Here in the UK they government have just announced that for a limited period of time 3 households may come together and form a bubble for the christmas period. Restrictions include that the bubble must be exclusive - you can't have one party one day, and mix with another group the next. They have also asked that families use their judgement to reduce risks.
In our case that probably means we will have three households coming together, but because of our various work arrangements those of us at risk of catching covid (teachers, school aged kids) will be self isolating for 2 weeks between the end of term and getting together with the grandparents. We hope to be able to have a safe gathering, over a few days, and within the guidelines.
I think that planning exclusive bubbles carefully, and agreeing as a group what to do to stay safe, is sensible. It both protects the vulnerable older family members and reduces the wider community risk of there being a holiday spike.
We have had hens for most of this year. 15 birds of mixed breeds, bought about 8 weeks old.
They have a large coop with woodchip deep litter, and a good sized run with compost heaps, woodchips and various trees and shrubs. They have started slowing down, but we are still getting about 10 eggs a day on average.
We eat about half ourselves, and sell the rest at an honesty box outside the house. The egg sales full covers the cost of their feed, which is nice :)
I recommend joining the Treatment Free Beekeepers facebook group. It is probably the most permaculture aligned group out there, with huge international membership. It also has a fantabulous admin team. :P
I approach it the otherway round. My biochar making is my primary method of getting rid of woody material that won't compost. We generate a LOT of it from approx 3 acres of fairly shrubby/woody garden. I've never felt even close to having too much biochar. That said, I don't go out of my way to bring in extra material to burn.
In my version the opening was wider. Let me know how your narrow opening burns. I suspect that it may choke the fire a bit, and you might want to go wider. Or have the fuel above the opening - perhaps with a wire grill of some sort - and as it burn the embers can drop through to the chamber beneath.
I've been trying to get to grips with what the new system does and does not do.
Will it automatically pick up BB's that were done a long time ago?
It seems to be picking up that I have the BB5 badge. Is there a way of seeing, eg via my profile, which exact BB's I've done?
EDIT - I've just compared my phone view of the public profile to my laptop view. I can see the new info in my profile on the laptop, but not the phone.
I can see that the badges are there, but not the BB's. Is the info on the individual BB's able to be viewed in the profile? It would be a big help to be able to check what has and has not been done without trawling through threads with many many pages in some cases.
BSF bins tend to be sized by waste food inputs, not by output. I can't remember the numbers off hand, but they need a certain surface area per kg of waste, per day. The active feeding area is the top inch of the bin. I have seen some large scale commercial designs that use racks of shallow trays instead of a single bin.
What are you planning on using for a feed?
What is your climate?
Do you have BSF endemic in your area, and a climate suitable for their mating?
I won't comment on the detail of the spreadsheet, but i strongly recommend reading Carol Deppe's book "The Resilient Gardener". She explains what she grows and why, and how she ensures a varied diet through the year while growing her own staple crops. She also talks about acreage per crop etc...
Smell is caused by time. If your compost bucket in the kitchen sits for more than 24 hours or so it will get stinky. The cure is not a lid, or better bucket. It's emptying it every day and cleaning it.
My parents have the old "big compost bin hidden under the counter" arrangement. It is always disgusting and stink. It gets emptied once per week, and because it is under the counter it is hard to clean the bin and surrounds. Bits miss the bin, stuff splashes and the whole area gets contaminated with stink.
In our kitchen we have smaller open top bowl (think small salad serving bowl). One day of kitchen scraps is enough to fill it. If we do more cooking we fill two of them. In the morning the bowl is emptied (compost heap in the chicken run) and the bowl itself goes through the dishwasher. Nothing ever sits around long enough to get stinky, attract flies etc...
From past experience this is the time of year when mice come inside, as has been said above. We get one or two a week at the moment in our traps, but none through the summer. We had a population explosion last winter, and we belatedly discovered that the mice had eaten a hole in the sack of dog food and were scurrying back and forward carrying food back under the floorboard. Moving the dogfood to a metal bin resolved that part of the problem, and combined with catching a few hundred mice over the next month or so we got on top of it.
Smell of compost alone won't sustain a mouse population. Look for other things they might be getting into and eating. They can chew through a surprisingly thick piece of plastic if there is food on the other side.
I recommend these mouse traps. They work great, nice clean kills and are really easy to bait and set. A blob of peanut butter is enough.
I notice that you are located in Spain. I think black soldierfly are in your area, which are fantastic for fast composting in small places. Plus the larvae themselves can be a valuable product (used for feeding reptiles, birds, fish etc...)
The 60 seconds I spend trying to find the pebble RMH thread failed, and I don't have time right now to look properly. It was a wooden box with the ducting for the bed directed through it, then filled with small pebbles to act as thermal mass. It struck me a suitable for your situation because it is essentially temporary.
