Wow, brilliant idea! Cedar is a fantastic resource. We can get fir mill waste here and use it for siding/fences, etc. I look forward to hearing more about this system.
"Professional Scrounge" .....that is totally what I want to be when I grow up. Scrounging is SO much fun! Free is fabulous.
I use "Feline pine" pelletized sawdust cat litter. When I lived in a van (with the cats) I used the contents of their litter pan (once it turned back to sawdust) as cover material for my own sawdust bucket toilet. Now I seasonally live in the van, and the cats and I compost together on the humanure compost pile, which gets nice and hot. The plan is to let it age for two years, and it will likely be used primarily to plant perennials and trees.
Oh, and DON'T SPRAY THE OIL WHEN THE SUN IS STRONG!!! It will burn your foliage. It's best to drench in the evening, or better, wait for a few cloudy days. As an added bonus I think the oil spray killed some cabbage moth eggs/larvae.
When the first of 70 cabbages disappeared, I said "oh well, they've got to eat too." When a week later 15 cabbages had been taken, I started to get pissed off. After 25 cabbages disappeared underground, I tried a castor oil/Dr. Bronners peppermint soap mix and drenched the soil with a hose end sprayer (8oz. castor oil, 1 t. soap, spray at 4 T./gal. shake well while spraying) That seemed to slow them down. They moved and took a few broccoli plants (unsprayed) the drench worked pretty good (they don't like the smell of castor oil) until a heavy rain. I think I picked about 40 of 70 cabbages. : .
I want to try planting Castor bean around garden margins to see if the plant has a deterrent effect (watch out...castor bean is VERY poisonous)
I made cages or baskets out of small hole (1") chicken wire, using a 5 gal bucket as a form to bend it around. This cage got buried in the soil when I planted my artichokes...this works great. The 'choke can grow long roots through the cage, but the main root and crown stays protected from massive trauma. This would be a pain in the butt for crops you dig (horseradish) but maybe a larger fenced subterranean area? Fenced hugelbeds? (lay a layer of chicken wire down 1st?) I tried this on a "no kill" farm, and these things kind of seemed to help. We also had feral cats that would hunt in the garden, but I don't know how many actual gophers they caught. Not enough. I personally have no problem using them for target practice and seeing if the chickens will eat them.
Thanks for the input guys.
You're right Mark. After running the numbers a few different ways, my conclusion is that this site has enough water for domestic use, but not enough to make micro hydro cost effective. I'm going to concentrate on setting up for domestic/agri water only.
Maybe I'll look into wind at a later date, and just be satisfied with solar for now. I'm OK with just using less power and shifting my activities to take advantage of natural light. Other members of my group are pretty fixated on having electric luxuries. Oh well.
Thanks again for the advice and the links.
Thanks for the ideas. I'm getting ready to build a house (I'm doing the wiring) and I like the idea of having outlets on a switch to help with phantom loads. I think I'll use that.
I'm also keeping circuits dedicated to lighting, so I can swap them over to a 12V distribution panel and bulbs after the inspector goes away for good.
Last year I got a nice turkey around Halloween. Broken neck, broken wing and still warm when I got it home and plucked it. Musta been the car ahead of me that hit it. Cooked it up for my buddy's birthday, some folks were kinda grossed out, but most tried it. It was tasty!
I've also eaten roadkill deer at my brother's house. That was my first roadkill experience.
So if it's fresh enough, not squished in the middle, and no wardens around, I'm totally down with free meat.
A couple days ago driving to town I saw a roadkill deer where somebody took just the hindquarters, so I'm not the only one around here eating roadkill.
I agree I find peeing outside far, FAR preferable to a portapotty. I don't go into town much, and out here I am surrounded by people I know and like. Some of my male friends feel comfortable peeing in my presence, facing away from me. I pee in their presence and if I'm facing them there's nothing for them to see since my pants don't go past mid/upper thigh.
Everybody pees. It's normal. It's not shameful, or sexual (for most ppl, LOL) or dirty. It's just peeing; a part of life.
Oh yeah...I used the bottle opener on my Leatherman multi tool to get any tough ones started. I know these folks. They wouldn't sell it if it didn't work;
http://www.southernexposure.com/sheller-corn-supply-p-198.html Still, I'M too cheap to buy it when I can drill a hole and pound some nails for free. I wonder if the board could be put atop a bucket and the tendency of kernels to fly around wildly would be minimized.....?
I can't believe anyone used spent cobs to wipe with! They can be SHARP!
Thank Gaia I live where there's LOTS of moss.
