Sergio Santoro

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since Mar 27, 2011
Nicoya, Costa Rica
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Recent posts by Sergio Santoro

OK, check out this video. Gonna make some pop corn while waiting for the comments.

8 months ago
So, you guys are saying that the white quinoa is not the unhulled version of the red and black?

I could have tried a long time ago. Anyway, now here we find all three kinds in the store. I am interested in the beautiful flower plumes, but if it's anything like amaranth, I don't know how the newly sprouted seeds can even sustain their own length and weight. They are the most delicate kind of sprout I've ever seen. Am I germinating them in too much light or something? I'd rather have them grow stalkier and stronger.
2 years ago
Wow, new look! I hadn't been here in a while.

So, I'm having a battle with fleas here. I live on a farm in Costa Rica. It's very damp during the rainy season (now). We have two dogs. One of our cabins is infested. The lady living in it doesn't want it to be sprayed with carcinogenic crap, and I don't want the dogs' blood to be full of preventative chemicals, if I haven't seen a single flea on them for months.

She said some exterminators that came here last year and treated our place with that fungus that eats insects from the inside told her fleas don't need to live on dogs. They just feed for some time, but for the most part they make their nest in damp places. In our case it's all the cracks between the cabin walls and the porch floor, that are now canyons thanks to the many earthquakes we get.
This lady tried with DE and said it doesn't work. I don't know how she's applying it, but she does do a lot of internet researches. So far in this forum I read about feeding the dogs a teaspoon of ACV every day, as well as feeding them brewer's yeast, except we get it from the US for our salad and it's really expensive.

Can somebody please help with my situation? With dogs running out into the forest on some expedition every couple of weeks, they are bound to bring home some parassite or other. Also, with those cracks around the cabin, it's like having an empty hotel for fleas. Any help is welcome.
2 years ago
I just took a look at the solar kiln, and it seems like an interesting alternative. I'll read about it later.

Hans, what do you mean with "not on a slope"? That the solar collector can be horizontal, or vertical? I'd imagine horizontal, like a glass coffin.
3 years ago
Even if I were to replicate the same model, or make the actual one true to the design, I need advice on the material. The transparent sheets are all cracked under the sun, starting from the screws (with washers). The silicone thing is all brittle and air and bugs come in from everywhere. I also couldn't find a bug-proof way to seal the door. I think I used some fridge door rubber thing. I could use polycarbonate for the transparent panels, but wouldn't a smooth surface reflect part of the light-heat?
3 years ago
Here is the rear of the monster.
3 years ago
Hey, thanks for replying, and sorry for the confusion. The solar collector is only the top slide of that triangular greenhouse thing. Whatever you see painted of a brick color. There is actually a black-painted sheet of corrugated zinc roofing 2" below the transparent panel. The hot air gets inside the chamber from a slot on the top left (looking from standing in front of the door), which is the same size as the screened opening at the bottom of the slide. Yes, there was a wall made of cardboard I made to remedy a mistake made by the guy who helped me make it; then it fell in (you can see it at the bottom of the greenhouse thing inside), but I saw it wasn't affecting the operation much. The chimney is a faux wall on the right-hand side, however, I didn't have enough wood (all the material was donated and on a budget), so I made a half wall that turned into a chimney pipe that I painted black and moved back to the sunny side for a passive solar chimney effect. I am keeping the dehydrator under my solar panel rack to protect it from the rain and excessive sun. I am aware that all my changes jeopardized the top-draft design. Someone told me top-draft is not indicated for the Tropics anyway. Thing is, when the sun is not shining, all activity stops, while I was of the impression that some draft would go on by inertia.
I still like the top draft, because it allows me to have a fan pointing down. A fan at the bottom might get dripped on by my pineapples.
3 years ago
And here I am back again. My solar dehydrator is falling apart. The Tropics are just too brutal, and we are just too poor; I think we cut too many corners to save money and the materials we used are disintegrating under the tropical sun and rain. So, I'll keep it short and sweet. First of all, we have a better internet connection, so I'll upload pictures of our current model at last. I've been looking for solar dehydrators for the Tropics or for humid climates, and all I find is very disappointing, such as dehydrators where the solar collector and the drying chamber are the same, with the fruit drying in direct light (no, thanks), or they have a huge solar collector and the drying chamber is as big as a dog house. I need something close to my current model, if not bigger, as I'll be having more and more bananas and pineapples (drought permitting). Right now I have 8 stacked 2'x3' trays. I looked into drying tunnels, but they take a lot of space. I wouldn't mind a walk-in model. As you can see from the pictures, I went with the top-draft model, the third in Paul Wheaton's video. I even corresponded with the guy in the video, who pretty much cut me short after too many questions and after giving me the design. I never got the darn top draft, so I got a top fan pointing down. During the rainy season, or even before the rains, the air is so moist I have to use a propane burner on the lowest setting to keep stuff from rotting. I don't know how people in North America can forget their prunes in there from the year before. Doesn't it rain there, too?
So, here I am, begging again for pointers, insights and help. I love permies.com, but it seems to be mostly North-America-centered (but please do prove me wrong!), and Geoff Lawton's forum may take days before I get an answer. Still, they are both great resources that can save a lot of time and help lots of people. Thanks, and keep it up!
3 years ago
OK, I found the info I needed in this video, should someone else be in my situation.

3 years ago