I am a Farmer!

“It’s true. The fantastic present and future of solar air heating systems rests on the shoulders of founding fathers like yourself and many other DIY solar enthusiasts, who spent decades diligently and arduously working away: experimenting, bravely designing, building, tearing down and then building again and again… You have made the next generations very proud.” –Meredith Williams

I recently wrote this in a comment thread on a popular solar air heater YouTube video.

And I meant it.

Meredith Builds and Installs solo, her own solar air heater! Operated by Okapi Fan Control Systems. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

(And she is currently working on building Three more, using a new design!)

 

I think there have been too many people who have scoffed at emerging technologies, alternative methods and new ideas for as long as humankind has existed. It takes a steady mind, but also a mind full of fire and spice, to pursue an idea when everyone around them is emitting negative thoughts and comments.

I don’t think we give the founding fathers (and mothers) of solar air heating enough credit. I can truly say that, thanks to them, Greenhill EnviroTechnologies was born.

Without the hundreds of YouTube videos out there, solar forum posts and threads, and the odd article in various publications, each showing his or her version of a solar heating device (mostly “his”, actually: there are only a few females talking about solar air heaters out there and I am one of them,) no progress could ever have been made.

 

Scientific breakthroughs rarely come from a single spark of insight, solely generated from within one person.

Scientific breakthroughs grow forth from internal ruminations over thousands of observations of the external world.

It takes a community to work together, whether they even realize they are working together at the time, for science to actually advance. Techniques, hypotheses, theories and ideas all need to be tested, retested, tried and trialed by many before they can ever become accepted by the masses as true, reasonable and incredibly useful. It is amazing what can be accomplished when we all blindly work together.

The solar air heating movement had its beginnings over four decades ago, but we all know that we and the rest of the Earth have been soaking up the sun, its heat and energy since the beginnings of time. So, really, it’s nothing new.

Fire in the sky! Okapi fan control systems for solar air heaters. Solar Furnaces. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

It shouldn’t be too shocking to learn that you can heat your home on frigid, sunny days just by using the power of the sun and some awesome technology.

Thank goodness for communities, both in the real world and now in the virtual world of the internet. It has allowed for tremendously widespread collaboration of ideas and support.

 Most importantly, thank goodness for the support!

When you are one person in a small community trying to do something innovative, combating the naysayers, closed-minded neighbors, name-calling and teasing, can be quite overwhelming. I am certain, that “lack of support” has killed many revolutionary ideas, over and over again, throughout history.

It takes a brave soul to move forward in fantastic new ways whilst being weighed down by skeptics and minds fearful of change.

I am extremely grateful I worked hard to adopt an open-mind and fearlessness in the early days of Julian’s research into solar air heaters.

“Sure,”  I thought, “building one for yourself is fine. It’s a cute hobby!”

I’ll admit I had many thoughts over the past few years that it should not be anything more than a hobby. I’ll admit I had thoughts of:

“What is this guy doing spending all his time working on these crazy solar heaters, circuit-boards, fans, programming and mad-scientist contraptions?”

“Why can’t he just go out and get a normal job like everyone else?!”

Julian Jameson, creator of Okapi Systems. Software and hardware Engineer, Mad Scientist, Brave, Innovative Soul. CEO of  Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Julian Jameson, creator of Okapi Systems. Software & Hardware Engineer, Mad Scientist, Brave, Innovative Soul. CEO of Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Julian is now working on finishing up the Android Mobile Okapi App.

Yes, the MS Windows version of the Okapi Viewer App is completed and already available, and so is the Solar Heater Output Calculator App! And they are awesome!

Okapi Viewer App. Solar Air Heater Analysis program. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

And soon, solar heat farmers will be able to walk around holding their touch-screen devices and assessing their solar heat harvests! They can and will assess from looking at the instant data on their screen how much they are harvesting, how efficient their solar heat harvesters are, how much they are not only helping themselves, but also helping others.

