Jonathan Patrick

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since May 27, 2011
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Recent posts by Jonathan Patrick

Hey guys, got a hugelkultur question:

Can I use cherty/silty/clayey soil as the soil cover? As I'm digging out my underground house, I'm finding myself needing a place to put all of the dirt. I'm not even sure you can call this stuff soil -- it's brownish grey when fresh dug, then turns light grey as it dries in the sun. I doesn't bother me too much if I'm restricted in finding plants that do well in 'poor soils' for the first year or two. I mostly just want to be able to use all of this dirt for something if I can, and I have a LOT of hugel beds to make.
6 years ago
Hi guys,

Rather than start a new thread, I thought I'd jump into this one, since so much has already been said here.

I'm probably building something based around the $50 underground house. Before I put so much work into digging that I can't change my mind, I have some concerns/questions. (I do at least know from the well drillers that I probably won't hit a rock shelf unless I go down 100 feet!)

From what I've gathered here, pond liner is now recommended for the roofing, the roofing material should also be extended a good distance away from the sides, french drains are recommended around the perimeter, and it is no longer recommended to set the posts into the ground.

Questions concerning my situation: I'm located in north central Arkansas. The hillside I have available is west-facing. Does this present any unique problems I may not be considering? Mike's book seemed to recommend south facing slopes, but I do not have one available. The housing site I selected is roughly half-way down the hill, but probably closer to the top than the bottom.

Is pond liner also recommended for the sides, or is it really only needed for the roof?

Is there a problem with using oak/hickory for the posts, beams and girders? I have a lot of it available for free, so I'd prefer to use it unless there are good reasons not to.
6 years ago
Apologies for not replying to you all sooner. The last few months have been busy with moving. While I'm not settled into a place in Arkansas yet, I'm close enough to start work on things and get a better sense of what I'm actually doing.

Building situation has changed. I now do indeed seem to have a say in my living space. The original building turned out to be pricier than expected, and has been scaled down. It will no longer have a permanent living space inside, just a temporary one while I work on my own place.

You all have some great ideas that I'll definitely be trying in the meantime. No western/eastern windows, shade, vines, loose breezy clothing. Thanks, it's a start!

Walter, that uphill spring sounds awesome. I wish I had a similar option, but sadly, I do not.

Since I now have some control over my housing, I've decided to go with the underground idea afterall, probably based around Mike Oehler's PSP method. I've got some questions concerning that, but I'll go post those in the underground housing thread in the green building section.

Thanks again!
6 years ago
I think you may be confusing demonstration videos with completed and installed stoves. Any finished stove is and must be vented to the outside in some way. Which of videos are you referring to? (provide a link for simplicity, if you would)
7 years ago
Hah, that sure would be a handy program! did you write it for Linux, Windows, or Mac?

The best I've come up with so far is having a dry erase board on my wall with a list of various things to be done. Every once in awhile I tell myself "Go pick one and do it".

It works great when there's less than 5 or so items. After that it's so hard to figure out which one to pick!
7 years ago
Legal or illegal might not bother *you*, but you're suggesting it to someone without mentioning so, and without knowing where they live or if they care.

I also feel like it's wrong to call it safe. The length of time a dangerous thing has been done does not make it safe. Awareness of possible danger is what allows safety. It wouldn't bug me so much if you hadn't so cavalierly said "don't be scared... no psychic side effects!". That's just irresponsible. From wikipedia: "Datura intoxication typically produces a complete inability to differentiate reality from fantasy (delirium, as contrasted to hallucination); hyperthermia; tachycardia; bizarre, and possibly violent behavior; and severe mydriasis with resultant painful photophobia that can last several days. Pronounced amnesia is another commonly reported effect."
7 years ago
I would strongly urge caution regarding the post about jimson weed/datura. Jimson weed or any datura is nothing to casually fiddle around with. Unless you know how to dose properly, they are dangerous, and it's very difficult to judge strength of anything from raw plant matter. It is also illegal in some states now.

On a lighter note,

I found that walnut leaves are not unpleasant. They do have that characteristic 'burnt plant' taste that you get with almost anything but cured tobacco, but it was less so if semi-dry yellowed leaves were used. I bet if you worked out a way to cure them longer they would lose most of this and make for an pleasant smoke either by themselves or blended with tobacco. I have no idea of the possibility of health effects of this, adverse or otherwise, just noting that the taste seemed decent.
7 years ago
Oh wow!

Thanks for posting this! I had no idea these had the same screw thread as mason jars! Now I can blend/chop/mix things in the same container I might store it in, leaving only the blade to clean! Also great for mixing up a beverage in the smaller pint jars.
7 years ago
I have 2 indoor cats and one outdoor cat. The outdoor one has been to the vet twice for abscesses after getting wounded in fights. I'd keep him indoors if I could get away with it, but he tends to let me know that he's pissed by well, pissing everywhere. Since it seems his injuries occurred at night, I compromise by shutting him indoors then, and giving him free access during the day.
7 years ago