Some of those items look pretty tasty, Dave. I'm staring at the antipasto wraps right now thinking something like it would be an ideal lunch item.
Regular basecamp meals would serve as the testing for new dishes. I'm sure the Kitchen Commander has already produced some fine meals which can be duplicated for a larger group.
A plan is developing:
-Select items which can be produced on site with equipment available.
-Assemble a menu using those items.
-Repeat the menu at each event, scaled according to population.
All this allows planning to be streamlined. Repeating the menu at the next event has a staff already trained in setting up and preparing those dishes. Equipment and wares can be placed ahead of time.
With each repetition, items can be improved, production simplified/streamlined, less successful items replaced, popular items expanded. Documenting the project would be handy.
The volume of product being prepared would become more accurate, resulting in less waste and fewer leftovers to pack away.
For the 50 people event, how many days will this go on?
Back in college we had 40 guys in a fraternity but only 20 seats in the dining room. The solution was to dine in shifts. There was a 6PM seating and a 6:30 seating. Eat your food, clear your table, make room for the next wave. It looks like there is no problem with auditorium seating. This method can double the dining capacity of basecamp.
For the 50 people event, and events to follow, developing a standard meal plan can allow duplication using the same equipment. Menu selection can offer a workaround for some of the equipment, but some equipment may still be needed initially. Refrigeration strikes me as a limiting factor. 50 people can consume 250 pounds of foodstuffs in a day, much of which will need cool storage before and after preparation. Foods which can be served cold can be prepared ahead of time and stored, clearing cooking equipment for use at service time.
Ice companies have ice storage trailers available for rent. Example is 6'x8', 4 days for (HOLY COW) $595.
That dog don't hunt.
The idea is sound. Perhaps an icebox is the answer. Sacks of ice can be had cheaply. Stored in a small space an impromptu icebox can be put together with rudimentary materials. Erect a frame, cover with a tarp, lots of hay for insulation. Is there a suitable space on that slope which can be excavated to serve as a cold storage pit? If you can keep the bears away, this may be something to consider.
I'm thinking this idea could develop into an icehouse. Cold storage all year with ice sourced from local surface water or produced on site.
Getting back to menu selection...
Side dishes can be prepared ahead and held in cold storage until service. Potato or pasta salad comes to mind. Whip it up early, the stove is available for meal time.
Desserts and treats: jello, pudding, PIE, muffins.
Entrees prepared in volume: meatloaf for example, bake a couple big pans of 10 pounds each, you've got an entree ready to head out the door.
Pasta can be cooked ahead of time, rapidly cooled in an ice water bath, drained and stored. To reheat, a pot of boiling water, fill a basket with pasta, dip in the boiling water for a minute, drain into a bucket.
Salad is a given. Cut vegetables will hold up well. Remember the couple with the cold water running down tubing inside an old fridge?
Sandwiches are easy. Set out the bread, cold cuts, cheeses, vegetables, condiments, diners prepare their own sandwiches as they move through the line. A line on 2 sides of a table will move them along in good time.
Tacos have very little hot ingredients, the rest is cut vegetables begging to be salad at the next meal.
Continental style is probably the easiest way to serve 50 people. Breads, rolls, muffins, bagels, donuts/donots, juice and coffee. Add fruits, jams, butter. If hot items are desired scrambled eggs and pancakes can be produced in batches using a propane camp stove. The lower heat requirements hopefully won't generate smoke to fill the auditorium. If you get into bacon, cooking inside the auditorium can make a mess.
Day 1: tacos, fruit salad
Day 2: sandwiches, pasta salad
Brown Bag: prepared sandwich, hard boiled egg, small canning jar of rice pudding, fruit
Day 1: Meatloaf, gravy in a slow cooker, potato salad, tossed salad (leftovers from tacos), bread/rolls, PIE
Day 2: Zuke Parmesan, pasta, sauce in a slow cooker, garlic bread, tossed salad, rice pudding
Ice tea can be produced and stored ahead of time in just about any container available.
Coffee (it makes my world go 'round)
The current kitchen at basecamp, from what I can tell, is a standard American kitchen designed for use by a typical nuclear family of 2 parents an 3.14159 kids.
