Importing AutoCAD files into SketchUp requires SketchUp Pro. The good news is that Pro has a trial version that works for (I think) 30 days. After that, you're relegated to Make, the free version. The good news is that SketchUp Make is a very capable piece of software.
Put as much as you can into video production. Hire a professional; they're worth every penny. And again, good luck. If there's anything on the analytic or technology front I can help with, PM me. Also, I do pretty well with SketchUp.
I'm very interested in buying a well-made ceramic core so long as it doesn't cost a huge amount of money. I have no idea what your expected production costs are, but (for me) two or three hundred bucks for a core and riser seems about the upper limit of what I could justify. The $36 riser linked above in the group-buy situation seemed almost inordinately cheap; I'd happily pay double that for a riser.
...a woodlot grows 1 cord of wood per acre per year perpetually.
Thank you for that. I honestly understand completely the need for an efficient use of resources. I was, however, just trying to get to something that I could use to project feed rate. It's not just about keeping a house warm; my mom's farm, which is 174 acres with over 100 in mature forest has plenty of wood. I'm interested to know how much wood can come off of that farm sustainably to drive the energy needs of what I hope becomes a small scale industrial operation. The farm came with a steam boiler that's sized large enough to drive quite a bit of machinery and develop electricity as a secondary function. Waste heat can be used to keep things warm in the winter.
So, with the question of "one cord per acre" answered, I can use the Engineering Toolbox to figure out how many BTUs per cord, and from there figure determine a heat rate for the boiler and how much useful energy can be developed, working back from that to figure out how many acres of woodlot we'll have to reserve for keeping the boiler fired.
With the understanding that there is a large "unknown quantity" factor in this question, how does one go about estimating and planning for a consumption and re-growth rate for a sustainable woodlot? I realize that the "unknown quantity" of the consumption rate will be the driving factor, but there are other factors that should be knowable, and those factors can be plugged into the planning function.
Let's use the Pacific Northwest as the location for starters (which is relevant to climate, wood species, etc.). Here are some sample questions (feel free to add your own):
Are softwoods (fir, pine, hemlock, etc.) better to plan with than hardwoods (maple, oak, alder)? They seem to grow faster, but do you get more energy out of the hardwoods, and therefore they are the better ones?
What about coppicing? Maple can be coppiced well. Is it a good forestry management technique?
If I harvest an acre of 40-year-old trees, do I get more than twice as much wood as I do from 20-year old trees? If so, that would seem to mean that I need to plan for either twice as much acreage of woodlot or half the consumption rate. Or something.
If coppicing is used, how much wood can be harvested year-over-year per acre?
I realize that every answer here will have an "-ish" factor to it, and I'm really posting this here as a discussion topic rather than looking for a true answer. Still, it seems worth discussing.
I designed a two-piece core that's meant to be castable. If the single-piece core thing turns out to be too expensive, perhaps a two-piece would be less so, even if an extra mold is needed. I had an idea that I could turn my design into a cottage business, but the reality is that I have too many things on my plate to get there. So PM me if you're interested in what I've got.
So, as promised, here are some numbers for consumables. Any suggestions for categories are welcome. I left out metals on purpose. This is for the previously-stated community size of 106 persons.
Annual Per Person (lb)
Annual Requirement (lb)
Units Per Acre
I actually did some research and came up with "reasonable" units per acre. For instance, an acre of a clay pit with a six-foot deep clay band produces 8,712,000 pounds of clay that, when dried, weighs 100 pounds per cubic foot (which it does, according to the Engineer's Toolbox).
Finding information on clothing consumption is difficult, let alone other consumption issues. So I'm going to build another sheet in the workbook and pull several numbers straight out of my anatomy. Reviewers can throw poo at them later. I'll capture it, put it in the biogas digester, and make energy out of it.
We live in the Pacific Northwest. I grew up in the Willamette Valley in Oregon; one of the most fertile places in the country. However, I based my production rates on some U.S. Dept. of Agriculture average farm values, squinting slightly to make useable numbers (simplifying units, rounding a bit, etc.).
Clothing and other "inedible consumables" aren't taken into account here, and should be for long-term survival of the community. Any thoughts around this?
