Francis Mallet

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since Mar 29, 2017
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books chicken trees woodworking
acadian peninsula, New Brunswick, Canada
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Recent posts by Francis Mallet

This is a funny thread. I just had a day off because of the weather. We can get snow as early as October and it usually stays until mid-April. That's 7 months! It's hard for me to imagine being new to winter.

The outside world becomes a freezer so take care of your containers or they might break. Some plastics become brittle in the cold.

It takes a long time for warm water to freeze over. I gave warm water to my chickens, I don't know if it's good or bad for them but I figured warm is better than none. We like hot beverages after a day outside in the cold maybe it's the same with chickens?

Don't lick metal that's been outside. If you do, send me a picture :)
Don't grab metal that's been outside with wet hands.

There was mention of cat litter if you get stuck with your car. Ashes also works.
If you get stuck don't put the pedal to the floor to try to get out. Alternate gently between drive and reverse and use momentum. Don't know how to explain this.

On the road sudden changes will get you in the ditch, or worse. I like to test the roads before I get out. I get to a moderate speed and slam the brakes and see how the car reacts. Same with acceleration.

I've never used chains but can't live without studs.

Driving a rear-wheel drive on slippery roads is an art!

In a front-wheeler if you need to turn quickly then don't accelerate. If you lose traction you'll go straight.

If you take to the roads during bad weather take warm clothes with you. Bring a shovel if there is room. There is a story about a foreigner that got stuck on the plains during a storm. He was dressed in city clothes and had to walk to the nearest house. He lost all his toes.

Get some sunglasses, a bright sun on fresh snow is hard on the eyes.

I like snow but normal people complain about it all the time.  There's all kinds of snow, fluffy, sticky, crusty, grainy. They all shovel differently. Plastic shovels work best for light snow. Metal shovels work best for heavy or crusty snow.

There was also mention of greasing a shovel. I use furniture wax. There is nothing more frustrating than shoveling snow that sticks to your shovel. I only use wax on my aluminum shovel and for sticky snow only. Waxing that shovel for fluffy snow makes it useless as the snow just slips off before I can throw it.

Use your knee as a fulcrum when throwing heavy snow. This is difficult to explain, you pivot the handle on your knee to start the swing. Be attentive to your body, especially your back.

For large areas get a snow scoop and make ramps instead of piles.  Remember that all that snow will turn to water.

Stay dry. Don't let yourself sweat. If you're wet you'll get cold. Unless you wear wool I suppose.

Packed snow turns to ice and takes longer to melt. If you make thick trails they will still be there when all the rest has melted away. That's especially important for dirt driveways. You will get ruts and erosion.

Fun :)

1 day ago
Wow the difference in color for the first two pictures is striking! Does the grass stay brown for most of the year? Must smell good at your place :)
1 day ago

Mike Jay wrote:Nice construction!  If the cement goes down below the frost line, it shouldn't move around on you.

Thanks Mike :)

The cement floats on the surface. I'd need to dig at least 5' deep holes to get below the frost line, way too much work! I don't mind the posts moving up and down, what I don't like is when they splay (like with my first shed). I hope that the wider cement bases will prevent this from happening.

A load of slab, mostly spruce. All the wood I used for this came from damaged trees. We don't have a lot of big trees so I leave the healthy ones alone. Even then it makes me sad every time I bring a tree down.

Fitting the slab was a puzzle. Wasn't as quick as with "real" siding but no so bad.

All done. I put some scraps on top to give me an idea of how it would look. Not exactly high-end architecture lol

I used the chainsaw to trim the slab. Watch out for nails! The plan was to cover the sides and the front with tarps. Turns out this is enough to keep most of the snow out. You can see part of the old shed on the left.

As Mike mentioned, cement will rot your posts. I used left over roofing membrane as a barrier.

Cutting lumber on my dad's beat up mill. This thing is falling apart :(

Fresh 2x4s and planks. I've heard that we can't use our own lumber to build because it isn't graded. Don't know for sure but seems it's true (All I wanted to do is build a house) What a joke! Most of the wood available from lumberyards is crap!

