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Thread: choosing to build a house on plot of land, Ruza, west of Moscow.

  1. #106
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    The hover-beast cutting height is adjustable by inserting one or more special disc spacers above the rotary cutter. Surprisingly easy. Yes, I definitely recommend a high cut to begin with and probably as the last cut for winter.

    There is a sister company, Husqvarna, owned by electrolux, same as Flymo. They have a twin battery mower. Some critics say that is not even enough, and one complained he bought two additional charger and a charger, setting him back an extra $600. Their mowers are expensive, yet some of them are exactly the same as the flymo wheeled range using same honda engine where they would be much cheaper in UK.

  2. #107
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    Fencing posts? are they erected in Russia using concrete? My wife says that's not the Russian way due to climate, they use brick, stones etc compact in the ground. Saw videos using sigafencing post foam, But that would be too expensive if bought from Amazon.



    Screenshot from 2019-08-15 20-04-22.jpg

  3. #108
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    Quote Originally Posted by Armoured View Post
    The other things you can do are plant cover crops - grechka (buckwheat), mustards, clovers, whatever - that root down and loosen up the soil and feed microbes. These are all supercheap at the usual garden spots and a lot cheaper than 'grass seeds' (ie the stuff you buy to make a proper lawn). It's really useful to do this when trying to get rid of the stinging nettles because something needs to grow there instead of the nettles, otherwise you'll just get other weeds growing in place.

    One interesting approach is to buy tillage or forage radishes - basically these are similar to Daikon. You sow them around this time of year and they die in the fall (or you cut them before the frost). They grow enormous deep radish roots - and when they die in the fall the huge radish roots rot in the soil and break up the harder soil for you leaving these pockets that other plants love. The seeds are harder to find and I can't remember what they're called in Russian but they're not expensive. (I recall I bought a bunch of seed stuff that was cheap in bulk online - they'd be even cheaper if you bought them in kolkhoz quantities)
    After several years of moderate planting and sort-of maintaining parts of a lawn, was looking around today.

    Best bang for buck: clover seeds. Mix green and red if you can. Cheap in bulk and integrates well with a traditional lawn but provides variety and not quite so picky about being mowed frequently. Get a mix and toss around in different places, looks good, good for soil too (sucks in nitrogen). Best thing about clover: it will get established in good areas and come back year after year and require no work whatsoever, apart from the mowing you were going to do anyway. Bees and local insects like it. It also tends to grow well around other plants/gardens without disturbing them - doesn't insist on being the only damn plant like grass.

    Close to that: white mustard seeds. Very cheap even not in bulk (a couple bucks for a couple kilograms), will seem to seed in almost any soil (biggest dependence is at least some sun), so e.g. bad soil, rotting wood chips, piles of leaves that haven't fully broken down, etc. Let it grow as little or as much as you like, has pleasant enough flowers, if it gets mowed down before flowering, no big deal. Also considered a 'green manure' (one reason it's cheap). I don't think mustard comes back each season unless it goes through full flowering/seed cycle (so you can avoid it if you want).

    Boht of the above will at least make an attempt to grow under trees, although some combination of competing for resrouces (water/sun) will keep them from growing well.

    Next, various 'green manure' (sideraty?) mixes which might include buckwheat oats clover mustard some vetches and who knows what. Overall cheap enough to help displace stuff you don't like.

    Least favourite: actual grass seed. Overpriced and some of it grows well, some of it doesnt. My best results have been from casting some about from time to time, along with other stuff like clover, but clover does better.

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    johnsimpson (25-08-2019)

  5. #109
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    It's very frustrating for me that we can't go back to our dacha until 5th September due to commitments and putting our son first for school. Our plans to stay there longer term will need to begin at first melt next year. I have spent a lot of time watching youtube and gardening, creating lawns naturally, self seeding allowing grass to grow and seed etc, back to Eden gardening & Ruth Stokes method on no digging and mulching with hay etc.

    For lawns I need to get back and observe the ground conditions after my last period, and yes intend to develop a lawn without purchasing grass seeds, and yes I am aware of how useful clover is to ground conditions, I think the preparations done now before winter and next early spring will help prepare the lawn are for next year midsummer. Between allowing whatever grass I have to seed and the chop, and using whatever the surrounding meadows we have I hope to use the local grass seeds of which is best for that particular area. I can't really say much more until after 4th September.

