Catie George wrote:I would take the screen off that culvert.
Why? Liability. I have very little tolerance for the risk of liability.
I have no idea who built it, what they accounted for in the design, who owned it, etc. But, if i were the cash strapped owner of the road, and, say, 5 years from now, the road blew out over the culvert? Its very easy to blame "oh, the guy downstream put a screen up which blocked the debris and caused the culvert to fail, so he should have to pay". True? Who knows, and who cares, but road fixes are expensive, and usually the last person to touch something is the one blamed.
Honestly, if i were redesigning a culvert, i would always make it bigger than existing - no one complains after the first financial pinch about the bigger culvert, but bigger culverts are less likely to trap debris, and less likely to fail. And are easier to clean. And culvert maintenance is something many places skimp on. Not to mention if the road debris head downstream onto your property and damage something... Nice to be able to blame the road owners and maybe have insurance pay something.
Anyway- i would personally do whatever you want do downstream of it (within reason and safety), but leave the liability for that culvert with the road owners. I like baffling erosive flow to slow it rather than trapping it, in most cases, which slows water down to make it less powerful rather than allowing it to build up (safer in an unengineered solution).
Valid concerns for sure. But this culvert goes under an old railroad grade and is entirely on my property. I did get very scared and learned my lesson when it came to partially damming it. It could never overtop the railroad grade because it's at least 20 feet tall above the culvert. But from what I'm seeing, the water still has the ability to work it's way around the culvert and undermine things in other ways. So my current course of action, which I believe to be safe, is to just use this screen to keep garbage and natural debris out. I will have to keep it clean so it does not become a dam.
John C Daley wrote:Can you give us a photo of the downstream side please?
On reflection messing with something thats has done well for so long may be unwise.
But maybe some improvements can be achieved where the erosion is and all will be wqll
Here is the downstream side. As you can see, the culvert is a good 12 feet above water level. If you look at the exposed tree roots on the far side, that's about where the original railroad fence shot across the hole and continued at ground level on the side I was standing on. Which tells me that this culvert used to be at ground level and has, since 1872, scoured a massive hole in the earth down to ground-water level. On the one hand, that's nice because it's scoured out a nice 5 foot deep swimming hole that stays full of spring water. On the other hand, when the rain really gets rolling it continues to cause more erosion further downstream.
I made a concrete block weir where the "pond" empties and becomes a stream, but even that got blasted out by the last big rain. So having observed this and tinkered with it, I think my course of action will be very long term. Experimenting next with small brush dams as far upstream as I can where the water will not have gained much momentum yet. And just keeping my strainer clean from trash and natural debris. No more hubris and big damn building from me :)
Trace Oswald wrote:
I have a situation a little like yours but less extreme and I have been able to slow the water to a degree with exactly what has been discussed, brush dams.
How do you keep your brush dams in place? I guess I'm gun shy after this rain event we had, thinking that the next one would just blast away anything I could build out of brush. Five inches of rain in a matter of 2 to 3 hours was intense.
Trace Oswald wrote:
In your picture it looks like the side you partially closed off is the downhill side but I can't tell for sure. If it is, I would move it to the uphill side. The thought of causing silt and debris to build up inside your culvert and having to clean it out is unappealing at best.
Must be the angles. This is the uphill/entrance side of things. The far side is a good 12 feed above ground because of all the erosion over the years.
Update: I experimented a bit with partially blocking the culvert with a wooden dam. My hope was that water would pool and then seep through the imperfect blockage at a slower rate. It worked that way through the first rain. Then we got a HISTORIC rain event that overwhelmed the dam. I donned my rain gear to check it out and was horrified to see (or not see) the culvert completely underwater. And worse, there is a limestone "shelf" under the culvert that some enterprising critter had dug under allll the way through, then up out of the ground on the receiving side. So water was spilling into this hole and pouring out the far side under the limestone!
So clearly those late 1800's engineers knew what they were doing installing an over sized culvert and perhaps I am foolish to have tried to alter it. Now I am somewhat afraid to try damming it farther upstream for fear of another giant rain blasting my dam materials down to the culvert and potentially plugging it. I am thankful for nature giving me this worst case scenario before I invest much more time/energy. If anything, I'll start small and far upstream.
