Tys Sniffen

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since Nov 05, 2012
Northern California
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Recent posts by Tys Sniffen

So, I had the chance to gather a bag of Hawthorn berries from a semi-wild spot yesterday.   a bit of searching brings up a lot about 'extract' and benefits and side-effects, but does anyone here have advice on how to eat/use a batch of actual berries?  and how to prepare/preserve?  
1 month ago
If you're thinking about building a cob house around the outside of your current house, I would say just build another house. Then you'll have 2.  Otherwise, you have a really big, hard-to-build cob house with much less room inside.

I think the passive cooling suggestions are good too - whitewash, reflective roof, etc.  

Can you do vegetation solutions?  Plant trees, vines, etc to keep the sun off the house. (but think about fire danger also)

When I was living in a yurt - zero insulation - in the super hot months I got a gigantic tarp and strung it up in the trees around the yurt - creating a shade spot.   Maybe think about a summertime shade set up, rather than building a 2nd house.  Even if you had to have telephone pole sized poles set up and in concrete around your house for the shade tarp to hang from, it'd be cheaper and easier than building a 2nd house.
2 months ago
Pig keeping is not in my future, for many reasons.   Also, this hole is mostly dug, and it's 50 feet in diameter, in mostly sandstone soil.  The berm - the artificial 'wall' of 50% of the hole is about 6 feet high, maybe 12 feet at the base.  

I agree with your assessment about not *pinching* the liner.   I'd still really like to hear how other people put the piers in their lined pond.
5 months ago
While I'd like to do a clay bottom pond, I'm at the top of sandstone hills working with a bermed pond situation - there's no way clay will work.   So I'm looking at EDPM liner for my ~50 foot diameter, ~7ft deep pond I've got mostly dug.

As I think about future plans, I know I'll be putting in some sort of deck/dock, and probably want it on the berm side - about 50% of the edge of this hole is berm, while the other half is the slope of a hill it's dug into.

I don't have the liner yet, and have a bit more tractor work to go, but I'm starting to think about how THE FOOTINGS of the deck should be placed.  I don't think I could do floating on one side, as there's a good potential for at least a foot or two of evaporation drop each year.  So, can people tell me how you've done your piers for lined ponds?   Concrete blocks UNDER the liner? On top of?  Just wood posts? posts with soft tips?
5 months ago
Anyone have suggestions for a water pressure system/pump that can help me create water pressure into my cabin?   Because of the water catchment, I don't have much gravity flow.  

Would love to have some sort of low power /solar power solution.
1 year ago

Marco Banks wrote:
I'd be curious how many chill hours you got last winter.  Are your trees low chill varieties?  

Nearest I can figure out, the data I’m finding says 500 to 750 chill hours. I don’t collect  it myself, obviously.

I don’t believe my varieties are low chill, they’ve all been purchased locally.
1 year ago
The cutting part is not my problem. I have built jigs for glass cutters before, and I have a tile saw. It’s the heating and cooling on a mass scale that I would like to figure out. A candle and an ice cube seems a little slow.
1 year ago
We have frosts, but not after flower buds.   Like 3 times in February, that's it.

And, I don't have my watering system running year round, but turn it on when things start to dry up, which is after typical flowering time.   HOWEVER, we have rain all winter, and this spring was a longer wet one.  So, yes, 'too much water' in early spring might in fact be my problem.  

If too much rainfall in March and April is my problem, what can I do about it?
1 year ago
So, I've sacrificed a lot to gather many winy bottles over the years (ha!) and have long been thinking about a small building of 'cord-bottle cob' ...  

At some point, I want to cut half the wine bottles so that the neck of one is gone and I can slip the neck of the other inside it, then wrap with aluminium foil for a nice light tube about 18" long.  

I've cut my share of bottles before, but I'm wondering if anyone has an idea on how to do a bunch at once.   I've done pots of boiling water, cooking 8-10 scored bottles at once, then attempted to put them in cold water.  It sort of works.  Maybe I need to get them hotter?  maybe I should bake them in the earth oven??  

If it snowed around here, I'd do it in the winter, but it never really gets that cold here.

1 year ago
I'm no pond expert, so this is just me as 'keyboard consultant' but couple things-

Are you saying the pond you are working on is the THIRD in line, as in the last down-stream one?   That stuff from the creek and the other 2 ponds flow into yours?     That will probably end up messing up your long term solution, as whatever is in those upper ponds will flow into yours.

Where else does that creek wander through upstream from you?   Again, no expert, but that water quality reminds me of creeks from back in Wisconsin that wandered through farms with dairy cattle - that is, that algae there looks "powered" by nitrogen runoff - from cow poop or field fertilizer.   I would want to think about what level of exposure you're comfortable with if that's the case.

I agree with other answer about how great that stuff would be to gather and add to compost or garden.  

Perhaps, if I'm in the ballpark about the nitrogen content, you could plant something - at the upper end edge -  that really sucks up nitrogen. Something you'd like, and could use.  I don't know what that would be, but maybe bamboo?  

What sort of wildlife is in the pond now?  Are there fish? frogs? how deep is it?
1 year ago