Author Topic: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?  (Read 11893 times)

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #105 on: October 23, 2013, 09:21:43 AM »
Sorry to hear about the spandex, Boofer.   8)   About 2 decades ago I was carrying an awful lot of firewood up some very steep and narrow stairs and used the time to think about a special step aerobics video and the spandex outfit would be available in a lumberjack plaid.  (which would probably scare some lumberjacks  :o )  I thought there'd be a coupon that the buyer could use to mail away for 3 pieces of firewood for only $19.99 plus shipping ($40 shipping).  Yes, I really did spend too much time carrying wood to feed the 3 wood stoves that were my heat and cooking appliances.  Pity that I was someone who didn't really need any additional exercise when considering I was farming about 80n hours a week.  I would have gladly let someone who needed the exercise carry ALL my firewood for me!   ???


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Offline Spoons

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #106 on: August 03, 2014, 11:29:26 PM »
I finally have a full cave. 7 months in the making  :D 40lbs of cheese :)

It's a 35-bottle beverage cooler with a Johnson temperature controller.
- Eric

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #107 on: August 04, 2014, 06:46:27 AM »
Timely post, Eric.  Congratulations on your cave, looks like a wealth of fine cheese!

I'm going through the growing pains of starting a new cave. 

2" rigid board insulation everywhere except along the back wall, which is masonry/cement.  Wall was whitewashed.



I'm using a coolbot.  Not a fan of trying to add humidity with a standard AC, but of all the things I've considered for this situation (small room, and we rent, we don't own), this seemed the least intrusive, least costly, and most portable method of all the things I've considered.  The hole seen was from my initial window AC - one left behind when we moved in.  It was clearly undersized for this room, which is about 6'x6'x6'.  I've bought a GE 14,250 BTU AC, guided by the coolbot company recommendations. 

Also, unhappy with the velocity output from the AC, I put together a ductwork system - a jury-rigged housing over the AC outlet, 2" PVC rise to 2"x 4' PVC run along the ceiling, holes drilled into the pipe and a fabric air-sock, after a fashion.  Air nicely slowed and evenly distributed. 

Humidity is particularly frustrating.  My digital evaporative humidifier, controllable to 90% RH, is no longer made.  It worked very well in my refrigerator-caves, but it's undersized here.  I did try to add a couple ultrasonic humidifiers, but they didn't do anything.  I believe they, too, were undersized.  Some good guidance by Pav led me to think on adding in two more for a total of 4, but the cost of acquiring daily distilled or RO water in the quantity I'd need is $4-5 daily, not something I want to do. 

There is an atomizing unit, the "Hermmidifier", recommended by Peter Dixon in his materials.  It's a perfect solution - particularly intrigued by teeing into my duct/air sock line, another great suggestion provided by Pav (thanks, buddy).  But the unit requires hard plumbing and electrical that is likely beyond what I can do in our rented house.

I bought this and will likely just control a large evaporative, wick-based whole house humidifier.  I've had some durability issues with this type of sensor so will likely commit to a serious, ceramic sensor, once recommended by Francois.  Fingers crossed.
- Paul

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #108 on: August 04, 2014, 09:34:58 AM »
Hey Paul!  Nice to see you!  For humidity, would it work to have a wicking fabric hanging with it's end in a container of water  (that you'd boiled or whatever to make it suitable) and one of those 4" fans at the bottom of the fabric angled at the fabric so that it's blowing up along it and not aimed at any cheese?  I'm mostly without milk these days so not doing a lot of cheesemaking but next year I'll be flooded.  I'll probably beg you to come to the Django in June concert and make cheese here so I have time to breath a bit.   :D  I HAVE done an interesting thing with raw milk.  Taking raw goat milk, milked from clean udder/goat and into a pan, not filtered  (nothing fell in) and put in a clean jar and never chilled.  The  native cultures work on the milk and then I add a few drops of rennet and leave it on the counter another 24 hours.  It turns into a sweet custard consistency type cheese that would be at home in a fruit tart but since I'm too lazy to make tarts this custard gets to make it's home in a fruit cake, that being me!   ;)  I can't believe how sweet it tastes.  It's as if I added sugar to it. 

