Mark Krohn

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since May 11, 2014
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Recent posts by Mark Krohn

I'm a fairly new guy here so I hope this post is not taken badly

As a pilot I belong to one of the most well run volunteer organizations in the world (IMO) the Experimental Aircraft Association

every year the membership increases and every year the annual EAA Airventure (I still call it Oshkosh) gets bigger and better

This show is very largely set up by volunteer labor

The EAA has voluteer week-ends through out the year

I went and I repaired shower facilities, helped make transport trailers, painted, and generally had a great time. Breakfast lunch and dinner were on the house as well as clean 'bunk house' accommodations.

to a man (woman) people worked their collective asses off

It was fun (some of us might still recognize fun) we had the run of the place --the museum, the hangers where all the cool airplanes were, Paul Poberezny (Sr) (I sat in the cock pit of Paul's P51) came to our final nite dinner at a very nice restaurant and made sure he talked each of us.

But the EAA has been around since 1953 -- 61 years

What did this cost us volunteers -- nothing but transportation to Oshkosh

did we take away anything --- LOTS, memories, experiences, learning, (I learned to do a competent weld among other skills)

Did EAA gain anything -- you bet, Airventure would not happen without the volunteers

It is a model worth looking at

I agree with Julia Winter -- it's about money

I just ponied up a kilo buck for Geoff Lawton's PCD course (that was quite painful I might add, since I am on SSecurity @ 1651/month) but at least I get a certificate in the end that may pay for itself someday

Kilo buck at permies for a week ---- sorry just not worth it

Permies "send us a $100 and we'll talk to you about coming here to work your ass off"

EAA "we are glad your here, relax and enjoy"

One of these models flies, the other --- not so much....

4 years ago
These seem popular in the US and are readily available

Giant Malaysian Prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii) which is a native of southern Asia.

the above link isn't working right -- try a copy/paste with the ").htm" at the end

can be raised to 10 per pound --- I think there is a very good market for them around here -- especially if you have read about the conditions that Asian farm raised shrimp are often grown in

(hint: think sewer and industrial waste ponds)

one aquaponics grower kept the prawns separated in layers of screen -- I can't remember the link right now -- I think plastic pipe tubes have worked also.
4 years ago

Here is what I tried and so far (~ 3 weeks ) NO DEER

The deer are very plentiful around here (DNR says 50 per square mile -- I think that is low)

The deer prefered to go into my garden and dine on my indian corn and sweet corn rather than walk over to the neighbors 40 acres of GMO Franken food

So here is what I tried after an internet search suggested this:

Get really powerful fencer (I got one that is rated for 100 miles of Bison and NO, I have not tried touching it myself to see how hot it is) and put 2 wires -- one at about waist height another at about 6 inches (the grass is turning brown around the low wire)

Then put aluminum foil baited with peanut butter on the hot line randomly around the fence

The idea is to get them to touch it with their nose or tongue

There has not been one deer track in the garden since I did this - no coon tracks either

I also put up a fairly real looking scare crow in one corner with Ben Gay ointment sprayed on it (not sure if this effective or not) but I am not going to take him down to find out

4 years ago

Aquaponics is definitely a future project for us. I have gathered a lot of info on useful sensors etc for aquaponics/arduino but it was several years ago.

There is a lot more available now (for lower prices too )

The IA Site listed a Chronodot clock -- an alternative to that would be a GPS (they are under $15 on ebay) the GPS streams give local time and day and date -- this would be very useful for data logging as well as time -- there are programs to calculate sun up and sun down from GPS data -- useful for turning on and off grow lights for example

It is nice that there are chemistry sensors in a reasonable price range now too.

Since we are in WI (Driftless Area) the cold water species of fish would probably do better --- in Canada there are aquaponics operations that grow Arctic Char (MMMmmm)

I still think however that growing freshwater prawns would be a money maker if we could keep em warm long enough to get big (~6 months IIRC)

Nick, you can transmit data wirelessly using Xbee's

all for now, but this will be an interesting thread
4 years ago
Here is what I think…..