For now, I've pulled the dam and replaced with a trash strainer. I have an air bubbler in the spring pond that's keeping the water clear and have enjoyed a few floats and cold swims this summer at least.
I am plotting on the legal side of building a batch box rocket in my home, specifically a DSR2.
I have inquired with my insurance company (Allstate) as to what their wood heat requirements are. And frankly I was surprised. They don't care what kind of heater it is, and burning stuff does not add liability in and of itself. The policy increase is the "cost to rebuild" which would now include the burning appliance. So essentially insuring the appliance, not the risk that it brings. Weird. And yes, I am very clear in my written communications with people like this.
Fortunately there are no building codes where I live. The one insurer stipulation is that it be "installed by a licensed contractor" which I prove by sending the agent a copy of my contract with the contractor. Which is an issue because anyone I asked to build me a Double Shoebox Rocket Mass Heater would probably hang up the phone and block my number :)
How would you approach this with a contractor? My only thought is that if I build the thing and pay a contractor to install my chimney liner and connect the stovepipe, that would count as "installing a masonry heater." Any thoughts/experiences most welcome.
thomas rubino wrote:Hi A;
Those two half barrel or just one as your limited on space become a bench "bell".
Use preferably bricks, to surround the "bell" cover with mud. You have mud right?
Curious how you're connecting your riser cover drum to the split drums under the bench. Are you taking a short length of pipe from the hot drum into the first half drum?
Trying to figure out how you're interfacing those two pieces. I'm intrigued by your mention of using half drums instead of metal ducting through a bench. I guess these parts that interface don't leak when they're covered with mud.
My current compost scheme is to not compost. Sorta.
Anything that can go to chickens turns into eggs.
Anything that cannot go to chickens goes in what I call the "refuse bin." Essentially a cage that sits near the woods where I put all the biological nasties, including moldy foods and cat waste (I use pine pellets rather than litter.) That keeps the chickens and wildlife out while letting bugs and soil contact do the breakdown work.
Currently all yard stuff is going into piles near the garden for soil building. AKA "composting in place." When I have the right materials, I'll put them in play. For example, yesterday I had grass clippings, woodchips, and chicken poo that I spread between plants. That way I'm blocking weeds, feeding plants, and building soil all at once. The chicken poo was pretty fresh, which is a no-no, but I used sparingly and mixed with the other materials.
The stuff above is my current strategy. A similar strategy was earlier this year when I accumulated material and made two huglekulturs with the additional input of wood.
A past strategy was an active compost cage where I layered grass, leaves, and chicken poo. But that was too much work for me, turning it and keeping it moist for little reward. Plus a tree ate it, which is a lesson in itself. https://permies.com/t/139281/Tree-Ate-Compost#1091920 . The cage from this misadventure became my refuse cage.
So needless to say, there's a LOT of different ways to compost. The best way for you is whatever you feel is the least effort and easiest rewards.
Update: I tried to do the right thing. Ordered parts, was told it would be 7 to 10 days before received from manufacturer. Over 3 weeks later and nothing. The parts guys stopped answering my emails asking if these were actually available from their manufacturer. So I guess it's about time to cancel the order and just buy a dang new weed wacker because I can't go forever without!
Lesson learned: repairing machinery only works if the parts are available.
This thread has me wondering about a rocket mass equivalent of an outdoor wood heater. Build a nicely insulated little shack near your house with a RMH inside. Could be small, just big enough for air to circulate around your heated mass. Run two insulated ducts, one from somewhere low like your basement and another going from the heater shack to your living space. Possibly with a fan to really get air moving if natural convection isn't working. Wouldn't be nearly as efficient as an in-home heater, but if insurance said no or jacked up rates, that loss of efficiency would likely be worth it.
There are various routes you can take on different time schedules. The quicker you want this ready to plant, the more energy and cost input. The longer you can wait, the less energy and cost.
