Hi Rick; Big Welcome to Permies! And A big welcome to rocket mass heaters!
I have never made charcoal so I don't have any practical experience with that process.
I have made plenty of rockets though.
To start a batch box is the unit to build.
Yes a batch can be opened and have more wood inserted.
In fact a batch can be run with no door at all , other than a plug door to let it go out.
A batch will burn a load of wood in an hour or so BUT...
There will be glowing red coals for another hour or more after that. (using a proper door)
I don't like your sketch design. To many twists and turns .
You need that batch to vent straight up into a bell (brick or metal)
Your retort vessel just need to be suspended below the riser.
You will need to experiment on how high to keep it to maintain your desired temperature.
Only directly above that riser will it get too hot , anywhere to the side and below will be where you want your vessel to hang.
As far as being portable??? Bricks don't like being bounced, they will crack the mortar apart.
If you have a smooth hand on your forklift and nice smooth ground to move on you could move this around But be careful or you will be rebuilding.
I wouldn't know myself but I know where you could find out. There is a Facebook group called "Building and Renovating houses in Japan" or something like that. I guarantee someone there will know. I do know that a lot of the quality wood that used to be used a long time ago isn't available anymore so.
Of course that is if you are on facebook. Its very useful for learning things but of course there is the ethical dilemma of it being Facebook.
N.Y. Anzai wrote:
The main problem is that Japanese companies all tend to collaborate and have standard sizes for everything. So my kitchen unit would happily accommodate the Panasonic. Should be an easy fit. The Miele would not fit easily, would require the counter to be raised (which I actually need doing because i'm tall) and then also need all sorts of adjustments. Whilst we will get the counters raised eventually, finding all the money for all the things that need doing in the case that we choose miele is such a lot and I'm not sure we'll have time before Christmas. My husband knows I had my heart set on the miele but I think we just can't afford it. We also need the garden doing and that costs a LOT here. I'll probably have a go at building raised beds and herb spirals but I can't dig up concrete nor build fences. Can you believe though that just those things would cost almost ¥1 million yen. Why are things so expensive here?! 😭 the garden is probably only 30-50m2 as well 😅
Anyway the garden is sort of our priority as we have a 2 and 5 year old that want to be outside and I have chores to do inside so need something secure and safe.
Sorry again i'm going off on a tangent...
Don't get me started on the standard heights of everything in Japan. The sink in one house is so low that you have to bend your back to a weird angle to use it, but be careful of the ceiling beam that's at forehead height and right above the sink for some reason!
Anyway, if you want to think about it some more or wait to buy your oven, you could maybe do this year's Christmas baking at a public building. Your city might have a cooking classroom that residents can reserve for free or usually a few hundred yen. Most of the time, the classrooms include a small oven at each station. I reserved our town's cooking classroom for our moms group and made cookies. We made way too many and had four ovens going, but it was a fun time.
There is hardly anyone living here so not much demand for the classroom. In a bigger city, it might take more paperwork and a "baking club" that includes a couple friends. Our classroom is inside the health center (hoken center 保健センター）or if there is a childcare support center (kosodateshien center 子育て支援センター) it might be in there, or possibly your community center if it's a big one. Your town office would know, assuming they are the helpful type...
The nice people at Japan simple life might be able to advise on cheaper gardening hacks and probably the oven situation as well. It's a small forum for people currently living or planning to live in Japan. They talk a lot about gardening and farming, and there is a "city life" section.
I really don't know why I didn't think of that before you know since I used one of those spaces for my eldest's first birthday party. I suppose it is because we are in a completely different city now. We moved to outskirts of Sendai-shi. I'm not sure exactly where I'd be classed as living because whilst we are only 7 mins walk away from the JR station and 15 mins from the supermarket, we are also only 16-17 mins walk to the nearest rice field (its actually opposite the supermarket). So we are semi rural I suppose yet in Japan residential land is expensive and even in this area the prices have sky rocketed. We only managed to get 165m2 plot (that includes what the house is sitting on so our garden is very small). Some people in the area have double plots with rows of veggies but the owners are all old so the land must not have been anywhere near as expensive when they bought theirs. I'd love it if there was a decent allotment scheme here like they have in the UK. The nearest is a 30-60m2 patch about 1 hour bus ride away. In the UK I had a half plot allotment as a kid that was 125m2 (full plot is 250m2) and was only 15 mins walk away. It had a shed already built there too! Remember that time fondly...but climate is very different here. Summer I can't cope with very well.
