I use only soap bars for sauna and shower, shampoo bars for hair, cleaning soap bars or baking soda for cleaning. Special dishwashing soap bars for washing up - they work great with an old-fashioned soap shaker. My dishwashing brush is wood and bristles, and gets composted when it wears out.
Soap flakes for laundry, vinegar for rinse, gall soap for tough laundry. I actually use a washboard since we have no machines. Soaking is the key, then use a plunger to squeeze the dirt out. I only use the washing board if clothes are real dirty.
Microfibre rags for cleaning, cotton towels for face, tea towels for drying and wiping. Old-fashioned hankies for blowing the nose. If we have a celebration, we use cotton napkins. I wash carpets with a bristle brush, which is also compostable after serving its lifecycle.
Buy loose tea, make my own youghurt (really easy!), brew my kombucha, drink homemade herbal lemonades. So we only have glass bottles we use over and over again.
Buy flour, sugar, salt, rice and pasta in paper wrappings. Cook with raw veggies, root vegetables and fruit - all shavings get composted. We have a riverside farm, so our fish comes fresh from there. Our own honey is stored in glass jars, used over and over again. Bake our bread from our own sourdough starter. Make my own sourkraut, pickles and jams in reusable glass jars. We make our own sausages, cure them so that they can be stored in a cool place without refridgeration.
Our farm has no electricity, apart from an aggregate used to pump water from the river to the plantings. (We also use it to charge out mobiles and some equipment like the drill or wood cutter but not much else).
We do use toilet paper, but that is composted with the human manure.
I think it's funny that honeybees have such good press, even in over-the-top-memes. So here goes: they're non-native, not nearly as effective at pollinating as either native bees, or several other species, including flies. And they live in a weird mass that totally subordinates the individual to the mass-mind.
The reason that they are used to pollinate farm and orchard crops is that they are domesticated and can be moved to the site by a contractor for a week when the trees need pollination, then taken away. It's just a way to substitute money and an industrial solution for providing a poison-free habitat for the pollinators that are already there. Or should already be there if they haven't been wiped out by the farmer who's paying for the honeybees.
Seed growers use houseflies to pollinate crops like carrots that have to be raised in isolation cages to avoid cross-pollination. They are actually very effective pollinators. As are dozens and dozens of other species. Wasps not only pollinate flowers but eat pests. I'd like to see a honeybee do that!
So really it comes down to honey. In other words, it comes down to what WE get out of it. Nobody notices that all these hundreds of other insects are busy pollinating things because we can't rob them of sweet stuff......
American foods that Europeans might not be exposed to? How about Canadian/American Chinese food--the 1970s version still available in cheap redneck venues and small town Chinese restaurants? Conversely: Haudenosaunee Soup (see bottom of web page) https://www.conflictkitchen.org/past/haudenosaunee/.
@Tom Davis : is the Picasa photo links hosted anywhere currently? The Tucson Swales have been coming up as a discussion topic in the Saturday class of SolarTony - a San Diego professor of Physics - there's a FB presence about EcoSustainable Neighborhoods too.
Some class discussion has been about arranging for larger scale or "broadacre" preserves for non-toxic and living sanctuaries. I'm wondering about some sort of public lands volunteerism which might even build upon this historic CCC example.
If you have some shareable photo links maybe you'd kindly contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org I thank you for your time and consideration.
- Bob Hayes
They’re growing pretty well actually! Arbequina and Universal seem to be doing the best. Seascape has lagged behind from an early setback where the central leader was broken from snow I think. It’s flowering this year though.
I cut down an arborvitae hedge that was blocking their late and early season sun so I’m wondering if that’ll help increase the size of the fruit. We’ll find out.
In the photos Universal is on the left, Arbequina in the middle and Seascape is on the right. Arbequina towers over me now. I might have to prune it a bit.
Are nematodes all the same or are there different kinds? I would most definitely try this!! I'm also going to be planting a whole lot of garlic in the near future.
Jennifer Smith wrote:Beneficial Nematodes are microscopic, non-segmented roundworms that occur naturally in soil throughout the world. These microscopic predators locate flea and tick larvae in the soil and enter the prey infecting them with toxic bacteria killing them in 24 to 48 hours.
These have been a big help here.
