Michael Cox

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since Jun 09, 2013
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books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Recent posts by Michael Cox

Why do you think this will deter deer? I'm not sure what you are envisioning.
Food forests are also managed environments. You don't just plant it and walk away. They take careful human tending to stay productive and give worthwhile yields.

And they have a much more diverse mix of perennial plants than a typical forest. There will be a few large trees - maybe - for fruit/nuts, but I would anticipate a careful selection of plants that are more human scale. Fruit trees with crops nearer ground levels. Vines, with fruit. A productive shrub layer.

And edge effects are critical - you don't want a closed canopy, generally. Think about a stroll along a wide woodland path. Sunlight streaming on the path, transitioning to dappled shade and then deep shade. Productive plants in appropriate positions through that transitioning environment.

5 days ago
You may have viruses in the soil? Planting good plants in bad soil may be the issue.

I have made myself some of these

They work nicely, and I was able to use a good soil mix of my choice. The style in this video are particularly good; a slit/pouch that is formed by first cutting with circular saw or angle grinder, then heating with a hot air gun and and jamming a wine bottle in while it cools and sets. I have seen some other styles that use a hole saw cutter to make a big circular opening. I don't like those as the soil falls out.

I grow strawberries and a mix of leafy salad veggies in mine, right by the backdoor.
6 days ago
Fire triangle

You need to exclude one of these to prevent combustion.

Your system has fuel (straw) - you are aiming to keep both air and heat away from it. The straw can char if it gets sufficiently hot, even with the absence of air.

Without knowing a lot of details about your design, I suspect that your cob wall between the fire and the insulation is too thin (hence your straw is overheating), and there is an air leak somewhere. Cob cracks when drying so you might need to hunt around for it.

Personally I wouldn't use clay-slip and straw for this application for precisely this reason. Too many opportunities for failure. On the plus side, your oven will likely still work fine even with the insulation partially charred away. It may just be a bit less efficient.
6 days ago
Our regular chip drop team have a truck contaminated with dog vomit slime mould. Harmless, but every single pile they bring us grows a slime mould after a few months. Hasn't seemed to impact the usefulness of the chips in anyway way, and my wine caps seem able to outcompete it in the log term.

For all the people talking about stuff growing  in their chips - our chips usually rest for 6 months in a heap before being used. They get pretty hot in the first few weeks and cook off a lot of seeds.
6 days ago
How abandoned is "abandoned"?

Is the fenceline secure?

Goats would love to eat those. Either on your side, to defend your fence line, or "accidentally" on the other side of boundary?
1 week ago
Experiment and see!

You probably want to avoid heat though, as it might affect the ingredients. In a chem lab you would achieve this by lowering the pressure to encourage evaporation.

1 week ago
You can make all sorts of lotions to help the skin heal from sun damage, but I'm not sure about anything that actually absorbs UV in the right wavelengths to consistently block UV.

My immediate thoughts for a "Plant based sunscreen":

You can't always find a direct substitute for items, but there are usually alternatives that do the job.
1 week ago

Pete Podurgiel wrote: I imagine you don't want the hive where it is now and using the "2-foot or 2-mile" rule, this hive will need to be relocated some distance for a period of time.

In general moving freshly hived swarms is not problematic. At worst you have a few stragglers who drift back to their original hive.
1 week ago