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Jack Tassoni

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since Apr 10, 2016
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solar woodworking
I am a retired construction project manager. Moved to my "homestead in the making" in 2016 a little late in life. Looking to help others when I can and hoping to get advice on my future projects. The property has a Aiken clay loam soil with cobbles and is an example of extremes. We average 53" of rainfall in the winter months, zero rain in the summer months with high temps and very low humidity in the summer months.
California Sierra Foothils, 2,500 ft. Elevation zone 8b-9a
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Recent posts by Jack Tassoni

I like the 1” wide tapes. They have a nice long reach when working alone. I use the Stanley brand. Like Timothy states maintenance is key for their longevity.
1 year ago
Hi thekla, in my experience there is very little deer won’t eat. If they’re hungry they will eat it. Of course there are exceptions. Daffodils, lavender, rosemary, oleander in my area. Not sure if these will grow in your area.
1 year ago
I started out with red wrigglers. They multiply like crazy and I use all kitchen scraps, shredded paper etc. They however will not live in my climate zone without help. I need to keep them warm in the winter (using those small bulb Christmas lights or similar) and cool in our 90-100 degree summers using a frozen water bottle each day in their bin. They die without all of the above.

This spring I bought European night crawlers and started up 2 Urban worm bags and they also are doing great and eat more than the reds. I am sold on the Europeans.  Another Thing I like about them is they will live in most all climates in your garden. They too are prolific breeders. Okay, one more thing that has me sold is that they are great fish bait! Alright, one more. They produce a good quantity of castings for my AACT brewer that’s why I have the worm bags. My plan is to use one for for castings and the other to breed for my gardens.

I think it’s hit or miss on the natives. They are already there on your property....somewhere. A lot depends on your timeline, finances and patience. Breeding your worms have so many possibilities not unlike breeding your animals. If you have the patience and time find the worms you think are composting and put them in your compost heap and check it out once a week and feed them. Who knows, red wrigglers may work in a subtropical zone. Composting worms are ravenous and to keep up the population you may need to consciously feed them.

As for them being an invasive species, I am not a biologist and cannot speak to that. However, in my zone I know they will not proliferate. I suggest looking into vermiculture for your area.

1 year ago
I am or at least was a pack rat. Retired now but I was a remodeling construction manager in Silicone Valley. Many of the things we removed from homes were perfectly good. I stored them in a garage and a storage container. My wife just shook her head every time I brought things home.

My simple solution? Craigslist! I turned clutter into cash and what I couldn’t sell I posted on the “free” page. I still have a bunch of stuff that I need to get rid of but it is slowly dwindling down. The downside if any is strangers coming onto your property. Though I must admit every person so far has been polite and we ended up chatting for quite awhile.
1 year ago
I made this last year and am finally getting around to posting this how to. I know there are a ton of videos but I have very limited broadband and figured some are in the same boat as I. All the pictures will be at the bottom. (I am clueless how to post between paragraphs.)

1. Find a good sturdy 5 gallon bucket. The one I picked has 3 ribs at the top. It was a paint bucket. I ordered all my materials from a well known internet marketplace. The bucket should have enough room on the bottom to fit a 1” uniseal in the center. Uniseal has an outside dimension of 2”. The bucket size I used is 11-7/8” wide at top and 10-3/8” on the bottom and 14-1/2” tall. I mention this because it will affect some of the pipe lengths if your bucket is different.

2. Parts list.- I used schedule 40, 1/2” pvc.
                  6- 1/2” 90 degree elbows
                  4- 1/2” 45 degree elbows
                  1- 1/2” t fitting
                  1- 1/2”, 5 way fitting
                  5- 3/4” uniseals
                  1- 1/2 ball valve
                  About 8’ of 1\2” schedule 40 pipe
                  About 10’ of 1/4” irrigation tube
                  1- air pump, I used a vivosun 6 outlet 950 gallon per hour 32 watt.

The pump I got is probably overkill.

     Tools needed, something to cut the pipe. A must -1/4” brad point drill bit (keeps it from moving around) a must 1-1/4” hole saw or spade bit

Fabricating: look at pictures first  to famiarize yourself.
Drill 4, 1-1/4” holes along the top of the bucket, each hole should be equidistant from each other
Drill 1, 1-1/4” centered in the bottom of the bucket
Install the uniseals in each hole, the bottom uniseal should have the wide side facing out, the top uniseals I had to do opposite to fit between the bucket ribs.
Drill a 1/4” hole in the top of 4, 90 degree fittings
Install the 45 degree fittings in the top bucket holes and 5 way fitting in bottom hole
Cut 5 pieces of pipe (1-1/2”) that will connect the 45 and 90 degree fittings so they almost touch.
Cut 4 pieces of pipe about 13” (depends on your bucket) and insert them into the 90’s
Cut another 4 pieces of pipe about 6” (depends on bucket size) for the 5 way fitting.
I inserted the 1-1/2” into a 90 then then inserted the 13” into that, then another 90 then the 6” piece.
Once 3 Of these are assembled you can install them. See pics of assembled unit
The final one will have the “T” fitting on the bottom for the drain assembly
With your last 1-1/2” piece of pipe glue that into the bottom of the “T” the glue the ball valve to that. This is the only place I used glue.