They also sell metal collars made for this called corn shellers. Southern Exposure Seeds sells one for $10 and it looks unbreakable. I haven't tried them. But I have grown 'Painted Mountain' (BEAUTIFUL! impressive vigor and yield) and shelled it by hand. It was much easier to do when the corn was thoroughly dry. We have a shelf around the perimeter of our living room about 1' from the ceiling. It's a fantastic place for drying things since the wood stove is in the same room. After about 3-4 months on the shelf the corn was pretty easy....a kind of opposing twisting motion with both hands on the ear, gentler at first to start loosening 'em up. Then they roll right off. It took us about 40 person hours to shell 60lb kernels. (not all at once, mind you, but a couple hours a night sitting by the fire watching the rain)
"Human beings, according to the teaching you’re about to receive, normally think in binaries—that is, polarized relationships between one thing and another, in which the two things are seen as total opposites. That habit is universal and automatic enough that it’s most likely hardwired into our brains, and there’s good reason why it should be. Most of the snap decisions our primate ancestors had to make on the African savannah are most efficiently sorted out into binary pairs: food/nonfood, predator/nonpredator, and so on. The drawbacks to this handy set of internal categories don’t seem to bother any of our primate relatives, and probably became an issue—like so much that’s part of magic—only when the rickety structure of the reasoning mind took shape over the top of the standard-issue social primate brain.
The difficulty, like so many of the difficulties that beset humanity, is one of overgeneralizing a good idea. There’s no significant middle ground between food and nonfood, say, or between predator and nonpredator, and so the reactive response we’re discussing excludes the possibility of middle ground; it’s either edible (or considering you as edible), or it’s not. The more complex classifications that the reasoning mind can use, though, admit of a great deal of middle ground, and so do the equally complex relationships that develop in societies once the reasoning mind gets to work on relationships between social primates. When we have the opportunity to consider such things carefully, it’s not hard to see this, but the hardwired habit of snap judgments in binary form is always right below the surface. In most cases all it takes is a certain amount of stress to trigger it. Any kind of stress will do, and over the years, practitioners of mass thaumaturgy have gotten very good at finding ways to make people feel stressed so that the binary reaction kicks in and can be manipulated to order. "
So trying to evolve ourselves beyond binary thinking to spectrum thinking will probably help us react with less anger/passion/negativity and those we are discussing issues with will be able to hear us better if we are calm.....
Carpenter ants only eat wood. They are helping enrich the soil of a hugelbeet. Carpenter ants do NOT farm aphids, because they don't eat sugar. Just wood. Other smaller ants do farm aphids. Get some lacewings and ladybugs....
The only other "problem" I've had with ants and plants is their extensive tunneling can dry out the soil near the roots. Carpenter ants are unlikely to eat living roots.
Termites however will eat roots. The Formosan termites in Louisiana killed my artichoke plant in no time flat. Oh well. "Artichokes don't grow in Louisiana" anyway.
Thanks for the responses. 50CFS is a BIG system.
We're planning on burying pipe about 12". It rarely gets extremely cold here. we just had a week of lows in the high 20's(F) and that is usually just for a week or so when it gets back up to 40F and rain (normal winter weather).
So 12" down in the forest is probably overkill for freezing, but we're using PEX from the spring to the tank, just in case. Most people here just lay their poly pipe on top of the ground, but the bears hear water in the line and bite the pipe so burying is as much for bear protection as freeze protection.
I plugged in my numbers to a calculator from the RockyHydro website, and we may not have high enough flow to justify microhydro. I was looking at about 500W per day, using most of the water in the tank.
We are tossing around ideas about how to get more volume. We could pickup lower on the spring where 2 drainages converge, but would be sacrificing head. We could maybe use a ram pump from the spring convergence, but again, not sure if it would be enough to be worth the expense. We're still in the surveying and gathering info phase (though I have a plastic barrel with holes/fittings installed for a collector) I will keep posting as the situation evolves.
Potatoes are heavy feeders? I was under the impression that too much N would result in lots of leafy growth and few spuds. A good NPK balance (like from compost) is what I've used successfully.
That said, when you mentioned fast growing viney legumes, I thought of pole beans. I was astounded at how fast 'Kentucky Wonder' grew for me last year.
I would beware of putting grass in the pile 'cause grass is a N hog.
I haven't grown potatoes vertically but want to try it. I was thinking of using shipping pallets for a container since I can get them for free and they're a good size. I've been really impressed with the drought tolerance and gopher resistance of "Allblue" potatoes. For me, the vines of Allblue flopped over and formed taters wherever they touched the soil, so maybe it would be a good variety to try vertically.
