Gioia De Amanti

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since Jul 26, 2013
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Recent posts by Gioia De Amanti

El Hierro,
That's indeed a rock(ing. ) slice of paradise.
Much too long since I have been there last!
Thank you for the delightful reminder!

Do you have a photo -or better a few!- to feed the imagination of
those who haven't seen you or your paradise live, yet?

5 years ago

Do you own the property & have a space to share?
Or are you doing guerilla gardening?
Is there any accommodation in place?

5 years ago
Can you give some more information about the property you are looking at?

Wetland - hmm - How high above sea level? - How is the profile of the property?
- What is growing there currently? How has the land been used priorly?
- Where exactly? Can you link to google maps?
- Is subdivision possible? - or how many habitations are allowed to be built on this land?
- Would it be a land trust? .....

Lots of questions to be answered...

5 years ago
Hi Danny,

I have bee drooling over land & old farm houses in (Western) Hungary for some time,
I am originally from Germany but was kinda 'nailed down' in the US for the past ten years.
The concern I couldn't get over was the language barrier.
Although I speak several European languages more or less fluently,
they are all of Romanic and Germanic origin, - no Eastern European language skills here,
and the Finno-Urgian Hungarian would really be the last I'd ever dare to set out to learn...

This seems to me a serious barrier to what I feel is crucial to self sufficient and sustainable living off the land:
healthy tight-knit neighborhood- & village-like connections with local people...
- What do you do about this? - Originally from Holland, Hungarian must be very very strange for you, too,
- or do you have Eastern European roots / parents... ?? ?

Your facebook links both don't work for me either.
This is what I see upon clicking on them:

>> This content is currently unavailable

>> The page you requested cannot be displayed right now.
>> It may be temporarily unavailable, the link you clicked on may have expired,
>> or you may not have permission to view this page.

>> Return home

Take care!

5 years ago
Wow, Joe, you nailed this one pretty well!
I stumbled over the same issue with what I deem to be the same community,
(I really hope there are not several ICs around who are as brazenly looking to openly enslave other humans
as this bunch of life-juice sucking would-be 'alternatives'.)

Although I think it doesn't have much to do with this great and inspiring introvert in community question,
- other than that a rather shy (notably not equal to introvert) person might be
more endangered to fall for this kind of outrageous exploitation.

But I really think it is important to expose such dreadful examples,
and encourage fellow permies not to allow this abominable kind of worst practice
to suck on them or become more frequent.

6 years ago
You are right, Rebecca,
Cats naturally love to scratch and make sure to cover up any smell before they leave the place.
We have also had cats for all of my life, and tried all of your mentioned methods - and then some..

Sawdust in Cardboard box works, pelleted sawdust* or shredded corncob crumbs work even better,
- in terms of dusting & tracking a little less. (A friend had constructed a pellet press for his stove..)
And, with a little added baking soda, they both do a halfway decent job in inhibiting smell.
However, like Sheri said, since it doesn't clump, you always have to scoop out a lot each time,
and empty the whole amount out every few days, which is using A LOT of said material,
and the tracking inside a house is still quite an annoyance.

Newspaper in a box is very beloved by cats. (Just try letting a cardboard box with your recycling-bound papers
sit around for a minute or even just a half without looking before bringing them out... - They'll be in there faster than you can look!)
But still, that creates a LOT of waste, since you have to throw out everything every time, - with NO smell inhibition whatsoever.
Sand, while cheap in some areas (we'd have to haul it from the beach ten miles away or buy it in the store..)
is in this regard not much different. Since it doesn't clump, but on the contrary drains especially well,
it soaks very quickly all the way through, - when you have cardboard underneath, saturating the cardboard before wetting the floor..,
if you have it in a plastic box, forming a lake at the bottom.. - and thus has to be exchanged completely, almost every time,
- all while providing very little smell inhibition.

With that, all of these methods have their challenges which, with more than two cats, over time, are rather tough to brave.

This led us to the entire elimination of the litter, eventually. Which, as said, works well for us with no sustained costs and minimal time effort.
The cats might need to be younger to accept the change well (like with most any other change to their routine, - they really cherish their habits).

