M Wilcox

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since May 21, 2019
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chicken solar rocket stoves
Wanted a homestead all my life, collected scads of necessary skills & education, met a woman with a similar dream, we're finally moving to a farm to build our homestead. It's never too late til you're dead!
Upstate New York
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Recent posts by M Wilcox

Welcome, Mr. Chiras! Perfect timing since I'm just making plans to build a greenhouse. Your book seems interesting.
2 weeks ago

Marty Mitchell wrote:Time Lapse vid!

I just put up a 15 day time lapse vid of the lettuce growing in my aquaponics system. Ended up looking pretty cool. The lego man made the kids bust out laughing. lol



Wow, Marty!!! I just read every one of your posts in this thread and I gotta say THANK YOU for the detailed info. What a time-saver for someone new to aquaponics!! I never thought of the idea of ornamental fish in the system. Everybody talks about raising fish to eat and I don't like fish at all--at least not for eating. I wonder if one could raise expensive koi to sell for people's fishponds? What happened with  your fry? did they survive? how did you get rid of them?
3 months ago
Can jerusalem artichokes be grown in containers so they don't take over the world?
7 months ago

Hazel Reagan wrote:...I want to bring  a group of diverse people to uform a community on Treesong. In Star's class, we defined diversity as having a variety of gifts and perspectives to fill a role and niches working together to create strong resilient bonds so everyone thrives.  Treesong is held in a living Trust, never to be sold.  The goal is an ultimate Permaculture Design for a model to teach Advanced Permaculture Skills emergence workshops.  Please tell me about yourself; skills, interests, dreams, even those not necessarily pertaining to Permaculture.
Thank-you,
Hazel



Hazel. are you still looking for people to join you? my partner and I have been seeking an intentional community for the past year and your venture sounds amazing. I have all sorts of hands-on skills (plumbing/irrigation, basic carpentry, natural building, alternate energy, etc) and have been wanting to teach workshops. We are currently on a permaculture homestead in Upstate NY but want to move west this summer.
I had my heart set on Oregon but up till now we hadn't found a suitable community there. Let me know if you want to chat more.
8 months ago

Leaf Bailey wrote:Hi Permies,


I have an off-grid property in southern Oregon, (Ashland/Medford area) that I am looking to create a learning center on. I have specific dreams of what that may ultimately look like but I am also open to beginning with what is available. Ultimately, there is so much potential and I know that everyone has their own sets of skills and interests to bring to the table, we can really begin anywhere.


Peace



Hi Leaf,
My partner and I are seeking an intentional community to join. I have all sorts of hands-on skills (plumbing/irrigation, basic carpentry, natural building, alternate energy, etc) and have been wanting to teach workshops. We are currently on a permaculture homestead in Upstate NY but want to move west this summer.
I had my heart set on Oregon but up till now we hadn't found a suitable community there. Let me know if you want to chat more.
8 months ago
Hi Leaf,
My partner and I are seeking an intentional community to join. I have all sorts of hands-on skills (plumbing/irrigation, basic carpentry, natural building, alternate energy, etc) and have been wanting to teach workshops. We are currently on a permaculture homestead in Upstate NY but want to move west this summer.
I had my heart set on Oregon but up till now we hadn't found a suitable community there. Let me know if you want to chat more.
8 months ago
Welcome to the forum! Those socks look so cozy and warm.
8 months ago
Ok, folks, here's the moment you've all been waiting for (I flatter myself)...
We've been using our flush composting toilet for 4 months and I'm here to give an update and post a video of the build. The video is really hokey and repetitive cuz I've never done one before, but at least you'll get to see what we did.
First for the update:
During the summer & fall, it worked like a charm!! That's it. The whole update. No problems whatsoever. And then there was winter.

When winter set in, I had to come up with yet another brilliant system to ensure our holding tanks didn't freeze. Here's what I did:
I noticed that the exhaust port of our propane-burning furnace was pumping out burning hot air. I accidentally left a plastic thing near the exhaust and it melted, so, pretty hot.