Eventually, this readily available, scientific tech-assessment tool will lead to more efficient solar air heaters, greater yields and many more solar heat harvesters being built and installed all around the chilly world.

Eager View... What does the future hold? Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Julian has done good work for us all and he is not stopping there.

This whole experience reminded me of my background, my upbringing, my own parents. They were private-school and Ivy-league University-educated, free-thinkers from the USA. They came from families with doctors, lawyers, teachers and business-owners. Then, they decided they wanted to “live off the land” and have a farm, in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Oh, the naysaying was tremendous! The condemnation was horrific! The skeptics and critics were relentless!

“How can you waste your education and become a lowly farmer? You could have an amazing job in the city, you could teach, you could be a lawyer, you could be a doctor, you could work on Wall Street!”

“What kind of terrible childhood are you going to be giving to your kids? You are crazy!

And…

“Who do you think you are, you damn Yankees! You dirty Americans! You come here with your fancy degrees and decide you can farm our land!”

“You do not belong here!”

But I had special parents. They stood up tall and proclaimed:

“In fact, to farm, it takes a tremendous breadth of knowledge and no farmer should ever be considered ‘lowly’!”

They went back to the land and thank goodness they did! My childhood rocked! I learned and practised animal husbandry from the beginning. I knew general anatomy (inside and out) of cows, cats and chickens, how the internal organs looked and worked, how reproduction occurred, all by the time I started school. I could rope and catch a calf solo and fend off the charging mother cow by the time I hit double digits. I learned to count as a toddler by bringing in pieces of wood, one at a time, to feed the fire that kept our farmhouse warm and cosy.

Our farming Neighborhood. Wind farming, solar heat farming, strawberries, chickens, cattle, horses, pigs, goats... Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Most importantly, I learned that being different, being of American background (even though I was born in Canada,) a weird foreigner among others in our Canadian community who had been here for many generations, was not easy. In fact, I grew up surrounded by naysaying, teasing, rejection and relentless skepticism. It only taught me to work harder, to pursue my own ideas and thoughts, to carve my own paths. It taught me to persevere while swimming through a murky sea of shunning, judgement, negativity and pain.

When anyone manages to swim through such a treacherous sea in life, it often can lead to an existence of immense fulfillment.

Now, all those lessons learned from my parents, learned through my tough, hardworking farmkid childhood, my teenage years of extreme academia and sports and a young adulthood full of medical struggles, pain and suffering, have been very useful! They gave me the courage to support and work with Julian as he developed these innovative fan control systems. These lessons-learned gave me the strength to create our clean-tech start-up for a niche, but growing market, from scratch. These lessons-learned have led to a great first year of gaining internet awareness, customer confidence and contacts around the globe, all interested in the present and future technologies of solar air heating.

It has been trying, sometimes terrifying, but very worth it.

We really have a business, now: a fledgling about to soar!

The Eagle that watches over Julian's office. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

And I am feeling very tired after another full day’s work. Yet, it is all worth it. It makes me feel rooted to our soil, connected to my ancestors: I am giving honor to them by trying and working my hardest towards something good for humanity. I also feel connected to the future: I will be leaving behind something of value.

How Green are your Footprints? Giving back to the community, giving back to the Earth. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

I am giving back to the community every day and my existence finally feels justified.

Farming can come in many forms, and I feel I have grown up to carry on the family farm, in essence. I bring in a huge solar heat harvest on every cold, sunny day; and I work directly with other farmers, to encourage, help and support them in bringing in their harvests, too.

Solar heat farming is a nice occupation: bright, cheery, warming and never-ending.

I am very proud to call myself a farmer.

DIYwoman. A solar heat farmer. Drawing by Meredith Williams, MDW.

Are You a Solar Space Heating Cadet?

Spiral Sun, Okapi Fan Control Systems: Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

So, there is this giant fireball in the sky that we call the sun. It sends down oodles of powerful electromagnetic radiation upon us every day, and we mostly just use it to get a good tan.