As for Japan simple life I think I might have signed up there but totally forgot about it. I'm going to go back and check again. Thank you for reminding me.
Mike, three thoughts.
1.) given the odd framing spacing, maybe blow-in insulation would be easier. Staple up a clear vapor barrier and fill through holes in it, you can see your progress and react accordingly.
2.) Maybe tongue and groove boards for below the joists to retain/protect the insulation? easier than panels in that tight space?
3.) interior wall boards and gaps. The gaps that will stand out will be at eye level (standing, seated, lying in bed). If allowed, maybe run the boards over a jointer to straighten them all (loss could be made up by adding a board, a wider base trim, or cove at ceiling), or selectively plane just the worst high spots down (in the hi-visibility locations).
i am certainly not an expert when it comes to specifically bio char or terra preta, but it fits with the natural way of land clearing and can be quite simple.
throwing a lot screened dirt on the end and letting it smother it all night is a good way to go because it also cooks your dirt. its also good if its out of season, to make sure its completely out before bed.
often its a long process, if you make big moves on landscaping, like an all afternoon fire, and theres first dragging everything over as you go along. so this is the basic gist of how they did it back when, and also adding fresh and partially composted stuff and food waste, as well as new loads of fresh stuff as it got cleared. that green stuff doesnt always burn through, and theres moisture in the leaves and the compost they would put on there.
so yeah basic simplified way to make terra preta - burning piles of cleared brush thats dry, adding lots of fresh stuff and also compost (towards the end) as well as drier stuff, and then putting a large amount of screened soil on the very end, after it rages for a while. now add whatever else you have to inoculate it and also finished compost or good soil if you have some.
Thanks for the info on the shaft. As for the previous post, while i’m always open to new ideas, honestly i’ve already built two other manual container fillers but haven’t been able to bring the work time down at all. It takes about 15 minutes to make 100 containers, no matter how you slice it, since the hand motions don’t differ all that much.
Last year we were making so many we had to outsource and paid 4 cents per filled container. We ended up paying something like 12,000 euros to have a constant supply of containers.
So, you can see the need we have to automate some of the process to do a bunch without a heavy burden on people doing it.
Now I’ve only had Fleck softener in operation for a couple of months. But so far it has been working perfectly. I did have to call the seller during installation with a question about water being retained in the salt tank (my previous softener was a Sears and it never had standing water in the salt tank like this one does. The person I talked to was extremely helpful as well as pleasant to talk to. He also walked me through the program cycles (his help was actually more helpful than the YouTube video I watched). Our water is moderately hard. This softener might have been a little overkill, but I prefer that to struggling with equipment that can hardly keep up. Fleck softener
This is a very interesting exercise on 30 minutes notice!
The general thesis that previous forest practices (seeing the forests as a crop, a big version of corn) are the primary factor in the size and scope of these fires seems quite settled and thus altering those practices is THE starting point for any fire reduction strategy. But I can't accept the proposed solutions as they leave out huge chunks of the ecosystem (yeah, 30 minutes ...) and generally represent the hypothesis that we know what we're doing.
My initial reaction is "what about the salmon?" I'm not an expert, but the breadcrumbs are pretty clear - the salmon and the forests are connected. This is partly temperature, partly control of flow, and there are some suggestions that the trees deposit compounds in the water that are beneficial to the fish. Off hand, swapping conifers for deciduous trees means changing the type of organic matter in streams (giant maple leaves behave very differently from doug fir needles), timing of organic matter in streams (a giant pulse in the fall), and different stream-shading effects (PNW coastal forests are apparently "the darkest forests in the world"). There are also other species that depend on the old-growth forests - the Marbled Murrelet is the new Spotted Owl. While the Spotted Owl exists as part of the old growth ecosytems, the Marbled Murrelet is a sea bird that lives on the ocean but nests in old growth trees (surprisingly far from the coast). I have no idea what role the Murrelet plays in the larger ecosystem, but its a little vein connecting the ocean and the forests and limiting conifers to 1/2 acre stands would almost certainly be an extinction event that eliminates that vein.
