Chris Kott

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since Jan 25, 2012
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Recent posts by Chris Kott

Thank you all for your helpful input.

Jack, I love that idea. My cabin is a little smaller than that, so I will see if that can work for us.

Eric, with the high levels of E. Coli we have to treat with UV, I am not too concerned. Were I to pump air down the well, a hepa filter on the intake, and another right before the well, would do just fine.

As a side note, the list of innovations that went on to change the world that were first labelled "terrible ideas" and dismissed is really long. After all, "If man were meant to fly, he'd have wings." I'm paraphrasing, but that sentiment held back human flight for hundreds of years.

I'm not sure the initial concept is one such, but I  like what has developed from my initial post.

Take care.

1 year ago
Hi everyone.  I am posting an update to my land thread presently, but first, I had a thought about dry wells and humid air I was hoping someone had ideas about.

So if I pump hot, humid air down my well when it's drying out, shouldn't the moisture condense out on the sides of the well? Would that not refill my well, and eventually contribute to groundwater recharge? Could the air passing out of the well not then be used to cool my house?

Please note these are broad strokes only. I would appreciate any feedback.

Thanks, and good luck.

1 year ago
Generally speaking, plastic in the environment is bad. It breaks down into microplastics that are ingested and enter the food chain.

Artificial grass is really just astroturf.

Living lawns maintained with chemical fertilizers and attention aren't as good as a polyculture designed to replace it, that largely maintains itself, but at least it is alive, and maintains somewhat living soil beneath it.

Artificial grass is actually worse than just dropping a tarp over it. Not only is anything living under it smothered, but the lack of living soil means that the microbes collected by it thrive on the plastic itself.

Plastic grass isn't a good solution in my books. This is my opinion, but I wouldn't call it permaculture.

Please look at all the alternatives Paul has on this site. From wet meadow to xeriscaped lawn replacement, there are a variety of good options that will actually work to detoxify and bioremediate your area.

Good luck, and good on your municipality for banning artificial turf.

1 year ago
Hey guys,

Thanks for your well-wishing.

I would have posted sooner, both since moving and with this response, but for the amount of work I have to do. I am working 10 hour days, four days a week, with a half-day on Fridays, which doesn't sound like much of a change, but I'll tell you, on top of the shift to rural life, it takes it out of  you. I'm hoping that my adaptation will speed up as the daylight increases with the progression of the seasons.

A "carolinian forest analogue" is my term for an agroforestry approach I am going to try that uses the base structure of a carolinian oak savannah, but structured for maximum human utility on the specific site in question, using edible contemporary analogues of what wild elements a carolinian oak savannah would comprise.

In this context, that means gradually replacing less productive or useful species of mast or nut tree with more productive ones, replacing wild rose with, for instance, a rose variety that produces larger rosehips, and fleshing out the secondary canopy with productive apple, pear, and stonefruit, with hazels and mulberries in the shady understory, and raspberries, for instance, with cultivated grape varieties, either table or wine, according to what the site and homesteader needs, occupying the vining category, or paw paws, if it's warm and humid enough.

I feel similarly, John, about the forever home versus flipper discussion. For me, it's my forever home until it's not, at this point. But if I do it right, the property will yield more operating as a permaculture food forest farm, and serving as the nucleus of a business, a seed of expansion, than if we were to sell, barring the property value skyrocketing at the same time that something with more house and land in a better location pops up and begs me to buy it.

As to the motorcycle, my morning commute occurs at 0530, dark most of the year, and deer are a real threat. And we get snow here quite regularly. A snow-covered commute in my VW stationwagon is fun, if challenging, at 0530. I don't think I would enjoy a bike. Here, I need a small pickup, hopefully one for which parts are readily available, and that is easy for a novice mechanic to fix themselves for most things.

As to Mizzou, I miss her every day. The truth is, though, that as soon as she injured herself, it was a struggle for her. She couldn't thump when displeased, she couldn't binky when happy, couldn't run, couldn't flop over to her side easily. And she was in pain, for which we had to medicate her daily, which put her to sleep and messed with her eating. We ended up cutting her dosage in half, which made her more mobile and increased her appetite, but not to the same level as before. She just couldn't live her best bunny life, so when she was sure we were safe in our new space, she decided to move on.