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #109 on: August 08, 2014, 05:51:46 PM »
Tiarella, sorry for the lateness.  Thanks for the suggestion.  Originally, I was doing all kinds of things to get the RH up, including your suggestion (two pans, actually), as well as splashing the cement wall and floor. 

Now, been trying everything to get my fairly monstrous AC in the cave (14,250 btu) to not trip circuits (maddening - everything mislabeled on the circuit panel.  >:().  Finally, everything seems to be working perfectly.  My evaporative humidifer was not doing the job, so I've placed my two UHs and let them go.  Between the coolbot (working perfectly!) and these UHs, I am getting great results.  Climbed yesterday to 80%, and this after an hour of going in and out of the cave a ton of times.  Woke up this morning to 51-53F, 95% RH, which held steady for hours.  I actually dialed the UHs down a tad, and now holding steady at 92%. 

The only drag now, if I stick with the UHs, is having to pay for RO water.  Our local coop is great - $0.43 per gallon - but I go through about 5 gallons per day.  An undersink RO filter isn't an option, as we rent this unit.  I'm thinking on a steam vaporizer, but it's become a tough decision - the cave is performing brilliantly and I do hate to mess with it.  One hope I have, is that by just packing it with cheese, the humidity issue will become well, a non-issue. :)
- Paul


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Offline Hidri Mohamed

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #110 on: August 14, 2014, 03:02:17 PM »
Hi all

these are the pictures of my cellar and my production



what do you think ?
Regards, Hidri

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #111 on: August 14, 2014, 03:56:00 PM »
Looks great, Hidri - cheese to you!
- Paul

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #112 on: August 15, 2014, 06:04:35 AM »
Paul, does it have to be RO water?  Could you boil water and cool it to use?  can't remember if you tried ultrasonic humidifiers but I do remember hearing they put a small particulate into the air that was not the greatest to breathe.  Likely wouldn't bother cheese.......and unless you spent all your time keeping your cheese company, reading to them etc. it probably wouldn't effect you but just mentioning it.   ???

Tired here.....but want to hear more about your cow herd..........I'm going to work up some photos to do a post in that old thread that was titled something like "posting photos of your life here and now"  in the Lounge.  Soon.  Wish I was still asleep but chores start soon.  Garlic harvest in, hay taken off the field, migrating flocks of birds move through daily......life is an adventure.  zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Offline Hidri Mohamed

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #113 on: August 15, 2014, 11:20:14 AM »
Looks great, Hidri - cheese to you!

thx ArnaudForestier
Regards, Hidri

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #114 on: August 22, 2014, 01:17:36 PM »
Paul, does it have to be RO water?  Could you boil water and cool it to use?  can't remember if you tried ultrasonic humidifiers but I do remember hearing they put a small particulate into the air that was not the greatest to breathe.  Likely wouldn't bother cheese.......and unless you spent all your time keeping your cheese company, reading to them etc. it probably wouldn't effect you but just mentioning it.   ???

Tired here.....but want to hear more about your cow herd..........I'm going to work up some photos to do a post in that old thread that was titled something like "posting photos of your life here and now"  in the Lounge.  Soon.  Wish I was still asleep but chores start soon.  Garlic harvest in, hay taken off the field, migrating flocks of birds move through daily......life is an adventure.  zzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Hey Tiarella, sorry for the belated reply.  Been busy dealing with a bit of a medical setback and otherwise focused on finishing the cave. 

These ultrasonics are great (I have two), they put a ton of humidity into the air.  Yeah, the only drag is that it has to be either RO or DI water, otherwise you're right - it's white dust everywhere, not good for people or cheese...!  So I've been weighing buying it (drag - but cheap, $0.43 the gallon) or putting in an RO system...however we rent and something tells me the LL wouldn't be too keyed on the idea.  :o 

I looked into a lot of other systems, but of them all, for this scale, it seems the best choice for me.  I now have a PID controller keeping the RH at a perfect 92-95%, and the coolbot keeps the cave right on 50-51 F.  Now that the PID is installed, it's also nice because the UHs run a lot less, consequently I don't need to refill as often. 

