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s. ayalp

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since Mar 18, 2016
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Recent posts by s. ayalp

I am the only one around here who never touches his/her face. I gained this super power by growing super-uber-extremely hot peppers (such as carolina reaper ). Nope, not gonna happen. (best antidote is milk- or oils)
After that problem resolved, you can use any hand cream you like :)
6 days ago
Life has been cruel to me lately. I needed a time-out. Frankly, I made a personal request in my prayers :)
2 weeks ago
If you can donate, please go ahead.

If not, yeah sure you can use it. I asked a similar question like a year ago, here is the thread: dog food as fertilizer . I probably should have posted pictures of how it ended, but long story short, yeah it works very well. Don't overkill though.
3 weeks ago
There are problems with channels though. Not such problems that you might not overcome, but problems that can be easily evaded by doing something else.

For example, sealing the pond. That is probably the very first thing to consider if you are going to build a pond. Every pond leaks at one point of its lifetime. If you build a pond with a circular or elliptical surface area, you will get the least water-soil interface. Rectangular shapes have corners, which might create problems while building it or in the future. A channel has the largest water-soil interface area. You might even double or triple the interface area to the total volume ratio. It significantly increases the possibility of leakage.

At a certain time in the future, you will need to clean the pond. Channels in a pond system have the largest edge compared to their volume, so more debris falls into them and thus they are usually the first to get clogged or mostly clogged. That might be a good thing if you are considering to build a chinampa. You want debris as fertilizer in that case. In other cases, you need to design a pond to stay cleaner. It is harder to clean channels.

Unless you are going to build your channels deep (like 2 meters), temperature difference won't be strong enough to move water. And you need two reservoirs with different shapes. It is certainly true that one length of the channel might be warmer than the other, but water does not know that. It will always do what requires the least energy. Warm water will not be at the top of the water column, warmER water will be at the top. You need a greater temperature difference (actually density difference) to turn the vertical movement into lateral. So you will have two layers, warmer at the top and colder at the bottom. The flow need not halt also, so so you will need a deeper, shaded pond and another shallow pond (a bowl shape) with larger surface area and a channel connecting them. As the shallow pond gets warmer, water at its bottom (its cold water reservoir) will heat up and rise. Meanwhile, deep pond won't be able to heat up as quickly. So you have a cold surface connected with a warm surface by a channel. Warm water from the shallow pond will flow into the deep pond as colder surface water of the deeper pond will sink and later on flow into shallow ponds cold water reservoir to compensate for the volume change. The channel will have two layers of water going in opposite directions. The warmer water layer will get deeper as sun rises in the sky. At a certain point, it will choke up the whole channel and cut the flow. As night time comes, shallow pond with greater surface area will lose more heat due to evaporation. So the movement will get reversed somewhat. The problem is this movement will not make sense if it is slower than certain velocity. If it is too slow, dust will settle at the bottom of the channel, slowly clogging it. It wont be adding oxgen into the system also.

If you really want to create a stream effect, you pump the water to a greater hight and let it flow downstream to the pond. It will oxygenate the water, fish and frogs will love it. Requires minimum excavation work and such. It is also trouble free. If it leaks, just cut it off. The pond will continue to hold water. You can pump water with a bubbler. 1 ft-30 cm rise of water is more than enough for most cases. Search for davidpaganbutler in youtube, for how bubblers rise water.  

Hope it helps
1 month ago
You made char by the double chamber, cone pit, kiln or any other technique. The following step in biochar making is grinding char into smaller sizes. Frankly, I don't bother to do that for smaller than fist-size pieces. Many do though. Many low-cost options come to mind, passing through wood chippers, putting into bags and driving back and forth over the bags and so on. Here is a DIY project to build a machine to grind char into smaller sizes. If I know Tim a bit, he will be perfecting his invention, and this will turn into a series. Also, the "Way Out West Blow-in blog" is a must-follow youtube channel in my opinion. So please do check their other videoes.

