Nick Kitchener

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since Sep 24, 2012
Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
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Recent posts by Nick Kitchener

We had one at the office and we kept a score board on how successful it was. More often than not it didn't make it back to the charging station for a number of reasons.
Cables, plastic bags, shoe laces, and socks choke it out on a regular basis. It would often get stuck under desks, and free standing shelves.

Not exactly a great vacuum solution for the workplace environment or any environment where there are lots of cables and things on the floor, or furniture that has small gaps to get stuck in.
4 days ago
Hi and welcome! I'm a kiwi living in Canada, and I must say I miss the climate, and the ability to grow things like lemons, grapefruit and feijoa!

I've heard of this before. Good to see it working. If the carpet lasts only 3 years then something identifies it as food and isn't being killed by toxic gick leaching out of the carpet. I have no idea about the glues they use for keeping the wool in place, or the dyes they use either.

Anyway, I like the pics, and keep up the innovations
5 days ago

Jo Hunter wrote:I really like Morag Gamble's approach to sheet mulching, where possible-- I modify slightly because my waste straw is full of seeds. I put straw and horse manure down directly on the grass (the two items I can get free) directly onto the grass/sand), then sheet mulch with cardboard, then woodchips on top. I find it is much much better for weed control and improving the soil than putting cardboard directly on my extremely persistent, very strong grass. I bought in woodchips for the first time this year, and it worked really well but was too expensive to do over our whole acre, so I did my annual garden (about 300m2) and our oldest section of food forest. In the new section, I am just doing cardboard plus manure, and it improves the soil enough for sour fig (rather than grass) to take over before the weed seed from the manure starts taking over.

Last year I ran an experimental sheet mulch with hay on top of newspaper. the hay seeds germinated en masse but died after a few weeks I think because they couldn't get their roots established. I was wanting to test the common assertion that hay is no good as a mulch because of the weed seeds. In the future I will be using hay if I can get it for free because it really isn't an issue if it's thick enough, and it breaks down faster than straw.
1 week ago
I sheet mulch a lot largely because I'm battling indestructible grass that sends runners all through my garden beds. Cardboard is often treated with formaldehyde to prevent it breaking down and getting mouldy so I tend not to use it.

I get boxes and boxes of day old newspapers from the local supermarket. I open them up and lay them straight down. It's tough on a windy day, so I have to pick my weather.

I've been redoing my pathways using this technique and covering it with branches from some trees I had to chop, and then covered that with wood chip mulch I had dumped on site in the fall.

In the actual grow beds I've used newspaper in places, especially in the outer perimeters where there is a lot of grass pressure and horsetail. It lasts a year before the grass punches through an entire newspaper. 3 years before it's gone completely. Last fall, I covered an entire bed, and then put clean compost on top to direct seed into this spring. I'm interested to see how effective it is at keeping the grass at bay.

I noticed over the weekend a few onions I missed punching through newspaper sheet mulch so I think I'm laying it down too thin.

I found slugs love to eat the newspaper. It's an effective diversion crop for me. I've also found oyster mushrooms eat the newspaper too. In my grow beds I am as much sheet composting as I am sheet mulching so I actually want this accelerated break down.
1 week ago

Timothy Markus wrote:When I was in the power electronics field (controllers for battery powered vehicles), I worked with a guy who used to have an electronics repair shop.  This was back in the late 90's, early 2000s.  At one point he made good money repairing things, but as stuff became cheaper, people just started buying new and tossing the old away.  He said it was often only one component that went, but people still didn't bother.

I'm not surprised about this, but it sucks.  Realistically, we may not have many people who could, or would want to, do repairs.  It's no surprise that Apple is against it; even their software ramped down battery life for planned obsolescence.

I was a professional electronic repair tech back in the early to mid 1990's and saw the writing on the wall back then. I ended up getting out and retraining in a new career. The component densities and complexity is so hoigh in a lot of devices, you need specialized equipment and training to fault find and repair them.
3 weeks ago
Alder should work well. Russian Olive and Siberian Peashrub?
OK we are about to have the annual smelt run, followed a few weeks later by the sucker run. I'm thinking of catching some and freezing them to use as feed for the broilers.

Has anyone fed freshwater fish to broilers? How much does it effect the meat flavor?
1 month ago
My concern would be regarding the embalming fluid and how/if it biodegrades. Since it is designed to be toxic to living things (which is why the bodies are pumped full of it in the first place) I'd be a little weary of anything down hill from the grave sites.

There seems to be quite a bit online about how environmentally friendly Formaldehyde is, and how it breaks down quickly in the soil. I really don't know how that can be when it is so good at killing microorganisms in things like animal hides (leather making) and embalming. It's certainly worth doing a deep dive into the research to see if this is a legit risk factor or the claims being made by the funeral industry are legit.
Last fall I collected about 20 shopping bags of apples to make juice from. I fabricated an apple picker from some pvc electrical conduit. I softened the end (about 1 ft) with a heat gun, flattened it, and formed it into a hook shape.

I then cut a v shaped groove in the end with the idea that the apple stalk would fit in the groove and I can pull the apple off the tree. Since I was juicing I wasn't concerned with bruising.

It worked really well, and I was surprised how little bruising actually happened. But it was really slow. In the end I used the hook to shake the branch and dozens of apples fell to the ground all at once.

Next fall I am going to add an extension to my apple picker using another length of electrical conduit. I'll fabricate a locking mechanism by cutting an L shaped groove in one end, and inserting a screw in the other that will fit into the groove.
1 month ago