John Hutter

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since Oct 11, 2016
Central Oregon Coast Range, valley side
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Recent posts by John Hutter

some sciencish philosophy bits I have always been very much amused by, now packaged for possible comprehension/amusement in a single few hundred word essay.    It's got bees!

https://ello.co/foxfireagriculture/post/-xyb9lua-otd5ob3mfwf5a
2 weeks ago
just as long as you aren't losing track of your results, do all the experiments, as many as you can!!! Especially when work input is limited to a handful of hours, and then you have to wait 2+ years to see the result...

a hot tip on waterproof caulking, whether its from ancient Egypt or Greece I can't remember, it's a recipe for some stuff they use to slather on the inside of leaking ship hulls for a few eons at least; equal parts by weight, beeswax, pine tar, linseed oil.  Heat together and stir to combine.

I haven't tried to seal a ship hull or a building with this stuff, (yet) but I did use it for grafting.  2.5 years later and the stuff I brushed on peach branches is showing no signs of wearing to the western Oregon elements.  Solid cylinder, bound to dead bark.  (Too bad the plum and apricot to peach grafts have failed, 1 and all.  I think this is due to poor timing and contact...)  

One last hot tip, I recently put Turkey tails fungus fruiting bodies into a German made spice grinder.  (Because every single one of the purchased and more desirable mushroom inoculations have failed to naturalize at this location, and meanwhile the white oak logs are covered in Turkey tails and orange crust fungus like I've never seen...)  After being run through a spice grinder to be put in bread, Turkey tails looked like insulation, and they felt like insulation.   It was the fluffiest most airiest thing I ever made, and I barely doubt that it had an R value above most the things.  But your gonna have to do a more controlled experiment for an actual number.
I've mended 2 clothing apparel items thus far, if you don't count mending something like ear muffs with gorilla brand duct tape.  Those 2 items are light canvas pants with some kind of silly bell-bottom zipper that went to pieces which I awled back together, and snowboard boots.  The Flexseal stood up to a lot of snowblasting, being on the tip of the boot, but it was applied on a highly textured surface.  I used the awl to stitch the inner foam boot back together and coated ripped foam/Frankenstein stitch in fabritac.  5 seasons later and they still are good to go.

Not an artsy mend, but the following products seem to work really well to make "gear" keep on going.  
https://www.strapworks.com/Sewing_Awl_p/awl.htm
https://www.flexsealproducts.com/product/flex-seal-liquid-rubberized-coating/
https://www.beaconadhesives.com/product/fabri-tac/
3 months ago
This was awesome, really got a kick out of hearing Mr. Wheaton "disrupt" some dominant thinking had in Pleasantville and youth Internets.

I think a word that was about on the tip of the tongue is "polymath."  Seems like a good one, for Leonardo and people who tend to take the highly fragmented and often mutually dysfunctional bunches of human analytical thinking, and reintegrate them into something that works all together.  Holistic, if you will.  There's a bit about how all human specializations of knowledge "increase narrow-mindedness" to some unknown degree (The word from The Tibetan Yoga of Dream and Sleep, in apparent praise of polymaths)

I hear you are pro-pizza.   Luxuriant pizza probably shouldn't be consumed very often.  I hope this doesn't make me anti-pizza.

(sorry if attempted humor not funny.)  

I recall that backing the "Build a Better World" kickstarter at $100 or more meant a person's gapper fee was considered paid, but I am not seeing it in this list;

https://permies.com/wiki/113421/bwb-ks/full-status

I am wondering if I am remembering this wrong... and if the gapper fee was included, is the Boot waiting list fee considered something apart from the gapper fee?

The point, I just learned of the "no penalties for passing" and probably should go ahead and get my name on that list.

4 months ago
In spirit of novel A-frame-ish designs, my plan for the first serious build has been a green roofed A-frame ever since this video I saw last May



Well it's a flat topped A frame anyways.  

About the same frame as is filmed, except probably a bunch of on site milled siding instead of paneling, and the roof will be green.  

The only significant deviations from "traditional" lined green roofs I think, will be throwing down dollars for stainless steel flashing, sourcing quite a few loads of halfway rotten scrap dimensional lumber of 1.5" thickness to lay up and down the whole length of the roof, and then transplanting some of the horrible, the terrible, the awful, English Ivy along the sides of the house, where I will have made a fancy fertilized irrigated planting bed for them to make that whole thing a living surface in 4 or 5 years instead of 20.  

Once mature, the scrap dimensional lumber and English Ivy will have made a sturdy few inches of soil and vine, then the structure can officially be called Wofatish.   But it's not done, the next step is to begin working in some more soil into the ivy mat, and chucking all kinds of cool wet season growing seeds on it, and let grow what will.  

