Glenn Herbert wrote:Not getting into the toxicity or lack thereof, I have a few questions and comments about your math and chemistry. First, did the manufacturer say the 25% is by volume or by weight, and is that aluminum or aluminum oxide? Those factors would significantly affect the amount of aluminum in the bricks. I think the relevant factor is how big a volume weighs a milligram, thus how much powder would need to be scraped off with each pizza to be hazardous. If a milligram of firebrick powder (1/4 aluminum or 1/4 aluminum oxide, whichever it is) is a decent pinch, I think we can agree that nowhere near that much comes off with each pizza, let alone gets into the food or air that a person consumes. Hard firebrick are quite abrasion resistant, soft firebrick are not (and thus are not suitable in any way for an oven floor). I don't have equipment to measure a milligram of firebrick powder, but I could weigh out 0.1 gram and see how big a pile/pinch it is.
I specifically asked that when talking to the manufacturer and they said it is not by weight but by volume. I also found out what a cup of aluminum oxide weighs in mg (I state this in my calculation) for my conversion to weight and thus milligrams. I also called the CDC and they said 1 mg a day is the amount you can consume in all of your daily activities and be fairly sure not to get sick. And then I determined how many milligrams of aluminum oxide are in small cob oven. To give you an example that everyone can visualize, 1 mg of water is 1/50th of a drop of water from your average dropper...hardly a decent pinch. The result is the result...everyone can make their own determination as to the risk.
JC, NIH.gov also has medical papers on its website which label Aluminum under heavy metals if you don't like Wiki. And no offense taken, I find it humorous.
Right Bill, What we are talking about is the aluminum dust that is inevitably scraped off the bricks during use and then ingested via food placed on said brick. This is not relevant for stoves or people that don't cook directly on their fire brick (which most people do).
Ok, here is some math..JC use you gray hair and check the numbers.
A typical fire brick is 4.5" x 2.5" x 9" which is 101.25 cubic inches.
If you use 26 bricks for a 36" x 36" cob oven you have 26 x 101.25 = 2,632.5 cubic inches of fire brick
Lets assume each brick is 25% aluminum by volume (which is what a manufacturer told me is the lowest % aluminum they make) so you have 2,632.5 x .25 = 658.125 cubic inches of aluminum
There are 14.4375 cubic inches in a cup so you have 658.125/ 14.4375 = 45.5 cups of aluminum
A cup of aluminum oxide weighs 934, 523.54 mg so you have 42,520,796.5 milligrams of Aluminum Oxide in your cob oven.
The CDC says as long as you don't ingest over 1 mg of aluminum per day (or 1/40,000,000th of your bricks) you should not have any adverse health affects.
So there you go, regardless of hair color, those are the facts so everyone can make an informed decision. Let me know if I made a math error anywhere and I will update the post to correct it.
Ah, my foundational understanding. From Wikipedia: "Beryllium and aluminium, although light metals, are sometimes counted as heavy metals in view of their toxicity" This was meant to be a discussion with dialog and there was no intent to offend any gray hairs.
JC, more info on how you construct your cob ovens without aluminum fire brick would be very helpful
Ken, no fear here...just having a discussion which is what these forums are for. Sorry if you think discussing the effects of consuming a heavy metal irrational. The decision is not use fire brick or don't build a cob oven....as JC pointed out there are alternatives for people that choose not to cook on aluminum fire bricks. Not dwelling on uncertainty...just trying to weigh the facts and not do something just because " that's the way we have always done it".
Troy, when does consumption of aluminum oxide cross over from safe to not safe according the studies you have read?
JC, people traditionally put food directly on the bricks in the oven right? So you are effectively eating off of it and consuming any aluminum particles scraped off the bricks and incorporated into your food....much more than a pot which was the point.
Now, one may say "I am cool with eating minute amounts of aluminum oxide and don't think it will hurt" and I am not saying it will....just trying to hear some opinions as I know there are many that have built them on here and have opinion on the matter.
Ken, the use of the lower aluminum % brick for cob ovens does not seem to be common knowledge in the world of cob oven building. Good point.
Sure, I get the "everything can kill you argument". If you drink enough water it will kill you right? If we said that about everything we would worry about any pollution, heavy metals, pesticides or herbicides in our bodies.
Fire bricks are 50-75% Aluminum Oxide so that's not really a minute amount. In a wood stove I would have no worries as my concern is not the release through heat but rather the dust embedded in food from the scraping effect on the bottom of the oven. If your scraping off dust from a product that is 50% aluminum oxide your going to get fairly high levels in your body over time.
Yes, I would like to find an alternative, that's why I posted this discussion. I would bet that most that have built cob ovens are not even aware of the composition of fire bricks. Are the same people that would not dare use an aluminum pan ok with using an aluminum brick because it has a cob roof?
I posted this because it seems the first thing most permies say when building a cob oven is " go get some fire bricks". As far as I can tell from my research aluminum oxide (which is what fire bricks are made of) is pretty nasty stuff but I am willing to be led to a source that says otherwise.