I didn’t use glue anywhere else in case I wanted to clean thoroughly or the bucket developed a crack, etc. When it’s pumping the unglued fittings may leak a bit but will usually stop within 5 minutes or so on your first batch. After that it shouldn’t be an issue.

The pump should always be higher than the tea that is in the bucket. The reason for this is so that the tea cannot backflow into the pump if it’s lower than fluid level.
When installing the 1/4” irrigation tube it should be inserted almost all the way down the vertical pipe till it reaches the lower fitting.
You can adjust the vortex action by the valve controls on the air manifold.


1 year ago
Thanks for the timely topic. I am starting a new garden this year and your post has some good things to think about. Planning my garden I started with prepping for 2 years mainly because the land was raw and was covered in BlackBerry bushes. I needed to clear them out and to collect materials for raised beds. My beds will about 18 inches high. The lumber pile I posted is from a local sawmill and is incense cedar.

My property has a good slope so even though it is about 100 feet from the house, my planned garden is in a fairly level spot and is near my spring and my well. Also it is within my 2 acre deer fenced area. Deer are prolific here, We have about 10 come through on a daily basis so I reserved the other 3 acres for them and other wildlife.

I have been been making my own compost from using my neighbors goat manure and straw. I have about 2.5 cubic yards including the one pictured that I started 3 months ago. Finished my cold frame and have seedlings started. The ground is still too wet to get my tractor down to the new garden area for some additional leveling.

This will be my first garden in this area so I started a boatload of seedlings to see what will work best in this climate and soil. Very Hot and very dry summers with wet, 53” of precipitation all in 6 months.

I plan on 5 feet between the raised beds so I can fit my garden tractor or wheelbarrow without a problem and I have the luxury of plenty of land.

Oh, I also have 2 composting Urban wormbags for making AACT. I never got around to posting how I fabricated mine. But that is for another day.

Good blog

Hi Scott, that’s not a bad idea, I like it! Chips break down really slow though. High carbon low nitrogen. Not sure of your climate or what your “additives” are. If you have lots of rain then your tarp grommets will more than likely pull out. You may have better luck just spreading out your chips on top of the ground to build soil. It takes a while however but they will eventually break down.

There’s a guy on YouTube that just spreads his chips out with great results.  He creates a food forest with his chips.

1 year ago
This past summer I tested compost building 3 ways. In a 3 stack square plastic bin with good side ventilation, in a tumbler type bin that I drilled extra holes in for better ventilation and lastly a heap. I use a 24” compost thermometer bought on A popular website to monitor progress. I also used the exact same ingredients in each. I used kitchen scraps, llama beans, bedding straw and some oak leaves.
I mixed ingredients in a pile and then distributed them in each. I turned the ingredients once a week.

The results for me were very surprising. The tumbler never got hot with minimal breakdown. I scrapped it after a month. The plastic bin was slightly better got a little heat and still slow compost generation. The heap meanwhile heated up within 2 days, in 4 days it reached 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Hot enough to kill seeds from the straw, and miscellaneous seeds from kitchen waste like tomatoes, peppers etc.

I have no animals on my land (yet). But I do live in an area that has lots of goats, sheep, chickens and llamas. This fall I put in a request on for my local area for manure and bagged leaves. The response was overwhelming. I helped and met new neighbors and picked up enough materials in 2 days for a huge pile about 9’x9’x5’high

It’s been about 1-1/2 months now and the pile has almost completely broken down. it’s only about 6’x6’x3’ now. I still turn it about once a week or when it reaches about 145degrees. I cover it with plastic sheeting when it rains or snows and I put one of those latticed type plastic milk crates on top so it doesn’t go anaerobic on me.

1 year ago
Peter that will work better than my long winded I would emphasize that the Jack supports need to run perpendicular to the lower floor joists.

Thanks Peter!
Hi John, I haven't seen this approach before. I have some experience as a project manager that had houses raised for foundation repair or crawl space clearance though. If the beam sits in a pocket just jack it up and shim at the pocket, lower the Jack, shim under Jack etc. the trickiest part is stabilizing the jack and whatever it is sitting on.

Some more info is required to give a better opinion.

Is this a ridge beam?
Are there rafters attached to the beam?
Is there sufficient support for the jack's point load?
Is it a vaulted ceiling?

I have used dunnage to support beams. Jack up, support beam with dunnage, lower the Jack, Raise jack higher up...etc till beam is at the desired height.

Dunnage can be almost anything like stacked pallets for instance. If jacking off a lower floor, dunnage sitting on floor will help distribute the beam load of and the jack, though I would keep the beam stacks and Jack stacks independent and perpendicular to the floor joists unless your jacking up off concrete. If using pallets, stack alternately on your way up. Most of the work I did was for clients and safety always came first.

It could very well be that I am over cautious and the system you posted may work very well. I just don't have past experience with it.