I thought the suggestion for bottom watering the seed potato with a dripper was a good one. As long as the original root system is getting H2O the plant will keep growing.
If you have access to un-poisoned grass clippings from neighbors, that can be a great free source of greens to mix with your browns.....
Please keep us posted on how it goes..
Thanks for the pic of varieties. What I have looks like Stampede, and I have a red variety that is long and slender like White Fuseau. Yesterday I boiled the tubers in water for 10 min., then sliced them and layered in a baking dish with butter, salt and pepper, parsley and parmesan cheese. Baked at 350 for about 20min.
I thought they were tasty...very much flavored like artichoke hearts.
It was the red variety I cooked. I'm storing them in my bedroom (cool and dry) but the tips seem to be withering so I think they might like more humidity (bucket under the porch..good idea)
The round white 'stampede' variety seems to keep longer than the long red variety....
I grew the white variety in crap clay soil, watered them once when I put them in, the chickens abused them, and they still thrived. I like indestructible perennial food plants. I haven't grown the red variety yet.
BTW, the "gas factor" wasn't that bad. About like beans. I'm gonna try mashing them next...
I would be about a 7, if I wasn't already going into a benevolent dictatorship with my mom as the BD. Being offspring of the BD provides a little more security than being an unrelated member/participant/peasant.
That said, I'm impressed with your ideas, drive, and vision. After living in a community ruled by a board, and one ruled by consensus, I think the BD model is probably the most efficient/functional model, provided the BD is somewhat tolerant, intelligent, charismatic, and understands important factors of leadership (listening to input, empowering people, not micromanaging, etc.)
Lots of people would like to think the egalitarian model is ideal, but in practice people are not equal. Some are harder workers, or more intelligent, or stronger, or whatever than others. Consensus meetings (in my experience) usually involve listening to people state their ego attachments over and over in slightly different iterations. It's mostly a waste of time.
I believe the hierarchy model with a BD and appointed (hired) managers of different areas is the most effective and painless way of actually accomplishing anything (other than just doing it yourself).
So I'm a 1 in practice and a 7 in theory.
I am in the design phase of setting up a new sustainable housing site. I have a spring above the house site with 200' head and 1.5GPM. The plan is to gather water from the spring in a 1400 gal poly tank 50' below the spring source. This would give me 150' head from poly tank to house, and 2000gal or so per 24 hours available. It's unlikely we would use that much domestically, so I'd like to leave room in the design for micro hydro installation after the house is built.
I would love to hear from anyone who has an on site micro hydro system, to get feedback on; do you like it? was it worth it? Anything you would do differently? Does it meet or exceed your expectations?
We already have almost 500W PV, plus batteries and inverter, so the micro hydro would be for wintertime when there's no sun here in the PNW.
Is it submerged? Fully? partially? How deep is the water? Could you use hip waders? Wet suit?
A chainsaw in a boat sounds dangerous. Be sure to tie up to the tree/anchor yourself well.
Know anybody with a tractor/equipment that could pull it out? Is it your drainage channel or is anyone else responsible for maintaining it? (water/sewer board, county)
I've been known to snitch seed and cuttings when given the opportunity. I have a Loquat cutting I obtained from the landscaping in front of a restaurant rooting right now.
I like proven cultivars of apple trees, and am fortunate to have a neighbor that loves to graft apples. He has several varieties that are proven producers for this area, and is willing to take work trade for some young trees (Gold Rush, Enterprise, Patriot) he also gifted me a big box of sunchokes (2 varieties) some I'm eating, some I'm planting. A neighboring farm has OK'd me taking cuttings from their plants for a few rooted plants in return. In the spring I'll be digging up italian plum and raspberry suckers and taking blueberry, fig and grape cuttings in the summer. I already have a nice pot of strawberries from them.
So neighbors, hobby growers and small farms can also be good resources. Talk to folks at farmers markets to make connections.
I have tried a mullein and lavender mix (light on the lavender) with tobacco and liked it. I haven't tried but would suggest calendula petals, strawberry leaf, blackberry leaf (probably young leaves would be better).
I have grown tobacco and it was super easy. It seeded in the compost and came up as volunteers all over the garden. No pests bothered it in the PNW climate. Curing was kinda tricky though. I aged it for about 6 months after drying. It was smooth but tasted more like pipe tobacco than cigarette tobacco. I'm not sure if that is curing technique or the variety we were growing.
I have lived at two intentional communities. VISIT BEFORE YOU COMMIT.
