Cam Haslehurst

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since Sep 01, 2020
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I am a professional dabbler. I am on the path to become a communicative disorders assistant, but I also know a little bit about bike repair, welding, gardening, psychology, guitar, piano, photography, philosophy, and more. Doing my best to help build a better world!
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Northern Ontario, Canada
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Recent posts by Cam Haslehurst

Great idea Ezra. It's a similar concept to the stainless steel mixing bowl I was using with my original crusher. The only downside to the concave surface is that the bowl or wok is prone to flinging whatever you're crushing if you accidentally hit the side This happened a couple times to me when I was living on the homestead.

It works very well for small quantities, and for getting a truly fine powder. The mixture has no where to go but back to the center, where it will be pounded again.
2 months ago

Jim Garlits wrote:You made the analogy of a mortar and pestle. I think that is apt. What if you added a cylindrical steel pestle into which the mortar fit pretty snugly? Could even put a small sliding door at the bottom to clean out the finer contents at the bottom when you're done smashing. I think that the increased pressure per square inch might yield a smaller, finer output.

Excellent idea Jim. Potentially a properly dimensioned pipe welded or bolted to some flatbar that one could stand on to hold it steady.


I completed the second crusher today. Thanks May for the inspiration - I ended up making a longer handle because of your suggestion!

First I started by cutting a clean end on the crusher rod. It had a slanted cut, from the welding shop I got it from (in the scrap pile, I love free metal ) Notice my very expensive "chop saw". This won't cut anything thicker than 3/4" thick or so, and it is very slow. But it was only $25, as opposed to $300+ for an actual chop saw. For my at-home messing about purposes it is perfect.

Once I had a clean end, I cleaned up the edges with a flap wheel. This killed two birds with one stone. First, it gave me a clean spot to clamp my ground when welding out the head. Then it gave me a clean area to weld to when I was putting the handle on.

Then I sliced more round bar to give myself a 12" handle. I cleaned up the center, where it would be welded to the rod. Here they are held in place.

Then tacked up.

I checked for square-ness. It was close enough for my liking, so I started welding. I used 3/32" 6010 rod, welding at 85 amps. 6010 is a fast freezing electrode with an interesting bead appearance compared to other welding rods. You'll see my welds further down. I welded one side, then the other. Then I "wrapped my corners". I put that in quote because this is a circle I was welding, with no corners But it just means that after welding, I did a small weld on where my other welds ended. Often, a little divot is left at the end of a weld.

This is no big deal, when your weld won't be under much stress. But when it will be bearing a lot of weight, the divot can be a point of weakness. So I welded a small bead to cover up the divot, then ground the two beads flush. You'll see what I mean in the photos below. It looks a little ugly, but it makes it less likely that the weld will crack. None of this welding and grinding was necessary for this project, as the welds won't be pushed anywhere near their limits. But it's good practice, and I have all day so why not?

Here is the crusher beside a snow shovel for reference.

Here it is from above.

Here is one side of the handle.

And the other side.

Here is one side of the head.

And the aforementioned ground restart. Not as fun to look at as a weld, but it's better than having a big lump where my second weld started!

Let's get CRUSHIN!!

2 months ago

May Lotito wrote:
How heavy is the sledge hammer? I use my sledge hammer for crushing stuffs too. It is heavy at 8 # so I put things on a 1 ft tall tree stump, sometimes with a cardboard box for containing. With this height, I am able tobstand straight up with both hands holding the handle and smash with a up and down motion. It's not hurting my back or wrist this way. I guess if the hammer is light enough with one hand, a knob will work. Otherwise, maybe weld a horizontal bar on top for both hands to hold?

The original one I made was definitely a larger head - I forget the exact weight. I don't know why I didn't think of a handle for both hands...excellent idea. I might do that for this one even though it's a smaller head. That way, it can be used one handed but also two handed to make it easier to do for extended periods.

Sorry I didn't reply earlier, I just saw this now!
2 months ago

John F Dean wrote:I don’t know how much land you have, but I have a Border Collie and an Australian Shepherd who prefer fresh rabbit to dry food.

We have a dog, but she is closer in size to the rabbits than she is to us She does deter them though when she’s outside!

John Wolfram wrote:I'm a firm believer that the best defense against rabbits is a good offense. In the past few months, I've trapped over a dozen rabbits at my property, and my trapping routine will continue through spring. I'm not sure what stores are up in your area, but the Rural King 2-pack cage traps work wonderfully for rabbits, and are only $15 per trap (

I also do what I can to get rid of the places that rabbits like to call home. This past summer, I cleared out a bunch of brush and stacked it into piles. Rabbits love to live in brush piles, so I've been getting rid of the piles as fast as I can.

Also, if you use tree guards, make sure they go up at least as high as the rabbits can reach when there is a few feet of snow on the ground. That was an expensive lesson I learned one year.

You have a couple of great points here John. I don’t think we’ll end up trapping for a couple reasons. However, the point about brush piles is pertinent to us. We love our brush piles, and I didn’t realize they did too!

As for the tree guards – I didn’t think of that. I will need to extend the guards if we do get more snow. So far, with our toasty winter, we barely have a foot on the ground.

