Mike Jay

garden master
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since Mar 24, 2016
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Mike is a homesteader, gardener, engineer, wood worker, blacksmith and most recently a greenhouse designer.  He heard about permaculture in 2015 and has been learning ever since.
Northern WI (zone 4)
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Recent posts by Mike Jay

Travis Johnson wrote:A better alternative may be a Sterling Engine which is powered from the sun (currently being done), or what I would like to do, use geothermal cooling along side compost heat to power a Sterling Engine.

That's what I've been noodling on too.  Great minds think alike...
9 hours ago
I just made molasses sugar cookies this morning.  1/2 cup of molasses went in along with 2 cups of sugar. 

I've never considered molasses to really be a sugar, more of a strong flavor.

Take some maple syrup and boil it into maple sugar and now you're talking.  That stuff is granulated like sugar but has a mapley brown sugar taste that is awesome.
14 hours ago
I believe the reason is because you'd be saving and perpetuating the genes that lead to early bolting.  So if you save those bolting seeds and next year have another hot summer, maybe ALL the carrots will bolt on you and you won't get much of a harvest.

Now for self-pollinating crops (like lettuce?) I'm not sure if saving bolting seeds matters because the genes are set already and you aren't doing much selection.  I think...
We picked wild service berries two days ago and I've been missing out!  They're bigger than blueberries, you don't have to reach down to your ankles to pick and they're yummy. 

They do look sparse but I think they tend to send up multiple stems (kind of like a lazy lilac).  So you may end up with a clump of spindly shrubs that fill out and look decent as a group.  I found that they put out decent fruit even in partial shade.  Do you have a corner/edge of your lot that you could put them?  They could frame the lot and leave room for other trees.

Regarding needing two apples, that's only if you don't have a neighbor within a few hundred yards with an apple or crabapple. 

You could also make them into a bit of a guild.  Apple/peach in the middle with a ring of blueberries or honeyberries around the base...
17 hours ago
True, I could pinch them between a few scrap boards to keep them aligned.  But then it would flatten out the squeezed out glue and make it harder to remove...  And it would take a bit longer with the glue setting up.  But it would work.

I did pull out the oscillating spindle sander with the belt attachment to round off the 2x6's.  That worked nicely, thanks for the idea!
1 day ago
Hey Ebo, I meant that the 2x6 and the LVL strips are a pain to keep aligned as I clamp and screw them.  It's easy for one to slide sideways 1/16th" relative to the other if I'm not careful.  The trusses overall are quite flat.  While I expected them to be strong in the intended load directions, I'm pleasantly surprised at how stiff they are.  Once erected I was thinking I'd have to have several purlins going across the trusses to keep them at 4' on center.  They are so much less floppy that I think I'll be able to get away with only one purlin.  Plus some diagonals for structural bracing.
1 day ago
Thanks Phil, me too

I hope I didn't mess up today.  The missus and I made 6 trusses and the first was just gluing up the sample.  I had bent and clamped that piece by piece to the form.  The rest we glued it all up and clamped as we added the 2x6 blocks.  It went much faster but when we took them out of the form they sprung back a bit more than the original.  Maybe 1/2 to 1" at both ends.  Hopefully it won't be noticeable in the final product.

I used construction adhesive for the glue which worked out nicely.  It stays wet while I'm dinking around with clamps and screws until I get the whole thing glued.  After making one truss we'd set it aside and build the next.  When that was done, the squeeze out from the prior one was set up enough that a putty knife removed the excess neatly.

Hopefully we'll have the trusses built and varnished by Monday when I have some help coming to erect them.
1 day ago

Phil Gardener wrote:How are you forming your trusses?  Are you using some sort of template/form to get the bend correct?

Here's the pics of the template.  Now that I've made a few, having it flat on sawhorses would be nice.  Then the pieces would be more likely to stay flat to one another.  Oh well, this takes up less space.
1 day ago
Awesome list, thanks Bryant!!!
1 day ago
Awesome!  You might want to spend some time on the maple syrup forums looking at evaporator designs.  They're usually too elaborate but most of the characteristics still apply.  Lots of heat, shallow sap levels, lots of surface area between sap pan and fire, raging boil, etc...
1 day ago