John Meshna

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since Jul 22, 2006
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Recent posts by John Meshna

Feeding DE to an animal has no effect on the fleas. All that does is kill and protect them from a variety of internal parasites in their digestive tract. Diatomaceous Earth applied properly is one metric to use in the fight against fleas. Treating the critter on the outside is important too but they do lick it off and some animal fur holds onto it better than others. We have Jack Russels and a German shepherd. You out DE on the shepherd and it's there for weeks. Put in on the Jack Russels and it's gone within and hour because their fur is specifically designed to shed dust. I suppose they become a method of spreading it around but it doesn't stay on them.
The herbal treatments that come in tubes trying to look like synthetic brands have not shown themselves to work around here. What does work is the latest best thing to come onto the market. It's called Comfortis. It's made with Spinosad and it's the same ingredient in a few lines of pest control products that are OMRI listed and very safe. http://www.dirtworks.net/Monterey-Garden-Insect-Spray.html. It's not cheap but we used nematodes, diatomaceous earth and Comfortis and we are flea free after a long period of problems. If you have a serious problem with fleas you have to use all these methods at once and for a while, along with general cleanliness like vacuuming the house often including the couches and soft furniture in all the cracks and we even put DE inside of the pillow cases of the couch and treated the couch with it so it's in there for good.https://www.comfortis.com.

I did read in this string about some one having lung or throat problems after treating with DE or maybe somewhere else on the site but he/she also mentioned that the home was treated with pyrethrin or permethrine. that is most likely to be the problem. It's a neurotoxin and specifically effects the lungs and breathing apparatus. Small doses are not harmful but constant exposure and overexposure can be cause some people real trouble. It's made to be used outside most of the time. Food grade De contains very little crystaline silica which can cause serious respiratory problems and does contain mostly amorphous silica which your body can absorb and does absorb and even use a little of. Life on earth would be impossible without it. Of course large amounts of any dust can be hazardous and boric acid is a little toxic too and people who have sensitivity to such things should always do a test area before committing to doing their entire house. Pyrethrine and it's synthetic cousins should not be used inside a house. Greenhouse use is okay but there is a re-entry time period usually listed on the label. Houses are too confined and can keep the gasses trapped for too long a time.
6 years ago
If you need to use plastic bags at least now there are compostable and biodegradable bags. The produce bags are very thin and break down really well. when discarded improperly by people I've found they break down even better because sunlight does a number on them. I know because I've tested them. If you leave them out in the atmosphere for a month or two they disintegrate when you try and pick them up and just turn to dust. They break down in the heat of compost too. If you leave them in the box until you need them they last a good long time. We've had a box of the Tug and Totes on top of our refrigerator for three years now and they're still good. If you want more information look here: http://www.dirtworks.net/Biodegradeable-Plastic-Bags/Biodegradable-Produce-Bags.html
6 years ago
I've always been suspicious of using roof water for growing food because of these problem. Roofs also have lead and aluminum flashing, caulking and they get hot and gas off and do do for their entire life span and they are repositories for air pollution that gets washed off in the rain. There may be a water filter for this purpose. I hope so but until such time as one is offered I wouldn't use rain water off the roof for growing food or drinking.
6 years ago
http://www.downunderweb.com/store/media/HAT_Y1003.jpg I wear one of these. No brand name on it but it keeps the sun off, vents to the air to keep you cool, blocks the sun in your eyes and you just toss it into the wash when it's dirty and pops right back into shape!

John F Meshna (owner)
Dirt Works LLC
1195 Dog Team Road
New Haven, Vt 05472
jfmeshna@dirtworks.net
http://www.dirtworks.net
http://www.newenglandnatural.com
http://www.clovercompostables.com
Cell - 802-999-1028
802-385-1064
I understand your frustration. I had a similar experience here that cost me ten thousand dollars to fight and it's still costing me. It's not exactly the same thing but the similarity is with the passive aggressive adversarial nature of small town government. They say they want to preserve the rural character of the place and be evironmentally sensitive but they don't let you know all the rules and regs up front and you get trapped. They let you buy a piece of property and get a building permit and then when you're dug in they come around with this whole bag of rules they didn't tell you about up front and fine and penalize you if you don't comply even when you're doing your nest and know more than they do. It's very discouraging when the stated intention is one thing and the rules encourage completely different and very bad things like suburban sprawl.

John F Meshna (owner)
Dirt Works LLC
1195 Dog Team Road
New Haven, Vt 05472
http://www.dirtworks.net
http://www.newenglandnatural.com
http://www.clovercompostables.com
802-385-1064
6 years ago
A customer of ours from Texas called to order a truckload of Winter Peas from us. Since it was such a big order we asked him what in the world he was doing with them. He said he made his own fertilizer with them. When they grow they fix nitrogen into the soil and when they matured he harvested them and dried them and he had a way of grinding them up and he used the ground up peas for fertilizer that he spread on the fields. He tilled under the chaf. He said he'd been doing it for a couple of decades and never bought fertilizer. Sounded like a great idea.
http://www.dirtworks.net
6 years ago
I installed drainage as a main part of my work for almost 17 years so let me help. The drainage pipe you buy has holes in it to catch the water as it rises and quickly direct it way from whatever it is you are trying to protect. Properly installed it should have anywhere from six inches to a foot of 1 inch washed stone under it around it and above it and the holes should be at 5 and 7 o'clock. On normal days with moderate flows of water the stone does all the work. The pipe is there for real heavy flows which would overwhelm the stone because the stone interrupts the flow a little and can back up when too much water is present. The slope of the pipe and the ditch should be 1/4 inch per foot. You should wrap the pipe in drainage fabric to keep the silt from clogging the pipe.

