Daniel Kern

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since May 20, 2014
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Recent posts by Daniel Kern

I found a new article of interest.  The article from the Botanical Resarch Institute of Texas, linked here, describes the importance of Cedars as a successional species.  It tells how the cedar is locking down abused lands and effectively healing them.  It is a good read.

Also its been a long time since iv'e posted but I do have some updates pertaining to this thread.  I have been using what I have learned from the book make a chair from a tree.  I have been refining a design of bar stools.  These are a set I made from cedar.

This is a chair that is made from cedar.

I have been exploring the use of other "trash trees" as well.  I have made sets of bar stools from hack berry, and china berry.  These are chinaberry bar stools.  All joints in the bar stools are mortise and tenon.

I made a video of the process

1 year ago
Well I based the chair off of the design of the chair in this video
 This video gives a lot of practical information on bentwood chair making.

I have not read the book but Ben Law wrote the book Woodland Craft which I am sure is invaluable for anyone interested in the subject as Ben has many years of experience.
1 year ago
Milled cedar is truly beautiful. There are a couple cedar mills around here. Maybe I need to explore those options more. Although I did just discover a good use for cedar. I don't know how it would coppice but that is not too important because it is so abundant. But the wood has some similar qualities to willow which is used in traditional bentwood woodworking. Yesterday I used some cedar greenwood to make this chair.

I made a 3d model of it here. I think that it starts upside down so if you have this problem just flip the world and you will find the chair.

2 years ago
I just wanted to share this. The seed bank in every square inch of soil is giant. Even in the desert there is an abundance of seeds just waiting for the right conditions. When the conditions arrive the plants take advantage of it. In Death Valley when there have been enormous blooms it has come to be known as superblooms. Here is a news story and a short video about these rare occurrences.
2 years ago
Pinus canariensis

from wikipedia. "The tree's extremely long needles make a significant contribution to the islands water supply, trapping large amounts of condensation from the moist air coming off the Atlantic with the prevailing north eastern wind (locally called "alisios"). The condensation then drops to the ground and is quickly absorbed by the soil, eventually percolating down to the underground aquifers."

That sounds like the tree to me. One day I will go back and listen to all of those lectures and find the one where he talks about that and I will post back, but for now I recommend that everyone else do that because those lectures are full of extremely valuable information.
2 years ago
in The permaculture show with Bill Mollison He mentions a tree that he says is used in one place as their sole source of water. I do not remember the details and I do not remember in which episode he talks about this but all of them are worth listening to. I hope that you find what you are looking for. Let me know if you find any more information about it. I searched just a little bit but I didn't find anything.
3 years ago
Your question about time to pod production from regrowth may be something that you just have to experiment with to figure out yourself. But in general a mesquite tree will begin to produce pods 3 years after planting but it may take 4 or more years to reach full production.

As far as I know a mesquite will grow back from the base if completely cut and will form a thicker shrubbier plant. I don't know how many times you can do this to a mesquite though. Pruning the tree branch by branch as you say that you would like to do on a yearly rotation sounds like a great idea to me. At the World Hunger Relief Farm in Waco leucaena is used in a similar matter in some perennial beds. The prunings can be used as mulch to add more nutrients and nitrogen, and the nitrogen contained in the root-mycorrhizal association beneath the tree are released. According to Bill Mollison there are specific roots directly in relation with specific branches above the tree. Thus when pruning leguminous trees (farmer's trees) a corresponding root will give a sudden release of nitrogen to the plants around it.

In addition to the nitrogen fixing abilities the Mesquites have wide lateral roots which accumulate nutrients from the surrounding soil and deposit the nutrients directly under the tree. Mesquite has been shown to increase N,K,S, Soluble salts, and organic matter directly under the canopy.

The mesquite trees are naturally smaller and provide a nice dappled shade for many plants and does act as a nurse plant in natural environments. I don't know where you are but I am assuming that you live in an arid or semi arid area and it is probably hot. I live in Central Texas and there are many honey mesquites here. Current research has shown that in Texas the sun is so intense that even plants that conventionally are supposed to get full sun actually do better with some shade. This is because there is a cap to a plants photosynthesis capabilities and so after a certain point the plant just can't utilize any for sunlight. So this may just be another bonus depending on where you live.

I plan to implement a similar production system as what you are describing. I recently harvested 150 lbs of honey mesquite pods. Mesquite bread is amazing. I am really looking forward to roasting some of the pods to make some mesquite coffee.

3 years ago
I just made some coconut milk. it's so delicious.

I just get a coconut, drill out the holes, drink the coconut water. yum!

then I crack open the nut on a rock. Then I use a spoon to pry the meat off the shell. It works good once you get the hang of it. Then I put it all in a blender and blend it with some water.

I use about a 1:2 ratio of coconut to water. Then strain the coconut out, chill and enjoy. I then dry the coconut shavings that are produced to eat later. They don't have as much flavor as they would before but I still like them.

This last time around I added some clove at the end and that was a very good choice. I cant even convey to you how delicious that is.
3 years ago
Im a few hours north of you in Cranfills Gap.
3 years ago
Coffee and bacon is the perfect fuel. Without it what would we do
I even just wrote a morning time poem to give you some encouragement. just reminiscing because

There is no comparison
To the greasy goodness
Of my bacon platter
with Joe.
3 years ago