Monday, February 27, 2012

Jim rants!

The following is a letter to my friend Hans, responding to his note on the fact that we don't seem to have as much global warming' as the reporters and 'green' scientists seem to be presenting to us. With my philosophy it is immaterial what the graphs predict...we're just not living right...

Hi Hans;

My premise is that we need more data...something is happening...something is always happening though. When we rely upon our memories we skew the data a bit, that is human nature. My 'feeling' is that the weather is more dramatic than it was when I was a kid, but we still had hurricanes and blizzards...has this been skewed by dramatically 'closer' news reporting...due to satellite, cell and general proliferation of news reporters around the world? I don't know! We had a kitchen table discussion about the news the other the world a more dangerous place with more and more atrocious acts happening or are we just hearing more about them? Krista and John thought that the troubles in the middle east indicated that there was generally more unrest in the world...I'm not so sure; there were a lot of 'bad' things happening in the former soviet states that never made the light of day, if the reporters weren't in Africa or in the middle east did that make the events there a non-happening? Then there is the general increase in population...disproportionate in poorer areas so that the desperation that breeds violence is higher per capita and the 'newsworthy' events are higher based upon a disproportionate higher amount of desperate poor.

That said, we live in troubled time, like always. The subtle change is that we have become dependent/addicted to systems that are in and of themselves very fragile. Fragile in terms of man-made as opposed to natural...a mountain is pretty hard to knock can be done, but takes a lot of effort. A satellite can be rendered useless with the burning out of a wire finer than a hair...there goes some aspect of communication in the world-wide cell phone network...granted, there is redundancy in the satellite and with other satellites that makes the single wire relatively insignificant. Until there is something the equivalent of a volcano eruption in the micro-electronic world. The volcano can make a mountain disappear in EMP (electro-magnetic pulse...can be man made or solar created) can make satellites 'disappear' in the same amount of time.

Water, food, energy, communications, medical care, transportation and other systems could have problems that will lead to cascading failures into each of the other areas. Some part of this is exacerbated by our psychological dependence upon the very man made systems we deem to be 'essential' for our daily lives and survival. We have lost site of "long-term" viewpoints. We are several generations away from knowing how to provide for ourselves...heat, water, food and protection are all remote operations for 90% of the westernized world. People will starve to death standing in a field of potatoes because: a) they can't recognize the plant and b) they wouldn't know how to cook a freshly harvested potato.

The energy theme has always relied upon a very short sighted model...'someone' in the future will figure out what to do to make energy once we've burned up the (chronologically ordered...more or less): trees, coal (no we're not out of coal, it was just so environmentally damaging to cities that we welcomed n. gas and oil derivatives as a substitute), petroleum products, n. gas,and radioactive materials. We are smart enough to foretell the future, or at least model several scenarios, we should be able to predict and react to those most likely to happen. We think of peak oil in terms of a few decades, more or less, rather than in millennial terms. Shouldn't we have the respect for the people of the future to live as if we had a finite planet with finite resources?

Conservation is the answer...or at least one of them. Enough babble!

----- Original Message -----
From: Hans-Udo Kurr
To: "James S. Juczak"
Subject: Please show this to Krista, too..
Date: Mon, 27 Feb 2012 02:51:33 +0000 (GMT)

Jim, your parents, in-laws and the whole Woodhenge community of realist-idealists.

Almost 30 years inside the "United" Nations - where 194 countries' hypocrises brew one heck of a cocktail! - still couldn't kill my optimism & idealism, either. They did show me, though, how idealists are awf'ly vulnerable to "Help me save our planet!" huxters. With that in mind, I'd like to share the plea (see right below) for letting facts trump fantasy, data trump dogma. It comes from Joe D'Aleo, 30+ years a college prof, Weather Channel meteorology director, et al., and now at independent, where he partners with my friend Joe Bastardi, former Accuweather Chief Hurricane & Long-Range Forecaster. Here's Joe D':

"A few of you have asked me to comment on global temperature reports. As you may know there a lot of stories in the news about the global warming issues where the warministas are getting more and more desparate, as the warming the last 15 years has been well below any of the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] projections (in fact we have seen no warming for over a decade) and sea levels continue to fall, not rise.