Thank you for the information on the KoMo. I had not heard of this mill, but after watching the video and reading about it, I will put this on my purchase list when my current mill inevitably gets too old to function.
Phil Stevens wrote:Even powdered biochar will still have about the same water retention as granular or lump material. You would need a really fine grind to start breaking it down to the point where you lose the porosity. I don't think a garbage disposal will get it that small....we're talking about nanometer scales here. Try it and see...weighing up samples is easy.
The bigger discussion is the actual water holding capacity of pure biochar compared to mixing it with soil. My average sample holds three times its weight at saturation, but in consulting my Big Book I see a caveat in chapter 19: Much of this is in the spaces between the particles, and when you get soil into the picture things change. The other thing that happens is that clay and soil microbes will clog pore entrances over time, which reduces the ability of water to get in and out quickly.
Yes water will be held in the pore space between biochar and soil particles but the biochar itself will certainly hold less water the smaller it gets.
An easy way to demonstrate this is taking well drained biochar chunks, maybe even drying them in the sun for a day so they are certainly not dripping or anything. Then run them through a hammer mill and witness what a gooey mess it will become as it releases a large amount of water.
One of my favorite parts of Bootcamp is gardening these monstrous mounds. I arrived a little late this year so I haven't grown much from seed, though I have been harvesting a bunch of good stuff. I've been especially keen on improving the walkways, such as making steps and keeping the soil from falling down the hills. The scaffolding is a great way to make it easier to garden, and with some extra sticks and lumber, they also are useful for keeping soil high up on the berm.
Douglas Alpenstock wrote:Hey Steven, good info. How do you prep your char for filtering? As in, how finely is it ground, how heavily was it rinsed heavily during production, and how long do you think it remains effective in your filter?
PS, fish farm on the prairies? More information SVP.
To start I use the retort method to make the char because it gives the best char for my application. I don't grind or crush the char at all. I know I can get a lot more surface area if I do I find that I end up with a lot more dust that I have to wash out before using it. So the first rinse is when I douse the char when it just comes out of the retort. I then place the char on a screen to shake the dust and small particles off while I fill the bags. After that I give a rinse to the char until I see no black running out of the bags. This past winter I also started using the char to help with solids filtration, so as the water makes its way through the settling tank, aquaponics tank, biological filter it then goes through a 5 gallon bucket of char. The char should help filter any remaining ammonia and nitrates and polish off the water before it hits the fish tank. I would say I believe the fish did benefit from the extra filtration but I think my char was actually too course to properly filter out the solids. I use whatever clean wood I can get my hands on but I do have a preference for hardwoods. Softwood makes a much more porous char but can crumble and turn into dust fairly easily while hardwoods don't. I want to keep the water clean not make it into a char soup and irritate the trouts gills.
Travis Johnson wrote:The two wheel tractor does not get anywhere near enough credit. Around here we have "Kubota Farmers", and they own 3-4 acres of land and have 80 horsepower Kubota's. It really is WAY more tractor than what they need. Most could get by with a nice BSC tractor, and save a lot of money.
I bought my father a BSC 2 wheel tractor for his 3 acres, and he LOVES it. I can think of a dozen implements I want to make for it, but right now it is his baby, but someday I will inherit it, and will festoon it with all kinds of attachments.
Someday I am going to write a book about their capabilities. They can do so much, and so cheaply. When I do my sheep farming classes, I point out how a 4 wheel tractor "hay makers special" will cost a homeowner $27,000 to make hay. A BCS Tractor can make hay for animals and cost $9000 (Both had mowers, rakes, and balers). You do the math...$27,000 versus $9,000!!
For making trails through the woods, I cannot do so with my Kubota, but I could with my BCS Tractor for sure.
Yep! We have a small 23hp Massey, but I'm dying to get a little BCS.
Our tenant farmer has an old one from the 80s for tilling, but I'd like to get a newer machine and some implements.
The little balers are awesome for the bcs too - especially for smaller parcels and all of us aging people...or even for our parents!
