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I'm finally getting land...

 
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Location: Igo, California
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@Debbi  Cheers!  How high up is your place?  Are you getting a yield?

I'm pretty stoked to be getting out of the city at this point for a few
reasons.  And I can't wait to finally put into practice all the things I've
learned over the years.

@Fred  Yeah the heat up there can be pretty intense, even before you factor in
a heatwave.

My idea is to prevent a large area from heating up under the glare of the sun
in the first place.  I got a 500 square foot roll of radiant barrier material
and some heavy-duty silver/black tarps to build a sun shade.  I'm going to
cover a 50'x50' square feet with the tarps about 8' high, then under that the
radiant barrier will make a deep-shade living space about 20'x25'.  The outer
shade will have "walls" of greenhouse plastic to retain moisture, and the inner
shade will have mosquito netting around it.  I'm going to mulch the whole outer
area (less the living space) at least 4" deep with wet (but not soggy)
woodchips and material from the surrounding area (all the fire fuel that has to
go anyway.)

If that's still not enough I can make a crude shack and line it with mineral
wool insulation and the radiant barrier.  (I think I mentioned above that I
would even be willing to run a generator to power an airconditioner, if that's
what it takes to bootstrap a livable space.)

Personally, I could live in a tipi, that's my ideal home, but I need a
workspace to work on the robots and computer systems, and a nice bathroom and a
nice kitchen.
 
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Have you heard of this house in California? Started in 1906, Baldassare Forestiere dug an underground house to give himself a cool place to go.
It might give you some good ideas about both dealing with heat, and helping heat tolerant trees cope with your ecosystem.



It was very much based on the geology of his land, and his knowledge of arches he brought with him from Sicily.
What really impresses me though, is that fact that the fruit trees and "home" are still there over 100 years later. If more humans would build with this sort of longevity and environmental mindfulness in mind, we wouldn't have as many disasters as we are so often seeing.
 
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Jay Angler wrote:Have you heard of this house in California? Started in 1906, Baldassare Forestiere dug an underground house to give himself a cool place to go.
It might give you some good ideas about both dealing with heat, and helping heat tolerant trees cope with your ecosystem.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUKRPoQKynk

It was very much based on the geology of his land, and his knowledge of arches he brought with him from Sicily.
What really impresses me though, is that fact that the fruit trees and "home" are still there over 100 years later. If more humans would build with this sort of longevity and environmental mindfulness in mind, we wouldn't have as many disasters as we are so often seeing.



Thanks for sharing this, and I pretty much agree. I want to grow the things for food including fruits, vegetables, grains, seeds, and nuts, as well as things for fiber and useful materials, and have a sustainable way that anybody could have this way, and people could work together for that. A simple home to have with this could be a below ground structure, and I have given this thought before, and depending on the environment and maybe others working with me on it these could be good structures to make for homes with this.
 
Simon Foreman
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We just came back from staying for about a week up at the land.  We would have stayed longer but there was a extreme heat warning for this weekend (with temps up to 107F! https://weatherwest.com/archives/27384 ) and we're just not prepared for that.  We're going to have to get a place in town, I think, at least for the summer.

Let's see...

First and foremost, this is one of the most peaceful places I've ever been.  It's extraordinary.  Whenever I was just sitting around and relaxing (which was often, due to the heat) there was such a sense of peace and contentment that it's hard to describe.

Other than that, though, the place is a mild hell.  I'm joking, but there's an element of truth to it.

Every plant there is sharp.  Not just the thistle, everything is sharp, even the oak leaves have needles.  The place is inimical.

There are mosquitos and other biting bugs (but they are not as bad as I feared, and no sign of ticks.)

The next problem is the rocks.  There really is no ground there to speak of, it's just rocks in a matrix of dusty loam.  Rocks and more rocks.  Walking around there is like a continuous non-stop foot massage.  It was okay at first but by the third day my feet were tenderized.

There is no level ground except for two flat spots with relatively few/small rocks but they are both in full sun.  It's weird, but after awhile you start to miss level ground.  With nothing else to walk on, it starts to get slightly ... disorienting?  No horizon (we're in a small valley) and oaks don't grown straight.  There seemed to be a small but definite effect.

I don't want to complain, I just had to get that out of the way, off my chest.  My arms and legs are covered in bug bites and scratches.  On the plus side, I avoided sunburn and poison oak.

The heat, once you get acclimatized, is actually quite pleasant, especially with the low humidity.  You have to respect it though: if you tense up or hurry you start to heat up.  As long as you stay relaxed and move smoothly you don't overheat.  It helps to have a spray bottle to mist up when needed, and we're lucky to have cool breezes come through every few minutes.  I spent a lot of time just sitting around.  Like I said above, it's sooooo peaceful.  At one point I experienced a contentment that was somehow actually intense, which makes no sense but there it is.  "Intense contentment" should be an oxymoron.

We got some things done: we got a generator to power the well, which works! Yay!  But the water smells sulfurous (egg farts) so that was kind of a bummer.  It's probably potable (charcoal filter, yeah?) and it's nice and cold, so that's good.  But the valve is cracked and every time I go to turn it on or off I wonder if it's going to burst and take off my hand or something, so that will have to be replaced, eh?  (The valve not my hand.)  But in the end: it's water.

I didn't really get anything else done.  I didn't even take any pictures!  I'm not sure how, but there it is.  We spent a lot of time moving camp to try to find a flat-enough place with good shade, or a place to spread a tarp for shade, etc., and between that and resting nothing seemed to get done.

However, we got all the equipment I think we're going to need for the bootstrap phase: trimmer for grass & thistle, woodchipper to convert the fire fuel into mulch (I've read that woodchips are the least flammable mulch, which is reassuring), and one of those tree trimmers on a pole to reduce the "ladder fuel" and such so it can go in the chipper.  We also got a simple RV solar panel & battery system to e.g. run lights at night, and a small 12V DC transfer pump and hose to move water around.

As an aside, I have to mention that I feel like I should feel more weird or conflicted about using fossil fuels to power tools to destroy plants, but it doesn't bother me.  This is a bootstrap phase, not a milieu.  Within a year or so I'll retire these tools and the generator too if I can, and never need them again.  In the meantime "don't let ideological purity prevent effective action", eh?  I can't live in a fireplace, so I've got to clear the stuff anyway.  And most of the plants I'll be cutting are star thistle, so...

Star thistle, BTW, is a lovely plant, and fields of it are really beautiful.  It's aptly named:  patches of young buds with their yellow thorns really do look like starry skies.  Just don't touch it.  

