Posting this for a friend who has never used a computer. He's a real deal off grid mountain man in eastern Washington State looking for someone fairly experienced who wants to help care for / maintain his homestead.
"For the chance of a lifeline"
Primitive skills enthusiast and Rabbitsticker would like to offer a back-in-time, real life, off-grid living experience.
Lots of land to roam. On the Colombia river, lake. Old homestead house, TeePees and plenty of materials for bush huts. Orchards, vineyards on the edge of mountains and river. Kyaking, canoeing, fishing season now, working on tanning blacksmithing, mushroom picking and sturgeon fishing soon.
Need to be watercraft savy. Expecting cash/trade or work trade. Call in interest for more details.
I wonder how easy it will be to get the compost out, I don't imagine it will just flow out. The door WILL want to rust shut quickly if its like any of the grain bins and grain trucks I've been around that got some wet grain or fertilizer in them.
The other greenhouse coverings are glass, or the transparent polycarbonate roofing panels. Both would require building a different structure than hoops. A glass house made of old single pane windows is a classic way to recycle if one can get a barn full of old windows someone saved.
I wonder how its harvested in south america. They would be be the experts in small acreage quinoa production.
I saw a quinoa field trial last year done by a seed company here in eastern washington. They were finding threre's zillion strains of quinoa with different growth characteristics. They were searching for one that germinates well, is bushy enough to outcompete other plants, doesn't get too tall so it can be ran through a standard combine harvester, and matures before frost.
There should be a variety that works well with garden techniques.
This idea of using old fridges as building materials is a great idea! I've been wishing for a way to make a frost free water point for winder livestock areas, Having the plumbing come up into a insulated fridge box might work well.
Make a little solar air heater "hat" for the fridge, to keep some internal mass warm enough.
I figure my cellphone and computer keyboard are a part of my personal biome. It is good to remember how filthy they are. But I don't worry about it since I don't share them with strangers.
Public keyboards and touchscreens are something to watch out for.
That would be a really interesting electronics project. But I wouldn't want to trust a number of smart devices equal to the number of fence posts. Its just too many things that might stop working at any time.
A standard electric fence system just has to worry about the wire breaking, the insulators cracking and falling off in freeze/thaw cycles, and plants growing up and grounding out the wire. Most chargers will at least have a light that lets you know if the charger is still working, some tell you the voltage so you know if there is a problem to go find.
There are guys online that obsess over air tool power, you might be able to find a test that includes your model of air wrench, see if it really provides its rated power.
But I've seen cases where borrowing a giant air compressor and impact wrench from a neighbor is still not enough. Then its time for a torch, heat the nut, fast enough to expand the nut and not overheat the wheel and tire (which can explode).
Another emergency method is cutting through the side of the nut with a flat abrasive wheel (dremel or air die grinder). Then hammer it open with a chisel.
All the common pumps put the motor as low as possible and pump up. Submersible pumps down into wells, even well pumps with the motors on top run a driveshaft down to the pump vanes. Building a pump that has enough suction to draw water hundreds or thousands of feet would take specialty pipe that wouldn't collapse, and a pump mechanism that can do high vacuum. Peristaltic pumps, diaphragm pumps would be the thing to look for if one had to suck instead of push.
Every type of burner needs an exhaust system that fits the design. I wouldn't want to modify a commercial oil burner until I could take the risk of it not working.
Adding a mass bench and routing the output side to of the oil burner (hot air?) would be sure to work, would be comfy, though probably not gain any heating efficiency. But for learning, you could learn to build a mass bench before taking on a custom stove project.
I am myself a beginner, but the method I've heard for improving clay soil is to either dig and amend it yourself with a lot of compost then plant something what will fill the pore space you made by digging with roots before it compacts again. Or, the slower, easier way is to grow couple years of cover crops that have strong roots which will do the digging.
A mix of cover crops that symbiotically feed each other and fix a soil problem is the area of horticulture I've been researching. Its a lot of work to find the right mix for your area and purpose, but there are amazing results when a person gets it right.
The best mileage possible is from small displacement commuter cars from Honda, Toyota, and VW. The diesel VW's are generally the king. But then you get into whats available in your area, what you can afford, how you drive, and if you want to get into car modifications to make it a personal contest. Lots of other cars make it onto the top if you get into aerodynamics and weight mods.
Personally, my family has had some great unmodified high MPG VW cars, Rabbit, Jetta, and New Beetle. But they all broke down after a while. If you are factoring in vehicle lifespan, light trucks really challenge one's assumptions about the value of high MPG. The more work side of my families fleet has been Dodge Ram 2500 and Chevy Suburban 1500 rigs that are still going, they get 10-15 mpg but will probably last two or three times longer than the 30-50mpg VW's.