I grew up on a farm in a clay belt. Growing vegetables need nutrients. Heavy feeders squash, cucumbers, tomatoes etc grow best in really rich soils. By rich I mean being planted in manure piles in the old days. Over the years (50 plus) and have lived on many different soils and the one thing that is most important is getting a very high level of organic matter incorporated into the soil. How do you think that black soil gets to be black? Guess what organic matter. When organic matter is worked into the soil in the fall it decomposes over the winter. One place I lived had a clay soil and I could not put enough organic material in it to make it into a really good soil before I moved (5 years). The bottom line is plants don't like to grow in clay soils,
Bacterial levels (goggle clay). Never mind the composting etc just get any and all organics worked into the soil. As the organic level builds up all good things will come to enjoy your soil.
Sourcing seeds is a major challenge over here. Even F1's. Info such as how long does it take from sowing to harvest, disease resistance etc- is not available. There are many local seed sharing groups that claim to save heirloom varieties from commercial companies, but they also suffer from the same problem. I feel lucky if I receive any package from them that has something written on it. Sometimes you receive seeds of a tomato that is claimed to be ancestral, then it turns out to be an Italian heirloom that has nothing to do with the guys grandma.
There is also two other issues that I deal with. Lately I am busy and usually I don't have more than 1 hour per week in the veggie garden. It takes ton of babysitting some heirloom varieties. The other issue has to do with Istanbul's climate. It is humid and hot. Some years it is mostly Mediterranean and doesn't rain for months, but some years it rains throughout whole summer. Powdery mildew -and other mildews- is a major issue. Istanbul has a huge metropolitan area, creating a massive heat island and also air pollution. Regular spraying by municipality does not help either.
So decided to grow my own landrace varieties. And I had some promising results with squash. I was able to get some seeds - landrace varieties, mostly Lofthouses and from some friends. Greg sent squash seeds - resistant to powdery mildew, a variety he has been selecting for the last 5-6 years.
Since I don't have free access to seeds, there is no seed share group focusing on the subject, my first year goal is to grow as many as possible. Turning each seed to 10-20-100 or more.
Gaia's Garden: A Home Scale Guide to Permaculture - Toby Hemenway
Book Summary: The first edition of Gai's Garden captured the imagination of American home gardeners by introducing the main message of permaculture: Working with nature, not against it, results in more beautiful, richer and more forgiving gardens.
Many people mistakenly believe that organic gardening, which involves the cultivation of a wide variety of edible and other useful plants, can only be carried out on a large, multi-acre scale. As Hemenway shows, creating a home ecosystem is easy and fun by gathering plant communities that can cooperate and perform various functions, including: Building and maintaining soil fertility and structure, Catching and conserving water in the landscape, Providing habitat for beneficial insects, birds and animals, Growing an edible forest that produces seasonal fruits, nuts and other foods.
Regardless of the size of the yard or garden you have to work with, you can apply the basic principles of permaculture to make it more diverse, more natural, productive and more beautiful. Most importantly, once you set up an ecological garden, you will reduce or eliminate most of the cumbersome work required to maintain a typical lawn and garden.
G6PD deficiency is a genetic (inherited) issue and relatively common in areas where malaria is common. With the migration from these areas, it is reasonably common now to see this trait popping up in wider communities. The big issue with this deficiency is that taking drugs such as Primaquin causes the red blood cells to break down, which is potentially life threatening. G6PD is designed to protect red blood cells but where it is deficient, there is not enough to do its job. So with fava beans doing this too, it is best if you have a heritage originating from an endemic malaria area, steer clear unless you know for sure you are not G6PD deficient.
I agree with R. Ranson, stick to chickpeas. Just because it is natural does not mean it is good for you ........... arsenic and cyanide are the oft towed out examples.
I prefer this handle design to the 2-handled broadfork for ergonomic reasons. As a mid '60's woman I had a dislocated bicep tendon brought on by use of a u-bar broadfork, and went back to using a conventional garden fork. A friend has a home-made broadfork with this type of handle and I can use it without aggravating this old injury.
Here's what it looks like just at the end of spring, more than one month since the last day it rained. Mulch has not been heavy and we weren't able to place any shade that stands the winds (it would have required too much work).
The pumpkin has dried and burned as expected, the tomato plants have a bad face, but they are producing a few small tomatoes, I would be surprised if I actually can harvest some. Sorghum, on the other hand, looks good.
Just for comparison, we have an urban garden market in the neighborhood, they had big big tomatoes, but the water supply was cut, and now all their tomatoes are lost before harvest (or so they said). Ours are still alife...
