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David Pritchett

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since Aug 19, 2018
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Recent posts by David Pritchett

Andrew Pritchard wrote:they'll probably be complete junk, barely suitable for firewood, I'm sorry to say.

I kinda figured. Hopefully they would be good for hugel beds since I suspect they would rot down to humus quickly but I was hoping I might be able to find a more constructive use for them.
Hey all so we are currently looking at potential property to move to and build either an unground build like a wofati or a berm backed wofati esque structure. I am seeing a lot of the parcels in our price range have been timbered in the last year or 2 and many have piles of timber that must have been deemed not good enough for sawing down. Do you guys think these might be usable for something like a wofati build?

Often they appear to already be cut to 6-9 foot lengths which makes me think they could be prime for a palisade style wofati. I understand that conditions and species would probably determine what is or isn't usable. Here in Missouri we often get around 30 in of rain and the species would most likely be oak, maple or cedar for the larger trees. We do also have black and honey locust which I'm guessing most timber companies wouldn't want. My biggest worry is probably turkey tail or similar white rot fungi setting in. It is very prevalent and I often see it on blown down trees the next year on our property but I don't know if that is just because some of it has dead limbs that blow down. I think they could absolutely be used for hugel beds but if we can essentially buy precut building materials at the edges of the clearings we may use for a homesite that would be amazing.
Hey all. We are currently trying to clear out a few cedar groves and bringing down a couple medium sized, 10-14 ft, cedars but mostly it's areas with a lot of 6-9 ft cedars. My current plan is the use the wood to make biochar for use in the pastures or garden. I know Paul would prefer a 9ft tall hugel mound but I don't think we will have enough material to make longer than a 5ft long mound and we have no back hoe etc to do major earth works and I can't find a place locally that does rentals and I doubt it would be enough to convince a track hoe operator to come out for such a small job. So with the goal of areas where I can graze our sheep and provide plenty of shade for them this is my plan. I had heard Paul say in a somewhat recent podcast that he suspects conifers strip the calcium from the soil and acidify it so I was considering spreading lime as a 1 time deal as we broadcast seed

Location: Missouri, zone 6a fairly near st Louis. Ground is primarily clay and in some areas is only 4-6 in deep before we hit very gravelly areas with quite a bit of sandstone underneath. Our property has a mix of very old oaks and some old ish cedars, a few young cedar groves that have mostly defoliated the ground and a number of black locust and honey locust. We have lots of elderberry, blackberry and raspberry. The pastures are full of broad-leaved Forbes and grasses so I doubt this property has ever seen herbicide except maybe a few spots near the house.

Pioneer species I will encourage, seed or transplant: black locust, false indigo, mulberries, willow, and clover most of my soil seed bank is not a problem for my sheep to handle and tends to be primarily clover, plantain and wild grasses.
Pioneer species I will discourage and would be welcome for suggestions to manage beyond pruners: trifolia rose, Himalayan blackberries (sometimes allowed because yum) and burdock

Primary biomass:clover and fescue or Kentucky bluegrass. If someone has suggestions on native grasses or grasses that do well in a non watered or fertilized rotational grazed system I'd be open to it.

We currently have three 1 year old katahdin ewes and we will be getting a ram this fall to breed them in November. The goal is to have 15 ish sheep next fall by breeding and buying in. Currently we have around 7 acres of pasture and another 8 of forest that has some grass forages I expect to be converting around an acre or 2 into pasture. Long term I think I would cap our flock at 3-4 rams and around 10 consistent breeding ewes and butchering or selling 10-20 lambs per year . We currently have the issue that the grass grows to fast for our flock to eat down and I think we could easily over winter 15 on existing forage especially if we butcher or sell by August.

Finally if anyone has suggestions for dealing with the cedar stumps I would be very appreciative. My inclination is to burn them out or at least to level ideally using something like a barrel updraft stove. I would also be open to drilling and inoculating the stumps but I don't know any good species to us for this.
2 years ago
Hey Paul, loved the YouTube video and while I'd heard you talk about the idea of HUSP I had not ventured to this thread before. One of the things I find most interesting would what modern technology would they adopt, I would assume it would primarily be very low wattage electricity and generally they would eschew any fossil fuels and probably nuclear, wind or solar leaving primarily hydro electricity.

Would they have modern hospitals? While I don't think they would have chemical pharmacology like we do, i suspect they would want modern surgical theatres. Even in a permaculture society someone occasionally drops a tree on themselves or requires a broken bone be set occasionally.

Internet is probably out of the question because they require enormous server farms that act as international routers but maybe they would utilize satellite internet. In my mind internet is an exceptionally sharp two edged sword, video and text sharing instantaneously cannot be under valued in the way our civilization has advanced and the permaculture movement as well.

Maybe one of the most interesting questions in my mind is what plants, trees or animals might they import? Beef is very tasty but in my mind elk is a Superior meat, though if I had beef that free ranged like elk all it's life that may be different. Deer and goats are exceptionally similar not necessarily a reason to import those. Grapes are tasty but so are muscadines. My suspicion is given many of the tribes utilization of acorn flours or nuts we would have some truly improved varieties that tasted delicious and were a pleasure to eat. At this point I doubt there will ever exist an improved flour acorn.

It's certainly an interesting though experiment to say what if a society rejected the majority of modern practices which would they still want and which could they actually implement while staying in their more naturalist culture.
2 years ago
Whether tis better to control the feed stock source but have to present it in a form they don't encounter in nature or buy in hay  that could have been sprayed or contain who knows what.