Derek Thille wrote:
Stefan Sobkowiak has done some videos on this - I think his YouTube channel is The Permaculture Orchard (of course, that may be may just be his name).  I like the solution he uses that he got from an old orchardist.  Use 1/4" hardware cloth to wrap the base of the tree.  The ideal is to cut the cloth so that you have a cut edge down to the ground.  This will also deter voles which will girdle a lot of fruit trees as well.  You don't need to peg the cloth, but base it upon the size of a mature trunk.  Of course, that protects the trunk but won't protect branches / twigs from browse higher up (deer and rabbits / kin if the snow drifts enough.

I don’t think I have heard of 1/4” hardware cloth before, I’ll need to check it out!

Derek Thille wrote:This weekend I added another layer of protection around the apple tree in the city I planted this fall.  I'd been keeping an eye on tracks and now the snow and hunger got to be enough that the cottontails were able to chow down on a low branch.  War was declared, although lethal force would be difficult here in the city as too many would take offence and potentially take some action against me for "cruelty".

You know, maybe Elmer Fudd just had fruit trees that Bugs Bunny kept on nibbling on.

Donna Lynn wrote:A few years back, I put 2" x 4" welded wire cages around my brand new fruit trees, quite proud of myself for getting ahead of the rabbits and deer.  My cages were 6' tall to exclude both rabbits and deer.  Imagine my chagrin when, come spring, a few of my trees STILL had bark chewed off around the bases!  I asked an expert and he said: MICE.  Mice will eat bark if they get hungry enough.  And they can squeeze through tiny openings.  So now, in addition to my cages, I wrap my little tree trunks in the white plastic spiral wrap-around stuff that is available cheaply at garden stores or online.  They are re-usable until they get brittle and crack.  I take them off in summer when critters are less likely to chomp bark, to keep them from hot sun damage as long as possible.  I leave the cages on until the trees are tall enough and have tough enough bark to survive deer and rabbits.  

The 1/4" hardware cloth mentioned by Cecile is also a good choice for mice and rabbits.  And deer too if you make the cage wide and tall enough, but that could get expensive.

I’m glad I read your experience before doing nearly the same thing Donna! Looks like I can skip the disappointment and go straight to the hardware cloth step.

I can picture the plastic spiral wrap you’re talking about too. Thanks for your help!

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote: Oh, Cam, I share your disappointment... and I am going to take a serious look at my trees.
The only thing I have found very effective is to surround the tree with a 1/4" hardware cloth that is as tall as the snow cover... plus a little more. In a couple of years, you may retrieve the hardware cloth and re-install on a young tree. Once the bark gets furrowed, rabbits will not longer be attracted to it.
I did try these perforated plastic guards they sell, but to no avail: moisture got between the plastic and the tree and caused a rot, so no more plastic for my trees.
Then I became more creative and smeared the trunk with Wasabi. [I was fighting a racoon away from my bird feeder then, but it could work for rabbits]. The racoon stayed away... until we had a good rain.
For the ones that can be salvaged, if you are good at grafting, you could try a bridge graft, although I am not sure you can save the one that was badly wounded.

Thank you for the point about the plastic causing rot – I was concerned about this. I’ll definitely be removing the PVC in the spring, once the creatures have more to munch on besides the tree bark.

Wasabi is an interesting idea! Gotta keep things spicy. Maybe a wasabi manure mixture...okay I am messing around but imagine the smell.

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:You might think that 6 ft isn't tall enough and a deer could jump it. True. But one thing about deer: they are lazy. And if they can browse plenty outside, they won't come in. I had one that panicked during hunting season and jumped over it, found itself trapped inside the orchard. It walked around for a while trying to find an escape. so I went outside in my orange suit and screamed and yelled... and panicked it right outside the fence. So yes. They *could* jump it. They opt not to.

I love this story, that got a couple laughs out of me.

Cécile Stelzer Johnson wrote:Donna is correct: It is mice that can get through small holes and will chew the bark and girdle trees. Rabbits and hares have not given me that much trouble. I should say that there is a forest, so if they need to gnaw on something, they do not need to get at my trees.  Besides, in the orchard, I think they feel a bit exposed, so they don't pass through the fence [the little ones could, actually]. That's why I opted for the 1/4" hardware cloth. I use the 2 ft high. It is more than enough for mice, even with deep snow:  they tend to tunnel on the ground, anyway, between the ground and the snow, so I probably could get away with the 12" high and make it just tight enough that they cannot get between the tree and the hardware cloth. I have also used sections of black ABS pipe, the corrugated stuff they sell in 50 or 100 ft. length for drainage. Sometimes, it is even perforated.
I cut it to length, then split it on one side and wrap it around the tree. It worked well enough, but when came the time to remove it, it was so stiff that I damaged the bark, so now, it is hardware cloth. I must say, I have not had good luck with the white plastic tree wraps they sell for that purpose. The rain and snow got trapped in it and when I watered, too, it didn't dry. I didn't notice it right away but I lost a couple of trees to that.
So welded fence for the deer, hardware cloth for the mice.

