I have a hardy hi-can (hickory-pecan) from Oikos Tree Crops. It's only a foot tall, long time before it'll have nuts, but I bet you could get seeds from Oikos. They're near Kalamazoo, Michigan. Different type of cold climate than Denver, but still a cold climate.
The owner there has been doing interesting crossing and selecting projects for quite a long time.
Nicole Alderman wrote:But, I wish I could get something less toxic that wasn't also drinkable...
Hardware stores have "denatured alcohol", which is almost-pure ethanol, with just tiny amounts of additives to make it undrinkable. That also allows it to be sold without drinking-alcohol taxes and therefore MUCH cheaper.
Last week my friend told me he got a good flush of shiitake mushrooms from the logs he inoculated. The logs he inoculated in 2009.
My ears perked up, because I really like shiitakes. I went looking for spore plugs, and didn't find a quantity and price I liked. So I'm trying an experiment, folks. Mushrooms drop spores out of the gills when they mature. If I put some whole caps with their intact gills into a log and seal it up, shouldn't it colonize?
I'll let you know next year.
I got these four logs:
I chainsawed a slot into them:
I stuffed the shiitake mushroom caps into the slot:
I need to seal these with wax, but if I just pour hot wax on them, I think it might cook the spores. So I'll block up the slot with these candle stubs first:
And then melt a pot of wax:
And then pour it over the slots to seal them. Good luck, little spores!
Hi CJ! Welcome to Permies. It's exciting to see somebody taking big, bold steps toward sustainability.
I poked around cruxhomes.com, and was curious about several things:
1. Is that all the pictures you've got? I wanted to see lots and lots more.
2. Are those asphalt shingles?
3. What's the oldest Cruxhome? How's it doing? Has anything leaked?
4. The zero overhang on the gable end makes me nervous. Has that given you any trouble? Wood siding rotting around the edges?
5. The FAQ says,
Is the lumber used in a CruxHome treated in any special way?
The method of construction for the curved trusses or I-beams is an assembly of composite / engineered wood that is bent into the designed shape. No high temperature or chemical treatments are used to create the curved shape.
No chemical treatments are used to put the curve in the beams... that are made of glue.
It seems like you'd get better outcomes by scaring off your chemical-sensitive customers as early in the process as you can. Gluelam beams are non-optional (right?), so advertising "no chemical treatments" is going to bring the wrong people into the sales pipeline. If somebody's not ok with glue, they're not the customer you're looking for. Dontcha think?
You guys might be interested to learn from my recent mistake. Well, it's a mixed outcome, not 100% mistake.
I needed to re-roof my garage. I really love standing-seam steel roofing, and I've written here before about why, so I'll skip the retelling. But last fall I didn't have the time and money to put the steel roof on the garage, and yet I needed to get it to stop leaking right then.
So I bought two used billboard vinyls from a sign company. They were 14'x48' (= 672 sq ft = 62 sq m) and cost $25 each. I've seen them for free, but I couldn't find any free ones at the time. For comparison, a 600 sq ft heavy-duty tarp is $96 at Home Depot, so this is a pretty fine price.
I did a little reading and decided to adhere the vinyl to the plywood decking with vinyl flooring glue. That stuff's formulated to glue vinyl to plywood, right?
So the first side we did didn't stick well. It blew loose in areas and flapped around all winter. Where it flapped, it developed holes.
The second side, we had gotten the hang of brushing on the right quantity of glue, stretching the vinyl smoothly into it, and making it nice, and that side has stayed flawlessly watertight for 7 months or so.
The vinyl is an appropriate underlayment for the metal roofing, too. That was the scheme- I'll put the vinyl on in the fall, it will last through the winter, and then I'll put the metal on top of it in the spring.
So. Would I do this again? Yes. With very careful glueing plus mechanical fasteners around the perimeter, yes I would. Did it go right this time? Not really.
How green is it? Mmmm, medium. A vinyl on the roof is better than a vinyl in the landfill and some ice and water shield or tarp on the roof. How frugal? Quite frugal. Cheaper than tarps, much cheaper than ice and water shield, and can be accomplished for free if you're lucky.
There ya go! One more tidbit of real-life knowledge for the community.
So you can build a heater anywhere on a range from negligibly massive (like a cast iron woodstove) to extremely massive (like Rob Roy's enormous central column masonry heater, 22 tons IIRC).
A negligibly massive stove will heat up very quickly, shed its heat very promptly, and be cool again very quickly.
An extremely massive stove will heat up very slowly, shed its heat very slowly, and not be cool again for quite a while.
