Kevin Elmore

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since Feb 24, 2013
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fungi greening the desert solar
West Texas - near Big Bend National Park
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Recent posts by Kevin Elmore

Kim,

Any chance I could get some Tagasaste seed from you?  25 to 30 seeds will give me an idea of whether they will work here or not.  I live in far west TX near Big Bend National Park.


I will definitely pay you for postage, etc.  Just let me know.

Thanks,

Kevin
2 years ago
Yen,

I noticed from your initial post that the rains only occur a few times a year and they bring ~ 16,000 cm3 (4,226,752 gallons).  You want to capture ~ 4,000 cm3 (1,056,688 gallons).  Chris posted a link regarding Sepp Holzers "monks", but I think you will have to deal with a lot more water flow than a typical "monk" can handle.  Basically your pond will have to handle very high flow rates at very sporadic intervals.  You need a design that can send ~ 25% of the flow to the pond and the remaining 75% is diverted safely around the pond so that the ponds "spillway" is probably never utilized.

With clay like you showed in the photo, I doubt that infiltration losses will amount to much.  What about evaporation?  Where (generically) will this project be located?

Have you contemplated the equipment needed to perform this project?  This is a fairly large earth moving project at 4,000 cm3 (5,231 yd3)?

I have more questions, but answers to these will help direct future responses.

Thanks,

Kevin
2 years ago
Jim,

How big is your property?  Surely you can direct more water into a pond than what lands on your roof.  I don't know if your rainfall info is right or not, but another question is how much irrigation water will you require during the year.

Kevin
2 years ago
Tom,

Thought I would toss this out for you to look at.  There are lots of pages on specific heat of liquids and solids so this should just be a starter.  Specific heat is expressed as (BTU/lb per degree F)
-OR- (kJ/kg K).  The higher the specific heat of a substance, the more effective that substance is at storing/holding heat.

webpage on specific heat of materials

Keep in mind the specific heat of water is very high compared to most building materials.  When one looks at a traditional cast iron woodstove the specific heat of cast iron is .46 kJ/kg K.  Many high end woodstove manufacturers will add soapstone into their stoves.  Soapstone has a specific heat of .88 kJ/kg K which is twice a good as cast iron alone.  What is interesting is that coal has a specific heat of 1.32 kJ/kg K.  Water has a specific heat of 4.185 kJ/kg K.

I would think that using coal rather than salt would hold more heat, but if one can figure out how to use water it is even better.  The trick with water is it must stay below the boiling point, or it will change phases and go to vapor.  If that phase change occurs in a closed system you could have a steam explosion.

Hope this helps your thinking.

Kevin


2 years ago
Just got a few minutes to get a picture posted of using brush/dead ocotillo to help hold straw on a rocky slope.

Second picture shows how ants are creating a small "compost pile" at the base of certain plant species.  I am guessing it is a symbiotic relationship with the plant.

Kevin
2 years ago
Sam,

The pods look like they might be from a Chilean Mesquite.  For positive ID you will probably need to see some leaves too.

Kevin
3 years ago
Corby,

Thanks for finding this.

We already have an extensive collection of cast iron and our favorite pieces are the older ones where the mfr. took the time to grind the surfaces as smooth as a babies bottom.  I have also done that to some newer Lodge pieces, but it takes a lot of time and elbow grease.

Kevin
3 years ago
Caroline,

Glad to help any way I can.  Please post progress or updates as you go along.  If you have other questions post them because there are a lot of smart people on this forum.

Kevin
3 years ago
Caroline,

I attended an "open gate" event at Circle Ranch in Van Horn, TX, Circle Ranch TX a few weeks ago and the owner stated that many of their tanks/ponds were no longer getting enough water to fill up after the land above them was keyline ripped.  He did not regret that however because the water is much more valuable in the ground up high in the land form.  As the grasses respond and the hydrology of your soil begins to improve a plume of moisture should begin to form under the grasses which will slowly move down slope in the land form.

Also, remember that not all rains come equally.  What I mean is every year you will get rains that come faster than your soil can take it in -- so you will have run off.  That surplus water is what your tank/ponds can catch and retain.  What I am saying is with keyline ripping it might take longer to get a "permanent water level" pond than otherwise, but I don't think you have to look at it as an EITHER -- OR situation.

Hope this helps your thinking.

Kevin
3 years ago
Tyler,

I have also found that brush is a great way to give things a start.  I don't rip out brush like creosote and whitethorn acacia --  I try to get it to grow better so I can harvest brush from it.  I pull out the dead limbs in creosote bushes and trim acacias so I can create contour brush lines.  If I find a dead ocotillo around it is a great resource as well.  I have also found that a very light dusting of straw/hay over areas that I am trying to green up is enough to get the small nurse plants a start.  The more "rough" an area is in terms of brush, rocks, etc., the better it will be for getting things started.  It is raining now, but I will post a few pictures of what I am talking about when it is safe to get the camera out.

Kevin
3 years ago