This is Chuck's widow, Jenny. He died suddenly last fall, and now I am responsible for getting in all the firewood. Is a rocket stove something I should consider, and if so, which one? We started building a log cabin -- one story 24 ft x 36 ft (864 sq. ft.), but it isn't finished yet. Working on that this summer. My sons and I live here on our remote Alaskan homestead year round, and have to charter a plane to get in materials. Would a rocket stove be something I could do without spending a fortune? If I used a regular wood stove such as a Blaze King, I'd have to purchase it and fly it out anyway, so just wondering if this would cost any more, and if a rocket stove will keep us warm in this climate using less wood. (Less Wood is the key for me) Winter temperatures are often 40 below zero for a few weeks at the time, but average lows are usually around zero. Long winters --- Oct. to April. I have lots of spruce and birch trees. I know I can't get as much wood as my late husband could, so I need to find a way to use as little wood as possible.
Anyone with a niche gets hit, we probably get 75 to a 100 of those a year about homesteading in Alaska. Mostly we take them with a grain of salt and refer them to our forum. I figure if they are serious they will do thier own foot work if they won't I figure they are to lazy to make it out here anyway.
Gary Russell wrote:In one of his videos, I remember him stating to find a place that just DOESN'T have a building code. any place like that in America? Im a prospective PSP builder also. The concept draws me
You have to watch new saws as they are all punched from flat stock. Old ones are ground so the back is thinner that the front(the side with the teeth). Filing and setting rip saw and crosscuts is an art and the tools to do it don't come cheap either. If it was me and I really wanted to use hand tools to work with I would do the research then bite the bullet and go with the old stuff. There also some very books put out by the Forest Service that tell how to use and maintain crosscuts and axes. One is The Crosscut Saw Manual the other one is Saws that Sing. There is also a good one on Axes called An Ax to Grind.
This is the only address I can find but I'm sure you could Google them up pretty easy:
USDA FS, Missoula Technology and Development Center
5785 Hwy. 10 West
Missoula, MT 59808–9361
I've ripped planks with rip saws, split them with wedges and froes, and used band saws and chain saw mills. It is just my opinion but for all round milling you can't beat an Alaskan Chainsaw Mill.
I've seen rip saws on ebay but they are pricey. You also need the tools to to sharpen and maintain them which is an art in itself. If I were to get a rip saw I would go for an old one that is taper ground. Anything you would get that is new, rip or crosscut, will be punched from a piece of flat stock. Taper ground saws the side opposite the teeth is narrow than the tooth side.
I consider the Grey Alder as trash, since it doesnt offer much energy density as firewood and is too weak for building material. Its the only legume tree I know, so its a love-hate relationship
Alder makes good charcoal apparently and might be worth looking into assuming there's a market for it.
It also is great for smoking meat & fish especially salmon
If I stay away from processed sugars and grains mine stays at manageable levels. Try making some broth using Sally Fallons recipe in Nourishing Traditions but use wild game or local organic. Make it with as much connective tissue as you can get and cut the bones to get the marrow.
We have 20 some swallow boxes and a few bat houses, between the two they keep the worst of the flying insects at a livable level. We also have a lot of nest platforms in protected places for robins. Robins do a job on crawly bugs and larva's including maggots. You can never have enough bug eating critters.
H Ludi Tyler wrote: And then his tribe went extinct.
Which one might expect to be the ultimate end of all individually self-sufficient types, as it is not an adaptive strategy for Homo sapiens.
His tribe went extinct because he and his tribe was displaced by "modern man" we took his hunting territory. Which is the same thing that will happen to most of us if things hit the fan. The one who don't have will take from those who have, they will in turn lose what they have taken to others who don't have. If society is turned upside down as so many believe no community or individual will be able to hold a piece of ground. Your prep's, your gardens, and your homes will no longer be a sanctuary they will be your prison and your end. It will be the individual and small nomadic groups who will have the best chance of survival.
paul wheaton wrote: Sepp talked at great length about observation and working with what you saw.