Thank you all, by the way. I look forward to being able to generate more new content in this space.

Good luck, and have a great day.

2 years ago
Greetings, all.

I just wanted to post an update.

Happy news: We decided to quit our jobs in the city last September to fuck off and live in the woods.

We got really lucky a number of times, and in a number of ways, because it all started with our notice of renoviction in May from our Toronto apartment, and the comparables had us outpriced in that market anywhere commuting distance to our workplaces.

I found a job at a bindery in Campbellford, Ontario, and we bought a two-bedroom cabin on an acre woodlot halfway between Toronto and Ottawa on Hwy 7. My much better half is now able to commute to the job she was previously staying out of town for every month, and all she has to do is get up at 4 with me to drive me to work.

We're currently renovating to make the place livable, including painting, updating the countertop, sink, and faucet, and trying to find an end-of-season deal on a good woodstove. Yes, I would much prefer an RMH, but I don't have the time to pour proper footings or to pour a slab foundation for it.

It's mainly temperate hardwoods with some conifers in our patch. I have seen maples and oaks. I plan to observe and tweak the hydrology, and perhaps run our greywater trench high up on our property. It's gently sloping, with two step-downs, almost terraces, though it's unfortunately to the north. It's gradual enough that I don't anticipate shading-out issues.

When I have time for projects, I anticipate starting culinary and medicinal mushrooms first, with as diverse a sampling as I can, but just watering with greywater should make any edible fungi already there come up more reliably, and we are living in the land of the chanterelle. I also want to pursue beekeeping, considering how well bee forage grows around here, and the distinct lack of corn/soy agriculture in the immediate area.

I should be able to carry out a working homestead model of my carolinian forest analogue, structured into swaled silviopastoral alleys on-contour, separated by food forest hedges comprised of apples, pears, stonefruit of all kinds, and an understory of hazels, mulberry trees, different species of raspberry (to spread out the flowering and harvest season), and probably some currants.

For next season, the best I will be able to achieve for gardens are probably raised mounds surrounded by chickenwire-wrapped tripods, but I am already planning to start tomato and pepper plants, perhaps this weekend, and I will basically make as many tripods as I can and plant out all my old stock of seed and see what germinates.

We're already feeding the local songbirds. They're amazing to watch. I am hoping that their increased numbers will draw the local redtailed hawks in greater numbers, and end up taking care of the unbelievable number of squirrels and other rodents in the area

We are two-thirds of the way up the southern side of a bowl, so we are somewhat exposed for being surrounded by forest. I anticipate using some wild-harvested chanterelle spore-inoculated jackpine (the symbiotic partner for the eastern variety) in alleys on our north and western perimeters for some structured wind breaks. I will probably introduce wild blueberries from wild sources if they don't just sprout when I let more light in the windbreaks. I will probably also mix in some christmas tree favourites and a future overstory of white and red pine. I will scout richer areas of soil and plant the white pine there, and the red will go in the shitty soil, as that's where they thrive.

I want to be able to get laying hens, but a dog comes first, and truthfully, I don't have the time and resources to start that up yet. But I should be able to do that here too, eventually.

We might have timber-grade lumber just waiting to be milled hung up on surrounding trees for a season or more, or else at least firewood and materials for split-rail fencing, and there are people with portable sawmills offering their services in the area, so we may have our new roof sitting unmilled outside our window. I want to change our conventional equilateral triangle truss roof to an open barn truss to give us a full second story, and probably put an enamelled raised-seam metal roof on it so we can hear it properly when it rains. That said, we also have southern exposure, want to put a greenhouse on the southern side, and like the idea of solar, so nothing is set in stone; we also really like green roofs, with the sole complicating factor being my want to collect rainwater. So we'll see what happens. We might also glom on an A-frame addition to one side or the other, and maybe that's where the masonry heater will go. Who knows?