BTW, Michael Mann [creator of the now withdrawn IPCC fantasy graph that pretended world temps had flat-lined since 1,000 A.D., then soared in the late 1900' the business end of a hockey stick] of PSU [Pennsylvania State University] gave a talk and said all the actual conditions are at the high end or worse than any IPCC model predictions). His degree are in math and physics, Jim Hansen [head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which somehow managed to become custodian for U.S. & global climatic data] has his degree in Astronomy. Both got into meteorology/climatology late and don't really look at the weather and climate the way JB and I and many of you do.

In "When Prophecies Fail," a 1950 book, Leon Festinger predicted this behavior among the 'cultists' when their prophecies fail to materialize (the space ship doesn't come to take them or the world doesn't end). JB and I come at it not from the 190-year-old theory or 100-year computer model standpoint but from the empirical side..

Dr Richard Feynman of Cornell (the alma mater of our two super-hero execs at Weatherbell), in a segment of his class on the scientific method
tells it like it is. He describes why JB and I feel the way we do, at .

The alarmists say, no, their theory is correct, they are too smart to be wrong. It must be the data that is faulty. We will show what they have been doing to the data to try and make it conform to the models, instead of rethinking the theory and their models. BY THE WAY, the IPCC scientists have already announced that for the next IPCC assessment they have
already decided to continue to ignore the sun as a factor, even though since their last report in 2007 many dozens of peer-reviewed papers and experiments in the lab have shown the sun is a key driver. [That should startle none of us, since the solar power that actually floods Earth dwarfs our global energy output by 17,900:1 !!!]

Why are IPCC scientists behaving this way? Follow the money: $11B/year worldwide goes to scientists who support the political "green" agenda. Yet the mainstream media and many warmists are fixated on the Heartland Institute's $1.9M spent on climate-change conferences and publications, seeing that relatively tiny sum as an obstacle to convincing the public to go along with their agenda. In a survey, the US public ranked global warming last out of 22 issues they wanted the government to focus on, and 63% of all broadcast meteorologists believe natural factors are more important than man, while 27% believe AGW [anthropogenic global warming] is a scam.

This infuriates the warmists and their mainstream media supporters who have pushed this issue for many years, which is why the Heartland and broadcasters are under attack. There are groups, organized and funded, trying to force local stations to fire the TV meteorologists who won't go on the air to claim that a day's record high or the warm winter
or the cold winter or the record snow/flooding/drought/Hurricane Irene are due to CO2. TV stations know this is a contentious issue and, in the battle for ratings, want no part of taking a strong stance on any issue that may cause them to lose even a single eyeball (or rating point). But these groups don't care much about that. They only want their issue to win the day.

I'll put away my soapbox till later. Thanks for listening. Please keep
an open mind. I used to teach my students how to think, not what to think, when I was a college professor. That data was king. I am proud to say many of them went into broadcasting and forecasting and have been hugely successful. They may be the TV meteorologists in your town. They mostly came to similar conclusions on climate change. So you the time I taught,the world was still thinking an ice age was coming. That talk will come back again by 2015 (a mini-ice-age, anyway)."

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Life's a grind at Woodhenge!

Before we made the cheese we made corn bread. However, we made the corn before we made the cornmeal...

The four jars in this picture show you the three kinds of dry corn we grew in 2011...and a jar of corn meal that we made. Hopi Blue, pop corn and Bloody Butcher were the three kinds we grew.

The three of us using the Country Living Grain Mill to grind a quart of red corn into corn meal. It took a half hour to do one quart...the corn had to be sent through the mill 4 times before it was fine enough to use in corn bread.

What the corn meal looks like coming out of the mill.

The final result!

Teaching and practicing for the fun of it!

Hi All;

It has continued to be busy around here at Woodhenge. I have been feeling positively paranoid these days...this means that I see the potential for disaster looming in the near future, but choose to continue to develop both relationships and practice skills that will make me a resource and not a target if the crash happens. To that end I'm including pictures with today's blog that show what I mean by skills and friends.

