Fredy Perlman

+ Follow
since Nov 16, 2015
Fredy likes ...
forest garden fungi cooking
Mason Cty, WA
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Fredy Perlman

Speaking of kit homes, I might still start a separate thread on the subject of A-frames. With all the rural exposure I've had to them (seems everyone has lived in one or knows someone who has), I'm surprised I couldn't find any discussion of them here. The people I've talked to really enjoy them, though all were occasionally annoyed with the awkward standing and furniture arrangement occasionally necessitated by the sloped ceilings.

Travis, these kit homes you're talking about include plumbing, electrical, insulation, flooring materials? Just excluding the kitchen and bath alone is really significant, aren't those the most expensive rooms, requiring the most skilled labor?

But since we're talking of kits, there are some interesting European kit designs hitting the market. The one that's already reached the US is Estonia's Avrame, the one that probably will next is Italy's M.A.DI. Avrame suggests a build budget comparable to the OP's: $32,000-72,000 USD for a 1200 foot model. Though of course the devil is in the details like finishing, I believe they ballpark that budget as 30% of the house. The former is a kit that you build on site, the latter a kit stood up, in sections, with a crane on site, then locked into place and fleshed out. M.A.DI. can even be installed without a foundation, or just with screw piles. The "flat pack" building idea, that it arrives flat and is lifted/locked into place -- then can be similarly folded up again -- is really seductive, but probably deceptively oversimplifying.

Further along the price continuum is Ecocor, building on the PassivHaus efficiency principles which are both too byzantine and spendy for me to trifle with. Perhaps I am a terrible person, but insane thermal efficiency has never interested me. It always seems to come at the expense of stifling, stale air laminated with various oxidized human stenches...whether it's an airtight tiny house, an office or a hospital. I think of the decades of offgassing from both building materials and living tissue and gag.

So for us statesiders, the only current option is Avrame, and they look pretty good to my untrained eye. Sexy (think "modern rustic"), solid and affordable. You can have a dried-in shell in 3-6 months, costs for such seem comparable to budget stick-builders like Adair and HiLine, and if you can follow instructions and build with common sense, you have a better shot at a finished product than if you hired contractors (though you'd still need a general and subs for your finish work).

There are a lot of question marks in these European kits, though. In the EU Avrame uses spruce; in the USA, they use the exotic LVL (laminated veneer lumber), which led me to some interesting reading on cross-laminated lumber (renewable building material! will replace concrete even for skyscrapers! feels like wood but structurally emulates harder materials!) but I don't see kit builders on a budget using that. I also distrust glues or the like that offgas unless they've been in use for decades and haven't killed more people than anything else. Again, air circulation is good. I am somewhat reassured that Avrame's a-frames, building on a postwar tradition that is already earthquake resistant, are seismically sound. Snow load is not a problem. Insulation of A-frames has been improved in their redux of the design (there's an 8-12" deep gap in the framing that accommodates all kinds of insulations friendly to damp, cold environs). It'll take a lot to reassure me that these Ikea-houses -- a comparison the company blithely makes itself -- can handle mold, condensation and rodents as needed here. Apparently they are kind to wood heat but how to design one to include an RMH?  How do they work with heat pumps? How are the acoustics? It's hard to be an early adopter on something as weighty as a house, and the idea of an RMH, not widely-tested in all residential builds, as central to a bleeding-edge A-frame redux realized with exotic industrial materials, could be a little unsettling.