If you want surface drainage you can use the same system but you have to bring the stone up to ground level and leave it open. I recommend this all the time but it does raise the cost of the project a lot as you need a lot more stone to do this.
The bottom picture works if you ditch is really shallow and you bring the stone up to the surface. I've used this form to catch water off of a roof with no gutters to direct the run off from the roof to a drainage system beneath the ground. http://www.dirtworks.net
6 years ago
Thought I'd post an update to the diatomaceous earth posts. We've been selling diatomaceous earth/Fossil Shell Flour for years quite successfully. People have been using it for deworming, killing fleas, ticks, bed bugs you name it.
This past winter we sold a fifty pound bag of it to a housing authority in New York. A few weeks after we sold it we got a threatening letter from a state regulatory agency threatening me with huge fines and jail time for doing it because apparently to use it for pest control it now has to be labeled by the EPA for that purpose. The new EPA registered product is exactly the same thing. Soon after that letter showed up we got a visit from our department of agriculture because the mole who sent the letter to us called the EPA in Washington DC. So now, we've had to reconstruct our web site and add pages for the new product and take down all the pest control information from the main DE page. This has tanked our sales because I think the whole labeling thing and confusion has caused people to think that the product is some how different and maybe toxic which it isn't. We got a similar correspondence from a Dept.of Ag. guy out in Indiana about neem oil. now, even neem oil has to be registered for pesticide use and needs a different label for farms and home gardeners. All of this puts a financial burden on smaller companies and that is the outcome the corporations are looking for. Instead of participating in the strong, growing market for organics, corporations like Monsanto are using their financial power to buy politicians and get their moles planted in state and federal agencies to regulate the hell out of natural products and cause confusion in the public arena. http://www.dirtworks.net/ http://www.dirtworks.net/Diatomaceous-Earth-Crawling-Insect-Killer.htmlwebpage
Just remember, fresh water DE is still fresh water DE no matter what shiny package it comes in. Neem oil is still neem oil and just as safe as ever no matter what package it comes in. Just maointain good practice as you would with anything like clean sorage areas, avoiding freezing and excess heat, keep away from children etc..
webpagehttp://www.dirtworks.net/Diatomaceous-Earth.htmlwebpage

Just a note about something posted previously.. it doesn't matter if the DE gets wet. In fact adding a little water and soap to make a slurry you can pour down an ant hole is a good idea. The soap makes it stick and helps do a little smothering and once it all dries out it cakes onto everything including the bugs. You see, diatomaceous earth doesn't dissolve in water. It just gets suspended and settles out when you stop stirring it, unchanged by the water so the soap can actually help it remain in suspension a little longer too.
6 years ago
I think if we took away all the subsidies involved with conventional agriculture things would change. There is a small movement in that direction with the first feeble attempt to eliminate 4 billion and 24 billion in direct and indirect tax subsidies to the oil companies. If we downsized the military so it was incapable of fighting multiple wars for oil and other resources around the world at once the fossil fuel CEO's couldn't run down to Washington every time they create problems overseas and get the marines to fix it and hundreds of billions of dollars would suddenly be available in the private sector to pay the labor costs of organic farms, substituted for other life threatening processes like we have now. Synthetic fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides are all made from oil and created by the consumption of oil at a very low rate of return which only survives because the true cost of the product is not reflected in the price. Attempts are finally being made to try and turn the tide of responsibility for contamination of crops with GMO pollen back to Monsanto instead of allowing them to sue farmers who did nothing but have a field next to one of theirs.
This is a huge fight and let's not kid ourselves, people are dieing fighting it but it's a fight humanity must win for it's own sake. The earth cares not whether we survive or perish. GAI is a passive observer in all things and barring destruction by an asteroid will continue without us in some form no matter what. Our redemption and deliverance into the future is in our hands. The sea refuses no river. It's up to us to decide what's in it.
6 years ago
Diatomaceous Earth is a very good wormer for all animals. The only internal parasite I know of that doesn't respond well to it is hook worms which lodge in the tissue.
DE kills eggs in the stool and the parasites themselves and can be fed "Free Choice" without harm to every type of livestock including chickens. when placed out in a dusting box poultry can wallow in it and control external parasites as well and it makes their eggs harder when they eat it.
DE will keep fly larvae from hatching out too which will keep your barn cleaner and easier to maintain. We've been selling DE for years and everyone raves about it. We have eight dogs ourselves and they get it at every meal and we've never had a case of worms around here and dusting the pen and their bedding keeps our flea and tick population down, along with the usual keeping everything clean and maintained properly.
Since Basic H is a cleaner and the ingredients aren't published and it's not registered for use internally I'd be inclined to stay away from it until more is known. It may turn out to be fine but without knowing for sure I'd be inclined to keep using it for the intended purpose as an all natural cleaner.
7 years ago