On a sad note, Mizzou died. She injured her back and legs jumping off a chair this spring, and there was progressive atrophy because of her paralysis. She made it here, and had some weeks of hopping around outside, where the green treats sprouted up from the ground. She died while we were both home, working on our home, on Hallowe'en, and we buried her under some maples by the drive. She now has lots of room for infinite ghost bunny binkies.

I don't know if we'll be here forever, but there's a ton I can do here, including underpinning and digging out the basement for more space. I wouldn't dismiss building a wofati freezer and root cellar combo, as the terrain favours it in several places, and whatever I'm doing is going to involve squash and root veggies, and canning, drying, and freezing food.

Apart from renovating the house, our next step, as soon as we can, anyways, is finding a fuzzy guardian friend. The kicker is, she (probably a female, but we're flexible) needs to be hypoallergenic, and I would like her to be an LGD, ideally. Accordingly, we're checking out Komondorok (singular: komondor), but there are a variety of poodle crosses that might also suffice, like a Newfypoo, or St. Bernadoodle, or a Bernedoodle, or any number of poodle-LGD crosses. I would prefer a komondor girl, but we'll see what we can manage. Pulis, the small cousin of the komondor, are also on the table.

So I hope everyone is doing well. Hi to any permies that happen to be in my neck of the woods. Drop me a moosage or respond in the thread. I'd love to see if anyone is around.

I will post some pics soon. Take care, and good luck in your efforts.

2 years ago
Great discussion.

I just want to add, trapping heat in a ground-based heat loop, even one as simple as an air exchange system taking exhaust heat from the roof peak of a greenhouse or hot shop, would be like trapping the heat in a bench, but bigger and longer-lasting.

My much better half is a glassblower when she's not engraving things with sharp spinny metal. This is my plan for waste heat reuse. I think my secondary use will involve powering a retort to make biochar.

Incidentally, the dirty exhaust that, as a byproduct, creates lovely patterns in woodfired kilns can also negatively affect the colour of glass, especially clear glass. That's why wood gas exhausting from the retort will not be fed back into the furnace, but will, instead, fire a secondary burn under the retort on its own, probably using a one-way pressure valve and a venturi tube/manifold from a barbeque.

2 years ago
I agree with Trace. If you find yourself about to utter the words, "Do as I say, not as I do," you're in the middle of a teaching moment where you can correct your own behaviour and educate your child.

I also agree with Robert. No battle plan ever survived contact with the enemy, to paraphrase the saying.

It is difficult to parent as part of a person. You can't really compartmentalise yourself as some would like to do, to be the work person at work, and the dad person at home. I mean, you can try, but one persona invariably bleeds into another, and you find dad person acting in ways perhaps only after-work person allows.

Basically, you have to own your own shit. Kids will pick up everything, most especially those things you try to hide from them. You'll think you're doing fine, and then you'll mash your thumb with a hammer and yell, "FUCK!" Suddenly, it's the only word they know, and it's hilarious to them. (To us as well, though we can't admit it).

Behaviours are the most important. If you come home from a day of work and plop yourself in front of the TV while your significant other does all the home tasks, you're ingraining into your children what it means to go to work and come home. If as a person and parent, you're constantly not only deferring to, but waiting for, your significant other to make the decisions, you're teaching your children that it's the job of the male to shirk the mental load, and that it's the job of the female to do all the planning and execution, excepting the tasks she specifically allocates to the male.

If you're going to focus on one thing, let it be the sharing of the mental load between couples. It's good to check in, even constantly, with the other partner in the mix, to make sure you're on the same page, but it's critical that each do their share of the heavy lifting where it comes to not only execution, but planning.

As to the future, you can't dictate what your kids will like or decide to do. The best you can do is design your property to do what you need for it to do for the rest of your life, so you can age with your land. If they're of the same mindset as you, they will want to be a part of it. If not, they won't have to worry about you as you age, because you will have taken care of your collective needs already.

And after you're gone, they might decide to sell. But you won't be there to suffer that. And hopefully one of your children will see the value in it, to carry on for another generation, at which point they will face their own version of this question.

