Daniel Crockett

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since Jul 05, 2013
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Recent posts by Daniel Crockett

Hey, Feidhlim!

Just wanted to drop a quick thanks for your reply and advice. Looks like I've got a fair bit of reading (and more) to do! Very helpful, though - thanks again.
5 years ago
Hey There, Mr. Harty

I'm not really sure what sort of topics I should be posting in this, it being the gray water section and septic tanks being black water and all, so I'll simply present my situation (bearing in mind I am still something of a newbie to the permaculture scene, please forgive my ignorance - we're all here to learn and exchange info, right? ):

I have a parcel of land I'd like to build a cob home on in Klamath County, Oregon. When I purchased the land I had been planning on using incinerating and/or composting toilets as an alternative to a septic system and using my gray water to water the garden. The problem(s) I'm running into are two-(or three)-fold: In order to get a building permit, the county requires a septic tank already be installed on site (which is, of course, its own permit and test). This is naturally infuriating since what I had been looking at does not require one, but due to the terrain there is also a very strong possibility that a standard septic system will not work. The bedrock, of basalt, has a depth that varies between 18 inches to 7 or 8 feet beneath the soil. The usual alternative to a standard septic tank presented was a Cap & Fill and a sand filter. Frankly, from what I understand of it, this is simply not an option. Never mind the crazy expense of around twelve grand.

Needless to say, I am strongly interested in any alternatives that would satisfy the Oregon code (and county) which is not as expensive as a Cap & Fill (or sand filter). Do you have any advice?

Thanks in advance.

5 years ago

Jani Reser wrote:I purchased some DE online; ad says Food Grade (FG), receipt says FG but it does not say so on the bag, nor does it say Pet Safe as reviewed on Amazon (same brand). Can I be sure it is actually FG? It seems like it usually says so on the package. It's called "Insect Dust", says "do not contaminate water, food or feed by disposal", and the word "pesticide" is mentioned 2x in the hazard section. It contains 85% DE Silocon Dioxide, 10% other element dioxides & 5% moisture. It's St. Gabriel's Organics. I am very suspicious that it's actually FGDE. BTW I have since found the 50 lb bag of FGDE at a farm store. Thanks for your expertise.

I have no first-hand experience with these products with which to advise you on your purchase, however "common sense" would dictate that, if you've found the 50lb. bag of Food Grade DE at a farm store and you find the bag you purchased online to be suspicious, dispose of the smaller bag and purchase the 50lb. one you know is the product you want. If it were something that didn't have the potential to cause serious illness (if it's not Food Grade) I might say something different. However, when in doubt, assume it's poisonous.

Hope that helps. :/
6 years ago

Audrey Barton wrote:DE and Torrential Rain?

My patch of French Icicle radishes has been plagued by pavement ants.
They tunnel down along side each radish top, which quickly withers.

I gave it a liberal coat of DE.... and it's been raining for days, since I did so.
Should I re-apply DE once things dry out, or will it keep working once the sun drys out my raised bed?

My understanding is that it should work fine once it is dry again, but I would re-apply it, any way, in case the rains have washed it away.
6 years ago

Monte Goulding wrote:Hi

Our 10 year old daughter is constantly getting head lice and no matter what kind of toxic or organic gick we put on her head they re-surface within a week usually. I was wondering if DE works for head lice and if so if anyone has guidelines for using it.



My understanding is that DE would work to kill the lice, but you cannot get it wet. Also, you don't want to inhale it. So, since you cannot get it wet and you don't want to inhale it, using it to kill head lice by putting it on your child's head would probably be a very, very bad idea. Don't forget to use food grade. My experience with head lice has been that you need to use the lice killer, pick out the nits from her head, and do a very very thorough cleaning of your entire home. And then do all of it again a couple of days later. And if you want to be truly cautious, do all of it again a couple of days after that. Also, if she's catching it from an outbreak at her school you may want to keep her home for a little while (or have her keep her distance from the other kids, at the least). But using DE isn't going to be a solution for you in this case. Sorry. :/
6 years ago
I am very interested in building a (somewhat) large structure with a tank at its basin for purposes of harvesting water. On my property, I have about 18" of top soil before hitting bedrock, which makes for a great foundation but will prove to be very costly in terms of a septic tank system and digging a regular well. Up to this point, I had been planning on trying to make due with rainwater harvesting (and still plan to), hugelkulture and irrigation for the plants, and purchasing the power-consumptive "Big Dripper" machines which essentially serve the same purpose as an Air Well for emergencies. For potability, I'd planned on multiple tanks and at least two UV purifiers.

This has the potential to change a lot of that, and cut down the considerable startup expense. But, I have two questions...

#1) Does anyone know where I could find a diagram of how to create such a structure, similar to the one in France?

