R Spencer

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since Oct 24, 2016
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What was that the tree said?
Interested in: mass reforestation; temperate climate agroforestry; ecosystem restoration; alchemy; building a better world instead of being angry at bad guys; "be a ladder, a lamp, a lifeboat!"
Skilled in: communications; IT; electrical; forestry; ecology; philosophy; wilderness skills
Working on more skills in: tree propagation; agroforestry; gardening; natural building; underground building; entrepreneurship; resolving dissonance; restoring humanity's mutualism with trees
Looking up to: Mark Shepard, Sepp Holzer, and many more.
Eastern Great Lakes lowlands, zone 4/5
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Recent posts by R Spencer

Or just building anything out of pallets! E.g. https://permies.com/t/8617/critters/fence-pallets

Maybe disassembly can be a sand badge bit and various builds with pallets can each be sand or straw badge bits (or even a pallet cabin for an iron badge bit).

I built a compost bin 4x4x4 ft. out of pallets, that was a good educational project when I barely knew any woodworking. Now I'm disassembling pallets and building shelves and tables. Sometimes a puzzle to find the right lumber sizes but I think that just makes it an even better learning experience.
2 days ago
What about disassembling pallets and using the salvaged wood, for sand or straw badge? Looks like a BB hasn't been made for that yet so maybe I'll take a crack at it. Just completed a second table/shelf from pallets I took apart!
3 days ago
As we scale up indoor propagation, we've run into a fungus gnat outbreak. It's mainly around some plant propagation shelves we setup, but they are also in the bathroom and tons in the kitchen near the window and sink especially. We've tried covering the soil with sand, added tons of big non-toxic yellow sticky traps, and are trying to keep things on the drier side without killing cuttings as they root. None of this seems to be enough! We learned predatory nematodes might be the solution, tipped off by the internet and a local farmer. I wanted to pick Permies' brains before giving that a try though.

Does anyone have experience with IPM for fungus gnat control, using nematodes or something else?

Is there a risk that the nematodes themselves will become a problem? Does their population decrease and stabilize or go extinct as the gnat population decreases?
Given nematodes are the most abundant multicellular creature on Earth and my soil is most likely teaming with varieties of them already, this is probably not really an issue.

Are they safe for indoor use?
The internet says yes and harmless to pets (we have pets).

The thing I'm most concerned about is the unknown unknowns, which seems to bite humans in the ass with biological controls on larger scales. Thus, I ask you my fellow Permies: are Steinernema feltiae a good response to fungus gnat infestation?
4 days ago
Before social media was a thing and before the average person spent hours a day on the WWW, there were web forums full of geeks! Great fun and ideas, for better or worse, spawned out of these primordial soups. I'm glad a similar community exists here on Permies.

One thing I miss from those days/communities is some sort of real time chat. Many used an IRC channel. Some had a built-in mechanism. Even nowadays some sites have that, like StackExchange sites having community chat rooms. It's like if the Purple Mooseage system turned into a communal tavern. ...wait that sounds like a disaster.

Is there such a chat room for Permies.com, or has it been considered in the past?

The function would be for ephemeral community chat, not so topic-specific as threads. Like a watering hole or something, while we're on the computer doing whatever we're doing we could tune in to chat with others in the Permies community if we're so inclined. One could tune in with notifications, tune in without notifications, or not tune in at all and hardly notice it exists. It would have to be guarded by apple-thresholds to keep it higher quality and spam free. IRC or a Jabber chat room wouldn't be hard to setup, but I'm not sure how we secure it using apples.

A downside is it could be distracting or whatever other ails come with communal watering holes. But I think casual, general chit chat could be good community building and learning. What do you think?

Related posts:
  • Same idea, didn't seem to get off the ground: https://permies.com/t/20334/Zello-Channel-Permies
  • Encouragement, oh ya: https://permies.com/t/97457/permies-social-media-experience

  • 5 days ago

    Bryant RedHawk wrote:And all these years I thought steam was super heated water used to drive engines and other machines.

    Steam is owned & maintained by a company called Valve. Go figure!

    I guess the true steam-makers are the content producers in their analogy.
    5 days ago
    Super cool idea - thanks to all enabling it & working on it! Sort of "gamifying" permaculture learning and offering incremental, accessible certification.

    I hear lots of innovators talk about the importance of "gamifying" education. On that note I often think of how the daunting work of 'living the good life' is like a hands-on, high-stakes MMORPG (massive multiplayer online role playing game) with no respawns: develop skills; gather and trade and work with resources that best suit you along the way; pursue interesting quests and team up with uplifting guilds. It's not a perfect analogy but a lot of the addictive parts of video games could be sublimated into useful self development and life skills/pursuits.

    To confirm if I understand correctly: even without coming to Montana I could go questing for PEP badges by focusing in on each task for the badge, learning from others about accomplishing it, then posting whatever required photos or bringing whatever (broccoli?-)scalps back to show I did it, sharing them on this pex/pep forum? Then someone comes along and verifies my photos, granting me a badge? And if I had some PGP key (cryptographic way to authenticate identity) on my profile, I could verify that I am indeed this forum-goer who has completed epic quests, and that could potentially serve as a door-opening qualification for some things (participating in projects, consulting, lecturing, teaching, becoming part of a succession plan that requires certain skills and dedication, etc.)?
    5 days ago
    Well said, thoughtful and encouraging - thanks!

    The dichotomy of 'regenerative vs. Degenerative' is growing on me. It's very hard to greenwash and is usually pretty straight forward: over time is this regenerating its functions, provisions and services (e.g. an agroecological family farm) or is it degenerating its functions, provisions and services (e.g. a thousand acre, external input intensive monoculture run by purely-profit-seeking mega corps)?

    Humans inevitably have an impact. Even the most 'wild' among us, left to our own devices in wilderness, will make a tremendous impact at least on the order of magnitude of beavers if not far greater. What I sense and hope may be a sea change coming is that humans recognize this impact doesn't need to be degrading to the world upon which we rely and deep-down enjoy, rather we can regenerate and give gifts back to the world which provides for our needs.
    4 weeks ago
    What about wilderness / bushcraft?

    Also, Nicole for that bottom icon you posted Jan 4, what about using that as a technology or engineering bumper sticker? There's quite a few inventive farmers & permaculture people out there!
    Reminds me of a Missouri gravel bed a little bit. I don't think I've seen trees growing in only saw dust though. Hugelkulture and soil with a ton of fluffy organic matter, or very sandy soil, I've seen - being very well drained is probably a key quality of baby tree growing medium
    1 month ago
    Is there an analogous form of paired programming that involves pears? Or bears? Or..?

    Really though I missed the connection between paired programming and getting that first $, in cases where people aren't programmers at all!

    Anyway that was a good podcast, thanks! Watched most of it. Never heard of ERE or their wheaton scale spinoff before