All of which is to say, I agree with the OP that kits seem like the best deal, but with the kit world changing so fast and materials, technologies and climates in flux, it's hard to feel secure about anything. (But how much security is there in permaculture, anyway? Haha!)
1 month ago
After scanning the threads on this topic here, I am still not sure what to do with a septic leach field. The county has ideas including some things I recognize (I am not copying out their list of herbaceous annuals...can't imagine spending time working on the decor of a leach field). Has anyone had experience with any of these? What else would you add?:

Herbaceous perennials
America, Seathrift (Armeriac maritima)
Astilbe (Astilbe x arendsii)
Basket of gold (Aurinia saxatilis)
Campanula (Campanula spp)
Snow in summer (Cerastium tomentosum)
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)
Cottage (et al) Pinks (Dianthus spp)
Coral Bell (Heucheria sanguinia)
Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) evergreen
Lavendar (Lavenduia angustifolia) evergreen
Moss pink (Phlox subulata)
Heather (Calluna vulgaris)
False Lily of the Valley (Maianthemum dilatatum)

Perennial Ground Covers
Carpet bugle (Ajuga reptans)
Kinnickinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
Irish moss (Arenaria verna)
Bunchberry (Cornus Canadensis)
Twinflower (Linnaea borcalis)
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens)...I have some of this but it should not be planted in full sun
Salal (Gaultheria shallon)
Lydia broom (Genista Lydia)
Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis) *shaded only*
Stone crop (Sedum spp) ... I have some Oregon Stone Crop, tastes like purslane but crunchier
Hens and chicks (Sempervirum tectorum)
Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
Thyme (Thymus spp)

1 month ago
Miner's lettuce, so called because it grows in areas dark like mines. Crispy, fleshy refreshing leaves with a slight bitter note (don't think watercress). It'll self seed and clump all over the place. Only check that it can handle your winters.

Pawpaws! They grow up in part shade, after which they do better in full sun...but I've heard word that they can fruit in part shade too. Perhaps just not as well.

Nettles: I've seen them do just fine in wet shady areas. And yes, oyster mushrooms, which I often find just beside the nettles.

Wintergreen, with its delightful (if somewhat dry) berries is a pretty and curious novelty-edible groundcover.

1 month ago
Thanks Doc RedHawk! I can fell those extra maples today without their getting any further along.

Fun to think of inoculating my 32" tree stumps, the next time I drop one...
2 months ago
Since it looks like the book is MIA, can anyone recommend another equally comprehensive resource?
2 months ago
After posting this thread a couple months ago, I'm looking to inoculate some lion's mane (spawn), reishi (plug), shiitake (plug) into maple logs. I can't find a straight answer on whether it's better to harvest the logs in fall or spring, "two weeks before bud break". Sources only seem to agree on dormancy.

I cut down some logs in Jan, they've been up off the ground for our uncharacteristically cold, dry winter: that's >2 weeks of around 25F and very little rainfall, then in episodes instead of the usual daily drizzle, though in February we had a surprising 20" of snow. I've got other logs that were on the ground, likely more dusted with spores?

I felled a couple trees and put my face to the fresh-cut wood, then did the same with the November harvest logs. There was very little difference in moisture using that highly scientific assay. Further, these trees are definitely breaking bud.

So which trees are likely better media: cut last fall, or cut just now at bud break (then aged 2 weeks)? Probably neither is ideal. If no clear answer I'll try both and post the answers only if interesting, or requested.
2 months ago
I have a few questions about planting pawpaws. These questions apply to one year seedlings started in trays.

should seedlings started in trays be transplanted as soon as possible? if so, permanently sited or repotted?

(Most of this is from a Sustainable World podcast with Michael Judd of Oekologia, W. Va.)  I understand that they like damp soil, but not wet feet. Planting adjacent to a riparian area has been recommended. They should be spaced 10’ apart and shaded for the first 1-3 years of their lives, then exposed to full sun. Co-planting with nitrogen fixers (MJ used leadplant from our pals at Oikos...must be some Greek name cult) is a good idea. this podcast also got me thinking that one year seedlings started in trays have poor transplant prospects.

So, is an orchard or forest-cluster planting preferred? I'm going to plant some of them on swales per MJ's recommendation.

What do you all think of planting them at the bottom of a slope and in a wet ravine, in an alder/salmonberry complex area so wet that alder regularly fall over? Clearing glades in the forest, planting pawpaw with seaberry, waiting 2-3 years then cutting down the alder to clear the shade and provide a burst of nitrogen?