But when they accept it, they seem pretty happy with it. We tried a box with their old corncob litter again when we had to leave for three days,
and more than half of the cats still preferred their empty box/bathtub they had meanwhile gotten used to.
They do scratch on the sides of the empty boxes or in the tub, but are ok with the result, since - I made it a point to clean up right after them,
whenever I heard them scratching, and caress them whenever I saw them going in there.
(Which - due to the incomparably greater effort rquired, I hadn't done with the litter in the box.)
They seem to have understood, that this way they have a clean space to go every time they need to, and they very evidently do appreciate that.

Sheri, while I don't know about Bokashi, you can certainly compost cat manure. (That's what happens with outside cats' droppings anyway.)
Cats feces are already far more "composted" than raw meat, and not subject to putrefaction anymore.

We use a water flushed composting toilet for humanure. (The toilet pipes run through a simple strainer basket outside, and the runoff is sent through
contained blackwater planters and the already very clean runoff of that thereafter into a leach field. The output of the leach field far surpasses
the very stringent quality requirements for swimming lakes in Germany). The fermentation of the solids in the strainer basket (in a chamber under the soil)
can be aerobic with vent pipe up to the roof and thus completely smell-free.
Or it can be done anaerobically in a airtight tank, with the methane gas from the fermentation made available for cooking...
The humanure solids composted in this manner take about two years to decompose into a rich inert soil, which can be used in the gardening.
(The strainer basket is separated in half vertically, and turned around 90 degrees, when one side is full after one year,
so that the fermentation can complete for one year without added new material.)

We flush the cat feces into that system, too, and they decompose with the humanure.
But, since, with litter free box method, the cats usually use different boxes for wet and dry business,
you can easily just throw the solids, which are nicely separated from the liquids that way, down any compost toilet
(or just dig it somewhere under the surface of your compost heap, or even a specially assigned compost heap, if you wish)
and treat the liquids as you do yours or thin them down for use as highly efficient free N-fertilizer,
(that does not, like straight cat pepee, burn the plants and soil life).

To the food question, - Cats are - due to the very different make up of their intestinal tract
(very short and smooth, with little surface for flora to adhere to minimize putrefaction of meats) -
meat eaters by nature. And trying to force a vegetarian or mainly vegetarian diet upon them,
that would be ok and healthy for humans (with our long rough and extremely folded intestines
which relay on nurturing a rich intestinal flora to break down herbal material), would NOT be healthy nor natural for a cat.
Especially grains and pulses (legumes like beans) the overeating of which already produces enough problems in people,
is anything else than natural, let alone healthy, for cats (Imagine a cat harvesting grains or cooking beans!... -
(The fresh beans would anyway kill her before she could make it a habit..))
Of course, if your cats still get their main sustenance from hunting for mice, they might survive that kind of vegetarian supplement,
but it is not healthier or more natural for them to eat than a highly processed mainly flour & starch &/or sugar based diet for humans,
- with a very similar poor long term outlook.

Fish is good, - as long as it is the kind of fish would be able to catch themselves.
Big ocean fish on the contrary who are far higher on the food chain do, due to the large amounts of
heavy metals and other toxins they accumulate in their tissues, have a very detrimental long term effect on cats.
Cats also do need to eat WHOLE fish, since they depend on the minerals from fish bones, the vitamins and minerals
as wel as secondary micro-nutrients from organs and blood.
A neighbor fed his cats almost exclusively tuna cans, and all of his cats died within one year on the diet.
(They were all adult when he got them. And he got each one the after the death of another.)
(He finally switched to giblets, sardines, salmon, tilapia & beef heart, the last cat became 18 years old and is still strong.)
(While sardines, salmons, chickens & cow organs are not the most natural prey for house cats either,
the more varied mix seems to at least provide what the cat needs to live a long life.)