Getting ready for the roof. The slope on my old shed is quite low and some years there is close to 4' of snow/ice that sits there until spring. I don't plan on shoveling the snow off the roof from the new one. Steeper slope and 2x4s 12" on centers should be solid whatever the load.

The roof extends 4' behind the shed. I like this space to store rough wood and things I don't want under the rain. Although it does nothing for the snow as I would soon find out. A tarp maybe.

I didn't have time to put roofing before the snows, just had time to put some tar paper. It's surprising how little snow gets in. This was in 2017, lots of snow that year and no problems.
The netting was an experiment. I needed something to keep the chickens out of the garden. Too much work.
2 days ago
I wanted something relatively simple to keep my wood chipper and car summer tires out of the snow. I already have a woodshed made from milled lumber, I wanted to try something simpler.
I found this place and it appealed to me.
Plans For a Funky Woodshed

They use galvanised pipe strapping to hold the beams. I have no idea how long this will last but so what, let's give it a try.

The area was measured, cleared from humus and covered with gravel. I mixed concrete to make cone shaped pads covered with gravel. I used leftover hardware cloth to make forms so that I had flat surfaces for the posts to rest on.

The chickens had fun, we were all scratching around. The previous woodshed used 16" masonry blocks. With time they sunk into the ground and gave me all sorts of problems. Hopefully this will work better. I didn't want to bury my posts as my available wood is fir and it rots even worse than aspen.

Fir needs to be debarked quick or longhorn beetle will bore holes in it. I used a drawknife because it's all I've got, what a sticky mess!! Since then I've learned there is tool for this called a bark spud. It's on my todo list.

I made myself some weights with leftover concrete. Real handy to hold down logs for marking, cutting or whatever.

The chickens agree. A piece of vinyl flooring was used to mark around the ends of the logs for cutting.

All the cuts finished. I hesitate calling these joints since they don't really join anything.

As level and straight as I can manage. Winter will mess things up anyway.

More chicken inspection.

All ready for the next step.

To be continued...
3 days ago
With flat and even ground I use my two wheeled wheelbarrow. It can be used with one hand. I can move heavier loads too since no force is needed for balance. I also use it to mix stuff as it won't tip over easily. Its major drawback is that on uneven ground it's almost useless because the wheels follow every dip and bump.

My one wheel wheelbarrow feels comfortable on any terrain as long as I don't load it too much. It's more manoeuvrable in tight spaces and my garden has a lot of those.

In my situation if I had to choose one I'd go with the single wheel model.  I don't have to choose so I have both :)

Oh, and with flat-free tires please!
6 days ago
This is an interesting thread, so many colorful people here on permies!

I've never been good at fitting in and never consciously been part of a movement. My point of view is from the outside-in rather than the inside-out.

What I see is that we are all Adapters to some extent as adaptability is built in. It is a latent trait. Without pressure C5 would be a different person, same for Farmgal. Adaptability is what got us into this mess. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. That's just what it is.

Mushroom mycelium will colonize an agar plate until the substrate is used up. The mycelium will then dry up and die. I used to think humans were the same but I've since revised my opinion. Humans don't feed on sterile potato juice. Humans feed on Life like ticks feed on a moose. What will assure survival is not adaptability as much as the flip from parasite to symbiont. Parasites also adapt.
Thanks Madison. I got the idea from rustic andy over at lumberjocks.  (Rock crushers for inlay)

Mine is too tight a fit, it's more like a piston than a pestle. I intended to use it by hand but then it will send puffs of minerals flying in the air. I don't want to breathe that stuff! Instead I I load a bit of rock in the cylinder then put back the piston and whack it good with a small sledgehammer.

First attempt :)

Some notes for next time:
I don't like the stainless mortar. It stained my hands black and I feel it put some gray in my pigments. I'll try with a porcelain one next time.
I should have filtered the dissolved gum because there is crap and undissolved crystals in my media.
And I think understand the need for a muller now, the dried paint feels coarse compared with my pigments. (pigment clumps?)
2 months ago

Madison Woods wrote:Francis - Awesome! Post some pics to show how it does.

