K Eilander

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since Aug 23, 2018
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homeschooling kids forest garden building woodworking homestead
Rocky Mountains, USA
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Recent posts by K Eilander

So I was out spring cleaning today (procrastination like this takes years of practice :) )  and I noticed a stack of spare roofing shingles (like I'm sure we've all got somewhere) had fallen over during the winter.

Though the weeds around it were tall, just as one might suspect underneath there was nothing growing at all.

Not sure if this has already been done, but it got me to thinking... used asphalt shingles for garden paths!

1) Those things last simply forever
2) no self-respecting weed is a match for their weight and toughness.
3) easy to peel up and move if/when you change your mind
4) stays put (as opposed to, say, gravel, which likes to migrate everywhere)
5) free for the taking if you get to know a roofer

1) Could get sticky in the heat (though most used ones the tar would be so full of dirt it might be a non-issue)
2) Make sure all the nails are out, because, ouch!
3) ** this seems to be the big one I that overlooked, so I thought I'd add it to the OP ** potential for toxins leaching into the soil, especially around food-growing areas

So there's a commercial on TV right now where a little girl is doing a science fair project where it foams up all over the place and makes a big mess.  Well that got me to thinking (and we all know where *that* can lead!)

The experiment is a classic science fair project called "Elephant's Toothpaste".  Basically mix soap, yeast, and hydrogen peroxide and it foams up all over the place.

Well that got me to wondering about making aircrete without all the fancy schmantsy foam wands and air compressors and whatnot.  Can't think of why this wouldn't work.  Soap is already used in aircrete, and yeast is just yeast.  No idea if peroxide would do anything to the cement tho.

Worst case, it should make a memorable-sacle mess.  If anybody decides to try it, let us know. ;)
1 week ago
So, I was recently watching Curtis Stone this week.

He definitely has his own views on things, but this time he caught me off guard more than usual.

He interviewed this guy Christian Westbrook of http://www.iceagefarmer.com

Apparently the theory is that this solar cycle we're moving into (Solar Cycle 25) is, they say, going to show reduced energy emission from the sun.  It sounds a little conspiracy-theory-ish, but what's notable to me is that the data and solar predictions themselves seem to all be coming from NASA, so, genuinely credible stuff.  

Of course, then they take it and run with it, and add their own interpretation about what that will mean for the climate and/or global food supply. I don't know that anyone would agree with 100% of everything they say, but if you can let that run off your back, there is a lot to ponder here.  

Also, they quote Mollison, so they can't be all bad, #amiright :)

So I dunno.  What do you guys think?  Are we headed for a solar minima and/or a sort of "mini ice age"?

I guess the practical take-home they recommend, "increase resilience (for whatever may come) by building healthy soil", is something that we can all agree upon!
3 weeks ago
Hello Anne!

Thank you for giving away some books to us eager Permies.  But most of all, thank you for working so hard to write it and share it with the world!

I was curious about one thing.  When you say "medicinal", what exactly do you mean by that?  Are these plants regular, well-known remedies / aromatherapy / herbal / do you get into any ancient or tribal remedies at all?   I'm just curious what the focus and scope of your healing food forest is?
1 month ago

M Doyle wrote:Question: Has anyone ever heard of a greenhouse on skids?

If so, was it successful? What are the best construction techniques for such a structure?


"Texas Prepper's" cattle panel greenhouse!

I actually built one using concrete re-mesh (because it was a little cheaper than cattle panel) and it works great.  Don't know how it does as a greenhouse because it got taken over as a chicken run.
2 months ago
We have a "whisper mill", which I (only half) in jest describe as "the gentle whisper of a jet engine at takeoff".  Works well, but I can't say I recommend that brand.
2 months ago

There's another great research article out from low-tech magazine!

The page goes into much more detail than I can here, but the jest of it is between the 1920's-1950's the Russians developed a system for growing citrus in sub-freezing climates using a number of innovations including cold-hardening, trenches (of course), and forcing the trees to grow very close to the ground.  Some rather extreme, though interesting, ideas!
2 months ago
Hello all,

Let me start off by saying I am not affiliated with this channel and I don't know the person, but I read in another thread somebody was trying to work out a bell siphon and immediately thought of this guy's videos.
I believe he's a civil engineer, but I think a lot of topics that he covers have tie-ins to what we are doing here, so I thought I would create a thread that might be of use to some folks.

The main channel is concrete - for general building
soil - for erosion control and earth-moving whammies
But most of all:
water - where he covers things like trompes, syphons, dams, and things useful general plumbing

Hope it helps.
3 months ago
I'm not a solar installer, but to me this sounds like a job for a grid-tie inverter.

I don't know what your local laws are for "selling back" to the power grid, but with that small a panel it probably won't ever come to that.  Instead, the idea behind the grid-tie-ness is that it "adds" power back into the AC that your house is already using.

For instance (with totally made up numbers), say your house is using 1,000 watts from the grid, your panel ties in an additional 100 watts... so now you are only drawing 900 watts from the grid.  That kind of thing.
3 months ago