Michael Cox

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since Jun 09, 2013
Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Recent posts by Michael Cox

Can I just ask; what do you hope to do with this information?

Starting from the assumption that you are not going to move to the wilds of alaska to get away from the water source, your only options are really to stop using pesticide, or control where they may be entering your land from outside. Most permies are acutely aware of what their neighbours are doing/spraying and also where surface runoff and water flows maybe carrying contaminants.

Personally, I would forget about doing an expensive test (which is unlikely to give you usable/actionable info) and focus on mitigating against known problems. Eg:

Neighbouring farms spray extensively and surface water flows from their land to yours? - Put a swale right on the boundary line to intercept and sink the water. Fill it with woodchips to provide a nice active fungal environment to break down anything unpleasant.

Worried about spray drift? Plant a screening barrier of non-edibles between you and the source.
1 day ago
No worries - I hadn't read your messages that way at all.  

I'd love to have decent rocks to go and explore. I studied some geology at Uni and was fascinated by it. Unfortunately I now live on chalk. Barely even worthy of being called a rock

keep us posted with your explorations either way. I'm genuinely interested to hear how it works out.
2 days ago
I think those small vortexes are usually used for processing concentrates - that is, the material that is left behind after you have run buckets and buckets of stuff through a sluice.

I haven't used them, but I like the look of the sluices because they are portable to your location, let you process a lot of material on site and don't need any power. You might run the sluice for an hour in the stream, working your alluvial deposits. Then dump the concentrates in a bucket and either pan them by hand or take them home and use a your vortex pot.

From what I have seen of your previous posts you certainly have the skill to knock together a simple sluice.
2 days ago
Someone has already mentioned putting a temporary shelter over it. I think this is a great place to start. Talk to a local scaffolding company. They put these up all the time for houses when roof works need to happen, and they can stay in place for long periods of time.

This will let you have a sheltered place to work on the trailer, and also double as a workshop. In 12 months when you don't need it anymore they can take it away.
3 days ago
I guess I'm not sure what you are trying to get out of this. Are you looking for the lode gold just out of curiosity, or with a view to doing some mining? Are you after a hobby?

If a hobby, then I personally would be looking at panning. Finding hard rock gold would be a bonus.

4 days ago
I have a battery electric saw and love it. I get a good 30 minutes of cutting time from it, and can process pretty big jobs with a single charge. It is lighter, has less vibration and quiet enough to use in the garden without disturbing neighbours.
4 days ago
Travis - I have been looking into gold prospecting as a little adventure for me and my older boy (6 year old). I have a few thoughts.

1) If you want to do some serious prospecting, you might want to invest in a small sluice. Looks like from your photos you have plenty of water to work with.

You can process MUCH more material much more quickly, which will make your prospecting efforts faster and more reliable. You can wash a bucket of sediment in a matter of minutes and then use your pan at the very end.

2) Hard rock mining is a much more challenging proposition than processing alluvial deposits, requiring a very different set of tools. You may have stuff on site already to handle that, but if not then prospecting for alluvial deposits will be a cheaper and easier way to start.

3) Have you looked at videos of people working crevices in the bedrock? Gold settles to the very bottom of the sediment, being the most dense. It is highly unlikely to be found in course river washed gravels.

Good luc, and keep us updated
5 days ago
As an allergy sufferer, I sympathize with you both.  As others have said though, the problem is not the plants per se, but that your husband seems to be hypersensitive to the allergens. Moving to another area may help in the short term, but it is just as likely that he will develop allergies to the new local plants he is exposed to.

The questions I would want to get answers to are:

1) How severe are his attacks? Are we talking full blown anaphylaxis? Bad hayfever? Continual low grade sniffles?
2) Can the symptoms be managed by medication?
3) Do activities like showering, changing sheets alleviate his symptoms?

I have been seriously looking at investing in a robotic vacuum cleaner, as we have a dog that sheds terribly. Many of the reviews of these say that they do a very good job of alleviating pet allergies, as they drastically reduce pet hair and dust. With the best will in the world, no matter how dedicated you are to cleaning and hoovering you will not be able to maintain the routine of multiple hours per day of vacuuming that a robot can do.

You might also talk to an allergy specialist and see if there is desensitisation treatment available. I had two severe reactions to bee stings after many years of beekeeping. A course of treatment has totally removed that sensitivity and I am back keeping bees again. As a quality of life/confidence issue it is worth looking into.

Best of luck.
5 days ago
I have read and employed strategies from

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo

A short read, with good advice. Boils down to; we have too much stuff, get rid of lots of it, then organise what is left well. Many of us end up with houses dedicated to storing crap rather than living.
2 weeks ago
Mistletoe is used in traditional christmas decorations here in the UK. For people who don't have access to land with mistletoe to harvest, it is sold in the lead up to christmas at what seems like an extortionate price. If I had a plum orchard with lots of mistletoe I'd be viewing it is a possible income stream.
4 weeks ago