Frank Callo

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since Jul 12, 2012
I am 47 with a wife and four (almost) grown kids.  I've dabbled in all kinds of art, have a BA in philosophy, have worked as an organic farmer, facilities manager for an evnironmental education center and a produce clerk in a natural foods store. 

Currently, I am growing a nice home garden, helping a few other people do the same and doing a little consulting for community gardens.  My wife and I live in a rented house in Knoxville TN.  We are trying to figure out how to get some land and start homesteading.
Knoxville TN
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Recent posts by Frank Callo

This is great. I've been thinking about Portland cement a lot too. I'm a way away from building anything but I'm planning to build some "models" to get a sense of what is possible.

Thanks.
6 years ago
cob
We could make a whole other thread out of the predator/prey imbalance.
6 years ago
As I see it, the biggest problem with cats is that they reproduce pretty prodigiously. I live in an urban environment and the feral cats are something of a neusance but I don't see many mice or rats which means I can keep my compost pile with impunity. If the cats are "fixed" (I prefer broken, but thats a different story) I think they do have a place.

When we lived in the country (rural East TN) we had lots of mice, voles, opossum and all manner of other creatures that can play havoc with crops and stored food. I was DEFINITELY thankful for the cats then.

In some way, I think the attitude toward cats (and sometimes dogs which are very useful in certain environments) is a lot like the attitude toward ornamental plants and invasive species. Bamboo is an "invasive" but it is also quite a useful building material. If you are homesteading and plan to stay and manage a stand of bamboo it is probably OK to keep a stand of it. Japanese maple aren't "useful" but they are beautiful and I think there is a place for beautiful organisms within reason (food for the soul). Dogs can protect your garden from rabbits and alert you to the presence of all sorts of unwelcomed guests (four leged AND two legged).

Its about context, management, careful integration and setting responsible limits.
6 years ago
Hey Paul

Sorry if this is redundant.

If your goal is to divert water coming downgrade around structures then it isn't a drain you want at all, and definitely not any kind of swale. What you need is a berm that is slightly longer than the width of what you are trying to divert around. Preferably this berm would be somewhat wedge shaped with the thin end of the wedge pointing uphill. The water coming down grade would "part" around the berm and continue down grade on either side of the structure you want to protect.

You might consider just digging a ditch at either end of the berm so that the increased water volume would have an easier excape route. This would be a good place for your "Paul drain" because an bare ditch might tend to erode (although if you seded it with some kind of ground cover this shouldn't be too much of an issue.

A swale behind anything you want to get water around is a bad idea because swales drive the water sub surface, which is why they are used to deliver water to the root zones of gardens. So the water would just end up under your structure.

I attached a picture of what I have in mind. If you could explain to me how you get the pics right in the message that would be helpful. I like drawings of things. BTW, what proftam are you using to draw?

Peace
Frank

6 years ago
Hi folks

I'm new here so I hope this subject hasn't been extensively covered already.

I am contemplating an experiment with what I am calling laminar cob.

The idea is to build a woven branch lattice which I would cover with burlap. Next, make the cob mixture, a little thin and without the straw. What I'd like to do is "paint" the strawless cob mixture onto the burlap in a thin layer and press another layer of burlap into it. Repeat this process until I get a membrane of desired thickness and finish the surface with a slightly thicker layer of cob slurry.

This idea arises from an interest in constructing relatively thin membranes for interior walls and perhaps roofing.

On a related topic, does anyone know anything about cob roofs, specifically, how to weatherproof such a roof?

Does anyone know anything about such a process? Have you tried it or seen anyone try it? Can anyone think of a reason it might not work?

Thanks
Frank
6 years ago
cob