As to milk and cream, - Almost ALL cats are highly lactose intolerant after weaning time
(They just don't ever get to milk a cow or goat or sheep in Nature..),
and the resulting bloating and often violent diarrhea dairy consume causes them, is painful
and not a particular act of love to provide them with.
Water is really best for them.
(Since cats on a natural diet get about 80% of their water needs from the meat they consume,
they need a lot more than feral cats, once you feed them things that differ from their natural diet/ are not meat.)

All the best!


6 years ago
Hi Sheri,

I realize that this post is a little older, and you might already have found the ultimate solution.
- If so, - please advise: ) !

Just to add my 5 cents, - We currently have 8 cats.
Only the first of them came to us intentionally, when her old owner wanted to euthanize her
because of a sudden pee-&-poo-everywhere problem... when the old owner adopted another (very bossy male) cat.
Long story short, the issue got eventually resolved, she used a regular litter pan, and she never had a flashback since..

The other two cats were strays from the neighborhood, whom we intended to "neuter and release", but who instead decided
to stay with us more or less closely. (- One of them turned out to be already pregnant when we wanted to neuter her,
so she had her 5 kittens in our house before we got her and them fixed)

One of the two is living mainly outside, mostly coming in for food only, or a little warmth in winter.. She uses litter boxes
(with or without litter) when necessary, but prefers to do her buisiness outside.

The Mama cat still likes to go outside to relieve herself, - but only for that. - She never wants to stay outside for more than a few minutes.
All the young ones are living indoors full time, as well as our oldest cat.

Latest with this many cats, we needed to find a solution to the litter question.
We tried to train them to use the toilet, and while that has not had significant success with the toilet itself,
(although they are still very interested in figuring out what that thing is good for) the trial got all cats in our house trained
to use empty litter boxes or the bath tub. Most are using the bath tub to pee, - since this allowed them to develop a technique to keep their feet dry, -
and small boxes without litter, in the corner beside the toilet, for the poo. They especially like a paint pan,
the slant of which also allows to keep paws dry, if a cat prefers the box over the tub.
Even our oldest cat, the one who had the litter box issues, has accepted the paint pan
(however, in her old litter pans location, - not in the bathroom).

The neat thing about the litter free boxes is, that you can effortlessly collect the pure urine, if you want, for diluted use as a fertilizer,
or just dump it in the toilet right beside the box, flush the light little box under the faucet for a few seconds, and you're good to go,
without litter tracks, or costs, or hauling or shoveling…
If you don't care for collecting urine for fertilizer, the bathtub is not too bad either. (If we had a shower, I would prefer that,
and install a little faucet with infrared sensor at cat height, which flushed shortly after the cat left the tub.
That would be the most perfect solution. …As soon as we own our own place, that's on the list….)

We do have several little boxes beside the toilet, since, without litter, they don't like to go in a spot
where another has already relieved herself.. We are usually emptying the boxes out as soon as they have been used.
(This is not too much of a challenge since most of it happens very timely after feeding them in the morning and evening,
times when we are in or near the bathroom anyway..)

The one thing that could be considered a downside of this solution is, the smell coverage.
In our case, it actually helps with keeping the boxes clean at all times, - right after they go. -
The act of cleaning them is really so negligible and swift this way, that I don't mind it at all, - as opposed to
having to scoop & refill the box, dispose of the stuff in my garbage, and vacuuming litter tracks all day long…
...and still feeling little stones, or sawdust, or mulch-pieces under my feet all he time...
(- But an automatic flush at cat height in a shower tub would certainly take this all to yet another level entirely." ) -



6 years ago
You sound adorably awesome!
If I wasn't so scared of the winters in Montana,
I'd feel intrigued to apply for the assistant criminal position." )

Do you maybe have some pictures for the more cold-hardy
among us?


6 years ago
Thank you for the excellent introduction to your ideas!
Very interesting and well made workbook!
I especially like the matrix tying the whole concept together
into something logically derivable.

I am sorry I can't make it to your workshop,
but will certainly read through your book
and try if I can recognize it in and apply to our reality.

Thanks again for making this thought provoking resource available.

Best wishes for your courses!

6 years ago
Hey Ryan,

What an enticing description!
Do you have any pictures of yourself and your paradise?

Warm wishes!

6 years ago