Gardening ruminations Writing

This thing is still on

I miss writing this blog. Things have been busy. I draft posts in my head but nothing has gotten onto the virtual page. I’ve meant to blog some recent happenings: a nice win at work, my beloved bike commute that is about to change, getting a heat pump, plants I’m growing. I hope I still will.

I stopped using my last regular social media outlet. Mastodon was a nice improvement on Twitter but it was still sucking up my attention. That leaves me without a place to write and share shorter posts. Maybe I can get comfortable blogging faster and more briefly.

On the plus side, I have been back in the groove of working on my novel manuscript. I am more than halfway through line editing and made a pact with a friend to finish this edit by June 23rd (somewhat arbitrary, but I need a deadline). Perhaps when that’s done I’ll write more here.

Here’s a micro-update: I am enamored with Silphium terebinthinaceum, aka Prairie Dock. Gangly, deep-rooted, whimsical flowers, leaves so ugly they’re pretty. I thought about writing an ode to the plant but someone else already did the job nicely. My two Prairie Docks came back this spring and there’s a new one that might survive to join them. Around Ann Arbor there are some nice specimens in the YMCA’s wildflower garden and along the Stadium Blvd bridge, between the bridge and Graydon Park.

See you soon, I hope!

Climate change Imagine A World

The Unusual Cost Structure of Geothermal Heat Pumps

Since writing my post Planning for a Heat Pump Furnace in Michigan, I’m getting closer to taking the plunge. I’ve learned some interesting things along the way, most of all about geothermal, which was not on my radar at first. This post looks at the near- and long-term costs of geothermal heat pumps and the incentives they create.

Does cost matter? It shouldn’t, but it does. At a societal level, the urgency of electrification is well-established. Humanity must replace fossil-fuel-burning equipment with electric alternatives and the grid that powers them must be converted to running on renewables. The future is grim if these things don’t happen.

In the face of ecological collapse, it shouldn’t much factor into the equation whether electrification costs somewhat more or less than continuing to spew carbon. At least, not at a societal level.

But for individuals faced with replacing an old gas furnace, of course cost is a deciding factor. As I got price estimates and read, I made a spreadsheet for some basic cost comparisons of geothermal vs. high-efficiency gas heat (with electric A/C). The result surprised me.