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Buster Parks

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since May 15, 2017
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Recent posts by Buster Parks

Ellendra Nauriel wrote:A. Did anyone else cringe at the sight of him handling wet ashes with his bare hands? I've known people who lost all the skin off their hands that way.

B. At one point it looks like he's mixing something else in with the ashes. Something that's almost the same color, but with a slight beige tinge. Was that clay maybe? Because that would make a lot more sense. Ash and clay would react to form something akin to concrete. I think there's another thread about that here somewhere.

C. It looks like the pond he soaked the items in is slightly acidic. That probably did a lot to neutralize any unreacted ash. You could probably get a similar effect soaking it in very diluted vinegar or black tea. I have no idea what soaking his items did to the pond life.

He usually has a full explanation in the description of the video but I don't see mention of what he added this time.  On his website there's an entry for making cement with ash and he added crushed terracotta, I suspect it's the same here.
6 months ago
Thanks for starting this discussion!  I've been looking at dexters for my next place and planning to start small and go with artificial insemination as I see a great selection of straws available on the dexter breeders page, but read that the success rate with AI can be low, like 50-60%.  Is this something you have ever tried or have you always had a bull?

Also, do you have an estimate for gallons of water per cow per day?

7 months ago

Vanessa Alarcon wrote:
Hi Buster! Thanks for all the info. I agree that I might be throwing everything and the kitchen sink when activating the coal but in my defense 1) I’m starting these beds on a surface of white sugar sand with maybe a millimeter of soil covering it. And the weather here means baking sun and torrential monsoon (exaggerating but not by much) that just leach everything out of the soil. And most importantly 2) I’m Latina and that’s just how we cook 🤪🙃🤣
But in all seriousness,( i am going to experiment with the clay, however) do you think there’s a chance of me causing harm or burning the plants? I’ve seen some you tube videos of people with hukel beds in my zone 9A and they have done pretty well, I don’t expect great results from the start and I know everything will reduce. And I will be specially careful to put a good thick layer of top soil and maybe amend with a bit of clay too if Ms. Sutton shares her brand with me

I’m going to use 1 bed for annual greens, bed 2 for mostly tomatoes and peppers and bed 3 for herbs and edible perennials .

Oh and most importantly! Could you please share the name brand of the clean briquettes that you used?

Thanks a million! 🙏

I had used the Trader Joes stuff, which someone said earlier in the thread isn't available any more, sorry.  I wouldn't worry too much about burning plants, at worst it will be a temporary effect early on.  I only have a small patch of sand in my yard, but have read how tough it can be to get anything to hang around in it.  That's why I think roots are going to be key for you.  Good luck with it!
7 months ago
Couple thoughts I haven't seen yet.

Not sure you want to mix everything you are talking about together, seems like the clay should mostly be a base layer to help hold all the good stuff in place on top of it.  I've done the clean briquette method, it will start to smell quickly, two weeks is probably overkill for soaking in urine.  Also not sure you need to charge the biochar so well before putting it in the ground.  It's a high surface area substrate so it will act like a filter and charge itself over time.  Plus the biology will consume some stuff from it and leave other stuff behind.  If you can find a source of top soil with more clay in it that would probably be good too, both under the biochar and other compost type stuff you add, plus on top to get a nice thick soil layer.  I think most hugels end up with too little dirt so having some decent soil to add on top will be good as well.  Mostly I'd suggest layering, with the clay on the bottom (or most of it below whatever mix you come up with) And the compost plus other additives on top.  I'd probably mix everything with some free top soil/fill dirt to spread it out more as well, versus having a thin layer of each.  

Looking ahead a bit, perennials with year round roots should help hold the good stuff in place too.

Also, if you are doing three mounds, feel free to experiment and report back.
7 months ago
Thanks for your ideas.  I definitely can see the piers wanting to spread.  With the tiny house inside being at least half underground overhead cables would be fine, perhaps even a plus.  The examples I've seen, including a really cool old house often have extensions past the sidewalls that would address this too.  I'd like to extend from the top of the top wall out anyway to enlarge the shaded area and create more space for animals and water catchment.

I think I've been underestimating the heat gain though, assuming the silver roof would reflect most sun.  I wonder if getting white would help much.  Since I have no intention of trying to micro manage temperature in the majority of this space, I wonder about just creating a barrier hanging a foot under the roof and ventilating this 'attic' space up near the peak.  I see this containing a stratified layer of hot air under the roof in space I don't use for anything, stopping radiant heat and convection from warming the main space so much.  I'd want to feed this gap with outside air and a solar powered blower at the top of each end would seem ideal as it would run whenever sunny.  I've also seen ideas for solar powered chimneys, basically a black pipe sticking up from each peak that would heat in the sun and create a natural draw from the peak inside.

Tyvek and mylar pop to mind for this barrier, but I'd prefer to avoid any thing plastic inside.  Recycling largish sheets of drywall could divide the air space too but would be a lot of weight and require framing some sort of interior roof.  Doing a quick search it seems the cost of spraying foam could be as much as buying the quonset itself, plus yucky foam.  I'd like to use the climate battery idea in the greenhouse space either way, so some excess heat would be OK as I'd basically pump it underground to use during colder months.  If I could keep the greenhouse space between freezing and 90F I'd be happy, a tighter range would be the goal though.  I think I need to visit one on a hot sunny day to see how much warmer it is inside, but one that isn't completely enclosed like most garages and barns.  I'm imagining opening it up overnight during the summer to let all the heat out, and starting cool every morning.  Much like how adobe homes in the desert are typically managed.  

