Travis Johnson

master pollinator
+ Follow
since Feb 03, 2016
Travis likes ...
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
9th generational farmer, our farm having officially started in 1746, but dates back to the Mayflower. We had the first sheep shearing shed in new England, and always had sheep to 1988. For 20 years we went without sheep until I took over the farm in 1992, reintroduced sheep in 2008, and in 2015 retired at age 42 and started full-time farming. We are still struggling at farming, and probably always will, but the goal is the same...another generation.
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 Pollinator Scavenger Hunt
expand Pioneer Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt Green check

Recent posts by Travis Johnson

Mike Jay wrote:Hmm, that's more cement than I was imagining in make-believe.  But a 93# bag of Type 1 Portland cement here is $10.50 with delivery for $60 so it wouldn't be too bad.  And I'm sure I could find a tiller to borrow if I tried a bit.  

Would that be an earthcrete floor that's good enough to drive on (ie overkill for my needs)?

I am not sure. You might have to try it. Just buy one bag and do a test plot. You would not have to rototill a test plot, but that would let you see how tough it would be. Cutting it back to a four bag mix would save you 20 bags or so...I would probably not go less than a 3 bag mix...
11 hours ago
That sucks...

We had this about a month ago, but fortunately we have a house across the street we could go to.

It ended up being where the old cast iron pipe connected to the plastic pipe going to my septic tank. There was a big rubber connection that broke off, a big rock worked against it by frost action over the years. It was not a big deal, but the woman at the hardware store got a kick out of it when I said, "I went to stick my pipe up the pooper, and broke my rubber." Needless to say I went to school with her so I knew she would get a laugh out of it.
11 hours ago

Mike Jay wrote:Gotcha, I was just going to spread it around in the sugar shack (dry sandy soil) and rake it in a couple inches.  I don't have a tiller.  Then water it down, tamp it a bit and get it sort of level.  Good point on the non-premixed cement, I might have messed that up...  Thanks!

I think I would rototill it, but if you do not have one, I would just rent one.

Here, buying off the ready mix truck is $100 a cubic yard, so a concrete pad, 6 inches thick, 14 feet wide by 42 feet would cost around $1100...without rebar forms, etc. For a quarter of the cost you could use earthcrete and that includes renting a rototiller for a weekend? Buying 65 bags, you might be able to get a bulk deal on the cement too?
11 hours ago

Mike Jay wrote:Travis, what's the appropriate amount of cement for a given area of floor?  I'm thinking of doing that for a sugar shack which will only have foot and wheelbarrow traffic.  I was going to use 5-10 bags for a 14'x42' room but I have no idea if I'm even in the right ballpark.

I am not sure. My Uncle always said to mix 6 bags of cement to one cubic yard of gravel if it had a lot of soil in it. The rough estimate, I came up with wa 65 bags of 94 pound cement (not premixed) at $4 a bag, would be $260 dollars, not counting form material, rebar, etc. That is pretty cheap.

When i do my farm classes, I make sure to mention earthcrete, and of course include it in my book!

13 hours ago

Chris Watson wrote:This picture came across my screen today.

As a truck driver, I cringed.

As a permaculture enthusiast, I thought, "No worries. I know what to do with the extra."

Oh heck...that will buff right out.
13 hours ago

Michael Cox wrote:I think those small vortexes are usually used for processing concentrates - that is, the material that is left behind after you have run buckets and buckets of stuff through a sluice.

I haven't used them, but I like the look of the sluices because they are portable to your location, let you process a lot of material on site and don't need any power. You might run the sluice for an hour in the stream, working your alluvial deposits. Then dump the concentrates in a bucket and either pan them by hand or take them home and use a your vortex pot.

From what I have seen of your previous posts you certainly have the skill to knock together a simple sluice.

First of all Michael, I want to say thank you for realizing I was in no way being controversial with you. I reread a few of my posts and kind of thought, "jeesh I hope he does not think I am openly arguing with him?" I almost sent you a private message to assure you I was in no way being argumentative.

My life is in a weird vortex, an odd state of nothingness...a holding pattern on all fronts; medically, farm wise, and emotionally. Gathering a few promising rocks is about all I have done for months, so it is exciting for me. I would really hate to lose someone who wants to discuss, and knows more about this stuff, then I do! So, you will just have to get a flight, and fly out to Maine, and do some prospecting with me; maybe by then I can get a donkey, and we can look the part anyway! No telling anyone where my claim is though!

You are probably right about the sluice box and vortex. One issue is, and I never explained this I guess...I am nowhere near water, not for the lode gold. That kind of posses a problem.

From what I read about gold though, how fine I crush it will determine what I get for gold. BUT the gold I am looking at is very small. It seems most lode gold is not even visible. I THINK I saw some, but I am being 100% truthful here, it was only a SPECK. If it is a speck, then it is actually pretty good because I can see it. I would like to just send it off to be assayed, but I do not know anything about that either. I would be elated if it came back with gold in it, but downright despondent if it did not. But that is prospecting I suppose. I just really, really want to be sure there is a high likelihood of gold being in the sample before I send it off.
13 hours ago

Chris Kott wrote:What about pelletisation and drying? It could still be fed to livestock, but could also be burned in a pellet stove. Either way, pelletisation would let you store it longer, and might also make it more palatable to pigs and chooks.

I think that there are some scenarios where generating biogas could be more economically viable than trucking in propane or hooking up to natural gas, where applicable,  but it would never be my first choice when talking about feedstock that can literally feed stock. Nor would pelletisation and burning, for that matter.

So maybe rendering it shelf-stable would be a good idea.


Yeah, you are probably right. I withdraw my suggestion in humility!
14 hours ago
The USDA recommends lime as a floor, but it can be difficult for the farmer. If you are mucking out by hand, then it is not an issue, but if you are using a tractor it can be.

But if you are just looking to save money on concrete, you can try earthcrete. That is just where you spread the appropriate amount of cement over the area, take a rototiller and mix the two up. Then add water and mix again. Then you float it off and have weaker, but low cost concrete.
14 hours ago
In my opinion, the product has more value in making biogas than for animal feed. It can produce 75% more biogas then animal manure, so I think composting it, or giving it to animals for feed is one way to get rid of it, but maybe not the BEST way???
14 hours ago
I am married, but I wish you all the best on your quest. In fact if I can do anything, it is to encourage you. We recently left our larger home, to a Tiny House and love it. I have only lived in two houses: my parents and that house, but found out; family is what matters, not the building.

Now that I am 44...with a wife and 4 daughters...we are getting rid of stuff and not getting more of it. My parents think we are crazy, and I think they are: 5200 sq foot house, 8 car garage...

Edited to say: Beautiful Grandchild by the way.
14 hours ago