John Hutter

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

I've seen lemon balm essential oil work as an effective mosquito repellent.  Only problem is, it doesn't last long and you have to apply it every 15 or so minutes.  If it's in a spritzer bottle, it only takes a few seconds and it smells great.  Not a problem.

I also recall that tobacco has insecticidal properties.  Wonder if it's possible to smoke enough such that biting flies won't bother with you XD

6 days ago
Oh hey, it's the dry post.

Looks like it could be mentioned, the necessary eave length is going to change based on the roof height.  

Also, it will change based on prevailing rainy wind direction, also based on soil (clay vs sand) and season duration (wet vs frozen/dry) conditions.  Water wics significantly further in an 8 month damp clay season than it tends to in the rocky mountains...

I know Paul knows this😂 but it could also be specifically pointed out that groundwater flow might just saturate the whole foundation if it isn't a freely draining local elevation maxima.

Speaking of local elevation maxima, I've got a below grade basement window from 60 years ago I need to do something about (before it floods again 🤦)

1 week ago
If I could only have 1 fantasy super power, it would be the druid thing where they touch the ground and cause giant vines to shoot out of it and overwhelm/entangle the problem.  You could basically fly with that  : )

Funny, humans do kinda sorta have that power, but you cant fly and it moves in 5 year + slow motion.   it also involves dirt, so most people don't see it.   Only the patient and the dirty.

But can be made instantaneous and obvious by before and after pics!  awesome!

All but two of these were taken in early spring and then summer.  That's not a before and after pic of what you did, that's the seasons!  Classic

In any case, I especially like it when it's unrecognizable if not for the trees being worked around.

Kinda zone 1-sh.  I forgot that I limbed that Oak tree until looking at these again

by the end of summer it's tomato n squash dominated, but you can just barely where's waldo

I was thinking, it'd be great if that was a raspberry and peach hedge along the fence.

I also planted some pears.  Raspberries......they didn't make it, if you don't count what migrated 10 ft away and now grows a few small plants.

The peach and pear trees are still there but are putting on, a few inches per year?  Nope.

F#$% it, just plant some blackberries so it's not quack grass.

And, half of the blackberries died.  Talk about a tough spot, right along the fence there.

In the space between the Oak and the fence, there's 29 different species last count XD

Apparently, I stopped in the middle of building the bird house to do some digging.  

Hey dumbass, multitasking is a myth when it comes to things that take more than a little focus.

You haven't put up a roof you need to walk on before.   And you also have 4 hours on the those controls. Better focus XD  

The oh so quick and dirty concrete stackers.....

2 weeks ago
I like grounding through my hands, handling juicy vigorous grounded goods. It changes from season to season, mostly sprouting broccoli, parsnips, potatoes and blackberries currently

Funny, it commonly gives me a head rush going from squatting/kneeling to standing while picking blackberries.  If I'm not touching anything I don't get head rushes, unless I haven't eaten for 3 or more days. Going barefoot doesn't do it, and blackberries can otherwise be observed as electricity active here, probably acting the part of glass to wooly dry fibrous pappus drifting in the air (but only at a certain stage of ripeness.)

Dunno what it means apart from that the plant maintains a greater electric potential at that boundary that seems to have some kind of psychoactive effect on me occasionally 🤣

"Grounding" is confusing in reference to the Earth as it has an established meaning in the field of electromagnetism separate from biology.  The ground can also be dusty dry and non conductive at the surface and a shoe won't make much difference.

It was that bit in the documentary with the girl running across the country barefoot that rested her feet on sunflower stalks that got me to notice, I'm touching blackberries a lot, and I can see they are electrically charged.  Wait, do I regularly get a headrush when I start a blackberry picking session....yes

Head rushes are fun but for all I know it means I'm about to have a stroke 🤣 In any case the concept of subtle bioelectromagnetic effects coming from astronomical bodies is interesting.
3 months ago
I gathered up conifer limbs 2.5 to 3" at the thick end,  about 8ft long and all almost the same shape with a single gentle curve and no branching.

Then stacked them into a uniform triangular pile about 2.5' across at the base and 2' high (and 8' long) on some flat dirt. So just one limb at the top.

Then set the thin end on fire, and raked out and quenched embers as they became available.  It took about 2.5 hours to finish but it was a bonfire social and I was happy with the result.

I ended up with a little more than half a yard of charcoal that went to uniform half inch minus pieces under a single footstep. Perfecto

Only problem was that I got all sweaty trying to rake out embers even though I spent a total of 10 or so minutes actually raking.  Need a 10 ft handle on that rake!  At max fire intensity the comfortable distance for people hanging out was about 12' on  a 40 f evening.  It got hot

4 months ago
My first year with chickens.

Half of the chicken run barrier is scrap 4 ft woven metal fence, blackberries and dead hedge to increase height and fill the gaps.  

1 of 5 chickens was the fearless thorn and bushwacker...