Short term would be getting the biggest tiller you can get your hands on. You'll need power to break that stuff up. Rental shops are good, or even better, a neighbor with a tractor! It would be good to amend your soil while you're at it, especially if you've done a soil test and know you have deficiencies. Finished compost would be an ideal addition if you're trying to fall plant.
Longer term would involve just piling organic matter on top and letting time, worms, and microbes do the rest of the work. Lasagna gardening is a good concept for how to properly layer so things break down well (sheet composting is another way to describe this.) Use what you can get, grass clippings, leaves, manure, etc.
If you are really patient and on a budget, get ahold of a tree trimming company and ask for a load of wood chips. They're usually happy to have a place to dump them. Spread that real thick on your area and over time it will decompose, enriching the soil and attracting worms to slowly till it all together. Keep it moist and maybe even consider adding mushroom spawn to speed things up.
Same situation in NW Missouri. Had all of one or two horn worms this year, back in late July I think. Haven't seen them since *knock on wood.*
Bag worms were bad this year, but they're pretty easy to spot and even easier to dispose of since their little bag contains the mess of squishing them :)
The mexican sunflower, tithonia, has been the most popular here...butterflies, hummingbirds, bumblebees, honey bees....etc. sometimes fight over the blooms. Everything else is busy also but I can tell tithonia rules.....
"Spring into Summer" is the American Meadows blend I have. But here's the thing... It's dominated by the tithonia which isn't even supposed to be in the blend! I love the patch, just didn't expect it to be over 7 feet tall and I am a little peeved that the 46 species blend seems to be full of stowaways like the tithonia and another sunflower which have shaded out most of the shorter varieties that are supposed to compose the blend. This is my test patch. I have a much larger chunk of yard smothering under tarps currently for fall planting (thanks to your advise and I believe I will only allow SOME of that patch to grow tithonia in the spring so the others get a chance too.
I planted a test patch of an American Meadows blend and it looks similar to what you have growing. I too am torn on what to do before winter. The suggestion from the supplier is to high mow it after everything has browned up for the year so the seeds will disperse. But geeze dang, I don't imagine this will be easy to mow as thick and thickly stalked as it is! My patch is in a prominent location so I likely will mow or scythe it down so that I'm not looking at a patch of dead stalks all winter.
My strategy (in planning) is south facing greenhouse attached to my home. Then separately, the barn and chicken coop share a wall where I would like to put a batch box heater. That way on the coldest days/nights I can warm up some thermal mass for the critters because I'm soft. So now you've got me wondering where to put the sauna!
Seems like you're on the right track not trying to impose your will right off the flip. Don't be afraid to spend the first round of seasons just studying. You'll start to notice what works, and what you can promote with a gentle hand. You'll also notice what's glaringly invasive and will be an problem for you. Study the sunlight as it changes through the year.
A few examples: I notice that gooseberries grow just fine near hackberry trees. That honeysuckle does well anywhere and could be replaced with honeyberries in small patches at a time. That woodbine will sneak its way underground and run rampant through garden beds if left unchecked.
Use technology: download google earth pro and use the timeline tool to look at past satellite imagery. They're all date stamped and helps you see what different seasons look like and how things have changed over time. Print off satellite photos and make notes and drawing.
Get a brushcutter (saw blade) adapter for your weed wacker and establish trails in the path of least resistance in the winter/early spring (or expand on natural game trails.)
Kind of a random response, sorry. I'm in year 2 of forest living and this is some of what I've learned so far.
Scott Charles wrote:
The plants don't drop as many leaves as in the pics above, but they do suffer quite a bit once we get to the 80F and higher temperatures which around here has been in early June. With the shift in climate it seems we get a short spring with many cold snaps and lots of rain, then a quick jump to hotter summer temps that stick around right through August.
A timely post for me. I planted several plants two years ago, some died and got replaced this year. None are doing well. They just look burned up and have very little green left on them despite good and regular rains. I think as you said, they need good soil (which I have not developed well enough before planting) and more protection from the summer heat. My plants look so bad now in August zone 7 that I have my doubts they'll even come back next year, granted I was surprised they came back this year. Thinking I'll just invest in the soil the rest of this season and replant next spring, with shade cloth!