I also have to mention that while some of the equipment we bought was great, other items turned out to be junk that literally fell apart.  E.g. we got a 20'x30' heavy duty tarp and one of the "reinforced" corner grommets fell off as we were taking it out of the plastic wrapper it came in.  Some of the other grommets fell off as I was stringing it up.  Same thing with the pole tree trimmer: I went to pick it up and a bolt fell off!  The nut must have worked loose and fallen off earlier, at least I couldn't find it.  This was the bolt holding the working tool part onto the pole.  I had a replacement nut, fortunately, but damn dude.  This seems to be a theme these days: people will sell you junk that falls apart on first use.  They seem to expect you to just return it and try again?  I don't know.  I'm just glad I wasn't using the thing when the head came off, you know?  That could have been bad.

So yeah, it was nice when you were just sitting around and relaxing, but trying to actually do things there was pretty annoying.  I wound up sacrificing some of my rolls of greenhouse plastic just to make walkways that wouldn't fill your shoes and socks with sharp seeds and fragments of dried thistle.  I can still reuse them as ground covers to retain moisture, the tiny holes serve to let oxygen through and the bigger rips can be repaired with tape.

That kinda brings me to the main point: despite getting nothing much done on this trip I'm overall pretty encouraged:  The bones of the plan seem solid.  There's water, and we have pretty much all the infrastructure we need to get started.

1.) Establish a "beachhead" (and yeah, I'm adopting a war metaphor, but it's tongue-in-cheek, I love all these plants and animals and the ecosystem and the region and all life everwhere.  It's just a joke, I'm not making war on Mother Earth.  (She would win, eh?))  I need a place where I can work on things w/o overheating or getting gnawed on by bugs.


2.) Start converting fire fuel into patches of soil a'building:

   2a.) cut down the star thistle, leave it in place

   2b.) cut down the ladder fuel and bramble (old dead oak branches, blackberry, etc.)

   2c.) chip it and spread it (~4" deep) over the (still mostly green) cut thistle

   2d.) moisten well with well water

   2e.) cover with perforated greenhouse plastic to retain moisture

And that's more-or-less it.  I'm going to have to try out different variations to get the soil-building process working well.  When I was clearing the wood piled around the well (?why did someone pile wood around the well?  I dunno.) I lifted a log that turned out to have enough moisture under it to host a couple of centipedes and, Whoa!, an earthworm!  I did not expect that.  It's pretty dry here and like I said there's not really soil per se, just rocks in a powdery loam matrix.  This log had started the hugelkultur process where the "earth becomes akin to the vegetative" the wood had mycelium in it, and the worm was living in a crack in the wood.  Anyway, the point is, worms are already here.  If I just make the right conditions (moist greens under woodchips) they should do the rest, eh?

3) Robots to collect and stack rocks.  I can freely admit now that I was a little nervous about this idea being too out there, but having seen the rocks up close I'm completely confident that this is a brilliant idea.  It's all off-the-shelf technology these days.  Something a clever teenager could make in their parents' garage.  I don't even have to invent anything, or write any fancy software.

The rocks are great: all kinds of colors and shapes.  Not only can I build walls and things, I can inlay murals too!  Cobble stone roads with patterns of color... It's gonna be neat!

And that's about it.

@Jay  I've never heard of Baldassare Forestiere or his incredible work, and now he's one of my heroes, cheers!

That place is amazing, and he did an incomprehensible amount of labor to make it.  He should be better known.

It gives me pause.  One of my main themes is that we have all the technology we need to live well (without messing up the environment or screwing each other over), and it seems true, with examples all over the place, like Mr. Forestiere's incredible work.  So what's the hold up?  Why, in 100 years, have none of his neighbors followed his example?

It kinda makes me think that I'm wasting my time trying to make yet another example.  The real bottleneck or limiting factor must be elsewhere?  Is it all just down to social programming?  Human nature?

It's fun and easy to live in harmony with nature, so why isn't it more popular?

Anyway, yeah, I'm going to make something like a kindergarten version of Mr. Forestiere's villa.  But I'm going to build tall thick walls rather than dig, for geological reasons, eh?

In the next few years and decades the climate is going to do weird things.  It might get to be a scorching desert up there, or it might turn to tropical rainforest, but it probably won't settle down anytime soon, eh?  At least not in the next couple of decades.  So it seems to me that I'm going to have to emulate the Dutch with their enormous greenhouses and literally protect my gardens from the climate changes with buildings.
 
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Hi Simon,

With so much land I would recommend getting a compact tractor and get a forklift attachment and a transportation box to move the stuff around. (PTO) wood chipper is another implement you will probably need. Without a chipper I would not have bedding for my animals and without that I would not be able to produce wonderful hummus for my garden.

Also July through September are the worst months to work physically in such climates. Just "sit in the shade and be patient". When it's warmer than 37 C I'm trying to do nothing. The toll on the body is immense. I'm trying to only maintain the plants by watering them in the morning and turning the irrigation of the orchard once or twice per week.

If your water tastes sulphuric try to pump it for 10 minutes to see if it has improved. Wells that have not been used for a while may have some stagnant water around the screen area.

Before you build even a temporary structure try to figure out how the water flows on your property. I have built a temporary coop and a barn in quite a low spot and last winter rains flooded them both.

Check the USDA soil maps to see if potentially you can have better dirt on your property and maybe deeper some clay for some structures.
 
Jay Angler
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Simon Foreman wrote:@Jay  I've never heard of Baldassare Forestiere or his incredible work, and now he's one of my heroes, cheers!
That place is amazing, and he did an incomprehensible amount of labor to make it.  He should be better known.

I'm glad you appreciated the link. I did note that "geology is everything", but I was really impressed that the orange trees he planted down deep did so well and have lived longer than surface-grown trees in the same region.

I can't remember - is your land undulating sloped, or all sloped in the same direction? You might be able to use some of the slopes to keep tree roots cool, by planting partway down a north east slope. However, many  of those decisions may have to wait until you see how rain lands and pools and travels on your land.

Yes, there are some really good lessons to be learned from Mr. Roestiere! I hope you can successfully incorporate those lessons in your specific landscape!
 
Simon Foreman
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Cristobal Cristo wrote:Hi Simon,

With so much land I would recommend getting a compact tractor and get a forklift attachment and a transportation box to move the stuff around. (PTO) wood chipper is another implement you will probably need. Without a chipper I would not have bedding for my animals and without that I would not be able to produce wonderful hummus for my garden.

Also July through September are the worst months to work physically in such climates. Just "sit in the shade and be patient". When it's warmer than 37 C I'm trying to do nothing. The toll on the body is immense. I'm trying to only maintain the plants by watering them in the morning and turning the irrigation of the orchard once or twice per week.

If your water tastes sulphuric try to pump it for 10 minutes to see if it has improved. Wells that have not been used for a while may have some stagnant water around the screen area.

Before you build even a temporary structure try to figure out how the water flows on your property. I have built a temporary coop and a barn in quite a low spot and last winter rains flooded them both.