The problem I expect your wife is picturing is this. In places with cold winters, there are the "shoulder seasons". That's the transition time between the peak and the trough of your heating demands. And in the should seasons, it's often warm during the day but cool enough at night to want a fire. It's also often cool for a couple of days, then a warm front moves through, and then it's warm for a few days, and then switch back again.
If you have a rather massive stove, you might burn a fire and not feel much heat for four hours. With practice, you can maybe judge this correctly, and light a fire at 4pm so the room doesn't cool off at 8pm. Only if you're home from work, though. And you remember. And if you're coming back from a trip, say, you've got a chilly several hours ahead of you.
And also in a stove that massive, it might NOT cool off as much overnight as you want, so that midmorning is uncomfortably hot the next day.
That's the trade-off involved in mass. It stays warm a long time when you want it to (in the dead of winter).... but it also stays warm a long time when you don't want it to (in the shoulder seasons).
The only times I've harvested more than a few berries for fresh eating were the times when I harvested many GALLONS of berries.
I think it varies tree-to-tree: some of them have responded well to spreading a sheet out below and shaking the fruit off the branches, and others just haven't.
I once filled a five-gallon pail with mulberries in under 20 minutes, including walking from the house to the tree and back! Just spread the sheet, shake the fruit down, and funnel it into the pail. It was great. Other trees sometimes just don't respond the same way.
I've made wine from them. It took a full two years to turn good, but when it finally did it was quite good. If you have an easy shakeable tree AND you've got plenty of patience and storage space, then I heartily recommend it. Otherwise, no.
Devin Lavign wrote:It should be mentioned about Bark River Knife and Tool, that they do a lot of grinding after the heat treatment process. This has caused many owners to complain of blades that chip, due to over heating of the blade and ruining of the heat treatment.
Overheating a blade causes it to get softer and more malleable rather than harder and more brittle. Are you sure people weren't accusing BRKT of just heat-treating the knives poorly so that they were shipped out too hard?
John Wolfram wrote:To get above 100% efficiency, they increased the temperature of the LED to 135C (275F) with the tiniest amount current running through the LED. I would imagine one could easily produce a similar result by sticking an incandescent bulb in the oven. Once the oven gets hot enough, the filament will glow, and if you were to ramp down the current with a dimmer switch, you eventually would be getting more light out of the bulb power provided by the electrical current.
It's the same as heat pumps and geothermal heating systems having greater than 100% efficiency.
You put some energy in, and more energy than that comes out. How? Some energy is gathered from elsewhere.
In the case of heat pumps and geothermal heating, the electricity does the work of moving the energy from the outside air or the underground into the house.
In the case of the LED, some of the light energy came from the electrical energy that went in, and some of the light energy came from heat energy that the LED absorbed.
In both cases, the device isn't creating energy, it's gathering energy.
When I lived in Arkansas, they soil was very poor- low organic matter, high clay. And it was really dry all summer.
Basil LOVED it. I grew so much basil in two little 3'x3' plots that we had pesto for two years. It was astonishing. Crowded out the weeds and everything.
Up here in Michigan, much different. High sand, good organic matter, fairly wet, not hot. A couple of off-the-beaten-path things that thrive are sunflowers and jerusalem artichokes. The large sunflowers (our variety is named "Avapasui", I think) can make a tremendous quantity of seeds, if you care to take the trouble to preserve them.
Vee Green wrote:Hi Mike. I've been following this thread and I wanted you know if you could design a larger press. I'm thinking of one that could make bricks for home construction. It would be a game changer for me.
These bricks are quite suitable for home construction!
They're about the size of traditional (southwestern North America) adobes, which are specifically for home construction. People worked out the size of adobes over time- they're the right balance between being large enough to build efficiently, and small enough to carry with average upper-body strength. These are in the ballpark of 20lbs each after fully drying.
They can be used to make a 6" thick wall, an 11" thick wall, or a double-wythe wall of 6" + insulation + 6" (which would end up being quite stout indeed).
Michael Jinks wrote: if the volume of soil in the compression chamber were to be increased by say 50% will the machine still be able to compact it to the same block height of 92cm?
I find that there's a wide, wide variation in the density of the soil I put in my press.
If I dump in a few shovelfuls and pat them with the shovel, it can easily be too much. So that I can't compress it. In fact, I bent a couple of the components of my press bouncing up and down on the end of the 8' handle when I had too much soil loaded.
Or, I can obviously put in too little soil, so that that handle easily moves through its whole stroke, but the block inside is loose and crumbly.
There's a bit of technique to it. Doesn't take long to get the hang of (say, 50 blocks and you'll surely have it mastered), but it's not automatically right based on the volume+movement of the machine. It's mostly in the soil. The machine is happy to accept far too much soil for a block or far too little. The operator has to put just the right amount in.
