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John Pollard

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since Jan 25, 2013
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Recent posts by John Pollard

Please read the instructions on any chain saw. That thing's not too far from your face and if it kicked up ...
Left arm should be straight and locked (for a right handed person)
Right hand very firm grip

This might require a different set up for what you're doing. Perhaps a vise mounted lower at about waste height. A full face shield isn't a bad idea.
1 month ago
If there's only one acre that's open, I don't think plant plant plant trees will be something you'd want to do right away. More like cut cut cut or bulldoze some of the existing forest.
Don't forget about the bugs in GA that you probably don't have on an island. Chiggers  ticks and fleas and about a million other 6-8 legged critters.
1 month ago
I've been a bit of a prepper, read a few survivalist books and been on survivalist forums for well over 15 years and the best scenario is a few or several families that will work together. One man with his wife and kids, the odds aren't good because there will be hordes of desperate people and they will take what you have. There also will be, um, uninhibited people for lack of better phrasing. When there's no rules or at least no one to enforce them, people will act on their worst impulses. Have you seen the movie The Road?

Water. In case of aquifers running hundreds of feet below surface, how to get it without electricity (Springs and rainwater - see below)
Grow food. There's only so much canned food you can store (don't forget winter - need to preserve what you grow)
Cooking. I really like rocket oven. But anything else? (Wood stove, dutch oven, clay oven, solar oven, thermos cooking)
Maybe electricity? In case of a nuclear war/asteroid strike/volcanic eruptions it will most likely result in a long nuclear/impact/volcanic winter in which case solar panels will be useless. But do you even need electricity? (Sure is nice and solar will survive some situations - even a small 12vdc set up for LED lighting is nice btdt)
Air conditioning in high humidity and temps over 100 during the day and around 80 during the night. (well if you don't have electricity... - Actually we survived two heat waves with humid, over 100 degrees - miserable but we lived)
Heating in the winter. I like that rocket heater doesn't produce smoke and so it doesn't attract attention from miles away. (overrated imho - the equivalent of having a warm rock in the room - get a small efficient woodstove with a flat top you can cook on - have extra stove pipe in stock)
Hygiene (overrated in a strictly survival situation - if you have the water, go for it but if you're toting water by hand then sponge bath as needed, where needed)
Entertainment (shooting zombies of course - cards, boards games but mostly you'll be working)
Animals? How many chickens can you raise with paddock shift design? In case of nuclear/impact/volcanic winter? (rabbits are quiet and don't take up much room - you need added fat though)
Root cellar that doubles as shelter in case of war/natural disaster? (kinda different as root cellars are a bit moist to live in - could build them together with a wall between - dirt floor for root cellar, concrete for shelter - 3 foot of soil over you and hepa filters for fallout)
Rain water collection (well not if nuclear fallout but in all other cases)
Radioactivity testing? Heavy metal testing? When you're on your own, you don't have access to these things probably unless you prepare beforehand. (they can be had - oh, look into iodide pills)
Lamps for growing food in case of impact/nuclear/volcanic winter? Then you'll need electricity. LOTS of electricity. I'm guessing building a sizeable green house. (store 2 years of food - look at wheat kernels - rice - beans)
How to harvest wind power? (wind is not very good alt energy in most places but pumping water to cistern like Amish is good)
Alternative fuel for your car? Diesel? You can make a fortune selling it to others I presume. (car in zombie apocalypse? maybe a little diesel tractor or draft animals)
They say it takes a football field worth of garden to feed one person for a year. Can you squeeze that into a much smaller space? A food forest where food grows vertically?
How to obtain salt? (it's cheap and lasts forever - 5 gal buckets and use food grade desiccant -sugar too)
Anything else I didn't mention? (foraging - learn the wild edibles in your area)(clothing, shoes, hand tools, weapons, animal feed, ham radio, toilet paper, soap, medicine - pretty much all the stuff you use now but a year's worth, plus some other things)
Eat bugs? Which bugs? How to grow them? How to cook them? I mean if you're hungry I guess you lower your "ew" threshold. (I think most are edible but I don't know if I could - maybe mash them up in something else)
In case of a nuclear war, can you keep bees underground?

