D Nikolls

pollinator
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since Feb 18, 2015
Victoria BC
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Recent posts by D Nikolls

Thinking about food security related gear & projects..

A few fairly obvious projects jump out. Assuming you had none of these, what order would you put them in?

If you have a bunch of them, are you happy with your prioritization?

THE LIST, in no particular order:
Greenhouse
Dehydrator, in my case solar
Root cellar
Butcher setup; workspace and coolroom for hanging meat
Intensive outdoor canning setup & supplies
Chest freezer/s
Freeze drier
1 week ago
Yup, definite must. A farm vehicle without a chain is like a trailer without ratchet straps!

I'm partial to a short one and a long one, lots of implements are a cinch to move slung under the forks using just a couple feet, and wrangling the 20ft chain every time gets old!
1 week ago
My 50hp tractor is overkill for my 5' brush hog 95% of the time, and almost enough the other 5%..

My gearing is the saving grace. I have a 16/16 shuttle shift, the lowest gear is insanely slow, and I use it for those rare times that the mower will bog me down otherwise.

My friend has a 50hp with a 9/3 transmission, his lowest gear is somewhere around my 3rd or 4th. There are times that this would mean a given patch of really nasty stuff cannot be mowed, or elae mowing it by moving the tractor in increments, stopping and starting...


I find there are an awful lot of times my tractor is just barely big enough, especially when it comes to loader work. I routinely move things thst a tractor one size down could not.
1 week ago

Joshua Plymouth wrote:

D Nikolls wrote:Consider much wider post spacing, with heavy bracing, and increase wire tension as required; crudely trimmed sticks secured to fence between posts can help with wire spacing and support some of the weight. A top wire that is thicker or in better shape can help support lower wires..

If you can scrounge old cable or heavy wire, you can run a top cable to hold up woven fence over long runs; I have a removable ~hundred foot run of 7ft plastic deer fencing supported by an old winch cable and tensioned with a 3300lb WLL ratchet strap... wire would be more demanding, but if the materials are free...



I am really curious to see this in action, what materials can you provide me with? All of my life I have always seen cattle fencing with posts every 8-12 feet. max of 15, and even that was pushing it. I always heard it was because of the weight of the wire and that cattle would push it and bend it, but I have some places in my land where it is a straight stretch of land for 1,000 ft, and if somehow i could reduce the number of posts throughout that, it would save my life.




I have personally done extended spacing with electric for hogs(easy, but not that useful here...), and with mesh for deer. So far, it seems like I can do 15ft intervals easily using T-posts, as long as the corners and occasional braces are Solid and the fence is tight.

I badly bent a 2" steel pipe while tensioning a 300ft run of 6ft tall mesh using the tractor; there is a *lot* of force required. I intend to tension at the 165ft splice points, going forward... connecting two runs and tensioning them together turned out to be more hassle than the time saved warrants.


I hope to keep cattle inside my deer fencing, but they will be grazed inside mobile polywire paddocks, and there will be electric run on the inside of the deer fence for backup. The HD t-posts are definitely not HD enough to withstand a cow scratching her butt on them!




Cattle and non-electric fence may well be a different story.. It will be some time before I am near the farm that I was thinking of when I wrote the previous post, and I am not sure what their intervals are. And, when I talked to my friends there, they pointed out the previous owner was sometimes a frugal genius, and sometimes cheap to the point of stupidity...

They've had 6-14 head on it for a few years without issues, but... super docile animals, and they don't do any sort of intensive management, and have lots of space for the herd size. IE, very minimal pressure on the fence.

And, as your other post suggests, your wire may not be up to the extended intervals anyhow... nobody seems to know if the builder used fancy high tensile in the above setup. So, whether it is worth saving on posts if you need new wire is a whole nother question...


I'll get what add'l info I can, when I make it to my friends place again... but, pandemic and distance..
1 week ago

Jan White wrote:That's about the size of our house. We've got a super basic metal box wood stove, about 15x20".  I would hate to have that thing going long enough to even boil a bit of water in the summer.  Even in winter, it's sometimes hard to run it hot enough for long enough to cook anything substantial without heating the house up unreasonably. I realize you'll have the mass absorbing heat, but still, it might be tough to make it work all year.

Another thing about cooking in such a small space is it produces a lot of humidity. And all your clothes smell like whatever you cooked for three days afterwards.



About the size of my tinyhouse too, and I really second the humidity issue. I currently cook with propane, and extended cooking times in summer is Not Good; planning to have Really Good ventilation, and ideally a way to cook outdoors most of the warmish seasons, is important.
1 week ago
Consider much wider post spacing, with heavy bracing, and increase wire tension as required; crudely trimmed sticks secured to fence between posts can help with wire spacing and support some of the weight. A top wire that is thicker or in better shape can help support lower wires..

If you can scrounge old cable or heavy wire, you can run a top cable to hold up woven fence over long runs; I have a removable ~hundred foot run of 7ft plastic deer fencing supported by an old winch cable and tensioned with a 3300lb WLL ratchet strap... wire would be more demanding, but if the materials are free...
2 weeks ago

John F Dean wrote:I am not in favor of shooting stray animals ....but I have when they were destructive.  You might try less restrictive methods first ...like pepper spray.  Or pepper where they seem to be attracted to.



Nobody lets their dogs run loose around here, because of the risk of them getting shot for bad behavior.

I don't want to shoot a dog.. but this established norm, predating my arrival in the area, makes it less likely that I would have to. Definitely advantageous for those of us with livestock.

If these same dogs already have a track record of killing livestock... well, the owner has probably ignored plenty of warnings already. Whether you warn him first, or choose to 'shoot, shovel and shut up', is a judgement call...

If you are inclined to try less lethal discouragement, maybe a paintball gun? Not sure about legality, and a mess if you take out an eyeball...
2 weeks ago

Tim Comer wrote:Thanks for the replies folks.

I have decided to skip the solar project.  I seem to be getting nowhere in my design.  I'll leave it at that.



There is a bit to it, to do it right!

If you decide to move ahead later, some more info would allow for better advice; budget, goals, location..
2 weeks ago
Any special reason to use 210w panels? ~300w is more the sweet spot for price/watt..

I am not a fan of the tracer kit. Cheap and chinese.. the one I tried had an incorrect charging profile, no resolution despite numerous others with the same problem.. Many better quality options, you get what you pay for, or sometimes less...

Multiple controllers is OK as a general rule. Can be more efficient. Can be a bit more config fiddling.

Your charge controller is responsible for taking the array voltage and charging the battery bank at an appropriate voltage; ie, you can have a 2-panel series array feeding an mppt charge controller ~32v, and it can then charge a 12v battery, or a 24v battery, assuming it supports both voltages.


2 weeks ago
Old cheap ones are no fun. Broken equipment is bad enough when the break isn't located beneath a couple tons of shit!

New ones seem terribly expensive for what they are... just bad news all around..


How much manure and how big an area are you dealing with?
3 weeks ago