Our trailer already has the cold-weather package but it's only good down to about freezing so I needed to keep the underneath of the trailer warm to prevent the fresh, black and grey water tanks and water lines freezing.
So I bought some flexible aluminum ducting like you put on your dryer (not the plastic stuff!), long enough to reach from my exhaust port, and stretch all down the center of the underneath of the trailer, with detours looping under areas like the kitchen and bathroom, and ending under the black water tank and drain portal. The opening of the duct would exhaust out into the open air so as not to build up carbon monoxide under the trailer.

Then I wrapped pipe insulation around the duct from the exhaust port down to the ground and under the trailer a couple feet. Then I salvaged some rigid ducting and a couple elbows that were about 2 inches bigger diameter and enclosed the flexible duct (that was a bit*h, I'll have to figure out an easier way to do that) down to the end of the insulation. Then I used baling wire to attach the opening of the duct over the exhaust port and turned on the heat to make sure the airflow was unobstructed and that the insulated portion of the duct wasn't going to get too hot. It didn't; I could easily keep my hand on it at the highest temp it could produce.

Next, I went under the trailer and checked that the temp of the uninsulated duct wouldn't be so hot as to melt the goodies on the under side of the trailer--that was all good too.

Now comes the messy part. My daughter and I stacked bales of straw all around the outside of the trailer to close the gap between the trailer walls and the ground, to retain the heat from the furnace exhaust. We draped them with an old insulated pool cover I got for free, to keep them dry. We had laid down scrap 2x4's covered with tar paper ahead of time to keep them from absorbing rain and snow melt from the ground. Yes, I could have bought some fancy insulated skirting and spent hours measuring and cutting and making it beautiful--and maybe I will do that at some point but we were running out of time and money so...

Anyway, that worked beautifully for a while, then I realized that moisture from the hot air was condensing in the duct and causing ice dams. So I went underneath and poked some holes along the bottom of the duct to let condensation drain out. I wasn't that worried about CO2 escaping the duct work at that point cuz I didn't notice at first that the ice dams had formed and our CO2 sensor never sounded to warn us, so the CO2 that was escaping from the seams in the duct was not entering the living space. Besides, hot air rises, right? The hot air and fumes were traveling along the top of the duct and the holes were in the bottom.

The hole-poking completely solved the problem and we were back in business! Our tanks never froze and we were able to drain the black and grey water tanks at will. Right up until something crawled into our furnace air intake and we had to switch to space heaters until we could get it resolved. But up until then, it worked great!!

And now, the moment you've ACTUALLY been waiting for...here's the video of the flush composting toilet build:  


9 months ago

Amit Enventres wrote:Sounds good.... but on areas with regular flooding it sounds like a problem. In areas short in water/no flooding it sounds like a dream.

We are in a flood prone area. Mostly flash floods, but ground water level = ground level in spring, so I can only salivate over your system.



You know, I've been thinking about your comment for a while and it occurs to me that a regular septic system delivers all the nitrogen from your effluent directly to the groundwater anyway. I'm not a biologist or a scientist but it seems to me that any amount of nitrogen that can be uptaken by roots is better than ALL of it going into the groundwater. If there's any high ground on your property, you could dig the barrel in at that spot and even put an outhouse over it. If you plant nitrogen-loving plants on either side of the path of the leach field, they would utilize most of the nutrients flowing though the system. Worst-case scenario, you use your regular system during flood periods and switch to the more earth-friendly system the rest of the time. Remember that the solids are retained in the tank and composted by soil life. The liquids only carry whatever bacteria or pathogens they pick up on the way by, which then get neutralized by the biofilter material.
Anna Edey, the designer of the concept, had extensive lab testing done on her system and they discovered no pathogen build-up in the leach field. So it seems her system could be useful even in flood-prone areas if used judiciously.
9 months ago

Stacy Witscher wrote:Hi,
I live on 80 acres in southern Oregon with two of my adult children. We have been looking for others to join us. My property is Foxglove Farms in the projects forum. Let me know if you have any questions.

Stacy



Thanks Stacy, I'll check it out.
11 months ago