Almost any kind of organic material you can obtan free or at low cost would be good.
A few years ago in Seattle I moved into a house where the garden soil was like beach sand, all sand, no organic or clay. You could lay a running garden hose on it for hours and not make a puddle. Super drainage, not moisture holding.
I found a nearby wood sawing and milling operation where I could get pickup loads of free sawdust. Over the summer I loaded numerous pickup loads of sawdust and spaded it into my garden areas. It wasn't as good as already processed mulch but it was free, available, nearby, and in quantity. It helped a lot to hold moisture and over a couple of years it decomposed into an organic component.
Michael Cox wrote:Ah, but there is a big difference...
Observation of correlation -> Hypothesis -> experiment -> conclusion
With the initial proposal in this thread we went
Observation of correlation -> causation
Yea, that goes on a lot. We now have that other topic about real science vs. pseudoscience.
In the US, about 2/3 of fatal car crashes are caused by sober drivers. The obvious (leap to) conclusion is that sobriety causes bad driving. Nice graphs can be drawn. The more sober drivers on the road, the more fatal car crashes. Pseudoscience marches on.
These days we have a lot of people with political agendas and money who want to make more money by promoting bad science and bad conclusions. Separating correlations from science is difficult but needed.
Dale Hodgins wrote:Until yesterday, I had plans to build the bathroom with ferro cement on the walls and floor. The reason was simple. Smooth surfaces that clean up very easily with no tile joints or other joints to fail. The plan was to use a steam cleaner or power washer to control mold and mildew. This would produce a very easy to clean, durable but difficult to change space. It would look a little sterile.
When I was in college I rented a house that had a ferro cement floor in the bathroom. It was effective at resisting water spillage and easy to clean.
Then it hit me, while I was laying a patio block outside. The easy care space that I seek doesn't have to be lifeless. Moss, ferns and other plants that thrive in moist, low light conditions are perfectly suited to living in a bathroom. So, it's just a matter of creating the right conditions, without rotting out the building. I'm going to wrap all walls and the floor, in pond liner. The floor will get a double layer that goes up the walls by 6 inches. The wall sheet will be continuous with no corner joints. The wall sheet will lap over the floor sheet and be glued to it. Absolutely water tight, and ugly. The floor will have a drain. The shower or tub could overflow onto the floor with no harm done.
I like the whole concept of having a large well windowed space for body needs. My own bathroom has more windows than any other room in the house. Its a good place to sit on the couch and read a good book. Your indoor greenhouse approach would have some advantages but you would have to think it out carefully. It would necissarily have a lot of moisture for and from the plants, and moisture migrates as a gas. It would condense on cool places in the rest of the home.
Having a gravel base indoors in a warm wet space would rapidly attract mold of various kinds. Gravel isn't a very good planting area anyway.
How about going with the ferro cement over a pond liner, and then putting in dirt rather than gravel. You could plant some lawn and have raised planting areas or gardens. Shower soap and grey water would keep it green. The plants and soil would process and enjoy. Now all you would have to do is to be careful of ventilation and moisture between the bathroom garden and the rest of the house.
Joe Wexler wrote:
In other words, after an animal stops growing isn't it a drag on the system? Yes it may increase plant fertility but he doesn't mention that, simply claiming that the fully grown animals are simply recyclers of nutrients.
You have hit on a basic rule of raising animals for meat, Joe. For the first few years of an animal's life it converts food into meat. After that it consumes food and produces waste for several more but does not produce more meat. That truth was known by pre historic goat herders who's trash heaps contained far more bones from yearling goats than from old goats. Its still true today. My local beef rancher raises beef for a year or so and then they go to great pasture in the sky (and to my freezer.)
In the wild the knowledge and skills of fully grown animals are life skills taught to younger generations, they also breed and protect the younger ones. Mature animals are part of the system, not a drag on the system.
Pseudoscience : A claim, belief or practice which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status . Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, contradictory, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories.
Unfortunately the past couple of decades we have seen massive promotion of pseudoscience by governments and media for financial gain by corrupt politicians and fake scientists. From the "Science" Channel's fake documentary about mermaids to Al Gore's global fraud about CO2 causing global warming, the world of "science" has had so many lies presented as science that few if any real scientists have any credibility left.
The burden of proof is on the person making the claim, and great claims require great proof. The proof has to be testable and repeatable with accurate predictions.
Interesting design, but it looks like your back and arms would get a lot more tired than using an old fashioned wheelbarrow. The motion is all bend and lift. With the heavy load his design has a longer lever to minimize bend and lift force while doing your work through more distance. Its interesting, but I'm not going to give up on the wheel yet.
