Nick Kitchener

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

I have a friend who uses this technique successfully in sub freezing conditions. Although he does have a heat lamp in there to keep the microorganisms working, and provide light since in the winter we get maybe 6 or 7 hours of light. He tries to keep the interior just above freezing.

The critical thing is moisture control. Especially around the watering station. The bedding needs to be dry, and the watering station spill proof.

I've been at his coop in the winter and in the spring when the thaw comes. There is no mess, and the ammonia odor is low.

I usually take away some of the bedding in the spring to put on the garden. There is no muck or muddy material. It's actually quite dusty and I have to wear a mask.

If you're having trouble with deep bedding it's probably because the bedding was damp when you put it in and it never dried out, or your watering system needs an upgrade.
3 days ago
Seeking a simpler, quieter life is a good thing. Just be prepared for the possibility that when you remove the noise and distraction, things will come to the surface and you will be forced to deal with them.

If you have ever watched that reality TV series "Alone", or even "Naked and Afraid" you will be familiar with what I'm talking about.

You mentioned PTSD. Based on the little information you provided, can I ask if you are also dealing with DID?
So yesterday I dug two holes in a garden bed I barely use. It is on the edge of my garden and gets too much shade to be productive for annual veges. I created the bed a few years ago but never really did anything with it so this year I decided to put in some perennials (black currants and rhubarb) which are more shade tolerant.

It was the first time in about 5 years that I've exposed my original garden soil and it is almost all sand. I've been working with this site to change the soil composition. I've pumped tons of leaves and other organic matter into the beds and it just seems to disappear. It's been frustrating at times and even now the soil is still very sandy and prone to drying out.

My exercise yesterday highlighted for me that all this work really is making a difference. My other grow beds that I'm actively working on have a completely different appearance and texture. And there is a ton of soil life in them compared to this bed. Even though there is no clay whatsoever, the soil is most certainly improving.

Now, I pumped a crazy amount of organic matter in so far. The first year I put 3 ft of leaves on top of each bed to over winter and then buried it in the spring. I mulch with lawn clippings to the point where any more would create an anaerobic sludgy mess. And I add compost that I make on site from used coffee grounds, sawdust, garden debris, wood chips, and composting worms.

My point being that what you think is needed to remediate your sandy soil is a drop in the ocean compared with what you will actually need. In hindsight, I would have initially not grown anything in that garden for the first year, and just piled on the organic matter like one giant sheet composting operation 4 ft deep, inoculated with mycelium and composting worms. That sounds like totally crazy talk but I'm telling you even that will disappear into the soil. If I was rural, I would run chickens on the sheet composting operation too. First year harvest - eggs and mushrooms.
4 days ago
They are fantastic if they stay put.

Around here, fall produces tons of leaves but it also delivers loads of wind. My first adventure in mulching was with leaves. Tons of leaves I collected from the organic roadside cleanup.
A week later and all that mulch went over to visit the neighbors place.

If the leaves are wet, and the mulch layer deep enough then they will stick together and more or less stay where you want them. I think this is why people prefer straw or hay as it tends to stay in place. A mixture would be a a good idea.

4 days ago
This is a photo of MkII of my composting tower with the MkI in the background.

The MkI is 3ft diameter and 3ft high. It is filled with used coffee grounds mixed with sawdust and composting worms. I grew zucchini in the top very successfully last year and will do it again this year too.

Next spring I will take is apart and use the soil in the garden.

MkII is 4ft diameter and 3.5 ft high, and is being filled with used coffee grounds inoculated with oyster mushroom mycelium.

Based on my experience with this system, I think that your idea is certainly worth investigating further.
5 days ago
If only some sort of engine could be built to harness that energy...

To infinity and beyond!
5 days ago
Biological weapons! And the best place to develop such a thing is in a ghetto.

Now I have your attention let me explain

There is a thing called a slug ghetto. You collect a bunch of slugs and put them in a confined space surrounded by nastiness. Sooner or later you will have a slug that is infected with nematodes and when you put that slug in the ghetto, then all the other slugs will become infected.

Create a nasty enough ghetto and it will poison the entire slug community.

Anyway, here is an already existing thread on urban planning for slugs:
Slugs in da hood
1 week ago
Travis I make a distinction between depression (as in a clinical physiological imbalance) and life simply kicking the crap out of you. In your case, I think your emotional state is entirely normal for someone going through what you're going through. My point being that I doubt you have a mental illness on top of your cancer.

Something else nobody has mentioned is that having cancer doesn't make you immune to Lyme disease. Since you spend a lot of time outdoors, you probably encounter ticks. If I were you I'd get tested.
1 week ago
Copper has a long history as a plumbing solution and the long term disadvantages and effects are known. PEX is not. The press fittings for PEX piping have not been proven over time in domestic settings. They are theoretically good, but life has a habit of interfering with theory...

PEX is supposedly stable and "shouldn't" leach toxic gick into the water. That's the toxic gick they actually test for mind you.

Here is a big cautionary note about PEX. It is extremely sensitive to UV exposure. It hardens and becomes brittle if exposed to sunlight extremely quickly. If it's left outside for as little as 2 weeks, its lifespan can be halved. So connection failure and leaks may happen 10 years down the track simply because it was mishandled somewhere along the distribution chain.

I have PEX in my own house. For hot water systems it's great because the hot water stays hot in the lines, and we don't drink water from the hot tap anyway. Ideally I would have all our cold lines copper because it's a known quantity.
3 weeks ago
I've floated the idea locally for a tree library where a permie takes other people's tree stock and plants it on their land. Then at a later time, the people who donate tree stock can come and get other different types of young trees to plant out on their own acreage.

People (like me) donate tree sock because they don't currently have the space, or economic resources to plant an entire forest. So they buy what's needed and donate it.

The person receiving the tree stock cares for the tree, and maintains a tree nursery where seedlings, suckers, and cuttings are propagated. So they do work in exchange for having their land forested.

So for example I'll go out and spend $200 on blueberry plants. I'll donate them to the library where they get incorporated into a food forest.

Then in 5 years or so when I have land and are ready to establish my own food forest, I go to the library and place my order for 50 or so blueberry cuttings to be picked up the next spring. Maybe I'll pick up some gooseberry, mulberry, elderberry, and saskatoon seedlings while I'm there. I'll also drop off some pots and propagation materials to replace the ones I'm taking.

So my $200 investment in maybe 10 blueberry bushes (yes, they cost $20 each) from the commercial nursery provides me with a return on investment of 150 berry bushes over the span of 5 years. Meanwhile it allows a fellow permie to establish their own operation far faster than would otherwise be possible.

As soon as I floated the idea I got an instant volunteer to be the keeper of baby trees. Donors has been a slower process. I propagated a bunch of seed this spring with mixed results, but I'm hoping to donate some Siberian pine seedlings once they're big enough to survive out on their own. I am also collecting cold hardy cherry suckers and growing them out with a view to donating them to the library.
3 weeks ago