Native plums produce very well on the edges in partial shade but seem to just survive as you describe in complete shade so getting more sun is the most important thing. You can run over plums with a bush hog and they will throw up suckers and come right back so they are pretty tough. We have a fairly large plum tree in our woods that was knocked over by a larger tree that fell on it. The plum tree rooted where it was touching the ground. I would wait until they are dormant just to reduce stress and cut them at the base. Next year when the suckers come up you can pile dirt around them and the following winter you dig up the rooted suckers. You can also just cut them or bend them over and root them as Leila stated...rooting the cuttings just takes a little care so they don't dry out. Good Luck!
I am just telling you what I do. I don't suggest anyone carry a gun that is not trained and comfortable with one. We had a pack of wild dogs come on our property and attack our ducks a couple months ago when my husband was feet away. They had no fear of him until one of them was instantly culled at which time they decided to leave. Its just a way of life for us but I know its not for everyone.
I think aggression is a little bit of nurture and a lot of nature. We have treated all our pigs the same and some are just nicer than others. All things being equal, you will have a nicer pig (or any animal) the more you interact with them. A full belly doesn't hurt either.
Glock manufactures ICDs...mine in in .40 caliber. It is very possible they could pursue your kids but most likely they would go looking for easier sources of food. Wild dogs, coyotes, wild pigs, bears, etc is why we have a dog to always be with our kids when not directly in our sight.
Row houses, townhomes, apartments...they all have group dumpsters and areas where they pile things to be taken to the dump. Its common practice to set things to the side that are still useful and can be used by someone else.
What is the one thing grass hates...shade. Now, as you found out mulch creates shade for a little while but then quickly turns into a growing medium. I am not a big fan of cardboard but it will surely work. Brush piles on contour work well and can be crept along down hill as you plant. Another easy way to accomplish this is with 6 inch logs laid on the ground for a couple months. Also, you can make mounds in the middle of a section of grass and plant pumpkins really thick or some other large leafed plant that will shade the grass. I have found that Daikon radishes will grow in grass if just broadcasted...same with buckwheat, clover and curly dock. Curly dock is probably the toughest edible ground cover I am aware of. It seems to thrive in the middle of lawns that look like putting greens.
As CJ said they were attempting to eat your children...now imagine if they where 300 lbs! I think this is great that you posted this as it is a good reality check for others. A lot of people see the videos of people laying down with their pigs, kissing them, rubbing their face on them, etc and get a false sense of security. Our ossabaw has a tendency to nip while the large blacks are good natured and gentle. Its hard to appreciate how strong even a hundred pound pig is. A two hundred pound pig can easily grab a grown man and yank him off his feet. I never turn my back on my pigs...even the ones that have proven to be gentle and always have an instant culling device (ICD) on my hip if needed. I never allow my little ones in the pig pen as if the pigs turned on them for whatever reason there is a good chance I would not be able to react fast enough. Thank you again for posting this as you will help many others that read your post. Good luck!
No, you don't need a kiln but it will speed things up. Wood takes about a year for each inch of thickness to dry for use in furniture....less for exterior use (cedar). You could build a kiln that could handle say 1000 bf every two months and try to sell it dry at retail. That's how your going to make the most money. Whatever you do, I would not let a logger take those logs off the property...you will get taken advantage of.
When you do your hot wire paddocks, put them on contour...the pigs will create little Swales for you on the downhill side. As far as movable shelters...the cow panels will work. We attach metal roofing to each panel, use threaded u- bolts to connect them and bend and stake in place. When you are ready to move the sections can be unbolted in minutes and put on the bucket of the tractor or carried to the next location quickly. We have a lot of topo and trees so the skids don't work for us.
It really is not a question of how well the ducks forage with the amount of acreage you have it's more of a question of how much forage you have and how many ducks can that sustain. As far as selling them, find out where the foodies hang out in the closest city to you. I had a guy tell me (that I would not have guessed ate heritage pork) he orders heritage pork off the internet!! After I told him we raised large black and osabaws he told me to name my price. It's hard to believe but there are people out there that want the best and will pay for it. Find those people.
Muscovy meat is amazing and I would stick with them. Pekin is more common and hard to get a premium price for. You could find a niche market for the Muscovy meat. We butchered about 50 last year for personal consumption. If you are going to sell eggs Khaki Cambells are the way to go. 5 dollars a dozen is cheap for organic or free range duck eggs though. You are producing a premium product, don't sell at commodity prices. Whole foods is getting $7 for pasture raised chicken eggs and they don't compare to duck eggs. I know people that get a dollar an egg for duck eggs. As far as making money, its tough on a half acre because you don't have enough forage for a lot of ducks (as you stated) so you are going to have to supplement a fair amount of food. Do the math with the feed before you jump into this and make sure it pencils out as your the only one who knows the feeding habits of ducks on your property. Good Luck!
Not sure I understand the purpose of the log pens. Three pigs will take a 50 x 50 pen full of beans down to dirt in a couple days. All you need is one or two strands of wire at nose level that is really hot and some shade and your good to go. Put them in a VERY sturdy small enclosure when you first get them and line it with the hot wire. After a week they will respect it and wont go close to it. The trick is for them never to realize they can run through the fence and have plenty of forage so they don't want to. Any that continue to run through the fence after that are raising their hand to be harvested early. I am very excited for you! Pigs are a great homestead animal.
