Creighton Samuels

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since Apr 14, 2013
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Recent posts by Creighton Samuels

Okay, I just gave in and boosted to $65.  There's just too much candy that I don't already have. I totally want those tickets, too.
6 days ago
Well, I have a different interpretation.

Most of the lined clothing of previous ages were of the type that was intended to be worn without an undershirt, or was outerwear intended for layering.

While we don't do lining so much anymore for a main outfit, the reason is that undershirts are so common these days, and half or so of my non-summer outerwear is still lined; so it's not like it's not a thing anymore.
1 week ago
I've had an inspiration for a new kind of coop, that combines two ideas from others to make something sorta new. First I will briefly describe the two contributing ideas.

1) First is the Chicksaw coop by Justin Rhodes.  In short, the Chicksaw is a 2 foot high coop on large wheels. The key innovation that I'm stealing here is that the bottom of the chicksaw is 1 inch hardware cloth, which allows any droppings to fall through. So as long as you move it daily, it never accumulates enough in one place to be an issue.

2) Next is the Miyagi Pond idea by Jack Spirko. The Miyagi pond is simply a small pond\water feature that is bordered with a short raised side-rail, resulting in both a distinct transition from land to water, and a slightly raised water level. Jack always includes water pumps for moving water; but importantly includes Duckweed or similar waterborne 'green manure' plants on the surface of the gently moving water. The Duckweed is known for thriving and multiplying rapidly in warm waters with much phosphorous.  Jack raises ducks, but the process that I'm using here should be similar.

So here's my idea. Build a stationary chicken coop, with hardware cloth on the bottom, immediately over the water surface of a larger Miyagi pond. Droppings fall directly into the water, duckweed thrives during warm months & is used as "green manure", mulch or chicken fodder at will.  Water is also used for occasional irrigation, using a watering can.  In short, the pond is being used as a sewage lagoon for the chickens, so I don't have to clean out the coop; or if I do, I can use a hose.  I would also be growing minnows in this same shallow Miyagi pond, if possible.

Does anyone see an issue with this idea that I'm not yet seeing? Would a predator, strong enough to defeat hardware cloth, be willing to get wet for a chicken dinner?
1 week ago
I'm currently building a 4 by 8 foot raised bed in my side yard, similar to the one that I built 2 years ago. This one will be roughly along the contour, in order to impead sheet flow.  Also, the downhill side of the bed is a 2"x8"x8ft board while the uphill side is a 2"x8"x8ft board; so it's kinda terraced. I haven't yet added soil to it, for two reasons. Currently my small chicken coop is sitting there, waiting for my chicks to graduate into it it so that I can get some minor scratch & fertilizer action in the run before they are old enough to be let out for day-runs.  (In the permi spirit of function stacking, the chickens are pets with benefits; I feed them, they give eggs & counour the growing tick problem in my area. I've already been bit by two this year and I have yet to venture into the high grass or woods since the thaw.) The second reason is that I have some seed sized potatoes (from the grocery store) that I have planted in the existing soil, that I want to see get started before I start building the soil up upon it. I don't know if it will work, but I'm trying.  Also, I ordered some "frost peas" that I planted all over the yard about a month ago, to use as chicken forage, and now my yard has white flowers everywhere. I had set up brush piles as pea trellis, but it seems this kind is more like a "fieldpea" in that it doesn't seem to climb but creep low across the grass. I'm calling that a partial victory, since I plan on burying the brush piles in the fall anyway.

I also plan on a "Miyagi Pond" just downhill from the in progress 4x8 raised bed. It will also be 4x8, and about 3 feet deep; 2 feet down towards teh middle & 1 or 2 feet up on the raised sides.  I do raised bed gardening, not because I need the intense soil management that normal square foot gardening usually entails, but because the raised beds very well define the edge of the garden.  I like the Miyagi style mini-ponds for the same reason.  I will line the pond with regular pond liner, and direct the flow from my sump pump & a portion of my roof into it.  I plan on breeding Rosy Red minnows while also growing an aquatic fodder (Duckweed, maybe.)  By keeping a fine pool net next to it, I can scoop out a treat of both greens and protein for the hens anytime I like.  Eventually, I'd like to build a larger Miyagi pond farther downhill, and grow a type of fish that I'd like to eat, such as Perch. In this case, I'd set up a small solar panel to drive a pump to push some water back uphill to the smaller pond, establishing a flow.  Also, by using a Holtzer style monk in the upper pond as my drain back to the lower pond, I'd be able to flush some Rosies down to the lower pond at will, whenever their population is growing too high or any other reason.  Those unfortunate Rosies would be hunted down like chickens in a dogfight, but would reduce my need for commercial feed for either the chickens or the plate fish.  I might also use the solar panel to run a pump on a shallow well, to provide a regular introduction of clean water during the dry months (haven't determined if that is worth the effort or not).

The ponds would also provide convenient access to excellent irrigation water, just by dipping my watering can into the low pond.  Sorry, but my cell phone's camera is broken, along with the screen, so no photos will be forthcoming.

paul wheaton wrote:
I kinda feel like coinbase was a bit spooky for a while there (a year ago?), but now it seems solid.  