People have been prepping since the cold war, yet here we are and people have been worried about various presidents for a couple of centuries, yet here we are.

It does give you peace of mind being prepped even just food for just a few months. Extreme, yet normal weather events can make you stuck for a while. I've been through a blizzard in MA and hurricane in FL that kept us at home for a couple of weeks and they have ice storms here in MO that can do the same. We moved half way across the country, on a low budget, knowing we'd be off grid and knowing we'd be looking for property a while and not fully knowing the income situation. We brought 4-500 lbs of food with us with a lot of the weight being salt, sugar, beans and rice. I still have some of the salt and it's pretty solid but still salt. I had a Sam's membership so we got 50 lb bags for 10-15 bucks. Salt will preserve/cure stuff, salt+sugar will do the same and taste a lot better. Flour is only good for a year but wheat kernels last for eons. You just need a way to grind them. Pasta lasts years. Dry beans will be hard to get them to soften up once they're a year or two old. If they're still viable though you can sprout them and eat sprouts. That food we brought saved our asses as did the 12vdc fridge powered by 300 watts of solar since we had young uns that needed their milk.

Look into ceramic water filters. Big berkey type gravity feed filters and two 5 gallon buckets and a spigot. Doulton and Katadyn are the two best names and you can find videos on how to set things up. Here's some filter cartridges -

You can see the cartridges and spigot etc here -
Here's Doulton

We drank water from a creek for 6 months. It was spring fed but still ground water as the spring was a 1/4 mile away. Those ceramic filters will remove giardia, cryptosporidium, protozoa and I think some will do listeria but that one's rare. They also make them that will remove other nasties so do your research.
1 month ago
I've been a stay at home dad for several years and homeschooled our kids. Didn't like what day care and then public school was doing for/to them. I'm pretty sure all the 'normal' people just figure I'm a lazy bum that doesn't want to work and so I make the wife work or she works because 'someone has to'. We moved half way across the country during this and bought a hunk of woods that I'm slowly turning into something more inhabitable. Built a cabin, driveway, shop, electric, plumbing, fence, cut 100 trees and we heat with wood. My wife couldn't have done these things, although I'm sure some females could. Is it ok to say female these days?

I'm still cutting trees for more fence and need to build shelters for goats/pigs/chickens and a high tunnel. The shop will eventually become a barn when we get a real house built. Passive solar a la earthip but with dry stacked, surface bonded concrete block as opposed to tires. I'm 53 and 130 lbs and this is clay soil so filling 800 tires with dirt is out of the question.

I'm all set up to start bringing in some money this year from home and the kids will be learning life skills so that I have time to do so. That will help make some things go faster around here since it takes money to build most anything. Even the earthship who's original concept was 'made from trash' is far from being free.

Neither of us consider ourselves feminists but neither of us buy into these labels that people apply to themselves or others or the related stereotypes that people(hollywood?) push on to others.
1 month ago
There's a such thing as a permaculture rental?

I would want my own shack to live in rather than a shack that someone else built.

It took us a couple of years but we found a piece of land with a very low down payment / owner financed. For most of the two years, we lived at what was called primitive campsites but not in some campground. Just a guy with 40 acres. He also sold property and he used the 40 acres for people to stay at while they chose a property or were able to carve out a clearing on a property they bought from him. We never did buy from him as his properties were mostly junk. North or West facing elevations or a few miles of a barely maintained logging road. The properties had been logged hard and looked like crap with nothing left but the tall skinny trees swaying in the breeze. The 'campsites' were $495/yr. During that two years, I ran across a craigslist ad - free fire damaged house - you tear down. So we bought a tiny $400 camper and stayed on that property while I tore the house down. Not too long after getting that done, we ran across this property and snagged it. I used the materials from the fire damaged house to build a cabin and shop/barn here. We stayed in that little camper here while I did that.

I would think with a "permaculture rental", you'd be required to do some work or maybe a whole lot of work which leaves you little time to find deals for yourself.

