R Sumner

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since Jan 29, 2016
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Recent posts by R Sumner

>Basically his recommendation is to always use all-glass containers with an airtight seal. Glass is non-reactive and doesn't deteriorate or contaminate the solution. You generate ClO2 gas from a shot glass you put inside the larger container, and it's gradually absorbed by the water in the larger container. Dissolved in water it's quite stable. The resulting solution of ClO2 in water is totally pure if you use distilled water, no contaminants and no residues. It takes 48-72 hours in my experience, you have to do the process twice. It makes about 400 ml of standardized CDS at 3000ppm, which is diluted in certain ratios for different uses -- got to read up on each protocol, which he also has on his website.

Wow that is a long time. I generally only do one process over maybe four hours tops, but then I mostly use it in a spray bottle, so as long as it's yellow I don't bother with calculating concentrations.

Early on a buddy and I made a big batch in a giant carboy buried in a snowbank. We didn't have test strips and couldn't tell that the colour had changed, so we let it run all night. It was very powerful stuff, and yes, kept forever as I recall.

>Once done, I keep the solution in the fridge. One time I tried to make it in the sun to speed up reaction time. It must have blown the seal a bit because the liquid went back to clear instead of more or less sunflower oil-colored like it is supposed to be, so I intuited the gas had all escaped due to too much pressure. I looked up the boiling point of ClO2 and it's about 11ºC or 52ºF, so that made sense. So I now do everything out of the sun and at room temperature, like he shows you to, and just wait, and once finished it goes in an airtight brown glass dropper bottle in the fridge.

Direct UV will degenerate ClO2 very quickly. You may have cooked it out faster than it could dissolve in the warmer sunlit water.

I bubble it directly into a 4L brown glass jug in a cooler packed with ice to keep it below 11C and in the dark the whole time. I put the reaction chamber in the shade as well (outside is best for ventilation). Jug goes into our cold room at 2-8 Celsius or a DC cooler box in the summer. Chemical-rated polymer spray bottle gets refilled from the jug and also stored cold. I make a batch every couple of weeks, we go through it pretty quickly.

When I spoke about sun it was for powering the solar panels so I can run the pump :-)

Andreas Kalcker is the bomb! Thanks for digging up that link.
1 month ago
We are in Ontario, Canada in the Ottawa valley Madawaska region. It's been hitting -30C/-22F the last couple of nights, someone measured the interior root cellar temp at +2C recently. (We might go and light a candle in there, that's a little low.)

We are still working out procedures -- part of the rebuild was putting in more ventilation and (just recently) a solar powered fan. It got pretty warm in there this past summer.

Thanks for your interest! I am checking with some of the folk who have been here for longer (say, 50 years) about posting more pics and possibly some background about the roof failure(s) in another thread.
1 month ago
A few photos from earlier in the construction:
1 month ago
We have an old stone root cellar here but the (original?) roof was rotting out so we replaced it last year. Attached is a long shot of the completed earth roof.

I have another fifteen photos of the construction if this works (and anyone is interested)...
1 month ago
Here at the Castle (one large community building in our small eco-villagy place) we have three big old PVs up on a 30' roundwood structure, and another dozen smaller ones on the south side of the building that we just installed. We can tilt the vertically-installed panels on the wall to get a better sky profile in the summer but so far we haven't bothered.

All of the panels were bought used -- apparently rich folk often upgrade their entire PV system to the latest tech and just dump the old ones off on the market. (I beg you to never pay retail, especially for silicon! flexible cheap durable perovskite panels are already becoming available; the industry is about to shift big time)

I was here when the expansion got hooked up, and with roughly triple our solar input, we didn't have to fire up the generator for months. Pretty sure we'll cover the expansion costs in a couple of years just from gas savings. The charge controllers were the big buy, but the whole installation was under $2K, including a reasonable hourly rate for the resident who did the work.

We are lucky to have a family of self-trained off-grid experts to do the wiring and source cheap electronics. We also don't give a wet fart about permitting, contracts, and hooking into the grid. Nobody uses hot plates or coffee machines or any of that wasteful crap.

I regularly monitor and shut down the inverter system to conserve power for the freezer and the electrical circuits on the (on-demand propane) water heater. The house has two separate wiring systems for DC and AC, so we always have light and a bit of charge for personal electronics when we need it. On an even partly sunny day we can run everything forever, including the community washing machine, freezer, blender, and some LED grow lights.

It takes three days of solid cloud to run down our battery bank to the point where the 12V system won't engage, and three or four hours of sun to charge it back up from flat. Less sun in the winter, but the lower temperatures increase overall gain noticeably. The freezer is our biggest draw, and it's in an unheated space so we only ever have trouble charging that in the summer when there is generally plenty of sun.

Some clever electronics preserves power to the DC well pump and other essentials even when the battery drops very low. Very rarely, I have to turn people away with their laundry, but nobody's missed a hot shower since the new panels came online. Worst case, we run a litre of gas through the generator to top us off. That happens maybe once a month on average in the winter, less so in the summer.

Maintenance has been light since we replace the ancient well pump (CAN $130 including shipping) and garbage-heap inverter (I think the new one was less than $200). Every month or two we have to top up the battery bank with distilled water. Every now and then we've had to re-wire one of the kludged DC plugs, but it's been well over ten years since they were installed. Ditto LED lights, which have started to fail after a decade or two.

I don't see how we would need anything else. Maybe a propane genny for backup to get us entirely off the gas -- also the community is putting up a rebroadcast tower that might take a turbine.

We've done all of this with decades-old tech. Cheap household flow batteries and roll-to-roll printed PVs will make it a no-brainer very soon.