Check the USDA soil maps to see if potentially you can have better dirt on your property and maybe deeper some clay for some structures.



Thank you for the excellent advice.  I really appreciate it.

I did check the soil maps and it's all "gravelly loam" with some alluvium along the creek (but that almost certainly gets flooded, eh?)  There is a bend in the creek to which my creek empties at the east edge of my parcel that has carved a sheer (90°, no slope, vertical!) wall about 30' (10m) deep at the deepest point.  It's all gravelly loam.

I don't know if the bend is on my land or not, but it looks like it will be soon if it's not already.  It's actually a little scary.  It's a cliff, basically, and there's not enough water in the creek to break your fall if you get to close and the edge crumbles or something.  I'm gonna have to rope it off or something, and eventually maybe stabilize it somehow?

But, yeah, all that to say that it's gravelly loam all the way down, effectively.

In terms of water flows it's pretty straight forward: the parcel is a narrow cross-section of a tiny valley so it's just an extruded V.  Water flows down the sides and along the creek bed and that's pretty much it.

 
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I wonder if you ll also experience temperature inversion effect like I do. It makes nights pleasantly cooler than surrounding properties, but also secures night freezes in winter and very late last frosts. On top of that drying winds blowing most of the day. You will find out.
I recommend remembering about my recent discovery: sunflowers. They grow very fast and very well and give the quick shade and some wind break and later seeds for chickens.
 
Simon Foreman
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Jay Angler wrote:

Simon Foreman wrote:@Jay  I've never heard of Baldassare Forestiere or his incredible work, and now he's one of my heroes, cheers!
That place is amazing, and he did an incomprehensible amount of labor to make it.  He should be better known.

I'm glad you appreciated the link. I did note that "geology is everything", but I was really impressed that the orange trees he planted down deep did so well and have lived longer than surface-grown trees in the same region.



Yes!  Those trees were amazing!  The whole thing is amazing!  And not only in and of itself, but also as such an inspiring example of what one dedicated person can achieve over a lifetime.  He's a hero.

Jay Angler wrote:
I can't remember - is your land undulating sloped, or all sloped in the same direction? You might be able to use some of the slopes to keep tree roots cool, by planting partway down a north east slope. However, many  of those decisions may have to wait until you see how rain lands and pools and travels on your land.



Topologically speaking it's pretty uninteresting.  There is a little bit of undulation but it's mostly just two slopes with a lazy creek wandering around in the bottom between them.  The gravelly loam has great drainage, water does not stick around, so I'm looking at making terraces and hopefully sealing them with gley somehow.
 
Simon Foreman
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Cristobal Cristo wrote:I wonder if you ll also experience temperature inversion effect like I do. It makes nights pleasantly cooler than surrounding properties, but also secures night freezes in winter and very late last frosts. On top of that drying winds blowing most of the day. You will find out.



Yes, time will tell.  I'm looking forward to being present for the cycle of the seasons.

Cristobal Cristo wrote:
I recommend remembering about my recent discovery: sunflowers. They grow very fast and very well and give the quick shade and some wind break and later seeds for chickens.



Ah yes!  My dad was a big fan of sunflowers.  I've got seeds for several varieties/species, I can't wait to try them.

- - - -

I don't think I mentioned yet that there's a huge blackberry bramble?  It's at least 100' long and 30' wide.  It was covered in blooms on our first visit and now it's covered in green berries.  When they ripen we'll pick them and make jam, etc. and when we get sick of picking individual berries I'm going to cut whole clusters and try fermenting them to make alcohol fuel.

I realized earlier today that I don't know how high the bramble is, if it's high enough I can cut tunnels and small chambers in it and hang out in there during the heat!  We had blackberry bramble in the back of our yard when I was a kid so I'm as comfortable with it as a bunny.  The bramble is in the bed of the (now dry) creek.  Blackberry cane is pretty strong, and with the thorns it's easy to make it into a little fence or trellis or whatever.  Or I can just chip it and mulch it, eh?  (Don't run the chickens on that though?)
 
Jay Angler
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Simon Foreman wrote:

In terms of water flows it's pretty straight forward: the parcel is a narrow cross-section of a tiny valley so it's just an extruded V.  Water flows down the sides and along the creek bed and that's pretty much it.



Is there any history of Beaver on your land or in the area? I've been reading a number of articles/books about Beaver in the last few years and there's something called a "Beaver Analog Dam" which can help reverse the deep erosion your description of the creek suggests.

From what I understand, these Analogs have posts hammered vertically into the creek bed in a curve and brush woven through them with the goal of slowing down the water to encourage runoff to pause long enough to dump some of its silt. Some people simply dump piles of brush in the creek bed to accomplish the same "slow the water down" action, but depending on the rainfall pattern and how high in the process you're able to start, loose piles could be moved downstream by the water force.

Many water courses in the west were managed by beavers who turned fast water into "spread, slow and sink" water. A badly eroded creek bed may need a bit of human help to start reversing that situation.
 
Simon Foreman
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Jay Angler wrote:Simon Foreman wrote:

In terms of water flows it's pretty straight forward: the parcel is a narrow cross-section of a tiny valley so it's just an extruded V.  Water flows down the sides and along the creek bed and that's pretty much it.



Is there any history of Beaver on your land or in the area? I've been reading a number of articles/books about Beaver in the last few years and there's something called a "Beaver Analog Dam" which can help reverse the deep erosion your description of the creek suggests.

From what I understand, these Analogs have posts hammered vertically into the creek bed in a curve and brush woven through them with the goal of slowing down the water to encourage runoff to pause long enough to dump some of its silt. Some people simply dump piles of brush in the creek bed to accomplish the same "slow the water down" action, but depending on the rainfall pattern and how high in the process you're able to start, loose piles could be moved downstream by the water force.

Many water courses in the west were managed by beavers who turned fast water into "spread, slow and sink" water. A badly eroded creek bed may need a bit of human help to start reversing that situation.



I don't think we're in beaver country, or what was beaver country, but I know very little about the history of this area.  It's one of the big items on my to-do list, eh?  Find out more about the region.

This bend in the creek I'm talking about, with the 25'-30' wall, I don't even know if it's on my property or just off the edge, and I don't know who owns the next door property which has the main creek on it (that my creek empties into.)  If it were up to me I would fill in the bend with some of these endless rocks or something, after consulting somebody who knows what they're doing, of course.  As it is, I think I just have to treat the eastern edge of the property as the edge of the world as far as water & water table are concerned.

One of the things I hope to do is have lots of ponds and channels and such all down the southern (north-facing) slope and store as much water as I can up there.  I still have to look into water rights and all that.