As F Agricola suggests, some kind of sled sounds good to me. You could put together a temporary one with scrap lumber.
I've been around a lot of round bales, but mostly with tractors. If there's any way to beg or borrow one, that's the way to go. One thing I saw, when delivering round bales to someone without much equipment, was a large spike that could be hammered into the bale so that a chain and vehicle could pull it off a trailer. They also had a giant hook that could be spiked into the bale to roll it.
If you have a long enough arrangement of chains, cables, comealongs, and any trees, maybe some pulleys or snatch blocks to make it easier, I can imagine someone moving a round bale pretty far by hand. Not sure if its easier than breaking it apart though.
William, your idea sounds like the arrangement of a milling machine used for metal. There's definitely a place for a fixed robust motor and cutter that the material is moved against. I'm not able to imagine a way it would be useful for log sized wood through, for all the reasons others have mentioned. For another, a machine that could do that sort of a cut successfully would be so large the power requirements would outclass all the other ways one could cut wood.
They are not UV stable! At least none that I've seen. Too much sun and they flake and tear. They will last for years setting outside, say full of aluminum cans beside my shed, but they won't support a load. Full of something light like cans, I'd say 6 months outside will be ok. Anything heavy like grain or rock, maybe a month, but for me the limit is one day if I'm doing a big sack shuffle. I've resacked so many of those by hand after the straps broke. So you you are going to repurpose them for anything, make sure the sun can't get them.
Sack plastic might eventually biodegrade, but its probably one of those that takes 90 years.
The best place is the same place as last time. If you are going for measurements over time. Labs can have slightly different procedures that can throw off comparisons a bit, but any good lab will be dedicated to their own procedures being consistent.
Standard soil tests are a good measuring stick, but there can be a lot they don't show once you get into soil biology crop interactions. There's other tests for that, and sap analysis. I'd pick whatever soil test lab is nearby.
Those rolling log bucket traps seem to be the all around best for catching a large amount of rodents. But I've been using snap traps for years and it takes a lot of trying to find the right bait that will tempt a specific group of rodents, especially ones that are aware that the trap is a danger. For a while cheese crackers worked every day for me. Some mice love peanut butter, others ignore it, especially if it gets old and dry. Lately I got a bunch of frosting packets that I sure wasn't going to eat, and the mice love them. If you have something that isn't a mouse, like baby packrats, they learn faster and are too tough for mouse traps. I mainly catch rats with a catch-em-alive wire box trap. The trick to live traps is to wash them well between uses to get rid of the fear smell. I've had rats avoid a treat filled unwashed trap.
The big thing was that farmers in my bioregion, with similar financial situations, have found ways to successfully use cover crops, multi species cash crops and compost tea in commercial grain production. I can now talk about new farm methods tried by "the farmer down the road" instead of "something I read on the internet". It moves the needle from "I don't know if that could work here" to "it might be worth a try".
A new method surprised me, and it worked well for two low rainfall farmers already; planting a cash crop, with a mix of cover crops in the spring, graze it in the summer, the cover crops are all ones that die in winter, and the cash crop takes off the next year for a grain harvest. Being able to keep a living root in the ground and avoid a fallow season will be a great benefit.
One guy told of his good results using mycorhyzal fungi inoculent on his seed wheat instead of the usual fungicide seed coating. These no-till farmers still use a lot of herbicides and synthetic fertilizers, but they are excited about using less.
Also at the conference was a session about work being done to make "regenerative ag" a certification like USDA Organic. I don't know how that's going to turn out once the marketing types get a hold of it. No one talked about organic certification as a farm method or marketing strategy, so it seems like there is a shelf life to such ventures. Organic seems to be its own separate bubble in the industry.
A carbon credits spokesperson talked about their startup working to connect farmers who can prove they are sequestering carbon with well, mainly fossil fuel users seeking to buy forgiveness. It sounds like a scam, but I guess we'll let the market decide.
Of the 19 sessions, only 3 were about pesticide topics. At other ag conferences I've been to its the opposite ratio, almost all about chemicals and a couple sessions about soil health and biology. There were several companies in the exhibitors hall selling natural and organic crop nutrition products. So the tide is turning, chem ag is getting competition from nature focused methods. Nearly every speaker said something like "we have to rebuild the soil, and biology is the only way to do it."
One last thing, there were no agricultural robots. Maybe next time.
I'm guessing clips, possibly nasty one way clips. Makes assembly a snap! If nothing else works, take a pry bar (screwdriver) to the edge of dial housing. If any gap opens you may be able to see what the attachment is.
Back when I was in college doing creative writing courses, I wished for software that would suggest synonyms, highlight the frequency of repeated words and phrases, suggest alliteration and rhyme, and have a great built in dictionary and grammar functions.
And be slick and easy to use, unlike the industrial translation and page layout software.