My first community experience was with an expense sharing community (pay $400/month to be there) and I lived there for 6 months. It seemed great in the beginning but I think it was just new. And I should have paid attention to the warning signs in my gut that were there from the beginning.
At any rate, it was quite a learning experience. I learned that "polyamorus" there really meant you sleep with everyone or you sleep with no one (I was celibate for the duration). I learned a little about non-violent communication, and that having a community mental health counselor was immensely valuable. I learned how to remodel a 1970's singlewide (I'd hoped to learn about aquaculture and gasification). I met some really awesome people, and some people who really pushed my buttons. I learned that everyone we encounter in community is reflections of aspects of our selves, and although it was difficult, I gained the most when I could suspend judgement and really try to understand the issues I saw reflected back at me. I learned that being raised a middle class American meant I was culturalized with an unconscious attitude of entitlement and individuality that makes for a very steep learning curve in seeking community. I learned I have issues with authority figures, especially older males. (I kinda knew that already).
When I left that community I felt very used (I pay $400/month to work for somebody else? WTF???)
I wasn't ready to give up on community though. I went to a community I had visited several times previously, located on land I knew I was madly in love with. This was one of the 70's "communes" and was much more laid back and anarchistic than my other experience. This is an income sharing community (all the income goes into a common pot, and the needs of the community and members are met from the common pot (in theory). The decision making process is full consensus (in theory). I learned so much it would take really long to try to express it here.
I think it is critically important that everyone has their own private space to be alone in. I think we are not yet evolved enough for full consensus to be an effective decision making model. I think income sharing (communism) doesn't work. I realize that the people make the community. It is extremely important to have a shared vision and values.
I had many ecstatically happy moments at this community. My most stated phrase at the first community was "Are you f-ing kidding me?" > ??: My most stated phrase at the second community was "It's SO beautiful!" Not that the second community was without it's drama, personal learning curve, and moments of angst. It's impossible to get a group of people living and working together and not have drama.
This was/is an amazing place, and I have been privileged and blessed with the opportunity to begin de-programming my destructive ingrained societal patterns.
I left the second community after 1 1/2 years. I burned myself out trying to do too much, to help however I could. When my hard work and initiative came under accusations of tyranny from one individual, and the rest of my "family" failed to stand up for me, I decided to leave. I also had difficulty with the constant change (always new visitors to entertain/babysit/educate) and with the amount of communication and social time needed on my part to be effective. (I've always been kind of antisocial and needed my ME time)
I highly recommend experiencing community. Your life will be deeper and richer for it, and you'll have good stories to tell (that's what it's all about anyway, right?) Community experience can help shift your mindframe and paradigm so you can manifest a positive, beautiful future for yourself and humankind.
Just don't expect it to be a permanent arrangement. Always have an out. (I live in a van and have lots of handy, useful, marketable skills)
My Mom bought land a few miles up the road from this last community. My next adventure is developing a permaculture site with her and two other like minded people we met at this last community. It could be Utopia. It could be a complete clusterfck. Probably it will be somewhere in the middle. But life is never boring. I am happy. I live in a wild, clean, beautiful environment and I am no longer a wage slave. My life feels free and meaningful. I am learning and improving.
Before I decided to seek community I was just another miserable smog-cog, feeding my body poison and rotting in front of the boob tube, desperately lacking any authentic human connections.
I am truly, deeply grateful for my community experience.
BTW, the voodoo thing works better if you believe in it a little bit. Envision an aura of protection surrounding your property. Say a few words like "no one shall pass here". Pee on your property line to mark your territory. Really feel it. It sounds crazy, but I believe we leave an energy imprint with our intentions and emotions. People might not believe in that stuff, but they can still feel it subconsciously if you put some intent into your voodoo, and will get the creepy crawlies and leave.
I love the "Trespassers will be hog tied.." sign and the "If you can read this, you're IN RANGE" sign. The "QUARANTINE" is good too.
I think making people think you're batshit crazy can count for a lot.
I'm a fan of the "Voodoo it up" method. Save your chicken feet by drying them in salt. Find some nice skulls and interesting feathers and bones. Tie them together with colorful twine. Get some of the glass candles from the dollar store with the saints painted on them. Make creepy stick figures a'la Blair Witch. Distribute this weird stuff around your property. Paint or carve some pentagrams on trees. > Put up a couple "TRESPASSERS WILL BE HEXED" signs. Have fun with it.