I also want to talk to the folks who are upstream of my place on the tributary creek to see if they're willing to let me put in water retention features upstream.  According to some maps there's a spring upstream, one or two parcels away.  The parcel next door to the west has a few old RVs on it, and beyond that there's a house that I think burned down partially?  Anyway, no one lives on the next two parcels right now.

That reminds me of something else I wanted to mention, just a tangent.  This place is not a wilderness (although the land is wild), it's a large diffuse neighborhood.  We have neighbors close enough to hear their generator, dogs, rooster, occasional shouts or music, etc.  A handful of vehicles go by on the private road each day.  As a city kid it's kind of nice.
 
Jay Angler
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Simon Foreman wrote:One of the things I hope to do is have lots of ponds and channels and such all down the southern (north-facing) slope and store as much water as I can up there.  I still have to look into water rights and all that.


That's what Lancaster started in Tuscon, and it worked. High up means less potential for big storms to over-fill things, but with the current rash of crazy weather, I'd plan carefully for where the water will exit in 1000 year storms. (We've had several of those where I am in the last 30 years!)

And wrote:

I also want to talk to the folks who are upstream of my place on the tributary creek to see if they're willing to let me put in water retention features upstream.  According to some maps there's a spring upstream, one or two parcels away.  The parcel next door to the west has a few old RVs on it, and beyond that there's a house that I think burned down partially?  Anyway, no one lives on the next two parcels right now.

I'm currently reading a book about the importance of looking at the local watershed as a whole and setting a good example and building "community". Lofty goals, but if we don't try, we can't possibly succeed! I know that on one of Jeff Lawton's properties in Australia, there was concern that he was stopping the water and the downstream people would suffer. There may have been short-term issues, but long term the creek flowing out had more water that ran for longer periods due to the work he'd done. That's how we convince people there's a better way. That's pretty much what Brad Lancaster did. I don't know that Mesquite grows where you live, but it's an awesome tree that apparently pumps water into the soil during the rainy season - Mother Nature's an engineer!
 
Simon Foreman
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In re: big storms, like a lot of people, I'm just now catching on that the CA Central Valley becomes the Central Sea every couple of centuries or so.  I'm a little higher up (~800') than the folks who will be flooded the next time this happens, but I'm guessing that the alluvial plain of the creek will be filled, at least, eh?  The road would become impassable.

What I'd love to do is make robots to catch the water in large bags or IBC totes and rack it and stack it.  I think the biggest problem is that water is so heavy that you wouldn't want to stack them more than three or four units high.  But yeah, part of the place would resemble minecraft, with cubes of water piled here and there.  I probably sound like a nutter.

In re: the local community and watershed mgmt, there's an Anderson Cottonwood Irrigation District (A.C.I.D.) that has had a bit of, uh, interesting times the last few years. From "A.C.I.D. Water" (Shasta Scout):

Decisions by federal, state and local officials to severely cut water allocations to Anderson Cottonwood Irrigation District (A.C.I.D.) and sell off the remaining allocations, have led to widespread devastation. The small water district provides field irrigation to about 1,000 residents of Shasta County. Seepage from A.C.I.D.’s canal system usually also feeds the local water table, helping to supply the local ecosystem, and domestic wells, with water.


 
Jay Angler
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So here's the next good book to read: Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/39345591

There would have been huge numbers of beavers in the central valley, even if not on your specific piece of land. But "pretending to be a beaver" can do many of the things they do for access to trees they like! Even ranchers are starting to realize how much they can improve their land if they can learn to live with and "redirect" them, rather than killing them.

However, getting educated about them, so that when opportunities arise to speak well of them, is increasingly important. If Canadians had been smart enough to do so 30 years ago, we would likely not be having such a serious and early fire season.
 
Simon Foreman
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Ah yes!  I watched some video review of that book and am now a fan of these critters.  I don't have the scope to (re)introduce them here, but I do plan to emulate them as best I can.

I love how this stuff (ecological living) is going mainstream these days.  There are so many people doing permaculture and other systems and techniques all over the world now, and so many of them put videos on youtube, etc., it seems like people are really getting the idea across.
 
Simon Foreman
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I'm up at the land right now, posting this through satellite internet!  Whoo hoo!

As a computer nerd, reaching the Internet is a big milestone for me and this parcel.  So it's pretty exciting and gratifying to get it going.

Let's see...

It's hot, yes, but the cool breezes make it actually pretty nice.

I feel a lot better organized this time.  I have a few things I have to accomplish in the next day or two and then the rest of the Summer should go smoothly.  (Chicken coop & tractor; sun shade over a nice level spot; water storage; etc.)
 
Simon Foreman
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Just a little update...

We are back in SF for the moment to beat the heat wave.  We were staying at a friend's house in Redding but the air conditioner quit.  Within a few hours it was 85F inside the house, and still climbing (it was 107F outside!)  There's nothing for it: we had to leave.

The whole neighborhood up there is like this: thin walls, effectively no insulation,  not adobe or cob is what I'm getting at.  Every house has at least one AC unit on top (on the roof, in the sun.)  Because we ignore the environmental conditions, the weather and climate, the place can only function with massive continuous energy inputs.  Not to mention maintenance.  (Our friends said this is the fourth time the AC has gone out.  Good for the AC repair shop, bad for everybody else?)

I know I'm preaching to the choir here.  Ya feel me? Eh?

We have to change so much if we're going to make it through climate change (w/o truly massive, heartbreaking, unthinkable tragedy).  We know what to do, we have all the technology we need to do it, what is the hold up?

- - - -

Along the same lines (kvetching about wasteful technology) I tried the string trimmer on the thistle.  Results:

String Trimmer: 0 | Thistle: 1

I'm going to get a scythe instead.  I was looking at videos of a scythe-wielding fellow and it seemed like a lot of work.  But when I tried the string trimmer it was even more work!  The string trimmer couldn't cut the thicker stems in one go.  I had to "chop" with it.  The thicker stems wound themselves around the head of the trimmer, so I had to stop often and remove them to prevent the thing from seizing up. Last but not least, the string trimmer spits! It threw thistle needles everywhere, including into my socks.  Oh, and of course, it uses electricity: I have to run the generator to use it.

So yeah, it turns out that a well-sharpened scythe, used with proficiency, will likely out-perform an electric string trimmer on all relevant measures.

How's that for technological progress, eh?


- - - -

last but not least, oh that expletive-deleted generator!  Its stinks!  The gas is foul, the lube oil is foul, the exhaust is foul (deadly poison!  There are multiple warning labels on the device!  It literally poisons the air when I run it.)  The stench is just foul.  (In LOTR terminology this is orc technology.  They would use generators in Mordor.)

The only reason I don't return it is that we need that much power to run the well pump.

