I claim no expertise on natural roofs, but wanted to share a resource I think might be helpful if you go that route. I think a moss roof is the right way to go. Without engineering specs or species info on your log rafters, the less weight involved the less you stretch the envelope. Working with the aquaponic folks you realize that plants don't really need soil to grow. Dirt is heavy. The moss will give you the right medium. I have seen it done a lot in Alaska. A waterproof underlayment will also give you a wider margin of comfort. The link is for recycled vinyl billboard signage. At .12 cents a sq. ft. it is hard to beat for heavy mil waterproof material.
Having battled moss on Western Washington shingle roofs for a number of years, I would also suggest doing someone a 'service' by removing their moss patches without copper compounds. One might find hundred of small colonies of moss patches already established that one could transplant into the hay bed to speed coverage. It might jump start your roof.
The pond is a bit on the small side to have a substantial amount of 'free forage' fish. However, it is plenty big to raise catfish. They have the highest ratio of turning grain into protein than any animal and will eat anything...literally. No pond is too small to have 'some' fish, so it is really a matter of raising what you can for food or fun.
As far as the 5 acres, I can call BS. I have a couple of 1-2 acres ponds in the area that don't get fished much. I can pull 4-10 lbs of fish a day out of those lakes and I am not a fisherman. The fish are underfed. County agent says I need to pull about 30 #'s of little fish out of the water to reduce the pressure on the food source, if I want bigger bass. If 30#s of 'excess' fish can come out of a 2 acre pond, I don't believe a person needs 5 acres for a steady supply of fish.
Definitely plan to use ditch/swales for the trees in an alley crop design. I am more concerned about the pasture part of the silvopasture design. But yes, excellent suggestion, especially since I want to try a few 'dry feet' trees.
I don't think salts are an issue. I think it is years and years of fine clay particulate that has created a hard pan. Also, it was pointed out by a family member that because of the creek; the cows on the land tend to concentrate on only 3/4 of the pasture. I think it is being over grazed which makes the pasture look so poor. The other side of the creek where the cows rarely are, look to be in good shape. I am hoping to get a soil sample before it is all said and done. Thank you both for your thoughts.
Kris Arbanas wrote:If you are looking for something with less milk production and smaller, check out Dexters
A smaller cow or cows, since three acres could support a pair of smaller cows (they are herd animals after all) rather than a lone cow.; might be a good solution for your project. The Dexters above are a good choice. They are smaller, more docile, easier to handle and produce a high quality milk. They also do well on straight pasture rather than a grain ration, as most milk cow breeds get in a dairy situation. Since you won't be there to feed and handle daily, I would look for a breed that is hardy and an easy keeper. Dexters fit that bill.
The production numbers you read need to take into account that those numbers come from dairy operations that do feed and intensely manage stock. A homestead variety might be much more realistic and still give you competitive production. A single Jersey (stress) on a straight forage diet (stress) is not going to produce the same 5 gallons of milk it would in an intensely managed dairy operation. Your not going to get that 5 gallons a day they are known to produce. A pair of Dexters producing 1.5 gallons on graze alone, might be a comparable solution with less headache.
I am posting here since this forum seems to have the subject matter experts on Keyline techniques and water management. My question is can key line be used to reduce moisture from the land as well as rehydrate?
I have an opportunity to purchase 84 acres of bottomland in central Texas. The soil maps show it to have some clay, but primarily loamy soil. Walking the land it is almost flat with a year round creek running through it. It is at the bottom of a water shed and I have witness first hand a typical hill country flash flood inundate the land. The highway that fronts it channels millions of gallons of water across the property making about 30 percent of it a flood plain. The events happen every 5 to 10 years, so I am not worried about it when it happens. The water is flowing but not deep and destructive. My concern is the amount of water that seems to stay on the land long after a rain; and the lack of vitality of the grass. It seems the ground stays saturated and inhibits the growth.