I am currently a permaculture student (with Geoff Lawton on line) and I have read hundreds and hundreds of pages on permaculture

I recently toured Mark Shepard’s New Forest Farm a few miles from my farm with about 20 others. Mark originally studied with Bill Mollison 20 some years ago and started New Forest Farm.
He has done amazing things with what was a burned out old farm with little top soil and huge erosion problems. Now he grows a variety of livestock, nuts and vegetables and is increasing fertility and productivity every year. (

At the start of the tour he talked about his work schedule (36 hours a day, 11 days a week ) and how his 5 year old son once asked ‘when are you going to come live with us, Dad ?’ and that it was tiring, difficult, frustrating, …..

He said he was talking with a guest from Australia in the past week who agreed that it was tiring and difficult but that that is what it takes. Mark then asked the man from Oz ‘why do you do it as well ?’

Mark held up a piece of paper with this written on it. This is what he said.


And it is. My point is that Husp or something like it will happen because ‘it’s the only way’

Before I retired I was a field engineer. I repaired and installed high end laboratory analytical instruments. I had the opportunity to visit the research laboratories and production facilities at many companies (Monsanto, Pfizer, ADM, Abbott, Eli Lilly etc) and Universities (Univ of Wisconsin, Iowa State, Univ of Iowa, Northwestern) and a lot of hospitals and clinics.

It was an education. I remember going to the Soil Tilth Lab at Iowa State where I learned that the top-soil is being lost faster than it is being made with conventional agriculture (we cannot do that forever)

I went to Monsanto’s research facilities in St Louis. 30 years ago I remember seeing GM potato plants in the lobby of one building where the glass case was littered with dead potato beetles and the regular potato plant next to it that was nearly consumed by the same beetles. At that time I wondered what would happen to other insect that ate the potato plants or what about the birds that ate the beetles (or us for that matter)I installed and repaired instruments that helped develop BST.

I went to the Round Up plant in Iowa, where they make 100’s of thousands of tons of the poison every year. (world wide use is expected to double by 2017 to 26 MILLION POUNDS PER YEAR) I recently read that there are detectable and probably toxic levels of glyphosate in human mother’s milk.

I saw a production facility at drug company that had been on a crash construction schedule for months for a new antibiotic drug that was to be the next penicillin (only better, it could have saved millions of lives) they stopped the construction and cancelled the drug because the actuarial number crunchers said that it would not make enough profit

One of the take-aways of 35 years of working with 100’s of companies is that corporations are extremely powerful entities and that they are completely without any moral or ethical restraints. If they were a person they would be classified as a psychopath. ( The world cannot continue to be driven by psychopathic corporations. This corporate paradigm will end at some point.

Something like Husp will replace it, ‘eats thee ooonly why’

4 years ago
We are planning to grow some grass fed beef using MIG here in south west Wisconsin

We are planning to start with about 4 acres of land that has been in grass CRP for 25 years.

My question is: do you have a preferred breed for grass fed beef.

We are considering these

Piedmontese, Galloway, Scottish Highland, or perhaps you have a favorite?

Question 2

What would be a good number of cattle to start with for these 4 acres ? (we have an additional 40 that is available later)
4 years ago
I see linear actuators in the drawing

Are the panels going to feature tracking the sun or are they for angle only ?

with modern technology (arduino micros and/or calendar day cycle timers like the intermatic 'astronomic') they could feature full automatic tracking which will gather much more energy in the morning and evening
here's the intermatic

Description here

since the apparent speed of the sun across the sky does not change only the length of the day a single speed tracking drive would work well and manual adjustments for the relative angle changes from summer to winter

a more elegant approach would be to use an arduino micro processor with GPS that would control the start and stop and tracking adjustments for the date and latitude/longitutude (GPS data feed includes date and time as well as latitude and longitude)

the arduino approach would potentially use less energy by using stepper motors for the drives

here's a wiki article

just some thoughts.....

maybe for Solar Leviathan 2.0
4 years ago
I can say that 'the Solar Biz' has good prices and service on batteries

I actually got 1600 pounds of Surrettes shipped for $200 (this was 6 years ago)
4 years ago