John Eee

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since Jan 22, 2013
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Recent posts by John Eee

So I found a field of stinging nettle but they are pretty mature and flowering. I want to harvest the root but every time I pull up the plant, the whole things comes out of the ground so easily with the roots still in the ground. Is there a method for harvesting the roots? I want to be able to take out the whole plant so I know I am getting stinging nettle root and not the roots of another plant. Any ideas?
7 years ago

Jess Dee wrote:Hi, folks!

My husband and I just moved to ten acres in North / Central Saskatchewan (Zone 2), and are trying to figure out what to clear, and what to plant (the acreage is badly overgrown, mostly with caraganas, which at least fix nitrogen, I suppose, but are a bloody nuisance in this climate).  We've already ordered a number of hardy fruit and nut trees, but have not really figured out what else we will put in. 

In addition, we have some land further south in the province (Zone 3b), which we would like to eventually use for a tree-crop based market garden, using permaculture concepts.  We've been planting trees down there for a few years, now, but again would certainly not mind advice or suggestions for what all else to plant. 

It is challenging to find out what even grows here, let alone figuring out what would go well with what...Is there anyone in SK already doing this?

just release my dog out there lol, he loves eating down caraganas treelings. have you ate a caragana flower? they are kinda tasty, light and sweet.
7 years ago
where are all the craikians at???
7 years ago

Ernie Wisner wrote:
the largest full system i would put on a wood floor is 8" and figure the load accordingly. cob is lighter than water by the cubic foot so you can calculate you load requirements by water and build in some safety margin.
I think the best small demo would be 6" system with thirty foot of exhaust ducting in three passes through a bench. build a frame for the whole thing and fill with the perlite and clay mix. the critical area is under the burn tunnel but to be safe as you can put the foundation under the whole thing.

Perlite and clay mixed and packed into a 2"X4"  or brick frame  then build the stove on it.  this should give you a perlit/clay layer 1"3/4" (2"X4") to 2"1/2" (Brick) thick that supports the stove fine. if you want more insurance  build the frame  for the whole stove with brick on edge then layer in; 1 inch thick sand bed then fill with dry perlite , cap with a trimmed bit of 3/4" mason board  build the stove right on top of it.

the only part of the stove that gets really hot us right around the burn tunnel this section is about 1 meter long by 2/3 of a meter wide.

I will have Erica look at this later and she will i am sure make it far more clear then I. 

Ernie, am I misunderstanding when you say perlite and clay mixed and packed into a 2x4 frame? So basically build a timer frame how you normally would on top of the plywood, but pack it with the perlite and clay in between the wooden floor frame? How do you protect the wooden floor frame from the combustion chamber if you build directly on top of this?
7 years ago

Vicki Boliard wrote:I'm tired of reading so I'm here to ask for help.I am an Eco-Farm Owner. We are fully employed here on our farm with the products that we produce on the farm.We normally spend the winters traveling or just resting for the upcoming growing season.In an effort to keep busy year round we've built an indoor, temperature controlled inoculation chamber(Part of our cold storage) and a 12 x 13 temperature controlled fruiting area. We can provide constant humidity and temperature. We've also got enough equipment to sterilize about 40 medium sized autoclavable bags in one day.I've purchased every suggested book on every mushroom website. I've spent hundreds of hours reading websites and watching youtube. But here is where I get stumped. This seems to be a tinkerers type of venture. No one seems to be able to just give me an outline of how to proceed. What I'm saying is I do not want to know how to grow or incubate agar and make my own culture so I've purchased both inoculated sawdust for about 10 different kinds of mushrooms. Also I've purchased the liquid culture version of all of the same mushrooms. I was wondering how to start...seriously I know this sounds like putting the cart before the horse. But what I've done is spend the winter making sure my environment and equipment is working perfectly. Now I'm just trying to figure out how to keep these varieties I've chosen going. I have read tons of stuff about Grain Master spawn and about liquid master culture. What I'm trying to determine is how to keep a constant supply of spawn available to keep my fruiting chamber constantly in production. I have purchased hickory sawdust and hickory chips and also gypsum and grain. My future goal is to be able to take what I've learned and use my worm castings and compost as my substrate. But in the meantime I'm looking for a good recipe and the next step in getting this operation "in production". I do not want to purchase a laminar hood or learn about how to make my own slants. I've found a local source for those things. I do have a sterile glove box large enough to inoculate 10 medium sized autoclave bags at a time. Now do I just keep a liquid culture master to directly inject the bags or do I make a grain master...too many questions. I'm a grower not a tinkerer.