I tend to be crawling around on the ground for one reason or another and get a ton of bites. The best thing I ever did was "go pro" on my itch relief by getting a prescription for triamcinolone. It's a clear topical in a tube. Like hydrocortisone but 10x as strong. It works amazing well. Where I'd be applying hydrocortisone several times a day, triamcinolone is once a day. Strong stuff, use sparingly!
Takes a doctor to sign off, but this is an easy one you can do over the phone if that's an option for you. I just told the doctor that over-the-counter stuff wasn't working, I hate allergy pills, and wanted to try this specifically.
Prevention has never worked for anything but mosquito for me. The creepy crawlies always get through.
The dreaded bermuda grass! I have thankfully moved away from a property where I fought with it. One thing you might try is renting a sod cutter from your local tool rental house. That cuts up the sod into strips that you can discard. Then for good measure, smother the bare ground left behind.
20 minute nap after work. My brain needs the reset button. Some are jealous of my ability to power nap, but don't realize it's also a bit of a burden. Because if I don't get it, I do not function well.
I'm basing my reply off a lot of experience with, shall we say, non-culinary fungus...
First off: Only some of your medium is colonized by the mycelium, so when you opened the bags you introduced the potential for unwanted microbes. Just like weeds are the first to grown in bare earth, these unwanted microbes now have bare medium that could very easily take over and ruin your bags before your mycelium gets to take over. So try not to open your bags until they are fully colonized unless you can open them in a sterile environment.
As others have said, mycelium does need air. But to give it air safely, the bags should have a safe way to get air and not unwanted microbes. This is usually done with a bag that has a "filter patch" built in, essentially a little square of filter to let air in while keeping spores out.
So one thing you can do is gently break up the medium through the bag. Just sort of massaging/rolling/kneading it to re-distribute the extra moisture and break up the mycelium to distribute it like little seeds into your uncolonized medium.
Cutting holes in the bag to let mushrooms grow happens AFTER the bags are more fully colonized and consumed by the white mycelium. To expose bare medium before that is a recipe for disaster.
Don't be dismayed. It takes a lot of practice to get a feel for exactly how wet your medium needs to be, your sterile technique, and your transition to fruiting.
Christopher Shepherd wrote: I strongly suggest cleaning the carburetor jets to make sure you have the proper fuel mix. The fuel filter may look clean, but could be plugged with slime. I blow through them backwards to make sure before reusing it. The fuel lines sometimes get so soft they collapse while running and cause the engine to run lean and get hot. I run into plugged exhaust quite often too. One of the most beneficial things I have found is I never run our equipment over 85 degrees outside temperature. I have found most small engine will not keep cool enough.
Thanks for the info. I was considering a carb job while I had it on the bench. The two factors you mentioned: Clogged jets causing the engine to run lean and hot, combined with over 85 degrees (which it was when I broke down) could well be factors in the piston expanding and scoring.
With a replacement carb pricing at $65 to $80, that put me over the line of "buy a new unit." I don't have the confidence to tear down the carb for cleaning with all those tiny parts! And they don't make a cleaning/rebuild kit for mine. I did come across this $15 aftermarket carb with new fuel lines and I'm sorely tempted: https://www.ebay.com/c/818521259
Thanks for the advice all. I did tear this one down to access the piston (hammer and a dowel!) There was some awfully bad scoring so they are indeed toast. I did fiddle with sanding those down just to see if the piston would move. And it does, but pretty sure in doing so I went too far and now it doesn't hold compression.
Repair means buying a new piston, cylinder, piston ring, and air filter for around $60. So I'll give that a try since I like it and am happy with this model and already have a brush cutter adapter for it that works well.
The alternative is $200 for a new decent trimmer plus whatever it costs me to get a brush cutter adapter for the new guy.
I've always wanted to have a better understanding of 2 cycle engines anyhow. Plus this fits with the permaculture way of repair vs replace!
Matt Todd wrote: Won't turn, even manually bypassing the pull string. Same oil/gas mix as usual....
What kind of gas have you been using? Regular pump gas from any gas station or no-ethanol gas?