That said, you have also now added that you don't have dry firewood available. That is an essential first step for any stove system, but especially so for a small stove. A big stove, once it is going, you can get away with chucking on wood that isn't properly dry so long as the stove is sufficiently hot. The stove dries out the damp wood, then it burns. In a smaller stove tis works much less well. You have a smaller firebox, smaller reserve of dry hot wood compared to the wet being added, and less time to get the fuel dry before the stove cools too much and burns inefficiently. You need to take a look at firewood prices in your area and figure out how much properly seasoned (2 years cut at least) wood costs. With the added issues of the labour of using a wood stove and regulating temperature in your container you might find it comparable cost to go for propane or similar.
And on top of the comments about the stove itself make insulating it a high priority. Any insulation is better than none. Old carpets layered thickly for the floor, for a start. Can you contact a carpet company and make a deal for them to give you some old rolls of carpet removed from job sites? Any kind of fabric hangings for the walls - curtains, sheets etc...
The double problem with keeping a metal box warm is the lack of internal thermal mass, and the highly conductive skin. It will cool down fast when the stove is out.
Can you do a rocket mass heater build? Combine seating with heating?
I made these in the summer, for our strawberry plants next year. Repurposed plastic barrels.
Most of the problems I have seen with pots come from having too small a pot. The plants rapidly deplete the soil of nutrients and they periodically dry out. This is huge so has plenty of space to both store nutrients and water for long periods. I filled it with a mix of well rotted woodchips, biochar and chicken manure.
I'm a beekeeper and render my own wax. A few tips if you go this route.
1) Solar melters are the bomb for cleaning up dirty old dark wax. A sloping tray lets the wax gently flow out of the old comb and leaves all the solids behind. I have tried doing this first melt with water and hated it. You and up with a dark soggy mess with less clean finished product. Also, solar melters can slightly lighten the colour of the wax, which can be a bonus for skin creams.
2) Once I have the wax out of the solar melter, it can be refined further as suggested above - melt it over hot water. Let it sit and cool SLOWLY and WITHOUT TOUCHING IT - and solids will fall out of the wax and into the water, or get caught in the bottom layer of wax that can be cleaned off. Avoid over heating the wax, as it can chemically alter it, making it darker.
There are no benefits, as far as I can tell, of using clean/light coloured wax for skin creams beyond customer preference. If you are making a product to sell you want to get hold of top grade wax, which is rendered from honey cappings rather than old brood combs.
I find this tragic - the most prominent victims of an at system that exploits nature.
The actual process of fixing the mess would be very time consuming, but technically pretty simple. I’ve seen other cases though where the bees were a hazard to the area and were quickly killed (fire engine spraying foam).
As has been suggested above already, there are many ways to get the knowledge without doing a formal PDC. Reading Mollison's Permaculture Designers Manual cover to cover twice, while taking detailed notes, will be a good start - and likely give you a broader base to build on than most people participating here have. Until I read it I hadn't really got my head around the complexity and interconnectedness of systems that are core to permaculture. I was in the "swales are cool" "maybe I should build a hugelmound" camp - attracted to the big shiny ideas and not really seeing them as part of a cohesive whole. And in fact knowing which ideas were NOT appropriate for me. Swales are a waste of time here - we are on incredibly porous free draining chalk. We simply don't get standing surface water. At all. There is no run off to catch, slow and sink.
The book is expensive, sure, but reading it cover to cover properly will take you far more than the 90 hours of a PDC and be far more in depth as well.
kylie cox wrote:
I think making this accessible for people all walks of life should be a priority, especially considering social Permaculture is a part of the whole.
I agree with this in principle, but what does that mean in practice? Does it mean highly skilled professionals giving up their time for free to teach? How sustainable is this, given that they have to support themselves as well? PDC are expensive, but done properly they should be because they are long and demanding of the instructor. I saw variously 90 hours teaching 72 hours teaching etc.. when I googled it quickly just now. So basically 2 weeks of full time live instruction, plus more prep time behind the scenes for the instructors.
That level of instruction is expensive in any field, because you are paying for both the time of the instructors and all the additional support work. And for the people putting these courses on, the income is sometimes their prime livelihood. Not an nice bit of bonus income, but literally how they feed their families and pay the mortgage. So if the customer is not paying for it, who should be paying?
I'm not at all up to speed on the constitutional issues, so I won't comment on that.
I think it is reasonable to comment on the Trump administrations intentional undermining of the postal service ahead of an election that was going to depend heavily on postal voting due to covid. At the time it stank to high heaven, as a way to disenfranchise voters. The administration clearly predicted that postal votes would not fall in their favour and are doing everything possible to discredit them.
I'm not seeing paid corporate trolls there. I'm seeing a typical cross section of the internet using public. And I'm seeing a lot of support for the big picture, even if there is a lot of disagreement on how best to get there.
