit, I do kind of fantasize what the Apocalypse could be like... Hunting, farming, living off the land, rebuilding society. Sounds nice.

So I guess that makes me an Optimistic Pessimist.

On the flip side, if there is no Apocalypse, I would still argue that we are heading towards a Distopian future where robotics and technology displaces large numbers of out-of-work poor people, and how various countries solve that problem in the future will be problematic.

1. Capitalist Countries will say corporations have the right to use robots as much as they want, and reap all the benefits. The poor are just lazy. Combine this with a police state, and you basically have a plot similar to RoboCop where police-robots kill the poor people whenever they rebel.

2. Communist Countries will say corporations have a duty to pay taxes, supporting a communist / welfare state wherein people no longer need to work, and the biggest problem is people finding something to do with all their spare time.

Both of these options have their pros and cons, clearly.

But since the USA/Canada are currently heading in the direction of a capitalist distopian police state, I am afraid that makes me a True Pessimist. Because it will be a distopia and it is going to be horrible.

One could argue we are already living in a distopia. How else do you explain Donald Trump in the White House?

It is really just a matter of time before the coal industry realizes it can replace all of its workers with robots. All those coal miners that voted for Trump are going to be out of work completely sometime in the next 20 years.

Alternative Ways of Hunting in Ontario

So in Ontario you can hunt using the following methods:

  • Firearm
  • Bowhunting
  • Crossbow
  • Spearhunting

But there are other ways of hunting that are, shall we say, a little unusual.

For example there is the Stone Crossbow (or Pellet Crossbow) which shoots a marble sized pebble (traditional made of ceramic so they were an uniform size and weight). That still falls into the category of being a crossbow.

Likewise there is also the Stone Bow (or Pellet Bow), which works on the same principle. Shown below is a traditional Paraguayan Pellet Bow.


It is basically a giant slingshot.

Another option is slingshots, which I personally find to be silly, but whatever.

There is also the sling, which is an ancient weapon that can be incredible powerful and accurate in the hands of a person who regular trains with it. (Goliath actually didn't stand a chance against David, as the sling is actually a very powerful weapon. It doesn't look like much, but the amount of kinetic energy it can release is actually pretty impressive.)

Ballista and Windlass Crossbows...

So check out the video below of a man shooting a 1,250 lb windlass crossbow. Like you, I also went "1250 lbs? What?!" but then I saw how thick the steel bow on that crossbow was and I realized, wow. I had no clue they could be that powerful.




Ontario Hunting Laws and Legal Grey Zones

So there are specific laws in Ontario governing what you can hunt with and what you cannot.

For example, if hunting with a crossbow, you must use a crossbow with a minimum of 150 lbs of force.

So that 1,250 lb windlass crossbow definitely is strong enough, but it also means there is no limit on how powerful the crossbow could be.

You could technically hunt in Ontario with 2,500+ lb ballista that shoots giant spears, and it would be totally legal.

And that is what I mean by "legal grey zones". There is no law expressly forbidding the use of ballista.

Just like there is no laws forbidding the use of Stone Crossbows, Stone Bows and various other types of unusual weapons that fall into the classification of an approved type of hunting tool. For example a slingshot can be modified to shoot arrows like a bow, thus it is basically classified as a bow.

Even though I am not a fan of slingshots, whatever, it counts.

Spearhunting, harpoons, atlatl throwers for throwing spears or darts, blowguns, spear-guns, gas-powered crossbows, harpoon guns, and more.

So for example...

You could go bowhunting, but instead of a regular arrow be shooting a giant arrow roughly the size of a spear. Does it count as an arrow or as a spear?

Upsetting the Vegans with "Primitive" Hunting Tools

Now the problem within all this is the animal lovers who hate everything to do with hunting, and if it were up to them they would ban bowhunting, spearhunting and indeed ban all forms of hunting and fishing. There is no pleasing people who are diametrically opposed to something.

So to the anti-hunters, the idea that someone could build their own ballista and go hunting with it really sticks in their craw. To them that is a reason to write angry letters to the government, to protest, to harass people via email and twitter, etc.

In various parts of the USA vegans have been trying to ban bowhunting for example, arguing that it is less accurate than firearms, and arguing that guns are more humane. (I would argue the opposite honestly. I have seen some people shoot and firearms are actually horribly inaccurate, or at least the people shooting them are horribly inaccurate.)

Mankind has been hunting with bows and spears for tens of thousands of years. It was perfectly adequate and accurate back then, and it is perfectly accurate and adequate now - more so in fact, thanks to modern materials and designs that increase both accuracy and penetrating power.