BTW, in re: the well, the sulfur smell does decrease after ~10 minutes or so, but it's still going to require filtering to drink.  I got a 300 gallon kiddie pool (on sale for ~$40, not bad) and filled it and left it out to see if the smell outgasses.  (And to leave a watering hole for the local wildlife. I made sure that any little critters that fell in could get back out again (A bucket of water w/o a way out is a good animal trap, but it's cruel.  I don't want to come back to a dead chipmunk in the pool, y'know?)  There are Pacific tree frogs around, so I'm not too worried about it being a mosquito breeding pond.

In re: water, I've always planned to have the major structures be moisture-tight (to the extent that's reasonable) and I hoped to retain and cycle enough "ambient" water (rain, condensation) that I wouldn't need the well after a while.  Especially now that I know the well water is sulfurous I'd rather not rely on the aquifer.  I put a piece of greenhouse plastic down and where the sun shines on it moisture condenses under it, so even in this dry regime there's moisture that can be collected.  A friend of mine had a unit about the size of an office water cooler that condensed a couple of gallons a day of atmospheric moisture.  Dehumidifiers have drip trays.  Etc...

Anyway, the generator sucks.  I can't wait to retire it.
 
Jay Angler
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Simon Foreman wrote:

The whole neighborhood up there is like this: thin walls, effectively no insulation,  not adobe or cob is what I'm getting at.

I was just reading an account of the benefits of thermal mass at shifting daytime highs to balance nighttime lows. Insulation helps, but in some climates, well-planned thermal mass does even more. There is info out there, and has been for years, of shifting summer heat to winter when it's desired, but the combo of cheap energy, conformity,  and lack of generational concern has left us with a huge collection of poorly designed homes.
And wrote:

Every house has at least one AC unit on top (on the roof, in the sun.) ...  (Our friends said this is the fourth time the AC has gone out.  Good for the AC repair shop, bad for everybody else?)

I saw a video of houses in Texas that had the AC  *in* the attic. My father would be turning at extreme velocity in his grave, if he hadn't been cremated!

So, let's do permaculture thinking about what to say to your friends?
Possibility 1: Get a really good anchor plate for something like a flagpole or weather vane. Adjust the top of it to hold a large sun/market umbrella. Adjust it's mechanism so you can pull a string to raise it, tie off the string to hold it open, and release the string if it's not needed/high winds expected.

I don't want to derail your thread here - I think I will start a new thread on retro-fitting homes with AC in places where easy tweaks would save substantial energy.
Thread is here: https://permies.com/t/221491/Hot-sunny-climate-insulation-AC
 
Simon Foreman
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I appreciate the effort Jay but I don't our friends are likely to change anything.  Maybe when they see what I make?  But then, as you point out, we know how to build to deal with the heat.  We just don't do it.  I'm not a people person, most things most people do seem silly and pointless to me, so I'm just puzzled.  It's reassuring though that Permaculture (et. al.) is finally going mainstream.  I mean, the world is roasting right now, but hopefully we still have enough time to prepare and avert the worst of it.
 
Jay Angler
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Simon Foreman wrote:I appreciate the effort Jay but I don't our friends are likely to change anything.

Just because your specific friends will do nothing, doesn't mean that some other person looking to reduce their electrical bill while still having a cool house, won't read the thread I started and try some of the suggestions. Even putting trellis up at ground level with pretty deciduous plants that shade the south side of a house, can lower the cooling requirements. (a suggestion someone added to the thread) So much of this is just being willing to *not* do what everyone else is doing!

Permies is all about getting the information out there in the hopes that *someone* will pay attention! Our goal is to get people paying attention to the "low hanging fruit". If they're willing to grow a heat-loving bean on that trellis so they get food and a cooler house, that's the icing on the cake!
 
Simon Foreman
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Yeah, I didn't mean to sound discouraging, I love the thread you started!  I'm taking notes over here.  

(Really these are my sister's friends, I don't know them. Maybe they'll be into it.)

Like I said, I just don't understand why people aren't more into ecologically harmonious living.  It's seems so obviously desirable to me.
 
Jay Angler
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Simon Foreman wrote: It's seems so obviously desirable to me.

With so many people complaining about the current high cost of living, you'd think they'd consider simple projects that *improve comfort* while *saving money*.  So totally obvious!

I didn't take what you said "discouraging" - I know *exactly* how frustrating it can be to get people to think differently. However, times are changing and more people are trying to do what you are aiming for. The more "real life" examples we get out there, the easier it will be to pull the uninitiated along in our wake.
 
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Simon Foreman wrote:...if all goes well tomorrow, we're going to get twenty acres of hilly scrub oak in N. California.  I'm so excited I can barely think.



SIMON!! Congratulations! I haven't gotten past your initial post but had to respond because my family and I are moving to some hilly scrub Oak in central California in September! Only 5 acres, but I'm so so interested in yours and everyone's ideas for your new place. I just finished a permaculture design course and would love to help problem solve!
 
Cristobal Cristo
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Hi Laura,

If you are not too far from Fresno then we will be neighbors.
 
Simon Foreman
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Laura De wrote:

Simon Foreman wrote:...if all goes well tomorrow, we're going to get twenty acres of hilly scrub oak in N. California.  I'm so excited I can barely think.



SIMON!! Congratulations! I haven't gotten past your initial post but had to respond because my family and I are moving to some hilly scrub Oak in central California in September! Only 5 acres, but I'm so so interested in yours and everyone's ideas for your new place. I just finished a permaculture design course and would love to help problem solve!



Thank you Laura!  And congratulations to you too.

We're heading back up there today or tomorrow now that the AC is fixed at the house we were staying at and the heat is down to merely 100F.

The rest of the summer is going to be pretty boring: collecting material for mulching.  That's about it.  I'm going to sprout some perennials but I won't be able to really get going until next spring.  If I can get the rock-collecting robots going that should be neat.  I also want to experiment with trying to "gley" pond without liners, I have a few ideas.
 
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Thanks for the updates, I am interested such that I come back and follow progress, with seeing there are all the issues. I am not so optimistic about everyone making it through crises that come, but getting on land, such as I would want to join in with, is the right way, with becoming independent with sustainability in all the ways it can be had. With this I would leave beavers and any wildlife to do their thing, that the habitats and natural environments can continue, without any invasive interruption to the life out there.
 
Simon Foreman
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Whew!  A little update...

I finally got back up to the land.  Unfortunately it was during a bought of ~100F heat so I didn't get much done.

When it's that hot, I find I just have to sit there and mist myself with a spray bottle pretty much continuously.  If my shirt dries out I start to overheat.  It was a bit unnerving to realize that the only source of coldness in the whole place is the water from the well.

