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Earl Mardle

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since Nov 02, 2012
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Recent posts by Earl Mardle

Beware of patching the crack. It is probably allowing the water pressure to equalise between the inside of the pond and the surrounding soil. If you reseal the pond you will need to have enough water in it to ballast the structure when there is a heavy rain and the soil around the pond become waterlogged. At that point, the pond will tend to float up and you will never get it back down again.
2 months ago
Heading off topic a bit but this " this also explains why my mom's Irish soda bread recipe calls for nothing but milk (basic) curdled with vinegar (acidic) " is not quite right.

Milk contains Calcium so you might expect it to be basic but it is not, raw milk is slightly acidic and if you leave it for a few days it curdles naturally as the ecosystem biology of the milk continues to live and work on the other resources in the milk. Adding vinegar does not interact with the base but concentrates the acid and advances the curdling. I use it to make paneer from fresh or milk that is a day or so old.

If you make a low temperature cheese (around 32 for many cheeses -45 for haloumi) and extract the curd, try leaving the whey covered for 24 hours. That allows the whey to become quite a bit more acidic. Then all you have to do is bring it to the boil and you will see the remaining solids curdle out as ricotta (Italian for re-cooked). I find that it makes a finer, softer ricotta than just using vinegar or lemon straight after making the first cheese.
8 months ago

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:Thanks, been wondering about gappers for ages!

DE - diatomaceous earth.  

Deposits of concentrated exoskeletons of diatoms, very ancient life forms with silicon exoskeletons. Two forms, basically raw silicon that is sharp-edged and damaging when it comes into contact with living things, especially on a small scale, although in the early days of mining it there were lung problems among those handling it and care was needed. The theory was that the silicon flakes, when they come into contact with bugs etc, stab the joints and start fluid loss and infections that kill the bugs.

The material is also great at ,mopping up liquids so it tends to dehydrate the bugs as well. I have used it as a spray on early arrivals of Green Shield bugs (only spray early morning or late evening, outside bee time) and noticed much less subsequent infestation, however that may also be due to the collapse of insect populations generally.

I also use it as an additive to my cow treats because I treated a cow with mastitis and, after antibiotic treatment for the outbreak she never had it again. Again, may be coincidence.

paul wheaton wrote:I never did like beer.  I've tried it a dozen times or so and never understood why people seem so keen on it.

So .... how long does it take for humans to evolve .... and how long ago did we start eating grain?  And how long ago did we start cooking food?

Try chestnut beer, I have friends who are trying to move into the gluten free beer business and chestnuts, being low oil and high carb are ideal for that.

As for evolution, all it takes is one conception that produces the right error in the genetics and it starts. Being mother nature, she makes billions of fatal errors in the process, many that we never even realise.
1 year ago
The whole concept of weeds needs review. There are very few plants that I will not tolerate in my land, blackberry because it becomes invasive, kikuyu grass, inkweed, honeysuckle and california thistle all ditto. I take out scotch thistle, tarweed and most of the black nightshade when I see it but many others like taraxicum spp, dock, plantago (both types) chickweed, fat hen, pigweed and others get a lot of tolerance, pretty much all of them get used as cow treats at milking, the dock provides dynamic accumulation, the cows love the leaves and the seeds go into my breakfast muffins.

In general I look at desirable plants and the more that volunteer the better like lettuce, parsnip, kale, tomatoes, spuds etc, compost volunteers which is anything that wuld be tolerable but is in the way of something I need more, and charcoal feedstock for anything whose roots, leaves or seeds I want out permanently. Weeds, however, don't have many of them.
2 years ago

My dad is on the uphill rise. He's coming back home with me sometime this week with hospice. Way better news than what was given to us earlier this week.

Great to hear that he has some more time.

Can we all just make him a promise that we will do our best to have more of us on this side than there are on the other? Always.

Joe Braxton wrote:These plans look like the ones, if not please correct me.

The plans are no longer available at the link, I also tried a search on baler there but no results. Any more ideas?

Also, I assume this is not just for tightening slack bales and that you can make a bale from scratch with it, yes?
4 years ago

Thekla McDaniels wrote:Mordants are also commonly used on many natural fibers.  The dye stuffs that yield a permanent color without a mordant are much rarer.  Often the mordant determines color you get from a dye stuff, meaning wool dyed with marigold petals for example that is mordanted with alum will give a different color than mordanted with chrome, or iron or the countless mineral salts used as mordant.  I think what happens is the mordants act on the fiber creating a place the color dye can attach.

This looks like a fascinating book, I'd love to get those colors from natural dyes.

And, of course, we all produce our own mordants so that's no problem. Mordants
  • stale urine
  • salt
  • vinegar
  • wood ash in solution
  • oak galls
  • raw alum
  • water  in which rusty iron has been soaked
  • willow or oak bark
  • copper pieces that have been soaked in ammonia for about 2 weeks.

  • Good page, with recipes.
    4 years ago

    Cj Sloane wrote:

    Zach Weiss wrote:Never chisel towards yourself, unless your the son of a timber framer

    I'm not so sure that even the son of a timber framer should wear sandals while chainsawing.

    Mhmm. To both. My inner health and safety inspector had a hernia, shorts, bare hands, no face or EAR protection and similarly unprotected people holding the log. Please guys, when you use a 20th century tool, don't take 13th century protection.
    4 years ago

    Opportunity Hatfield wrote:Well... the old Indore method is really considered out-dated.  More modern methods focus on trying to obtain peak efficiency.  While layering is a good way to begin the process, all the material needs to be mixed together in order to achieve any real efficiency.  Layering isn't going to decrease nitrogen losses because the moisture in the pile is going to melt the ash and raw nitrogen together anyway, and without moisture there's virtually no decomposition taking place.  We've refined this now to where we add various supplements at specific stages of the composting process, just like a good chef adds various ingredients to the recipe at the correct times.
    In some ecosystems the nitrogen issue isn't such a big deal.  But in regions where nitrogen management is a problem, we do have to conserve as much as we can -- it's expensive.

    Good point. My organic hort class actually did some research on amendments to compost. like one of the tutors I added lime to my layers but another tutor was against this. So they sent the results of the two methods off for testing and it was very clear, available nutrients in the unamended pile far exceeded those in the amended pile. The tutor theorised that adding the lime at the beginning interferes with the action of the thermophilic bacteria that start the thing off. They are very acidic and cause the pH of the heap to drop like a rock at first. Only after they are done do the subsequent critters raise the pH back towards neutral or above. The lime (or ash) in the heap may either attack the thermophilic bacteria or neutralise their waste, making it unsuitable for following bacteria as food.

    So I now add my lime/ash at the final stage, mixing it in as I prepare to spread. This also complies with biodynamic principles that say everything you add to the soil should use compost as the pathway.
    5 years ago