David A. Smith

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since Oct 31, 2019
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Recent posts by David A. Smith

Have been YouTubing not only passive solar greenhouses, but also using subsurface heat banks as a means of passively maintain greenhouse temperatures during the Winter months.  One of the videos alluded to some of this.  Hadn't considered banking a greenhouse, but with the proper surface gradients it makes a lot of sense.

Thanks for the info!  Its a big help.  More answers provide for more questions which in turn provide more answers...

2 months ago
With the continued interruption of our lives with the coronavirus and the various machinations of our government, I've become aware that my future financial stability may be at risk.  Social Security, that source of funds that many (actually most, I believe) older Americans rely upon for food, shelter and monthly bills seems to be teetering on the edge of disruption.  While I have another small pension, loss of SS would be a major blow to me.  This brings into focus a greater need for other means of survival not relying on dollars to pave the way.

Living in South Carolina, and having spent many years in Florida, I see many retirees with who are sitting back enjoying their boats and country club memberships.  However, there are more of us who are unable to retire due to not having those large retirement funds backing us up.  Enter the topic of this thread... Where is permaculture for the elderly?

We need to continue expanding the thought to not only being about permaculture, but also about health care, recreation and other aspects of daily life...but, I look further into the future as to where we as mankind are going and what we may do to continue living with and supporting our Earth Mother, so that She may continue providing us a safe and secure environment.  I have my own personal dreams and desires as to what I would like to have, but looking at mankind, overall, what can we do, where can we go, to provide something more for the future?  If you haven't read about the Biosphere projects, take some time and do some net research and reading.  I feel that something along these lines, though not nearly as intense as this project was, may be something upon which we can build for the future.

I'm looking toward building a series of geodesic dome greenhouses (but not in South Carolina) within which I can grow and maintain a permaculture environment, an ecosystem of sorts that would be able to provide food and shelter to a number of people.  Greenhouses, if properly managed, will allow a year round food source.  While it requires labor to manage, it doesn't require the physical stress needed to farm or run large gardens.  Food can be grown in the ground or in raised beds, or a combination of both.  Fruit trees can be grown inside taller domes.  I would hope also that the quality of the air inside these domes could be managed to provide a healthier environment.  (Air quality was one problem in Biosphere II.  Biosphere was however a closed system and didn't allow for outside air exchange.)  I may be older than many people, but I have not given up on continuing to grow and learn or to provide something useful for future generations.
5 months ago
Bonzi - A lot depends on how and where you live.  If you spend most of your time outdoors then you need less of an indoor environment.  Speaking from experience I have lived in recreational vehicles/trailers (RV) and spend the majority of my time living outside, using the inside for things such as cooking and bathing.  That being said, is your climate conducive to year round outdoor living?  Additionally, how many people will be living within your home?  This also makes a big difference when choosing the type of structure you have.

There is something to be said, also, for a graduated increase in your living arrangements.  Buy an older, yet fairly large (28 feet or greater) RV trailer, get your water/septic/power arrangements made, and live in it until you have saved enough money to transfer to/build a larger home.  This way you can quickly begin living on your home place and then plan for the future.  Just a thought...
7 months ago
Wendy Robers... One of the things I've been telling my sons of late... find a small piece of land, about 5-10 acres.  I firmly believe that either/and climate change or economic depression is going to force people to begin growing their own food as my parents did during the 1930's...and as my family had to do during the 1950's.  I just came inside from tending the weeds in my garden and I believe that it will become imperative that my sons have a place to go and grow.

Regarding co-housing units on your place, tiny homes with the elderly in mind, is a great way to go.  Depending on your location it may require you subdividing your land in order to add additional homes.  Here in SC we are limited to two homes per property.  Water and septic are always an issue to be addressed, too, you're right on that.  Caution is advised when looking for someone to rent your home with the expectation that they will help you with shopping, appointments, etc.  There are also a number of other issues of which you need be aware so you don't lose what you have.

How large is your place?
7 months ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:

David A. Smith wrote:
Words are nice, but behavior is believable...  (Not casting stones in any way...)   The more visible, viable, vibrant versions we have out there the more readily acceptable and understandable this vision becomes for everyone else.

I would love to see what you are doing to further that idea!

One step...one brick at a time...

