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Aaron Tusmith

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since Jan 08, 2018
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greening the desert
Western Idaho
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Recent posts by Aaron Tusmith



So I was outside working today and I see the dog wander off like he always does and I think nothing of it. A while later he returns and is holding his head a little funny and I can see there is something in his mouth. I walk over to him and he drops an egg out of his mouth just like the picture here. I walked it back to the house and I could feel it warm through my gloves. I took a laser temperature and it was 87 F at the time (about 4 hours ago). Took another reading just now and its at 78 F. There are a lot of wild turkeys around this area you can hear them all the time. My question now is what to do with the thing, there's no telling where exactly it came from and it was from someone else's property anyways so I cant really put it back. Any ideas on what to do with a potentially fertile wild turkey leg that falls in your lap?
1 week ago
Hey I lived in SO for 7 years, what a great place to be able to build. I would definitely look into permits and any legal stuff before spending any money. Coincidentally there are a lot of marijuana growers in that area and the larger stalks and branches are almost always discarded and they are very durable, (could be used in waddle & daub application). Other than that there is plenty of ag and farming in that area so there is plenty of opportunity for great raw materials. It might just be a matter of getting out there and asking folks if they have any byproducts of any kind that might be of some use. The the more you network the easier this type of work becomes.
             You will almost always need a source of clay and sand in natural building, I would start there. Get your soil tested or bring in a sample to the college in Ashland and see if they can help you out, they might do it for free. As far as cob being impractical for that area, don't count it out. Take an inventory of the workable materials you have on the property you're building on and branch out as needed. Natural buildings have two important components; Big shoes and a big hat (sturdy foundation and sturdy roof). Everything in between stays dry. Good luck!
1 month ago
I was hoping to see what microscopes any of you use and any recommendations on which microscope would be best for all around observing and measuring the presence of microorganisms in soil, compost, and compost tea. I am interested in tinkering with tea recipes and wanted to also find out if there were any particular models to avoid and perhaps any to seek out. Also I don't plan on spending too much, maybe a couple hundred bucks at most. Thanks!
1 month ago
For me, it is deciding to go ahead and submit an application for a building permit. I realized that in my situation it would be best in the long term to go legit and be able to focus on the building itself, rather than having the paranoia of it being reported. A form of inspiration in the sense that I wont have to waste time, money and energy in hiding it and can make it truly my own design. (and I am lucky enough to live in an area that does not require inspections for buildings that wont be occupied as a residence). It is quite a relief actually!
2 months ago
Very cool Alley! My only experience in using them so far is cleaning flattops. I have yet to research how one actually takes readings inside an rmh, I would imagine using sensors capable of measuring those temps. I can also imagine that the installation of those sensors would be a hassle, though necessary, but as well having a potentially compromising effect on the integrity of the rmh by drilling holes, etc, maybe not. I am ignorant of the temperature measuring processes of rocket mass heaters besides the method of using a material that is rated up to a specific temperature, conducting burns over a period of time and  then dismantling the structure and observing how well that particular material held up. Still, any conclusions one might reach from that method would seem to be more in the ballpark range rather than an exact number. I am interested in knowing the rate at which the temperature drops as the distance increases from the interior of the burn chamber. This would depend on several factors, mainly the thickness and type of firebrick and the temperature of the fire within the burn chamber. But this data would be useful in determining which materials could safely be used in insulating outside of the feed tube and the burn chamber. It seems that knowing the gradient value of temperature in relation to the distance from the heat source would open up possibilities for more cost effective materials to be used in the overall construction of an rmh. I have noticed that a lot of the materials in constructing an efficient and clean burning rmh must be high quality (and consequently not cheap) in order to have a well working, long term setup.
2 months ago
The fox is stoked, the other night he had made a little nest on the top of my car, we had about a foot of fresh snow and there he was all cozy grooming itself and watching the opening of the den.
2 months ago
I have been feeding a group of domesticated rabbits that have been living outside and wild for about 2 years now. Over this time their numbers have fluctuated with the seasons and presence of predators but in the last few weeks the sighting of a fox on three different occasions and the sharp drop from 6 rabbits to just 2 has confronted me with the dilemma of what I should do. To me it is a simple example of nature taking its course, these rabbits have attracted this predator and when they are gone the predator will move on to other sources of food. I have cared for these rabbits, they are cute, it brings be joy to feed them and watch them grow. I guess I am asking if there are any simple ways to deter this fox from coming around. It has amazed me how these little bunnies have survived the winters here at 5200 feet with tons of snow, so I feel a bit attached to them but also appreciate this circle of life revolving in its own way here. I just wanted to share this little story and see what anyone thought or could offer. Thanks!
2 months ago
I have thought about this same problem and what came to mind is the super slow and tedious method of heating a metal rod and grinding it into the pole and essentially burning it out, and repeating the process (would take forever). Also I thought of using a metal rod such as a piece of rebar and fashioning a sort of tooth on the end with a grinder or something to make an extra long bore tool. This could theoretically be chucked in to a drill and used that way (never tried it). Or you could perhaps just weld the drill bit onto the tip of a piece of rebar and use that either with some sort of power tool of even by hand if you could mount it and get good enough torque and leverage. Good luck!
3 months ago
I was planning on using turmeric as a color additive for an interior earthen plaster:)
3 months ago
Just an idea, I did a bit of searching around the forums and the web and did not find any examples of these griddle bricks used as an insulating material in construction of an rmh. Apparently pumice melts between 1600 and 1800 F so it can withstand decent temperatures. I am not sure however that these figures would mean the same for these typical bricks used for cleaning flat-top grills. They can be ordered from most restaurant suppliers and online you can get a case of 12 for about 15 bucks. The big ones are 3 1/2 x 4 x 8 inches but one appealing feature is that they can be easily cut, ground or otherwise shaped into any dimension. From this they could be packed together very tightly without the necessity of a slip or mortar in between them. I have read in other threads that the R value of pumice is poorer than rock wool, perlite/slip or vermiculite but those comparisons seemed to be to the loose-fill pumice one might find at a nursery. There might be an advantage in the tight uniform structure of this particular material.

They could be easily employed in insulating the feed tube and the burn chamber, outside of the fire brick interior but I am not so sure about the heat riser. Perhaps with a more heat tolerant material on the interior of the core.
Anyway, I just thought they might be useful in this sort of application and this is where I come to find out whether or not my ideas would be a waste of money and time! Thanks!
3 months ago