scott mack

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since Nov 29, 2011
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forest garden bee solar
Bouncing between a 1/3 acre urban lot in central Ohio and 20 acre woodlot in eastern Ohio. Both are slowly being transformed into Permaculture properties.
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Recent posts by scott mack

Chris, yes there are plans for an android version. I have not started it yet, but as the iphone version gains traction I'll add features and build it out for android too.
2 years ago
Thanks Lyda!

Michael, Yes I have tested it. I marked some swales using my iphone and sightleveler, then checked them with my Topcon laser level. Using sight leveler I could mark about 25 feet in each direction of a marker post and it was about 1 inch off compared to the laser. The gyroscope seems pretty accurate, where you get error is that the camera isn't mounted in the phone exactly perpendicular with the gyro, I added a calibration setting to compensate, that made a huge difference!
2 years ago
so, I created an iphone app a few weeks ago that can be used like a transit level. here is a little story and a video. I'll add more as I overcome my camera shyness.

This all started a few years ago, I had the idea and started building the app on my own, but I never finished it. The idea rattled around in the back of my head since then, but once I was laid off it all came rushing to the foreground. I had recently listened to Paul's podcasts on residual income and figured I could get a little going with the app. Originally I was going to focus on Permaculture and swales, so i called it Swale Builder.

Once I had a working model of the app it became clear that it could be used for WAY more than just swales. So I changed the name to Sight Leveler since its really a sight level (hand level) like this:

If the app is just hand held its a little fiddly to keep it accurate. Just like the hand level above. So I mounted my phone on a monopod - think wooden stick and rubber bands - then i could make much more accurate measurements.

It works by using two sets of crosshairs and the camera. The camera feed is on screen with the crosshairs, one set of crosshairs is fixed and doesn't move. The other set 'floats' around getting information from the level built into the phone.
When the two sets of crosshairs are aligned, then whatever is in the crosshairs is level with the camera lens.

When I mark contour lines with the app, I drive a stake in the ground that is taller than the phone and monopod. Then I mark the stake right at the camera lens. Now there is a point of reference to aim at. Walk 10 or so feet from the stake and point the phone camera at the stake. Move the monopod up or down the hill and align the crosshairs until they are level with the mark.

Here is a graphic I made that shows the steps:

This is a video that I made for making a level grade line between two points:

I will come back and add more images and videos of the monopod and how the crosshairs work.
Here is a link to the apple store if you want to run out and buy it right now, its $3.99 and I'll be adding more features like setting the slope and degree display.
2 years ago
I have read a little bit about this in The Biogas Handbook by David House. He writes about a double chamber digester that allows the methane stage to happen separately from the acetic/alcohol stage. The first chamber is filled with material that ferments, once it has fermented it is added to the second chamber that also contains methanogenic bacteria where methane digestion occurs. I admit, i've only skimmed the book, but your post rang a bell when i read it.

Here is a link to the biogas book:

I think I read on the site that if you overfeed a digester it will go acetic and kill the methanogenic bacteria. The double chamber may keep that from happening. I have started construction on double IBC digester with a 3" pvc pipe linking the 2 totes. It hasn't been charged with anything yet, just filling it with water from the roof catchment. Once its full I'll be adding duckweed and cow manure to it.
2 years ago
I have remote property that we can only visit on weekends or vacations. It's mostly wooded, we finally started a pond this year and once its full, fish will be a priority.
This fall we'll be adding fruit trees and berry bushes too, along with as many perennial vegetables that I can get my hands on.
To me, the perennials take much less care and I don't have to worry about them while we're in the city.
My stepdad keeps honeybees on our property in langstroth hives, but my goal is to add more bees in Warre hives. They can be left for months at a time.
I keep compost worms in my city house, but if you had a large enough bin, i would think you could fill it with horse manure and leave them for months.

a good friend of mine kept free range game hens, they would roost high up in his barn. With automated feeders, they might be able to take care of themselves.

I hope to be at our country place full time one day and I think that if all of the perennial and low care systems are in place it will be much easier to add bigger livestock later.
2 years ago
Skiddable structures sounds like an awesome stretch goal.
the wofati tour would also be interesting!
2 years ago
Bernie, do you know how much drop is in the stream?
Ram pumps need drop in order to work, but the drop only needs to be about 10:1. so if you need to go up 35 feet, a 3.5 foot drop would be necessary.
My property is very steep, I have around 25 feet of drop in my creek and I'm able to pump nearly 1 gallon a minute vertically 180 feet.

I'd like to understand your property more and maybe help you get a ram pump running.
2 years ago
Isaac, we will be outside of Steubenville, but in the woods. It looks like 20 - 25 miles or so from you.
8 years ago

I've been googling shade tolerant plants for the wooded area on my new land. Its pretty shaded there. I can't believe how many shade tolerant options there are that would meet the needs of a guild. I'm in zone 5b/6a so my plant selection won't be the best for you. But I would bet there are many options for 8a that can provide mulch, nutrient accumulators, flowers and food.
8 years ago
I'll be moving to eastern Ohio in 6 moths or so. My wife and I bought 20 acres there. It is mostly wooded with an acre open. There is a ton of hard wood on it, a double wide and a garage where I'll build my wheels.

My biggest fear is screwing it up. there is a functioning woodland there. How do you take natural perfection and urge it to make food for you? I guess thats why I joined permies.

We are 40 minutes or so from Pittsburgh. Is there anyone close?
8 years ago