Matt Todd

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since Apr 25, 2019
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Always a backyard gardener, now expanding into permaculture!
Northwest Missouri
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Recent posts by Matt Todd

Is there some sort of clean out on this bad-boy, or do you just pop the top to get in for maintenance? Also, I've never seen the inside of a cottage rocket. Do they have much of an insulated riser or lower tech?
I don't have any hard and fast answers, but that in itself is kinda my answer. It's nearly impossible to guess or calculate how your system will be since everyones build/materials/climate/heating needs are different.  

One point I keep seeing is that you won't get it exactly right the first time, so the more adaptable you can make your system the better you can fine tune it. I've been trying to finely plan my own design for so long that I'm getting ready to just go for it based on a rough ISA calculation, leaving myself room to add more mass if needed.

I've never seen much in the way of mass under the bench bells. Usually the split drums get squared by brick and a masonry top with cob filling the void space. So a couple thoughts on adaptability:  You could start by leaving most of that void space empty and see how it feels. If you don't like the balance of quick heat to heat storage you could fill the void until you are satisfied. Or you could start with a thinner masonry top and add big flat pieces like concrete pavers until you found the balance of heat storage and conformable height that works for you.

2 days ago
HAHAHA, I read this paraphrased as "4 months ago we got into vermiculite for bedding, can I feed that to the worms?"
What a difference one word read wrong can make!
My apologies. I'd never heard of vermiculite as chicken bedding and guess I should have read closer. Sorry I don't know the answer to your actual question.  
5 days ago
Since vermiculite is just an expanded mineral, it will not decompose. It will not compost on it's own. It will soak up moisture from chicken waste, and if you compost it with a bunch of other materials that are actually compostable that waste will be heat treated and become safe for worms to be around... but the vermiculite itself will not break down and your worms aren't going to be able to eat it. It will just fill up your worm bin and maybe mix with your worm casting/dirt.

So even IF you can get it heat treated and rendered safe for worms, it will just be filler not food.

6 days ago
That's odd about your chickens not going to bed. Usually that's a super strong instinct! Mine go to bed early to stake out the best roost positions. Every once and a while somebody will miss the auto-door.
It's an adventure for sure, and there are a million different ways to raise your birds. I though I was safe from predators until last fall about this time I lost 2 young birds to hawks. So if you see hawks migrating through, consider scarecrows.
6 days ago
I do not have anything in Texas in my list from online shopping 2 seasons ago, but I can say I'm super happy with my order from Washington state.
The plants were BIG and are doing well in poor soil. Sweet Scarlet tastes better than Red Gem.

Dang, 50 is a lot! But hey, at least that's enough where you won't have to fight the birds for the fruit like I do with my two plants.
6 days ago
Mammals could easily become dependent on humans, or be a nuisance, or eat things that are not healthy for them.

Birds on their long migratory routes won't have their behavior altered by feeders, and what you do feed them mimics what they would find in nature.  And since our domesticated cats kill an ungodly huge number of birds, anything we do to help the birds out is bringing things back into balance in my opinion.  

1 week ago
Well, this other structure I'm talking about still had a decent wood floor of joist and decking construction. So my treated "skirting" that replaced the rotten wall ends was screwed into the floor and the posts. Granted, the post bases were rotten at soil level so I lifted it an inch or two to cut off the rot and set it back down on blocks to level it. Which is a long way of saying I had a decent floor on grade to begin with.

You have a more tricky situation for sure since I gather you want to keep the dirt floor. And without the concrete you mentioned, something could dig in. Maybe a decent compromise would be the solid concrete blocks that are half the height of those cinder blocks. Line those up level around the perimeter to receive your posts and use 2 inch lumber to cover what you cut off. Maybe some dig guard outside it all for good measure.
1 week ago
Man I continue to relate to you. I had a lean-to building (different from the previous mentioned) that had tongue and groove boards rotting into the dirt all around. Jacked it up, sawed them off, and replaced all around the base with treated 12x2's. Expensive but should last a damn long time and up my predator/rodent proofing.
1 week ago