We are lucky out here. The people of our valley are organized. All the neighbors know each other and look out for one another, even though we are miles apart. There is a neighborhood watch, and a 'phone tree' with everyone's number on it. One neighbor "patrols" the road every evening looking for folks/vehicles that don't belong here. NOTHING beats building a strong, cohesive community.
The next valley over is a bit more militant. They have several properties and road entrances POSTED - ACTIVE MILITIA with a sign that looks very much like the landrights trespassing sign in this thread.
Hankie for sure, unless I forget it. Usually it lives in my coat pocket, while my other useful stuff lives in pants pockets. Tissue seems unable to keep structural integrity with the quantity of mucus I can produce. My hand gets slimy using tissue.
I'm down with the snot rocket, which is common cultural practice here, though sometimes I find the viscosity is too high with the velocity too low (=messy). I have about 10 hankies and change as needed (folding helps, as others have mentioned)
Toilet paper is on my list of top ten favorite things about society, and I consider it a waste to use tissue for non-stinky things.
I've had gopher problems and feral cats....the cats seem to catch everything BUT the gophers (maybe because they are so rarely above ground). A castor oil/soap soil drench seemed to help for a little while. Snakes might be the most effective predators.
Small paste types take forever to process if you have a lot. I was impressed with the size, vigor and yield of 'Cuore Di Bue' up to 1lb paste tomato similar to Amish paste. I can't speak to flavor cause I can't eat them. I'm allergic to nightshades
Thanks for the idea about the whiskey barrel with holes drilled in it. I'm planning a similar system with a food grade plastic barrel and gravel backfill. It's good to hear from someone happy with this type of system. The head wall of our spring is about 40 linear feet uphill of our pickup point, and we own the hill and the watershed of the spring.
I think clean, live water with no chemicals (chlorine, flouride) really does make people live longer. Many people in this valley are over 80 and getting along just fine. One woman just celebrated her 100th birthday. All the 60-70 year olds look and act 20 years younger. Clean water is something I'm deeply grateful for every day I wake up.
For protecting the bees from bears, we have had good success with a solar powered electric net fence. A neighbor has his bees on a 12'tall platform with padlocked trapdoor, which is also effective, though maybe hard to carry an 80lb box of honey down a ladder.....
The same neighbor may collaborate with us to grow crops in his field (I have the growing experience, he has the land) Cooperating with neighbors could also be considered a resource.
Drinking spring water is common in my neck of the woods. I've only heard of anyone getting sick when they drank out of the big creek directly (stupid. cows upstream on the big creek) All the neighbors do it, and I've been drinking natural water from at least 5 different springs for almost 2 years with no problems.
I am now helping Mom and friends develop a new 30 acre homestead and need to install a spring box of some kind to collect water from our spring. The site we've chosen for pickup is about 40 feet downhill of the spring source, and the water runs on the surface over an impermeableish silty clay layer.
I am looking for suggestions on how to construct the pickup box to avoid debris/silt clogging the pickup filter (it would be covered so bears don't swim in it. Newts and snails are OK by me, provided they don't clog my lines)
I would appreciate advice from anyone who has done this or has ideas.
I'm firmly in camp B, and am blessed to live in the country so privacy isn't much of an issue. I hate going to the city 'cause there's no place to pee. I would say to the women in camp A - practice makes perfect. A strong stream and the ability to shut off the flow is a fine and useful thing to develop, and will likely help prevent the problems another woman brought up as a concern (when women age, pee is likely to go sideways) keep your muscles strong and healthy by cultivating your outdoor peeing technique! Keeping your muscles strong also has other perks that your male partner will appreciate. I don't squat all the way down. I pee in nearly a standing position. I take my pants down to mid thigh, lean my torso forward, stick my butt out, use my hands to spread my butt cheeks a bit, and let'er rip. Squeeze it off quick and a couple shakes...no problem. Splashback isn't an issue unless you're peeing on a hard surface. (I always pee on plants/grass/forest duff) My pee has killed the grass when I pee in the same place over and over again, so I try to mark the perimeter of my "territory" by peeing in a big circle around it. Wyldthang is right- it's underwear that are gross. Or maybe I'm just a fellow dirty hippie from the OR coast range. I developed the standing method from living on a boat. It felt like I was gonna fall overboard in a full squat. I've used the funnel type urination device with good success. Privacy was an issue while replacing my fuel injectors in a parking lot in New Mexico (few trees and bushes in the desert) Since that job required 8 hours and a 12 pack of Corona, I was glad to have my "Lady J". I could just stand behind my van door facing into the van and no one could even tell I was peeing into a corona bottle! (no, I didn't get my bottles mixed up)