F Agricola

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since Jul 10, 2018
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cat chicken fish forest garden homestead hugelkultur cooking transportation trees urban woodworking
Köppen Climate Classification System: Cfa (Humid Subtropical)
USDA Plant Hardiness: 10/11
Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
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Recent posts by F Agricola

Gurkan Yeniceri wrote:You prepare a calendar for Southern Hemisphere and write equinox and solstice dates as well as space for blossom and graft dates.

Because everything here is upside down

We're not upside down, all those Northerners are upside down!

Also, you can't help being a Permie when your family Coat Of Arms is ...

6 hours ago
It’s a hard one to answer because I love all native trees, so I’ll narrow it down to two natives and only one ‘introduced’ species:

1. The Ironbark is my particular favourite. It includes a number of Eucalypt species with essentially the same characteristics.

These are ancient trees found in a variety of places, but the ones I always admire sit on the barren, sandy and bone dry ridges in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. They’re exposed to severe elements of every type, from +40C to below freezing and snow, drought, heavy rain, high winds and bush fires.

They are theoretically immortal, growing from a lignotuber and sprouting epicormic growth when seemingly dead from bushfires. With a stoic, sentinel appearance they’re not particularly pretty trees, easily overlooked for the more showy ones in the forest community.

Their flowers are a rich source of nectar for native and introduce bees, wasps, moths and butterflies, bats, birds, possums and sugar-gliders. They are an important food for Koala’s, and the thick furrowed bark hosts many insects, including the very venomous Tree Funnel Web Spider.

The timber is prized for many uses: railway sleepers, fence posts, fine furniture, beautiful flooring boards, and burns exceptionally hot in a campfire/stove/heater leaving big nuggets of hot coals great for cooking on.

With a very fine grain, a typical hardwood, it’s one of the few species of timber that doesn’t float in water.

2. Snow Gums (Eucalyptus pauciflora).

They are just plain beautiful. In winter, skiing around or through a grove of them makes for some tricky navigation – they are not forgiving, they don’t bend and being impaled is a real fear.

3. Family Coat of Arms – don’t know the species of tree, guess it’s an oak

6 hours ago
As others have said, the pot is too small for the size of the tree, and, soil temperature affects the uptake of nutrients.

However, it looks like a lack of micronutrients e.g. magnesium, manganese, boron deficiency. These are easily washed out of potting soil and their uptake is affected by temperature.

So, suggest a much bigger pot, revitalise the potting soil with new stuff, and add an all-round citrus food, typically, poultry manure and/or a bit of blood & bone.

Also, it seems the young leaves have leaf-miner insect larvae in them - easily fixed by squashing the leaf between two finger or removing the leaves, getting a fruit fly trap, or simply accepting them - mature trees that have good nutrition aren't usually damaged that much anyway.

7 hours ago

Seriously though, if you were to wear a thin pair of sock, it may allow the Crocs to slip on/off easier as the plastic wouldn't stick so easily to skin, particularly if you have hot feet and they're clammy?

2 days ago
... and from someone who 'knows' crocs ...

This is how you improve a croc:

2 days ago
This article may assist some people in buying cheaper property - retirees and those on a limited income share a few things in common:


3 days ago

Travis Johnson wrote: It is a lot different here because we have a lot of grades (hills). American locomotives have 8 throttle positions, so the engines are constantly changing in RPM, though on such a big engine, that is not a lot of RPM's. I think full throttle was something like 900 RPM. The diesel engines still hold a LOT of oil. I think the engine oil capacity is around 238 gallons of oil.

If people do want to change oil, you could always take the oil and dump it into the diesel fuel and just burn it up that way. You cannot dump 5 quarts into a the seven gallon tank of a Kubota tractor, it would be more like 5 quarts in a hundred gallsons of diesel fuel, but will dillute the oil enough to burn it. Before switching to no oil changing, we used to do that on the railroad; drain 238 gallons of oil into the 5000 gallon fuel tanks and burn it up.

As a side note: my career was strange in that Tug Boats use locomotive engines, so after getting done for the railroad, I went to work as an Engineer on Tug Boats. I used that experience to stay dockside, working at a shipyard building Navy Destroyers where I retired.

Although we digress from the topic …

Apologies for the delayed response, I needed to confirm data with my brother who is a freight train driver.