1 month ago
As Lukas said, physical work and fitness are very different. Physical work by itself cannot substitute fitness. I am not really good at explaining, I am also an open water swimmer, so let me give a try.
Basically, in every movement, there are the main group of muscles that do the work, and there are other muscles that keep them in check. Your biceps might be doing the work, but it doesn't mean your back muscles are sitting and waiting for their turn. If they are weak, you will have problems (your posture won't be right, more strain on some joints, etc). There are also many smaller muscles that keep bigger muscles and joints hold their shape during and after activity. They stabilize the whole system. If they are weak, you can easily hurt your shoulders, back or knees. So you really need a balanced physical activity to keep each one of them in check. Physical work doesn't give you that. Let's assume you are going to use broadfork or pickaxe. Same activity over and over again. You will burn some calories for sure, but it has a potential for back pain, hernia, shoulder pain and such. That would be my main concern. Increasing your aerobic capacity is sure helpful because it will also increase your psychological threshold, but that will not be my very first focus.
The web (youtube, Instagram, etc) are full of many, many and many wrong -just plain wrong- recommendations and videoes. It is pain to find a useful, reliable and preferably free resource. I can recommend webpage. There are many programmes over there, which are targeting various fitness levels all programmes. Download the pdf, print them out, and stick with the plan. It is all free, they accept donations though. They also have a youtube channel where you can watch and learn how certain movements are done.
I would recommend to begin with baseline programme webpage-baseline-program. Follow it with totals webpage-totals-program. If you want to lose weight cardio trim is a good one webpage-cardio-trim. If you feel good enough, try to follow two programmes, such as totals+cardio trim. If you get over certain weaknesses or you want extra-challenges, there are challenges to follow webpage-challanges. Don't do solely challenges though, you want to keep the balance.

I have to disagree with James about indoor rowing. Even though it is good and very beneficial; if your posture is wrong, you can mess things up badly. Water-rowers are expensive also. I hurt myself with other types of rowers in the past, so I would not even consider magnetic, hydraulic rowers. Rowers are hard on shoulders and lower back (you won't realize it at first), I don't think they are the best for the beginner or even intermediate levels.
I recommend jump-rope. It is cheap, you can do it anywhere you want, and will shed a lot of fat and, well, works the whole body. I would start with 30 jumping jacks and go up to 100 non-stop. Following a week of break, I would start jump-rope. 50 times is a good start. After 3 months, you can either jump for 200-250 times and have a break (walk for 2-3 minutes) and repeat 3-4 times or jump rope fast for 1 minute, have a break for 1 minute and repeat 1+1 for 4-5 (or 10) times. In 6 months you will be able to follow guys at youtube (jump rope dudes and such). Posture is very important. A lightweight jump rope will focus on the lower body, heavier ropes will focus on the upper body.

Try to do exercise 3-4 times a week at first. Don't overdo it. Also, remember that you do not need to eat extra for this level of exercise. You will feel hungry, but that is your body tricking you to eat. You can increase your protein intake a bit (1-2 eggs more). Include bone-broth (collagen type 1-2-3) in your diet (for your tendons). Try to build a baseline muscle tone in the first year and then work on it.

Hope it helps!