Want to clarify, I don't yet have a herd...working on it!  I'm jealous of all you folks who are stewards of animals now (yours are the best, Tiarella...still love that vid).  Looking forward to those pics.  Keep it up!  Summer's waning!

- Paul


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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #115 on: August 31, 2014, 05:46:37 PM »
Here is my obsession...

It now has a Caerphilly, a St Paulin, a Gouda and a waxed Cheddar.  Alas, the CAMs have gone to meat their obvious demise and you have to smile when a  'died in the wool' cheddar only eater is lickin' the plate when all is gone.

I got busy with my router this weekend and all the horrible plastic will be replaced with wooden shelves.  They are still rough sawn at the moment and will need to be cleaned and given a bit of sunshine before I introduce them to the beautiful bugs I want to see if I can get into the 'cave'.  I have ordered  a phycrometer (twin bulb wet and dry Thermometers) and a circulating fan. Gunna change up gear..  O0

CheeseOn   
 8)
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Offline Spoons

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #116 on: August 31, 2014, 07:50:14 PM »
Nice cave, Mal! The wooden shelves will be a nice addition.

Do a search on fans before you buy one. I believe some people have noticed little change in temp differential with a fan. Cave size? fan model? Just a thought.
- Eric

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #117 on: August 31, 2014, 08:38:26 PM »
Hi Spoons,  The fan, I am hoping is to circulate air to try and keep the RH constant - I'm not sure the little bowl (Blue One) is having much effect - I thick the sheet of ice at the back is more of an issue. Not sure what to do with that.  What do you suggest ? My thoughts are trying to move the condenser sheet away from back of the fridge. - Carefully of course. 

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #118 on: August 31, 2014, 09:01:09 PM »
About the water bowl:
The more water surface is exposed to air, the more RH you'll get. So a small bowl won't do it. A wider bowl (not deeper, just wider) will produce better RH. You can also add a clean cloth like a disposable J-Cloth and use it as a wick (one part of the cloth in the bowl and the other part raising upwards). This will increase water surface, but it takes room in the cave to do it.

I thought of buying one of these types of humidifiers:
http://www.amazon.com/Air-O-Swiss-7146-Travel-Ultrasonic-Humidifier/dp/B001JL4LZ4/ref=pd_sbs_hg_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=1HKQ04ZAHXD2HVHDJW5A
http://www.amazon.com/Satechi-Portable-Humidifier-v-2-5-Regular/dp/B00J3AX6R2/ref=pd_sbs_hg_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=1HKQ04ZAHXD2HVHDJW5A
But these scare me a bit. What if you knock off the bottle? There's an electric current there.

About the freezing:
I haven't looked that up yet. Not quite there. I have an auto-defrost on my cave (similar to yours), but I gave up on the RH when I couldn't control the frosting. So right now I'm doing a bit like you and put each cheese in a container to control RH. It takes up more room though.
- Eric

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Re: Will you share photos of your caves? and Mini-cave techniques?
« Reply #119 on: August 31, 2014, 09:29:28 PM »
Thanks Eric, I think I'll keep away form the USB devices.  Thanks for the wicking idea, I was thinking . . . .  how about placing a long thin plastic container at the back of the fridge - there is a 1/2 inch gap at the back behind the shelves.  Run say 2 inch strips from the container down the back into another tray - I have room.  Place one strip in and wait for the RH to stabalise - if not enough add another and keep adding until it works or get a bigger set of strips. if it starts to get too high - depending on the cheeses in the fridge at the time - remove as necessary.  True, it is probably a bit of maintenence but it's cheese.. :)  maybe with the little fan and the wicking I might be able to turn the sterile wine fridge into a wonder cheese factory. 

I'll keep you posted..

--Mal
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