(As an aside, the idea of "wet bulb" temperature scares the shit out of me.  That is, if it's hot and humid, too humid for evaporative cooling, there's no way to cool off (not without refrigeration or other machinery.  You're screwed.  When the hot breeze blew over me I could spray mist into it and by the time it reaches me a moment later it's a cool refreshing breeze.  If I could not have done that because the air was already satruated with moisture, I would have died.  No equivocation: the heat would have killed me.   The hot breeze is scary.  The hot humid breeze is deadly.)

I did get a 20'x30' silvered tarp up as a sun shade.  It's lovely to have deep shade, but the tarp itself heats up and radiates heat, so I have to get it higher up and/or line it with the radiant barrier.  (The radiant barrier material is fantastic BTW.  Totally sci-fi. I put some on one of those wire stock panels and bent it in a semicircle and tied it up and it makes a great sun shield for the well head.  I made another to cover the generator, and it's light enough that I can just pick it up and set it aside when I want to run the gen.)

Once I have a decent-sized space to work I can set to tearing down the various bits of sheds and things for salvage and start building greenhouses (really shade houses) and chicken runs & coops &c., and finally get back around to my electronics and robots.   I've got all the parts, I just have to put them together and write a bit of software.

What else?  The well works, the sulfur smell seems diminished.  In hindsight it was a dumb idea to leave water in the kiddie pool.  Leaves got in it and now it's a bit slimey and green.  I can still use it for irrigation, but I'm gonna need another container for potable water...  There was a little Pacific Tree Frog hanging out in it.  So that's cool. but there are also some mosquito larva in it, which is less cool. I'll put a couple of goldfish in there.  I can sprout Nelumbo (Sacred Lotus) in it!  Yay!

The chickens seem happy, but now that we're in the deeps of summer there's no point in letting them free-range: I doubt there's enough food here to support them.  Spiders and ants.  Their main job is to modify the soil with their manure, so they're going to spend a lot of the day in chicken tractors anyway.  The Sebrights can do as they please, but the eggers are workin' birds.

Last but not least, seeing the contrast between Nature and city, and seeing California as we go up and down between Redding and San Francisco, uh...  I don't know how to describe it, but it's clear to me that our civilization is messed up.  (Not everything about it!  A lot of civ is cool!  But there are factors or structures in it that go against the structure of the world (I mean ecology, that thing that is life) and, if we don't reconfigure those structures, the world will wrap them up.

We have the technology and the brains to do it: make a civilization that operates in harmony with Nature, but will we understand and act before it's too late?  I don't know.  But I see that as the real challenge: at first I thought if I just go out there and make an example then people will get the idea, but then I saw that there are examples all over the place!  So the real "limiting factor" isn't that we don't have examples of the solutions right in front of us.  The limiting factor seems to be psychological, or even spiritual.




 
Cristobal Cristo
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Simon,

If you can not tolerate such temperatures I would advise to reanalyze if you want to have land in such a climatic zone, before you invest money in buildings and various structures. Also, in my opinion, it does not make sense to work when temperatures are higher than the body temperature. The toll is so high that it exhausts you few times faster.
For example I would not like to live neither in San Joaquin, nor in Sacramento Valley. I like my cool nights and breeze, but still consider that summer is too hot for too long and being self sufficient here is extremely difficult - I'm years away from it. Sometimes I think that staying in the Midwest would a better choice - where producing food was extremely easy and natural, but I was tired of winters and snow...
 
Simon Foreman
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Yeah, the heat is pretty gnarly.  I don't mind ~95F but once it gets hotter than that there's no point in being outside.  You can't work.

I'm pretty committed at this point.  I doubt I could sell the land easily.  I have to make do with what's there.  I can't invest money in buildings and various structures because I don't have any (it's all in the land now. I didn't have much saved up, and the down was larger than I would have liked, but... 20 acres!  I never thought I would be able to get that much land.)

If I can just establish a foothold I'm sure I can make it work.  Like I said, I managed to get a tarp up and the shade was great, but then it ripped loose, so I repaired it, then it ripped again.  I got a better quality tarp but it's discouraging to have to redo work.  I feel like I'm running in circles.

There's no place that's free from sun all day.  You have to treat the sun like you're a vampire: more than a few seconds in direct sunlight and you start to smoulder.

Once I got the tarp up I started to organize my tools and stuff to get to work.  There are gnarly little problems: e.g. all the structures there are put together with wood screws that are too hard for me to unscrew with my weak computer nerd muscles, not to mention the sun, I'm not gonna be dissembling these guys by hand.  No problem, I have an electric drill and a whole set of bits, including the hex star bit that these screws need.  But the generator is too far from the structure.  And it weighs too much for me to easily move it by myself, and the 50' extension cord I bought is too short... etc.  on and on like that.  One little problem after another and they all gang up on me.  It turns out that most of the materials there are too messed up to salvage, like the PVC pipes are all bendy.  And they used wood screws on them, but they drove the heads of the screws through one side of the pipes, so the screws are stuck inside the pipes, the holes are too small to let the heads back out, but the threads and point are sticking out of the pipes.  Between that and the bendiness most of the PVC pipe is just trash.  (I will eventually maybe cut them into 2'-3' sections that will still be stiff enough to be useful...)

Ugh!  I don't want to burden anyone, I'm just venting. I have seldom been so cranky and frustrated.

When I'm not confronting these problems the place itself is really nice.  I mean, it's full of sharp plants (I am so sick of getting poked!  Everything here is sharp!) but it's extremely peaceful.  It's one of the most peaceful places I've ever been.  (It's just a little hot and dry.)

I was sitting around resting around 11:30 this morning and the cool breezes nearly put me to sleep.

If I can get a foothold, just a shaded place to work, then I think I can make the plan work.  It's just been a ridiculous challenge to get a simple shade set up.  At the time, everything makes sense, but then I look back and think, "What have I been doing all this time!?  How is the plan not further along?", but really it just boils down to the heat and all the little problems.  (E.g. the tree trimmer I got turned out to be junk, a bolt fell out, the pull cord snapped, etc.  I did manage to cut some dead branches with it, which is how I got the tarp up in the first place, but it wasn't easy.)
 
Cristobal Cristo
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Simon,

Is your water still sulphuric? Have you tried to pump it for at least 10 minutes? If the well is close to the stream it's normal for the water to get creek deposits. It happens to me at the end of dry season - I just need to pump the first 30 gallons out and then I have my wonderful granitic, pure spring water again.
Do you know what pump you have in the well, how deep? Is it 240 or 110 V. What is the outlet size?
What is the yield of your well and/or pump?

If I need to dump first 30 gallons and I have 30 Gpm pump so it takes me a minute, but if your pump or well yield is 5 Gpm, then you have to do it for 6 minutes, but taking into consideration that it was not done for a long time I would keep pumping even for 20 minutes. If by doing this you will discover that actually your water is normal then instantaneously you will solve the major problem. I would put all energy into it. Any physical labor I would save for time when the temperature drops.