Edit: Forgot to say, yeah I do! Do it!
2 months ago
Well, somebody has to do the work, right?
You can compost in place- micro's doing the work (mulching, trench composting and such). You can get as creative as you wish. General rule, though, try to hit a larger area with raw materials than what you would with finished compost. You can lay compostable stuff in one area, let it be for a season or two (you can plant compost friendly veggies during this time period, such as potatoes or winter squash/pumpkins); then you can plant the following season. If you have access to heavy equipment,  trench composting is the best!
Second alternative to ask help from natural compost maniacs; chickens and/or pigs. I dont know much about pigs, but chickens I do know. They work hard. You can create a gravity fed chicken compost run. Basicly it is a chicken run on slope. You feed chickens with compostable stuff from the highest elevation. There are checks (50-60 cm high barriers every 2-3 meters) on the slope. Chickens level out the first pile, you remove the first barrier (wooden or such),  chickens try to dig -and move to the second area. Compost pile gets trapped in the second area and piles up. You remove the second barrier, compost moved to the third area and so on. Like a waterfall. If the system were not on a slope, then ypu will need to pile compost up, while chickens level it. This way gravity does the work. 25 chickens can produce roughly 3, maybe 4, cubic meter of almost-finished compost a year.
Another way is what charles dowling does. Please check his youtube channel. It still requires some hard work,  though I should add what he does is probably the least work required not-complicated hot-compost system.
Hope it helps!
3 months ago
You heard your 5-6 (?) year old scream with terror, right? Ok then, that's it. It is the same thing the dog heard. That is what dogs do. If any member of the pack gets attacked, they attack. No questions there. It is totally normal. It is not out of her/his character. Female dogs usually attack to kill, male dogs usually harm a lot in such instances. There are special breeds selected for this behavior (some of the guard dogs- not livestock guard dogs). As long as your dog is not one of those breeds, there is no need to make a big deal about it.
Following such instances, you do not want to do negative treatment to the dog. It will only result in the dog getting confused and not knowing where it belongs. Might start digging, acting weird, etc. You do not want to do much of a positive treatment also (don't exaggerate), the dog might think this is the right to do when the kid/baby screams. Kids fake a lot, the dog might think it is the first thing to do when the kid thinks in danger. You don't want that also. The dog did his/her duty. Should be treated as such. You need to act as you did before, but occasionally remind him/her of his/her place. Make her follow your orders. Give orders and wait calmly till she follows them. Never exaggerate (good or bad), but try to remind her she is the part of the family as always, but she has other duties (such as following orders - small things) and a very specific role in your family. She should know she is always below humans in the hierarchy (including your kid and other people in the neighborhood). Guard dogs are a bit more tricky, they need this reaffirming therapy all their life long (before and after such events).
3 months ago
The general rule of thumb, you do not want to infiltrate water in terraces. 5-10% slopes act quite different from 30-40% slopes. For 30-40% slopes, I would recommend checking rice terraces of the Philippines or terraces of Inca. In the case of rice terraces, there is an impermeable layer and any excess water is discharged by overflow. Incas fill the back of the wall with gravel or broken stones for bottom drainage and let a gap at the top for overflow. Both of them are trying to overcome the problem of the slope getting destabilized. It might not seem much, but when it rains with 100% inflatration numbers add up quickly. Soil gets saturated and heavy, it begins to move. Both Incas and rice terraces are big projects though. You might get away with the issue with small gardens, small areas won't be able to raise the water table. There are two no-need-to-engineering solutions. You can slope soil descending towards the terrace wall, so any excess rainfall will shed over the wall. You will have a 1-2% slope (depending on your soil type 0.5-4%) compared to 30%. That is one solution (classic low-cost terracing). You will still need to drain the backside of the wall if you are going to build a concrete/stone wall. The other solution to put french drains covered with geo-fabric buried under the entire terrace (thickness of 1-4 ft), works better with drainage pipes (looks like modern time adaptation of the Philippines rice terraces). Search for diagrams, you will find many inpiring projects!
3 months ago

Travis Johnson wrote:You have to be careful too with any claims about livestock weight gain because it really is the only selling point they have in luring us, farmers. If I gave my sheep everything that possibly contributed to "weight gain", I would have lambs going to market at 7 days old.

I love those adds. They are like "We fed our animals with Mama's biochar (mama: arbitrary brand name) and it results in 25% weight gain! Let me show you how." ..mixes char with molasses.. "animals love it!!" Sure they do! You are mixing it with candy! And side by side trials with fed with Mama's biochar (and MOLASSES!!) and with no supplements. Let me ask where is the trial when you feed animals with only molasses? It will result in weight gain when you feed them almost-pure sugar with some char on top. The same goes for humans. You want to put on weight, then eat sugars. You won't be able to feed molasses to a bodybuilder trying hard to keep his fat ratio below 5%. Char does have an impact on weight gain, not 25% though. More like 0.5-1.5% depending on which animal you are feeding to (helps the gut microbiota). Also, you might want to feed char to chickens to limit problems with manure, etc.

The same goes for many youtube experiments. Plants supplemented with biochar (char+minerals+manure+all that biology) vs no supplements. If you want to see the real impact; the test needs to be biochar [char+(all that)] vs (all that) vs each of (that) vs only char vs none. This is where the fun begins. Comparing results are not that easy.

Back to the OG's question. When you eat biochar, you are also getting (all that) with it. That's not good as Marco said. When you eat char, I can speculate that it will be somewhere between char-biochar but more on the char side. It will suck up most of the stuff like char do (as Tyler said) and then will be excreted. If you are poisoned or you eat something your body is not accustomed to, it will suck the bad stuff out of your body. There are two alternative ways to deal with that (not poison obviously), stuff like yogurt (or kefir/kephir) to boost good bacteria populations or spices to kill the incoming bad guys.
Let us assume char in your gut system is on the biochar side. I don't think it will have a substantial impact on someone who has good health (comes with good gut health). The reason why I think like that biochar does not have much of a substantial impact on a healthy system. It helps to get unhealthy systems back to balance, systems are forced out of balance to back to stability. When you have good soil (mature soil to be more precise) and do not have an outside impact to force it out of balance (such as constant rain, high temperatures), biochar doesn't have much of an impact. I believe the same goes for ourselves.

I eat a piece of char after each batch I make though. I like the cringing sound it makes. Reminds me of those exploding sugars back when we were kids (popping pacito/magic pops).
3 months ago