I've come to be of the opinion that, given an individual
1. is not trying to cater to specific plants that need better draining soil
2. is not in the path of too much water flow
3. is not trying to sunscoop or airflow manage a micro climate
4. does have drought/water stress as the primary limit of plant growth (seems like most places!)
5. does have some elevation change to work with
6. probably something else....
the hugel terrace is the better design. It's going dry out slower come hot hot summer. If it's plugged into seasonal groundwater flows, it's going to dry out a lot slower.
I haven't had an issue, and have had water success with the "conditionally legitimate no no" of making a hugel swale on contour. With the condition that the maximum depth of the swale is like a foot, and the hugel terrace is like 10 times wider than the swale, and the "swale berm terrace" is colonized with roots before the swale floods, using a watcher catchment that's juuuust the right size to soak the hugel terrace can make for damp soil 2" below the surface, meanwhile the raised mound berm is bone dry to a depth of 10" after so many weeks into the dry season...
Also this post made me realize that I should have spent $500 on guano, fishbone meal and gypsum 5 years ago! Whoops. Thanks for the hot tip and super post.
Chris Kott wrote:I am not dismissing your analysis, Mike, but I think a lot of things have been changing very quickly since the early nineties.
When was glyphosate first introduced to cereal crops that eventually became kids' breakfast cereals, even the boring ones? How has food processing changed in the last thirty years? What of packaging and preservatives? What about things like persistent pharmaceutical residues in water systems and plastics and other pollutants that supplant hormones?
And yes, when did it stop being normal for a toddler to eat a handful of living soil, or to play in the dirt? I know, dirt messes with electronics, so it's naturally out, now.
I blame a gradual disconnection from actual life. Allergy studies show that children raised in houses with pet allergens show decreased sensitivity to those, and other, environmental allergens. The same is found with children who grow up around livestock (healthy exposure, not living in squalor with the pigs).
Maybe all humans need something like weekend rural communities, to reestablish contact, and then remain connected, with a rural disease and microbiological environment. Maybe cities need to shrink but intensify, so that we have hubs for people whose work requires them, but so everyone is, like, an elevator ride and a short stroll away from chickens and pigs, woodlot and food forest and market gardens.
Maybe instead of cities, we need arcologies, spires of urbanity that are self-sufficient and designed to serve the needs of the rurality, rather than the opposite, which has been the historical norm back to peon days.
Completely agree Chris. Our herbicidal, pesticidal sterile world is doing no body any good
First be sure the wood was treated lumber, most houses were not built with treated lumber above the plates until the mid 1960's. If the wood wass not treated there is no need for hydroxides or other chemical pretreating. Simple slurries should be enough.
During WW1, the trenching shovel was a favorite weapon among the troops for hand to hand fighting in the trenches. They would sharpen the edges razor sharp and it make a pretty good axe substitute. bit a lot lighter. Since guys can figure out how to make a weapon out about anything (my wife says boys can make a weapon out of toast), someday I expect buying bread will get you carded also. Kind of silly, but that's why they put those silly safety notices on everything.
Been reading All Quiet on the Western Front to my 8 and 9 year olds. They describe the trench shovel weapon in that book. At least on the German side they used it more as a substitute for the bayonet as the latter would often get stuck after stabbing the enemy soldier making you an easy target while you struggled to extract it.
That's some good advice. Actually what I have done in the meantime is partially reconstitute an old bed that had not been used in a couple of years and gotten overgrown. When I did my massive chipping project last spring (approx. April 2020), I rented a 12" chipper and aimed it so that it blew the chips right on the bed. The pile of chips eventually got over 7' high! I have used much, but I still have a pile about 5' tall. One of my goals was to smother down weeds that were growing. A second goal was simply to have wood in contact with the ground as much as possible so that the wood and soil would eventually knit together.
Pretty soon I am going to move off all but about 12" or so of that pile so that I don't have terribly anaerobic conditions. I will then inoculate with mushrooms and let them do their magic.
But thanks for the input, I will keep this in mind for the future!
I brought 2 whole buckets of 40 kegs. dry biscuits for my dogs, but none of my 4 dogs liked to eat it. I noticed it’s been off with non-fresh smell. I believe it’s too much over expired date so I wouldn’t give away to other dogs. But it’s not moldy or soggy, can I use these off dog food as fertilizer or put in my compost bin?