A few years ago when my children were young we rented a house on an acre of land. It was out of town so its sewage system was the classic tank and drain field -- except for the laundry. Their laundry drain simply ran outside behind the house and emptied onto the lawn about 30 feet or so from the house. We lived there about a year. Having small children all the warm diaper wash and other laundry detergent went right out to the lawn. Diapers always got chlorine bleach in the wash so perhaps it was sterile. That part of the yard had by far the tallest grass. In a week when I got around to mowing that section of lawn would be a foot high or more. It really bogged down my power mower.
I'm sure it wasn't code approved. It may not have been good if the children were old enough to be playing over there. It was really good for growing the lawn.
Good articles. For the past few years I've been using urine to cool off my wood stove ashes bucket because acid urine neutralizes basic. Every couple of weeks I get a small bucket of cooled ashes/urine mixture and have been just getting rid of it. Now after reading these articles I'm going to start spreading it on my lawn or around my trees.
I noticed that the tomatoes in their study didn't grow more tomatoes with ashes than with just urine, but the plants were more healthy and the tomatoes more nutritious. The hard part will be spreading it evenly.
Luke Townsley wrote:To make a stump rot faster from the inside out, cut a depression in the top so it collects water in the middle. You can even drill in to the pith so the water gets inside and soaks into the wood.
If your goal is to get rid of the stump, I would do the above drilling the widest hole I could down to soil level. I would then consider lightly packing the hole with compost or manure or something to get some nitrogen and microbial growth going and then make a regular hugelkulture bed over it. Around here in southern Indiana, I would expect it to be pretty much gone in 3-5 years.
You can add nitrogen and promote decomposition by peeing on the old stump every couple of weeks. Its easy, handy, and doesn't smell like manure. A few cracks or drilled holes as Luke suggests helps your urine run down into the stump.
Of course you could build a small fire on top of the stump if you aren't in a no-burning area. In fire season roots have been known to burn underground for several days so be careful with fire when its dry out.
I have used my cast iron pans on my glass stove top. Mostly they get used on the gas cook top but the gas doesn't do LOW heat very well so sometimes I move over to the electric glass stove top.
One big thing with glass tops is that FLAT is important, or so they say. Most of my cast iron is flat on the bottom. They work well on the glass.
My most commonly used iron fry pan (Lodge) has a raised ridge around the perimeter of the bottom. On an older electric stove or a gas stove the ridge helps to keep it centered, and perhaps helps to keep heat from escaping out the sides. On flat glass it would prevent contact between the pan and the stove. No flat glass cooking for that one.
Some iron pans get warped so they are no longer flat as they were new. That also doesn't work on a flat glass either. Aluminum pans also get warped sometimes.
Be careful not to drop iron on glass. My step daughter lost her glass cook top when something fell out of an upper cupboard onto the glass and it shattered.
I don't know about scratching the glass. We haven't had our glass stove all that long. I suppose it will eventually get worn and used looking.
Me too. I've left a pan on the stove a few times to dry like that. If by chance it is set there too long, you'll smell it before the damage is done. Hopefully
My wife has a recipe for burned rice. Put the rice and water in a pot on low heat. Sit down by a computer or TV. Go rescue the burned rice when the smoke drifts into the other room before it starts a fire in the kitchen.
Amedean Messan wrote:I would buy a Lodge Logic skillet and grind or sand it down like below. They're cheap and made in the US. They also test the skillets in their quality control procedures for toxic heavy metals. I wish they polished their skillets, but there is a workaround like in the videos. The end result is the same of the best brands without the added cost.
I've been tempted to sand down a Lodge skillet too, Amedean. The new ones should be polished at the factory like Wagner used to do, but apparently they save cost by shipping them out rough. I have resorted to just starting to use my new pan with the new rough surface. The steel spatula ended up polishing it smooth before I noticed what was going on.
In theory you could get some fine iron filings in the food, but iron is actually non poisonous and necissary for humans to consume in small quantities. I don't really know if iron from a pan is a form that can be absorbed by our bodies or not, but iron is not toxic and might be absorbed if we are anemic.
I guess my point is that I'm too lazy to go to the trouble of sanding or polishing a new pan. After a couple of months it comes out the same anyway. Happy cooking.
Leila Rich wrote:
By the way, I agree on avoiding drying a pan on high heat-I rinse mine and turn the stove on high;
but as soon as the water starts to evaporate, I turn the heat off and leave it to dry/cool.
I do it while doing the dishes so there's no risk of me wandering off-
I'm notorious for it and if I don't have a little 'routine', carbon will ensue :
If I had a woodstove, I'd have to be really careful.
If you always stand there and heat the iron gently it will work, Leila, (My wife does it that way all the time too). But it takes time standing there and remembering to take it off. It also has a risk that you may get interrupted by a phone call, pet, or something else. I've seen too many damaged, warped, or cracked cast iron pans over the years to recommend this method. Setting it on its side to drip dry always works, is easy, takes only one step and you are done, and has no risk of harming the pan if you get interrupted.