I'm old school and not into the communal living thing. I like to control my destiny a bit more than that. Very few communal living situations work out long term. I'm the quiet, get things done type. Not real social and I always seem to get taken advantage of by the social, gift of gab types that can't do crap or are just too lazy to do crap but know a bit of psych 101.
2 months ago

John Schinnerer wrote:I love how these topics go around and around and after 20 years the same guesses and assumptions live on and nobody seems to know about resources equally old.

Some actual research (whoever posted there's no science is incorrect) from University of Wisconsin, a compilation of a bunch of stuff, all under the heading "Use of scrap tires in civil and environmental construction" is here:

There was one major report - probably included in this compilation, and I have a hard copy somewhere still I think - that was pointed to by the Earthship folks back in the day. It basically said that used tire material buried in the ground doesn't seem to leach much of anything and since it's buried there's no offgassing and no UV-destabilization. The use case was chunked up tires as part of a subsurface earthen fill and/or embankment material for civil engineering. Any buried tire application is essentially similar, unless there are also solvents in the ground that degrade tire material, in which case the tire is probably the least of the problems.

What might be of major concern is the use of tires on actual cars, where they are a major non-point pollution source spread all over the country and emitting whenever they are driven on, spewing out tiny particulates that move with the air and water.
So for anyone concerned about reducing pollution from tires, the place to start is cars. Forget that old tractor tire planter in Grandma's yard. Minor issue. Do something about all those cars!

We have a winner. The guy behind earthips, Michael Reynoulds, looked into this a long time ago. Tires have a half life of something like 30,000 years when buried in a landfill situation.(one half life used=50% life remaining) There is no way to recycle them but you can re-purpose them. When they're shredded for playground mulch, they still get sun, freezing temps and high temps. That makes them break down pretty quick and then the nasties get in the soil/water. Burning them of course, is way worse unless. There is an industrial recycling process called tire pyrolisis

Currently, burying them is the safest option there is for tires. Burying them in landfills, they get mashed, mixed with other stuff, might stick out of the ground at times and will have rainwater flowing against them. Buried in an earthship, they're kept cool, dry and out of the sun. I don't know think a study of the half life of them in that case would result in. 100,000 years?

Meanwhile, you can make some cool looking outdoor furniture.

As far as out-gassing through the dry soil and whatever you coat your inside walls with, keep it fresh and crack free. I know some old tires guys that have been in the business their whole life and that's with dealing with stinky new tires and seemingly had no health problems at the age of 60 or so.  

Drive less and don't park your tires in the sun.
1 year ago
I've had that issue but it was on the "Old View" so I switched to the new view which I really don't like.
I build websites and have thought of this too. It's an enormous amount of work though for one or two people to put together. For community driven there's an issue of quality and consistency. You would have to develop a workflow so that everything can be checked by other people to keep up a standard. Organization and features for that amount of data would be a trick. That and if it ends up being huge and wildly popular, then there's a whole slew of new concerns including costs to run such a site. Your database has to be optimized and if it gets big enough, has to be split up onto different servers. Wikimedia, the software behind wikipedia, has it's limitations as far as features and navigation sucks as it's meant to be pages found via search engine or internal search because navigation for that amount of data is near impossible to design. Three or four clicks is the general rule, anything past that and people can't be bothered or will just get lost. Same with almost any pre-made system. None of them are built to do it all. Now we need a custom built web application. The cost of that would run into 5 figures. There's some distributed network systems that negate most of the huge single database and server load concerns but they're mainly for social networking and none of them are lickety split installations that work on cheap, shared hosting. Plus, with a distributed system, you lose control of consistency and quality.

The internet itself is the largest community driven dataset there is and most anything can be found. It's mostly a matter of knowing how to search and get quality results but sadly, what should be such a basic understanding of using the internet as a resource, isn't something a lot of people have a grasp of. That and profit based concerns tend to have more exposure than quality because they have the knowledge and put the effort into being seen. It's kind of the way of the world.
1 year ago