Having read P.A. Yeoman's book (at least an online version), I think his 'guideline' principles might work, since the key line is more about elevation inflection, which does not happen in this case. I am thinking if I could use a sub soiler to rip the ground (hopefully penetrating a hard pan I suspect exists) and run the guidelines towards the creek I can reduce moisture in the top soil enough to allow health growth of plants. I have not had a soil sample done, but understand I may have clay and need to amend the soil. I am hoping through restorative agriculture principles make this land very productive. However, I need to solve the upper soil saturation issue first.
Any thoughts on how high water table/bottom land can be better managed with the principles used to rehydrate the land? Texas has droughts (as we re learn too often) but this area gets 42 inches of rain annually. I am not too worried about channelling the water off the land. If the soil is healthy and the plants are in balance, I believe they can survive dry spells better than the constant wet. I may even be able to irrigate from the creek during high stress periods. Any discussion would be welcome.
It is always nice when one get's free use of neglected land. A pair or three goats should make short work of the weeds, and won't mind the slope. Keeping them off the pitch might be a fun challenge...
Rather than growing something in the soil what about using the slope to support a vine crop? Something like hopps could be grown up (or down) the slope. Ask around with the craft brew crowd or micro breweries what hopps they have trouble getting. Vining tomatoes will also grow down slope. But I would be concerned how one would harvest tomatoes on a 60 degree slope.
Clover might be another good idea. Let the legumes improve the soil while out competing weeds. No disruption to the stability of the slope.
Look into 'no till farming' and I think you will be surprised. One of its principles is the soil structure is a living organism. Just like our body's skin is its largest organ, the soil is an organ. The soil needs to be covered and protected just as our skin does. Soil does not do well exposed to sunlight, oxygen, and rain. It degrades it quickly. Leaving the 'cloths' on the land will give you better results. Of course the grass needs to be controlled so it does not out compete your early plants. In no till the answer would be to plant an over winter crop, especially a nitrogen fixer like clover. Roll/crush this in the spring and then plant with minimal disturbance to the soil. On can also sheet mulch to kill the surface crop, but don't expose the soil. Cardboard works well.
Watch the first 15 minutes of this video and see if you don't have some insights on how to proceed.
No till is not the only way to go and is only one school of thought. However, more and more evidence points to tillage as very bad for the sub soil 'herd' that exist on your land. Take care of the micro critters, and they will take care of the soil. When the soil is taken care of the crops grow well. Funny that...
This can't be serious. I mean no offense; but am I to take seriously a business plan that intends to ship chicken coops half way around the world, expecting to be 'value added'?
I am all for free markets, and if this guy thinks he has a chicken coop so special people will pay for a 'commercial' coop design shipped ten thousand miles to one's door, more power too him. However, people have been building chicken coops for a good long while. I don't think he has come up with a proprietary design so special it warrants the extra costs.
I like to point out however, that that lowly bamboo at the very bottom (just above balsa wood) may look low. However when one converts to BTU per pound rather than cord it moves it along side Osage at the top of the chart. Bamboo grows faster and burns hot like coppice, and contains a higher btu rating than most trees. If you are going with a RMH and a wood lot, I would strongly recommend bamboo.
Other than that there are a few good feed stores around still. I always had good luck with the one up in the Thrasher's Corner area of Woodinville/Bothell. http://bothellfeedcenter.com/index2.html If you tell them what you want they will stock it, if they don't already have it.
I am fascinated by this subject of greening the desert. I have read through the forums and watched a lot of videos. Amazing stuff.
I keep coming back to one question. It was my understanding that in most of the western United States due to water rights issues, the impeding or impounding of water is illegal in most cases. Are swales not considered impeding at least? I would love to implement these techniques in a coulee in Eastern Washington State. However, I fear a visit from the local and state Gestapo as soon as the first green appear.
How do swales fit into the North American desert model? How does one do it legally?