We have 66” of rain yearly but it’s a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers. That worries me but this area is the wettest I have. I’m also not sure the seaberry will like waiting 2-3 years for the full sun it craves, though hopefully there is enough moisture down there that I won’t have to irrigate. I’m told early seaberry plantings need irrigation in summer.

Thoughts appreciated!
3 months ago
Nathan, great answer, thank you. Your fatty toxin logic and math reminded me of the mercury calculator for seafood, which I used religiously for years, especially with sushi, before I waved a Geiger counter over sushi post-Fukushima---it was part of "dinner theater" if we went out for sushi. I had the Geiger counter for use at scrapyards, where radiological equipment was sometimes salvaged, but it proved fun elsewhere.

Very common sense and it has the ring of truth, from what I know. But the microplastics question remains, probably because that science is pretty nascent. And per your comment about toxins accumulating in plastics: since microplastic science is so new, I'd be surprised if anyone could say whether I am putting persistent toxins sponged up by microplastics into my beds in perpetuity...I doubt even Elaine Ingham could say how that shakes out. So I will stick to asparagus beds and tree mulching for now. Seaweed slug repellant can be tested around trees they find tasty.
3 months ago
I have a few questions regarding seaweed use that even our Department of Natural Resources doesn't speak to, because their webpage about seaweed harvesting is only concerned with safe human consumption.

1. Is any kind of seaweed acceptable for micronutrient accumulation?
2. Do any accumulate more, or a better balance of, minerals for garden/food forest use?
3. Do contaminants in seaweed outweigh potential benefits? The Puget Sound isn't exactly clean, but it isn't the Baltic Sea either. I'm not in a hurry to spread some persistent toxins around my land. We're careful with manure but seaweed seems a black box. Maybe a sweep with a Geiger counter is enough!
4. Given that microplastics are found in 90% of sea salt, should seaweed or extracts thereof be used on tuber/bulb crops? Dedicated beds for, say, asparagus and tree crops seem ok, but I wonder at the plastic load in land under rotation for roots, bulbs, leafy greens, veg.

Asparagus beds benefit from mulching with seaweed, and I'm thinking that mulching trees with it will add micronutrients and possibly retard slugs.
3 months ago
James - I like your thinking. I have planted quite a few chestnut hybrids from Burnt Ridge Nursery, as well as butternuts (actually the unfortunately-named "buartnut") and shagbark hickory from same. In the area we found a huge, beautiful Juglans that I'm pretty sure is a heartnut, but it doesn't bear and is seriously distressed -- rotten in the middle to the point of sprouting mushrooms from its splitting base. There are many black walnuts around here as well, but none of them bear either. Mine may reach adulthood only to remain single! At least they're not alone.

I also planted a grafted elm (weeping, grafted to American rootstock) to have an elm away from the elm borer crisis. In the novel "The Overstory," the first vignette is about a chestnut that, because of its freak placement by some homesteaders outside of the natural range, escapes the blight, which the story tells in great detail. It also grows in a bizarre and striking habit -- another potential upside to unusual plantings. Unfortunately I only really liked 3-4 stories in the book and so didn't finish it.

And Daron, your post really changed my life and thinking. I had several natives planned, but didn't know why, until I read Tallamy's book at your rec. It's great, every permie should read it. I had intended to plant garry oaks agogo for various reasons, but in light of Sudden Oak Death syndrome, I'm even more chuffed. I'm sure they will grow dismayingly slowly. There are some burgambel oaks in there too but they're already showing less vigor than the garrys.

Anyway I also bought a bunch of natives from a tiny backyard Seattle nursery, because they were a little easier to find than where I am. This is all because of you and Tallamy! I'd love to volunteer at the nonprofit you work for as well, which is it? Now that my eyes have been opened I see the lack of diversity on my land and around me, and if I can find a local native plant expert (Skeeter? he's kind of far though) I hope to walk this land with them. I bought this place in part because of all the birds, more than many local properties, but I see how many more there should be and my neighbor, a bird enthusiast, has lent me volumes, expertise and her binoculars.
4 months ago