Basically I have had 3 katahdin ewes this last year and hope to get a ram to breed them this fall and then probably butcher the ram to get more diverse genetics going on the homestead. They currently are bei g rotated through about 3-3.5 acres of decent pasture and we're trying to move some large patchy forest areas towards silvopasture. About 2 of those acres is currently very long and I'd like to cut it and put it up for winter feed stock.

We don't currently have hay making/baling heavy equipment and don't have the desire to invest in it at this time nor do we have friends with that equipment. We do have a walk behind sickle mower and a Ford 8n with a brush hog. I would prefer to do hay but we live in Missouri near st Louis and it's hard to get 4 days without rain this time of year for cut hay to dry. Because of that I had been looking at how folks in south east Asia and central America sometimes use 55 gallon drums to ferment silage in and my understanding is the moisture content can be much higher for silage. I have also looked at manual square baler plans and wouldn't mind doing that but again the drying time is an issue. I had also though about doing an Amish style hay stack where you trod down the center to compact it then throw a tarp over it.

Our necessary food stock is very low, last year we got by with about 4 standard square bales so it's nowhere near cost prohibitive and we might have been able to get by with 1.5 except I had to use a bunch to lure them back into the fence a few times and that hay was not efficiently used. I had also read about some folks using silage as a portion of poultry feed and we have a decent flock of chickens and ducks so that was also desirable.

I have heard some folks say you shouldn't feed silage because it is never in an animals natural diet so the pH  could be an issue. However I know sauerkraut etc is very good for us so it's hard for me to understand why what is essentially sauerkraut from grass would be bad for ruminants, I understand our digestion is pretty different but the way fermented foods boost vitamin content seems like it would be a good thing.

Thanks for any help you can provide to a newbie who is still learning! Trying to keep our sheep as wildly as possible but I also want to be a good responsible care taker.
3 years ago

John C Daley wrote:From log cabin building

This technique leaves the sapwood on the log which is not as strong as, and is more prone to damage, than the inner heartwood.

Thank you for that site! I hadn't run into that one yet and it looks like it will have tons of good info. All of my knowledge on this stuff is summed up in Mike Oehler underground house book, Rob Roy's Timber Framing and cordwood books and one about adobe/earth building.
Hey all, so I'm about a quarter of the way through Rob Roy's Timber Framing for the Rest of Us. The book is primarily focused on using recti linear timbers and I was just reading in it about how round beams have a significantly lower sectional modulus compared to a squared off beam. Their specific example was an 8 in diameter beam having around 60% of the sectional modulus of an 8x8. Is this simply because the 8x8 would have had to be milled from an 11in diameter tree, assuming perfectly efficient milling? In my mind the vertical posts should pretty much always be better round as opposed  to square since you have no grain run off and the trees are designed to take very high compression in the direction of the grain. For beams my understanding is that if you have to shave them down for tenon's or Lincoln log style  notches then that becomes the weakest part of the beam.

I am currently trying to research and plan for wofati/oehler style structure hopefully to begin construction next summer. The goal is to ring bark some cedars on my current property and fell them this fall to allow them to start curing and drying to use next year. We are currently planning on buying a portion of a good friends property that is on a decent incline so drainage shouldn't be a problem and is uphill of a semi major river well above any possible  floods. The current goal is a single incline shed style roof around 32 by 16  with 8 foot spans to move into and expand from there.
Hey there AnnaLee. There is a very interesting YouTube channel called gridlessness and they have a video where they talk about how their outhouse saved them 200,000 in building coats to build their canadian homestead. They discussed how needing electricity to run the well to fill the toilet to flush into a septic tank would have caused an obscene cost due to the difficulty of getting heavy machinery to their location. I would encourage you to consider pushing your boundaries a little further. Not everyone can, some counties and communities can be quite punitive, but between human waste composting and grey water usage it may cut out some of your plumbing, electrical etc costs.

If you or your husband are handy, running wires and wiring up outlet boxes and lights is surprisingly easy, shrink tube and wire nuts make all the difference, and you can hire an electrician to set up the breaker box when you're done. From what I've seen hvac is optional when designing a very energy efficient home and some have run pseudo geothermal by doing gravel foundation like you discuss then running a cheapo computer fan to cycle air through pipes in the ground following the same guidelines as root cellars for controlling air flow. Based on previous posts I'm guessing you already own a patch of raw land.

Additionally consider the fact that generally, building code only applies when selling a home. I know a number of folks who live in non code approved homes but they are fairly rural and nowhere near a gentrification area. If the cities in your area have a penchant of weaponizing department of health and human services or child protective services ignore everything I just said. I've known a few horror stories of folks in those departments more interested in their promotions than child or family welfare.
3 years ago
Hey Paul, Quick suggestion. For your destratifying copper tube what if you put a car radiator that you spray painted black? It already has a huge surface area, depending on the model they already have a high and low temp side that it should naturally flow through and you can probably pick one up cheap at a pick and pull scrapyard. Biggest disadvantage I can think of is you may want to run quite a bit of water through to flush any residual coolant fluid.

Mike Haasl wrote:

So if someone guerilla planted the nut trees in a wooded part of the park, it would be fine.  If the city planted them and they're surrounded by questionably maintained turf grass, I'm thinking they don't count (for this badge).

Hope that makes sense?

Seems reasonable to me. The areas I'm think of are generally more of areas where the forest has been cut away from trees, but there are often some areas where there are strips of forest with paved areas run through them. I'm local to st louis and I'm personally thinking of laumeier sculpture park and queeny park for any curious. Loving this and when the mushrooms start to fruit around here I'll begin putting in my submissions!
4 years ago