It seems that if the building is only that size, and it is also edged with a total darkness thicket of sword ferns, pruning that Ivy patch once a year would pretty much be a cinch.  

It'd be nice to have something sweet smelling or tasty or otherwise useful as a living surface right away, but English Ivy is the only A++ I know for the criteria of evergreen rain erosion control and vigorous climbing/root matting growth in marginal soil and water conditions.    

Hope to start on this before too many months go by, but Operation Paddy Terrace and the rest of life are going to have to happen first haha.
6 months ago
Though people who must have production this year cannot engage it, most anyone can devote small bits of land to maybe my favorite agricultural concept, Mark Shepard's S.T.U.N., also known as "Shear Total Utter Neglect."

If fatigued and wearing down, take a break if you can, a week of rest here and there in a year (and maybe simultaneously fasting and stretching a bit on very clean water, and god knows what else) might do wonders for the pained and fatigued body.  But it can't happen, because the work absolutely must get done.  Maybe there's some other agreement that can allow you to let you neglect it for a time, without ruining your finances, or causing reversion to biocidal agriculture.  

To my understanding, s.t.u.n. is a 5 year plan minimum, and may not make anything useful for quite a few years (or a 20 year experiment which may fail, if you are trying to start something like chestnuts :)

Step one: collect mostly perennial seeds, of all different types, of all different cultivars.  As many as you can, wanna say minimum 2 dozen species, better if 3 or 4 dozen and a few cultivars of each?

Step two: sow seeds.  Rake things, or chop and drop, in concentrated piles if you are really trying to reduce a specific plant's presence, or maybe kick dirt like Sepp if there is disturbed ground.

Step three: look for any of your sowed seeds growing neck in neck with the undesirable weeds, making it through the year and making seed if an annual, or perennials surviving the 3 months without rain (or whatever the choke point is in your locale.)  If they do, you are probably on to something!

Step four: save seed or dote on surviving perennials a bit.  Then repeat steps 2-5, unless you've got no survivors, then you need to revisit step one, or maybe let the area grow whatever it wants for a year or 3 and try again.

You might even see some things you've never read about before! Like celery regrowing from the same root system 3 years in a row now. Wait, what? perennial celery and beets that are going to seed each year?

Or, if tossing clumps of an annual seed head does not result in new plants next year, that plant is probably not currently fit for your site under stun (its definitely not fit for that precise spot.)

Also, s.t.u.n. will not get you a continuous and quickly harvestable patch of annual grain or legumes.  If that is your goal, you cannot stun.   It seems that to do grains and legumes for market, a person must have a mostly flat fertile field and mechanical harvesting, or else you have a good chance of working it to the bone.

Also, I do not s.t.u.n. my tomatoes and squash, because I must have tomatoes and squash and I've had little luck sowing seeds, so they get doted on (there's the toilet for today!)  I had my first volunteer tomato this year, after 5 years of chucking split rotten tomatoes all over the place.  It was still a small yielding plant compared to the ones I doted on (by which I mean, started indoors in February HAHA) but I'm definitely saving those seeds and transplanting and doting on more than a few of those tomato plants next year.  I think transplanting annuals should be regarded as "for personal consumption only."  If you are trying to earn a living selling those things, there's a good chance your gonna work it to the bone.

Maybe there is somebody nearby who has a desirable s.t.u.n. polyculture growing on in conditions identical to yours.  Getting seeds and cuttings from such a site can jump your project forward a decade.

Well its never really "shear total utter neglect" but stun is short for seeking systems which produce with as little effort/input as possible.  Or it's the permaculture concept along the lines of "if you neglect it for years, it does not die."  You mostly neglect any specific area for most of the year, but your gonna have to show up to pick at least.

One last point on stun, you might end up with some plant you've never heard of before, making something like 10x as many calories per unit of work, as the plants you were messing with before.  Great success! Except nobody else has heard of this food either, and there is no demand for it.  Finding customers for novel things can be just as slow as sowing tree seeds of species that won't bear fruit for 10 years, if they survive.  Whereas the corn and beans will sell now.

Hope you find a way!




6 months ago
I had a dream 2 or 3 nights ago, in the dream I knew I was at Wheaton Labs, checking out an impressive ~10 ft  shear-walled trench cut into solid grey rock, it might have been about 15 ft across and twice as long.  I'm meandering around and checking out the stone in the walls as I'm lamenting letting go of all the progress I had made growing cool/cold wet season vegetables in Oregon's maritime air...there would be none of that going on here.  I exit the large rock trench and see plain white medium sized building, basically a box a short distance away, that says "Deutsch Bank" on the side.  Then I wake up and can't fall back asleep for like an hour, because the mind is compulsively mulling it over, like what the hell was with that?  Surely I haven't read about anything about Deutsche Bank in like, a few years...