The first picture is of the ingredients, plus other stuff that was accidentally left on the counter for making 3+ pounds of mozzarella. Basically we needed 3 gallons of milk, some lemon juice (the recipe calls for citric acid, but I couldn't find any), some rennet, some kosher salt, three stainless steel pots, a few spoons, a slotted spoon, a screen type strainer and a food thermometer.

My friend Jeff, his son, Nick and Kristina, our German house guest were the 'students' that got together with me and, in under an hour, we had three balls of fresh mozzarella cheese. Google 30-minute mozzarella for the recipe and details of making cheese.

Mixing the milk with rennet or lemon juice The curds being cut after they've set up.
while heating it.

Stirring the curds and whey. Squeezing the whey out of the cheese.

Who cut the cheese? The reason for the cheese!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

On our deep well hand pumps

Hi all;

The month that has passed has been a blur. This is the first weekend home since the week I returned from Afghanistan and I must get the information on my deep well hand pump out.

I've presented the basics of the pump most recently at the NOFA Conference. Let me recap:

I sell plan sets and pump kits only! I want you to build the pump and KNOW how it works. I use the same philosophy with my renewable energy installations. I believe that western society is headed rapidly to the brink of catastrophe...too many delicate systems both man-made and natural are doomed for failure and we, as a society, are not prepared for the impending disaster.

If you are a 'tool wielding' animal then the plans will be enough for you to take mostly off-the-shelf parts and assemble a PVC and stainless steel pump that fits onto a standard 5" or 6" well cap. The advantage of building your own is that you will know what is available in your area. The advantage of my kit is that I provide everything but the drop pipe and wire rope...this gets you parts premachined and prepared for assembly.

We make two kits: a PVC and stainless steel kit and a stainless steel and brass kit. The PVC kit is may favorite, but I haven't sold one since I introduced the stainless steel and brass kit.

The PVC and stainless steel kit costs $300 and the stainless steel and brass kit costs $500. We sell them for $375 and $600 respectively on e-bay. Why? Because they didn't sell at the lower prices...God know why, but by increasing the price we increased sales. The secret code to get the lower price is "Fred"...Fred is our intern and does a lot of the machining and assembly of the kits..

Presently, we answer all inquiries via phone or e-mail...we don't sell a huge amount(at this time!) and build the kits in batches of 10 or 20 at a time. I'm right in the middle of making 20 stainless and brass kits.

Both pumps deliver about a cup of water per stroke of the pump handle. Even when the pump is located 100' below grade it only takes 15# of force to deliver that cup of water. This means that a little kid or elderly person can easily handle the pumping process. I designed it that way deliberately that way. We are attempting to make a rotary handle upgrade for delivering greater quantities of water for bigger families and/or livestock. Eventually, the kits will also have a solar powered option...don't hold your breath.

So, if you need water and the power is out you need to order either my plans set ($20 post paid) or one of my kits (postage not paid, but the kits fit into a 'If it fits, it ships" USPS box and they ship for just over $12!). So, you get the PVC kit for $300 + $12 or the stainless/brass kit for $500.

There are other good pumps out there...Bison makes a great stainless steel pump (not a kit- although some assembly is required), for around $1700. Lehman's "Non-Electric" catalog has others.

We stand by our kit and are constantly trying to improve performance and ease of assembly.

If you have questions do not hesitate to call or e-mail 315 771-7333 or

We do NOT typically respond to questions sent to the website...I'm busy enough!

Have a great day & buy a lot of pumps! -Jim-

Monday, January 16, 2012

A better copy of the newspaper article

NNY educator brings renewable energy knowledge to Afghanistan




James S. Juczak is an expert in renewable energy, saving money and making something amazing out of nothing.

Mr. Juczak spent more than 20 years teaching everything from foreign languages to shop classes and has been on the staff of Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension. For 90 days, he found new and inventive ways to help the people in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, by working side by side with soldiers in the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Task Force Spartan.