 
Simon Foreman
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When I fill the inflatable pool I no longer smell the sulfur smell, so that's pretty encouraging, eh?

The socket is one of those four-prong with a twist kind, it's rated 240v.  It filled a 5 gallon bucket pretty quickly, less than a minute, but I didn't time it.   Other than that I don't know anything about the well.  The previous residents installed it and the fellow from whom I bought the land doesn't know anything about it either.  I could call the company that installed it, but I'm not sure how to tell them where it is, there's no street address here.

The frogs seem fine, so I'm guessing it's more-or-less potable.

It's also very cold when it comes out of the ground, so that's useful, eh?
 
Jay Angler
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Simon Foreman wrote:Yeah, the heat is pretty gnarly.  I don't mind ~95F but once it gets hotter than that there's no point in being outside.  You can't work.

I'm from the Pacific Wet Coast - we consider 80F a heat wave and all hide indoors!

However, I know a few things about tarps:
1. A decent ridgepole makes a world of difference. Even 1" rope isn't as good as something solid.
2. There are *never* enough grommets. I haven't had much luck with the "add them at home" versions either. But I have a sewing machine and a needle and thread, so if you haven't tossed the cheap tarp that ripped, cut all the grommets out with a decent margin, and stitch them in between the ones the tarp came with. In fact, I've been known to add 2 extras between each original if I've got lots in my stash.
3. The more "give" in the system, the more likely it will rip. Using something like a metal frame from a temporary car shelter as the support and tying out from there may help. If you've got a lot of wind, putting really long ratchet straps over top of the tarp on top of a frame of some sort will reinforce things well. Sometimes old ones are available free when the original tarp has died.
4. Rebar makes great stakes to tie ropes to. But if they're sticking up, find a friendly tennis player and ask for all their old balls (tennis summer camp maybe). Cut a X in the ball and push it over the top of the rebar so people won't trip and get hurt on it.
 
Cristobal Cristo
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Great news about your water!
So the next step is to try to drink it. I would taste it first, if it's good then it usually is. Laboratory test could help to make drinking decision.

What is your next step? I would do some grading - driveways, pads, swales, etc.
Have you checked what grows on gravely loam? I think grapes could have potential.
Do you have any trees on your land?

Can you build some no permit small structures?
 
Simon Foreman
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@Jay  Yeah, we're from the foggy part of San Francisco, so 70F is already warmish.  100F+ is just unruly.

If it wasn't for the global climate problems I would feel a fool, that I had bought a lemon, but I just think of all the folks who are going to have to deal with 100F+ or who are dealing with it now and I just feel determined to make it work.  I don't like the idea of running away (selling the land at a loss and moving... where?  Canada?  The whole place is burning right now.  Better to stand and fight where you are, eh?)

I think to get started I'm going to have to make a large insulated shed and get a small electric AC unit of some kind after all.  Put a small coup & run in it for the chickens when it's just too hot.  They don't like mist.  On the really hot days they just stay under the mobile home, the backside of which is up against the earth that was shoved down to make the flat spot above the home, but they're still too hot.    I see them panting under there.

BTW the mobile home is slowly being shoved over by the earth cleared off the flat!  I don't really trust the thing to stay up, so I'm not too happy about the birds using it as a coup.  I don't have anything better for them yet, that's the next thing on the list.

Thanks for the great advice on tarps.  I really appreciate it.

Mostly the problem here is that this particular tarp is just junk.  The grommets pop off as soon as you put pressure on them!  The corner reinforcement on one corner broke off as we were removing the thing from its wrapper.  It's just junk.  I've noticed this recently (Home Depot, I'm calling you out!) in the last few years.  Some things you buy are just "imitations" of the real product.  Like non-working replicas.  We have some strong breezes but not strong enough to rip a normal tarp, here not only the tarp itself ripped but also the reinforcing wire they ran through the hem ripped, like string.  It's an imitation tarp.    I got a real heavy duty tarp (from Harbor Freight) that I'll put up instead. It was also $20 cheaper!


@Cristobal  Oh I'm way too chicken to drink it!  Not before having it tested anyway.  It does feel great to wade in the pool, very refreshing, not just from the cold but the water itself seems to have a "relaxing property" of some sort.

> What is your next step?

Chicken coups!  I've got these two flocks of chickens, Golden Sebrights and something called "Azure Eggers" and they need proper coups.  Right now they hang out under the mobile home in the heat of the day and they sleep in trees at night.  (Most of the eggers sleep on top of the IBC tote but some of the hens jump/fly up into the lower branches of the oaks.  The Sebrights either sleep in a tree or up on the porch.)

Once I've got a shaded place to swing a hammer without overheating that's the very next thing to do: chicken coups for the birds.

> I would do some grading - driveways, pads, swales, etc.

The main driveway down from the road has a few bits of erosion starting, so that's high on the list of things to take care of.  Other than that I'm going to avoid earth moving until I can build robots to do it for me.  This isn't really soil, it's just rocks upon rocks embedded in a red "loam" which as far as I can tell is just something that isn't clay and isn't sand.  So even a modest swale would be a huge PITA to do without some kind of machinery.

In re: Permaculture I'm mostly going to be converting the ambient biomass (dead tree branches, dead star thistle) into nice thick mulch and keeping it moist with well water and some simple plastic shade & moisture barrier membranes.  I likely won't plant much until next Spring.  I'm not happy about that, but "there is a season", eh?

> Have you checked what grows on gravely loam?

I really haven't yet.  This happened so suddenly, and I've been so busy, that I've only been able to do the tiniest bit of research.  I did find a book by a Permie who details ~140 species that could do well here.  I even have some of them already.

But to be perfectly frank, I'm just going to build soil on top of the "earth" here and grow whatever.  I dream of a multi-biome botanical garden...

> I think grapes could have potential.

Aye!

> Do you have any trees on your land?

Lots of scrub oak and a little pine and manzanita.  Unfortunately even the pine grows crooked so no lumber.
That's okay though, I'll build with rocks, got plenty of those, and every leaf of shade is precious.  The sun here is almost baleful.
 
Jay Angler
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I'm glad to hear that good chicken coops are on your high-priority list, since you've already got the chickens!

Important: Chickens attract predators. Predators you've never seen before, will show up when easy chicken dinner is on the menu. I can't recommend strongly enough that you need to build Fort Knox and eventually, some secure runs for when you need them. (A secure chicken run that doubles as a grape arbor would stack functions!)
For example, just about everything *except* chickens can rip or chew through modern "chicken wire". We won't use it any more, but use hardware cloth instead (the little squares) and no larger than 3/4" (which is hard to get now on my Island) and more commonly 1/2". Potential predators can be rats, snakes, weasels, coons, dogs and every flying predator in the book. (Bald Eagles gave us great trouble this year!)