If I understand the nature of the situation you need to service the demands of a larger group every day, in various locations, plus the occasional large group.
I think looking at the challenge through the lens of a caterer/concession will provide the solution.
1 Construct a production kitchen
Locating this inside the auditorium takes from the limited space available. Construction projects in the auditorium will require extensive cleanup before the kitchen could be used.
Construction inside basecamp does not look to be practical.
Construction near the auditorium seems to make the best sense for logistics. The greatest demand would be when the greatest number of people are involved, which puts them in the auditorium at least part of the day.
Attached to the auditorium as a lean to structure would work by extending the roofline, making good use of existing walls, plumbing, electric and heating systems. This has the advantage of utilizing process heat from cooking operations to heat the auditorium. A free standing structure is also possible.
An interior width of 15' would allow 2' wide countertops on each wall with a 4' work area in the center, and 3' wide pathways. A length of 20 feet allows 2 doors, entry and exit.
Meals served buffet style can be accommodated with the buffet down the center, access from one side by the diners, access by staff on the other, with single direction traffic.
Food production equipment involving heat and sharp edges on the wall away from the doors enhances safety.
The auditorium serves double duty as the dining room. Those bus tubs of which you speak can be utilized for quick clean up and transition back to an auditorium.
If the food is to head out the door, the central workstation serves as the expediting station for loading containers which are loaded into the food wagon.
This production kitchen is a considerable investment. $10k and up is not at all unimaginable. All I'm doing is proposing an idea that I don't have to pay for. The area I mentioned will handle a whole lot more than 50 people, giving you the room to grow and adapt as well as store equipment. At some point you'll need a space to process all the yummy goodness being harvested. This space would serve you well.
2 Construct or purchase a food wagon.
Rough terrain, harsh weather, and primitive conditions is the template.
The function of the food wagon is to shuttle food and equipment, maintain temperatures, provide utility.
A handwashing station is surely a part of the design. Water storage is a simple matter and can be filled with hot/warm water at the production kitchen. Insulation will keep it warm for a while. Add plumbing to a sink, greywater from there. The sink may or may not be connected to the food wagon.
A folding table on each side, perhaps connected with a hinge, offers a service station. Seating can be as simple as lumber and posts, or folding chairs. At work I lug my lunch in a 5 gallon bucket with a lid. It's an instant seat. If I have a seat, it serves as my table.
Maintaining temperatures is a matter of insulated and easily cleaned compartments. Loading the food immediately prior to the shuttle run does not allow much time to heat up or cool off. The only real problem here is containers for the food to prevent splashes and spills while traversing the rough roads. Good shocks, straps, and bungee cords will go a long way towards stability. Menu selection offers an advantage as well. Stews are splashy, goulash sticks to the container and to your ribs. Liquid/drink containers are easy to come by.
If all you need to do is get the food from point A to point B without a mess and don't need furniture, mason jars with caps is easy to do. They'll handle hot or cold contents, seal tight, are difficult to break, can be shipped in compartmentalized crates, and the diner can eat from them directly with regular sized utensils.
If you have more money than Davy Crockett, there are concession trailers out there.
I've worked in a number of restaurants that used Arcoroc glass plates and bowls. I can't offer information about production or infredients but they are food safe, attractive and extremely durable. I've dropped them on the floor more times than I can remember. They'll take a hit and hold up, but now and then one will break. By break, I mean shatter into a gozillion pieces. No large shards to cut your hand, plenty of small pieces to sweep up.
Chronic exposure in the studies I linked has workers in aluminum smelting plants. 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 50 weeks a year for decades.
Firing up a pizza oven now and then does not compare. It's a totally different ball park.
You concerns and fears appear to me as irrational and unjustifiable. The amount of alumina in the food cooked on a well brushed brick oven floor is not quantified. There is no reasonable means of determining your projected level of exposure and determining risk for such minute levels. Uncertainty and risk will always be greater than zero.
We all have differing thresholds of acceptability regarding levels of contamination. For example, some folks have no desire to use manure in compost produced by a beast served feed which includes GMOs. We live in a world fraught with pollution in our air, soil, water, homes and food. There is no escaping it. All one can do is avoid the worst, clean up what we can, and stop adding to it. For the traces which remain, we must accept it as a condition of our environment in order to go on with living and enjoying our lives.