I have been using regular gas for this 7 year life of this trimmer, 10% ethanol is what we have in Missouri. But your question got me looking around a bit and I see that this is not recommended for 2 cycle since the oil I mix with the gas does not bind to the ethanol like it does to the gasoline. So... I guess no more E10 in my small equipment from now on!
As much as I love my scythe, I still need my string trimmer for a lot of applications. And unfortunately the engine seized up last weekend!
First it shut down after an hour of running. I did some troubleshooting and found it would run without the muffler, so I went to finish the job w/o muffler and it lasted 20 minutes before seizing up completely. Won't turn, even manually bypassing the pull string. Same oil/gas mix as usual, and I've ran through a few tanks of the current blend.
So taking a peek inside the muffler port, I see a lot of scoring on the cylinder. I know that in rebuilding it is typical to need to smooth out a cylinder with sandpaper/emory cloth. But this looks awfully rough. Is that a "normal" amount of scoring on a cylinder? Trying to figure out if this is worth continuing to tear down for a rebuild (which I have never done before but always prefer fixing things to trashing and buying new.)
And BONUS question: What the heck is this extra port into the engine? I found it under the plastic cover. Seems to be a third hole in addition to the intake and exhaust.
How about a compromise where you just till and prepare soil in a small strip within your existing meadow? Then by broadcasting your seeds there and babying them along, they'll grow up to be big and strong and ready to naturally drop enough seeds of their own to sally forth and become part of the rest of your meadow with the least amount of effort.
Similar situation for me in Missiouri. Moved into a property that had a railroad grade through the middle that I wanted to clear since it had been neglected and access is important. How else do you enjoy your land?!
My best friend for this endevour was getting a brush cutter attachment for my string trimmer. Basically replacing the trimmer line head with a saw blade made for this purpose. So with a small nimble tool I was able to hack out all kinds of brambles and work around trees. The stuff that grows back is now tender enough for my mower to handle and getting rid of the invasives has really upped the bio diversity.
Set small goals for yourself, work a little each day.
"If in doubt, throw it out" applies extra to canned goods. Granted, if they were still fresh out of the cooker and haven't sat around at all then eat up.
If this happened a day or more ago, then dogs, chickens or compost to be safe.
I've lost a little water before, assumed it was just absorbing into the items being canned. But half a jar is a lot. Likely steamed its way out of loose lids and shouldn't be stored for later use.
I'd like to see more white/lighter coloration on the edges and a lighter underside to say for sure. They also look a bit thicker and one is bigger than I'm used to for reishi, maybe even missing the defined "stripes."
Mushroom ID is a hard game to play with shelf fungus like this, especially not in person. I would vote no on the side of caution.
Regional differences do come into play, and NC reishi could look different than the ones I see in Missouri. I'll be curious how others vote and throw this post a flag to get more eyes on it.
Scott Stiller wrote:You’re smarter than me Matt. I get so stoked to plant stuff I go for it full speed!😂
Wellllllllll, I did plant all my perennial trees and shrubs in the ground before truly building the soil up. Granted, I amended the individual planting holes and some things are happy. But my honey berries and some fruit trees are not happy at all. So I too am gung-ho on planting with mixed results. These Hugel projects really make you slow down and wait!
Scott Stiller wrote:Good looking project Matt. No matter what you do your growing medium will settle. Give it some time and see how much more you need to add before planting. It’s a common mistake and one I’ve made as well.
You bet! I heaped it on and fully expect it to heavily settle by the time I can plant in it. After piling 4 feet of leaves/grass/chicken manure in a cage and watching it break down to 4 inches of compost, I've learned the more material the merrier!
When I get lost in planning, I get analytical!
Measure your space and go to a free graph paper generator online so you can get the scale right for you, usually one foot per square (or whatever fits your situation on a single sheet of paper.)
Make a cheat sheet of how much spread to expect on your mature trees and shrubs.
Use scrap graph paper, or even better, a sticky note cut to the size of your future mature tree/shrub. Move your simulated plants around on your graph paper until you're satisfied.
Cardinal directions come into play when figuring for shade. But you should be able to factor that into your projections by studying the site.
