Jay Angler

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since Sep 12, 2012
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Recent posts by Jay Angler

HI Logan, 

You haven't mentioned your age or that of your new brother.  I agree with Pearl, but having one son who's on the shy side, taking a card game(and don't keep score), box of lego bits (*no* one is too old for lego - not even me.....), something not too competitive, but easy to learn and fun to do as an icebreaker could also help. Any idea of interests in advance so you can bone up on theoretical physics if needed, could also help.

How's his English?  If you know which Chinese language he speaks, having a translation ap on you phone might be good backup too?  Good luck!
1 week ago
I've been reading a Bill Mollison article and found this quote:
"Effects on Snow and Meltwater

Although trees intercept some snow, the effect of shrubs and trees is to entrap snow at the edges of clumps, and hold 75­95% of snowfall in shade. Melting is delayed for 2­10 days compared with bare ground, so that release of snowmelt is a more gradual process. Of the trapped snow within trees, most is melted, while on open ground snow may sublime directly to air. Thus, the beneficial effects of trees on high slopes is not confined to humid coasts. On high cold uplands such as we find in the continental interiors of the USA or Turkey near Mt. Ararat, the thin skeins of winter snow either blow off the bald uplands, to disappear in warmer air, or else they sublime directly to water vapour in the bright sun of winter. In neither case does the snow melt to groundwater, but is gone without productive effect, and no streams result on the lower slopes.

Even a thin belt of trees entraps large quantities of driven snow in drifts. The result is a protracted release of meltwater to river sources in the higlands, and stream-flow at lower altitudes. When the forests were cleared for mine timber in 1846 at Pyramid Lake, Nevada, the streams ceased to flow, and the lake levels fell. Add to this effect that of river diversion and irrigation, and the whole series of lakes rich with fish and waterfowl have become dustbowls, as has Lake Winnemucca. The Cuiuidika's Indians (Paiute) who live there lost their fish, waterfowl, and fresh water in less than 100 years. The 'cowboys' have won the day, but ruined the future to do so."

More evidence, if only we could convince people, that a properly managed forest is part of the solution!

The whole PDF is:      https://www.rainforestinfo.org.au/good_wood/trees_gs.htm
  and it's got some interesting info in it, but I haven't finished reading it yet - busy time on the farm!

(I just tried to fix the link - let's hope this time it works.)
2 weeks ago
Thanks Matt and Dan for providing the extra links. I've followed some of them, but am limited by time at the moment.

One thing I read mentions that the lower protein may put people in some of the poorest countries at the most risk of malnutrition. Although that makes sense from one perspective, I'm concerned that the high temperature heat waves from global warming that we're already starting to see, will put them at far greater risk than the issue of CO2 causing plants to change. So far too much I've read is focused on the problems, but are not suggesting solutions.

This also makes me wonder why there aren't rules against adding extra CO2 to greenhouses? Wouldn't this be affecting any greenhouse produce that is raised with artificially high CO2? Is this the usual, what the public doesn't even know to ask about, doesn't matter so long as they're willing to buy the product? Or is this a really uncommon practice?
2 weeks ago
Hmmmm.... personally I question his comment that since farmers provide "fertilizer" to make their plants grow well, that growing techniques aren't part of the problem.

Putting plants on junk food (NPK Fertilizer) makes them grow quickly without needing to work in cooperation with soil microbes and it's the presence of and active interaction with microbes that makes the difference in the availability of a number of micronutrients. When researchers do clinical trials, they try to eliminate as many possible variables that they can, so if the goldenrod was grown in dirt with fertilizer, it might well show some of the changes for reasons other than the presence of higher levels of CO2. That said, higher levels of CO2 are likely to be a factor in plants growing bigger faster - I've read that they've linked it to larger growth rings in trees for example. 

Similarly, even if it's not the whole story, I know that plants are being bred for many characteristics that don't benefit the nutritional content - think those ginormous California strawberries for example.

So I do agree that increasing the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is probably a factor in the nutritional content of the food, and I think that concern alone is a good reason to work on sequestering carbon whatever way we can on our land, but I also think there are other things we should be doing (like improving our soil microbe diversity) that will help to decrease CO2 *and* improve the micronutrients in our food.

Who was that guy anyway?
2 weeks ago
J. Adams wrote:

some of us live in the Pacific Northwest which is burning up literally from massive forest fires

The whole west coast from California up has been having massive fires, but look at the history:
1. Huge blocks of land being clear-cut with no regard to water management, then reforested as a mono-culture. Some trees help to break up fire patterns and encourage small fires which keep the fuel load on the ground more manageable, but for a long time, even small fires were suppressed.
2. The beavers have not recovered from the massive hunting that was done, so water is not being held on the land.
3. Global warming has moved the snow melt earlier in the spring, so without the beaver ponds to slow the run-off, what would have been milder droughts, have become severe.
4. Too many humans have been taking a highly focused, short-term view of managing the land - reforesting from a permaculture perspective, looks very different that what has been done in BC for the last 100 years.

