Chris Meador

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since May 08, 2014
I grew up in the back country of San Diego County, spent most of my life running an environmental non-profit, now I am into all things ecological design, trying to perma my 80 acres and learn as much as I can. I have a business that builds a type of ferrocement water tank.
San Diego County, CA (9a) ~15-18"precip/yr
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Recent posts by Chris Meador

Does anyone know why this DVD is not available anymore? I have been trying to get a hold of the Inhabit people via FB and their website for months. Anybody know any other way to contact them? A great documentary but sad it can't be acquired anymore!
Haha. I was reading that article earlier and thinking the same thing
3 years ago
Unfortunately, for a few reasons, it is hard to gauge the efficacy of that project. When we tested the seedballs in a controlled environment and sprayed them with water they sprouted great. The person who started the project did not create adequate sample plots in the restoration area to test germination and survival rates. When we returned to the restoration site after some rain we found that the distributed balls had dissolved properly but we could not tell if plants sprouting up were from our seeds or wild ones. To make matters worse there was some drama and there was not good follow up.

For distribution we just threw the seeds balls out. I think one might get better survival rates if you pressed the balls a little in the ground. That way they would be less likely to dry out (for places that matters like the site we did).

Overall I think the seedballs can be a good tool when used properly but I think testing is important. That project had a big education component teaching kids about plants and fire ecology so it was certainly successful on that level. Kids got to make a some seedballs by hand then later go to the site to distribute them. As I said, most of the balls we "manufactured" using the cement mixer but it was fun with the kids, they just can't make many balls.
3 years ago
Maybe you could unthread the facet and try to drop a washer on a strong down in the pipe. If it just does down just 10 feet-ish it's probably a cistern and further is probably a well. Might at least be a starting point.
4 years ago
If anyone is interested in super scaling up this method I made 3.3 MILLION, yes million, seed balls for a 35 acre restoration project in the back country of San Diego County. Our balls were made with a little bit of sand, peat moss (can substitute for manure I would think), red clay and seed. We used seeds from 7 native species, some grasses, herbaceous plants and shrubs, all part of a guild.

We got a regular old cement mixer, made sure there were no paddles in it so it was pretty smooth inside the mixing chamber, then added our dry mix with all the ingredients, started the mixer up and slowly added water with a hose nozzle. After a few minutes the spinning action of the mixer would start to produce perfectly round balls. Then we took a scoop, like a animal feed scoop, cut about 1 inch holes all around it, then used the scoop to get out the balls, letting the smaller ones fall through and the bigger ones we scooped out, put on a rack and let dry outside in the sun. We kept adding small amounts of water and scooping out the balls.

Later we went out and distributed the balls at our restoration site. Unfortunately the person that set up the monitoring of the project did not set up a good system to test the efficacy of the balls, like test plots, but we did monitor the balls and found them to properly dissolve after significant rain. We also found appropriately aged target species in the distribution area beginning to come up and it seemed to look better than other areas. As my own test to be sure the balls would sprout I took some of the balls, threw them out at my place and watered them by hand, they did sprout fantastically.
4 years ago
Thanks for the thoughts. I totally should've mentioned that in addition to using the diatomaceous earth to try to locate where the water is entering the dam (sprinkling it in the water and looking for movement), I have also tried this with cement. Not much, just a little to look for water flow. I could not see any movement so I'm not sure if it is find the leaking area. Since it is so easy, I will try to use some more cement and try to get some bentonite as well, I assume you can get it in a fine power. I might try drying and powering the clay I have on site as I have so incredibly much.

If I tried option #3 I would not be digging where the water stands, the trench would be narrow and on top of the dam trying to repack where the gopher holes went though. I might however use the backhoe to compact, not dig, the leaking spot(s), at least where the water is exiting the dam as right now it is just a hole. That would be the very last step and only be done if I am successful and stopping the leak.
4 years ago
On the forums I've read about how to seal ponds from leaking, but I have a small pond that has developed a leak through a gopher hole. What is the best way to stop it?

The pond is about 70' equilateralish triangle, in the back county of San Diego County, heavy clay soil, well compacted pond, but over the past few years the water had started running out of a gopher hole! I can see the water exiting the dam from at least 1-3 holes (all within 1-2' of eachother) but I cannot see where the water is entering the dam on water side. I know the entry hole is about 6-8 inches below the spillway as the water level does not go much above this point. The water may enter the dam in a number of holes???

I tried throwing diatomaceous earth in the pond to see where the water was flowing into the dam(n) hole(s) but I could not see any movement.

Here are ideas to fix the problem:

1. run pigs. I don't have pigs or anything like them. The wild ducks prefer our bigger pond.

2. get a liner. I don't like liners.

3. take back-hoe and dig a trench in middle of dam (maybe couple feet wide) and then repack. then take back-hoe and do lots of smashing around exit hole then tons of smashing on the mystery hole (water) side. the whole damn is mostly clay BTW.

I like #3 the best. Any other suggestions/thoughts? I like to be as lazy/efficient as possible. Thanks ya'll

Oh ya, if you look at the photo there is a small white bucket laying on the dam, the visible leak is direct right of that bucket (leak not visible in photo though).
4 years ago
Haha, no, it's Chris.
4 years ago
Very cool. I actually did my PDC project on my parents land as well, they have 80 acres in the back county of San Diego County. I am turning the land into a permaculture education and demonstration site. Currently building a cob cabin, food forest, etc and doing lots of soil building on the property. Also setting up tons of rainwater harvesting systems, passive and active.

I asked about Cleveland because one of my best friends lives there and he went to school for permaculture but doesn't really do anything with it now. He wishes he did but is too lazy to get back into it. Sad
4 years ago
I am building a cob house up in Ramona and getting clay from the land. I have seen people getting rid of soil from their property on craigslist and some of it looks to have decent clay content. You could try posting a want ad on there too.
4 years ago