We have all heard of solar PV panels that magically convert this solar radiation into electricity,

but have you heard of a different kind of solar collector that turns this awesome solar radiation into HEAT? 

If your answer in “…umm, no?”, then you MUST keep reading!

Your future, everyone else’s future and the future of Earth depends upon You learning more!

Solar space heaters (often referred to as solar air heaters, solar collectors, solar furnaces, solar pop-can heaters…) are insulated boxes with a black interior metal something-or-other and a clear polycarbonate (like that tough Lexan, plastic glass stuff) or real glass covering, mounted on a sun-facing wall or roof of a building.

They collect solar radiation and transform it into heat!

You know how when you wear a totally black outfit and sit in the sun you get super hot as compared to when you wear, oh, say, something very bright and reflective, like a white, sequined, disco jumpsuit? Well that is solar heating science at work!  

 

Okapi Systems: Intelligent, variable speed fan control systems for solar air heaters. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

There are two main types of solar air heaters: 

  • “Closed-loop solar air heaters”: With these, air from within the home or building is pumped through vents in the walls into the solar collector box, where it becomes really hot and is then pumped back into the building. Fantastic free heating!
  • “Open-loop Solar Air heaters”: These take the cold air from outside the building and preheat it before it is pumped into the building. This type of solar air heater is often used for large, industrial buildings that require extra ventilation. Definitely some free-heating, plus fresh air! (-assuming the air outside is not polluted)

 

Ok, Now You Need a Very Quick History Lesson:

The history of solar air heaters began a few decades ago with creative hippies going back to the land and doing all sorts of innovative and nutty stuff.

Hippies and Back to the Landers started making Solar Air Heaters.

They started building the original solar heaters which used no fans at all and relied upon the natural convection of heated air to flow from the top of the solar collector, through the upper vent and into the home at ceiling level.  But, this natural, hippy air-flow by convection is very minimal and not the ideal way to heat any space, especially NOW, with all this amazing technology at our fingertips in the 21st Century.

 

Alright, here comes the good stuff!

Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc. Logo

In 2013, along struts this plucky, young company from Canada, Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc., with an incredible invention called Okapi that has turned the world of solar heating upside-down, literally!

Turning the world of solar heating upside down. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Julian Jameson, creator and inventor of the Okapi Systems, was having fun YouTubing in 2012, and to his great surprise, discovered that the science of solar air heating was way, way, way behind the times.

Julian Jameson: Creator of Okapi Systems. CEO of Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Jameson, who has a very cool background in computer and video game design and programming, in addition to electronics, realized how important it is to be able to control the flow-rate and direction of the air that passes through the solar collector box.

The result? 

-Good-bye, Hippy Passive Solar Heating.

Hello, Futuristic Active Solar Heating!

 

A bit of a ‘mad scientist’, Jameson thought actively blowing hot air out at the ceiling was pretty much pointless, too, and the world deserved much better. He determined that precise variable-speed fan control systems operating solar space heaters made them all heat a room better, and heat it more often! And so, he invented the Okapi Systems: variable-speed fan control systems that effectively heat a space by blowing the hot air out at floor-level and maximizing the solar heat harvest!

Okapi Systems: Fan Control Systems for Solar Air Heaters. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Sounds interesting, doesn’t it?

Well, it gets even better.

 

It turns out that we are polluting our precious air throughout all the cold months of the year around this planet burning wood, oil, gas, coal and sometimes dung. This air pollution from all this smoke is contributing to sickness and death, increasing the CO2 in our atmosphere and creating climate change!

We are all burning stuff to stay warm during the cold seasons, when on sunny or even just partial-sunny days,

 we shouldn’t be burning a darn thing!