Good luck, and keep us posted.

2 years ago
Really cool idea.

I was thinking of a barn-truss pallet structure, where the trusses were formed by the joined sides of pallets. Essentially, the roof would be assembled in barn truss arches of five pallets each, and set atop a box of pallet walls of appropriate size. At least a two-bedroom, maybe three with a loft.

Unfortunately, pallets in useable condition are becoming more expensive with the increased cost of lumber. You obviously found what you need. I would suggest deconstruction and reuse rather than demolition and burning when you're done with this iteration. Though by that time, pallet prices might have come down.

Great idea, though. I was considering a yurt recently, but the land we're buying has a cottage on it, so we'll work with that first.

2 years ago
Hi Edward.

We all get that from time to time. I feel that while bitcoin mined using renewables is better than otherwise, it's still a misuse of energy.

The anger is one problem. I try to do productive things with regards to the subject matter that's upsetting me. If I don't, it either rules me, and I externalise it onto people that don't deserve it, or I internalise it, and it builds into anxiety attacks.

Bitcoin is another problem. I have figured out a solution that would actually help the earth that uses the cryptocurrency model, but I have no outlet for it. It's a bit complex, yet simple, so here it goes.

Mine cryptocurrency using swarms of solar-powered satellites intercepting some of the sun's energy at the intervening lagrange point in the Sun-Earth system.

The only thing that's cheap right now to safely transport from the earth to orbit and back again is information. We do it every day, multiple times a day; our civilisations depend upon it.

SpaceX is launching multiple satellites per rocket launch to deploy Elon's Starlink project. The technology is there to launch satellite swarms.

The I.S.S. has what they refer to as R.O.S.A., or Roll-Out Solar Array, which is proof-of-concept that deployable solar panels can function correctly. I would be more comfortable with something origami-based, that looked like a lotus or chrysanthemum or something, but I suppose rolls will do.

So the swarm would harvest energy to maintain synchrony, to block out enough solar energy from the earth to do the job of cooling it, and would mine cryptocurrency to pay for itself. It wouldn't even add heat to the atmosphere because everything would be taking place in space.

Earth gets a solar heat shield that pays for itself and starts funding industry in space. Who can say how well a cryptocurrency that literally staves off the planet's roasting and whose long-term operational costs would include an occasional replenishment of satellites within the swarm could perform?

Sounds to me like a better option than wasting valuable energy here on the planet to crunch numbers, with exhaust heat as the byproduct.

2 years ago
The diagram reminds me of the macguffin from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Khaaaaaaaaan!), especially the way nuclear waste, which is literally underlined in green text reading "radioactive," is thrown in there without an explanation as to why it's there or what it's doing. It's like the protomatter in the Genesis device. It's the mysterious component, along with "catalysts" in the hydrogen, that is responsible for and explains the "transmutation" responsible for energy production over unity.

Two things stuck out to me before Ian launched his very detailed deconstruction. The first was word usage. Real scientists are definitely not going to use a term traditionally linked to alchemy to describe any new process. They'd use the terminology available to them in their field to come up with a credible and descriptive term that doesn't make one think automatically of alchemy, and people trying anything they could think of to remain young, or alive, or to create vast wealth for no work.

Any explanation that smacks of magical thinking is suspect.

The second thing I noticed was that nobody else in the world is really talking about them. If it had as much potential as is claimed, wouldn't we be hearing at least as much about Aureon as we are about the Bill Gates-backed synchronised solar mirror array set to replace fossil fuels in industrial processes requiring heat?

You'd have to silence the NIMBY party, but I bet that those heat engines the OP referred to, decomissioned coal and aging gas plant infrastructure that still heat water to make steam to move turbines, could be powered in at least half of the untied states year-round by such synchronised solar mirror arrays distributed in the areas to the immediate north of power plants retrofitted to be heated that way.

Is the term "overunity" used in professional circles, or is it an artefact of alternative energy conspiracists?

And the electric universe idea again? Everyone knows that the universe is underlaid with a vast network of interdimensional mycorrhizae.

2 years ago