But instead I went with using whatever was the basic text editor the device had. I was into Linux and ultraportable devices back then, so I would just write in text files any device could use, then spellcheck, format and print in whatever word processing software was available, MS Word or OpenOffice.
The most useful trick I've came across for working with large complex documents in a word processor is the split screen function most have, where you can look at two parts of the same document at once.
Having been around farmers my whole life, its a strange feeling to hear farmers talk about retiring, quitting, doing something else. How can they quit doing the thing that is all they are and all the know? But it turns out for many, farming isn't the whole core of their identity, deeper than nationality, gender and religion. Its just a job, no matter how long one may practice it or like it. Farmland flows from one generation to the next, and not everyone has a dynasty to carry it in some grand tradition. I've seen plenty of old farmers and farm kids move on and do just fine for themselves in other industries.
On the other hand, if a farm and the know-how is the resource in your bin, there's a lot more potential there than in learning to be a programmer or something. *Compelling reasons* are highly personal. Your list has most of the reasons that keep me farming: passion, family, history, flexibility.
I'd add scenery. I like the place itself, more than is rational. I'm not likely to ever own most of the land I farm, but I still love it. There's the corporate-financial part of keeping the expenses and profit rolling, and the equipment-tools part, and the agronomic-biological part.
No matter how much a farmer likes farming, and to some extent their skill is secondary to market forces and ownership problems. Where I'm at, canola was an oddball crop a couple farmers were playing with until a crushing plant was built in the area. Now it's the main thing for some of my neighbors.
Your compelling reason may be finding the right crop that fits agronomically, financially and you can ship. If it's something fun, that's a bonus.
I'm also digging out a shop corner filled with boxes of miscellaneous fasteners.
For me, anything that takes too much refurb time goes in the scrap metal. But, if I was going to clean rust off bulk nuts and bolts, the only way to go is #6; dry media tumbling. Dump them in, come back later, dump through sieve, blow off with compressed air, coat with light oil, done.
But I have to keep asking myself, "when would I choose this used fastener over a new one?"
And as one predisposed to hoarding, I have to keep reminding myself that the empty space is more valuable than this stuff.
Interesting robo forestry ideas Gordon. A chisel clamp does seem simpler, would probably make more cuts than a saw could before getting dull.
I've been expecting there would be all kinds of agronomic robots by now, but nothing much yet. Seems like promising products get hung up on: grant or venture capital money ran out, inventor had to get a job, garage project was difficult, life got in the way, or corporate project gets bogged down by institutional equivocation. (Like the robot not yet being able to out-compete standard equipment.)
I figure a successful project needs to get rushed into the field stage, and the builder needs to be willing to change everything 5 or 6 times to meet the actual requirements they find. None of this "oh, it worked on flat ground" or "I don't want to run it in this rainstorm" or "this arm design only works with five motors that cost $8000 each".
If I ever get a robot project going, I'd skip the computer brain - GPS - sensor integration that bogs down all the hobby projects; someone better qualified can do that part later. I'd focus on the getting the frame and kinematics perfected for the task itself.
The ones I've seen are adapting one thread size to another. For different brand filter systems, gadgets, or whole lenses. There are specialty setups where you attach one type of lens backwards in front of another or with a bellows. There are all kinds of fun oddball arrangements.
Those are some interesting high grade culinary ideas you have Gordon. I don't have pigs currently, but I've liked the tree nut pig systems just for the sake that the pigs do all the work of picking up the nuts themselves!
I used the 14 day trial of DroneDeploy to map some fields with a drone. It can make a nice topo or 3D map. Also 3 zone maps based on the total colors on the map. The price is $100 a month, which is more than I have use for. With most drone software there is free software that can do the same thing without the user friendliness, expects you to have programming skills.
Interesting. I skimmed through it. Its entirely about house buffer zones from fire. I was expecting something about wildlife, but no. It reads like a municipal zoning lawyer and a insurance lawyer wrote a guide to the idea of Permaculture zones, but their intended audience is firetrucks.
Someone could pick out some useful numbers for recommended distances between property elements.
Here is a compost system that might fit your situation: its an aerated floor, no turn structure. But there's a lot of other methods out there that are completely different but seem to work just as well.
There's a lot of cutting edge research going on with bacteria/plant symbiosis. Nitrogen fixing, mineral and nutrient availability, its exciting. It seems to be the main reason some organic/regenerative farmers have been able to work their way to zero fertilizer systems. I keep hearing microbe stuff from both the hightech university/industrial researchers and natural/traditional practitioners. My problem has been trying to figure out who's Jug'O'Bugs I should try first!
And then there is Korean Natural Farming /Jadam methods with their philosophy that's basically: Don't buy anything, don't try to figure it out, just take some excellent decaying leaves, propagate it and start spraying.