Sick, Polluted Earth! Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

 

And so, off goes this daring, new company, Greenhill EnviroTechnologies, dancing around the internet with their crazy brand, “Okapi” (named after an obscure animal that hardly anyone has heard of: a cousin of the giraffe, but it has stripes and a much shorter neck). They had a successful Kickstarter Project in 2013 to finalize their first product line of intelligent, variable speed fan control systems, then had another successful Kickstarter Project this fall of 2014 for their new wireless options!

It turns out there are a lot of old, young and new hippies out there trying to change the world for the better!

 

Solar Flower Power. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Solar Flower Power!

In fact, there are thousands of people building these solar space heaters and putting them on their homes, log cabins, cottages, garages, workshops, barns, sheds and doghouses! And now, there are actually commercially available solar air heaters! Yes, you can go out and buy one! Except, their fan control systems don’t hold up when compared to the patent pending, innovative features of the Okapi Systems. Eventually, all these commercial solar air heaters are going to have to have Okapi Systems operating them in order to optimize their solar heat harvests.

 

DIY Solar Heaters: Are you up for the Challenge? Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

 

Alright, you are feeling like you have learned something new, now, and that always feels pretty sweet. It gives you hope for a future with less pollution, a healthier planet, and yes, you could save a lot of money on your heating bills, too! (And, wow, aren’t those heating bills getting outrageous?!)

 

Solar Air Heater Building Season! Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

 

So here’s the punch line: Wireless Modules & the Okapi Viewer App

The Okapi Fan Controls Systems can now come equipped with data broadcasting abilities. With the “Okapi Viewer App” you can read the performance of your solar space heater instantly on your smart phone or tablet devices. You can also connect with your computer, log data, then graph the performance of your solar space heaters.

Congratulations: You are now a Solar Space Heating Cadet!

Well done: you have learned a lot.

Now, your mission is to share this knowledge with others.

You can do it.

You can make this technology popular.  You can learn more.

You can train all your friends and family to become Solar Space Heating Cadets, too.

You can build and install a solar space heater.

 

The future is now: Check it out, get involved and change the world.

Make the Next Generation Proud.

Okapi Systems with Wireless Modules.  Fan Control Systems for Solar Air Heaters. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Happy Solar Space Heating Season!

Warm Regards,

Meredith Williams

Meredith Williams, President, Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Major Tech-Communication Innovation for Solar Air Heaters

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Sept.1, 2014, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Major Tech-Communication Innovation for Solar Air Heaters

Okapi Bluetooth: the Solar Air Heater Control System. Kickstarter Project, 2014. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Okapi Systems are intelligent, variable speed fan control systems for solar air heaters, created and manufactured by Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Through quite a visually enticing Kickstarter Project, this creative, clean-tech company has just released their new Okapi model upgrade: “Okapi Bluetooth: the Solar Air Heater Control System”.

You can learn more about this exciting and fun innovation here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2107309041/okapi-bluetooth-the-solar-air-heater-control-syste

The Okapi Fan Control System product line is positively a “disruptive innovation” for the world of solar space-heating. The very first of its kind, Okapi is able to pump solar heated air out near floor level, with multiple temperature sensors, using programmed microcontroller units that intelligently and autonomously control variable-speed fans. They are patent-pending in North America.

“Okapi Bluetooth” now enables the user to see Inlet, Outlet, Ambient Temperatures and Fan Speeds via any Android device through their new “Okapi Manager App”. A Bluetooth-enabled PC or Mac can be used to log this data over minutes, hours, days or weeks, then graph and analyse it.

Okapi Bluetooth: the solar air heater fan control system. Kickstarter Project. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Finally, DIY enthusiasts can truly see and measure how well their solar air heaters are performing!

“Okapi Bluetooth” is Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.’s second Kickstarter Project and it already looks like it will be a successful one, like their first from 2013.

Highly active on many social media sites, Greenhill EnviroTechnologies is a fun company to follow, sharing visually empowering images and ideas, and always keeping you wondering: what are they working on next?