If there is no level of exposure which would ease your apprehension, I would suggest you dismiss the notion of building a brick oven for your own use. Dwelling on uncertainty is no way to enjoy this incredible gift of life.
An article on Researchgate examines chronic exposure to alumina and bauxite dust.
ABSTRACT To examine the associations between alumina and bauxite dust exposure and cancer incidence and circulatory and respiratory disease mortality among bauxite miners and alumina refinery workers.
This cohort of 5770 males has previously been linked to national mortality and national and state cancer incidence registries (1983-2002). In this paper, Poisson regression was used to undertake internal comparisons within the cohort based on subgroups of cumulative exposure to inhalable bauxite and alumina dust. Exposure was estimated using job histories and historical air monitoring data.
There was no association between ever bauxite exposure and any of the outcomes. There was a borderline significant association between ever alumina exposure and cerebrovascular disease mortality (10 deaths, RR 3.8, 95% CI 1.1 to 13). There was some evidence of an exposure-response relationship between cumulative bauxite exposure and non-malignant respiratory disease mortality (seven deaths, trend p value: 0.01) and between cumulative alumina exposure and cerebrovascular disease mortality (trend p value: 0.04). These associations were based on very few cases and for non-malignant respiratory disease the deaths represented a heterogeneous mixture of causes. There was no evidence of an excess risk for any cancer type with bauxite or alumina exposure.
These preliminary findings, based on very few cases, suggest that cumulative inhalable bauxite exposure may be associated with an excess risk of death from non-malignant respiratory disease and that cumulative inhalable alumina dust exposure may be associated with an excess risk of death from cerebrovascular disease. Neither exposure appears to increase the risk of incident cancers.
In a brick oven, I would not consider dust to be a chronic exposure situation.
A monograph has been produced by staff of a National Poisons Information Service Centre in the United Kingdom.
It discusses chronic exposure, accumulation in the body, half life times for removal of alumina from the body.
There are some problems with inhaled alumina penetrating the blood brain barrier, being alumina is not water soluble.
Still no statistical risk of cancer from inhalation.
I think a greater risk would be inhaling the silica dust rather than the alumina dust. This is easily mitigated with an N95 respirator (dust mask). Being this is not chronic exposure environment I would guess you get more silica exposure on a dusty, windy day. However, your concern is the dust on the food. Silica is a problem in the lungs. In the digestive system it passes out of the body.
Firebrick with an alumina content of 50-75% is industrial grade, suitable for blast furnaces, kilns, foundries and the like. It is extremely durable. For home and commercial use in brick ovens, an alumina content in the 25% range is more suitable, primarily due to cost considerations. Abrasion and wear in home and commercial use is markedly reduced, with cooking floors of brick ovens often lasting for decades. If dust is a concern, placing food on a ceramic or steel plate would mitigate exposure. If this is still not enough to relieve your fears, seeking an alternative means of cooking may be in order. Perhaps a solar oven with no aluminum parts is something to look into.
The issue is not you getting sick. The nutrients have to go through the plant before it gets to you, and they'll be good for you anyway.
The issues with using unfinished compost in the garden:
Unfinished compost can generate considerable heat, even with a thin layer. You are adding a biologically active material to your growing areas that is rich with resources and has the optimum environment. Microbes will have a party and when they do, they make a lot of heat. It's that heat that can damage your plants, particularly the roots.
Weed Seeds and Pathogens
That heat will destroy weed seeds and pathogens (plant diseases). Unfinished compost may not have removed the problem. Time is also a factor. Those plant pathogens thrive in the plant, but don't thrive in a compost heap. Over time, even in an unheated pile, conditions are not conducive to pathogens and their populations die off.
Lots of nitrogen, in your case in the form of fresh manure, can be damaging to plants when the concentration exceeds 150 parts per million (or something like that).
In the case you describe, the bottom half of the litter is probably ready to go. I'd throw it on the plants with no hesitation. For the top half, you may want to make a heap in an area you will be planting in a month or two. Give it some time to work it's magic and calm down.