Depending on the livestock consumption model chosen, raw materials for certain types of clothing would come as a result of livestock management (wool, leather, etc.). Hemp, of course, would be a good renewable fiber product, but it has certain regulatory burdens in some places. Cotton, as far as I understand, destroys the soil it's planted in. Other fiber products would depend on region.
My goal for this design project isn't to come up with some "survivability" environment, but one where a small community could thrive long term, even grow if it's done in a managed fashion. You'll note in the graphic that the individual houses are spaced evenly; the spacing is the same width as a house so that other houses can be built between them if density becomes an issue. I need to rotate the houses so the roofline runs parallel to the roadway so if houses are built between, guttering doesn't become an issue. Or use an alternative design that doesn't use the same type of roofline.
As I mentioned, I want to put some effort into figuring out how much energy this community would consume. It's fairly easy to look up electricity consumption per household using an American (e.g. "excessive") consumption model. I would use this for planning because it's the most conservative measure (i.e. "plan for the worst"). But I don't know how to figure out how much energy to plan for the small scale industries, such as food storage and processing, a machine shop/smithy, a school, community resources like restaurants, or anything else that gets added in. If anyone has any input on energy consumption, I'd appreciate it. I'm planning a multi-type energy production system, to include a solar array (solar panel lifespan and replacement is out of scope) and a number of thermal conversion mechanisms (biogas/biomass --> combustion engine --> electricity + heat) that can consume farm products and release the captured solar energy (which is what biomass primarily is). So ultimately I need "energy consumed" to be expressed as BTUs (MMBTUs) and kW, and we can figure out from there how to get them.
As an aside, I've also done some work on a spreadsheet to calculate (in some detail) how much land would be required to support such a village. I still have to work through the energy production bit, but so far it looks like an 80-acre parcel is enough to suit the needs of 32 households, each with 3.3 persons (on average). These numbers presume a current American-style diet level of consumption, which I presume is nearly the most energy intensive in the world.
Community Farm Design
Household Size (Avg) 3.3
Community Size 106
Annualized Per Capita Consumption
Meat 200 lb
Eggs 250 ea
Dairy 800 lb
Produce 700 lb
Grains 200 lb
Total Acres Required 78.6
Now, having said that, I think that you'd really need a 120-160 acre parcel so you had room to do some large-scale rotation. But a well-designed rotation plan could get it done on 80 acres too, it would just take more work.
In my musings about permaculture, I arrived at the idea that the best model (in my humble opinion, of course ) is development of a small, English-style village surrounded by farmland that the community worked to sustain itself. I even designed one that fits in a four-acre square and has a wall around it (as a nod to a possible future that includes roving bands of zombies, but mostly as a way to keep critters out). Even the smallest amount of urban infrastructure can create a place to live that's sustainable for everyone there.
I found this article today about a filter-free and no-moving-parts water filtration system that relies on CO2 injection to ionize the water and encourage the non-water particles to separate from the water. It seemed worth sharing.
There are a number of natural processes that produce CO2 (biogas production, for instance). If this pans out, it's worth designing the output of a biogas upgrading process to feed the input of a water purification process.
- Gasoline is the most available energy form known to man. You can get it almost everywhere, and anyone who's used a gas chainsaw and a battery-powered chainsaw knows the difference in energy.
- Gasoline is tremendously portable — the same gallon of gas that powers a truck can power a log-splitter, power-washer, well-driller, chainsaw, or snowmobile.
I believe the question of how to replace petroleum with ________ is going to be the great challenge of my generation. I am curious to see if we end in an energy-rich world (Elon Musk's future) or an energy-lean world (Paul's future).
Friedrich Diesel developed his engine to show that we could have an engine that ran on non-petroleum fuel (peanut oil in the demonstration at the 1900 World's Fair). Peanut oil (and rapeseed oil, and many other plant-based oils) can power internal combustion engines if we are willing to deal with the (relatively minor) inconveniences of startup, shutdown, and maintenance. We don't need to do without the internal combustion engine, an amazing bit of technology that, as you say, permeates our lives, but we can do with less petroleum if we want to.