The sad part is that the "Fire Information/Preparedness" night I attended seemed more in favour of cutting down trees and shrubs and replacing it with hardscape, even though their own literature stated how much more water it takes to keep lawns green than fire resistant shrubs and ground covers happy. Things like having a diverter valve on your shower to keep the plants near your house well hydrated without using fresh water to irrigate, wasn't even mentioned.

What this means is that just "planting trees" isn't the solution. Planting a multiculture intelligently according to permaculture principles, and using other techniques to hold water on the land is a step forward. Rotational grazing and multiple uses being made of the same acreage so that a landowner isn't "just a wood-cutter" or "just a rancher" would work with nature instead creating problems like the pine beetle infestation.
3 weeks ago
R Ranson, have you actually managed to get donations of wool?  Have you tried a wanted ad on the local freecycle-type boards? Do you have any budget for this project?

If you have tried felting some "wall" felt, I imagine you would need it much thicker than felted wool for hats. Please take pictures of the process as you try and post them whether it works or not. I had thought of using felted wool for insulation in a small structure I want to build, but I've no experience.  I'd have ended up doing it all by myself, and I agree with the earlier posts that this sounds like a it would work better with a "barn raising approach".
3 weeks ago
Yes, thank you Deb Stephans for the idea about the cans for wasps. The wasps harvest the Cabbage Butterfly larvae, but I react *really* badly to their stings, so getting them to nest where I won't disturb them is important. I could paint the cans pretty colours that would help me see them also!

I think you know you're a permie when you see an idea or something new somewhere and immediately think, "I could do that/make that". Or if you see a problem and think, "I can make that work for me."
3 weeks ago
According to the CBC, all the smoke that blew out over the Pacific is now being blown back onto Vancouver Island at ground level. Although it "looks" clearer up high than several days ago, there's actually more smoke where I'm trying to actually breath, and it's starting to get to me. I'm usually fairly tolerant of natural smoke, so if I'm noticing it, I feel bad for those more sensitive.

Unfortunately, "letting it burn" will actually aggravate the situation in future years if we don't change they way we're managing our forests, our municipalities, and the interface between two.
3 weeks ago
My first thought was that often one can find scraps of carpeting - it would last longer than cardboard, but still not a permanent solution. I'm thinking something firm and low pile. Similarly, a scrap of flooring (I'd say linoleum, but most of it's plastic these days) but it would be more prone to curling than the carpeting in my opinion.
3 weeks ago
I just attended most of a local meeting about the fire danger and "what we can do about it". The pamphlets mostly had the typical North American mindset - "control nature", "defeat nature" rather than what can we do to reverse what's happening. We've got too many monoculture evergreen forests in BC (British Columbia, Canada). The fire experts were all for removing shrubs/trees near buildings, but were less adamant about planting fire resistant ground covers and deciduous trees that can actually be part of the solution because they cool and humidify the air. No one mentioned diverter valves on shower drains so that all that water could spend late spring, summer and fall keeping the shrubs that shade the house well-hydrated. No one was mentioning curb cut-outs with fire resistant plantings so that what little rain falls here in summer doesn't just run off into the sewers. At least one of the "fire resistant plant" documents I read, did have a small asterisked note at the bottom which noted how much more water it takes to keep grass green rather than ground covers/shrubs healthy, and yet all the pictures showed houses surrounded by lawns.

Sooo.... Think Permaculture!!
1. Hold water on your land and recycle water onto plants. In really high risk zones, the sprinklers Joseph mentions make a huge amount of sense.
2. Plant fire-resistant plants and think of both them and hugel beds in terms of redirecting wind and the fire it brings. Covering wood with dirt decreases its fire risk, so even putting dead branches in a hole and covering it with dirt takes it from "problem" to "solution" because as it rots, it acts like a sponge underground to hold that water.
3. "Think Like a Beaver" - swales to hold moisture that can be watered down like a moat if it looks as if fire might be coming your way.
4. Simplify your roof line - simple roofs with no "valleys" or "dormers" as they can trap both embers and tree duff (it's cheaper to build also!)
5. Try to work with you community to get nearby people on board as much as possible.
6. Try to get people to think of their local environment as being part of them. Bring back the concept of "local custom" rather than our countries building cookie-cutter communities that look the same in Mississauga and Fort McMurray. That could start with simple things like starting extra edible, fire-resistant seedlings and gifting them to neighbors as a way to start the discussion.

And yes, Faye, *Please* send some of your rain to BC - we really need it!!
3 weeks ago