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Efren Turner

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since Mar 24, 2018
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Mendocino County, California, 9a
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Recent posts by Efren Turner

Which region, terrain, ecosystem?

My stick frame, denim insulated, all wood interior house burnt down in a 70mph woodland firestorm even with metal exterior and roof.  (CA hilly dense woodland).  It was also really hot to live in.  

Now I wont build anything with wood more involved than than a temp structures platform or straw bale exterior house's frame with wood.

Here's what folks in the Warm West tend to recommend:
Straw bale exterior walls for insulation,
covered with earthen plaster for durability,
add Earthen interior walls and/or floor for thermal mass, as labor permits later.

I understand the above as having the lowest lifetime cost of ownership and being the most habitable.  Its among the most passively cooled designs that're not earth sheltered.

I recommend considering stick frame houses - tents.

Have you considered building a tiny cabin first so you can move there while you build your main house?  Then you experiment and learn prior to building your family home.  You'd also eliminate the cost of your current housing while you building.
1 year ago
In spring 2017 I applied about 20+ yards of compost that was 10-20% "activated" biochar to an intensively cultivated 4000sq ft set of beds.  The plants yellowed and no matter how much nitrogen we threw at them.  Eventually they would even start to get nutrient burn before greening.   Beds with more native clayish soil and less added biochar compost greened up much better.  

Then the whole region burnt in a wildfire.  So I can't look up my receipt and give you more accurate numbers.

Then we cover cropped it for two years with pea family plants, rye and clover.

Now the biochar'ed beds are growing a ton of food, no noticeable nutrient deficiencies. No small pest or diseases.  Rabbits are our only issue, but who needs lettuce anyhow?

I bought the biochar compost from the largest biochar company in northern California.  I found them to be in denial when I called them during my nitrogen vacuum stage of the biochar.  Their owner claimed their outsourced composting activation was fantastic and they hadn't received any other complaints.  I think they were on fantasy island, but I'm no expert.

I do intend to make biochar onsite from some the thousands of dead trees, and activate is myself with thinned green brush compost, worm castings, flour, rock dust etc.  I'll start making the biochar when burn season starts next month and will update.  I also intend to compare this to biochar I purchase and activate myself.  I wont be paying for other people to "activate" it again.
2 years ago

I resent you my contact info just now.  I thought I sent it to you last year via PM.  I haven't heard back so I hope you all found a great spot to live.

Folks in general -
The fast way to reach me is to send me a PM on here.
2 years ago
Hoowdy Heather,

Yup, I emailed you our info.  Good to hear your interest and experience.  Those wildfires in Australia were totally nuts.

Here's contact info for us -

Applications go to: raven gardens (at symbol) proton mail


2 years ago
3 Internships: Post-Fire Agro-Ecology, Organic Herbs and Agro-Ecology AI Dev

We have a few internships starting soon. We're a post-fire farm in Redwood Valley, CA doing some cool projects.

Post-Fire Agro-Ecology Intership

Intended Start Date – April 30th 2020

Projects Include:
+Bio-swaling with burnt trees to slow, spread and sink water and reduce post-fire erosion
+Pruning the burnt forest's resprouted clones for safety and ecology
+Tending native grasses and native flowers we planted post-fire
+Alternative building construction
+Permacultural Design and Practice
+Tending our veggie garden

Organic Herbs Internship

Intended Start Date – May 10th 2020

Projects Include:

+Transplanting Herbs

+Sex Identification and monitoring of herbs

+Watering, Irrigation installation/maintenance

+Advanced topics in such a photoperiod etc Agro-Ecology AI Dev Internship

Intended Start Date – June 1st 2020

About EAD Internship

We're lookin' to help life thrive even more. We seek to scale climate and ecology solutions by leveraging advances in deep reinforcement learning (artificial intelligence) with advances in regenerative ecology. We're creating a tool set to help ecologists and farmers make much better plans, quickly.

