Chris Sturgeon

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since Nov 13, 2012
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Building soil in the Yukon.
Yukon Territory, Canada. Zone 1a
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Recent posts by Chris Sturgeon

Play the innocent.
When someone slips some racist innuendo into a conversation, ask; "What does that mean?".
When someone uses a coded 'dog-whistle', ask; "what do you mean by that?".
When some one causally refers to a stereotype ask for specifics: "Which one is a drunk?"
Keep asking until they realize how stupid they sound.
Don't be smug, preachy, etc. Be innocent, like I don't understand your language innocent.

They will either be forced to be blatant in their racism, or they will be embarrassed by it.
Unfortunately, learning is often painful for people.
You will be resented for making them learn something about themselves.
The people who thank you later will be the people you want to associate with.
21 hours ago
Wow, looks fancy! Where did you get the curved plexi? It reminds me of the 80's design of Tim Horton's coffee shops.

I want to do something similar, but attached to the Southern aspect of my house. The house was built by the previous owner of the property when we bought it, and the builder had the roof and windows all facing East/West. Great view of the Lake, but no solar gain.

Do you plan on putting any thermal mass on the North wall?

3 days ago
Well a little preliminary reading has this to say:
"Caffeine, a chemical stimulant, increases the biological processes in not only humans but plants as well. These processes include the ability to photosynthesize and absorb water and nutrients from the soil... Additional scientific studies have shown caffeine to be an effective slug and snail killer. It also kills mosquito larvae, hornworms, milkweed bugs, and butterfly larvae... the nectar of coffee blossoms has trace amounts of caffeine. When insects feed on this spiked nectar, they get a jolt from the caffeine, which helps etch the scent of the flowers into their memories. This ensures that the pollinators will remember and revisit the plants, thereby spreading their pollen."

Read more at Gardening Know How: Will Caffeine Affect Plant Growth – Tips On Fertilizing Plants With Caffeine

But it's not all good news. Mind you this is not referring to metabolized coffee, but fresh coffee grounds.
My composter seems to like coffee grounds. Perhaps that's the best way to deal with them?
4 days ago
So, first off some observations:
I used to drink a lot of coffee. More than 2 litres per day of strong drip brew. I loved the way it tasted and how it made me feel. I loved the ritual of preparation. I idolized James Hoffman... I was an addict.
But, just like many other drugs, there are diminished returns: Eventually, rather than having a pleasant euphoric rush, I was just trying to get back to feeling 'normal' by drinking another cup, and another cup, and another.
My sleep was suffering- to put it mildly, my psoriasis was getting bad, and mostly I just felt 'sludgy' most of the time.

Simultaneously, I was starting to read Sol Viva and Anna Edey's experiments with using dilute urine "Urine Charge" as a fertilizer. This made sense to me so I decided to give it a shot in my gardens.

Of note: The piss I was producing had a strong odour. Not hugely unpleasant, but it had a distinct roasted coffee bean smell. Of course this smell was the metabolized remnants of all that coffee filtered through my kidneys...
And the plants loved it! faster and higher germination, hardening off quickly, producing lots of foliage and in most cases fruit.

I haven't entirely quit coffee. I maybe drink 1 cup every week or less. I do sometimes drink tea. But I've reduced my caffeine intake by 90%. This was not easy!
My sleep is better, my skin is better, my clarity is better, but my plants are not.

Do plants like caffeine and/or metabolized caffeine by-products?

4 days ago
Just out of curiosity, and no judgement- I want to understand your and your husband's position...
What is the reason that you don't want to wear a mask?
5 days ago
Yeah it might be a levelling issue (if you own a spirit level then give it a check) but that would be strange. How did you apply your fertilizer? If it was well mixed into the soil then it shouldn't wash to one side that badly. Hardly at all in fact.

Is the better developed side the warmer sunny side (ie: facing South if you're in the Northern hemisphere)? Perhaps there is a temperature differential from one side on the bed to the other?

I also notice that the surviving plants are somewhat more shaded (by the box's wood). Perhaps what you planted doesn't germinate/survive well in full sun?
1 week ago
You've all waited 6 years years for the punch line:
I guess he was pretty pissed off.

1 week ago
My composter is a 6 foot long. 2.5 foot tall metal cylinder. It's mounted up on wooden posts with a steel pipe running through the long axis.
I had to make a hand crank (like on an old-timey well) to turn it as it gets really heavy, but it does a pretty good job. It's a necessity because we are on a bear route, and there are so many dogs roaming free in the area.

I tried some trench composting this year and every morning I have a fresh crop of holes!
1 week ago
Hi Brett, amazing work! Here's a good resource for cob/lime plaster.
1 week ago
Hi El.
I'm a member of the Yukon Bee Club. I suggest you check out our web page. If you do the Facebook thing, then the club's founder, Etienne, does an amazing job of recoding and sharing his knowledge through the bee club Facebook group.
He usually puts on courses in the Spring, out at the Mt Lorne Community Centre.
1 week ago