Pecan scab caused by the fungus, Fusicladium Effusum, is a major problem for growers. The current response is to spray fungicides - repeatedly - throughout the growing season. As Permies know, fungus is good (in the soil) and chemicals don't differentiate. Spraying is bad for the soil.
What natural response could one try to combat scab?
I would love to grow a pecan orchard in zone 8b on the Washington coast, but the wet springs are an incubator for the fungus. A crop would likely never set. So as always pick your plants based on the local environmental conditions. However, scab is a problem for pecans everywhere in the US. In doing some reading, some research universities are trying more natural approaches, but I don't hold a lot of faith they will get it right any time soon. What are your thoughts on a sustainable orchard practice to combat fungus in the trees?
First, congratulations on the birth of you son. I think it is a wonderful gesture for him to plant a tree he grow old alongside.
Since you are in the NW, I would suggest a Pacific Madrona. They are in decline. The wood is very good quality. The berries are edible. They grow quickly, and live 200-250 years. However, they perfer a western slope well drained slope.
Instead, I would suggest a Pacific Yew tree. Also unique to your area. A nice evergreen with small bright red berries. Very slow growing, but will live hundreds of years. In the lowlands (below 2500 feet) are fairly rare. It produces a chemical that is used in treatment cancer.
Julia Winter wrote:OK, so the stainless steel coil is overpriced. Agreed. However, now I'd like to hear how to expose the copper coil (or wort chilling coils - those seem like a decent middle ground) to the heat of a rocket stove in a safe way.
I have no need for a pressurized system: I'm hoping to heat water in an insulated tub to maybe 110 degree Fahrenheit, with something that is more efficient than the "snorkel" wood stoves that are out there. This is an outdoors application.
I wanted to give this some thought before I replied. Sorry for the delay. Copper melts at over 1900F. You are going to be hard pressed to melt copper without direct contact to the flame or chimney. The joints are a different issue. Flux will melt around 800, so keep fixtures/transitions away from direct heat. Water is steam at 212F obviously, if you are regulating combustion to keep water around 100F, you should not have a problem. Don't plumb in any valves or restrictors.
To answer your question: I would use a rocket mass stove concept. Just as you are heating the mass to radiate over time, the pipe can run into the thermal mass and absorb the heat you require without direct contact with the chimney or getting to hot. Also, since a rocket stove burns quickly and cleanly with smaller masses of fuel, if it gets too hot you can alway cut off air or pull fuel from the burn box, so temps in the pipe stay down below steam level. I figure if you can sit on a cob bench warmed from the heat of a chimney without burning one's self; one can plumb the pipe as to not over heat. I assure you, your bum has a much lower melting point than copper.
(As Alex suggested) A bucket of sand with a chimney up the center and the wort cooler suspended in the sand a few inches from the chimney will work fine. when the water gets to the temp you want, kill the combustion and let the sand maintain the water temp. If both ends of the pipe are free flowing you will get a siphon effect. Fine tuning for the right temperature range will be trial and error, I am afraid.
To make your own copper pipe without purchasing a wort chiller, a conduit bender is an option. Chose the radius you want and bend. Advance the pipe a few inches and bend the same angle. Slight lateral pressure while bending will get you a coil instead of concentric circles. Refrigerator tubing is small diameter and thin walled, so fairly cheap. You could do a small scale model for not a lot of money if you wanted to be sure the water would not over heat.
If it were me, I think I would start with knowing what is still in the water. Have it tested. $206 is a small investment that may save a lot of time and trouble fighting things that may or may not be present:
With a breakdown of pesticides and other contaminants you will have a much better idea of what needs to be done.
Where are you located? Are you trying to certify produce from the land as organic; or just looking for healthy product? "Certified Organic" can mean a lot of things to different folks. If you are looking for certification ask the regulating body what its standards are. You may be surprised by levels that are allowed. Reality dictates that there may be some level of chemical from past practices. However, watering with the 'tea' may be out of the question. However, you won't know until you test a sample.