Conifers on ridges also act as water catchers, the tremendous surface area grabs moisture blowing across ridges and acts as key in "stacking water" on the ridges. Its particularly bad when loggers start at the ridge and cut down (turns out thats a preferred technique), effectively depriving any re-growth of water and shade. Replacing evergreen conifers will reduce this water collection, especially when deciduous trees are not in leaf. On the flip side, I have to concede that its possible the deciduous trees engage in more respiration in the summer, possibly releasing more water per acre into the air - this water then goes along to the next system (coastal->cascades->east Cascades) where it contributes to a rain event.
These points lead to a larger discussion of managing ecosystems and the limits of human cognition (do we really know what we're doing?)... and that's not happening here! But roughly, yes, putting the regulatory-captured US Forest Service and WA/OR/CA Bureaus in charge of truly giant chunks of land has created huge problems and yet dissolving that system to manage the forests in tiny 10-100 acre plots creates a whole different set of problems. These are not new problems (tragedy of the commons and all), but I remain skeptical - hopeful but skeptical - that inserting more people into the forests to optimize their little piece of it will optimize the health and production of the whole forest.
I thank Paul and Alan for considering this topic, and I don't want to criticize them for failing to overcome my skepticism! This is a big topic.
optimize space in the shop - maybe building shelves
- maybe replacing small shelves with bigger shelves
- maybe replacing shelves with drawers or cabinets
- maybe replacing shelves with shelves that are built more efficiently
- maybe creating the ability to store 6 shovels, where you used to hang one shovel
- enhancing rolly shelves - possibly building another rolly shelf
- Some sort of organization improvement
- Maybe building a lumber rack
- Some sort of clever way to organize steel
- Temporary project storage
- Organizational signage
- at least two and a half days (oddball rules)
- before, during and after pics
change the oil and do full service on a vehicle/tractor - oil change
- adjust tire pressure
- vacuum/clean engine air filter
- vacuum/clean cab air filter
- test that all signal bulbs, headlights and tail-lights are working
- top off brake fluid
- top off transmission fluid
- top off coolant
- top off windshield washer fluid
- lube joints
- Top off hydraulic fluid (tractor)
- basic, quick cleaning
chainsaw: make a video for the public about one chainsaw - presented as a video to care for this make and model of chainsaw
- demonstrate replacing the bar and chain
- demonstrate sharpening (both quick and thorough) this particular saw
- mention how this saw is different from others
- positives and negatives
- best places to use
- demonstrate adding oil
- demonstrate adjusting the chain tension
- Check chain sprocket for wear. Describe when to replace.
- get lots of use in on this particular saw before making video (probably with other badges)
build a small, portable tool shed - on skids or on wheels
- ability to lock up all tools
- minimum interior size: 6 feet by 10 feet
- interior height at least 7 feet
- one end needs a workbench 6x3
- a hefty shelf above workbench
create a dry place to park a piece of equipment (tractor/truck/utv/etc.)
- could be a:
- berm shed
- building extension
- must be large enough for the entire vehicle to fit in easily and stay dry
- electric powered equipment must have electricity
- possible storage on the far end, and tractor attachments on the near end
- need space to be able to enter and exit the piece of equipment
Beth - well a steer COULD eat the front grass down. But a cow/steer doesn't want lawn grass - they want tall, nutrient dense grass. The usual 3" lawn isn't easy to eat, and doesn't offer much volume either. If you want to let that lawn get to be 12-16" (or more) and be a variety of grass that does that ... well, to a cow grass is grass and they are equal opportunity eaters and they don't care if its the "front lawn" or a pasture.
The acreage requirements for a mini-cow and calf vary regionally. Theoretically a cow-calf pair needs something like an acre. Some cattle are kept in very small areas and just fed hay ... its not the worst life a cow could have, but everything looks nicer (and functions better) if you have enough space to actually rotate them through. The grass doesn't think that being trampled all summer and left alone all winter is good enough, and without rotation it won't be long before your pasture starts to decline in productivity.
Two points on butchering sheep vs cattle - IMHO butchers have a fixed slaughter fee per animal, and then the butcher fee is per pound. The slaughter fee makes lamb relatively more expensive. Where we were (in SW Wisconsin) there was nary a butcher to be found that knew anything about butchering lamb, but everybody knows beef (and deer!).
