Austin Shackles

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since Jul 26, 2012
Austin likes ...
transportation gear earthworks solar rocket stoves
Several sorts of engineer, driver, gamer, fairly crap musician 'cos I never practice enough.
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Recent posts by Austin Shackles

Today's lunch consisted of fried chouri├žo, onion and lambs' quarters (aka fat hen, white goosefoot, chenopodium album).  The fat hen is added after the chouri├žo and onion have fried 'til mostly cooked, then cooked just for a couple minutes longer.  The "mash" is yellow dried split peas, cooked in some chicken stock and garnished with fresh parsley from the garden.  Jolly tasty it was too!  

For added permie-brownie-points, it was cooked in my iron skillet, which, from what i could tell researching the patent numbers which are cast into it, is likely about 100 years old.  I bought it for 50p in a yard sale 10+ years ago.
3 months ago
Interestingly, it's a different yellow to the color you get when you're borderline dehydrated.  Rather worryingly, there's a brand of expensive adulterated drink you can buy which has the same glowing yellow shade :D
Orange tree, very traditional target for enhanced water :)

Carolyne Castner wrote:
A lot of the BBs feel completely out of reach for me; living in a suburban neighborhood with an HOA. I don't have access to "earthworks" tools and machinery and it doesn't really seem like something pertinent to my current lifestyle. Lots of the BBs seem interesting, but very inconvenient or expensive to actually do.

That being said, I can see how useful the skills are to a more sustainable agro setup. I do want to eventually inherit the family land in the Hill Country and know that some of these skills are things that could be extremely useful to that end. But the steps provided to learn them in the BBs feel unatainable which leaves me feeling frustrated and slightly trapped in my current surroundings.

If you're living in a more urban area, there's also PEA as I understand it, which is slanted more to that?

You can have the opposite problem: We don't have a bathroom, so "clean the bathroom" is kinda tricky
OK after a bit more reading around I have a better idea about what the badges are and how they work.

One thing struck me - I happened to look at the badges for tools.  Starts off with the sand badge, which is composed of basic tool maintenance badge bits:  sharpen a knife, sharpen a hatchet, sharpen a chainsaw, etc.  

This got me to thinking, and tied in with the people who say "but I can't do X because" - now, some of those people are just not looking at creatively enough; they could find a way to do things if they put their mind to it - let's say, cleaning a freezer: perhaps they don't have a freezer but their elderly neighbor does, and they could see if that neighbor needed help cleaning it - some of these issues can be solved with a bit more thought.

But there's a risk of insuperable problems:  Let's say the chainsaw - someone not only doesn't have a chainsaw, they also don't know anyone who does because nobody in their area needs one, so they can't sharpen a chainsaw, even if they are willing to learn how.
Those people are going to look at the "tools" sand badge and right away they're going to see a problem, and it's a problem they have no idea how to solve.  

That could put them off the entire thing; yet they may well have a shed full of other tools.  

So my suggestion is this:  I read in the what is PEP/PEX thread, PEP 1 you require any 16 sand badges - which is cool.  You don't have to get all the badges in a given category, you can mix and match with what you can do.  

How about if the individual badges worked the same?  Taking the tools one again, there could be, oh I dunno, maybe 20 tools-based badge bits and to get the badge you have to complete any 16.  Set it so most things have to be done, so it's not a shortcut, but have a little wiggle room.  

'course, I'm late to this party so might be it's already been discussed, if so I apologise for flogging a dead horse.
Most of what I thought is already in the Big Brainstorming List, so this is kind of agreeing.  Part of the issue I see is Permies Forums is a BIG place, and it can be hard to find stuff if you're new to it especially.  
Taking SKIP as an example, when you land on the landing page, unless someone's recently posted, you can't see SKIP.  It's in the list of buttons on the left, for sure.  You also have to know that you're looking for SKIP - which to me suggests a big steel box for disposing of rubbish :)

That list of buttons is good, but you click on (let's say) Kitchen and it loads the Kitcheny page - then the sub forums within kitchen are away off to the right.  For me, it'd be more intuitive if the list of buttons expanded like a menu, preferably on mouse-over, so you could mouse-over Kitchen and a new list of kitchen forums pops up alongside the main list, you could then track across into that and click on a sub forum right away.  That's how quite a lot of stuff works these days.

Might be that the SKIP/PEP stuff could use its own web page, linked form the Permies home page; or maybe just the badge stuff; that could also tie in with a phone app if anyone will write the app.  Unfortunately, that's not in my skill set.

Lina Joana wrote:Just curious: why do you consider an automatic vent opener a non-passive technology, since they don't need any energy input?

While they operate passively, they also require maintenance and, sometimes, replacement in my experience.  
Had 'em on a 28'x8' greenhouse in a previous place, 2 on roof vents and one on a louvre vent in the wall.  After a few years they all gave different problems that had to be sorted out.  
If they fail to open when they should, it can get too hot and kill your plants, if they jam open somehow then it can get too cold in the night.

I suspect these reasons are why Paul is keen to avoid them.  I'm interested to see if the de-stratification system works, as that has pretty much nothing to go wrong with it.
With the talk of how much sunlight gets to what part of the greenhouse, it's worth noting that some plants don't want too much sun.  

Here in Portugal, part of our effort goes to trying to create enough shade that those plant don't give up and die 'cos it's too sunny.  
It's also come to my attention how clever the builders of our house were, the roof on the front (sun-facing) side is extended just enough that the sun doesn't shine directly in through the windows in the hot part of the day.
3 months ago
They're a bit variable but goats on heat usually display behaviour changes like yelling their head off to attract a male...  The male kid was likely "capable" at 3 months (they're promiscuous) but the female would've had to be on heat - which, for most goats happens in fall through early spring on a 3-week cycle, ish.  However, if the male was "fixed" at 3 months and now they're 9 months, well their pregnancy lasts about 5 months, so the figures don't add up.  I don't know whether pygmy goats have any variation on when during the year they could be on heat, seems a tad early to me, but we never kept that breeed.

We used to breed goats and it's quite possible for a kid to give birth shortly before they're 1 year old, but that's kinda frowned on for responsible breeding.
3 months ago
I'm guessing you've already found this Absorption refrigerator about absorption refrigerators.  You'll note that the process only requires a heat source.  That's why RV fridges, for example can be "3-way" - they run on propane, or on 12V from the vehicle when the vehicle is running (they drain batteries quite impressively if they're not being charged) or from mains power from a hookup.  Generally, the gas-powered mode has a small flame, while the electric ones have a heating coil built into it.

Point being you can use any source of heat, such as solar heat or geothermal, to drive the cycle.  

As I recall it, they're also very fussy about orientation; you needed to make sure the RV was level or the fridge wouldn't work.  That's to do with one part of the cycle where the ammonia (IIRC) has to flow downhill.  If you look at the "works" at the back of those fridges, parts of it are slanted.  In a fixed installation though it just means you need to install it right to begin with.  Others have already made the point that Ammonia isn't very nice.
3 months ago