The most important thing for people to learn about cast iron is that its not oil on the surface but oil soaked into the porous crystal structure of cast iron that makes it a good non-stick material for cooking. Over many years I've heard so many people and read so many "authoritative" articles from people who had been told wrong.
I use a "barrel" stove for heat, and it goes out at night. That leaves me having to start a fire every day so easy and convenient are my big criteria. For some years I used tinder, shaved wood, paper, etc., to start the fire, but that was smoky and labor intensive. For a couple of years I used a small propane torch that I had for soldering pipes. That worked but I tended to set it and forget it. Not a good thing to do. So I built a propane fire starter.
I took 3 feet of 3/4 inch black iron pipe from the hardware store and drilled 6 holes about an inch apart in 1 end. I capped that end. The other end got an elbow and gas valve. I had a small propane tank (from the BBQ). I had a propane pressure regulator I had salvaged from an old travel trailer (but you can get one in many places). Then I used some hose (maybe 8 feet) from a propane weed burner to connect from the pressure regulator to the gas valve on my pipe. Now I put the business end of my starter into the stove and light it with one of those click start lighters they sell everywhere. Not the short "bic" lighter but a long snout lighter to keep your hand away. Adjust the flame and even large logs are burning with little muss or fuss. Come back and turn it off when the wood fire is going.
A small propane tank (5 gallons) lasts most of the winter.
K Nelfson wrote:
Here's a nice article that shows how to season a cast-iron pan. There's science in there and everything. I'd put this method above most of the other articles I've seen on the web. And I know there are a lot of cast iron fans around here...
Ms. Sheryl apparently knows quite a bit about the properties of oils, but shares the common ignorance about the crystal structure of cast iron. Seasoning works for cast iron because cast iron is porous. Seasoning does not work for steel or other metals because they are not porous. Seasoning is not baked onto the surface, it is soaked into the porous metal. Oil of any edible kind soaks slowly into the iron, and it soaks in faster when the iron is hot. That is why Ms. Sheryl gets better results when she heats her cast iron. But it would fail if the pan was steel instead for iron even though she used the same oil. Her explanation is all about coating the surface, which would work equally badly on steel, aluminum, or cast iron.
Over time the initial seasoning oil is continually replaced by whatever oil or animal fat is in your pan today. A little bit soaks into the pan and even eventually soaks all the way through and forms a carbonaceous char on the bottom of an old pan.
This ignorance of the properties of cast iron is common, and people like Ms. Sheryl succeed with it in spite of their lack of understanding of the metal.
Brandon Griffin wrote:Is there any reason to have a well used/seasoned dutch oven? I'm thinking it's mainly used for soup and the like. Please advise.
Dutch ovens were designed to function as an oven over a fire. The lid has a rim so you can spread burning charcoal (coals from the fire) on the lid and have heat above as well as below. I've made some really good dutch oven pizza at camp. Its good for baking bread over a fire.
Back before Ben Franklin invented the Franklin stove, most kitchen cooking was done at a fireplace. Some large fireplaces had a brick oven on the side, but many kitchens used a dutch oven for baking bread and such. That's what it was designed for. Its really not needed today when everybody has a thermostat controlled electric or gas oven.
If you ever use any water, make sure that you thoroughly dry out the skillet right away. Otherwise you will get rust! It is really important that you use heat to dry the skillet. A towel just isn't going to get it dry enough.
I've been using the cast iron for decades and some clarification needs to be made.
First. Cast iron cook wear works because cast iron is porous. The oil soaks INTO the iron. The surface does not need to be kept oiled when not in use. Over time your cooking oil will soak all the way through the iron. Old pans often have a crust of burned carbon on the bottom that seeped out through the bottom of the iron.
Second. New cast iron is seasoned by heating it to open the crystal structure while having some oil in the pan. After some hours on low heat the top of the iron will have absorbed some oil and your new pan will be seasoned. Seasoning is not related to coating the pan with oil. You can always wash off the oil and have a clean, dry pan between uses.
Third I always soak my cast iron fry pan every day for a few hours after frying bacon, etc. It does not rust. Soaking loosens any baked on food and makes cleaning nothing but a rinse. A well seasoned pan is saturated with oil so it does not rust.
Forth. Do NOT use heat to dry your cast iron. I have seen far more good iron pans destroyed by being forgotten on a stove than from rinsing. Iron will warp or even crack by being put on a fire empty and forgotten. Getting an empty pan too hot is a good way to burn all the soaked in oil out of the iron and have to start over seasoning it even if it doesn't warp. Soak it for a while, then rinse it with hot water, scrub it gently with a Scotch-brite sponge and dish soap, and leave it tilted on its side in the dish rack to air dry. Don't ruin your pan by putting it over a fire empty. Dish soap will not wash soaked in oil out of the iron, but dry heating over the stoave will burn it out.
Some of my pans are more than a century old. Still as good as new. Good luck and good cooking to all.