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Winston Greene

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since Jul 05, 2017
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Recent posts by Winston Greene

Thekla McDaniels wrote:Greetings, Winston.  Are you still in the area?  I probably did not meet you as I never went to WCCC.  I have moved from the property where I planted many pomegranate plants outdoors. No telling what's going on with them there, as you can or have read above.  My current location is ollbran-Cay.



No, I managed a vegetable farm for a while in Grand Junction and now I've moved back to Kansas where I'm from to start a farm of my own. Alas, I think that Pomegranates typically require a more arid environment and far better drainage than I would be capable of providing here in lush subtropical southern Kansas. One suggestion I received from a professor when discussing how to get Afghani pomegranate genes was to petition the department of agriculture for the proper permits to import some pomegranates and then try to coordinate with the military somehow to acquire them and ship them back. A project like this would be of great commercial and social value to producers in arid regions across the US, so the government may play a role in helping to make this happen for the right particularly motivated person who is willing to navigate a lot of red tape and complicated bureaucracies.
7 months ago
Hello, really sorry to hear about your troubles. A tractor is a huge loss. I'm about two miles from Missouri over the border into Kansas, and I've been encountering some similar issues. Originally I was going to buy a place in Cass County MO but I encountered so many zoning and bureaucratic roadblocks that I decided it wasn't worth it and decided on Linn County, KS, where they have no building codes whatsoever in the unincorporated parts of the county. I know a lot of counties in MO put any new improvement that you want to build up to a community vote, which I found totally unworkable. I've noticed that Missouri tends to have a whole lot of small town old boys clubs that can sometimes be sort of hostile towards newcomers trying to come in and start a new business or build a house, especially an unconventional one. I too recently had something stolen probably by a meth-head, although nothing as major - my chainsaw was taken from my land where it was sitting in a plastic container. I reported the crime and they just said "yeah, it was probably meth-heads, most theft tends to be related to drugs around here." I guess meth is a hell of a drug. I'm building a house on my land and similarly having a whole bunch of issues dealing with getting anyone to make time for the things I need done. I eventually gave up and hired an experienced MC to bring his crews out for me, but I realize that isn't an option for everybody. Getting rural water out here has been a real nightmare too, it has taken me nine months to get someone willing to put it in but it was finally installed last week. The first guy I had out here to do some basic road building work for the entrance way overcharged us because he took us for some green city people - he took six days and two big machines to complete what should have taken one small bobcat and a few hours. It takes time to find trustworthy contractors, but they do still exist. Just try to trust your gut and if you think someone is milking you for cash. Feel free to just let them go and find someone else. A few weeks extra time taken can be worth it when you consider that if someone really thinks they have a live one they can overcharge you for more than your rent would be for an extra month. It will go slower than you had imagined but if you keep trying at it you will get your house built and you'll find trustworthy contractors to build it. Also, sorry if this sounds preachy or like twisting the knife, but try to be sure to get insurance on any machinery from now on.  I think that thieves in states like MO and KS tend to target places under construction because they know that nobody is likely to be sleeping there. Once someone is obviously living there they tend to assume that if they trespass they may be shot, even if you aren't a gun owner or the type to shoot trespassers. Try to not let the thieves get you down, they will get their karma eventually even if it's not from you. Hang in there and god bless.
7 months ago
I went through many many hoes until I ordered one from Mexico. It was the best hoe I ever owned. Mexican hoes are stronger, more durable, and heavier. Down there they make them the right way still, for serious daily use. After 4 years of being basically the only hoe on a five acre vegetable farm this hoe just wouldn't quit. Try and find one with an open hole on the end for the big end of the handle instead of the sleeve type thing that the wood handle goes into.
7 months ago

S Bengi wrote:I was just going to say, you are a 'busy' single dad.



