Chris Kott

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since Jan 25, 2012
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bee forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
Toronto, Ontario
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Recent posts by Chris Kott

Agreed. The paleolithic warrior or hunter who wasn't able to compartmentalise their freakout, or to choose fight rather than flight, when faced with a hostile animal or person, wouldn't likely be able to pass their genes down the ages. They'd be too busy being dead to either procreate or to ensure the survival of offspring.

My anxiety reaction is quite simple; I stop exhaling completely due to core muscle tension, leaving spent air in my lungs, which precluded taking in normal breaths. It used to create a feedback loop wherein I would become anxious, sometimes about something as simple as not being able to catch my breath, and that would make me more anxious. Before I figured this out, I could literally pass out from hypoxia because I was breathing in gasps.

Once I figured this out, it was simply a matter of thinking about the mechanisms at work and consciously emptying my lungs completely.

2 hours ago
Well maybe a volcano tissue box cover?

4 hours ago
Glass jars would be ideal, but it makes scaling up difficult. If you had access to old glass carbuoys from a beer or winemaker and wouldn't mind fiddling with a diamond saw and rubber gasket material, that would make for larger batches, but that's a lot of work.

There's always the idea of recycling plastics with oyster mushrooms. I don't know if anyone here has managed it yet, but it is apparently possible, or at least conceivable.

This thread, where a member discusses and shows pictures of wax moth larvae and the job they do on styrofoam is inspiring for its potential, too, though I would want to have them and their feces analysed in a lab before I use them anywhere. It could be that they are sequestering the plastics in themselves and in their feces, as opposed to breaking them down into their constituent components, like fungi will do.

In that case, I would use the wax moth larvae as a first stage of decomposition, and then I would kill them and gather their corpses and feces up to be inoculated with oyster mushroom spore, which would probably have an easier time breaking down the already-somewhat-digested plastics.

If this method of disposal works, any plastic that could be sterilised adequately could be employed with the intention of submitting it to an aggressive and complete biological decomposition.

Free substrate bags that become substrate for oyster mushroom crops, and we start actually getting rid of plastic pollution. Sounds like a win-win to me.

6 hours ago
This sounds amazing. I mean, there are a lot of people on this site who use their mobile as their primary means of accessing permies and the internet, from what I can tell. Most people have a smartphone of some kind, so buying an app is probably more accessible than buying the requisite equipment for doing the same thing.

Will there be an android version?

7 hours ago
I could see using a hugelbeet for tree propagation, especially in situations where I am working with deeply-taprooted trees that I intend to transplant.

As to rodents, the solution I like is actually quite elegant: dry-stack stone walls and/or large pebble/small stone mulch. I like rounded river rock, but anything that comes in hand-sized pieces will do for stone mulch. I find that this gives ample room for predatory arachnids and snakes. I actually found garter snakes in my parent's backyard after using this method, about 20 minutes bike ride from downtown Toronto.

I would strongly consider walling in my hugelbeets with rock-filled gabions next time, should I be able to source materials cheaply.

I also found, in the rainless humidity of our summers, between sporadic thunderstorms, that a double-layer of stone mulch increased soil humidity, either by halting dessication, or by acting as a ground-level airwell, the humidity condensing out of the air on the cool, shaded underlayer of stones.

Oh, and the root zones under the hand-sized stones weren't ever dug up.

As to actually propagating and removing saplings, I would structure the hugelbeet such that there are discrete spots for each seedling I am trying to grow out. Each spot would be dug out, and there would be the same rock mulch placed at the bottom of each hole, just for air spaces. I would place a piece of landscaping fabric or some other barrier material so as to encourage the roots to air-prune, and I would probably line the holes with something like open-bottomed boxes or tubes or something for ease of removal. All of these steps are primarily for ease of removal and transplantation, but they also serve as layers of deterrent to anything seeking to munch.

And even if the footing on the individual saplings is good enough nearer the peak of your hugelbeet, it is worth considering planting on the leeward side partway down the hugelbeet for the sheltered microclimate it will afford your baby trees.

Pictures are always appreciated. Let us know how you proceed, and good luck.

7 hours ago
It's not inconceivable that somewhere under the soil surface on the slope, there exists a clay barrier, like an sub-soil dam, creating a barrier impermeable to water. This could account for over-saturation on-grade, but no obvious spring formation downhill from you.

Do you know what the geological makeup of your site is? Are you, for instance, sitting atop mostly clay soils sitting in a scooped-out depression of solid bedrock on the slope that might be water impermeable, or at least not easily or quickly permeable?

Did you test your soil?

My other thought accords with yours, Radhe, where the clay is simply holding on to the water because it's mostly clay with nothing to open passages for water and air. I would suggest you try opening those passages.

I would get whatever mineral amendment your land might need in at least two different grades of grit, one coarse, the other fine, like sharp sand, if you can manage it. I would try dusting this into your filled swale (unless it's drained finally, which is better), and if you can get a broadfork in there and fork the mineral grits into the soil, that will open up spaces in the soil that the grit and sharp sand will fall into, holding those cracks open, and giving the clay something other than itself to bind with.

Also, calcium-depleted clay soils can often have permeability or hardening issues. You might want to get gypsum as your mineral grit. If that's the case, adding gypsum might just turn your clods into crumble.

If you already have lots of organic matter in, don't worry about adding more for now. Unless it's sitting in a discrete layer atop your soil in your swale, it's already doing some of the work of increasing drainage, just probably not enough.

The other possible amendment is biochar. It's often not a bad idea, because it houses all the microbiology you want to encourage in healthy soil, and that will draw worms and other larger soil critters, and they will  increase drainage and workability for you.

This is only laterally related to increasing the drainage of your swale, but I would suggest inoculating your mulched areas with aerated compost extract and fungal slurry. This will increase the humus, the mycelia will offer biological connectivity between growing organisms, and will increase the structure of the soil, keeping it from collapsing on worm tunnels and voids that occur in the soil over time, holding the drains open, as it were.

Let us know how it goes, and good luck.

7 hours ago
What, no dormant volcano playset? No ant village? What about Basecamp with the 15 foot hugelbeet?

And maybe a Sepp action figure?

8 hours ago
What happens to an RMH if it is built only to handle stresses of a woodstove?

17 hours ago
Jason, your two given examples are both permacultural thinking mostly absent in the business world, where the point seems to be to narrow the focus of an enterprise until such time as you can make someone else pay for the wasteful parts of your system.

The profit motive complicates that rationale.

All companies need to care about, in an amoral context, is legal liability and the bottom line. So within those parameters, and absent outside influences like legislative pressures and the interests of entrenched big business, you can rationally expect them to make decisions that will make them money.

1 day ago
What answer were you looking for, Randy? I think we've run the gamut.

2 days ago