Finally, the science of solar heating is catching up with the technology of the 21st Century and

“Okapi Bluetooth” is leading the race by miles.

Okapi 2 Bluetooth: the solar air heater control system. Kickstarter Project. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

“Okapi Bluetooth” will definitely satisfy any DIY solar air heater builder’s constant nagging questions: “How hot is the air coming out now?” “How is this heater performing compared to that other one I built?” “How can I prove to my friends this thing really works?”

Visit their Kickstarter Project page today:

Maximize your solar heat harvest,

Minimize your heating bills

…and of course,

Make the Next Generation Proud!

Green Rainbow of Okapi Bluetooth Circuit Boards, ready for production. Kickstarter Project. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Green Rainbow of Okapi Bluetooth Circuit Boards, Ready for Production.

Contact Details:

Meredith Williams, President

info@greenhillenvirotechnologies.com

902-301-1196

www.greenhillenvirotechnologies.com

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2107309041/okapi-bluetooth-the-solar-air-heater-control-syste

A Nature for Health and Happiness

Millions of people have been sending their thoughts out into the world about Robin Williams’ recent death, and so, I have to chime in here, too:

How can anyone find happy thoughts

when the funniest man on Earth cannot find enough happy thoughts to stay alive?

Because, depression can take anyone, just like cancer, diabetes or a bad accident.

Gratitude. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Just to make it clear, I, like billions of others, was a huge Robin Williams fan. He was entirely and absolutely awesome and I am so very grateful for his existence. I am also very grateful for his strong fight against depression that he must have kept going for so many years.

I want to talk a bit about the media coverage and the way some said he died:

The term “committed suicide” is very archaic and intimates a crime. “Killed by/ died from/ succumbed to suicide/depression” should be used now instead.

However, I prefer “died from depression”, as it takes away the word suicide, which means “to kill oneself” or “the act of intentionally causing one’s own death”. With severe depression, I think the Depression, the Disease, is causing the death, not the person. The person IS NOT the disease, the person HAS the disease.

I send out my warmest thoughts, hugs and condolences to all families and friends of people who have died from depression. It is a wretched illness.

And to those who are fighting depression right now, I have some words:

Keep fighting, patiently try to wait to see each tomorrow and never give up… because, eventually, (and I speak from extensive personal experience), it can get better.

Remember to Look Up! Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

I have been very close to the devastating effects of depression (alongside other concurrent medical conditions) my whole life. I count myself as a lucky survivor. Without divulging the messy details of my own experience with this disease, (I might still want some fresh information about my life to use in my future memoirs) I can honestly say, I truly know how bad it can get, and I am also living proof it can get better… with time.

I am lucky to say I am Not the fourth person in my family to die from depression. And I promise I never will be, because I have healed somewhat and found effective weapons to use against depression, every day.

My weapons against my family’s genetic predisposition to depression are as follows:

  • Finding purpose and meaning to my existence and working for it like a mission,
  • Speaking, feeling and exhibiting daily gratitude for the existence of so many wonderful people (and dogs) in my life and the things they do,
  • A daily routine of healthy habits such as: a healthy diet, proper hygiene, exercise, keeping a clean home, regular naps, stretching sessions or “yoga”, meditative self-hypnosis, positive self-talk and quite importantly, “work before play” -procrastination of any chores, when one is physically capable of them, is a recipe for negative feelings in the future and often a provocation of feelings of depression.
  • Having family, pets, house-plants and gardens: surrounding yourself with living organisms that will not survive without your dutiful care is a great incentive to get up each day!
  • Fighting for/supporting/learning about the preservation of our environment, worldwide health and earth’s natural wonders – concentrating on things that really matter both on small and large scales.
  • Surrounding myself by nature and revering it as much as possible: hearing bird-songs and insects, listening to tree-leaves rustling, watching flowers blossom and whither, regarding sunrises and sunsets, hugging trees, spotting the moon and constellations on clear nights… all these are crucial for me to nurture my inner happiness.
  • Getting out in the sun: sunlight therapy is a must!
  • Physically creating anything that has a lasting, positive effect and impact is also crucial: laying down stone pathways, planting long-lasting herb and flower gardens, mowing a group of winding trails through a wild field of young saplings and tall grass, photography, drawing, painting, sculpting and writing… creating anything that can potentially last for decades or more, can sometimes be as therapeutic as medicines.
  • Concentrating on future dates, that may or may not have significant meanings to you: for instance, I once focused on surviving until 1999, then I focused on surviving until 2005, then it was 2012, now it is 2022…