Aluminium oxide was taken off the United States Environmental Protection Agency's chemicals lists in 1988. Aluminium oxide is on the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory list if it is a fibrous form. The list governs handling of materials in excess of 25000 pounds.
There is not enough information here to make a call.
Put together your ideas, lay out the plan, organize the methods and procedures that will be used, consider the people involved, the market, the benefits and disadvantages of each plan.
The answer should jump off the page.
If you are an arborist, you can create an account to find out where to dump a load of wood chips.
If you want wood chips, you create an account-name, address, email, phone number, drop instructions
There is no way of knowing or guarantee the chips are contaminant free. If spraying goes on in your area, I'd think the products used would be in there.
In my area, the county sprays for mosquitos, the electric utilities come around every few years and spray under the power lines.
I've signed up to receive chips. I'll let you know if I get any.
This is my uncle's place a few miles out of Bangor, ME.
I helped clear the land for the home site before entering high school. He built the foundation, lived in it for a couple years, then built the log home himself, finishing in 1984. The quality of work is tops. At 30 years old, it is standing the test of time. Lots of space in this one. Woodstove as well as oil furnace. All the firewood you need right out the door.
DEER If you like hunting, this is one to think about. My uncle sits on the back porch with a cup of coffee waiting for just the right deer to show up.
Something is not adding up. Firebrick carried by Lowes or HD will be a standard size 9x4 and 1" thick.
60¢ was his price? Perhaps $6 each for 1", but these are 3"+
Having been left outside for a year, I fear they will crumble after just a few firings.
I would be hesitant to use these bricks. I think you are asking for some big headaches.
That's not a standard size for firebrick. Then again, firebrick can be made in any size.
The fractures suggest these brick are A) used or B ) have been left exposed to the weather for a prolonged period.
The brick on the right looks to have a wedge shape. Is this a photographic effect? Are these RKB (rotary kiln brick)? If RKB, the heat rating would likely be 2k degrees at least.
The color is about right for a higher temp brick, but clay bricks come in every color of the rainbow.
Would it make sense to install the brick on the outside of the drum, rather than the inside to get the space right? You'd get the insulating properties, but the drum steel would take a pounding.
Three years ago I bought this property. The price was $45k. It was previously owned by an elderly lady who's husband had passed away a couple years before. She was no longer able to take care of the place by herself. The property is 275' x 575', 3.6 acres, with pasture and some woody areas, completely fenced. It's big enough to do something with, not so big I can't handle it alone if the job was not in the way. Out back is a 16x20 livestock shelter. It's a few posts with a metal roof and plywood covering the back wall. The garage is 12x24, slab floor, metal roof, with power and in great shape. The house is an old mobile home, 1972...nearly as old as I am. Originally 12x50, an addition was built on to the north side bringing it to 20x50, plus a porch in the front. It's in good repair, everything works, new appliances, new roof, new heater/air conditioning unit (greatly desired in Florida). There is a well with outstanding water, a septic tank, and everything runs on electricity. The place has everything I need, with space to do what I want.
I make a decent living working for an industrial contractor. My bills are low. Truck has been paid off since '09. I'm able to save a few pennies here and there. I scraped together a few bucks, came up with $5000 for a downpayment and went looking for a home. Twenty years ago, following some misadventures, I went through bankrupty. I found the experience to be unsavory. In the years that followed I never took up loans or reestablished a credit rating. A miracle allowed me to finance a truck with no credit score. What helped was the fact I owned my home. In '02 I had found a home for sale with owner financing. The downpayment was 5%, $1600. The mortgage was $372/month for 15 years. Even with 12% interest it was cheaper than renting and a deal I could not pass up. During a storm, a tree fell on the house causing significant damage. The insurance claim, as it turned out, was to be in litigation for several years. I needed another home.
Financing the truck had brought me from no credit score up to 580. Pitifully poor, but it was better than blank. Banks were not interested in doing business with me as my credit history was not established other than the truck. I did not qualify for a USDA loan as 600 is the minimum requirement. There was still the option of hunting for owner financed property.
This property has a critical flaw when it comes to bank financing. The structure is an antiquated mobile home. Although it is in good repair, banks won't touch them at around 30 years old. The only way to buy it with financing is for the owner to hold the note, which is exactly what she did. The interest rate is 7%-a far cry better than my house in town. I signed in May of 2010. If I stick with the regular monthly payment I'll be paid off in late 2017.
