jase. grimm

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since Sep 29, 2008
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Recent posts by jase. grimm

I'm relatively new to the permaculture concepts of guild/companion planting and have encountered some conflicting information about the use of nitrogen fixing plants (namely legumes inoculated with bacteria) in guilds. Some people and resources have advocated planting things like goumi and black locust because they are nitrogen fixers and will make nitrogen available to plants around them but I recently heard that these plants only really fix nitrogen for themselves and it would only become available if you cut back the plants so the root matter died and released it into the soil. Is there enough ephemeral root matter to die off in the soil to release nitrogen or is it really all stuck inside said plant?
12 years ago
Hello All. I've been reading about two building techniques that have gotten me really excited but I can't seem to choose which one to utilize when it comes time for me to build my own home. I like the cost effectiveness and ease of use of PSP, and the shelter qualities of earth but would also like the soft lines and heat retention of cob building. Is it possible to build a half cob half psp structure? Anyone have any thouhts?
12 years ago
I recently discovered something about myself and sustainable communities at the same time; I moved to a small 15 acre farm in the Pacific Northwest to learn about permaculture and wilderness stories and was looking for a way to support myself. Now, in the past, this has meant finding a job somewhere outside of the home, doing something totally unrelated (although possibly fun and fulfilling) and bring my paycheck home and pay for the things I need. But then, a new found friend and co-inhabitant, presented a totally new and unthought of path for me to take; why not use my skills and passions (cooking) and keep my energy within the community. Now, why I hadn't thought of cooking for my new friends and housemates to cover the cost of rent escapes me but I think it has a lot to do with the conditioning and expectations of our modern day society. How does it make sense to go to a job, get a paycheck, bring it back home and pay for the things you need with it instead of staying at home, doing what you love, and using your free time to gather wild foods, grow your own crops and provide for yourself and others in a real, tangible way. It blows my mind the way we live our lives these days, or rather, don't live our lives.
12 years ago
I've long been a staunch vegetarian, not because of any moral or religious concerns, but for the supposed health benefits and the smaller ecological footprint that vegetable foods leave behind compared to animal based foods... All of that is about to change. I recently joined up with some like minded folks on a 15 acre piece of land in the Pacific Northwest and we are hell bent on turning our homestead into a permaculture farm; the more and more I read, research and talk about permaculture with my friends and mentors, the more I understand that animals do have an important role to play in the whole system. We played a game the other day designed to help permaculture designers think about different elements of the farm (chickens, ponds, herb gardens, fruit trees) in different combinations and see how each component could provide outputs for or use inputs from one another. For example, we all wrote 2 elements of a farm on 2 pieces of paper and a preposition (on, in, around, beneath, next to) on another and randomly drew them out of the hat. We were getting combinations like Chicken Coop above Herb Garden, which makes perfect sense because the chickens could forage for insects (pest control) amongst the herbs as well as turn over and aerate the soil. Other more far out combinations were presented, but no matter what, we could find ways that animals and plants could be integrated together to make a well oiled permaculture machine. I guess it just takes a new viewpoint on the whole meat eating equation, along with some knowledge and good practices, and even the hardiest vegetarians can be converted.
12 years ago
A good, all around method for removing bitter or unsavory flavors from things (from dandelion greens to beef liver) is to soak it in an acidulated liquid overnight. You could use anything from some cold water with enough lemon juice to make it tangy, to buttermilk which imparts its own rich creamy quality to the foods. The acid in the liquid acts to draw out impurities in the food. Another method, which I would reserve for greens and other bitter vegetables, is to place them in a pot with ice water and slowly bring up to a boil; if they're still bitter, dump off the water, squeeze them dry, and repeat the process until palatable. Hope this helps!
12 years ago
I've had some success with a DIY solar oven. All you need is:
1. A dutch oven, or camps stove with a lid.
2. An oven safe nylon baking bag (Reynolds makes em.)
3. One of those silver, reflective car windshield shades.
4. A couple inches of adhesive backed velcro.

Basically, attach some of the velcro to the top edge of the windshield shade to make it into shape that reflects light to a central point (a bowl, the corner of a cube, or a simple V shape.) Fill your stove with whatever goodies you'd like to cook, then place it in the baking bag, and place the baking bag in the center of the reflector. On a really bright sunny day, you could ideally bring the temperature of the stove up to 350* in about 15-20 minutes so you can pretty much cook anything you feel in it. Have fun!

More detailed instructions at http://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Windshield_Shade_Solar_Cooker
12 years ago