More so, traditional or "primitive" archery actually surprises researchers who study the effectiveness of such weapons.

Flint for example is actually harder than steel, and flint arrowheads are sharper than any razor honed steel arrowheads you can find. In tests flint arrowheads actually cut deeper than any steel arrowheads you can purchase. (Don't believe me, go browse YouTube.)

Fun Trivia Fact - The reason why flint and steel make a spark is because the flint is taking off tiny pieces of the steel, thus forming a hot spark that can be used for starting a fire.

So-called "primitive" weapons are far more powerful and accurate than people give them credit for.

So when vegans see someone hunting with a longbow with flint arrowheads, they look at that and think "Oh we need to ban that!" But their reasoning isn't sound because they are ignorant of the fact that flint arrowheads are actually very efficient for killing deer.

Anthropologist Comment - So my wife, the anthropologist/lawyer, would probably also want me to point out that using the word "primitive" is actually racist, because it implies that other cultures are more savage and lack technology. This is why I have been using the word "primitive" with quotations around it, because I wanted to bring up this topic of how people should stop using that word primitive in a derogatory way.

So when a vegan says that a certain hunting tool is "primitive", they are actually being derogatory and racist.

Ever noticed how most vegans are white? Well, I have.

Sure, a lot of them are also liberal-minded and would deny being racist, but I do believe that racists come in all kinds.

Vegans often believe they have a moral superiority and think that gives them the right to be elitist snobs. This then results in a horrible habit of them looking down on other cultures, people who prefer other kinds of food, and claiming to have some superior vision of how people should eat.

Except it is all nonsense.

They don't have any moral superiority. Half of them are wearing leather clothing and shoes. They're hypocrites.

Not all vegans are crazy people flouting their assumed superiority. I have met a few who are actually very nice people. Sure, they try to introduce me to new veggie dishes, but they don't push their beliefs on me.

Sadly those vegans are few and far between.

So here is the thing. If you find a new way to hunt using a hunting tool that is within a legal grey zone. Keep it to yourself! Don't go blabbing about it on the internet. You are only going to upset vegans and get them protesting outside the Ontario Legislature.

Personally I like the Ontario hunting laws just fine. Just the right amount of vagueness so that people can interpret what counts as a bow or crossbow or spear.

I see nothing wrong with an individual wanting to hunt with a ballista. Nobody is going to claim that deer or moose didn't die quickly and humanely when hit by a ballista bolt. A ballista would kill the moose AND the moose standing behind it with ease. A 2-for-1.

So lets not advertise that Joe Smith is hunting with his ballista. I think it is awesome, but the vegans will get their panties in a knot.

Conclusions

Yes, there are alternative ways to hunt in Ontario. Don't think of what is allowed as restrictions. Just use some imagination and you can see how the vagueness is actually an indication of what is allowed.

For example nobody said you can't hunt using a portable cannon or a "Punt Gun". Are Punt Guns ridiculous? Sure, they are. But good luck claiming that the ducks being shot weren't killed humanely. (Punt Guns were traditionally used for hunting flocks of ducks, killing a whole flock of ducks at once. But they could in theory be used for bear hunting or moose.)

This is actually a small Punt Gun.

Off Grid Air Conditioning in July and August

So today is July 1st.

And July and August are the two hottest months of the year in Ontario. Which is common for anyone who lives in the northern hemisphere.

And I admit, I am a fan of air conditioning.

So going off grid is a problematic thing because I cannot imagine living in a hot humid place, being outside all day in the heat, and then coming home to a house that is likewise hot and unbearable.

So air conditioning is pretty much a necessity to me.

Unfortunately air conditioners also use a lot of electricity.

Typically we are looking at the following amounts for a window air conditioner:

  • Large Window Units – 1440 Watts
  • Medium Window Unit – 900 Watts
  • Small Window Unit – 500 Watts

And in case you were wondering about a Central Air system...

Central Air Conditioner – 3500 Watts

So that is a lot of electricity being used.

Keeping in mind that a good $2,000 wind turbine will only produce a maximum of 3,000 watts on a day with adequate wind, so if you want an air conditioner in your off grid home it had better be a tiny air conditioner (in the bedroom only with the door closed), or else you had best think about getting 2 or more wind turbines or another source of electricity.

eg. You could get a diesel generator to burn diesel, to produce electricity to run the air conditioner.

Ah, the irony of burning diesel to get cooler.

Alternatives to Air Conditioning

#1. Build Underground

Warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer.


