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Mark Kissinger

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since Oct 07, 2016
Golden Valley, AZ 86413
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Recent posts by Mark Kissinger

On further thought, it may have worked by depressing the plunger shown in the Cleco Clamps video, although the ones my Dad had did not require the special tool. I don't have any idea if the tool was absolutely necessary. It may be that the clamps could be used without it. I've looked around on the web, and the Cleco device certainly comes as close as possible to what I remember. Good work, guys!
1 week ago

Nathanael Szobody wrote:

About the hugel. I'm still not convinced on hugelkulture for this climate. I totally do wood core garden beds, but burying large tree branches and trunks is another question. Firewood here is highly prized for starters, so it would be a mild scandal to go burying the suff. Secondly, the native trees here don't have many surface feeder roots; they"re all strongly tap-rooted to go down to the moist soil and survive the dry season. Thirdly, I'm still figuring out the role of termites, but they clearly consume a large amount of carbon--much of which is released through respiration for sure, but a large amount is also bound with soil particles and used as a glue to build and line their tunnels. Termites are the motors of this ecology. So I'm thinking chop and drop is just the best way all around. The problem I have not figured out is how to avoid attracting snakes at the same time...

Quite interesting. HugelKulture does not have to be large logs, but can be any organic material that can be buried where the water collects. the intent is to act as an organic carbon sponge for the water that comes in the rainy season. Perhaps this is the function of the termites: a natural hugelkulture system?

Nathanael Szobody wrote:
Google maps has not updated its images for this area in over six years. There isn't a trace of my house that has been here for four years.

That's OK. I would just like to see where your project is in relation to the surrounding area.

Nathanael Szobody wrote:
As for social makeup, its a village of about 5000 people. There are probably eight different tribes with a significant representation here, each with their own language. Chadian Arabic is the common language, but anyone who has been to school speaks a little French. I work with the native tribe who are still in the majority. They speak Barma. Mayby three quarters of the people are Muslim. There are a minority of Christians from a coupld imigrant tribes; and a few traditional animists. Everyone is highly superstitious.

Everyone works fields for a living. They usually plow with an ox or horse plow. Some people still plant just with a hoe, and I'm really trying to encourage that. They grow what they can keep weeded with their hoe all summer. They also raise a smattering of animals.

My goal is to demonstrate better practices that will increase yield without the plow. It doesn't really matter if I convince anyone; the kids will learn it.

Thanks for the information. I think you will find the video links that I sent to you to be very helpful. If you can demonstrate how keeping the ground always covered with some sort of vegetation can increase productivity on a small plot, over several years, you might be able to make some headway. It is important to select a diversity of perennial seeds for species that grow during the rainy times, as well as those that can survive into the dry times. I do not know what those may be, but you might find some cues from observing what stays green during the dry season. It may well be that the natural adaptation for your climate is indeed the banyan trees and the other deeply tap-rooted "wild" trees. From what I have read, trees seem to be a key element in protecting the water table in your region. It can not hurt to have more of them, is my guess. I notice n the Google satellite view that there seem t be some groves of green trees in the area. Do you know what thes trees are? Can you tell from the google screenshot that I sent in what season it may have been taken?

Regarding the plowing. if you can demonstrate that it is possible to plant crops into a mix of beneficial native perennial ground cover plants (even if they dry out during the dry season) instead of plowing, you may be able to encourage beneficial soil life to flourish that can produce better harvests. That will certainly impress. This is why I recommend smaller test plots so you can make side-by-side comparisons to work out scientifically what works best in your area. For your kids, it teaches them how to be scientists!

Your work inspires me to renew my own efforts to work with the tradition-bound ranchers in my own neck of the woods (or desert, as the case may be).

Perhaps the evil comes from the termites weakening heavy tree branches which happened to fall on passers-by, or other such nonsense. (Forgive me--it is not nonsense if that is what governs people's thoughts and belief systems). You must deal with the reality you have around you...

1 week ago

Burra Maluca wrote:

This video shows the process very well, but the one my Dad had did not require the special tool to grip the blind fastener. It was used by squeezing it, and putting it in the hole.

I haven't started looking for it on line, so Let's see what other styles show up.
1 week ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:Oh what the heck, I'll give this one a try:

Spring Cleco

That looks real close. I remember it had a sort of plunger action that caused two parts to become "fatter" after being placed in the hole.

Let's see what some other people come up with. II recall it seemed to operate with a more squeezing action, rather than the push the plunger action of this one, but I could be wrong.
1 week ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:I think I know what it is but there are a bunch of styles.  Are we supposed to find the exact one?

It really doesn't matter, since I only have my memory of the gadget to work from.
1 week ago

Nathanael Szobody wrote:

As for growing annuals in the shade, well, they might grow, but they won't produce. This year I'm going to experiment with letting the wild trees grow, but cut off most of the branches for the rainy season.

The idea of letting the wild trees grow and trimming them back is essentially what coppicing is. All that organic material can be buried in a pattern of small hills and valleys that will end up adding carbon to your sandy soil and this will increase the amount of water that can be stored. The process can be applied to any vacant bare area if that is desirable. That extra water will allow cover crops of various deep rooted grasses and livestock feed to last longer into the dry season.

Now, if you could "conveniently" move your mobile outhouses along a line that you would like to be used as a fence, perhaps those wild trees could be grown densely enough so that when you coppiced them back during the rainy season, they could be used to build hugelkulture installations in the areas that would be "reserved" for your nomadic herders during the dry spells. A win-win for everyone? it would be a way to improve relationships with the nomadic herders, and would make the ground "lumpier" in order to concentrate the rainy season water in underground organic storage that would eventually provide better year around pasture for the common areas. More native wild trees will also act as windrows and even serve to make more shade for the livestock.