D Nikolls, do you have any details on these fail?  I know they come with up to 50 year warranties and see older ones in my searching.  I guess the nice thing is these can be put up and taken down by one person, and at $5-$10 per sq ft of ground covered it's not that much more expensive than a re-roof on the 15yr asphalt shingled home I have now.
7 months ago
So, I've long thought one of these q-model or r-model steel buildings/roofs would be the ideal starting point for a homestead, especially in a desert area where shade and water catchment are key.  

Google image search for quonset roofed buildings

Is this an OK place to discuss and brainstorm such a structure?  I have given it a lot of thought and suspect members would have lots of feedback and ideas but maybe it's not permie enough?  Or maybe at the plan stage it's more of a meaningless drivel sort of conversation.  

A quick outline is to buy a freestanding type quonset building, something like a 50x46' and install it on tall sidewalls, at least 7ft.  Instead of solid walls I'd use some sort of concrete or block posts at the corners and every 6-10 feet with a concrete or steel beam on top to mount the quonset style roof to.  This would require an engineer, and is one of the only parts of this project parts I wouldn't be comfortable DIY'ing without guidance.  Make the arch of the quonset face south and frame that end wall with lumber and free sliding glass doors and windows from craigslist.  A wide arch, and shallow depth would be best I think for a greenhouse made like this with no overhead glass, pictures of these used as airplane hangers show how cave like they get the deeper they are built.  Under the front half of this steel roof would be mostly greenhouse, and I'd want my tiny house to be here in the middle of the greenhouse area, more towards the north edge to keep from filling the south facing glass wall.  I'd like to build it with adobe, partially buried with just a row of windows above grade, and a small entrance area.  The 200-400 sq ft tiny house would be the only part of the bigger structure that I'd consider finished, and would just be a place to sleep, or hang out when the more spacious area isn't quite hospitable.   Plus very minimal plumbing and at most an RV type kitchen, with a small RMH of course.

The gaps between the posts I'd fill with adobe blocks, or rammed earth, or anything else I want to try making, gradually enclosing the larger space around my tiny house and big greenhouse.  Some would be large doors made from whatever materials I can salvage or find, and some more windows to let morning and afternoon sun in too.  I have a lot more detail, including cost estimates but don't want to put too much if this isn't appropriate here.
7 months ago

Nedloh Seaux wrote:

Nice to hear from you and see that there are others with similar sentiments. I hope you have a pleasant trip. Traveling with cats can be an interesting process depending on the cat. Do you have a set direction in mind or might you just see where the wind takes you?

My first trip is to Michigan to visit family for Christmas, depending on the roads I'd like to extend it out to the Duluth area and as much more of that general area as I can see.  I'm planning a trip to the PNW, Idaho, Montana area for later in spring.  I've also been planning to go see the Ozarks region of OK, MO and especially Arkansas.  Eric's post makes me want to extend this leg to see Southern Illinois too!  One of the western trips will include northern Nevada.  However, my thoughts are mostly on higher elevation areas of Arizona and New Mexico as the climate is similar to what I've been working with here for the last few years.  This will probably be my January trip.

I made the mistake years ago of thinking I just needed more land to do my thing and be happy, but failing to connect with the community made that a bad experience valuable learning experience.  The main focus of these trips will be to find a place I want to live that has reasonable small acreages close in.  Your comments about what you are starting to value or look for really resonate with me.  I don't expect to find a 100% perfect fit, at least not in the USA.  Just a few like minded neighbors would be amazing, as long as there's a great small town within 10 to 30 minutes drive.

I think TJ is right about not expecting a perfect place, whenever somewhere starts to get close it inevitably becomes crowded, expensive and loses the magic (IMHO) with Boulder and Fort Collins being two local examples.  I know for me wherever I find it will be up to me to make the connections that make me happy, something that's been tough wherever I live.  I just hate how much driving it takes here, and it's always rush hour anymore.  Spending an hour each way in bumper to bumper traffic for an hour long permaculture guild meet-up doesn't feel like a good way to spend my time or gas.  I'm also approaching the limits of how off grid I can be in this city, but know I can still do better with my resources.
7 months ago
Hi Nedloh,

I relate to much of what you wrote.  I'm planning a series of road trips over the next six months to hopefully find a fit for myself.  And my two semi-domestic cats.  The Denver area has a lot of great people, but it's so spread out and sporadic, it's time to cash out I think.  I'm interested to see if some new ideas come up in your thread.
7 months ago
As for water in Nevada, you should be able to drill a well without any hassles,

Is a permit required to drill a domestic well within the State of Nevada? No. Domestic wells are the only type of water well exempt from the State Engineer's permitting process (Nevada Revised Statutes 534.080 and 534.180). ... Multiple dwellings are considered a quasi-municipal use and thus, require a permit.
Water Rights,

Water Rights, Well Drilling and Dam Safety in Nevada

It's a huge plus in my book for Nevada land.  I've read that such wells are limited to 1800 gallons PER DAY!  before you need to get additional permission, ie irrigating acres.  I think the only other limit is if city or rural water is available you have to connect to that.
8 months ago
Came across this 'trick' in a youtube video, but it has been working great for me.  All she said to do is to relax the tongue, chatter stops.  That's it.  The non-stop inner dialog is like preparation for talking, so keeping the tongue from moving just stops it cold.  She has some more ideas I'm trying about giving the brain something to do along with instructions, but the tongue trick is just so easy.

This is her description, at about the 44 minute mark

8 months ago