Thank you for the tips here. I find the point about the ABS pipe particularly interesting...I definitely won’t be leaving the pipe on the trees any longer than necessary!! They were hard enough as it is to put on the tree, I can’t imagine getting them off when they’re stiff and brittle.


Holy there are a lot of replies here. Thanks for putting my thread in the daily-ish! I told my girlfriend she is dating a famous man now. I will reply to general ideas instead of the replies one by one so this isn’t a novel.

Lots of shit ideas being shared above....meaning ideas involving manure I can say for certain I never thought of putting manure on the trunk to deter critters. And pee too? It does make sense, I wouldn’t want to eat anything covered in feces or urine either.

I do like the idea of giving them alternatives to munch on. Once we learn more how to prune fruit trees properly, we can prune branches and twigs and leave them for the critters. This, combined with good defence of the tree trunks and branches should leave the critters happy and our trees in much better shape.

For now, we will learn as much as we can about bridge grafting and attempt that in the spring.

Thanks everyone for your input!
2 months ago
I came up with another joke.

For context: At work, we were talking about bacon chocolate chip cookies. I tried one, and they were very good! We were talking about how some people are hard-core, and they actually sub bacon fat for butter in the recipe.

One of my co-workers said, "Imagine how long it'd take to save up that much bacon grease!"

It clicked in my head immediately.

What do you call the container that you're saving bacon grease in to make bacon chocolate chip cookies with?

A piggy bank!

2 months ago
Thank you for the article Paul, I'll read that later today!

And Greg...I didn't even know bridge grafting was a thing before now, so thanks for mentioning it! I watched some videos on and damn that is so cool. It's funky how the branch's cells almost switch from a growing 'mode' to a vascular 'mode' instead. I don't know how else to put it but I find it fascinating. Who knew trees were so cool.

2 months ago
My apologies for using the wrong terminology, I'll be sure to change the title. In my head, rabbits, bunnies and hares are all the same

Yes it is definitely hares doing it. I recently saw one hopping on top of the snow. I gave it the angriest glare I could muster up.

I'll go out and get some bird wire, thanks Paul. As for the "cage" I can anchor it down far better with some pegs. Or maybe if the wire isn't too expensive, I'll just do that to the bigger tree as well.

Thanks for the help guys!

2 months ago
Hi permies. We had a sad discovery last week. I was cleaning up the backyard after having a fire with my friends the night before. While tidying up, I decided to take a look at our apple trees. I was shocked to see a rabbit had gnawed on the bark of all three trees!

The first tree has nearly been girdled. I think there is about one centimeter of unbroken bark still intact...this tree might be a goner :(

However, the other two trees weren't hit as badly. The second tree is still badly wounded, but it could survive. The third tree only has a few scrapes. I'm guessing the rabbit got full after the first two.

Here are some photos. Don't mind my finger in the first photo, it was to help me differentiate the photos for this post. Tree one:

Here is the same tree from another angle.

My solution was to cut some old PVC pipe we had in the garage rafters. Then I sliced it down the centre, so it could hinge open. Then I wrapped it around the tree, forming a sort of armour.

Here is the second tree. Badly hit as well.

However, the other side shows there is more bark left over. Yay!!

I covered it using the same method as the first. The only change was using shorter sections so it was easier to stretch the pipe around the trunk.

Now onto the third tree. It was nearly spared by Mr. or Ms. bunny.

I started by cutting the strips of bark cleanly off with side cutters.

This tree has a bigger trunk, so I couldn't use the same pipe. I found some bigger stuff which I thought would work. Oh, how I was wrong. I cut it, and sliced it down the middle. However, even using all my strength, I could barely open the pipe up. After going at it with a blow dryer and prying for a half hour, my brain whispered "there might be an easier way to do this". So I listened, and looked around the garage for stuff to use.


I found this old grill just chillin' in the scrap pile. I thought, why not make it a fence? So I got my sledge out and started doing some blacksmithing (just kidding, I don't want to offend any real blacksmiths here). I had to make a couple relief cuts in the grill so it would straighten out easier. After hammering, and more hammering, I got it semi round. Then I put it around the tree, and zip tied it closed. Is it going to win any beauty contests? Maybe, if their standards are pretty low. What I care about is it deterring that wabbit.

Alright. So the trees are semi-defended, but I have questions.

1) Should the pipes have holes drilled in them to promote ventilation? Or will this just make it easy for those wallowing wabbits to chew through?
2) Should my "fence" be anchored down, or do you think it'll work as is? It is a bit wobbly right now, but I doubt any rabbit would have fun trying to chew around it.
3) These are temporary, emergency measures. What are some better ways to protect the trees long term? Keep in mind the rabbit came for the trees when there was no snow on the ground. We have had a weird winter.

Thanks everyone!
2 months ago
Here are two original jokes. I came up with the first one, and my girlfriend thought of the second one.

1. What do you say to your friend when you call them during an earthquake?

"Hey, what's shaking?"

2. What do you call it when you're in love with someone because of their farts?


2 months ago
Will do, thanks for the suggestion
3 months ago