Dubbed "Rebel Red" the one and only Rhode island red.  The olive eggers and wellsomers were not so inclined to test the fence.  Rebel red was the only chicken to bother getting out of the run, and it happened 40+ times, but she was finally stopped.

There's also 6 ducks.  Ducks have many gestures to communicate, and one of them is flapping/snapping their wings at you.  Like "buzz off, I am more than u"

One time, a duck is flapping it's wings at the Wellsomer chicken, about 8' away.  It's sustained, like 6 seconds total, clouds of dust and bits flying at the chicken as the duck demonstrated it's might.  And that chicken stood as proudly and in your face as anything I've ever seen.  The Defiant Chicken (TM)

wait, it gets better

After assuming the defiant posture for 2-3 seconds against the clouds of dust sent by the flapping duck, the chicken then charged the duck, despite being 5 lbs versus 9.  The chicken jumped and flew at the duck from 5' away, talons first.  The duck gave a loud honk in surprise and jumped out of the way.

I've been wishing this or something like it would happen again, but it hasn't.

5 months ago
I shellfish and pick mushrooms for food.  Quite a bit...150lbs of flesh per year?  (Mostly mushroom : )

I purchased the deer tag for the first time this year, and had a big beautiful buck sleeping about 20ft away from me. Bow drawn, arrow nocked, ready to kill

nature, red in tooth and claw. I decided...

no.  Only if I must in order to not starve.   However, I will mercilessly execute dungeness crab by the dozen.  They are basically, cold-blooded bone-headed spiders XD
5 months ago
The 1862 flood story from the PNW was an eye opener.  Seems like it wouldn't take much more than 900mm of warm rain over 3 days on plenty of snow pack throughout the western mountain ranges, to completely overwhelm the reservoir system and fill the Willamette and Sacramento valleys with 10-20ft of water.  Big time crop failures and shortages, cities and infrastructure erased.  Wonder which orchards can handle being underwater for a weeks or 2?

This is probably a 200-500 year event, being more common towards the end of the global warming phase.  And many people living here have not heard of it, including government and corporate leaders.  

Sorry that had nothing to do with biochar.  But yea, you can pretty much plan on it.
5 months ago
this is almost exactly what I was thinking!  Thanks a bunch

I understand that the barrel design has the advantage of more immediately intense radiant heating.  So if the goal is warming up a freezing shop or drying something as quick as you can, that's what you want.

However, most people's goal is home heating.

I'm wondering

1.) how to modify the stovetop RMH to get the full efficiency? (I think this stove top RMH reported 83% efficiency in the video.)  how much closer would you be if the chimney pipe wasn't just next to the bell, but a surface in it?  Would the heat loss be worth it?  Could it be done by just making the chimney tall enough?

2.) the distance between the firebox and stove top seems short.  Don't you get more draw by making this distance longer as with the chimney?

3.) how much more draw (less friction) do you get from a round masonry bell.

4.) if a thick cast iron plate would be a more effective stove top, or if the ceramic ones are as thermally conductive.  I very much like the idea of the stove top just being quite heavy and sitting on a gasket.  

5.) can the firebox be made wider at the opening so as to increase visibility

Thoughts on the mass and ducting design;

The advantage for all the mass is that you don't have to do a fire every day, but if it's also a stove seeing daily use for tea or whatever (home heat) this isn't a huge difference.

(taken from Erica Wisner's explanation in another thread)  "Then there is the 'plenum' idea, where the whole floor is tile supported on masonry pillars over a cavity. These are used with big honking fireboxes for the k'ang, ondol, and hypocaust systems. But there is a constant concern and various techniques for making sure the hot exhaust doesn't creep through floor cracks into the room. Some use layers of tile, clay, and tarpaper or oilcloth with more clay over that. Then you have to tear out the floor periodically to clean the plenum"

Does the somewhat massive flagstone in this bench/mass design not effectively resolve this issue?  I was kind of surprised he just used sand and clay to fill the gaps between stones on top, and didn't have a leak story.

If it's one piece you can easily fit through, you only have to remove 1 piece to access/clean it.  If there's only 1 piece that needs to be removed to access and clean the stratification chamber, the rest of the pieces could use 4 strong people for moving, thus getting some more serious mass into the design despite the empty stratification chamber.

Seems like you are going to be losing significant heat having the chimney intake almost directly below the bell exhaust if the stratification chamber is only 110 gallons or so.  I suspect the chamber volume needs to be really big in comparison to the airflow rate in this setup, or else most the hot air won't do much stratifying before it's sucked out the chimney.    


I would guess the stove-top-masonry-bell design is probably going to be a lot more popular for home heating.  Most people aren't exactly stoked on the "big tank of something" + "can barely see the fire light" look.  Also, they kind of have a visceral rejection to cob (they want to be "above mud" or something. I find this silly.)  Also, limiting the metallic radiant surface has a safety benefit, in that bricks will usually take more than a moment to blister you and people are less likely to inadvertently bump into a stove top (no to say they haven't burned plenty of people...)

5 months ago