As you teach your children, ask them if they know any stories about how the village was saved from drought. Talk about how these ideas are helping to heal the Mother Earth, and how she happily rewards those who honor her by helping to heal the damage from the dry season.

Perhaps some research into the local folklore would give you some ideas on how to approach the integration of the new ideas into the local culture. I would try to cultivate the local shamans and chiefs as your very best friends! Ask them what the oldest stories said about protecting the village from droughts.

Do I remember correctly that you mentioned that some of the trees were considered evil? If so, see if you can get to the bottom of why that would be so.

I would be interested in hearing more about the social makeup of the area you are living in. I tried looking up the area on Google Maps, but since I don't know the area, I could not pick out your site. If you have the chance the next time you have internet access, perhaps you could make a screenshot of the satellite view of the area and post it here. The area looks to be fairly densely populated from what I could see. Or, if you can get me the GPS coordinates of your school, I could find it on Google maps and send you a screenshot via this forum.If possible get th GPS coordinates for the 4 corners, and perhaps one of the center of your circular mulch pit. Depending on the cell phone service, your phone might be able to access an app to provide that data. I have uploaded a Google Maps satellite view of Boudamasa, Chad. I might be able to get a closer view of your school, if you could mark it on a printout of the photo.

Best of luck with your adventure!
1 week ago
This is a variation of the game:

It may be quite a bit harder, but some of you might like it. I am posting a verbal description of a device and the challenge is for the group to see if they can come up with some pictures of the device.

Here goes:

My Dad worked building the F-86 jet after the war. He had a pair of a device that was used to keep two pieces of sheet metal aligned together while a row of rivets holes were drilled and the rivets were installed.  

It was about one inch long has multiple moving parts, and was spring loaded. That may may the quest a little easier. Warning, there may be more than one device of this type.

I am seeking something that answers the function more than the actual device, which I no longer have access to.

Can anyone find a picture of it on the web? if so, post the image? I am also going to see if I can find a picture of the devices my Dad had, so here's hoping someone can beat me to it!

Happy hunting! Feel free to ask questions.
1 week ago

Pearl Sutton wrote:Apple for Mark!
I still want one...

Thanks for all those apples. I'm getting pretty good at this. Perhaps I should hold off a day to let others have a chance.

I still would like to know what that middle tool (in your original post) is used for. I looked it up online, someone wants $30 bucks for one. The ones being made now have independently adjustable jaws, instead of one adjustment for both jaws, but the new ones aren't as streamlined.

The device you used on your sink was used for exactly what it was designed for. (you must be slipping) LOL! It's called a plummer's wrench on the Home Depot site, and they still make them, but with a longer handle (but no hole in the handle to use for applying extra leverage). I like the one you have better--it's better for use in confined, pipe-filled spaces.
1 week ago

Pearl Sutton wrote:Ok, let's break this one out into it's own post: What Is This Made To Do? Apple for the answer that covers ALL the tools on it. Including that square crimper hole in the throat...

Here is a great article I found on line about the Never-stall Windmill tool: All the functions are pointed out on the diagram.

As I suspected it was for use in a situation where one wouldn't want to have to carry a whole tool pouch. It reminds me of another combination tool for maintaining fences.

I have been watching a Australian TV series where a windmill is a featured story element, but they didn't use this tool on the ranch--it would have been perfect for the show.

I would never have thought the squarish notches in the handle would be for driving a thread tap.

1. adjustable wrench
2. hammer
3. pliers for pipe
4. wire/metal bender-gripper
5. staple-puller
6. small-jawed pipe pliers
7. screwdriver
8. chisel
10. nail puller
11. pry bar
12. wire cutter
13. nail cutter
14. large thread tap grippers
15. smaller thread tap gripper

Here is a diagram of the tool:

1 week ago

Pearl Sutton wrote:Not part of the what is it game, this is just "look what cool things I saw when looking for something else." I was looking online for a pic of an antique tool I used today, didn't find one, so I took one.  (Bad shot, my phone gets weird when I use flash.)

And I saw this!

But then I saw THIS!

So I closed the browser before I got too excited about old tools today :D

Too bad they're not part of the game.  The first one looks like a tool used in plumbing to tighten the drain cups (?) on sinks. Not sure what the small notch in the jaw would be used for, though.

The second one looks like it's spring loaded, perhaps some sort of alignment tool?  Pretty kool. Since it's old, I wonder what sort of equipment it was used on? If iit IS spring-loaded, and not screw adjustable, Each jaw would be only needed temporarily to lightly grip two different-sized pieces., but held in a specific alignment.clamps

The third on appears to have been manufactured in Dayton, Ohio, The brand seems to say "Neverfail", so I'd guess some sort of rigging or assembly tool that an aircraft mechanic would use, perhaps in a tight space where it wouldn't be convenient to have a bunch of tools to get in the way. It has a spanner with an extension which may have been used to provide extra leverage? There are two sizes of pipe jaws,and two holes that look like they could be wire cutters (or possibly wire grippers?) The two squarish-shaped  notches look like they might be used to keep the finished end of a wire form twisting, perhaps while an adjustment was being made, for example, when adjusting the length of a handbrake cable. Quite possibly, it could be an all-in-one tool for use on bicycles.

I really like imagining what an odd-looking tool might be used for.

1 week ago