All in all this is the cheapest place I have ever lived in, and the benefits of being in the woods more than make up for any minor inconvenience. I guess we could use a RMH to supplement our iron cookstove; it's on my list.

I think a lot of the sweat here is in trying to deal with a grid plug-in, where of course the provider and your contractors are going to squeeze as much cash out of you as they can.

In which case my advice is: "get out of town"
2 months ago
Everyone knows that six is afraid of seven because seven eight nine.

Turns out seven was just that hungry, despite an earlier offer of pi.

(Which he refused even though he knew it was irrational).
3 months ago

Alexandra Clark wrote:For cramps and plantar fasciatis, using magnesium oil massaged right into the soles of the feet and then let it dry (it isn't really an oil, but does feel oily) helps tremendously==it helps the area relax.

Magnesium oil is critical, I think for everyone and not just the feet (but yeah: definitely great for the feet!)

Caroline Dean's "The Magnesium Miracle" covers most of the salient arguments. Google it.

A few points:

Don't use epsom salts (for anything) unless you know the source. Most magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) is taken directly from the wood processing industry and almost certainly polluted.

Magnesium chloride (MgCl) makes the best "oil". Great for baths too. Don't buy expensive liquids, just get a bag online or from your favorite health store (sometimes called "dead sea salts" - check the label) and dissolve in hot fresh water 1:1 or more. Use a bottle of commercial RO if you don't have a good well.

Freshly washed warm feet absorb best, but I regularly douse my whole body once or twice a day. You would not believe how much it helps allergies, digestion, cramps, etc. Magnesium is critical to almost everything we do and almost nobody gets enough.

It can itch, although you quickly get used to it. Rinse off after 20 minutes or so if it's bad, and you will still absorb plenty (hundreds of times more than oral supplements). I find a bit of any reasonable ointment quickly clears the itching if you can stand to leave the oil on to fully absorb.

Consider potassium (K) supplements as well (K pills or powder digest and absorb well, where Mg likely won't). Every cell needs magnesium, potassium, and sodium, and quite a lot of each. You probably get enough sodium, but the rest are dependent on diet and of course our soil is so depleted...

8 months ago
Several families on the farm also batch process and freeze (and often sell) super-simple no-cheese pesto out of our scapes, but we use hemp hearts (a.k.a. "hemp nuts," i.e., hulled hemp seeds) instead of nuts. Cheaper and more nutritious overall.

(Fresh, fresh!) Hemp oil can also substitute for part or all of the olive oil. Full protein and Omega 3 FA FTW!

Wild and gardened greens often go in. I'd recommend the more delicate and lightly flavored ones but all kinds of variations have shown up at potlucks. Commonly spinach, kale, and hemp leaves (I would have steamed and cooled all of those before blending, but I generally enjoyed them).

Lemon sorrel is a treat. Oar pine (a.k.a. live-forever) also makes a succulent addition, especially young tips (steam briefly if they seem too bitter).

Wild leek leaves complement anything garlic, and there were so many this year we made early pesto long before the scapes had a hope. Bright bright green and so tasty! I was glad to unearth several jars from the deep freezer Saturday.

Omelets! And Pizza! For-r-rall my Friends!

9 months ago
Nicole covered it nicely above, but I can add a few points:

-Use a heavy apron (or two light ones) to protect your front/lower body from the heat. Sometimes I wrap a towel around my hips, double-folded in front.

-Smaller splits of wood are good for quick bursts of heat if you need it (our stove is large so getting it hot enough for the fancy flippy waffle iron can be difficult). Doesn't have to be precise: once a week I bungee several birch logs together and whack at them with a maul for five minutes, then one-arm the whole bungeed mass inside to the kindling box.

-Keep a pizza stone in the oven -- it makes a good surface for cooking, can be placed on the top of the stove to avoid overheating, and just generally holds heat well.

-Keep a stock pot or two of water going on top for heat retention, humidity, and just to have clean near-boiling water available always (so convenient). Put it aside if you need the surface.

-Entertain the kids with roasted marshmallows as special treats. Burn down to coals and crack the firebox door just enough to slide in a skewer. (I pull it back when browned on top, slide the marshmallow off with a fork, reverse it, and re-roast to perfectness. Try that on a bonfire.)

1 year ago
I've been using up the old beans I keep finding in the sprawling pantry spaces of this giant off-grid cabin we find ourselves in.

Hot soaking seems to work: I use the water we keep hot on the wood stove so it's 60-80C when I pour it over the beans. If they are very old I let the pot sit on the hot stove and maybe even boil it a little. Sometimes I salt the water (I think the salt-stops-beans-cooking myth is likely a myth -- I have seen scientistic experiments that show the opposite.)

After (1 to 18) hours the beans often look different, wrinkly or swollen or whatever, depending on how dehydrated they are and maybe the size or type.

Then I drain and rinse thoroughly (phytates be gone!), cover in cold clean water and simmer until they start to get tender.

A bit of baking soda tossed in at the end seems to soften even the hardest beans. (Again I have seen science-like experiments purporting to confirm this.) I don't let them sit in it long before a final cold water rinse.

I generally make a big batch and keep them sealed in the cold room for a day or so, adding them to soup, curry, fried onions&rice, etc, as I like and where they get a little more cooking time if they need it.

Enzyme supplements are a big help for the sensitive -- I can even eat a little wheat and cow cheese from time to time now.

Hot rinsing or "blanching" rice in a similar manner is also supposed to be good for maximal nutrition (I saw that article on phys.org and there was actual science.)
1 year ago