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Michael Helmersson

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since Mar 02, 2013
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Geraldton, Ontario -Zone 1b
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Recent posts by Michael Helmersson

I just found out about styrocrete recently. This guy has a lot of videos showing his techniques and results:

1 week ago
Apple trees grown from seed have the advantage of potentially having resistance to some or all of the common diseases. And if the seeds come from the same region where they are being planted, they can be better adapted to the soil and climate there. It just seems like such a big advantage, but it comes with uncertainty about the fruit quality. I wish we could set aside our impatience and unwillingness to take chances, so that we can let apple trees regain their true nature. What if our fixation on growing the best grafted varieties is keeping us from discovering far better ones?
1 month ago

Anthony Powell wrote:
I like to toss my spare seeds and cores where they stand a chance of developing into a wayside tree, for passing foragers. I've come across many such trees in my travels, some really good.

I really like this idea. I also like the idea of spreading seeds further from civilization for the wildlife. Where I am, bears come to town for food, risking their lives. Apple trees in the outlying area might lessen that problem, plus be a source of snack food for people out hiking.
1 month ago

Barbara Simoes wrote:I deliberately created my initial permaculture garden out front, butting right up on the sidewalk where lots of people walk by every day.  

That's a great story. The best part is that your impact is going to be compounded by each of the people that you inspired (and emboldened), as they start getting similar reactions from yet more people.
1 month ago
I had one of those fans years ago when we lived in a house. I didn't read the instructions carefully enough to comprehend the importance of where the fan was placed, so I experimented with various positions. It wasn't long before the fan stopped working and then I realized that it had to be placed with the rear of the fan on the edge of the heated surface, drawing in cooler air from behind it, otherwise it would burn out (the bearings?) and stop.
We live in a yurt now, so we're never more than 8 feet from our cookstove, and there is a natural convection that moves the heated air around.
2 months ago

John C Daley wrote:Do you think this unit will save any money?

I'm having difficulty finding a price for the 6" PVC pipe, but I'm pretty sure the whole scheme would be a lot cheaper than prefab concrete tiles. I'm still looking at ferrocement tiles as an option though. It would be something I could make on site and would negate the need for a large excavation.
3 months ago

Phil Stevens wrote:While I was searching for manufacturing methods for these things, I ran across this:

Six pack well

I like several things about it: safer because no one is down at the bottom of that hole digging, the crushed rock backfill to provide storage, and how quickly the whole process went. Hand dug wells are a major cause of accidental death and caveins are almost guaranteed in some soil types when you hit the water table.

That's really neat. It would simplify things in many ways, AND reduce the cost. Thanks for pointing this out to me.
3 months ago

Phil Stevens wrote:Round wins the compressive strength contest, no doubt. I'd be inclined to do a test casting with sonotube and/or PVC culvert pipe as forms. You'd probably want reinforcing mesh in there as well. I'd assume that commercially made ones are reinforced. Doing the operation on an old truck tyre would allow you to vibrate the form with something as simple as a hand sander, and that will allow you to use a drier mix and do less tamping.

I agree that there must be some reinforcing in the commercially-made well tiles, but I'm surprised at how little information is available on the webs. I did find teaser info on ferrocement well sections, but the full document is behind a paywall.
3 months ago
Our neighbours down the road have a well that was built by the now-deceased builder of their house. I can't figure out how he did it, but it didn't go smoothly. It is about 3 feet square and increasingly misshapen the deeper it goes. I'm guessing that he built forms and poured in place but the ground pressure must have put the squeeze on it. Round would be my choice, despite the challenges that go with that shape.
3 months ago
I'm looking for ways to make my own shallow (12-20ft) dug well but I don't want to spend a fortune on prefab well tiles. I'm wondering how difficult it would be to make my own. Besides frugality, it would allow me to avoid the transport hassles, as I'm 3 hours from a manufacturer and my well site is in the woods, 500 feet from road access.
3 months ago