Ferns say "plant potatoes and sunchokes".
Moss is a sign of acidic soil.
Areas that get a lot of moisture tend to be acidic.
Areas that have conifers or used to have confiers tend to be very acidic.
N-fixers are a sign of soil low in N.
Nettles are a sign of soil rich in N.
I think there might be whole books on this topic and I think I need to find those books ...
I guess the important thing is that while you could get soil tests to learn a lot of this stuff, Sepp made an excellent point about how the soil conditions could change every few feet. He talks about how he used to have a lot of equipment to help him figure all of this stuff out - but he hasn't used any of it in years. I think he has just gotten good at reading a patch and deciding what to plant there.
I'm going to have to rethink things now. Our land has a lot of alder, with is a nitrogen fixer. Yet when we cleared land next to it and put in our garden one of our most aggressive weeds is stinging nettle. The land we cleared was mostly spruce, cottonwood, and birch with highbush cranberry. I just assumed our N levels were OK because of the amount of alder we have.
GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.
St. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers 'weeds' and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But, it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It's sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes twice a week.
GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. FRANCIS: No, Sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
GOD: Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It's a natural cycle of life.
ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
GOD: No!? What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?
ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
GOD: And where do they get this mulch?
ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
GOD: Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
ST. CATHERINE: 'Dumb and Dumber', Lord. It's a story about....
GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.
H Ludi Tyler wrote: I'm not so sure. I think if one really wanted to one could wander off into a national forest and live for a good long while without anyone knowing about it. I used to backpack and camp in the Angeles Forest north of Los Angeles and never saw another human besides the rangers at the station. There are vast areas of North America with few inhabitants where one could live as a mountain man and Big Brother could care less.
Only if they keep on the move, then it would still be a big if. I live in the Alaskan bush, I can say from experience it is nearly impossible to build anything, legal or not, without some one finding out. I suspect any national forest would be the same. Between the rangers, game wardens, and backpackers their are more eyes out there than you think. Contrary to popular belief the wilderness is a small town.
I believe it could be possible for the someone with the right mind set, except for on thing, Big brother. You need cash to buy land if you have an income you pay state and federal income taxes. If you own land you pay property taxes. If you build on your land you have to get permits. If you drill a well you need another permit. If you put in a septic system more permits. If you hunt and fish you need a license. Unless you can figure out a way to take society back a couple of hundred years it ain't going to happen. The days of the hunter gather are gone. So are the days of going out and staking a piece of land and building a home.
James Stark wrote: Does anyone know of any permaculture/sustainable living/homesteading type magazines that are Canadian? I find that a great deal of information I come across is geared towards living more in the south, and often doesn't account for the winters we get up here. I'd really love to find a publication made for canadian homesteaders.
I've never seen one that targets the north anywhere. Up here is totally different than any place else. We have short growing seasons, ours is less than 100 days. We also have 24 hours sunlight, little or no topsoil, large areas of permafrost.
All four of them have their good points and bad points. They also all have good information, it all depends on what style of writing you prefer. Several of the BackHome founders came from Mother Earth. If I could afford it I would subscribe to all of them. I can read around the politics if an article has something worth my time.
WATCHING ANIMALS EAT IS NOT A RELIABLE GUIDE TO WHAT IS EDIBLE!
Chuck wrote: In a sense you can, [font=Verdana]they learned much of what to eat from watching animals[/font]. They watched not only what they ate but what but the time of the year they ate it. Most plants have there highest protein content just before they flower. I believe no matter where you live there is natural food, plant and animal. Our boys knew by the time they were 5 or 6 years old what was safe to eat and what wasn't. Wild-crafting and gathering is something everyone should learn.
This is my original post nothing in it says watching animals is a definitive guide it is simply an indicator.