Chickens may not like misting, but consider a coop with a green roof that you can water to help keep them cool? If there are times that the chickens will be locked in the coop, I'd try to allow 8 square feet per bird. Chickens generate a fair bit of heat on their own. A sandy dust bath area which you can dump water in to keep the sand moist, might be helpful, but I've not raised chickens in your eco-system, so maybe wander over to the chicken forum and ask questions +/- post your plans?
https://permies.com/f/59/chickens
 
Cristobal Cristo
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Thank you for the answers.
Do you know if the stones that you have are igneous,  sedimentary or metamorphic?
If they are not granitic and if you have larger boulders it will be easier to split them and use for structures, maybe slipform stonework.
I would try figs. They may like the stones. Pick varieties tolerant to inland heat - Mission, Brown Turkey.
My hens were fine when it was 110 F. They need shade and water.
 
Simon Foreman
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@Jay Yeah, I hear you!  I'm very nervous about leaving them out at night.  We were keeping them in the backyard but the roosters got old enough that their crowing would cause problems, so they have been out at the place for five nights now.  We're in a weird region with very few predators, but still.  (The place is absolutely crawling with quail.  I saw two groups yesterday, a mated pair with at least a dozen chicks and a flock of at least twenty adolescents.)

I really expected to be farther along now than I am.  It's been a weird cavalcade of little problems and issues.  But yeah, coups for the chickens should have been built before bringing them out, ideally.

> just about everything *except* chickens can rip or chew through modern "chicken wire".

Aw, that sucks, that's what I got.  I'll get some hardware cloth.  Thanks for the heads up.

I'm planning to have a defense-in-depth strategy with an outer fence, and inner area, and the actual coup and run proper.  I've got cameras and lasers and stuff.  3D print some of those open-source robot dog-things to patrol at night, etc.  I've got a bunch of little drones.  It's gonna be Fort Knox and then some.

> consider a coop with a green roof that you can water to help keep them cool?

Ah, that's brilliant!  Cheers!  That's perfect.  Just cover the top of the coup with growing medium and sprout grass etc. up there!  Insulation, solar energy capture, growing a crop, cheap and made of ambient natural materials.  Thank you!  I was going to use the radiant barrier but a living green roof is so much better.


@Cristobal Thank you for the questions!  Like I said above, days back, my friends and family are supportive but disinterested.  It soothes my soul to talk about this work with folks who are on the same wavelength.  Cheers!

I don't know what the stones are, but they are quite varied: black, grey, red, dark green, white quartz, etc.  Most are at least a little rounded, some have angular features and flats but have been "tumbled".  Very few are larger than a baseball or softball.  No boulders.  Judging by the erosion wall of the creek at the East edge of my parcel, the rocks and loam are at least thirty feet thick before you get to whatever is underneath.

I don't know if this stuff is glacial deposits.  I suspect it's from the truly Biblical floods that fill the Central Valley every couple of centuries and make it temporarily into the Central Sea.  If that turns out to be the case, I will build ships instead of buildings.  It might be another half century or more before the water comes again, but then I'll be ready.  I'd like to fill the ships with emergency stores (inflatable rafts, survival rations, water filters, first aid kits and medical supplies, etc.) so that when the floods carry them down to the main Valley I can be of some use and not just float on by, you know?  It sounds nuts, but it makes perfect sense to me.  These rocks don't lie.  I'm in the path of the flood and this "land" shows it clearly.

As an aside, that was one of the things that I most valued from taking a Permaculture certification course.  I can still remember the moment my perception of the land shifted when I first truly saw contour lines.  The world was the same, yet it was completely different.  I was changed and the world changed.

That's the wonderful thing about Nature: it's the real world. Perceiving nature is perceiving reality.  In an increasingly mediated human world, Nature is the touchstone for sanity (in both meanings of the word: sane & sanitary)  Now that the machines can hallucinate for us, the reality of living beings is more important and vital (pun intended) than ever!

So yeah, I look at this land and "see" the flood that made it, and I realize that there's no point in building normal buildings here, and the stone walls I want to build will have to extend down into the ground to the underlying rock and be essentially the kind of things you would build to hold back the sea.

It's either that or boats.  Anything that's not as solid as a mountain or light enough to float will be destroyed, eventually.

I definitely want to try to grow figs!

> My hens were fine when it was 110 F. They need shade and water.

Cheers, that makes me feel a little better.  I hate to see them pant.  They have deep shade under the mobile home, it's essentially a cave, and I put out eight different water dishes that they can't overturn here and there, mostly under the porch but also in the other places the like to go.  I check them several times a day.

I posted a video of them dust bathing on my Mastodon feed: https://mastodon.social/@carapace/110854889668534887

You can see the Sebrights behind the chicken wire in the background also dust bathing.
 
Simon Foreman
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Well, I'm an irresponsible idiot.  Six of the chickens are gone.  They just vanished.  There was one little tuft of feathers.

I feel awful.  It's my fault.  Only an idiot would leave chickens out without a proper coup.  I am that idiot, and my poor birds paid the price.  

We brought the rest of the egger flock (five birds) and the Sebrights back to town.  They can hang out in the backyard here and the neighbors will just have to put up with the occasional crowing.  (There's another rooster a few blocks away.  I can hear him in the morning. So I don't feel like a compleat jerk.) The six Sebrights are fine, it was Eggers that I lost.

Then two nights ago something big came through and bit open a 5 gallon bucket full of chicken feed.  There are tooth marks that punctured the bucket and the bucket itself was crushed, dented in one side.  I don't know what kind of critter can bite open a 5 gallon plastic bucket, I'm thinking Mountain Lion or Bear?
I'll post a photo of the bucket later.  It's pretty gnarly.

So yeah...
All I've got up there at the moment is a tent.  I'm not looking to tangle with a cougar or bear, y'know?

Between these developments and the lack of material for salvage up there at the land I'm feeling like the whole thing is kind of "not on".  We are running out of money.  We don't have a proper vehicle to get e.g. lumber and such out there.  The buildings and such that are already there are not as good for salvage as I initially thought.  There are few trees suitable for cutting for lumber (oak is twisty.) This is starting to feel like it's not going to work out.

I'm thinking that I might have to get a job and rent a place in town and try again after the heat of summer has worn off.   That would severely suck though.  I don't know what to do.

"When in trouble, or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout."
 
They worship nothing. They say it's because nothing is worth fighting for. Like this tiny ad:
Can we do it? Freaky Cheap Tickets to the 2025 Permaculture Technology Jamboree - this weekend only!
https://permies.com/wiki/259997/Freaky-Cheap-Tickets-Permaculture-Technology
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