Hi Vicki,
If you have a source for slants, what do you do with them? Normally you would use the agar slants for the masters, which you would innoculate onto agar petri dishes and then to grain etc. All of this should be going on in a very clean environment too, so a fume hood (even home made) would make your life a lot easier. I haven't heard of using grain master spawn or but am familiar with the liquid method, which is very hard to work with. You could get away with using a glove box, but if this is more than a hobby I think you would need to look into a fumehood and learning to work with agar, its not that bad once you get your feet wet. If you don't want to work with agar, and this is a money-making project, I think you'd have to keep purchasing the spawn.
7 years ago
Ok so I am still trying to wrap my head around raising the combustion chamber, and insulating it. So I want airspace between the stove and my floor, but what is supporting that space? I understand I need to have the air and insulation but how do I support the space to have air, and put in insulation. In Ianto's book, it says to put bricks on the foil, and than mineral clay insulation. But how do you place a layer of clay on top of bricks on edge with space in between them? Any insight would be very helpful, I have most of my materials but I feel I should have a better understand everything before I start.
7 years ago

Ernie Wisner wrote:isolate the RMH core from the floor. we are not talking about a few hundred degrees here we are talking incandescent bricks and that means very hot. aluminum cannot take the heat nor can the foam but its not a big task to lift the burn unit and insulate under it.

the T channels would make a really good hydronic floor and the RMH can heat an open tank on top then you can use a small pump to circulate the hot water all over the container.

umm why is the container still refrigerated? is it a blast freezer and you are using the blast unit for air conditioning? bad idea for continued health if you are.

Yeah I will definitely be insulating under the RMH core, thanks. Yeah I want to utilize the T channels somehow, and that sounds like a great idea!

The container isn't refrigerated. I don't use the diesel reefer units, they are their just for emergencies, and only for the mushrooms. I will be putting up window A/C unit in the summer along with a swamp cooler.

One question is anybody using RMH's in -20 to -40 celsius weather? Am I dreaming by thinking that a RMH would be able to keep one of my containers warm over night, when it is -40 outside?
7 years ago

Shane McKenna wrote:

John Eee wrote:

The walls of my container are made of this white glossy wallboard, like what you would find in a commercial washroom or walk in cooler wall. Its textured but really smooth, and where it has been broken it looks like its at least partly made of fibreglass. I will probably have to at least redo the silicone around the combustion chamber, as I dont know if it is hi-temp rated.

That is FRP (fiberglass reinforced panel). They are made with fiberglass and plastic, not high temp friendly enough to have a stove up close. I would be less worried about melting, and more worried about off gassing. I am not familiar with the temp rating, and I am sure it varies depending on the manufacturer. If it were me, I would cover with insulation and sheet metal until you are a distance far enough away to have temps below 130° at the surface. That is not a scientific number, just my seat of the pants talking, for what ever that is worth.

Lol yeah I realized the meaning of FRP when I was at home depot looking for a sheet to repair some holes, but that stuff is expensive. 55$ for a 4X8 sheet... I've been meaning to put up some insulation on the wall, it's just been really cold so I haven't done any work except work on keeping warm lol. I've been feeling the walls around the wood stove when it is on full blast just to make sure things aren't too hot, and so far its been ok. Nothing uncomfortably cold, but I have a window right beside the stove for when it gets really hot, just cracking it open lets in a lot of cold air and mellows everything out.

Oh yeah forgot to ask, are there any tips on salvaging that FRP stuff??
7 years ago

Shane McKenna wrote:You have obviously spent a lot more time thinking about your needs, so your plan of running down the length of the trailer probably meets those needs better than my ideas.