I've stated before that I have little to no practical experience with permaculture. But I drink and I know things, so there's that.
In corporate or enterprise software engineering (which differs from ad hoc software engineering), predictability is a key driver. And predictability is supported by implementation of infrastructure. The same is true (and actually more so in my view) in successful FOSS (Free-as-in-freedom, Open Source Software) projects: they use infrastructure like GitHub to ensure a structured way of communicating, implementing changes to the plan, organizing work, providing the results of the work to consumers, etc.
I strongly believe that the most successful permaculture projects do and will rely on infrastructure. The faster you can get the infrastructure in place that will support your long-term design, the more successful your project will be. Two requirements: a long term design, and a list of available resources. If you fail to have one of these, the road gets longer and more fraught with pitfalls.
Sometimes the resources available include human capital, sometimes they include petroleum-driven machinery. Heck, sometimes the presented final design relies on petroleum (plastic things, gas engines, etc.), and that, I suppose, is OK so long as you're willing to vary the value of "perma". If your design is established to get you and your family to the end of your life, and that's what you consider permanency, I'm not going to judge (really; I'm no one in the grand scheme).
So, if you want to do a permaculture project, my advice, FWIW, is to figure out what resources you have, design something, then make a plan for achieving the vision within the scope of the available resources. Sometimes the plan will be achievable. If not, re-design. Factor in un-predictability (commonly referred to as "risk"). If either the level of unpredictability is too high for you, or even if the level is low and it occurs (a twenty percent chance of rain turns to a hundred percent as soon as it starts raining), re-design. Once you have a plan you like, implement. Also consider your exit strategy. Because with that, you can turn failure into part of the plan, and it turns out to be success.
The concept of permaculture tends to center on human labor for productivity, probably because machines can't (yet) reproduce themselves. But there's something to be said for using a nicely-designed, purpose-built mechanism to really get a job done.
I hesitate to call this "new" really; it often surprises me how many reports there are along the lines of, "University researchers discover that combining wheat, yeast, and water can create bread!" But it's nice to know that studies are being done and papers are being written. Sooner or later, someone will take notice and implement some of this stuff, right?
I have virtually no expertise in permaculture, though I have a strong interest. However, I've done a lot of reading about crops and livestock, and am a systems analyst by trade, so I've got a certain sort of perspective on the whole thing...
Someone above asked what your goals are for the property. Decide that before you dive into making changes. Your goals may change as you do research, so be prepared for that. But ultimately, make a plan, work a plan.
Start by figuring out what resources the land provides. You have acidic soil. Some market crops, blueberries for instance, love acidic soil. And they take seven years to go from seedlings to fully-productive plants. They take a little maintenance annually, but not much. So, for instance, if you want a market garden, consider planting some blueberries. This is not to say you should plant them, but (with the limited amount of information I have) they seem to be a good fit.
As someone else said above, water management tends to be important on any land; you want the water where you want it, which isn't necessarily in line with where nature wants it. So figure out where it goes and make a plan for encouraging it to go where you want. Go into this effort realizing that you're encouraging the water, not forcing it. Water tends to do what it wants. You can force it, but it requires a lot of energy input.
Having that much forest is a boon. What are the trees? Maple, alder, and other such trees can be coppiced and their output managed to provide you with solar energy capture and consumption that's sustainable. If you haven't already, read up on rocket mass heaters, but also other wood-fired energy transformation schemes (the term energy is often misused; trees store solar energy, fire transforms it to heat. Apply this mode of thinking to other energy issues). Five years is plenty of time to get a good coppicing operation started.
If you want to till some soil, get some pigs. Of course, with livestock, you have to be onsite to tend them. Well, you don't HAVE to, but it's best for everyone concerned. Pigs rotating around large paddocks will tear them up and pump resources into the soil. For deep soil transformation, plant some alfalfa. As a bonus, pigs love it.
I've probably told you 40% more than I actually know about the subject of permaculture; I'll be interested to see if anyone with more knowledge challenges my advice (I welcome challenge, as it's a way to learn). The one thing I know for certain is that, with any project like this, infrastructure saves you in later efforts. So, if you want to plan on relaxing some in retirement, start building infrastructure today. In five years' time, with a little effort, you should be in good shape.