I think Dexters ARE a smaller breed you can raise for butchering. There is generally a balance of economics, and there is a curve of age*yield weigh*feed consumption that suggests there are optimal ages for slaughtering a steer. It can always be done earlier (veal...), so there is no reason you CANT slaughter at a younger age its just not the usual practice.
Another point -- cows are social, herd animals. I think its unkind to have just one. At least other barnyard animals - goats seem solid companions - give social contact. One of the things I love about my mixed-age herd is they really behave like a family group and seem better for i.
A while ago I found two more IBC tanks and have finished my rainwater catchment system so far. See attached picture. This year we apparently had the biggest drought in like 70 years. I had no idea since this is our first summer here.
Let's see how much water we get next year and if I still want to connect the other gutter to my tanks.
3 GPM is really frustrating, 10 GPM is fine for all household needs although you may find watering a garden AND household needs to be a problem. I have a 20gpm well that services two residences and three gardens.
There's a bigger question here in funding - if you're moving towards a standard mortage the requirement is that the well must deliver 3 gpm continuously for 4 hours. If it can deliver 2.5 gpm all day then you need a storage tank so you can meet the 3 gpm*4 hours rule.
As a follow-up to this thread, I did end up renting a mini-excavator. And it was truly tiny; it didn't have a cab, but only a roll bar. It's max dig depth was only about 6 feet, but it was able to do most of what I wanted to do during a two day rental. My wife wouldn't let me build the huglecultre out of the old bushes anyway. She wants me to burn them instead. Sometimes, her resistance to my permie ideas make me sad.
I have no photos or videos to share, because I was either on the machine or sleeping the entire time; trying to get as much done without incurring an extra day's rent. It ended up costing me about $750 for two days. I'm exhausted.
Andrew Mayflower wrote:The reason the plunge cut works for trees at risk of barber chairing is that you are leaving the strongest, most consequential fibers for last. By the time you cut them you've already cut through the ones that would have splintered, and therefore stopped it from being able to happen.
It's a fine line though to walk. If you leave too much in the hinge and/or trigger it can still barber chair. Leave too little and it can go in a weird direction.
I'm going to quibble with your reasoning here ;) The bore cut method reduces barber chair risk for two reasons, neither being strength of fiber.
One, by not cutting the "trigger" area until the center is removed, you are holding the tree upright, not releasing it to fall.
Two, because you used the bore cut to remove wood between trigger and hinge, you are not chasing the breaking fibers of a falling tree, which can happen if you're doing a conventional back cut and essentially is what a barber chair is - the tree pulling fibers before you can cut them because it's falling too fast.
If the tree is leaning hard enough, it can pull your trigger. Which is why on some trees I use the bore cut, and once the hinge is set just go right out through the back directly, cutting fast before the tree gets to pulling.
No one has mentioned one of the major skill aspects of bore cutting, controlling kickback. When you go sticking the nose of the bar into that tree, you need to be very conscious of your kickback zone on the bar,and have solid control in case it does kick. You also want your chain nice and sharp, although that really applies all the time ;)
More or less 2 ways of saying the same thing.
As far as kickback, that is something that takes a bit of practice to get right, but once you know how to do it it's pretty easy. This is part of why I cautioned that this is not a technique for a newbie to chainsaws or tree falling. It's hard to describe in words how you do it. If I can make a video sometime I will.
Eliot Mason wrote:Alex - thanks for the link. I have to say normally I wouldn't think I'd find good earth-care solutions at a paving site ... but that is pretty helpful. They key is really getting pipe with half holes.
Yeah I was a bit surprised by the source but I thought the images were a good representation of the cross section
I'll add that although the cost of the mill and the ancillary logging equipment (tractor, arch, chainsaws, etc) is significant it may be considered an asset not an expense. When you are done using it ... in two to five years?... it has resale value. I couldn't possibly predict the % of value it will hold, and if you start with used equipment it will be higher, but even if you got back 50% of the cost then the cost comparison of bought vs made is very different.