At home in the north country, Mr. Juczak lives on his farm in a mortgage-free house that he, his wife and some of his friends built out of recycled objects. His home and surrounding structures on his property on Fuller Road, Adams Center, run on renewable energy, and the majority of the food used by the residents of the community is produced on the farm.

“We live at a place that we built. It’s called ‘Woodhenge,’” he said. “It’s the intentional community that we set up.”

Mr. Juczak spends his time spreading knowledge of an economically and environmentally friendly lifestyle with local students and fellow free-thinkers.

“I run an intentional community; I teach people how to build self-reliant systems around themselves, including energy systems. I write and I lecture,” he said.

And now, he helps the Army. While Task Force Spartan soldiers were preparing for their yearlong deployment to the Zharay and Maiwand districts in Kandahar Province, Capt. Kimberly Duenow, officer in charge of the Spartan agricultural team, began to look for ways to train her soldiers on as many different agricultural topics as possible. She found Mr. Juczak through a partnership with Cornell University and the task force.

“The captain showed up at my office one day and said, ‘I heard you know something about renewable energy,’” Mr. Juczak said. “I offered to do lessons for her team, and they started to show up for two- to four-hour lessons at the Cooperative Extension.”

“I did everything from food preservation to how to set up solar systems, wind systems, that kind of stuff,” Mr. Juczak said.

His enthusiasm and skill stood out to the soldiers. After going through the training with her team, Capt. Duenow realized that Mr. Juczak was an incredibly valuable asset to the task force’s agricultural mission. She and other officers discussed deployment with Mr. Juczak, and he expressed his willingness to join them.

“Jim was really enthusiastic and had expressed his interest in wanting to come out and help us more and deploy,” Capt. Duenow said.

Mr. Juczak arrived at Forward Operating Base Pasab with no idea of what to expect from a military base, the Army and Afghanistan. According to him, he was expecting the living conditions to be considerably more austere and the soldiers more impetuous than what he found.

“I don’t have any military experience, so moving into a tent with 10 enlisted men has been a riot,” he said. “It is nothing like I thought it would be; they are much shyer and much more polite than I thought they would be.”

While he was at FOB Pasab, he helped the agriculture team inform locals about types of renewable energy and has taught many how to build valuable and useful equipment out of next to nothing.

“Jim is great because he is so resourceful, and with our limited budget and funding, he has been a huge asset to us,” Capt. Duenow said. “He is a very resourceful, handy guy who has helped out with pretty much everything.”

Mr. Juczak worked with the Spartan agricultural team to teach at the Zharay District Center. He said classes were a fun and successful way to educate locals on energy efficiency and ingenuity. One of the projects that stood out the most was a fuel-efficient stove Mr. Juczak taught locals how to build.

He also has had a hand in Operation Stork, which is a task force initiative to help decrease infant mortality rates through education and the distribution of birthing kits that contain basic medical and household supplies to assist in safe home births.

Mr. Juczak did not just help assemble the birthing kits; he got his family involved with Operation Stork.

“Upon hearing about the birthing kits, his family decided that this year they wouldn’t exchange Christmas gifts. They decided that they would just find ways to bring in donations,” Capt. Duenow said.

Many times over the past three months, the civil affairs or agricultural teams took Mr. Juczak out into the Zharay district to get his opinions on the most effective way to clean out irrigation channels, clear trees out of roads and build energy-efficient items for local Afghans.

Although Mr. Juczak has been outside the base many times, he has never been afraid. He said he can tell his wife with confidence that he is being well protected by the soldiers he has worked with for the past 90 days.

Mr. Juczak also has helped soldiers interact with Afghan companies to get better deals on contracts. He said many times, an engineer or builder will present a contract that is written in superfluous technical jargon in the hopes of confusing customers and finagling more money out of the job.

“I have made my salary here getting projects canceled where the bids were 10 times what they should be for what they got,” Mr. Juczak said jokingly. “A lot of times an engineer will couch it in terms they hope no one understands, or they hope no one looks at it in detail.”

Mr. Juczak’s 90 days with the task force ended last week.


James S. Juczak teaches locals in the Zharay District Center, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, about renewable energy and using junk to make efficient household items.