I have a friend who is building a house, he wants a Rocket Mass Heater for his ultimate backup heating device for when times get tough. Yes I know it would be better as his primary but he wants to keep up appearances some, you know Jones and all...
So he asks me "What if I put the "bench part" recessed down in the slab, so it is flat with the slab..." I explained that well, you'd would still have the mass there but the exposed surface area is now far less, plus the earth can absorb a lot of energy.
Then there is the combustion chamber, kinda hard to hide that... cob and such it could be disguised some.
What's your thoughts? Does recessing it make any sense, I am trying to encourage him towards either having a "standard" RMH or have the materials on hand and build it when the time comes, though that makes it hard if he hasn't built it before.
I also am strongly encouraging him to get the DVD's and either hire Ernie and Erica or at least visit one of their workshops.
I looked into whether the seed would be viable, I thought that would be easier than starting slips. Turns out the seeds would be called "True Seeds". From what I've read they are a lot like apple seeds, 1 in 100 or 1 in 1000 will be true/similar to parent and the rest may be marginal or most likely just junk. Professional propagators will make effort to force them to bloom and also plant large numbers of different types in order to maybe catch that 1 in 1000+ good cross. After hearing that I decided that I won't make any real effort to create my own cross. However it would be fun to toss any "True Seeds" that form in the ground just to see what comes up.
Judith an idea on harvesting, we have handful of these plastic trays that bread companies deliver their bread on. The trays are large about 24"x30" and are good to just dump shovelfuls into and shake out the soil or you could wash out the soil if needed, leaving the tubers. I imagine a bread company might give you some free if they had some that were damaged or worn, but still work for this type of use. I'll post a picture shortly to show you what I mean.
I stumbled upon this story a couple weeks back, the seed mix is available from the Home Depot website. It is made up of 7 different grass types, sounds like they are deeper rooted and so are more drought tolerant. He claims very little mowing only once every 4-6 weeks and little water. Sounds like a possible alternative to a lot of lawns, at least for those of use who keep a lawn for practical purposes. I think if I were to plant this I would probably add a couple of things more, like some clovers and dandelions.
What are your thoughts, anyone see this or are using something different?
Sweet potato and chutney sandwich sounds good. No Judith, I don't know what variety they are, they were local Texas potatoes from the store. I did try several times to get some Garnet and Okinawan slips started and had no luck despite the tubers being "organic". I had the best luck with the local unknown type. I expect I'll order some slips of other varieties next year to expand our options. With our long growing season I would like to try some long season varieties like the purple Okinawan.
I recorded my effort to grow slips here Grow your own slips and Slips Simple Method. I started them a little later, succession planted them here and there. I expect we will start to harvest some in the next month through end of Nov.
Next year I plan to start a whole load of them and plant them everywhere including on a friend's Zone 5 land adjacent to our little rural lot.
Sounds great, I am excited to harvest ours a month to so. This is the first year we've growing them, we love sweet potatoes. You are right they are super simple to grow and the slips are simple to start. We have had a mole problem in a couple areas, we don't mind sharing a little.
I happened upon this plant just this last week while thumbing through the J.L. Hudson Seedsman catalog. It is on my list of seeds to order later this fall. Also living in Zone 7b/8a I plan to give it a try this next season. They have it listed as Chenopodium Giganteum or "Purple Goosefoot".
I bought (for work) a small cheap meter for about $200. I was surprised what did and what didn't show spikes of EMF. One of the biggest was some of the microwaves I tested. I even found that my 2 year old microwave/hood put out as much EMF when not running as running. The field grew when it was running but the levels were similar. I have not tried it around any high tension wires, I'll have to do that soon. I went around exploring lights, computers, electronics etc. I was surprised how little to no EMF they produced, some did emit some when very close but most of those items are not usually next to your head. I have seen faulty wire connections show high levels. High levels is subjective, depending on who you believe and their accepted threshold. I would expect reducing them as much as possible would be healthful, though awareness is has it's place (if you use a microwave, stand well clear(yes there is a whole other topic there)). I tend to share the option of some of the other comments that it is worth avoiding living near those lines.
There are companies that will come out and do a site evaluations, with an array of equipment and give you a nice report showing problem areas and give you a variety of remediation and shielding options. That being said, IMO known or highly probable problem areas are worth avoiding or at least having the right education from the right people inform you on what actual conditions exist.
The Survival Podcast has done a half dozen podcasts with a guy named Steven Harris, he details all of the legalities and methods for home distilling alcohol for fuel. Based on what he says, it is completely legal to distill alcohol for a fuel, and completely illegal to distill for consumption, he indicates that beyond the free permit you only have to add something to the distillate to make it poisonous for consumption, he recommends 5% gasoline.
I found the interview very informative and have been thinking about what I might have easy access to or could grow to provide the sugar needed to start the process.... thinking sorgum, sugar cane etc.
While living in Utah my wife started a small business selling candies, chocolates, and other goodies. It was kinda of a hassle upfront, we had to submit all the recipes, preparation details, we had to list all ingredients and the labeling had very specific wording, fonts and sizes. It took a little work to get through all of that.
After we had all of that approved, we needed: separate space for all supplies, food stored off the ground away from personal food, separate cool storage for items like butter (we used a six pack fridge). Had to meet sanitation requirements.
One qualifier was that we had to produce only food that was "non-hazardous" ie not meats, eggs etc. they had very specific rules on using eggs (really hard to use them under their rules).
Basically we could not make items that are more likely for food borne illness.
The program fell under the Utah Department of Agriculture under "Cottage Food" if I remember right it cost like $50-75 upfront and the renewal was only $25. We did have to have an inspection which was no big deal.
After working through all of that we decided when we set our farm up we would build a "commercial kitchen" which would then open up allot of other options....
Just this last weekend my family and I went out to a local tree farm and cut a Christmas tree. We had the same idea to plant half a dozen trees every year and harvest a couple as they mature enough.
I spent a little time looking through some of my tree/seed catalogs, I can get 5-2 yr old seedlings for around $10 and I can get 10 for around $14. Compared to the $45 I paid to cut down a 6 footer, (which I will later incorporate into my Huglebeds.....)
The though crossed my mind at the tree farm.... what a lot of wasted space among all those trees. There are a handful of sell-able items they could grow among the trees to pull multiple yields out of the land.... both in product and in overall soil fertility.
Same here, our Hugel beds are doing really well for their first year. Rather than going up, I dug down about 4 feet and added about 1 foot of soil over top. I am looking forward to the next couple months and the hundreds of bags of leaves i can gather up just from my little street.
I work with a gal who spent nearly $300 a month this last summer to keep her lawn looking perfect. I started to implement some of Paul's lawn care suggestions. With just a year underway my lawn was nice and green all summer and I didn't spend anywhere near $300 a month in water for the same size lawn.
Over the winter I plan to install some water capture systems to make the most of the spring rains. There are so many resources and methods out there to fit anybody's ability and property. Avoiding paying $300 a month in water could easily pay for a lot of them.
I think the "drought" is an opportunity or an excuse to implement some of the zero/near zero irrigation methods like Hugalkultur beds, polycultures, planting from seeds, planting hardy varieties, etc. When the normal amount of water comes back whether in one year or 10 years, those systems I would expect would perform even better with the increased (normal) rain fall.