Further, if you have trees that you'll need/want to manage then you may find that some of that equipment is necessary anyway, shifting costs from "building" to "property maintenance". I know, this isn't an accounting forum - but the idea is relevantl
Finally, although the Woodmizer is an excellent machine there are others. The swingblades in particular may be more appropriate in certain circumstances and might save the price of a tractor and arch.
Will you need a simple flap on the top of the exhaust to keep water out when its not operating? Water in the "U" is probably not enough back pressure to keep it from starting but standing water in the exhaust system seems bad.
Now ... why doesn't my vertical stack have one? Hmmm... I may have a task to complete....
Good point, Eliot. Will definitely employ a rain flap.
Eliot Mason wrote:Just to second Douglas, you need to use the 240V outlet there. 220v-240v motors may not even spin with just 120v applied. And your well pump has a max amp draw lower than the 12.5a that generator is rated for, so stick with it.
The tractor PTO thing is indeed weird (as explained by Eric). I mean, I happen to have a 45hp engine over here, shouldn't I use that? Fewer motors to maintain, its sort of self-motive - and yet it seems to be more expensive, the gearing change from 540 to 3600 seems easy enough until you try to make 10+hp go through it, and you can use both the pto-gen and the loader at the same time. I don't have snow to clear and most of the power-out emergencies we have are ice or high wind (or, like now, fire). Even if I need to disconnect and go shove a tree out of the way or some such there is still a LOT of time when I might be sleeping (trying to ...) or otherwise not in the tractor seat that it could be keeping the freezer going and well delivering water. Of course, its all hypothetical as I have no gensets at all. : (
It also helps to have two tractors!
Douglas saved me alot of problems and I thank him for that.
We are on 8 acres. 1 cow calf pair and 3 sheep.
First yr, the quality of my hay was poor. I bought hay @ 16bux a bale small square bale x 21.
(Improved pasture and rotary grazing same stock: cows, then sheep, then chooks then 6 weeks rest cycle).
I close off 3.5 acres with electric fence. Continue to rotary graze the rest. I take 24 bales out of that. Plenty to feed free hay all winter to same stock. And not a chemical in sight.
Heres the rub. Unless you can bale it yourself, its useless. As no hay maker will visit my small farm when i needed them to. Far more profitable jobs on larger places. My hay was not as good as it could of been had i not had to wait over à week for baler guy to turn up.
I'll need to revisit the property (We close in about 3 weeks!) to be sure, but I'm fairly certain that it's not common, or European Barberry that I'm dealing with, but rather it's shorter, bitter Japanese cousin. I hadn't heard of it being useful as a medicine, and I will definitely be checking out Mountain Rose herbs. Around here Extension recommends a gamut of methods for removal, including manual for the small plants, but also chemicals and propane torches. If they're worth anything to anybody I'd be happy to offer them up! Thanks for the link, and for the book recommendation!! I've also added my general location, thanks for the tip!
I have almost the same question and I thought it might be better to post it here instead of a new thread. I hope that's ok.
Almost the same situation: I want to supply 30 amps to a small cabin 160ft from the panel on the side of a house. The supply from the panel on the house is through a 40A breaker. At the cabin I would like 2 separate 15A circuits. Do I need a 30A breaker at the subpanel in the cabin before the 15A breakers? Or is it ok to pigtail both 15A breakers together directly from the wire coming from the 40A breaker at the house?
I can't wait to see what happens with this really big hugelkultur berm! We built a nice medium sized hugelberm three years ago, and this summer it's been growing big artichokes and many, many perennial kale plants without any irrigation. I'll see if I can find a picture of that.
Here are some pictures I took of our hugelkultur berm in process:
I lived on a boat for a bit, have also gone on some extended cruises on big old 44' cris craft I helped refurbish. one thing to be sure of. be sure to have a back up for a back up for a backup on bilge pumps. and lots of durable waterproof containers to store things. and a sink proof reliable dingy
They make a rubber "balloon" that you hook up to your garden hose.
Slide it down the sewer cleanout and when you turn on the water it expands to seal against the inside
then the water pressure comes out the end and shoves stuff down the line
and pushes water through the clog.
It won't remove roots but it will help make a path through them.
Then lye to dissolve maybe hydrocloric acid but not at the same time or they will expand because it's an acid/ alkalye mix.
Or copper sulfate to kill the roots.
Then dig it up and replace the clay tile with plastic pipe.