Field Trails. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Entrance to the Kitchen Garden. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

The kitchen Garden was a long thought-out project for us that took years to finally get around to doing. We were working so hard on research and development of the Okapi Fan Control Systems, that landscaping around our home became low on the priority list.

However, this year, we found the time and energy and the results were fantastic! The whole area of the kitchen garden used to be just overgrown and unused, (except sometimes as a naughty-dog toilet!). I dug up the 6 inch deep sod, turned the soil, laid out where the paths and planting areas should be. We gathered the river-stones from my parent’s riverside farmland, Julian laid the gravel around them (raked up from an abandoned portion of our old driveway) and he inset the wood-stumps.

I like to sit in the middle of our new garden and think about the years that led up to this accomplishment.

Kitchen Garden's First Year. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Most of the perennials we grew from seed or transplant this year. The mint patch and chives are old transplants from a friend’s garden. They took off this year after some serious weeding and care. I have some mint harvesting and preservation to do! The sage, thyme, oregano and basil started indoors from seed, and now they have already filled out their plots. (I use them every day in my morning eggs!) I then planted: carrots, rainbow chard, lettuce, spinach, kale, yellow beans and bell-peppers from seed. From the local greenhouse nursery we got the seedling cabbage and tomato plants. I also made a border around the outside of the kitchen garden and planted a wild-flower mixture of seeds.

Gardening is good for the soul. It gives purpose, on top of the many purposes we already have in life. Gardens give you something to look at and check on every day, and if you look closely enough, you really do see them growing. I find this extremely rewarding and reviving: much better than TV.

Growing up on a farm, we had giant gardens every year. Now that I finally have my own, it feels like one of my life’s top accomplishments.

And, I am excited to expand and add more garden plots next year!

That very statement above is proof recovery from severe depression is possible. It does take time, and it is possible!

Blue Flowers are Special. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc

Three very special and blue family-members: my grandfather, his son (my uncle) and my cousin all died from depression.

I hope to never see another family member succumb to this disease. But like cancer, sometimes, despite the healthiest of lifestyles and the best treatments available, the patient still doesn’t survive depression.

And it’s never their fault.

We also do not fully understand the causes of depression, but we know for certain they have a huge basis in changes that occur in the chemical and structural make-up of the brain and body. There are many quite valid and supported theories that depression can be caused by short-term and long term infections, malnutrition, exposure to toxins, epigenetic changes resulting from short-term and long-term traumas both internal and environmental, inherited genetics, hormonal imbalances, many concurrent diseases and other yet-to-be fully understood causes of physical changes that affect mood, cognition, behavior, sensations…. Depression is much more than just a “mental-health” condition.

In the words of my grandfather, a practicing medical doctor, whom I never had the chance to meet:

“In the future, we will discover that behind many mental disorders are actual physical causes, that will someday be treatable.” – 1970’s, Thomas C. Donald, M.D., who died from depression.

So, never give up! The breakthroughs over the past many decades we have already made in many forms of treatment have been incredible! Every year we discover new and clever ways of helping those in need discover how they can become a healed and revived person.

If you are feeling blue, consider trying to live green.

Take a few simple steps toward this nice color. You may find it helps, just a little.

