Tys Sniffen

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since Nov 05, 2012
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Northern California
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Recent posts by Tys Sniffen


does anyone have suggestions on where to get good plants and creatures for a big lined pond?  I would love to gather cuttings of course, but I don't have other connections in the area, and can't seem to find a local supplier of aquatic plants that has a decent website or will take phone calls.   Tons of aquarium places that can't fathom I have 70,000 gallons to work with.

In my perfect dream, someone on this particular forum would be someone I could visit and learn from, and get cuttings from.  manifesting, I guess!
9 months ago

Michael Cox wrote:Thanks for those pictures, they really help get a sense of what the land is like.

Question - do you NEED to do anything with the mountain side? I there are pressing reason to make changes at all? My feeling is that the flat land is plenty to keep you busy.

I completely agree with this.  Unless you intend to do some sort of commercial growing, I think your flat (which already has fruit trees??) will be plenty.  

Further, now that I've scrolled and seen the photos of the hillside, that doesn't look like much of a hill to me at all.  (a lot of my [unusable] land is steeper than a staircase.  That hill looks like a pleasant slope, easy for animals to wander around.  

and I also agree with the wild pig worries.  Build everything pig proof.

Looks like a great opportunity.
1 year ago

John C Daley wrote:Some more details of the whole system would be good to see.Some initial thoughts;
- If you capture water in large tanks, 20,000L it tends to clean it self a lot.
- Irrigation disc filters come in a range of gap sizes and can be washed clean
- Have you thought of a pressure pump system being in place between a tank and the house plumbing?

How much water do you capture from the roofs now?
And what size is the storage tank now?

happy to provide details, though I don't actually think they contribute to the in-line filter conversation:

I do capture water in tanks like that (5000g/20kL)
I will try and learn more about 'disc filters'
I have thought about presssurizing, but with my gravity feed, I don't need any power to get water, and thus I like it, even if it's just 23psi
I have different kinds of water catching... I have a car port with a maybe 15m x 15m roof, and my house has 180sm or so. how much I collect depends on the rainfall.
I have 30,000 gallons (120,000L) of tank storage now.

1 year ago

with my well and rainwater collection, I have a typical 'whole house' filtration system on my not-very-high-psi gravity fed system.  I think at the house I end up with about 22psi.

The filtration system I have is a GE in-line buy-a-new-filter every 3 months, and I definitely need it.  (we then use a Berkey on our drinking water)

Of course I want a washable/permanent solution, rather than have this disposable one.  

I've found some products, but I doubt they fit in the housing I have in place, so I'm probably looking at a whole new one, but I'd like to ask, if anyone has experience:

best product recommendation for a washable/permanent filter that does at least down to 10 microns?  

do you think it would be a BAD idea to do TWO filtration housings?  maybe a 50 micron washable one above a 5 micron replaceable one?
1 year ago
So, part of the problem of my own making is that the chicken coop is too close to the veg garden...  and I made the coop out of scrounged chicken wire, which the rats can get through.   I've set up motion cameras and know my coop gets a dozen or more visitors per night.  

And they've moved on to the garden as well.  Cantaloupes still on the vine, with a small hole chewed through, and then completely emptied from the inside!  nothing but skin left.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers gone.  bean sprouts chewed off and carried away.  etc.

Without building a complete cage out of hardware cloth (1/4" screen) that includes a roof... and the garden is in about the only place it can be.  so is the coop. I'm not sure what to do.  

No, I can't really do cats.  The current dog would eat them, and I'm allergic, and I don't want another creature to be responsible for.

So I'm trying to figure out about maybe doing some sort of (solar powered) electric fencing that would keep out rats.  I'm thinking of a band of 1/4" screen that's electrified (24" wide) along the ground, and then probably plastic deer fencing on top.   I seem to be running into problems with the way typical electric fencing needs to be grounded - while my idea basically NEEDS to be along the ground, or they'll simply go under.  

Anyone have good solutions, or experience with using electric fencing for rodents?

1 year ago

John C Daley wrote:I have no idea why cardboard is needed.
I lay the tyres down in columns, screw them together horizontally with roof screws.
Then I fill the wall with any scrap, I have used bottles , rocks and soil.
At the top I have made a mud mixture that can be formed into a water draining cap. The addition of lime or cement in the cap helps.

Am I clear in my description.
Tyres laid in the brick pattern are ok, but on a short wall you get lots of half tyre requirements which is not practical.
I have taken my walls up 6 feet.

I see how if you do columns you wouldn't have to worry about the half ends and the holes as they lay across each other.  I also like how you use trash to fill it up.  I've already started my project, so I won't be going the column route, but how do you deal with the meet points - where each column touches the next - isn't that a very thin point, possibly letting in air and weather?
1 year ago

Bill Ayers wrote:Tys,

Yes, to guarantee the dirt does not fall out the bottoms eventually it is best to plaster over the tires.

Thanks for this explanation.  I can probably find this elsewhere, but how does one get clay plaster to stick to the tires?  Cover it with mesh?   Right now, I have tons of slaked lime, so I was planning on limewashing the heck out of the interior walls.

This root cellar will have a decent roof and being on a slope near the top of a mountain/hill, in the woods where it won't get horizontal rains,  I'm not too worried about water messing with it.  I will build in some drainage safety measures, but the wall itself shouldn't have trouble.
1 year ago
I'm diving into a funny little side project of a root cellar dug into the side of a slope, and intend to use tire walls as the full front, and up the slope of the sides. This is basically an 8ft wide trench with a tire front wall.  Pretty simple stuff.

So I started working, and I'd never thought about it, but on the 2nd row of tires, when putting them staggered (like bricks) the hole of the new layer is not completely supported/covered by the lower layer, because of the edges of the tires below.

Now I start looking at youtube and I see people putting CARDBOARD in the bottom of the tires to hold in the dirt.  What?   What happens when that cardboard gets old and rots away?  is that ok because everyone plasters over their tires?

Is that the standard way to do it?  is there other ways?  if I do use cardboard, must I plaster, to keep the cardboard from weathering?

1 year ago
So, I had the chance to gather a bag of Hawthorn berries from a semi-wild spot yesterday.   a bit of searching brings up a lot about 'extract' and benefits and side-effects, but does anyone here have advice on how to eat/use a batch of actual berries?  and how to prepare/preserve?  
2 years ago
If you're thinking about building a cob house around the outside of your current house, I would say just build another house. Then you'll have 2.  Otherwise, you have a really big, hard-to-build cob house with much less room inside.

I think the passive cooling suggestions are good too - whitewash, reflective roof, etc.  

Can you do vegetation solutions?  Plant trees, vines, etc to keep the sun off the house. (but think about fire danger also)

When I was living in a yurt - zero insulation - in the super hot months I got a gigantic tarp and strung it up in the trees around the yurt - creating a shade spot.   Maybe think about a summertime shade set up, rather than building a 2nd house.  Even if you had to have telephone pole sized poles set up and in concrete around your house for the shade tarp to hang from, it'd be cheaper and easier than building a 2nd house.
2 years ago