Edit: looks like either you've modified significantly since I started my response (and walked away from the computer) hours ago, but baneberries are eaten by birds, they are completely non-toxic to the vast majority of birds; did you ever stop to think about how they got to be spread everywhere? If nothing could eat them then the bane berries with little flesh would be able to produce more seeds than those with lots of flesh and in a few hundred generations the baneberry would be nothing but seeds with skins, evolutionarily that pulp is maintained as a bribe to birds who distribute the seeds.
All I can tell you is bane berries are the only berries we have that are intact when the snow flies. I live on a land locked lake with trout how did they get there?
You believe what you believe and I believe what I believe. Lets just agree to disagree and get on with life.
ceog wrote: Is there a consensus here? For my purposes, hardiness zone and amounts of white stuff would be important factors, and not just the size of your Latitude
Also I noticed (after posting) that GWN came under the section of "regional events, resources, jobs, opportunities, etc." - though "etc" would cover most things, I'm not clear what the GWN section is really for.
Should posts relating to permaculture with cold winters be sent here or to the main forum?
I didn't know we had rules about who could belong to what. I wouldn't worry about it.
Emerson White wrote: WATCHING ANIMALS EAT IS NOT A RELIABLE GUIDE TO WHAT IS EDIBLE!
If there are human foods that kill animals its not a big mental leap to realize that there are animal foods that can kill humans. While we do have a nice big liver deer for instance have different suites of digestive enzymes than we do, there are lichen that a Sitka Blacktail can live off of for months that will kill a human is fairly short order.
Humans naturally learn what is good to eat and what is not from their parents and peers (many other animals do this too) and since we evolved elsewhere our instincts don't necessarily work all that well on the plants we are surrounded with these days, every summer it seems I hear about some poor parents who have lost a child to bane-berry or Datura or Amonitas that they thought knew better than to just eat things.
As for calories nuts, fruit (especially berries) and meat, store the first two when you can, and get meat when you are running low on nuts and berries. In a real pinch you can eat the cambium layer on a willow tree, but it is not a fun experience. It's not much good to you in the mountains but I know in the northern end of the PNW a lot of beaches have a fleshy plant that I've heard called fish grass that smells a bit iffy but can be the primary calorie source for months(according to old shipwreck tails).
Anyone know about the calorie content of rosehips? around here wild roses are in abundance, I'm sure someone harvesting just after frost could get gallons and gallons a day.
Just like anything else you have to use common sense. Many of the native elders I've known over the years will tell you that. They will also tell you animals are a very good indicator which was also my point. I'll keep my trust in a culture that has survived eons living from the wild. By the what animal eats bane berries? We have tons of them out here and I've never seen any animal eat them, not even birds. That in itself is enough of an indicator to me not to eat them. There are relatively few lethal plants when compared to all of them that are out there. I have never heard of a lichen in Alaska that is deadly to humans some may keep you in the outhouse.
Rosehips are a good source of vitamin C old natives up here dry them and eat them during the winter to keep from getting scurvy.
Welcome to the Great White North. What do you get in snow fall? That will have a big affect on starting small trees. My place in Alaska get about 15+ feet of snow a year that makes life rough on new trees. As or the beavers they don't travel far for food when their food supply starts to go they will pack up and leave. Look at what they have already taken down for food you should be able to make a good guess as to how much longer they'll hang around,
charles johnson "carbonout" wrote: i was under the impression that some garlics have look a likes that are poison
the garlic in question has a purple bloom that comes off the shoot in a curl i call it pig tailed
I don't if this is true with wild garlic but if you crush wild onions & chives in your fingers they will smell like onions, look alike don't have the onion smell. Your description does sound like wild garlic.
I don't understand your logic. Are you talking about commercial ag or the family farm? My own grandfather was raised on a farm in the Flint hills of Kansas where they raised all of their own food and sold wheat at market. They used all draft animals my grandfather didn't learn to drive until several years after he left home.