Have You Found Your Purpose? Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

There are a million ways to get greener.  It can be as simple as shopping consciously, using reusable bags, less plastic, creating less waste, using less electricity or heating fuels, driving less, buying local produce or growing your own, going for hikes and appreciating nature, or helping educate others about unique ways of getting more grounded, more in touch with the earth beneath our feet.

Live as is there is a tomorrow...because there is a tomorrow. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Green living certainly isn’t a cure for severe depression,

but is can definitely nurture a nature for health and happiness.

Live Green, Live Well. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Williams’ Beach and Searching for the Perfect Paint

I grew up on a farm near a river.

Our cows grazed on our hillside pastures, producing beef calves every spring.

We spent the hot summers helping with the hay harvest and cooling off in the river.

The part of the river that runs through our land is precious, and we named it Williams’ Beach.

 Williams' Beach, Salt Springs, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Since I was very young, I did rock paintings here.

I had a secret cache of my best painting stones hidden in a hole in the side of the riverbank, every summer.

 

In the riverbed are millions of stones. Many are granite, hard and speckled. There are fools-gold here and there, quartz and other strange mineral stones: some with multiple cubic indentations left from crystals that have dissolved or eroded away. Those always fascinated me as a kid. They looked like fossil molds, which I would sometimes find from ancient scallop-like shellfish. The idea of some ancient cube-shaped sea-creature never left my mind.

I am not a geology expert at all, but amongst all these very large, dense and hard stones are many smaller, lighter and softer stones, which I presume to be varieties of sedimentary rock: compressed compositions of ancient sediments. These are the stones that yield the colored paints.

So there went my little kid self, alone (except for my dog and following barn-cats), happy and free, collecting colored stones: white, cream, yellow, blue, green, purple, red, orange… I would draw, write, graffiti with them all over the harder, flat, large stones. Often, in deeper pools elsewhere along the river, my friends and I would draw and write on rock walls deep underwater, wearing goggles and holding our breath. It was a fun way to keep busy and stay cool for hours on end.

However, the most fun came with vigorous, repeated scrapings of a soft colored stone against a hard, rough “palette stone”. This had to be done at the riverside, because to make the paint, the stone needed to be dipped into the water frequently between rubbings. Slowly, I formed paste. This paste, the powdered sedimentary rock mixed with water, was my own, natural rock paint.

River rock paints palette and painting stones. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Sometimes I would just paint my legs and arms or face. Other times I made cute rock-cards for my mum and dad: a picture and some simple words smeared on a flat stone. My mother kept some of the rock-cards many years later. She may still have them somewhere, faded and hidden away.

The neat part about it all was watching the rich colors of the wet paints change as they dried to lighter colors. It was sad, yet satisfying to watch the intensity of the color change to paler hue. Often surprising was the brightness of it, as compared to the look of the original painting stone itself. When applied in thick coats some varieties of the paints would crack and crumble off the skin. Others seems to adhere more evenly. They all had an earthy scent, and if applied to the lips, like lipstick, I sometimes tasted them: slightly salty, bitter, tangy and sweet.

Different colored stones produced different properties of paint: different scents, tastes and textures.

There is so much science in such an innocent and simple pastime.

 


 

Over this past year I have written to almost 30 different companies, trying to find a specially black-coated or painted aluminum mesh screen that does not smell or off-gas at the high temperatures.

We have plans to build our next set of solar air heaters using this special temperature-resistant black screen as the solar-heated element within the solar collector box. The mesh aluminum screens work at least 10% better at producing and transferring heat to the passing air than other solar collector designs, such as down-spout, pop-can or flat panel designs. This increase in heat-transfer efficiency and efficacy occurs because of the greatly increased surface area for the air-to-be-heated to travel by, through and around the hot screen’s woven wires versus just passing by a single, smooth flat hot surface. We know this because we have tested the designs against each other, and the basic science predicts our results, also.