Angelika Maier wrote:I tried to germinta schisandra chinensis various times but it did not work. I will try it once again and it is autum so it seems to be the right season. Does someone sell some VIABLE seeds?
Or if in Australia cuttings? Or does someone know were there are good plants in Australia?
And of course: did you germinate the seeds yourself (not what you read on the net) and how? Which is the best commercial source of the seeds?
Travis Johnson wrote:About a year ago a St Johnsbury Vermont 2 year old was playing at his recently purchased abandoned property and happened upon meth-making supplies and it blew up in his face. He nearly died and spent months at the Shiners Hospital in Boston for burn treatment.
I'm not suggesting that meth-related chemicals that a previous owner might leave around aren't dangerous. I'm just suggesting they're not more dangerous than all the other chemicals a previous owner might have left around.
If he owned a car, antifreeze is scary (it's scary because it's tasty).
If he was an old-fashioned homesteader, strychnine (rat poison) is scary.
If he was an unscrupulous fisherman, sodium cyanide is scary.
If he was into mushroom collecting, Amanita bisporigera is scary.
There are an enormous number of scary things that a previous owner might leave around your place that will hurt you if you eat, breathe, or touch them. Anybody buying somebody else's mess should carefully, cautiously, clean the whole thing up. Meth ingredients are just one more thing to worry about on a very long list.
Marco Banks wrote: I would, however, make sure whomever does the inspection has some way of testing to see if they were cooking meth on your site. That stuff is highly toxic. Residue from a meth lab is very expensive to remediate. I know this from a friend who discovered that renters in one of his properties were running a meth lab in a garage. They had to strip the drywall back to the studs and have it hauled away by hazmat guys.
We bought a foreclosed house, and we were concerned about methamphetamine production.
So we did two things. First, we bought a test kit. You swab around in thirty places or so, see if there's any meth residue on the surfaces. It was cheap, under $50.
The second, I talked with an acquaintance who owns a hazard testing company (you know, the kind that comes and tests your house for mold, asbestos, meth, etc.). I asked him what was the dangerous part of meth production, and he said the meth itself. So far, so good. I mean, we keep bleach, gasoline, acetone, and other hazardous things around the house now. I hadn't heard of any specific ultra-dangerous chemical used in meth production, like necroxylene or something, but I wasn't sure. He said, no, what you're worried about is the meth itself. But then I asked him... people ingest that stuff on purpose. It's not good for you, but it IS for consumption. If people eat it and enjoy it, exactly how bad can it hurt me if there's some spilled on the workbench and it gradually evaporates and I smell it? If spilling meth on the workbench and smelling it got very much into your body, then people would do that on purpose!
He didn't have an answer to that.
So between confirming that there was no meth in my house and confirming that it's only the meth itself that you're supposed to be afraid of, I decided to not be afraid at all.
I'm Thomas from Switzerland. I just signed in because I found this interesting post with the video and plans for Kuznetsovs stove and I have a question about it. Please forgive my ignorance, I'm completely new to the topic. So here is my question:
* What are the openings on the side for?
Thanks for sharing your insights!
The side openings are ash clean-outs. The exhausts gases flow all through the stove, and they'll drop a little bit of ash. You can't reach all the areas through the firebox- to clean out that ash as it builds up, it's necessary to have a little access door.
Adam Jonathan wrote:Does anyone know what temperature this type of Russian Stove exhausts at in Farenheit? I have an old flu that will likely have fires if I don't keep the exhaust below 200 degrees F.
If the Russian Stoves exhaust at higher temps, any ideas on ways to capture additional heat prior to exhaust?
They'll exhaust at fairly low temperatures. The idea is that the bricks soak up the heat. But the better place to start is, why do you suspect the flue would have fires? Can't you clean it?
Paul Wheaton wrote:The work-traders were given their passes before the event and told what they would be doing when. It sounded like the event suffered from a 70% no-show rate.
I wonder if work-trade in 21st-century USA is a selection mechanism that filters for what you don't want.
People available for work-trades aren't tied to careers, at least not the typical kind of career where you arrange work for an employer indefinitely with one to five weeks of vacation time per year allowed.
Some people are above careers (they've got plenty of money, and they've thoughtfully decided they value freedom more than setting their mind to a long-term path)...
but many more are below careers (they can't stay in one place long before conflict or unreliability causes them to exit or be expelled).
People interested in work-trades are also intent on leaving money out of the transaction. There are noble reasons for this, like suspicion of government or making the transaction more authentic by disintermediating it, but I suspect that there are more of the ignoble reasons. Working for money maybe connotes a higher standard, a "real" job that you have to show up for and have to do; a work-trade, somebody just thinks of that as "a thing I'm gonna maybe do". If you make a deal involving money, somebody might sue you, but who would sue you for not showing up for a work-trade (this is legally groundless, btw, but it's a common perception). Or, I don't know, reputation. "That guy scammed me out of $400" just sounds a lot stronger, a lot more embarrassing, than "That guy scammed me out of four days of cleanup duty!"