So I won't be taking any action with regard to that dream, but finger crossed some major financial institution will be crossing over into some long term soil building investment haha.
6 months ago
I've got 3 massive foxgloves in the garden, because I thought I had found some comfrey while looking for mushrooms in a wilderness.  Turns out the plants are almost indistinguishable as a small basal rosette in early fall, but note the serrated leaf margins of foxglove!

I'm a fan of the universal edibility test.  Also note it takes a week to test a substance properly.  I've had a few tiny nibbles of some mushroom I couldn't identify that had me feeling kinda strange 24 hours later.   Pretty sure I had about 5 mm^2 of a gallerina cap one time.  It took a day and it wasn't noticeable if I was doing something, but if I stopped and focused on how I felt, I could kinda sense something was off, and I wouldn't call it good.

One time, I ate a panther amanita the size of my head.  Turns out if the conditions are just right, it can be virtually indistinguishable from a cocorra, a very yummy mushroom I had eaten 5 times before.  Be sure that the frosting is COTTONY and POOFY; a panther amanita can have frosting for a veil remnant the peels off in one nice piece, just like a cocorra, and everything else was just like a cocorra.  Although this is quite rare, the panther amanita is usually more tan than bright yellow, and the frosting veil remnant is usually in pieces and quite thin.  Fortunately, muscarine poisoning is not fatal.   That was a trip, funny I hardly cared I was barfing when I did 5 hours after ingestion.  Thanks for not killing me you purdy purdy amanita!  Yea, even if you are starving it's probably safer to just leave the amanitas alone.  My issue is that a cocorra is like eggier than eggs and became a favorite food on my first serving.

A nutritionist lady once told me to systematically test everything I eat, because all people are different and negative reactions and mild food allergies can be insidious.  The primary tell is the mucosal response in your throat after eating; this is your body trying to create a barrier between you and what you just ate (though it is possible for alliums, peppers, ginger, "HOT" things etc to induce a mucosal response after eating which is not a low degree allergic reaction slowly sucking the life out of you.)

This test suffers from the problem with the universal edibility test, in that it takes time and not many people have the patience to do something like make a meal of a single unseasoned plant.  Peanuts, cashews and walnuts failed this test, like really obviously for me.  Gosh darnit, why do peanuts and cashews taste so good then!?  Oh well, I've still got (roasted!) hazelnuts, almonds, pecans and brazil nuts...plenty of nuts really.

I was quite nervous for the tomato and potato test, in that giving up those foods would be more difficult for me than giving up bacon.  They are like the primary output of muh site that can satisfy the savory food craving (as a ~90% vegan meals individual.)  Oh thank god, no after eating mucous from the often reported negative nightshades.
7 months ago
I'm a big fan of the the box fan, with a air filter duck taped to it, which is then set into the heavy duty cardboard box, which has a series of 1x2"s fed through it at various levels, which hold some 1/4" plywood trays (because scrap) and the plywood trays hold the 16"x24" Silpat nonstick silicon mats.

The parts to make one of these are about $30 and an hour of time if you have the wood laying around.  The Silpat mats are expensive at $30 each, and that was 5 years ago...  However, I've used them repeatedly every year, and they appear brand new (when washed...) and will probably last most of a lifetime (if you treat them nice and don't bake with them and they see no direct sunlight.)

The nonstick mats save a great amount of time if you relegate your dehydrating to leathers only. A person can de-pit half a lug of peaches, toss them in a pot with some tapioca flour and/or honey, use an immersion blender to puree, heat to pasteurize, ladle cooled fruit puree onto silicon mats, spatula into mostly uniform layer over mat, and slide into cardboard box fan dehydrator, peel and turn over the leather when just dry enough usually the second evening....that all takes something like 1/3 the hands on time required to do all the slicing and arranging of individual pieces for drying, in my experience.  Once I went fruit leather on silpat, I never dried a fruit any other way (and starting making tomato sauce with rehydrated tomato leather.  At $20 per hour my silpat mats have bought themselves a few times already.  The fruit leather done like this keeps a nice color and tastes super yum.

I should have found way of storing it in glass by now, but I still plastic bag the leather and put it in the freezer.  It seems like there's no avoiding it here; peach and tomato leather kept for more than 3 months sealed but at room temperature lose a significant amount of delicious, and the freezer seems keep all the flavor for a year.  And if you roll that leather up into a tight cigar, you can pack a lot of it away in a small amount of freezer space.  

There's no heater, so I only run this dehydrator if day time highs are 90f+.  Otherwise it take more than 3 days, loses more color.  A person could probably set it up in a greenhouse or car and get it to finish real fast, or do it without the fan.   Although a box fan only needs a few kWh to get it done at outdoor ambient temperature here, and I found a box fan, so I'm box fanning it.

Happy dehydrating
8 months ago