Joseph Bataille

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since Mar 18, 2014
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Recent posts by Joseph Bataille

What an eye opening post. Wow.

I searched through all of the posts that mention battery back-ups (electrical inverter power), because that is what is most relevant to me in Haiti. I buy CFL's, not because they "save the earth" or are "cheaper in the long run." I buy them because they let my inverter power run for a longer amount of time. In fact, in Haiti, the corner-store boutiques refer to CFLs as "inverter lights," because they help inverter power to last longer.

I was wondering how these calculations hold up when taking this matter into account. What about the cost of a generator being run more frequently? What about the decrease in the life-span of an inverter battery due to increased cycling? What about the strain on the actual inverter itself?

Unfortunately, I could not find any direct references to research in this vein. Perhaps one of you could point me to some...

I'd be happy to provide numbers (cost of batteries, cost of fuel, generator servicing, etc.) if someone wants to try to calculate. Or, if someone has a suggested calculation, post it here and I'll plug in for the variables.
1 year ago
I have a friend in Haiti who has been working toward this same goal for a few years now, so I've also given it some thought. I think that the best bet for a constant flow of water, using only mechanical, non-human energy would be a hydraulic ram pump. I built this model designed by Clemson University awhile back, but I have yet to test it. It cost me about $350 with parts procured in Haiti.

There would be at least two problems with using a hydraulic ram, however. First, you can only use it near a flowing stream. That is an extremely limiting factor. Second, it would circulate FRESH water, not fishy, nutrient dense water. For that reason, you would have to use the water from the hydraulic ram to run the mechanics of a bell syphon without feeding into the actual fish tank. The best that I could come up with is a parallel bell syphon system where one tank fills with fish water, the other with fresh water, but the syphon for both is simultaneously triggered by the fresh water tank. However, there still remains the problem of actually pumping the fish water. Surely there could be a way to build pressure or to use the freshwater tank to create some sort of counterweight... but I haven't thought that far yet.
1 year ago

Dooley Tunner wrote:Some farms I visited in Ecuador were growing coffee, bananas, citrus, avocados all together in a food jungle. The coffee and bananas seemed to be the main sales crop.

Thanks Dooley. I have a ton of examples like that to work with, but I'm looking for a model that creates symbiotic relationships at all levels of the forest system. Co-cropping is one thing, and can be a good thing. But it is not necessarily a self-sustainable food forest system. That's what I'm looking for.
2 years ago
A couple of years ago I began the planning phases of a tropical food forest garden. I could blame it on work, busyness, or on a hurricane or two, but basically, I haven't gotten to the execution phase yet.

BUT, I have though A LOT about what kind of forest I want to build. One factor in my thinking is what kind of crops I want to sell. Trees are incredibly prolific, way beyond what the average family can consume, so I've thought to design my forest around a few systems that I may be able to turn a profit from. In particular, I'm interested in a few value-added products with processes that the farm could be organized around.

For example, I have dozens of mango trees already, so I've been learning how to dehydrate fruit in hopes of selling them. Cacao is also popular in our region, so I hope to plant a few dozen of those and process them in house. The actual "food" from this food forest would be interspersed throughout the understory, rhizome layer, and shrubbery.

Is anyone else doing this successfully? If so, what does your system look like?
2 years ago
Hey Zach! Welcome to Permies . I'm really looking forward to reading your book and to reading what you have to say in the forums.

p.s. moderators, your post says to welcome Ian... again .
2 years ago
While I enjoy reading and theory (I own hundreds of books), permaculture is one one those concepts that has to be seen to be understood. I always get 10x as much when words are accompanied by diagrams, photographs, and drawings. Looking forward to reading and "looking through" this book.
2 years ago
Just added it to my Amazon Wish List. You had me at "Visual."
2 years ago
Also, thanks for the FAO link, Druce. I'm going to compare some of those species to my Haitian tree reference book in my library.
2 years ago
I never considered bougainvillea (that is the spelling ). I think it's more of a climbing plant and it is not as "woody" as what we are looking for. However, I guess it could technically be used if we used some posts and wires to guide it. Thanks for the suggestion, Maureen.

Druce, Leucaena (especially leucocephala) is abundant here and it has been promoted heavily for reforestation and soil conservation efforts, but the jury is out as to whether it can be useful as fodder for local cattle (due to the toxic mimosine content). If possible, I'd like for this fence to be multi-purpose, so using it for fodder and/or green manure is attractive (this is one reason I had originally considered moringa) but I'd hate to have it and then have to control cows and goats around it because they love it but can't digest it.

As for moringa, like I said before, I know it can be established in clay soils, but not with the time that I can give to the project for now. The property that I am working on is fairly far from where we currently live and we won't be moving to it for quite some time. I'm trying to prepare the land so that it is how we want it when we do finally get the chance to build and move. This means, at best, I'm a weekend landscaper, but more usually I'll only be able to follow up with projects on site monthly. My experience with moringa in clay doesn't seem favorable to that plan. I can do plenty of preparation of seedlings, etc. from home, but once its in the ground its practically on it's own.

Perhaps you know of a way that I could amend soil during planting to remedy that... Thanks so far. Please keep the ideas coming!
2 years ago
I've been looking for the right tree species for a living fence that can be weaved like willow in my tropical climate. I have an additional challenge of having soil that has a high clay composition. I originally considered weaving young moringa trunks together, but they (surprisingly) struggle to take root in clay soil. It can be done, but it will require a lot more time and maintenance than I can afford to give to it.

Does anyone have any examples of fast growing, easily trained species that I might look into? I may not have your exact species at my disposal, but I could look to see if there is a cousin species available here.
2 years ago