I don't know about the 'feed' bin pictured, as I have never seen one. However, Rubbermaid is still making a line of plastic cans with good sealing lids of all sizes in their industrial line. I purchase occasionally at work for trash. Lids seal pretty well.
I agree with Barry. You have a whole pond full of compost tea.
Use the liquid to fertilize the fields. Once the pond is dry, dig out the solids and whatever soil depth may be 'contaminated' and compost that until it reaches 170 degrees Fahrenheit for two weeks. You will have to add nitrogen and green organic matter. This will sterilize the soil and you can use it to further fertilize or use as top soil. If you are concerned about the bacteria level in the water, use it to fertilize a legume or clover that will not be consumed by humans. The water will promote a healthy crop of plants that will fix nitrogen into the soil that will be used by later crops. The water would also serve well to irrigate an orchard. Much more cellulose in a tree to filter the water of any bacteria.
Being at the top of the hill it would be perfect for a drip line irrigation system suited to an orchard. If irrigation was the primary use, and there is another water source; you would never have to worry about reclamation of the pond. Use it solely for irrigation.
I am not an engineer, so confess I may not complete understand all the physics behind a 'thermosiphon'. However, the large bore of the material actually works against heat transfer. The large circumference of the tube means that more water can travel through the core of the tube without touching the stainless steel, which is not the best thermo transmitter to start. Large water columns tend to laminate (read self insulate.) You want the smallest diameter that is practical. As to thermosiphon effect, even a coffee percolator siphons (to an open top) with heat. There is nothing magic about stainless steel in regards to thermosiphon.
Alex had a good post. To it I will add, $500 will get you a LOT of copper tube. As long as the copper has water to carry away the heat, it would be difficult to get it melting point. Although you might have a steam engine on your hands if you not careful. Make sure the water stays above both the inlet and outlet ports.
I would strongly encourage checking out Gray's Harbor county if building cob in WA. They do follow, for the most part, ICC 2012 code. However, they like many local municipalities, modify somewhat. Under exemptions 105.2 it allows one to build up to 800 sq ft for an 'accessory building' as opposed to the standard of 120 sq. ft. That means that one could permit a small traditional structure say 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom cabin; yet have 800 sq ft of living space, provided you detached it by a 10 ft set back.
I think a 'bunk house' with traditional build including permit; along with a large cob building would be a great way to stay legal and still have all the benefits of cob construction.
The details are here: 4th faq down on the list, brings up Residential exemptions:
Interesting question. One I have some background contemplating. I decided to return to Texas but lived in Cascadia for 17 years. Here is my take on the question:
The Olympic Peninsula (on the wet side) is just about the ideal place for me. Land is cheap. Often one can find acreage for $1k/acre. With land that cheap the battle is often water. The Pacific side gets 14-22 FEET of water a year (The Hoh rainforest is here.) The climate is temperate. Much of the peninsula is USDA hardiness zone 8b. As a comparison Houston is 9a. That means 3 growing seasons, possibly a 4 season harvest with the use of cold frames or greenhouses. There is fish and game in abundance to supplement food supply in the proper seasons. There are thousands of acres of public land to hunt and fish should the need arise. Temperate climate, cheap available arable land with good soil, plenty of rain, recreation, solitude, and available medical care make the peninsula ideal for me.
There is currently 20 acres north out of Hoquiam on West Ocean Beach road, that has been on the market for a while. Asking price is $25k, but I believe they would negotiate. Also it appears 10 acres of it is in reproduction fir and hemlock which in a few years would provide a nice cash crop to off set the purchase price, if one was interested in selected logging. The elevation is 160 to 220 feet above sea level but most is flat plain with south slopes on the very northern edge of the tract, making for great orchard space. Power is at the road about 500 yards. Well depth in the area can be as little as 130 feet from what I can find. 10 acres are already cleared. The road to the property is gated, so I believe your 'neighbors' would be timber company land; but Gray's Harbor does not have their tax rolls on line and searchable to verify.