I'm preparing to move out of this life that I've been inhabiting for the past "couple" of years and building a life that embraces that of which we speak.  In doing so I want to use what we have here as a roadmap and then networking to show a visible, viable, vibrant vision to others.

Do I have anything "on the ground" now?  No, not much more than gardening and husbandry...but my entire future is in front of me!
To start with, I haven't finished the entire thread...actually not even the first page...but I have some thoughts I want to put out that I'll probably lose in the clutter of my mind if I don't post them now.

Networking...and this site is a great start.  It only works, however, if it is tied to other sites, other peoples, and keeps getting more threads around the web.  I'm reading, thinking and will be spreading my thin silk webs as often as I can.

Profit...this seems to me to be the biggest issue in today's world.  Or perhaps I should say greed...?  Not until big corporations and the ultra rich can make money off of these principles and practices will they begin to become mainstream.  LED's provide fantastic profit for the manufacturers...and they are cloaked in "doing good for the environment", so everyone feels good changing to them.  Changing out all the incandescent bulbs first to the neon energy savers, and then the next year changing all of them out to LED's...wow!  Big profit!  The same goes with farming.  Until megafarms can do permaculture farms on a big and profitable, and with more profit than they are now generating, basis, nothing is going to change.

Brick 1 is the first brick on the wall, but you need a sound footer and foundation...  Well, I think that part is there, or rather here.  Everyone can't start with brick 71, they have to get to the foundation and lay the first brick.  Heck, that first brick might just be a big flower pot on the balcony of their apartment, but at least its a brick.

Words are nice, but behavior is believable...  (Not casting stones in any way...)   The more visible, viable, vibrant versions we have out there the more readily acceptable and understandable this vision becomes for everyone else.  Being able to see a perm-munity that is peopled with advocates, being able to visit one with a restaurant serving meals solely from within the perm-munity, being able to walk down streets and through the fields and visit the homes of advocates, will go a long way to demonstrating to people that this is a viable way of life that is completely Earth Friendly.

I apologize if my rambling is redundant, but like I said... I got a cluttered mind...
Outstanding thread!  You all have hit me right where I've been heading!

I live in central South Carolina, so for the most part I don't have to worry about snow.  But, we do have to deal with temps down in the 20's overnight at times.  Right now I'm working with a friend in his family's former tobacco greenhouse... 200'x36'...  That's a lot of space to work with!  So, I'm partitioning off about 60' to be our main area and leaving the rest for (hopefully) in ground crops like carrots, kale, collards, broccoli, cabbages and the like.  We've already started some tomatoes and peppers, and will be starting more next week.  We plan on putting these in ground in the 60' section.  We plan on providing needed heat to this part, whereas we're hoping that the rest will be able to maintain a healthy growing attitude in their protected mini-clime.

I love the idea of the cattle panel greenhouses!  I'm thinking of building a couple at about a 6x12 or 6x18 length and selling them at a local feed mill.  I'll see how that pans out and let you know.

I also have picked up the frame from one of those canvas covered equipment/car ports, 24x13 and about 7 feet in height.  I've already bought greenhouse plastic to cover it along with tapes, etc.  I'm planning on trying to heat it with a buried black PVC pipe buried about 6' deep under the greenhouse and using a solar powered fan to move the air through the PVC system into the greenhouse proper.  If it doesn't heat the entire place, it will at least raise the temperature so I won't need as much propane to maintain an adequate temperature level.

A note on some of the cattle panel greenhouses, above.  Make sure you have adequate ventilation for the top of the structure, moreso than at ground level.  Your heat will rise and need to be vented.  You also don't want to have too much of a cold draft going across your plants, either.  Side vents/curtains will allow you to open up the greenhouse during Spring and Summer when temps begin to rise and allow you to use it for a longer period.

Two things I want to grow... oranges and bananas... There is a Satsuma variety orange that is fairly cold tolerant down to the upper 20's so I'm hoping it will work well within a greenhouse.  Banana plants grow around here but I've yet to see any fruit from any of them.  Maybe... just maybe...

1 year ago
I had a dog once that killed one of our ducks.  Well, that dog had to wear that duck around her neck for a couple of days.  She didn't bother any more ducks.

I now have goats and a problem with the neighbor's pit bull pack, and with all the coyotes in the area.  Because of that, I got a donkey to live with them.  Donkeys hate canines and will deliver a devastating kick when they are around
1 year ago