Jack Edmondson

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since May 05, 2014
Central Texas zone 8a, 800 chill hours 28 blessed inches of rain
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Recent posts by Jack Edmondson

I am told that human waste. known as night soil, is still used (at least as recently as the '60's) in Korea and is an important commodity.  However, Humnaure is unique.  It is composted and sterile before being applied to fields.  Due to the smells reported with the processes currently practiced in Asia, I don't believe it is being therompyllicly processed.

I don't know of any current or ancient practice that adapted the 'humanure process' to treat waste before using it as fertilizer.  However, those efforts may have just been lost to history.  

1 month ago
At my place we brown recluse, black widows, scorpions, rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and copperheads.  In the rivers we have alligators, and several species of sharks on the coast.  All can make for a nasty day.  I have a few fun stories that I share with people when they ask "why does everything here want to kill you?"  But the reality is I have more risk of death statistically from being gored by livestock than taken out by a venomous pest.  I have an irrational fear of snakes (having one bite into my gloved hand, narrowly missing breaking the skin did not help.), so it can be tough to keep it all in perspective.  

To tie it into permaculture:  Poultry, fun sized dinosaurs, will keep the insect population, as well as the smaller reptile population at bay; and give one a much lower chance of an encounter.  Good farm hygiene and some common sense will further reduce your risk to a very low level.  Just try to look at the big picture and realize every environment has something that can kill you unexpectedly.  Embrace one's mortality and enjoy the journey.

For anyone living in Croc country, you have my deepest respect and sympathy.  And you can keep your prehistoric beasts.  We're full here.  
2 months ago
Organic material will decompose, eventually.  When it does, it will leave voids in your walls.  Voids are bad.  Will it cause a wall failure?  No one can tell.  Too many variables, but they will be there; and over time may need to be repaired.  Know the risk and use best judgement.  My OPINION is some would be fine, but minimize where you can.
3 months ago
In those conditions in the Pacific NW, I would try willow.  Willow will cling to very steep banks and anchor in sand.  It can stand shade and will soak up moisture moderating the chances of mud slides common in the area.  If you had more time for something to establish bamboo would be a better choice, but needs a few years to establish a root net to be effective.  
3 months ago

Chris Kott wrote:To be clear, the goal is to leave the soil in the same orientation as it started out, yes?

From his observations with moving water, I am going to assume Schauberger wish to 'energize' the soil by vortexing the path the soil would take over a plow, comparative to the tendencies he observed in streams.  Whether one agrees or not with his observations, I believe his theory would fall short of his expectations on the basis of limited movement alone.  Fluid dynamics allows for multiple iterations of helical motion over a longer distance than the soil would travel through a single fixed point of a plow.  One is only going to flip the dirt once with a plow.  

The results he achieved with water can be debated endlessly; but either way would not translate to a non fluid medium, in my opinion.    Mechanically, I agree.  The design might work in some soils under some conditions.; but certainly not a practical implement.  
3 months ago
I think there is less contradiction than one might imagine; but more of a definition of systems.  Swales, as you know, are tree building systems where water is an issue; either too much (erosion) or too little (dry land.)  I think your second author may have had a piece of land that did not need the swales (obviously.)  The question is:

What type of land do you have?  What is needed?  Silvopasture (Shepard's method) does not need swales.  (If I recall, Shepard is more about Keyline; but does use some swales)  What is your soil?  How much rain and how well dispersed over the growing season?  What will swale achieve for your piece of property?  

It all about finding the right tools for the job and applying them correctly.  Tell us more about your project piece.
4 months ago
What USDA zone is the property and when is the first freeze normally?  There was a thread recently with a similar situation.  Someone asking what should be planted in a newly cleared field.  Travis suggested rye grass seed, which is cheap and grows quickly.  Other options are winter wheat, oats, winter clover, or a mix of brassicas.  

I would not rake up the chips at this stage.  I would throw cheap seed out before a hard rain and let the seed settle through the chips to the soil.  I always like the idea of biochar, as I think it last longer in the soil, but it will require gathering it, charring it, and rebroadcasting it.  That is a lot of work when the chips will do a lot of the same, with no work; but are consumable over a period of years.  Biochar works best when one has large format waste they need to break down or dispose; not when needs a lot of handling.

Use a small seed.  broadcast it before a good rain.  Hope for the best; and get a green cover in for the winter.  If winters are short or mild, you might try a larger format seed and disking it into the soil, but I have not had a lot of experience with disking.  Not sure how it would work with heavy shred on the ground.  Either way, something is better than nothing, but I would not put a ton of money into seed for now.

Here is the previous discussion:  Permies thread
4 months ago
Shrinkage does not seem to be a factor with deadman anchors for doors and windows.  In fact they are required to give enough surface area for the cob to hold the weigh of a door.  If deadman blocks of this volume can be used, rebar will not be a problem.  

deadman for window

They are building up the wall in sections, which helps the wall stabilize as they go up, so that may be something that would help you with shrinkage issues.  I can see using rebar anchors on in your concrete columns used in the same fashion, helping tie it all together.  I am understanding your concept correctly?
4 months ago
Paul Wheaton, the owner of Permies, produced a video series that is available to purchase, that is the most in depth resource available.  There is a ton of free information here as well.  

If you can weld, a simple square tube (over two inches x two inches) will work.  The top leg of the L shape (chimney) should be at least twice the length of horizontal leg (firebox.)  That is it in a nutshell.  The firebox can be at an angle 35 to 60 degrees off the horizontal is you wish gravity assisted wood feed.  A J tube design can also be used with a vertical firebox connected to the horizontal combustion chamber described above with the L shape design.

If you don't want to weld, the same design and dimensions can be made out of dry stacked or mortared fire brick.  The dimensions are not critical, just make sure you have enough vertical chimney to combust the gases completely, as that is the main advantage of the RMS.
4 months ago