  6. #110
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsimpson View Post
    Fencing posts? are they erected in Russia using concrete? My wife says that's not the Russian way due to climate, they use brick, stones etc compact in the ground. Saw videos using sigafencing post foam, But that would be too expensive if bought from Amazon.
    Sounds like nonsense to me. Haven't done fenceposts but had some climbing gear installed - they did it exactly like fenceposts would be done, cement in the ground. That said, nothing wrong with doing it the old way, which I've done as well, but it's slow - everything that goes into the posthole has to be tamped, tamped, tamped, good and slow and thorough, or it won't last. And needs to be deeper than you could get away with without cement.

    This is a really weird coincidence but I came across the fake cement stuff on sale here while looking for something else just a day or two ago:
    http://gardeck.ru/zamena_betona

    No recommendation, just happened to see it's for sale.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnsimpson View Post
    It's very frustrating for me that we can't go back to our dacha until 5th September due to commitments and putting our son first for school. Our plans to stay there longer term will need to begin at first melt next year. I have spent a lot of time watching youtube and gardening, creating lawns naturally, self seeding allowing grass to grow and seed etc, back to Eden gardening & Ruth Stokes method on no digging and mulching with hay etc.

    For lawns I need to get back and observe the ground conditions after my last period, and yes intend to develop a lawn without purchasing grass seeds, and yes I am aware of how useful clover is to ground conditions, I think the preparations done now before winter and next early spring will help prepare the lawn are for next year midsummer. Between allowing whatever grass I have to seed and the chop, and using whatever the surrounding meadows we have I hope to use the local grass seeds of which is best for that particular area. I can't really say much more until after 4th September.
    Whatever works for you. I'd put lawn pretty far down the priority list, esp since it's a task you can only do best over time.

    I like sowing seeds around as feels like doing something and hardly any work involved at all. But mainly this is to deal with rough/empty patches as heavily treed spot.

  7. #111
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    I might not have been clear, meant that posts put in without cement may need to be in deeper.

    Of course, locals might have good reason to do it the old way (tamped-down soil plus odds and ends as described), maybe local soil or frost heave conditions make cement unworkable. Or maybe they just prefer to do it the traditional way due to habit. If they're experienced doing it the way they always have, that may be preferable - plus, hey, if you ever have to move or remove them, easier without cement.

    It still sounds like nonsense to me to say that fence posts not done with cement in Russia, but I've never had them done here.

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    johnsimpson (26-08-2019)

  9. #112
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    My Russian wife's words listening to locals in , not mine. Tamped down down due to climate. Yes, viewing on youtube 1/3 of the post is underground, and there are plenty of contradicting arguments on there. Most instructions are for using concrete, however many farmers swear tamping down is best, and they should know due to the volume of posts they erect. They also have some amazing machines such as augers I won't have

  10. #113
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsimpson View Post
    My Russian wife's words listening to locals in , not mine. Tamped down down due to climate. Yes, viewing on youtube 1/3 of the post is underground, and there are plenty of contradicting arguments on there. Most instructions are for using concrete, however many farmers swear tamping down is best, and they should know due to the volume of posts they erect. They also have some amazing machines such as augers I won't have
    The old way'll work fine, it'll hold plenty long if done properly. And I hadn't thought of the auger - which for a farmer is easy, attachment to the tractor, for everyone else cement solves the issue of having to dig deeper post holes; with an auger, the cement is an extra time and expense.

    This is how I've done (I was the dumb labour, mind) - auger a whole, tamp dirt with a pole bit by bit until done. Mostly stuff that can be done in slow periods, not time sensitive work - also convenient for farmers. Mind I expect busier/wealthier farmers would do both - auger a bunch of holes and use cement to speed the process up.

    Anyway, I was only saying the 'nobody uses cement in Russia' for this is nonsense. Nothing wrong with the old way.

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    johnsimpson (26-08-2019)

  12. #114
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    What about a russian stove or woodstove?

    It has been discussed here, gas or electric. electric is a no go, especially if you intend to live all year round though the winter, too expensive. Most go for gas if its available, and even gas can be expensive, and whether to use it for central heating.