EAD Internship Projects Include

+Soldering together and flying our ecological mapping UAVs over our test plots

+Setting up and monitoring soil and weather microsensor arrays

+Creating NDVI and orthoscopic maps from our test plots

+Helping write and train reinforcement learning and deep learning training models using our eco maps

+Helping coordinate development between our permaculture team and our remote dev teams

Work-trade expected across the board:
30 hours per week. [Up to 5 of the 30 can be studying with onsite, practical application]

We provide:

+Basic housing or good camping
+all the veggies you can eat
+a fair stipend based on your demonstrated ability and circumstances. Typically in the hundreds per month.
+weekly education
+monthly workshops

To Apply

Contact us with -

Which internship(s) you're applying for.

Tell us what you really care about.

A resume or at least a resume-like list which includes the names of school(s) / employeer(s).

2 Work Refferences we'll be able to get ahold of.

1-2 Housing Refferences we'll be able to get ahold of.

2 years ago
Any updates on what people feel is the best available permacultural design software?

[There are interesting "AI for Earth Partners" listed here  please let me know if you have any thoughts on them.  There are grants available from that initiative it seems.]
2 years ago
Just workout really hard before you shower.  I actually shower with cold because when I jump in I'm so hot.  If the shock of cold is too much at first I excessively shiver with my whole body while running in place and breath hard through fish lips for 10 seconds and I'm good.  Then I dance while I'm showering.

In fact, muscle recovery is known to be faster and pain is lower if one gets cold af and dances after working out!

Here's a studies findings on the cold immersion benefits aspect:

"8.1.2Practical implications
The  findings  of  this  study suggests  that  if  there  is  sufficient  time  between  sessions (>48  hours),  and  muscular  power  functions  are  of  primary  importance,  recovery interventions  may  offer  athletes  minimal  benefits  in  recovery  over  no  recovery intervention. However, the present data suggests that cold water immersion may be the  best  option  if  coaches  are  concerned  about  the  impact  of  leg  muscle  soreness (DOMS).  If  an  athlete's  approach  to  subsequent  games  and/or  training  while suffering  with  leg  muscle  soreness  is  compromised,  then  the  use  of  cold  water immersion may be an appropriate recovery intervention. In  addition,  if  athletes  are  required  to  perform  multiple  repeat  effort  activities  and there is insufficient time to recover (<48hours) between games and/or training, then the  recovery  intervention  of  cold  water  immersion  offers  more  to  the  athlete  in attenuating  the  effects  of  DOMS,  attenuating  decrements  in  game  related  repeated efforts, players‟ subjective perceptions of tasks, and hastening the return of power in comparison to either passive recovery or contrast water baths.For  players  in  Rugby  Union  aiming  to  attenuate  the  effects  of  fatigue  from  multiple high-intensity sessions, the present study‟s protocol for cold water immersions, of 2 X 5 minute baths at 10°C, should be applied immediately after the game. Further, it should  be  noted  that  this  research  demonstrates  that  contrast  baths  are  less effective  as  a  recovery  modality  than  either  cold  water  immersion  or  passive recovery  with  subjective  measures  of  muscle  pain  and  fatigue,  and  should  be discontinued as a recovery protocol."

Higgins, T. R. (2015). Evaluation of cold water immersion and contrast water therapy for recovery with well-trained team sportathletes: Rugby Union (Thesis, Australian Catholic University). Retrieved from
2 years ago
My gut reaction is - you're trading placebo benefits for blood toxicity.  ...but I'll do a quick check on the scientific literature...

"The adverse effects of chronic exposure to silver are a permanent bluish-gray discoloration of the skin (argyria) or eyes (argyrosis). Most studies discuss cases of argyria and argyrosis that have resulted primarily from exposure to the soluble forms of silver. Besides argyria and argyrosis, exposure to soluble silver compounds may produce other toxic effects, including liver and kidney damage, irritation of the eyes, skin, respiratory, and intestinal tract, and changes in blood cells."

Exposure-Related Health Effects of Silver and Silver Compounds: A Review
The Annals of Occupational Hygiene, Volume 49, Issue 7, October 2005, Pages 575–585,

Oh, some folks did mention that topicaly is not aweful as a wound dressing.  It actually does something thats not bad!  You wont catch me eating money for placebo tho.
17 June 2005
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2 years ago