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kirk dillon

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since Feb 07, 2012
Maple City Michigan
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Recent posts by kirk dillon

There is such a structure, look inside your head, it's in there somewhere I guarantee it............

 My plan is all the things you described. To further add redundancy for my cold winter nights (zone 6a), I'm going to add a rocket mass heater with the mass being a portion of the "polar" wall and heavy-duty insulated window coverings for nights. All those appropriate technologies together will prove to be a very resilient system. Place the whole thing against the equatorial wall of the house and you can use some of the heat for living quarters plus the produce will be easily accessible............
1 year ago

Eric Hanson wrote:
I know that its leaves have a very high N rating



Except for "your" post, I've never heard anybody say that Comfrey is high in nitrogen. ........ It is noted for being a "dynamic accumulator". (it accumulates a lot of minerals and trace elements in it's leaves). The leaves have very few fibrous parts and decompose "very" quickly.  If "you" provide Nitrogen (compost, clover, etc.) that "will" help it grow fast and healthy though.
2 years ago
I also have quite a few Comfrey plants and the only thing that seems to stunt them is thick grass. I have some under my Black Locust trees and they seem to get huge leaves in the shade and don't seem to flower as easily/ quickly. I chop and drop the Comfrey 3 times per season and I try to have 2 Comfrey plants beside each tree or shrub. I "do" have lots of WDC around each guild, but that is for the main plant in each guild. I also chop and drop the clover when needed. Comfrey is pretty easy to grow. I had about 200 cuttings in pots sitting in the garden ready to sell at the local farmers market. Some of the small roots had already grow out the bottom of the pots and into the grass below. After i moved the last half of the containers, we ended up with an "unexpected" Comfrey patch because a lot of those small root pieces grew into plants.................
2 years ago

Steve Taylor wrote:That is my reasoning to save the word permaculture for after gaining someone's interest in the benefits first

This is from a different angle I guess. I take my Permaculture produce to the local Farmers markets and display it to the public. I let them taste and smell the produce. They are interested in the benefits before we even start talking.

Steve Taylor wrote:the word permaculture needs to and will be used

I agree and have my farm name "Rooted In Permaculture" on a big sign behind our stand. That way the word is easily visible. Even if they don't talk to me about Permaculture at all, they still see the word and curiosity may get them to find out more (the seed has been planted).

Steve Taylor wrote:the goal is to get people interested in Permaculture

In my situation it seems like a great opportunity to engage people because they are seeing the end result, (the produce), while we chat about how it got there.

Steve Taylor wrote:many people use different terminology like regenerative agriculture or beyond organic

Some people do steer away from the actual word "Permaculture". Personally, I embrace it, flaunt it, preach it. I'd like to see it tagged somewhere. I think a few roadside billboards In a few big cities with just the word PERMACULTURE on them would go a looonnng way. But for me personally I actually use the words Beyond Organic and Beyond Sustainable on my banner for a few reasons.
  First,     It's true.  In my opinion, even the best "Organic" practices are not as good as Permaculture and "sustaining" isn't good enough. I want a continuously increasing healthy biodiversity.
  Second, I use those words because they "are" more recognizable by the uninformed masses(exactly your point) and that gets them interested in "how" is it beyond.......which leads the conversation back to Permaculture.
  Third, Having the word Organic on my banner attracts people who are interested in Organic produce. That's what I'm selling. It's just a different certification...

Todd Parr wrote:What I am saying is that I don't believe that a vegetarian diet is healthy for anyone long term, and that I believe meat, or at least animal products like eggs, are absolutely essential for optimal human health.  I understand that we disagree about this, but I don't know a single vegan that is healthy and doesn't take supplements.