If you have ever seen the "back to eden" documentary Paul Gautschi's farm is on the peninsula. He is on the 'dry side'; but same hardiness zone.
Look at what he can do with only a few inches of rain per year, as opposed to feet of water. Also the amount of slash and logging waste readily available all over the peninsula would make a great resource for wood chips or hugelculture if one felt the need to augment the rain absorption of the soil.
As for risks stated before, I consider tsunamis, volcanic eruption, and earthquakes to be non issues, both from a stand point of risk, and infrastructure. If they are a concern for someone, I would add that the Olympic range is not volcanic, eruptions and lahars are not possible. The closest threat is Mt. Rainier a hundred miles and many drainages away from the coast. Puget Sound would stop its effects far short of the coast. Prevailing winds would blow ash away from the coast. I have been camped on the peninsula within a 40km radius of the epicenter during a 5.3 quake. Without buildings and modern convinces to disrupt, it was nothing more than trees swaying as if a strong wind. Although the animals seemed confused for a few hours. (I had several black tail does let me walk within a dozen paces of them, as if to ask "what is going on?") Finally, most of the western coast is cliffs and 'high banked', making a natural levy at the coast. Although drainages would act as funnels raising levels farther in land, most of the elevation of the upper coast is hundred feet above sea level, with high ground available to get above any incoming flood.
That is my take on the question. I would encourage anyone looking at starting a small permaculture farm to consider the area. The Quinault area is a very overlooked part of Western Washington that has a lot of positives for the small permaculturalist.
Glad to hear you are taking the plunge. I would just add a few thoughts from someone whom grew up along the Gulf Coast. My family comes from Galveston Island, so have a little experience with this type of land. First the 'watch out'. I think this area was ground zero for Hurricane Katrina years back, much like Ike hit Galveston a few years later. What this means is storm surge and the sea coming over the land. It brings a lot of minerals to the soil. Also brings a lot of salt. The Romans salted fields when they wanted to break a conquered people. It is hard to neutralize that effect. Do some soil testing. Otherwise, one would be surprised the bounty that can come from the land near the coast. Near the coast you have access to free and unlimited fertilizer! Composted seaweed is fantastic. Beach communities rake it and haul it at great expense. They may deliver for free if you give them a place to dump it. Also the fishermen, shrimpers, resturaunts, etc... have a lot of waste they have to dispose in the form of heads, tails, guts, etc... Tilling this waste straight into the sandy soil will provide unbelievable yields. My grandfather did this with very sandy backyard and grew a great garden for years in what most considered very marginal soil. Talk to the shrimpers about their waste. Law prohibits it from going over the side of the boat anymore. It is a real problem for them that you are helping to solve. One man's trash is another's treasure.
One of the most overlooked opportunities in my opinion along the Gulf Coast, is oyster farming. The oyster crops have been virtually wiped out in my lifetime along the coast. However, in prior generations, oysters were plentiful and a natural crop. Your property looks like it about a mile from St. Louis Bay. If you can work out the logistics of putting up some posts in the public shoreline or private docks, one can get oyster starts (seeds?, I forget the term) delivered for very little money. Other that changing the bags every few months and cleaning off any debris that might accumulate in the tidal flow, they are very low maintenance / high value cash crop marketed to local restaurants and markets. Great for improving the water quality in the bay at the same time. They take 18 to 24 months to mature, but very little is invested if you can get someone to let you hang the bags off the side of their piers. It might be an income supplement that takes very little time.
Good Luck! Keep up posted on your success. One last thing, brother. Watch for snakes. You will have rattlesnakes and cottonmouths, very likely copperheads as well. Watch where you put your hands when working that raw land. Get you a good dog, preferably a terrier. They will see them long before you do and alert you to them.