D Nikolls

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

Looking at various building options, and it would sure be handy to have a good idea of annual average temperature at my site, and at other places I have lived.

I'm sure this data is around, but so far haven't found it... anyone have a good resource? I am in Canada, if that is significant.
My cat loved ladders.

He transitioned from being an apartment cat to a farm cat at about 12 years old, and never got into climbing trees, but he could not resist a ladder. If he heard me setting one up, in a couple minutes he would be directly below me, trying with more enthusiam than good sense to work his way past me to sit on the very top. A very chancy enterprise when I had my hands full of tools.

I worried about it at first, but once it was clear he could get down unharmed, I would leave the 10ft orchard ladder set up and he would perch up there for an hour or two at a time, surveying his domain and sniffing the high breezes.

I still reflexively glance down to make sure there is no cat on the rung below me when I climb down, though he's been dead for several months.
2 days ago

Eric Thompson wrote:Haha!  The Pacific Northwest had a very wet June and here we are in July with no forecast to go over 70 degrees for at least a week!

I am loving the low temps, pretty much perfect weather imo... and no forest fires yet...

Unfortunately from a farming perpective there has been way too much rain in my area... fields are too wet to work, or mow... no safe windows for hay to be cut and dried... worried about my garlic crop as the soil is very wet despite literally not watering once this year...

On the plus side trees and grass alike seem to be thriving with the extra water!8

2 days ago
The failure mode of the several cheap carport shelters and greenhouses that I have seen fail under snow load has been fairly consistent: the walls blow out.

Reinforcement in a rafter-tie sort of arrangment above head height seems to be quite effective at strengthening the structure against this failure mode.
1 week ago

Itybt Fox wrote:

D Nikolls wrote:Junk.

Like, anything that isn't toxic, that you can grab for free or better yet get paid to haul away.

Start making some shade and windbreaks.

Would earthworks be better? Ya, if you can find a way to do them for free!

Yes, however i am too old to move the material needed to create those dirt/lumber/whaterver/ windbreaks.  Im not lift more than 5 pounds, lol too funny.   I had thought to hire a dozer and have them just dig up dirt and move it into tall piles around me, creating shelter.  I have not priced that out, but yes would be nice.  I dont know how tall or the appropriate places to put them.  I do have a dump load of river rocks from a belly truck?  they gave them to me for just the cost of the gas, they wanted to get rid of them.  My land is pretty much rock free, the is a little lava here and there, but not like in some areas where its solid.  and they are small pieces.

I can get laval rock delivered, i have some broken road i got for free too, was going to use as the foundation for my straw bale barn. never got finished,  Id build the walls up go to work and come home to find them on the ground.  i gave up , i believe someone was knocking them over when i was gone.  They were stacked and ready for the mud.    My neighbors were not friendly and even stole my out building while i was at work one day, they left the roof for another day and took all the walls. it was a metal building from a kit? 16 x i dont rem now, quit large.   nice, sorry i digress again!

I cant build a pond, there isnt enough rainfall here for one.  I have some rights to irrigate 1/4 acre but it requires a well, which is 20k i dont have.   The water was supposed to be only 50 feet down and 100 for cleaner, but when it came time to put it in its 300 ft down.  so .. yeah.  


You have had quite the array of experiences, and the current options are certainly challenging.

It seems like sourcing unwanted materials that someone else is willing to deliver has some potential, maybe.. a big circular(minus entrances) rock berm? But of course this will be about time, luck, and my least favorite thing.. networking.

Geoff Lawton had a video showing some amazing results from depression era circular berms, I believe in the southern US. Should be findable with some google, if your net is less awful than mine. Inspiring, if nothing else.

I would definitely suggest trying to start some seedlings from that plum tree, and/or cuttings. Perhaps you can graft some other varieties onto it?

Wish I had more ideas to offer..

Like, anything that isn't toxic, that you can grab for free or better yet get paid to haul away.

Start making some shade and windbreaks.

Would earthworks be better? Ya, if you can find a way to do them for free!
Interested to see what people suggest..

It's my second time doing pigs, and I'm trying to grow a lot more of their food, but my current arrangement has them living on someone else's land until about the halfway mark; this gave me time to sow a variety of root-crops for them in the spring.

Will see if there is a meaningful amount of food generated, as broadcast and raking was about all the time I could spare for the experiment...

How late do you butcher?
1 week ago

Rufus Laggren wrote:> adjust bolt....

Well, when one side of a gate moves (you adjust it at the hinge) the other side will move too (at the "latch").  That OK?   How big do you think that tree will grow?

My take. Adjusting it may be possible, but it might not work as planned. IOW, a hassle. And a hassle that is like a "balloon payment" - everything nice for a couple  years until... The other shoe falls. By which time you have forgotten your ingenious Plan. And by that time lots of things may have changed and "adjusting" may not be quite so clean and clear.

The more I think about the more I think it would be much better to use the tree as some kind of lateral support but not as the main structure for the gate post. That should allow setting a bi-pod (w/center post to mount the hinges) on the ground with relatively little penetration; then use the tree to take the torque of the hanging gate with a long rod, lag or bolt. Well, there's need for a force diagram and anchor design. But because of the speed w/which trees can "move" and the ease w/which we forget and stuff like that, my inclination is to keep that gate post away from the tree.

A note on those pintle hinges. They _really_ like to rotate (after installation). So keeping the bolt oriented in the plane of the closed gate will help keep the gate hanging more or less where it started out.  As opposed to installing the bolt (into something) at right angles to the plane of the closed gate. That gate will sag instantly as the bolts rotate. Yes, I've done both. There is still sag when the gate is opened, but... Well, take your choice. I guess an argument could be made either way.

That other thing is cut one of the hinge pins 1/4-3/8" shorter than the other so you don't have to get them both in at the exact same instant when hanging the gate. OR set the top pintle that much higher than "right". That will let you set the top pin first, but it also means that top pintle carries _all_ the weight - and the bottom pintle is just there as a guide. Both the gate frame and the hinge post have to be ok with this.


My gate gets around 3 of these problems. My solutions will not work in all cases..

1) The latch is a chain, no precision fit needed.

B) There is a wheel supporting the latch end of the gate, so hinges don't have a turning force on them.

III) The lag-bolt portion of the hinges were installed in the tree, with the top one upside down; the upper socket side of the hinges was left loose on the gate, and tightened after placing the bottom socket on the pin, and adjusting the top socket to fit.
2 weeks ago
Your creature habitats are very photogenic!

I have been really pleased with the density of garter snakes in my garden. I'll have been here 2 years in august, and the oldest rock piles have been in place maybe 18 months... and this year I suddenly have snakes everywhere!

Very glad to live somewhere with no venomous snakes.

I am hopeful that I will start to see a reduction in wireworm population as a result of all these snakes.. time will tell.

Interestingly, I disturb snakes in the weed-piles more often than the rock-piles..

I am also noticing that a lot more birds seem to be sticking around, they were quite transitory in year one. I can only guess that the new ponds are a big draw, as I have not done any specific bird habitat creation, and in fact mowing the broom is probably a negative for some species..

Nature responds fast!

Speaking of... would anyone like some 7ft thistles..?
2 weeks ago

James Freyr wrote:Cool, thanks for the reply. Is the gate still operating like it did at the beginning?

Yup; it's hung low and has a wheel on the end to keep it from dragging, all seems exactly the same as when installed.

Wind has not caused any problems, I don't see a lot of bending going on so low in a decent sized tree. This tree is at the edge of a 40-50ft wide belt of scrubby forest, on the wind-ward side.

Hinges are the lower of the two styles Mike posted.
2 weeks ago