Last month an expert on FoxNews explained why Germany can get so much of its energy from today’s sun, whereas we in the Insatiable States have to get our energy from the sun of millions of years ago. It turns out that it’s always sunny in Germany, just as it is in Philadelphia. The expert, Shibani Joshi, also pointed out that Germany is smaller than the US. Of course she turns out to be an expert in business not in energy. To be fair, she retracted the statement later.
All of our energy comes from the sun. Fossil fuels have just stored that energy for a few hundred million years. Even hydroelectric and wind energy ultimately come from weather currents due to uneven heating of the earth combined with rotation on its axis. Don’t tell anyone, but the sun uses nuclear power. My understanding is the waste isn’t even carted off to somewhere safe – we all just have to live with it; so much for intelligent design.
I’ve been doing a little experiment with passive solar heating this spring. I use grow lights in my basement to start seedlings, but the light really isn’t strong enough. The seedlings always get really leggy, and not in an exotic dancer type way. So rather than converting natural gas to electricity and electricity to weak light for my seedlings, I thought I’d take advantage of the runaway nuclear fusion experiment that is our sun.
I cobbled together all manner of scrap materials from my garage into a box with a few inches of insulation around the sides. I added the glass from an old screen door to the top and now I have a nice little cold frame. Sitting on our driveway it gets quite warm. Even on a cloudy day it gets to be about 20 degrees above the ambient temperature. When the sun hits it gets to be a real greenhouse in there. It was 35 outside the other day and the little cold-frame was in the eighties.
So the onions love it until the sun goes down. Without the sun, it cools off pretty quickly, so I bring them into our mudroom which gets some heat transfer from the house. Unfortunately, a small double clawed cat likes it there too. Cats, you see are solar powered, just like turtles. They like to lie in the sun to recharge their batteries.
Young Zipper found the onions far too appealing so chewed about fifty of them off at a fairly uniform ½ inch. I had been keeping Zipper out of the mudroom, but it was a snow-day and the boarders were home. They let her in. I had a moment of pure, white-hot irritation, but really couldn’t blame anyone. The kids were going outside to play. The cat was just being a cat. I gave myself a time out and felt better. I can always buy onion seedlings.