Owner Financing has the disadvantage that the rate of interest is usually significantly higher than loans from banks. If I had the credit rating, and somehow found a bank that would finance a 1972 trailer, I'd be paying around 3-4% interest rather than 7%. Banks will set the term of the loan for longer durations, say, 30 years. The seller wants the money as soon as possible so she can move on with her life. A 30 year note with a bank at 4% for 30 years would be $190.97/month. In addition to this amount some banks set up loan payments to include property taxes and insurance, as well as mortgage finance fees. $500/month is affordable to me, and having the place paid off in 7 years is something to look forward to.
There is a distinct advantage to owner financing which can not be found with a bank. I still save my pennies. When I have enough of them I will approach the seller and offer 75% of the balance due as full payment of the mortgage. No bank would ever be able to accept such an offer. My current balance is around $18k. In a few months I'll be able to offer $12k to pay off the place. I know for a fact that the seller is in a weak financial position. Rather than waiting 3 more years with $500/month coming in, the prospect of a lump sum immediately will be tempting, and may be in her interest to accept. She may decline the offer. That will be no problem at all. I can keep making the payments. She may be willing to negotiate a different amount. I can pay the debt off early, but I'll be wanting to settle for less than the balance. If we can find common ground, this place will be paid for by January. What a great way to start the new year.
I've learned the hard way never to bring in investors after the project has been operating.
If it was such an awesome idea, they should have gotten in on the ground floor. If they waited until the project was successful, they have effectively transferred the risk onto your shoulders and are now showing up to reap the rewards.
If you must take on investors, use them as a source to borrow money. Offer them a reasonable rate of return.
You get the use of the cash, they make a little, you maintain full control and dont sacrifice a huge future for a short term gain.
If an business is successful enough to attract investors, why would you need them?
Such a successful business would be able to expand on its own.
My great grandmother farmed low bush blueberries in eastern Maine for many decades. Summers and school vacations would see me helping her work the fields. Low bush and high bush blueberry cultivation require different cultivation techniques.
Burning Low Bush Blueberries
After the leaves have fallen in the autumn in the time to spread a thin layer of straw across the field. The plants are dormant, foot traffic will not cause injury. Straw is preferred over hay because the stalks are hollow. In Maine, oat straw is widely used. The hollow stalks allows better air flow resulting in a faster burn. The fuel is consumed before the heat can penetrate deeply into the ground. The burn is done in the spring, before the blueberries have begun to bud, but many weeds have come out of winter dormancy. A few dry days in April and one without a strong wind is all you need. Add a flame to the downwind side, the flames will walk across the field. A few men with backpack sprayers will be able to contain a flare up.
The burning of the low bush berries has several reasons. Weeds can quickly grow to smother out the low bush plants. Burning the field every other year knocks down the weeds. The low bush plants are able to recover because the burn is quick and above the soil surface. Low bush blueberries can propagate by rhisomes. As long as the soil is not cooked, the plants will jump right back up. The ash keeps the soil acidic. The potash promotes rhizome growth. There are some pests which overwinter in the dead top growth of the field. The deeper this thatch layer, the greater their chance of survival. The burn destroys their habitat. The method is quick and economical.
Low bush berries do not bear fruit the first season. It will be another year until those juicy berries show up. It is common practice to burn a field every other year. A 2nd crop is a gamble. The plants will produce, but the weed growth can interfere with harvest and pests can get out of control. A 3rd crop is likely to be miserable and in an overgrown field.
In a fast burn, not all the stems will be destroyed. Many will recover, but will not bear fruit that season.
High bush plants can be propagated from cuttings. If the soil is depleted, taking basal growth cuttings and relocating the plants would be a way to keep them going.