You asked for it :P

After I saw this post I built myself a rock crusher. It's like the 3rd time in my life that I got to use a stick welder it was fun!

Then I went to the beach and picked up rocks :)
I always loved picking rocks and now I've got a reason to do it lol

After a couple of whacks

All done! Still gritty but surprisingly fine. It turned out more gray than white.
I also picked up sun bleached seashells. Those are very white I'm curious about how they'll do.

A nice purple one with dark veins. We have lots of pretty rocks on the beach.
It's quite difficult to capture accurate colors with my phone.

This is fun :) I wonder how the color will change once I make paint.

I received a stainless steel mortar last week, I have gum arabic and clove oil. Now I just need time.  I tried grinding the white rock in my mortar and with some work I can get a very fine dust. I'm excited about grinding the purple one too!
I don't think I'm committed enough for a muller just yet, they are expensive and I'm a bit like a weather vane (who knows what I'll be into next spring).

This has made me aware of my region's geology, things that were invisible to me before. Thank you for bringing more color into my life Madison :)
2 months ago

Trace Oswald wrote:

Francis Mallet wrote: If a guy decides to live on welfare and play video games all day I say good for him.

This is your exact quote and if you believe it,  we have no common ground to have a discussion on.

Yes, I believe it. I suppose things would heat up real quick if we had this discussion over lunch lol

I understand what you are saying. I also understand that there are crooks at all levels.

Like I said, I'm easily confused about matters like this it's complicated stuff. I simply believe we produce so much now that a bunch of us could do whatever we want with our time whether it's productive or not.
To get back to the original post, yeah I do find the idea of not working interesting. My welfare neighbors are not consumers because they just don't have enough left to spend on crap.
Their footprint is smaller than most so from the permaculture angle they are less part of the problem than the majority of working people. They don't need to contribute, we already have enough.
If ressources are missing for schools, roads or whatever it's not because these ressources don't exist, it's because they're not going to the right place. Lazy people are not to blame for that.

Trace Oswald wrote:I forgot to touch on this. I am one of those people that served in,  and retired from,  the military in my 40s. It may look like a good pension to you,  but i can assure you,  it's not very much money,  and I'm working another full time job and will be for many years.  If I tried to live on that retirement, I would be living on far less than minimum wage.

I'm sorry to hear that your pension is not enough! My uncle is very comfortable and doesn't work. He'd rather go fishing.

2 months ago

Trace Oswald wrote:
I'm surprised people here are applauding the idea of sitting home,  collecting welfare and having someone else support them while they play video games.

It's more complicated than this. It's a matter of perspective and being careful with my judgment.

I have military people and teachers in my family. They retired in their 40s with very good pensions. Did they contribute more than fishery workers who have to work until they're 65? If you think so then we'll never agree.
So where do we draw the line? When can you stop working? Low skill jobs require no less effort, are no less important, are usually minimum wage and on top of this they damage people.
One year I worked as a Christmas wreath weaver, 12 hour shifts 7 days a week. I woke up at night with no feelings in my arms. I struggled to make minimum wage.
I also worked at a recycling facility to sort trash.  We had to get like a dozen shots in case we got sick. One day I got a scare because I was pricked by a syringe through my glove. People throw all kind of dangerous stuff in the trash.
I worked at a peat pellet factory. Air quality was bad as there were frequent fires in the machinery and after my shift there was dirt coming out when I blew my nose.
Minimum wage is slavery in disguise and slavery sucks.

A frequent response is "get more skills". Well we can't all be lawyers. Besides,

"Everything here is minimum wage. There's no money to go around."

I'm not applauding, but I'm not condemning people who opt out either. Especially not poor souls that can't find nothing better in life than fiction through a screen.

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged
condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned
forgive, and ye shall be forgiven

I'm fond of quotes today.
2 months ago