    But what if you live an area where wood is freely available nearby from scraps, as well as you are surrounded by forest cost of wood is relatively low. We are fortunate enough to have a Russian stove and it is pretty warm, but it only covers part of the house and you can see the stove in the drawing front part of the house. So, maybe another wood stove or utilise the original Russian stove to provide heating with the rest of the house, or do we go for gas central heating. I shall be making some enquiries. domplan.jpg

    https://youtu.be/5AJ-1m3zQC4

    https://www.pechilux.ru/catalog/pech...a/otopitelnye/

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    Armoured (01-09-2019)

  14. #115
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsimpson View Post
    What about a russian stove or woodstove?

    It has been discussed here, gas or electric. electric is a no go, especially if you intend to live all year round though the winter, too expensive. Most go for gas if its available, and even gas can be expensive, and whether to use it for central heating.

    But what if you live an area where wood is freely available nearby from scraps, as well as you are surrounded by forest cost of wood is relatively low. We are fortunate enough to have a Russian stove and it is pretty warm, but it only covers part of the house and you can see the stove in the drawing front part of the house. So, maybe another wood stove or utilise the original Russian stove to provide heating with the rest of the house, or do we go for gas central heating. I shall be making some enquiries.
    Are you running into an issue with getting the gas? Is it more expensive than you originally thought (or long delay or not possible)?

    So my suggestions/thoughts:
    -sure, gas is preferable. But when I've looked into/done in the past, it's been quite a lot of money upfront - like 500k to 1 million rubles up-front, before the cost of gas. Sometimes these original estimates grow and then on top of it, the time delays mean you end up doing two heating systems.
    -that's a lot to cover the cost difference between gas and electric (or money for additional wood or woodstove installation or whatever.) Particularly if you're not sure for how many years you'll be using it (and not necessarily 'giving up' on the option of gas in future).
    -Electric: seriously look at heat pumps / minisplits for heat. Short form: these are air conditioners in reverse. They are much, much more efficient than regular electric - like three or four times more efficient most of the time (literally they quote the efficiency in coefficient of performance at e.g. 2.5-3X more efficient than resistance electric. That's a big difference and _may_ put it in neighbourhood of gas pricing for much of the year.
    -The catch is: they do not work as well in colder weather - especially much colder - and efficiency drops. At ~minus 20 celsius, they sometimes/often have to switch to backup electric resistance, i.e. they get expensive. But if it's only a few weeks a year, still may be more cost effective, especially if the resistance heat can be timed to come on during the night (lowest priced tariff).
    -You have to look at specs of the heat pumps quite carefully - they are 'tuned' to work best/most efficiently in temperature bands (almost all air heat pumps also double as air conditioners/dehumidifers, which you probably don't care about).
    -[Side note: you can also do ground source heat pumps which are way more efficient but have high up-front costs because they have to sink pipes in the ground. I have some friends here who are happy with it but wasn't necessarily cheap. I believe they said it was a bit cheaper than gas to install but a lot faster because gas monopoly.]
    -Likewise there are air-to-water (radiator) heat pumps, more complex and probably somewhere inbetween price-wise.
    -You can do combined: minisplits in the parts of the house that aren't heated (well) by your existing pechka. Use the minisplit heat pumps for the other rooms when needed 10 or 11 months of the year, with an additional wood stove for the coldest month or two. Or basically fire up the wood stove whenever the heat pump is running a lot. Or, heat primarily by heat pump and electric resistance heat just to even things out or keep things from freezing when you're not there.
    -also has to be weighed off against how much of the year you are there and stuff like that.
    -Local knowledge i.e. how well the installers and servicers know the options matter. A bit dangerous going for overly complex equipment if locals ahve no idea what to do with it. (Not that any of this is that complex in principle but you can screw up anything)
    -Oh: keep in mind the amount of insulation and possibly some fixes to improve heat circulation from the area with the pechka to other parts of the house might also make a big difference. (Oh - if the house is very leaky and poorly insulated, you may need too much electric/heat pumps and that again tips the balance to gas...)

    Options for non-gas heating and all that is getting a lot better, tech improving, and who knows if we can count on gas prices being so low in Russia in long term.

    don't get me wrong, I'm not a fanatic, gas is usually more efficient and simple IF you have it already or easy hook-up. But the gas monopoly upfront costs and hassle are high and the non-gas options actually increasingly realistic. If you can get gas put in quickly for say 300k rubles it's almost a no-brainer; difficult choices come up if gas is over say 600k and will take a season to do.