Thank you to who ever deleted my previous post - on reflection it broke the "be nice" rule by suggesting some permies members were less than perfect. Oops.
My concern is that some of the discussion I have seen has been based around the belief that some kind of massive voter fraud has been perpetrated. This idea has been pushed by Trump repeatedly, but based on what has been reported over here there is simply no evidence to support the majority of the claims, and where there is evidence it has been misrepresented.
(Case in point; there was apparently some issue over dead people voting. So far I have seen an isolated issue of one individual who legitimately sent in a postal vote ahead of time, and died before their vote was counted. The discussion I saw of it was trying to whip up some frenzy of massive voter fraud. Um. No. Sorry. That's not fraud. It's also not significant enough to sway the vote.)
The problem I see is that the discussion has become so muddied by the doubt that - even if every accusation is disproved - the faith in the democratic system has been damaged.
Courses cost money. Same in any field, permaculture is no different. But in other fields they tend to turn more directly into income afterwards.
Chainsaw courses, for example, are hundreds of pounds to get certified to work professionally and are a requirement on most arboreal jobsites. Paying for such certification is an upfront cost, but rapidly pays off through increased earning opportunities.
Sadly the same is not generally true for permaculture certification - I think it is pretty rare that a PDC directly leads to increased income in the short, or even medium, term.
I have recently got a coffee machine in my classroom. I make a pot of filter coffee each morning, which lasts me the day. I'm getting one filters worth of sterilised, damp coffee grounds each day. They have been going in the normal bin here at work, but I'm thinking if i could set up a system for turning them into mushrooms in my teaching space.
It needs to be discrete. A bin with a tight fitting lid. It needs to look like a bin, not a science project.
It needs to cope with the bin being opened daily and more coffee being added. This breaks the usual requirement for the media to stay sterile. I'm thinking I need something aggressive (oysters?).
Probably I would take a full bin home about once per month, by car - rather than let it fruit in my classroom. After all, I'm unlikely to want to cook with them while I'm teaching.
Any thoughts from the more experienced mushroom folks on here?
[quote=Jim Guinn]I am actually more concerned after today's decision, which has been coming for the past few days. Not that I am a fan of the current President; I am concerned about the extreme socialist bent of the new administration and what it might mean for out country. We'll just have to see what unfolds...[/quote]
Jim - As someone living in the UK and observing the US political system from the outside I, and many others outside of your country, find this fear of "socialism" really strange. The word itself seems to have taken on some demonic connotation in the US as something to be inherently feared, which seems very strange to us - especially as what you paint as "extreme socialism" is a very weak and mild form compared to what most western democracies have had in place for fifty years or more.
What is the actual problem with a political shift towards the left?
When you get away from the word "socialism" itself, you can look at it as a set of principles that can be acted upon.
Eg "I believe that a fair society is one where all people have access to good quality healthcare regardless of personal wealth"
Eg "I believe that a fair society is one where people who are unable to earn a living wage have their income supported"
Eg "I believe that all people should have equal opportunities"
When considering issues like this, I find that [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veil_of_ignorance]The Veil of Ignorance[/url] is a useful mental strategy to take. When considering a society, try to approach it as though you known nothing about your own statue within it. Imagine being born tomorrow into that society - you could be black, white, male, female, rich, poor, disabled, carrying a lifelong illness, born in a city or the country, be born to drug addicted parents etc...
Would you be happy being born into that society not knowing where you would end up?
Carol Deppe’s books (The Resilient Gardener, and Breed your one Vegetable Varieties) include suggestions for how to harvest various seeds, including beans. She also selects for seeds that harvest easily.
From memory she harvest whole plants and stomps them in tarps, or in a large bucket.
I'll second the wrist bands suggestion. Having run ticketed events before on open sites they are a godsend. It just cuts through all the bull. No wristband = no meal, no wristband = no access to the event. I understand the desire to avoid commercial bands, but their beauty is they are are incredibly durable, waterproof and unambiguously identifiable. And once they are on your wrist they can only be removed by destroying them - no passing it on to someone else so they can bum a free meal.
As an obvious visible identifier, they also allow everyone to be involved in policing - you don't have to have one person trying to memorise a bunch of faces each day to work out who belongs. It democratises the whole process. You can also use them to host different paying levels at the same event. eg a fully catered ticket is a blue band, and a self catered ticket is a green band.
A few discrete signs can help gently reinforce the paid/public divide. If you have a paid meal going on then hang a temporary sign "Show your band when taking your meal", or if you have a teaching workshop taking place bash a stake in the ground with a sign "red bands only".
When rules are unambiguous they are generally easier to enforce, and the whole community can be part of the solution, rather than it falling on one police officer figure. Key to this is making sure that the the people involved on the ground have the information needed (eg a wristband on valid participants) to do it without disrupting the event.