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

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. https://youtu.be/oX-1NZYNOKY  He creates a food forest with his chips.

2 days 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 nextdoor.com 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 week ago
Peter that will work better than my long winded post...lol. 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.
Hi William,  your plan sounds well indeed, here are some things you have probably thought about but did not mention in your post.

You have got an excellent source of nitrogen for your compost but don't mention your source of carbon. My guess is the scraps you are getting may have a 10:1 ratio while the rule of thumb is 30/1 n/c ratio. So for every bucket of scraps you will need 2 buckets at least (by weight) of Browns (carbon) for a heap. Bsf's would do well with that not sure of the worms. I'm not familiar with superworms (European nightcrawlers?)

I know my red wigglers cannot handle that much waste but I only have 1 bin. They also will not survive the winter here if left unheated or at least or they will go virtually dormant, I think the same goes for BSF's but I say this only from research not experience

Pigs and chickens would have no problem with the scraps. I have read that oils and dairy products don't sit well with worms though I don't know from experience.

Just my opinion but I think that when acquiring that many kitchen scraps and getting animals should coincide or you may end up overwhelmed with too much nitrogen for just worms and BSF's.

Also as an aside, I moved onto my property 2 years ago but I have owned it for 8 years. Those previous 6 years had me getting to know my land and getting some infrastructure done.....well water...pump...storage sheds.....clearing the land..etc. For 3 years I had a camper on site to stay in, powered by solar available from previous land clearing to allow the sun to shine in and a couple of batteries to store the accumulated energy. Also those previous years and earlier I saved money like a bad doggy and stayed out of debt so I could live my dream. Of course that is my path but I am in my sixties now and find my energy and comfort levels not quite what they once were.
11 months ago
Tracking down the problem. I see a couple of potential issues. It will require removing the ptrap once again.
Remove the ptrap and funnel water into the vertical pipe. If it Flows freely the problem is either a clog between the ptrap and sink or in the jury rigged vent pipe. If the main drain ever had a clog in the past the water would have backed up into the ptrap but also up the vent pipe as well. Grease is lighter than water so it would also get deposited in the vent as much as the ptrap. Try snaking the vent pipe as well as poking a hanger or something in the short pipe between the ptrap and the sink.

Also check that your main drain slopes at least an 1/8" per foot but ideally 1/4" per foot. Also check that the main drain has no sags along its length. It does not need to sag much to have standing water with eventual grease building up there also. My bet is a sag or level main drain or clogged vent and more than likely the vent is clogged.

Since this is gray water there is really no need for a ptrap because you will never get sewer gases coming in......only critters!

11 months ago
Bamboo is hollow except at the knuckles. Using a long electricians bit should get you through the knuckles and the hollow sections will work as a guide to keep from blowing out the sides.
1 year ago
I have used raw pure linseed oil on my wooden tool handles and wood raised garden beds. It is pressed from flax seed. I have no idea how much seed is needed to make an appreciable amount. It dries very slowly, depending on the dryness of the wood can take days or weeks. But it usually takes a few days to dry. You can also make glazing putty by adding it to whitening. You can also add spirits of turpentine to penetrate wood better and dry quicker. Spirits of Turpentine is extracted mainly from pine trees so it "can" be natural as well. That being said, not all natural products are entirely safe and I would not use either of these without donning rubber gloves.

Both products have been used for centuries as far as I know. Maybe someone else will chime in on the safety and health factors. I do know that they can spontaneously combust and precautions must be taken, like soaking rags or brushes in water, etc.
Hi Bryant - I am truly impressed with the new homes. They build them well with very little waste and from my perspective little involvement with the local building department. In California that is a BIG plus!

Hi Kathleen, you can always add onto your home. A sunspace/greenhouse add-on can be done with little or no disturbance to the main residence. Used patio doors are really inexpensive or free. If you have rocks on your property they make excellent flooring and foundations as I'm pretty sure you can numerous examples in Kentucky. In addition to providing good thermal mass.
1 year ago
Thanks TJ, I see your point with the Daikon. Because my entire property slopes south at an average of 11% it bakes my soil. Good point on the Suns position, never thought of that.

I dug the swale with an exit on the west end, no slope just a lower height berm. This is the furthest point from the shallow valley and above numerous 60(?) year old pear trees.

My understanding of keylines was to move water away from the valley and onto the ridges. To do this they could not be on contour but fairly close to level.  I was thinking of removing all but 1 of the rippers on my box blade to do the keylines.
1 year ago