Lol yeah I can see how that picture would be confusing now in retrospect. I really just didn't have any other pictures of me on the farm at the time and my family came down for a blackberry picking day.
7 months ago
Just clarifying - those are my neices and nephews. I have no kids.
7 months ago
Hello, My name is Joe and I'm a 28 year old farmer who just bought a farm about 45 minutes south of Kansas City. I'm sure this is a long shot but I'm currently looking for a partner to help me turn this farm into a sustainable working homestead. Ever since I was a kid my dream has been to make a living farming, I was a WWOOFER for a couple years in my wild/restless early 20's and I also managed a vegetable farm in Colorado for three years while getting my associate's degree in sustainable agriculture. I'm in the process of building my house which should be finished by the end of November along with my first outbuilding on 25 acres. There are about eight acres of nice pasture in the front and the rest is mostly woods up on a hill. Unlike most places in Kansas the house is situated on a south facing hill and I have about 150 feet of elevation, so there is a beautiful view of the surrounding area. Visible from the top of the hill about a half mile from the farm is a beautiful lake that has lots of catfish and a 3,000 acre wildlife area around it that is one of the best places in the state for hunting deer, geese and ducks. The house is about half finished and will be an earth-contact home with southern exposure. I'm planning on having a small storage unit business in the front to have some passive income that isn't dependent upon the weather as well, and I plan on having the construction of the storage units completed by the end of spring next year. Once my water is installed sometime during the next week I'll be able to start getting some livestock, I plan on goats and a couple of cows to start, with eventual plans for sheep and a small dairy focused on the production of feta cheese. I also have plans for a pastured poultry operation along the lines of the sort promoted by Joel Salatin, with a separate flock of about ten to fifteen egg layers to sell some eggs on the corner for some extra pocket money. Vegetable production with a focus on the nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, peppers) is something I would really like to get going also, but I am only one man. I've heard it said that every successful farmer has a wife who works in town, but at this point I would be happy just to have someone out here to help me farm. My dreams might be too big to achieve all by myself without some help. I grew up in Kansas City but moved away as soon as I was old enough, moving back to the land of my youth has really been a trip. Compared to California or Colorado where I have farmed in the past, south eastern Kansas really is a sort of garden of eden. It's rare that it doesn't rain at least once a week during the growing season, the dirt is black and rich and I seem to see at least a deer or five every single day. My county has about ten thousand people in it and doesn't have a single stop light. I'm new but people are so friendly here that it already feels like home. I guess I had to go on a walkabout through the rest of the country to realize how special Kansas really is. I have a lot of family around here and they all keep telling me I need to find a girl but I guess I'm sort of a hermit and I've become fairly comfortable being alone. I attended a Buddhist college in Boulder, Colorado for a couple years but dropped out before finishing the degree in environmental science that I was pursuing. In the last few years I've rediscovered my Christian faith. I am in search of a like minded person who might be interested in helping me build this farm into the sustainable paradise that I know it can be.
8 months ago
Thekla, I think I may know you. I went to WCCC and floated the idea of northern Afghani pomegranate varietals about 4 years ago in class. If I know you or if it is a happy coincidence, I am really happy to see this happening in the Grand Valley. I just wanted to chime in and say that I have seen photos of pomegranates from northern Afghanistan, and spoken with soldiers who remember seeing pomegranates that had undergone deep freezes year after year. I hope you continue your search for these legendary genes that may revolutionize the American pomegranate industry. I know they exist, and it is simply a matter of time before we get our hands on them. Godspeed!
10 months ago

stephen lowe wrote:I have space to conduct a modest production test of spirulina. What would be the simplest system you think might be viable Winston? I have some largeish (maybe 100 gallon tops) reservoirs I could use. Can I just use hose water? How would I seed the spirulina? I'm very much into giving this a shot, at least south of the fermentation and distillation phase at this point. It seems like a potential system of great use to certain areas.