And once you're satisfied with your future on paper, stick a few marker flags in the ground you can start digging more secure in the knowledge that you factored in future growth.
Bonus: while your young trees/shrubs are still small and not making much shade yet, you have room between them to sneak in some annual vegetables!
Another tip: download Google Earth Pro on a PC and you will have a tool that shows you past satellite imagery. This has really helped me because you can see different years and different seasons of your site from the comfort of your desk. You can also use Pro to draw and measure superimposed on your site. I will try to do a tutorial on using satellite imagery for garden planning soon.
This Hugelbed design is for strawberry growing. To get a jump-start, I filled the top with purchased soil (on cardboard, not pictured.) The objective is to let the strawberry runners from year one cascade down into the next tier for next years berries and so on.
I used copper treated timber after a lot of reading to make sure that would be safe. The layers on the bottom tiers are logs>twigs>chicken poop>grass>wood chips>compost>grass>wood chips. The only issue so far is the standard one with container plants: the top tier of soil dries out rather quickly (that top layer stood alone for a couple months, so hopefully it stays more moist now that the rest is filled.)
I had hoped to get this done sooner in the year so there would be enough decomposition into soil in tier two so the runners would have a home…. but that didn’t happen. Some of the berry crowns didn’t survive so I guess this year I’ll just let the runners fill in the blank spots on the top tier.
Admittedly, I don't have much to contribute to this thread. But I did just watch this Youtube video that from a mad scientist I absolutely adore and came away understanding wood gas more than I ever did before just by seeing his trial and error. Sharing because it's hilarious and educational and the first time I've seen wood gas applied in a small engine context.
Hey all. I have a quarter acre clearing in a corner of my 7 acre property. Currently it's full of wildflowers and beginning to be colonized by oak trees saplings. The neighbor had kept it mowed but this is the first season it has been left alone. After setting the neighbor straight on boundaries, he has cleared an alternate path around my corner so it will continue to be left alone. So what should I do with it?
It is hard for me to access currently, through timber and a fence. I will try to get at least a walking path but hopefully big enough for small equipment too. I like the idea of leaving it to the wild flowers, so should I just go back a couple times a year to kill off the encroaching trees?
My wife thinks we should do a food plot for wildlife after seeing how our local conservation department will use some of their land to grow turnips for the deer. I would consider planting some low maintenance food forest plants. Plenty of forest around already so I like the biodiversity the clearing brings. Any thoughts? Just looking for general management ideas. Thanks!
I just started my permaculture garden last year and included 10 haskap plants. They are not thriving and I even had to replace a couple this spring. The problem, I believe, is that I did not develop the soil first. I amended the individual planting spots with compost and whatnot to sweeten them up, then mulched with wood chips. But now I'm feeling like I should have put more care into getting the poor soil built up into rich soil first, because that seems to be what they want. The goumie berries next to them are doing great, which is part of why I assume that haskaps just want a nice soil from the get-go.
I guess I'm lazy in that I avoid carrying a lot of different things out to the garden. My main garden tool is a cheap multi-tasker from Menards. The serrated edge chops through greenery I'm holding with my free hand with no trouble and in addition I can do a number of other tasks with it. Granted, I'm only chopping and dropping the weeds along my bed rows and use larger tools for larger spaces.
Ideally with a hugle, you'd pile up big chunks of wood. Think logs as your base layer followed by smaller diameter branches. Then from there add whatever layers of biomass you can, such as grass, leaves, manure, etc. Mulch on top. Then leave sit for a season to break down. You'll still have some intact wood chips on top, but there should be well composted material underneath, so you'd just pull those chips aside to plant and pull them back around your plants as mulch.
What you are proposing is totally do-able, it's sort of like a time shortcut (you've just invested the time or dollars into finished compost instead of letting a hugle mound break down into compost.) I did the same myself this year so I didn't have to wait until next year to plant on my new huglekultur mound. Always a good idea to mulch around your plants with some wood chips. Just avoid mixing fresh chips down into your compost topping because that's when you might experience nitrogen robbing (the wood chips breaking down in the soil pulling nitrogen from your plants.)