Do you have a water feature like small pond? Ponds are a great way to attract birds, bats, dragonflies, and predatory wasps. Many insect eating birds also eat seeds and berries. Planting millet, rye, elderberry, etc can help bring them in closer to find the real dessert.
What types of trees do you predominately have? What board foot estimate did the logger give you? What is the estimate the logger is giving you for value (your 60%)? What type of trees are you replanting and what is the goal for the property once logged (timber, food production, etc)?
Assuming your fuyu is grafted on American persimmon root stock they are extremely tough trees with very few diseases or pests that bother them. Don't over think it, plant the plants you want around it. Paw paw, oak, black locust, ash, pine, blueberries, elderberry, Jerusalem artichoke, clover, millet, crabapple, stag horn sumac, and devils walking stick are all things that play well with persimmon on our property.
I wouldn't worry about infecting it with good fungi if it already has a fungal infection as the infection that already has hold in the wood will most likely win. Assuming the surrounding plants are not susceptible to said fungal disease your plan should work fine. I would coppice (cut at the base) theses hedges and plant a more diverse hedge in between them. If they grow back use them as mulch for your new preferred hedge....like blueberries,elderberries, and black locust.
Great looking property! If you are going to be on a well talk to neighbors about the quality of their water and any issues they might have. Even if you are not going to buy this property, get a topo map of it from your local government (not sure if this is available in Ireland) and plan out the earthworks as if it were yours. This exercise will teach a you a lot about how the shape of the property and the way the contour lines cross it effects what you can do on the property. Go to the property during or right after a big rain and take note of where water runs and were it stands. Do you want to keep bees? You might want to check what the farmers around you predominately grow and see what the spray practices are for that crop. I had a relative this year loose 9 hives to a neighboring farmer spraying his crop in full bloom.
Joshua, great looking garden bed! Slugs will find there way to your garden with or without the hay mulch. They decimate crops for some and are not really a problem for others. If they do become a problem you can sprinkle some diatomaceous earth around the base of the plants they are going after. It's a natural product that acts like tiny shards of glass against their soft bodies. I have found that they go after some plants more that others but they are not a huge issue for is so we don't bother doing anything. This being your first season you will learn a lot about your site specific challenges. Ask your neighbors that garden what varieties they plant and what pests they deal with. Even if they are traditional chemical farmers there is a lot of knowledge there you can glean off of. Plant as many different varieties as your budget will allow this year so next year you will have a good group of plants that like your environment to work with. You have gotten off to a great start and I wish you well.
We breasted our geese, then took the legs and the wing meat and called it a day. Until we invest in a plucker doing it by hand is too much work. As far as killing any bird, we cut the the entire head off on a big locust stump with a large cleaver. Have a bucket next to the stump and create a wedge in it so when you stick the bird in upside down the neck stays off the bottom. One person holds the body and the other person stretches the neck out across the stump and chops. Tip... Hit harder than you think you need to the first time through and make sure your knife is razor sharp. My husband does this by himself when I can't help but I would not recommend doing that your first time.
Walter, as far as I am concerned, is the Warren Buffett of pasture raised pigs. I think there are a few keys here in things that he said you need to focus on. One is that they need to be trained. Do not put pigs that are used to being in metal or wood fences in an electric fence of any sort. They will most likely just run over it while realizing half way through that it also hurts. Which at this point they forget about because they are freeeee. How do I know this? Well, we recovered our pigs after trapping them over a three week period. I would take the pigs you want to put in this fence (wether strand or mesh) and line the inside of four pig panels made into a square. They usually come in 15 ft sections so that is a 15 x 15 square. I put 5 pigs at about 80lbs in that square and tractored them for a couple weeks. After a week they became very aware of the electricity and hardly ever touched the fence. They then can be put in a larger space and will respect the fence so long as they are happy and have plenty of forage/food. Now as far as hotness of the fence, if it doesn't make you go into a standing fetal position and squint one eye when you touch the fence with no shoes on...it's not hot enough. Get a tester and make sure it's hot, don't depend on the size charger you have as there are many variable that could be hurting your "hotness".
There are plenty of people that don't have a lot that is 100 foot wide, their neighbor has cedar trees and they have fruit trees. Don't over think it...buy the toughest trees you can find and go for it. Make sure you plant different types of trees and different varieties of each so if you have failure with one you still have food coming in.
Landon, we would enter into an agreement with someone to profit share on a couple acres of our 100 acres and I know there are others out there that would do the same near you. There are a tremendous amount of old farmers or people that inherit land that would jump at the chance to partner with someone that had a plan. There are people out there doing it no smarter or wealthy than you so go for it!
This is a completely normal activity for plums. Now, if they have not started to leaf out in two weeks there may be an issue. Around here, the wild plums look like puff balls right now... makes them one of the easier trees to spot in the spring and note the locations for June and July fruit harvesting adventures.