I had a brain flash, and shared how I can see a system working in the space, but I was thinking your whole trailer was being used as an office, and that the thermal mass would take up work space. I was also mainly considering how the channeled floor lends itself to moving heat down the whole length of the trailer with a forced air system. Also, I have seen these trailers with a simple tarped ducting system to move cold air from the front to the back along the ceiling. That same system could be used to move warm air from the front to the back. However, since you are going to be dividing the space, that changes my conception of the project, and how best to distribute the heat.

Overall, the insulation, sealed envelope, existing air moving components, weight capacity, and thermally conductive floor of your trailer makes for an excellent project, and a wonderful repurposing of a refrigerated trailer. In several projects I have used them as working modules for mobile systems, and at least one of them became a permanent installation with very little conversion. Considering these trailers are designed to move 50K+ worth of cooled or frozen goods over varied road conditions, they are likely over-designed in frame, and weather proofing than any building you could purchase at the same price.

One thing to factor into your design, is that a trailer is designed to carry the weight over the whole length of the trailer. That weight is spanned between the rear axles and the king pin. The floor has a slight crown over this span. If you evenly distribute the design capacity weight the crown flattens out. In the case of our install with the water tank, boiler, and pumps, we loaded everything in dry, and watched the crown flatten out as we filled the system. once it was flat, we braced up the center of the trailer. With the bracing in place, the trailer could then carry well over the design capacity. We could have braced it without letting it flatten out first, but we wanted a relatively flat grade to keep our tank water level flat.

originally I was planning on a forced air heating system, but i am on solar and only have 2000 watts to play with. Plus in one of the containers with the traditional wood stove, I am using this "eco fan", which is powered by the heat of the stove. It is actually pretty amazing, with the stove on full blast, the fan is able to push alot of hot air across the whole container. Has anyone used these eco fans on their RMH? i imagine they'd work the same...
7 years ago

Shane McKenna wrote:Chris you bring up an important issue that should be thought about in any stove installation.

My next door neighbor painted their front door black, and it melted all the foam out of the door one hot summer afternoon.

Most of the insulating foams are rated in the 150° to 180° range, except for polyisocyanurate at around 300°. I highly doubt your trailer is using the later. However, like all good installations, a heat shield/heat spreader should be used to prevent any elevated temps from contacting any combustible or meltable materials. Most trailers have FRP, or plywood panels that are not good heat spreaders.

I scroundged up some used commercial heat ducting from a project rebuild. These are sheet metal lined with 1" fiberglass insulation that we are putting on the walls and ceiling around our install (sheet metal side towards the stove). This reflects the heat out into the room, and spreads and deflects the hottest temps from our wood basement ceiling. By the time the heat migrates past the heat shield it has diluted enough to be perfectly safe.

If you are trying to do a project on the super cheap, another source of insulated sheet metal can be found on used ovens, and dishwashers for free. The sheet metal sides usually have insulation on the inside of them, or around the central vessel that you can use.

Commercial heating and air contractors sometimes have ducting tear outs from remodels and upgrades, since the initial installs are mostly custom fabricated parts, that can't easily be retrofitted into other systems, they are glad to have you haul it away, rather than filling up their dumpster.

Actually i believe it is polyisocyanurate. One of the 3 containers has a hole on the inside, and the insulation looks a lot like polyisocyanurate, and I guess that is why my regular wood stove placed 10 inches from the wall hasn't melted it down yet? Or maybe because its just too friggin cold here. Thanks for that tip on finding some sheet metal insulation, people are always giving those things away on kijiji/craigslist. I just got a pick up and il always trying to find things to haul back to my farm.

The walls of my container are made of this white glossy wallboard, like what you would find in a commercial washroom or walk in cooler wall. Its textured but really smooth, and where it has been broken it looks like its at least partly made of fibreglass. I will probably have to at least redo the silicone around the combustion chamber, as I dont know if it is hi-temp rated.
7 years ago