 #2. More Shade, Less Heat

Build canopies that go over your home to keep the heat off, creating shade to avoid the sun as much as possible. It doesn't have to be a permanent canopy, you could erect them to be temporary and seasonal.



#3. Cross Drafts with Ventilation

Open windows or doors so that the wind passes through your home and cools it during the process. Works well in combination with lots of shade. You can do this with architecture. Also helps if the "entrance" windows for the draft are facing the source of wind.


#4. Fans only do so much...

 But if you are going to use fans, then ceiling fans are the best for moving the heat out. Fans + a nice cross draft = wonderful.

#5. Geothermal Cooling / Heating

So this method takes more investment in terms of time and money.

What it does is pump water (some geothermal systems use air instead of water) from the house through underground pipes, which then circulates back into the house after cooling down since the ground is cooler. In the winter it can also warm the house using the same method, since the ground further under the earth is warmer in contrast.

While it costs more to install initially, you do save money on electricity later over time. Plus for an off grid home it actually makes the most sense and you want to have to avoid spending too much on your heating and cooling costs.


Conclusions

So you are not restricted to just using air conditioning. There are other options, and some of the options work quite well in combination.

eg. An underground home that uses geothermal cooling/heating, with lots of shade on the entrances and the option to have a cross draft if need be.

Just add three canopies to the house below and you will be pretty close to the ideal. Plus a canopy would keep the water in that pool cooler.



Ontario's Wind Power Vs the Duck Curve

Back in February I wrote a post about Ontario's Duck Curve: Solar Power Vs Ontario's Electrical Grid: The Duck Curve.

The Duck Curve is a chart of Ontario's average daily usage of electricity and the supply of electricity, which increasingly has taken on the shape of a duck.

The Duck Curve is caused by the effect of increasing solar production and it creating an abundance of supply during peak sunny times of the day, but zero supply during the rest of the day.

It also doesn't help that demand for electricity is actually growing, which means increased demand during evening and morning hours, especially the 7 PM to 10 PM period when there is zero of solar power coming in to the grid.

To prevent brown outs nuclear power plants need to be running at higher capacity ahead of time to create a surplus of electricity so that we don't have brown outs. This creates inefficiency and wasted electricity during that transition time period.

So what does this have to do with wind power and wind turbines?

Increasing wind turbine electricity production does quite a bit to offset the impacts of solar power.

#1. Wind is More Reliable than Solar - Wind power doesn't rely on the sun and is active 24 hours per day, as long as there is wind, which is pretty much all the time because Ontario is a very windy province.

#2. Lake Effect Wind - It is slightly windier during mornings and evenings near lakes due to changes in temperature and the flow of wind towards and away from lakes during those time periods. The larger the lake, the more profound the effect.

#3. Ontario has quite a few "Great Lakes" that benefit from the Lake Effect Wind. Probably one of the reasons why Ontario is so windy in the first place.

Below is a map of where wind turbines are built in Southern Ontario. As you can see, the lakeshore of Lake Huron has a lot of wind turbines built there for the purpose of benefiting from the Lake Effect Wind coming off Lake Huron.


So is Wind Power a solution to the Duck Curve?

No, not completely.

Yes, it helps to create a surplus of renewable energy.

Yes, it also helps that wind power is slightly stronger during morning and evening changes in temperatures thanks to Lake Effect Wind.

But the amount of electricity being produced at present merely offsets the solar power Duck Curve. The impact is less at present, which means Ontario is reliant upon nuclear power to pick up the slack.

What about Hydro Power?

Ontario also produces a lot of hydro-electric power thanks to our many rivers, lakes and dams. So much so that we call the government run electricity producer "Ontario Hydro", and refer to "hydro poles", "hydro bills", etc.

Well, the truth is that it is possible to offset the Duck Curve using hydro power, by simply shutting down dam turbines and not allowing so much water to flow through them during the middle of the day. Unfortunately, not all dams are equipped with shut off valves as some of them just run on a constant level, with no shut off system available.

If they did, this would allow nuclear power plants to run more at a constant level (which improves cost efficiency). Unfortunately since a shut off system isn't available for many dams (and would require a sizable investment to do), this is seen as a wasteful option as hydro power is basically "free electricity" once the dam has been built. Adding shut off valves would just reduce the amount of free electricity Ontario actually has.

What about Geothermal Power?

Ontario at present has zero geothermal power plants. None. Nada. Not in all of Canada.

Despite being able to produce as much electricity as coal, gas or nuclear, not one single province has taken the bold and decisive step of building a geothermal power plant. (Or refurbishing an old coal or gas plant into a geothermal plant, seeing as they all use the same steam turbines.)

