Michael Cox

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since Jun 09, 2013
Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Recent posts by Michael Cox

Good job.

As you are probably discovering, it isn’t as easy as it looks. A few pointers though.

1) looks like you are taking slabs off an outside face. These are prone to warping and cupping when exposed to the elements. If you split the log radially, you can then take radial slices.

2) you can probably split those down in half again. They look very thick. When they are stacked overlapping on the roof it will be very thick.

3) selecting a straight grained log in the first place will make it MUCH easier. I see a great big knot in that log.

4) if you make sure all your logs are exactly the same length to start with you will have nice uniform shingleswhen you are done.
12 hours ago
What is your climate? Biological methods of river bank/bed stabilisation might help. If you don't get frosts you might look into using vetiver.

How much of the upstream catchment do you have access to? Much of the work on a channelised flow like that is best approached by starting upstream and working to slow and spread the surface flows. If you have no control then you might be better off just not messing with it.
By instinct I would agree with the "90% by volume" thing, but then what you are left with is much more dense than the starting material. I'm not sure I would be able to put any kind of reasonable figure on percentage of mass lost. And then you have that some materials are inherently wetter, or less dense to start with.

I think the only meaningful measurement would dry-mass before to dry mass after comparison. But then that figure would have little meaning to most people, because it is not a relevant figure for people actually making compost in practice.

Personally, I would just ignore any figures and crack on with doing it. We are getting our chicken next month, and our compost heaps will be moving into their run. We will be moving from nice orderly bins to heaps that the chickens will kick and turn for us. Any sense of "how much is lost" becomes meaningless in that kind of situation.
1 day ago
Some of the trees, like oak and chestnut, are sources of forage other than from flowers. I think it varies with variety, but here in some regions you can get a reliable crop from "honey dew" - that is aphids drinking sap from leaves and exuding sugary liquid waste. Others have "extra-floral nectaries" - glands on leaf and stem surfaces that exude sticky sweet nectar. These exudates attract predator species which feed on the bugs that would otherwise eat the plant.


1 day ago

This and other info pretty much told me, while stevia and xylitol might be good for humans, they are very unlikely to provide the energy needed for hummingbirds.

I'm not at all convinced that either stevia or xylitol are good for humans. Food with artificial sweeteners deceives the body's taste/nutrient measuring mechanism. We end up craving sweeter and sweeter foods. Plus xylitol has been linked to all sorts of health issues, including (if I remember properly) prostate problems in men.

Sugar, when consumed in moderation, is a perfectly good part of any human diet. It is the "moderation" but that we tend to get wrong, not the sugar itself.
1 day ago
The hummingbird feed because they need the calories. They are balanced on a knife edge day to day; too many missed meals and they won't have the energy to forage. If you feel you must feed them, then please make sure you feed them a syrup that actually has the sugar they need. If they feed from artificial sweeteners you could literally starve them to death, as they think they are getting the calories they need, but aren't.
1 day ago
Not aimed specifically at keeping toes clean, but putting copious woodchips down on all paths makes a big difference for spread of mud. I can walk our garden in winter in bare feet and return to the house with my feet essentially clean. Big difference from a few years back when our paths were treacherous mud for much of the year.
Splitting shingles is definitely one of those tasks where the correct tool is recommended. You CAN bodge it with other splitting tools, but you will have a lot less control. The froe not only gives you a nice straight split, but it lets you control the direction of the split through the grain of the wood, depending on which way you apply pressure on the handle.

It is also worth noting that good shingles need so additional processing. Typically a drawknife is used to smooth and straighten the surface and edges, so that they sit nicely against each other, as well as to reduce the weight of the finished roof. Shingles also taper from a thick end to a thinner end.

Even for the fairly small number of shingles you are looking at making I would recommend getting one.

2 days ago
I have a Stovetec rocket stove. It lives in the garage most of the time, but gets packed out for family camping trips, or outings to the woods. I know from past experience that with the family I will be pitching camp near the car, so carry the extra weight isn't too difficult. And the convenience is great.

Price is a LOT better than the one you are looking at too.

3 days ago
I delete and don't engage. They are bottom feeders. Ignore and just get on with your day.