#2) What preventive steps would work to keep the channels the air flows through (read: pipes and the like) from becoming home to hornet's nest that obstruct and/or contaminate the airflow and potentially the water?
And how to keep the water from becoming contaminated in the basin, if it's necessary for it to flow essentially directly into it?

I love the idea. It fascinates me. And, to be honest, it already has me re-thinking some of my other ideas unrelated to this post. But for the purposes of an actual Air Well, I'd love to hear some ideas for the above concerns to make it manageable and plausible. Thanks!
6 years ago
Okay. So, firstly, while I've done enough research to have thought of this, I haven't done enough to know for sure it hasn't already been thought of in some similar form under a different name. So if something like this is already out there, I mean no offense in posting this. With that said, I have a parcel of land where the top soil isn't very far from the bedrock and there is a short growing season. The Hugel Stem, as I'm calling it, is a small structure (if it qualifies as such) that I thought up to combat these two things.

A Hugel Stem is shaped sort of like a pipe tube that's been cut at an angle and is standing up. So, it is cylindrical, with one side taller than the other, with an empty middle. Like if you cut a pipe diagonally and stood it on its end. The base of the Hugel Stem is, of course, filled with wood for the hugelkulture and a mound of earth is filled in on top of it, at an angle matching the dimensions of the Hugel Stem (so it's a hill inside of a tube).

The tall end of the hugel stem features a small rainwater cachement system that drains into twin drums that are joined in the middle by a pipe for equilibrium, which also feeds a zeer-pot like drain system. You know, the clay pots that will keep the soil damp but not too damp, never over water or under water and always stay full if connected to a proper water source. The entire Hugel Stem has an outer ring for composting materials that would be harvested annually. This provides additional heat for longer growing seasons (as does the hugelkulture at the base). The lower end of the Hugel Stem is left open for a harvesting area that has an earth cement base. With the hugel mound being a hill, this should mean that most fruit should roll into this area, while also making climbing easier to get onto the mound for gardening & harvesting purposes.

The idea, of course, being to put a fruit (or other) tree in the middle of the mound with supporting plants around it. The walls of the Hugel Stem would probably have to be stone, as I can't see cob surviving it, but I think this could work.

I would love to get some feedback on this. And, again, if it turns out not to be particularly original, my apologies - but please let me know so I can look at the alternative, more proven method. Thanks.
6 years ago
The land is on the Mesa, yes. I am not - I'm still in Portland, for the time being. Currently, my biggest obstacle is the septic system. The Mesa typically has around 18 inches of top-soil before you hit bedrock (basalt, though I don't know yet for certain if this is the case with my parcel, but I suspect it is). The area, if you know where to look, I'm told, is fairly rich in opals (from a geologist, not a local, so ...not sure). As for the challenges, it would seem to be more based on Klamath County code than the terrain (since I was hoping to use composting or incinerating toilets). I'm trying to figure out a way around what is sure to be a highly expensive item that appears to be required, which I neither need nor want. :/ The web has various websites that seem to indicate that wind is not an issue - though, to be honest, I'd rather it be an issue than not RE: turbine possibilities.

I do find the owner exemption stuff interesting in the Cob to Code thread. I'm hoping/wondering if that would be something that could apply to septic systems (though I doubt it, given it being a regulation concerning public health). Once I figure out a solution to that dilemma I should be able to head that way to begin really working on the project. I'm hoping to start up an organic orchard, and maybe have some ducks and/or rabbits. There will be enclosed spaces there, as well, where I'm hoping to find a means of growing some more exotic fruits for the local market. And... I hope to do some leather-working.

So you're already down there, huh? What sort of progress have you made toward your goal so far (other than location, location, location!)?

P.S. Yep! ^_^
6 years ago
Hey, Derrick -

Welcome to permies from me, too (though I hardly qualify as much more than a lurker, myself).

I'm also looking to start something up in the KF region (I have 4.7 acres in Sprague River, about 50 miles east of KF, and plan on getting more land there). Maybe we can help each other out.

6 years ago
Hey There,

So, I've purchased some land on a mesa in southern Oregon, and after the purchase I am given to understand that the soil is only about 18" deep before hitting bedrock. Now, all of the other potential concerns aside, I would like to start an orchard & homestead on my land, but I'm concerned about how deep the taproot will grow on any trees I attempt to grow on the property.

I've developed a structure I'm planning to share here later that I've dubbed the "Hugel Stem," which should add a good 5-6 feet of dirt where the trees are grown, but as the trees get older I'm given to understand the taproots will dig down as far as 20-30 feet, depending on the tree. Obviously, in this situation, this will lead to the trees doing quite well for a number of years before eventually growing sick and dying as the taproot meets the barrier of bedrock.

What I'd like to do is cut the taproot after the trees have reached an acceptable height, but not so early on as to make them as small as a bonsai. I want them to be able to bear fruit, after all. And plenty of it.

So... does anyone know if there's a special technique that can be used on trees to cut the taproot without killing the tree?
6 years ago