Solar AIr Heater Screen Sample Testing. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

 

Standard insect screens do work well, but they will off-gas for a few weeks to months (depending on the type/brand) before they stop smelling. We know this from experience. I do not like this smell and find it unpleasant on the lungs.

I also refuse to sleep in a room that has recently been painted until the walls have completely cured. Even with the best of modern paints, claiming very low VOC emissions, this can sometimes take up to a month!

I have a sensitive nose and lungs. I really like my fresh air.

So I have been researching high-heat metal coatings and paints, contacting big paint companies, screen manufacturing companies, emailing and talking with technicians and presidents of these companies throughout North America and China.

I have stumbled over a few false leads, received many replies of “no such product is available” and tested samples that smelled even at room temperature, so of course they failed the heat-tests.

Recently, I made progress, however, and hope to have found the company that can provide the specialized coating just perfect for our needs. After further testings and research and soon we hope to be making a large order of this specialty black-coated aluminum screen that has no odor and is designed for high heat use.

Once we build a few large heaters with it and test them out on our own home, we plan to be able to provide this highly specialized solar-heater screen material to the public.


Okapi Fan Control Systems Warrior. Rock Paints. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

After about 8 months of research, I think I have come very close to finding this ideal black coating for our solar heater element, and at the same time, I find myself sitting by the riverside contemplating natural paints. So much science goes into paints and colored coatings.

I never mixed in a fixative with my rock paints, so they would wipe or wash away very easily. Now I am thinking it may be time for me to start learning about natural fixatives and how to truly make my own rock paint for artistic purposes.

Yet, the whole point of the rock painting of my youth was its impermanence and that it had to be done by the riverside. The process and simply being by the river, with the bugs,  rushing water, wind in the trees, bird and pets was as important as the end result of any painting. The idea of bringing painting stones and palette rocks back to my house and mixing up my own paint with egg yolk and water from the tap in my kitchen seems so very unnatural. Perhaps I will have to bring my fixative ingredients to the riverside if I wish to strive for some permanence of imagery.

 

Going back to the river, to Williams’ Beach, after being away from it for too many years,

was quite a spiritual reunion.

I quickly found myself with striped arms and legs, markings on my belly, chest and face.

I had found my old self again.

 Striped markings from rock painting. Okapi Warrior. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

We visited Williams’ Beach again, yesterday.

Very quickly, my step-daughter had striped legs and arms, markings on her chest and face. She looked like a tiger, or perhaps more appropriately, a young, striped Okapi. She danced from stone to stone in the setting sun, wild and free, singing and smiling.

She didn’t want to leave.

Perhaps, because down by the river, surrounded by those ancient stones and fresh water,

it always feels like home.

River Dog, Ash never leaves the water. Greenhill EnviroTechnologies Inc.

Canada Day!

I am always so grateful to live where we live: Canada!

The people of our nation have worked very hard, giving their lives to provide for the rest of us a safe, healthy and kind place to live. Thank you to everyone!

We work everyday to try to continue these efforts… and now you can help out too!

We want subscribers to our YouTube channel.

Why?

Because the more subscribers we have, the more likely

someone who is researching how to live more environmentally friendly and reduce their heating bills

will be able to find us!

 Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for a Chance to Win!

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel for a Chance to Win!  http://goo.gl/72dL6O

Thank you for helping promote the green-living movement!

People like you are going to make this world’s future great!

To Market, To Market…

I haven’t attended SEO school, but I am trying my best to teach myself Search Engine Optimization survival tactics.

I think I am almost at a middle-school level.

Since this Greenhill Adventure began, I was well aware that magically,

whenever I wanted to learn anything, Google was the place to go.

Now I finally realize that getting that magic to work for us, to enable someone, anyone,

anywhere in the world to be able to find out about our clean-tech invention is quite the endeavor, a huge magic trick.

We are slowly, but surely, learning how to get ourselves heard above the roaring crowd of the millions upon millions of websites.

What an amazing world.