For train nerds:

1. We also have variable grades and speed boards – not a lot has been done to improve the rail network for about 100 years, so the old corridors remain. For some obscure reason, they decided to run the main north/south lines along the east side of the Great Dividing Range – lots of hills and rivers to negotiate. Only now are they thinking about a continuous inland route – relatively flat. (Typically, politicians are too busy spending our money on their overseas ‘fact-finding-missions’ to expensive resorts, with expensive food and ‘private personal entertainment’)
2. Train lengths here are limited by the length of sidings on the public railway network, so, travelling north from Sydney to Brisbane (988km by rail) the maximum length is about 1,500 metres (1,640 yards), Sydney to Perth (4,352km by rail) the maximum length is about 1,800 metres (1,968 yards). (Iron ore trains in Western Australia are enormous e.g. 3,000 metres long, 24,000t of ore, but they mostly operate on special purpose private lines, rarely on the public network.)
3. Weight wise: 3,600 tonne (3,968t US) for 1,500 metre intermodal trains, for steel trains it's 5,000t (5,512t US) but only up to 1,500 metres in length
4. The locomotives are generally manufactured here but the engines are GM's purchased from the USA. Some loco's were fully imported too. They have 8 throttle positions in power, 8 positions in dynamic braking
5. Fuel consumption: they can travel Melbourne to Brisbane (1,948km by rail) on a single tank of fuel. Likewise, Sydney to Adelaide, where they refuel to do the long haul across to Perth.

Your oil/fuel capacities sound about right.

The companies recycle the oil, though, as you said, it could be used in the engines – I suspect the companies aren't willing to take the wear and tear risk on such expensive items = loco’s not working is money lost, that’s why they hardly have a chance to get cold.

Incidentally, a cousin once ran an inland oil drilling team, they would burn pure crude oil in their diesel trucks – worked fine, but there’s tax concessions for business vehicles, not something I’d do to my personal vehicle!

I aim to have my current car, that is 18 years old, last another 6 years so then I can buy the ‘retirement package’: a fully kitted 4WD to go bush with and use on the farm. That should be the last purchase. As a consequence, I don’t follow the norm of changing vehicles every 5 or so years like statistics suggest – it’s simply uneconomic. But, doing regular service ensures it will last unless involved in a crash!

Thankfully we don’t have the cold weather/salt issues you guys have, but we do have thousands of kilometres of shit roads that really give vehicles a hammering. So ignoring body conditions, the engine longevity is achieved by routine maintenance (fluid change) and being aware that fuel quality differs enormously – water content, dust, etc. A mate of mine has a late 1980’s/early 1990’s 4WD Land Cruiser Troop Carrier he purchased new – diesel engine, manual gearbox, etc. It has crossed the continent several times, done lots of dirt tracks, and been subjected to many instances of crappy fuel quality. He only recently had a new gearbox installed and engine rebuild, can’t recall the mileage but it’s exceedingly high. He is methodical in fluid changes, that has given an extended life to the vehicle.

Economic versus environmental costs when it comes to these items are hard to quantify. It’s like the combustion engine car versus the electric car debate or nuclear versus coal, etc. If I were a gambling type, the money would go on hydrogen as the winning underdog in the race – combustion engines aren’t bad, it’s just what they burn. Battery technology remains an issue, particularly longevity and recyclability.

Since we’re on the topic, I always wanted to ask a Yank how they address the environmental issues of salting roads?? I assume they use sodium chloride and it ends up in the waterways?

4 days ago
The less volatile compounds like old engine oil I use to paint timber fence posts and the like.

The more volatile stuff used to clean accumulated gunk off tools and engine parts, until it becomes thick and unusable. That is then put in containers.

Our local councils have a repository to drop such stuff off for proper disposal or recycling.


As far as freight locomotive diesel engines go, they are almost never shut off, most are just set to idle and run via fairly sophisticated engine management systems monitored via GPS link to a head office. At least that's what they do here.

As a consequence, they don't see a lot of wear.

For car engines it's completely different - different fuels, filters, cooling systems, etc. Besides wear 'n tear caused by condensates, impurities and bits of metal and carbon; engine life expectancy and fuel economy takes a hit too. All oils decompose, changing viscosity and ability to lubricate and cool.
5 days ago