I continue to be excited by anyone else who is interested in finding solutions and actually doing the work it takes to test them. As I understand it the primary nutrient spirulina requires is actually iron in addition to nitrogen. The algae thrives in stagnant lakes and ponds that have high concentrations of heavy metals and salt, and blooms after heavy rains when nitrogen rich matter is washed into the lakes. I believe it is possible to purchase scientifically produced sterile algal medium solution to start your spirulina culture in from powder in a small aquarium and then it should be possible to keep it alive and expand it over time using a variety of vastly different feeding strategies ranging from dropping rusty nails into the tank to adding small amounts of commercial fertilizers to literally urinating into the tank. I would suggest reading any available literature available about spirulina and then doing your own tests. During the Jimmy Carter administration it is said that successful methodology was established for growing spirulina from wastewater. which could bring the input cost in theory down to almost nothing. I think there is likely good information about this that could be found by someone with enough motivation but I have tried and I'm warning you that even though it is historically clear this research definitely took place it has been incredibly hard for me to find the research itself. It's almost as if this information is being suppressed despite the fact that there are many public references to the government program that President Carter started to research spirulina, the almost never talked about "aquatic species program." Basics found here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_Species_Program    I know that many have tried growing spirulina and succeeded, it seems to be something that has been fairly well studied by home scientists. A youtube search of 'home spirulina grow' yields almost ten thousand results so many people have experimented with this. I think the thing that you may be about to do that perhaps only a very small handful of people have ever done worldwide is actually turn the spirulina into alcohol. Once the spirulina has reached maximum density in a five gallon aquarium I would suggest transferring the contents of the aquarium to a five gallon plastic brewer's bucket with an airlock and letting it ferment with a brewer's yeast that works well with glycogen (which is spirulina's primary sugar.) This may take some extensive research to find the right yeast for glycogen. Although all yeast will process glycogen, some strains may work better or more efficiently than others and this quality "glycogen sensitivity" is unlikely to have been extensively studied due to it's total irrelevance to the alcoholic beverage production industry, most beverages being produced from glucose or sucrose. It is however a scientific fact that yeast will metabolize glycogen into alcohol. I can't answer many basic questions about this - how long will it take, what concentration can you achieve with conventional beer vs champagne yeast, etc. What I can say is that I am almost entirely certain that this process will produce alcohol in the end, as has been proven by peer reviewed studies in the past. What I will suggest as a wine brewer not based upon scientific knowledge but based upon my sort of personal gut opinion is that using a champagne yeast to start may give you better results because champagne yeasts tend to finish at higher concentrations than other yeasts, but of course that is in discussion of conventional fermentation solutions that are primarily made up of glucose and sucrose. With trial and error it may turn out that a different sort of yeast works more efficiently with glycogen for chemical reasons I don't claim to have a really good grasp of. This is why we need tests. I know that yeast doesn't like "hose water" if hose water is municipal water containing chlorine, so it's likely that any algae may also be averse to plain tap water that is undistilled or filtered.
Thanks for your interest and I hope you try this and post it for us to see!
1 year ago

Dale Hodgins wrote:I followed the link in your initial post. It contained one free page of information. There are many more, for sale for 45 British pounds. Did you read the entire article, or did you read that first free page and then extrapolate from there?

Are you willing to do a simple production test for yourself, to see how much raw material you are able to produce? I'd be interested in the results and if they looked promising, I'd be willing to pay you to produce a working unit at my place. It would have to produce at least 15 gallons of finished alcohol fuel, for every man hour spent in producing it.

I'm not suggesting distillation right away. Just suggesting a test to see how much raw material can be made with how much space and labor. Is this something that you are willing to do?