I think your plan is a fine start. Adding organic matter to soil in good quantity always improves the soil. The coffee grounds will compost along with the cellulose in the leaves. Fungi will finish the job by breaking down the lignin. Complex soil needs complex ingredients. You're on the right path. Your recipe is heavy in woody material. Breakdown will be slow. Nutrients will be low, but there is a massive amount of carbon and minerals. The resulting hummus will hold on to all the nutrients you add, plus a whole lot of moisture. I'm finding that these woody heaps offer an inviting habitat for all kinds of creatures. These creatures, big/small/no-legged/multi-legged/two-legged, bring in nutrients as they go about their business. The pile will improve all by itself. All you have to do is get it started so nature can take over.
With a depth of perhaps a foot, you won't need to mow. The looseness of the material suggest what undesired weeds that do grow will be easy to pull out.
It's a tough decision to take down a productive nut tree.
Left in place, these trees offer a bounty of resources to get your farm going.
Certified Organic and Non-GMO labeling offers a value added product in the nuts.
The leaves are abundant, and can offer a great volume of leaf mold.
Have you considered the repeating revenue of coppicing rather than harvesting the entire tree?
Can the fallen branches be used for mushroom growing?
I've taken down several trees around the power lines and well house. At times, harvesting trees is necessary for safety, liability, and forest management.
Search for local lumber kilns.
There are small kiln operators who process specialty lumber. They may buy whole trunks, slabs, rough lumber. Alternately, you may be able to use their services if you harvest and mill your own lumber. Different parts of the tree have utility.
Trunks for lumber and totems/artistic carvings
Burls for carving and turning
Branch points for smoking, as well as carving and turning
Straight branches for mushroom logs
Fine branches for wood chip mulch, Back To Eden Gardening and hugelkulture
Sawdust for pellet fuel
A bin is not a requirement. Stuff will decompose just fine in a heap. Rather than haul all your material to a bin, then haul the finished compost to the beds, build that heap where you are going to use it and save your back some extra work.
You may find some volunteers sprout from time to time. Tossing in some tomato or cucumber slices offers their seeds a remarkably rich environment for sprouting. I get them now and then. The seeds in the heap let you know if the compost is ready. I'll move them to a more desirable location. I'd leave em be but I wish to spread that compost over a wide area.
The position is available.
I've started a dialog with some folks, but communication can be slow at times as people live their lives (job, work in the garden).
If you are interested, send an email or PM.
I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden
The handles on your example are connected with rivets rather than welded. These will be hard to break.
Double bottom spreads the heat and prevents warping of the bottom
Wire handles on the basket don't look particularly strong, but do look easy to repair.
Looking at the lid, the thickness of the steel may be somewhat light, which is probably reflected in the price.
18/10 stainless is 18% chromium, 10% nickel. It's a better grade than 18/8.
From what I can see the set looks acceptable. I've got a similar set, use it for all sorts of dishes.
I've put years of use into my stainless, it still looks like brand new.
All I use is stainless and cast iron.
I've got several books. I've read them, reread them, can probably recite from them.
New books cost at least a few bucks. Some can get pricey.
Once the information contained in them is assimilated, the books are often relegated to the shelf to collect dust.
Put them back into circulation through a book swap.
Book Swapping has been going on probably since people figured how to read and write. There are plenty of websites that assist in swapping, http://bookmooch.com/ for example. Give up a book in trade for another. Swapping in the mail incurs postage. Swapping in person will find the price is right.
Permies get around. They go to classes, seminars, farmers markets, tour farms, attend lectures and seed swaps-plenty of places to go and things to do. Adding a book swap to an event is easy enough. Just take a couple of books with you, leave a couple in your car. The idea is gaining in popularity in a weak economy.
Promoting a book swap as part of an event would add value to that event and may even fill a couple more seats. As a host, get the word out that a book swap is part of your event by mentioning it in an email or listing it on a flyer. Put a few books in a box under your farmers market table.
I've got several book. I've read them, reread them, can probably recite from them.
You've got books.
The guy in the next town has books.
Putting hem on the shelf when you are done does little more than serve as a tool for gathering dust.
If you go to some event, be it a class, farmers market, seed swap, pick up a CSA box, a seminar, tour a farm, attending a meetup, or sharing a cup of coffee with an acquaintance, take some of those tired old books with you. Keep a couple in your car.
Spread the word if you are hosting an event, that the event will include a book swap.
Walk in with a dozen books, walk out with a dozen books. Books you've not read before.
When you are done with them, swap em for something else.