Unfortunately, it's easy for hardworking, reliable people to get jobs nowadays. (Not good jobs, maybe. I'm not trying to talk politics here.) It's also powerfully normative for people to get a job. My main string of questions for a prospective work-trader would revolve around, "Exactly why don't you have a job?" Meaning, what about you isn't normal? Something's not normal if you don't have a job. So is it something extra good about you? Or is it something bad?
kevin stewart wrote:When someone says:
"trust me", now I don't.
These are weak attempts to create a higher degree of familiarity, intimacy, or trust than the conversation naturally warrants.
Same thing with "have a blessed day" and "God bless you" with strangers. If we're talking about religion, we must be close, right?
(For what it's worth, the more powerful way to escalate that intimacy and trust is by having a conversation or interaction that naturally warrants it. Answering personal questions is one thing that leads to trust. Intuitively, you might think that you trust someone when you know about them, when they talk about themselves. But that's not what happens. You trust someone when you talk about yourself. Because trust is not about rationally judging someone's trustworthiness. Trust arises when you perform trusting behaviors.
Another one is doing a favor. When you do someone a favor, you begin to trust them more. It's like your brain goes, "Well, I know I only do favors for people with whom I'm close, and I know I just did this guy a favor... I wasn't sure whether we were close, but I guess obviously we are." Please, folks, only use these powers for good. )
I was checking in, and I came across Glenn's post in this thread:
Glenn Herbert wrote:what reduction in wood use has been reported by people who have replaced an old woodstove with the latest efficient models?
If they have cut wood use in half or less, the fact would presumably be significant enough to mention.
It seemed like it was worth adding a data point to the body of Permies knowledge.
TL; DR - I bought a top-of-the-line woodstove and cut my wood consumption by more than half.
I moved my family into our current house in summer of 2013. This is our fourth winter here. We haven't changed anything about the house. It's a little under 1,000 square feet (92 sq m), poorly insulated, and the woodstove has been the only heat source.
The first winter, we used a Vogelzang Boxwood Stove, and we burned right about four full cords of wood (twelve 16" face cords).
Cleaning up the used stove:
The second winter, we used an antique Acme Jewel woodstove. Same four full cords. (A bit of trivia- our stove was built in the 1890's in Detroit, which was The Stove Capital Of The World for a few decades before it was Motor City.)
Cleaning up THIS used stove:
This is the fourth winter, and we're on pace for the same two cords as last year.
Now, real life is messy, and as you might expect, there were confounding factors. The big one is the fact that, in Michigan, the winters of 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 were unusually cold, and the winter of 2015/2016 was unusually warm. 2016/2017 is on track to be unusually warm, too, and it would be tempting to say, "Well obviously, Mike, THAT's why you're burning less wood." But there's an offset. Last winter and this winter, I've been burning ANOTHER woodstove, a little bitty one out in my office in the yard. It's not an efficient model, and the office isn't an efficient building, so it's eating up plenty of wood.
I figure, very roughly and without any hard data, that the mild weather and the additional building just about cancel each other out. I feel confident in saying the Ideal Steel keeps us warm with half the wood of the Vogelzand or the Acme Jewel. It also does deliver on the load-it-every-twelve hours promise, too. I fire it morning and evening.
I would have liked to have built a masonry stove to say I did it myself, but my wife wanted something that was definitely going to get finished, which is fair.
Wait, are you wanting to build with rammed earth? Or compressed earth blocks (CEBs)?
There's no real reason that the names are what they are, but they are. "Rammed earth blocks" is muddled, so you'll have a harder time finding what you're looking for.
If you're thinking of building with rammed earth, I think you could maybe make that jackhammer work. I've never seen it done, but I don't see why not, unless the stroke ends up being too short. When people say "rammed earth," they mean compressing the earth into formworks in place, on the wall.
If you're thinking of making blocks, I think probably not. If you compress the soil inside a form for a block, then you need a way to get the block and the form apart. That's why CEB presses have an expulsion step.
It's also true that uncompressed adobes are completely adequate for building a house.
So... step one, a little clarification of what's the goal.
Gilbert Fritz wrote:
Also, is there anything I could plant that would help hold things together after the wire rusts out, but would not be super aggressive as far as competing with salads in the frame? I'm assuming this does not exist.
Grapes are lovely, strong, and don't spread at the ground. The vines go everywhere, obviously, but just from the one trunk at the bottom.