I am actively in the process of doing my best to learn how to grow spirulina myself. At this point, this whole thread is purely a theoretical enterprise for me. A brief survey of the youtube videos available on the subject show a small number of companies who are actively selling spirulina as a product and also as a culture to grow in a home or apartment. These setups typically might consist of one small aquarium, a pump that moves the water to the top of the tank and a filter that collects the algae after the water falls into it. The companies selling such products claim to achieve fairly high yields. Here is one such company - http://www.grow-organic-spirulina.com/

So here's a full disclosure on my part- I am a poor student and I don't have the resources to pursue this sort of endeavor at this point in time. I came to this forum with the theoretical idea and I was hoping that someone else out there in the world might have the resources and time to devote to a promising potential sustainable solution in the interest of philanthropy and general human progress. If this should be discovered to be a viable fuel production technology, this should not be a solution that is credited to one person. I would far rather the whole internet community "discover" this, that way nobody has a right to monopolize this resource that should belong to no one corporation but rather all of humanity in aggregate.

This being said, I am currently doing my best to marshal the resources to test these ideas, but I don't have the resources to do actual tests of any of these ideas at this point. All I can offer is my general understanding of the research surrounding this topic and hope that someone else who recognizes the merit of these ideas decides to test them. Perhaps within a year or two I will have the facilities to perform more extensive tests, but for now I come to the internet community a theorist in need of testers.
1 year ago

David Livingston wrote:I accept that maybe we are being a wet blanket about this but maybe because it's wet well damp at least
It's just complex and with any system that complex the possible error factors increase . Yes folks can grow this stuff but can they grow it in big enough quantities / concentration ? How much will you need to grow for one gallon of fuel .  Secondly what treatment does it need before you can ferment it ? Do you need to add anything else for growth or fermenting  ? Do you need to filter before distillation ? How many times do you need to distill before you get a high enough concentration to use as a fuel ? How will you power the distillation?
Lastly what are you going to do with it as most motors will need some modification or an additive that will cost and effectively defeat the whole idea of the operation.
Oh and one more very important consideration many folks forget ,how much of your time is this going to eat up doing it .
Contrast that with either going all electric or making your own desil ( ie powering everything with  



All these are good points, and I was probably a little too exclamatory in my initial title for this thread. Nothing is free, and the idea of using a whole new system like this poses some serious obstacles that would still have to be overcome. I don't claim to have good answers to all these questions, but for me, this idea just keeps nagging at me because I think this might be the most sustainable way in the long run for our planet to produce the fuel we need. The main thing keeping the third world in poverty today is access to energy and clean water. If this technology proved to be viable, it could provide energy to energy-poor regions and at the same time clean their water of heavy minerals and other toxins that the spirulina eats to survive. If distillation were powered directly via solar means in the same way that some solar energy plants concentrate solar energy with mirrors in order to boil water to run steam turbines, then the distillation could be truly energy neutral. Ultimately, the realization of this technology could be more energy for everyone. A poor person living near the ocean could produce their own fuel without having to afford expensive gasoline traded in US dollars, using moonshining methods already present in the regions in question. Another great thing about this way of making fuel is that it removes carbon from the atmosphere. Solar panels may work for our society for now, but what happens in five generations or so when we run out of mined lithium to produce our batteries with? If ethanol could be produced abundantly using resources found commonly across the planet, this would change the whole structure of global society. Knowing the potential ramifications of a technological advancement such as this, I feel that it is my duty to try to see if it works. It would have been far cheaper for Thomas Edison to use a candle, but after investing huge amounts of time and capital into his light-bulb invention, he finally produced a working version. What eventually resulted was cheaper light for everyone. Anyone attempting this should do so knowing that they are taking part in an experiment that will not necessarily personally benefit them in any way. However given the obstacles put in place by the mammoth machinery of industry, there isn't any funding for research like this right now. To know for sure if this is possible or not, it will take the active participation of citizen scientists succeeding in doing this on their own. I really hope that someone reading this will take it upon themselves to try testing this out. If this is proven to work, then this invention won't belong to anyone. This algae is in the common domain, it cannot be patented. If we prove the viability of this method, then no corporation, not BP, not Halliburton, not Exxon Mobile, none of them can ever own the energy output of our society ever again.
1 year ago