So what does Ontario do with the energy surplus?

Well, it doesn't go completely to waste. We sell it at a discount to Quebec, Manitoba and to the USA. Because of the discount we lose money in the process, but it is still better than sitting on an energy surplus that isn't being used at all.

What we really need is more ways to store electricity efficiency. eg. Like storing electricity inside ionized gas as "ball lightning", a sort of ionized gas battery.

So what about people who live Off the Grid?

Well, hopefully we are using a nice battery system and we are not paying gigantic hydro bills like everyone else. We store our solar, wind (and sometimes even hydro) power in batteries that provide electricity for our off grid homes.

And then we laugh about all the money we are saving while the hosers are paying off "old hydro debts" that were caused by the Ontario government overspending on nuclear.


Why my wife and I buy half a pig every year

The Cost Savings / Financial Cooking Tip

Every year my wife and I buy half a pig from a farmer and pay for the butchering.

My parents buy half a pig, my younger sister and her husband buy half a pig, my older sister and her husband buy half a pig. So two pigs total, bought and butchered.

This process bypasses the normal farmer to butcher to distributor to grocery store routine, cutting out at least two middle men.

This results in a significant price difference.

In 2018 the cost of our half pig was $200.92... for which we get 3 large coolers full of pork, including ribs, sausages, ground pork, roasts, bacon, side pork, etc. If you want any of the meat smoked or extra services, that costs extra.

So a typical pig is going to garner you a little more than 200 lbs of meat. About 210 lbs on average.

So our share of half of pig is about 105 lbs for $200.92, so that is slightly less than $2 CDN per lb of pork.

Compare that to the prices of various kinds of pork you might find in your local grocery store. Like $6 for 1 lb of bacon, or $4 for 1 lb of ribs.

But basically you are looking at savings of roughly half of what it would normally cost you to get the same amount of pork from the grocery store. Or more savings, depending on the prices in your local grocery store.

So as a financial cooking tip goes buying your meat straight from the source saves a lot of money.

Bypassing the Farmer and Butcher

If you raised your own pigs and butchered them yourself, you would save money that way too. But then you run into the problem of how much time requirements are needed to be raising 1 or more pigs. It only really becomes effective for your time if you are raising lots of pigs, feeding them all, and preferably butchering them yourself for maximum profit when selling the pigs to interested 3rd parties.

The amount of time required to do all that becomes truly prohibitive.

This is why hunting to me makes a smart / low time requirement alternative. The deer, moose or elk will provide a decent amount of meat, and your only time expenditures is learning how to hunt, and learning how to butcher the deer yourself - which may or may not include learning how to make sausages with a sausage press.

The financial savings / time savings of hunting thus starts to make a lot of sense... But there is still the cost of getting your hunting license and the necessary equipment (firearms, bows, learning how to shoot properly, etc), and the actual hunting tags. So there are additional costs involved.

However hunting deer is so old school... especially when there is something even smarter.

Why not farm deer instead?

The deer feed themselves, you really just need to capture them and fence them in.

Deer farming has been a thing in Ontario for decades (perhaps longer) and when I was in high school I regularly passed a deer farm every time I went to school or whenever my parents when shopping or to visit relatives that took us past the deer farm.

It was just a thing that was there that I saw regularly.

But mention deer farming to city people and it is a bit like trying to explain to them that cows are female, bulls are male, and they are all cattle. They don't know that such things exist, and they don't know the difference between a sow and a boar.

So yes, deer farming is a thing.

The beauty of deer farming is that once you have the deer fenced in with a large enough area, they can graze within the forested regions of your property, there are hopefully no predators getting in through the fences, and the deer basically fend for themselves with respect to feeding themselves and breeding.


The trick to deer farming is you have to know how to manage your livestock. To only eat what you need as opposed of just eating them constantly because you can. So for example only eating the males who lack a mate, or the older males who are past their prime.

Another trick is that you want to prevent inbreeding, which can lead to diseases. So you will want to add new deer once in awhile by trading them with other deer farmers. So there will be some financial costs of trading deer once in awhile if you do decide to prevent an abundance of inbreeding.

Farming Rabbits is Easier

So yeah, if you really want to make your life easier. The solution is rabbits. Very high in protein, very lean. Goes well with fried potatoes.

Fence them in, grow a garden so you have other things to eat with the rabbit meat, any vegetables you don't eat just feed to the rabbits.

Bonus, rabbits also make nice mittens.

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