I know some people have told me stuff about how the best thing to do is maintain your own wallet.   I haven't tried that yet.

I have had some bitcoin for a long time, I have both a Coinbase account & a private wallet. A private wallet takes a little expertise, but it's certainly within your skillset. The trick is that you need to keep your wallet on a secured device, or at least as well secured as is possible. The phone app that I use is called Mycelium, and they do a good job regarding security; private keys remain only on the phone, encrypted, passcode locked, 12 word backup format etc.  That said, don't keep more bitcoin on your phone than you'd feel comfortable walking around with real cash.  Large balances need to be transferred to a more secure format, such as a "cold" wallet were the 12 words are kept in a secure place and are not actually loaded onto an internet connected machine until necessary.
Fortunately, the downhill recipient of any sheet flow from this property would be the BLM. I'm assuming that such a neighbor isn't going to object to a swale, but I have no way of asking for any such permission. I do understand that water in Wyoming is, legally, the property of the state; but everything that I can find implies that water catchment from an owned property is still considered a human right, up to an annual limit. That limit, iirc, wasn't very high at all (around 850 gallons of storage, there abouts) which certainly puts a hard limit on the size of any cistern I were to install, but I was thinking about 350 gallons anyway; at least in the beginning, as this is just going to be a camping site for many years. What I can't determine is, does the law count what is stored in the dirt?  So far, it looks like that is a no, since natural sheet flows are expected to either soak in or evaporate most of the time anyway; but I know I'm in dangerous territory.  Wars have (literally) been fought over less.

I could start out with a small swale, that doesn't interrupt the majority of the sheet flow; or even just a rock ring/dam.  Mostly, I want the cistern & catchment to be invisible to the uninitiated eye; but capture & hold enough water that it could be useful as a hunters' base camp. I could pay for the annual taxes simply by leasing out the site as a private campsite during hunting season.  As Paul has mentioned regarding his own experiences, the Department of Making You Sad usually responds to complaints, and otherwise doesn't have the resources to hunt down victims that don't pop their heads up.

So if my cistern is 350 gallons, and my goal is to have it refill every month if necessary; the lowest average monthly rainfall seems to be just about half an inch in August. I've been told that one square foot of (impervious) catchment will yield one-half gallon of water per inch of rainfall.  So to refill my cistern from empty during an average August, I'd need at least 1400 square feet of watershed. That seems like it should be trivial on a 40 acre property. A swale or rock dam 15 feet across, 100 feet from the highest point of the property and directly in line with sheet flow should be able to get that much done. Double either metric to compensate for soakage or other losses, and we're good.

I absolutely don't count on the swale as a needed feature, however; as the cistern would still capture a respectable amount of water without such an earthwork. I figured that it would be a value-added kind of thing for the property given time, as it might be able to support more trees; should i decide to either move there myself or sell the property.
1 month ago

Joshua Rimmer wrote:Great price! Water will be a big decider, western states have some strict riparian rights laws.  

Yes, I've looked into that for many western states that I am considering; but it seems that only Colorado prevents landowners from earthworks that would harvest rainwater that falls on their own property.  There's no natural water flow near the property, so there doesn't seem to be a watershed restriction.  Seems like I would have no issues with a swale & a buried cistern.
1 month ago

I post this here because I want some opinions of people who live a lot closer than I do. This property borders BLM land, so there's the advantage that neighbors are unlikely to bother me; also, direct access to public land. It's a highland area, and only drops 20 feet or so from the NW corner to the SE corner; so very flat, but a couple of swales might work wonders. Rain is about 10 inches per year, so definitely a dry land.  It's nearly 2 hours from the closest Wal-mart, which is in Rawlins; so this is quite a bit past the middle of nowhere.  I know that Paul recommends more elevation change, and more rainfall; but the property is only $500 per acre and borders another 640 acre square of BLM land.  I was thinking, build a swale & bury a cistern. French drain (inside swale), fabric wrapped as a large particle filter, drains directly into the cistern.  Standard shallow well manual pump nearby for water access.  Hang a sign on it that says "not potable" or some such, just in case hikers cut through; or simply cap the pipe and take the pump while I'm not there. Come back in a year for a camping week, plant some tree seeds into that swale while I'm there. Next year or so, come back and build the other swale.  I understand that it takes about 7 years for the swale to max out what the local water storage can be.  Eventually (after I retire, or my employer releases me to "pursue other opportunities") I could move out there and build an off-grid home; otherwise I could simply sell it and reasonably expect that the swales would have increased the land value anyway.

Thoughts from the forum?
1 month ago
I work 3rd shift now. This kickstarter was funded before I even woke up!
1 month ago

Opalyn Rose wrote:

John C Daley wrote:
The important fact is that the abutments must not move.

John, could you elaborate on why you say the abutments must not move?

I can.  If the abutments can shift under load, even a little, the self-locking nature of the logs can become un-jammed. If this happens, maybe the structure just finds a new stable state, or perhaps it becomes "fluid".  If it becomes "fluid" anything can happen, including collapse while under load.