I have been vegan for 38 years. I am 57 now. I took some vitamins as a young vegan but have not done so for at least 20 years. I worked many years as a carpenter and did a lot of physical exercise (like yoga, mountain biking and sea kayaking), I can still do 5 pullups, 15 pushups and hand chop a pile of firewood every year. I have had my blood tested almost every year for the last 15 years or so and always asked about thyroid health, Vit B12, cholesterol, Vit. D, etc. Anything that I thought might be a "vegan" type problem. I've even paid extra for this or that test just to be sure. In all those tests the "ONLY" thing that was ever brought up as a possible problem was slightly high cholesterol for about 1 year. I eat a highly varied diet. I eat "organic" as much as I can. I drink Kombucha, I love sauerkraut. I don't eat Kale soup 3 times a day or anything weird like that. Probably the healthiest thing I do eat is a great breakfast every morning of oats, raisins, tofu, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, banana, blueberries, flax meal, honey, and sometimes I have a glass of soymilk with molasses in it. I can still work hard and I am mentally sharp, my sex life is good and I am a happy person. Am I just "lucky", I don't think so. My family (8 siblings) has had it's share of medical problems like colitis, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, heart valve replacements, etc., yet non of them live like I do. Proper diet and proper exercise go a long, long way. In my opinion...............
2 years ago

Michael Cox wrote: For example I can spend £10,000 landscaping my few acres and turning it into a permaculture paradise. However, with that same £10,000 I can support a community in Africa that wants to terrace it's water shed and build a sand dam - guaranteeing reliable safe water supply year round for 2000+ people.


with that same £10,000 you could teach those same 2000 people everything about Permaculture and empower them to change their Paradigm forever. Dams, ponds, swales, it's all in there............Just a thought

A PDC "is" based on Bill Mollison's designers manual. That's the way it was set up. The information is non specific to a particular bio-region on purpose. Nobody knows where the students will end up living in the future. The course is designed so that you have the information to design a Permaculture system anywhere in the world. Swales, nitrogen fixing trees, companion plants, insect attractors, insect confusers, dynamic accumulators, etc. all do the same job no matter where they are. You just use different types for your area. Africa, New Caledonia, Sweden, USA, etc. all have nitrogen fixers growing locally but they will be very different varieties and will fit into their local Permaculture system in different ways. I learned in Utah and applied the information in Michigan. You will need to do "some" homework where you design to find out which plants in the area fit the desired outcomes. In my opinion, there should be "some" local information taught but if a PDC teaches too much about a specific region then it is doing an injustice to the student.
3 years ago
Ahhh the "teaching" questions again....
I read a few books , watched every video I could find, and learned from this forum as much as I could about Permaculture. Then I took a PDC. The depth of the knowledge at the PDC was far greater than I expected. Information overload for sure but in a good way. I enjoyed the total immersion and the group dynamic of the 2 week course but there are also many PDC's taught in a summer long, weekends only type of setting. There is one going on right now in that format in northern Michigan.
As far as expense go, in my opinion, I would have been satisfied if the course was twice as much because the information is the most important that I have ever learned and will be used for my entire life. If you go for the weekend only format and you can take it in a nearby area, then the expenses are much lower. Lets say you're 50 and you paid $2000 for the course. If you live to be 70, that's only $100 per year. If you're younger and you live longer, then it's even cheaper per year.

Let's talk PDC......... If you want to be a "Certified Permaculture Designer", then you need the certification. You can only get that from a certified teacher. If you don't care about the certificate and you just want to be knowledgable about Permaculture for whatever reason, then you can learn from anybody. You can even teach Permaculture but you cannot "certify" anyone unless you are certified. I was also told at my PDC that you are not supposed to use the word Permaculture in a business sense, (ie.. "Bob's Permaculture Farm" or "Jane's Permaculture Classes", etc.) unless you are certified.
I agree that Permaculture knowledge should be free. After all were trying to change the world - in a good way, but the integrity of the knowledge needs to remain intact or we risk dilution of truth and it becomes just "another" way of gardening. I give my knowledge to others freely every chance I get. I said it before in these forums, "be the change you seek", become a teacher and teach for free if you want.