Near the end of page 11 is the seismic standards description for areas classified D1 and D2 (Lane County is D1, which you can find previously in that document). So, adhere to those standards or the ones they refer to. And then move on from there. It's a lot of work, but doable, and you end up learning a lot. For instance, with a little digging, I found the code for straw bale structures:
I hate to suggest throwing technology at the problem, but you evidently use a computer (you're posting here), so perhaps a GANTT charting tool will help you keep track of what needs to happen when and what's dependent on what. For an example (free for a single-project user like yourself), check out this tool (which I found via Google; I'm not a user, nor affiliated): https://ganttpro.com/ At the very least, the intro video will give you some idea of what this sort of tool does.
Terry Ruth wrote:I have been research MGO for building applications in the USA. I having problems understanding the applications and chemistry so I thought I'd share what I found so far. Perhaps some permies can help to better understand the information.
http://www.premiercpg.com/links.html These guys are sending me a sample of MGO that I can change the mix to the get the properties I want that say….They want $1800 ton. I have yet to see if the cost equals out to Portland cement since it will take less due to its better properties all around. I’ll add some hemp to this binder see if it improves over lime. I’m in SE Kansas, anyone have experience with MGO or know of a close by distributor let me know.
Did you pursue this any further? What were your results?
OK, hawthorn identified. Also, we've been told that this is tarweed, which is, contrary to the way the name sounds, a good thing. It was evidently planted as a food crop by Native Americans. Can anyone confirm?
If we're not so into herbalism, what's it good for? Decoration doesn't mean much, considering that it's about 1000 feet from the house in an oak grove.
BTW, I didn't see any evidence of flower petals around when I took the picture. Are they early bloomers? The ones in the pictures at that link looked amazing, but I would expect there to be some evidence of petals still around in June.
I've posted elsewhere that my mom just bought a farm. It's large, and has a crazy amount of wildlife and plant diversity on it (yay!). My favorite bit of wildlife is the flight of buzzards that regularly patrol the pasture, but more on them later.
There are a few things growing on the farm that we're having a hard time identifying, mostly from straight-up ignorance. Some things we've figured out, though. So, toward the goal of creating a diary of things growing wild on the farm and identifying them, I'm starting this thread.
First up, some sort of tree. My guess is mulberry, but I really have no idea. Anyone?
My sister is going to run horses in that pasture this week to eat down the hay, scuff the soil some, and put down some fertilizer in preparation for us broadcasting forage seed for the pigs arriving next Spring. She doesn't want the horses around the tansy, even though they probably won't eat it.
I went and pulled tansy in the field on Saturday, and my back felt it on Sunday (a trip to the beach helped). In a couple of hours, my sister and I pulled two tractor bucket loads off of a 2 1/2 acre field; some of the plants were almost my height and more than two feet in diameter. I'm sure there will be more to pull in time, but we got the worst of it.
Thanks. In the upper left corner of the pasture is a corral. The previous owners had goats, and there's a shed and (conveniently) a scale with gates to control in/out. It's a perfect starting platform overall.
There's a water spigot adjacent to the pasture, and I've drawn in a blue rectangle where I expect (based on your advice) to put a trough. So, steel or plastic? There's a plastic one there of about 150 gallons, but I think it's too tall for pigs. Perhaps a shorter one or partially bury the one that's there.
The land is almost entirely flat. I'm going to hunt down the Lidar data for the parcel, though I suspect the trees will make it somewhat inaccurate. At any rate, the slope across the 2.5 acres we've identified for pig pasture is barely enough to make a muddy wallow at one corner, and frankly it would be the wrong corner given the shape of the plot.
Currently there's water at the upper left corner of the pasture in the image above. I need to figure out what to do for paddock layout so there's water in each one. Alternately, I could leave a lane open at the end and put a large water trough where they can always access it. Or are watering nipples the better way to go? I think I like the idea of nipples because standing water attracts mosquitoes, which are already a problem. But are they more of a maintenance nightmare than they're worth?