    Good luck, none of these choices are that easy, you just have to go with something you can live with.

  15. #116
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    Wife is deadset for gas central heating, looks like I will just have to do a low cost experiment outside and possible future backup. She has explained to me that the tariff gas costs are much less in Ivanovo area than it is is in Moscow region. Her other argument is we took the trouble of ensuring we purchased a place that had gas ready to install, so we might as well use it. Look at the front of the Dacha, the yellow and black pipe is the source of our gas supply. dom3.jpg

  16. #117
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsimpson View Post
    Wife is deadset for gas central heating, looks like I will just have to do a low cost experiment outside and possible future backup. She has explained to me that the tariff gas costs are much less in Ivanovo area than it is is in Moscow region. Her other argument is we took the trouble of ensuring we purchased a place that had gas ready to install, so we might as well use it. Look at the front of the Dacha, the yellow and black pipe is the source of our gas supply. dom3.jpg
    If you have gas ready and the hook-up is relatively simple (documentation-wise especially), absolutely, go for it. On top of it - and this is a real thing - it does improve your resale value, or at least how quickly you can sell.

    Also, it will enable you to establish straightforward comfortable central heating easily, without messing about with trying to use electricity only at night and stuff like that (which is feasible but a pain). And while I like wood stoves and pechka, I absolutely would not want to rely on one for heat all the time. Air pollution from these is a lot worse than people think, and of some of the worst kind, the particulate matter.

    Out of interest how much is the gas connection itself? Do I understand correctly that when she says the gas is cheaper in Ivanovo, she means the hook-up cost?

    I wouldn't be surprised by that. The hook-up cost is basically driven by hidden (or not) corruption, where the gas monopoly subcontractors and local authorities and everyone else conspire to extract as much as they can from the population. There's more to extract in Moscow region. (I could write more about this, like the scam they have going where they make you 'test' the gas meter every four years or something like that, and doing it costs more than getting a new meter, oh, and to test the meter you have to have the gas guys come out twice, and the list of authorized meter testing facilities is, ahem, basically the same people... and on and on)

    Small thing to consider: think about excluding gas from your kitchen if you can. It will reduce the complexity of the hook-up (less piping) and less unsightly pipes around the house. But my main reason is: gas inside the kitchen area is at least a little bit dangerous - both more risk of someone leaving it on and the fumes really are not that good for you (and no-one ever uses the vent hoods all the time like they're supposed to). I used to be a gas stovetop fan, but the new induction ranges are really quite good. If you wish to convince your spouse, search for kitchen gas fumes or indoor air pollution or something like that. (Yes, natural gas boilers have fumes as well but they're vented directly out - not into the living space - and quite frequently here are in rooms that are isolated from the rest of the house air-wise). About the only downside is not all pots and pans work with them.

    (But you do have to check if you have sufficient electrical connection for the induction plate - almost certainly won't be cheaper overall)

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  18. #118
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    Lots of questions. I'll cover some for now and some later. We have no landline and wife has arranged a special contract for internet by a provider in the area. It'll cost 5000 roubles which is more than we pay here in Moscow region. I believe its satellite as there is no cable. I'll be more specific in a few weeks time. There is a local tax to pay for road clearing, garbage etc. It is a village called Nogino (10 km to the city of Plyos, on the banks of river Volga, nice place) The village is located on the banks of a magnificent lake and surrounded by forest. Service isn't great because the road is in very poor condition (plenty of pot holes) and although pressed by the locals they have done nothing for years. We currently have a well, now working just beside our front garden. It can later be utilised to have running using this as source. For storage we have a massive barn attached to the Dacha, it's sinking but we have a surveyor who will advise on raising it and put a floor in it for an extra extension. Storage again, their are special hatches on the floor boards that are raised to store more food such as jams and pickles. Wife is keen on drying produce using Russian stove for mushrooms, tomatoes, fish etc. As for electricity we do have lighting and some basic uses such as heating a hot stove, but we are also using an electrician we know who happens to also live in the area and he will check the electricity and ensure it is good enough for the like of a washing machine, which is a must. Most of our activities will have to take place on first melt next year, and will be going back on 5th September. Yes there are some good hardware store about 6KM away, there is also a special village market I'd like to see. Missed it last last it opens only on certain days in the mornings.

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