The word "Permaculture" means "PERMANENT" Agriculture, (some will argue that it also means permanent culture). This should not be confused with "sustainable". In my opinion and many others, if you die and your "Permaculture" farm receives no more input and remains or better yet, increases the over all health and diversity of the ecosystem, then "that" is Permaculture. In that context, the more annuals and animals you have, the less Permaculture-ish it is. The animals and annuals might take care of themselves for a while but will eventually die or wander away. The Perennial food forest needs no input once it is established. Yes, it would be better (for humans) if it had "some" inputs but it should survive without you just fine, and "probably" in some form, forever..........
3 years ago

Glenn Herbert wrote:The soapstone will wick away heat from its surface faster than other stone or brick materials, making the whole mass get hot before the surface reaches desired temperatures. I understand that even hard firebrick, while not ideal, does get hot on the surface long before the far face gets hot. The thinner the soapstone, the less total wicking effect you would get and the quicker it would come up to temperature.


So the difference between 1-1/4" soapstone and standard full thickness firebrick would be minimal??

Glenn Herbert wrote:One factor I have not seen addressed satisfactorily is the resistance of soapstone to the extreme thermal cycling the inner face of a RMH would see. It might be able to stand those stresses, but I would want to get some knowledgeable information, or test it for 50-100 complete cycles of 75F - 2000F on one face, before building it in permanently.

Looking at the graph 7 or 8 posts above it seems that the soapstone might be OK . Although I don't understand a lot of what's in the graph.......

Glenn Herbert wrote:You mention using materials on hand and avoiding expenses... The soapstone in the large sizes you describe would make a fantastic exterior for the mass and eliminate much purchase of other finishing material and labor, and make a wear surface that would last about forever. You can use even old soft red brick for the core, as long as you can replace parts when they wear out after some years or decades. This can often be found in the small quantities needed for the core in random demolition or dump areas, perhaps on craigslist for very cheap.

I plan on using the soapstone on the exterior as well, as you described. But I was hoping to "not" have to replace parts of the burn chamber if I can avoid it. What about making the "barrel" part out of soapstone, would it wick heat away fast enough to do the same job as the barrel???
3 years ago
Hey everybody, saw this thread and had to get more information. I also have a "huge" amount of soapstone available.
(1-1/4" thick X 22" wide X10 feet long and 1-1/4" thick X16" wide X 10 feet long)

Satamax Antone wrote:Basicaly, soapstone is a heat trap, so it's no good for the inside of the J tube rocket. It is best placed as mass.



I'm confused.... I thought the idea was to get the riser hot and the insulation was to keep it hot to increase the airflow throughout the system. If soapstone is a heat "trap", doesn't that mean that the stone would retain the heat just like the firebrick and insulation would ?? Maybe it would still need insulation to keep from wicking the heat sideways, away from the riser and into the barrel, but it seems that the soapstone could hold more heat than the firebrick. If the firebrick reflects the heat ("refractory brick"?) and the soapstone absorbs it then I "assume" that the soapstone should "stay" hotter longer.


allen lumley wrote:It will actually take longer to create this effect due to Your soapstone's ability to steal and 'wick away ' large amounts of heat.


I agree that the soapstone might take a "bit" longer to reach functional temperatures, but I disagree that it will steal heat because the soapstone has nowhere to "wick" the heat away to. The heat is still inside the riser. I also "assume" that the soapstone would "reflect" back heat like firebrick as it reaches maximum absorption (if there is such a thing).

allen lumley wrote: The best place for your soapstone is where its ability to absorb and rapidly radiate off the RMHs heat is a tremendous asset.

I again "assume" that the reason woodstoves are made of soapstone is that they retain and then "slowly" radiate off excess heat otherwise metal would be better.
What about using the soapstone as just the riser or just riser and burn chamber, and then use firebrick as the feed tube, that way the feed tube stays cooler and will minimize the chimney effect of the feed tube.

In my particular situation, I don't have money for firebricks and I got the soapstone for free so anywhere I can use soapstone instead of firebrick is a bonus.
Thanks for any help
3 years ago