Nathan Strumfeld

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since Sep 08, 2017
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bike forest garden cooking
Skokie, IL
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Recent posts by Nathan Strumfeld

I guess I'm thinking of the suburban use-case. I'm always trying to convince the neighbors to get rid of their lawn services and reduce the amount of grass by putting in some trees and shrubs - there's just rows of sprawling golf-course looking lawns. I think some small actions like this could solve many problems. People just want an easy solution though.
1 week ago
I’ve had this idea in my head for a while, and wanted to post it here to get some reactions:

An online tool to design (or choose from already designed) plant guilds
The ability to simply order the guild with all the plants and materials necessary to install it (sort of a “Blue Apron” for DIY gardeners, this would tie in to what’s available from local nurseries based on ZIP code)

I came up with this idea because I’ve designed my own cherry tree guild, it took a little research to select plants. But then it was difficult to find the tree and plants from one source. I had to shop around, and most staff people are unfamiliar with permaculture (don’t get the idea of nitrogen fixers etc.) so the whole process was tedious.
I’d also like to install a rain garden in my front yard and I’m facing similar challenges, so the same idea could apply to something like this- select your size rain garden, choose suitable plants that you know are available in your area, order a kit for delivery.

I think a plant guild is often the easiest concept for people new to permaculture to grasp. A grouping of plants that work together to boost health and productivity. It’s also something almost anyone can get started with, in urban or suburban settings. Offering a variety of guilds in an easy to order package could be a great gateway into the bigger world of permaculture.
1 week ago
I have a few stumps I inoculated a few months ago. 2 are stacked like totems and 1 is by itself. I'm also doing shiitakes on regular logs. We'll see how they go.

The lion's mane seems more finicky. Are your logs not thick enough to do stumps? I also read something about using regular logs but burying the bottom 3rd or so in sand to keep it dark and moist. Maybe try that method?
5 months ago
What a great idea Julia! Thanks for sharing the progress.

A lot of people have asked about the j tube and frame. Based on what you've done, it seems like you can build the frame out of wood or whatever material works if it's a permanent installation. Is that the case? As long as the weight is supported?

I'm thinking of building the full 4' high riser, but eventually burying the bottom of it (wood feed/ burn tunnel) in an area next to my deck that I'll be laying brick or stone in anyways. So the wood feed will be flush with the ground,  reducing the overall height. And then I'll figure out the frame. Since it's not really portable, there's no need to weld together that steel frame, and wood or something else will be much easier to construct.

Look forward to seeing yours completed.
5 months ago
I think the rocket oven has a much better chance of gaining widespread adoption than an indoor rocket mass heater for a few reasons. It could be a nice gateway drug though.
Would you all agree?
6 months ago

Kyrt Ryder wrote:
In my mind a rocket oven isn't ideal for a 45 minute bake.

If it's something that can't be finished in 10 minutes you might do well transferring to some form of haybox?


Why would it not be good for a 45 minute bake? Couldn't you just feed it a few sticks every 15 minutes or so? It seems like it would hold onto the heat pretty well due to the insulation.
6 months ago

Nicole Alderman wrote:Hmmm, if I had one, I'd probably be doing all of my normal oven cooking in it, so as not to heat the house! So, for us that would be:

Gluten Free Peasant Bread
Peanut Butter Cookies (SCD legal/GAPS/Paleo)
French fries
Baked chicken
Meatza and normal pizza



Thanks for the gluten free bread recipe! I've been looking for one.
I would be using mine less for pizza and desserts and would like to try it more for savory dishes like roasted potatoes, other mixed vegetables, brussel sprouts, whole chickens or turkeys. Since it heats up so fast, I'd like to try using it instead of my gas oven for everyday cooking.
6 months ago
It would be great to have the white oven, with the option of adding wood smoke- best of both worlds.
Erica mentioned something about adding some wood chips in the white oven to add smoke flavor. Has anyone tried that? It would be great to hear how that works out in the white rocket ovens.
It makes sense, I often add a handful soaked mesquite wood chips on top of the hot coals in my grill to add that smokey flavor.
6 months ago
Thanks Mike,
Yeah, the service berries do seem to have a nice ornamental quality which I like.
I might still do the 2, with a small guild around each.
7 months ago
Thanks for the replies.
A big consideration for my wife was aesthetics. The service berry I found was said to have nice spring blossoms, and red fall colors. Plus the fruit. Although the ones I've seen at nurseries seem kind of sparse.
But I do love apples and peaches, so maybe I'll look into either of those as a possibility.
7 months ago