Joshua Frank

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since Sep 26, 2013
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Recent posts by Joshua Frank

I'm wondering about the following question: if I want a 12 inch wide board from a maple tree, say, how wide a tree would be needed so that after you cut off the bark and the sapwood, there's still 12 inches of heartwood left? Are there guides for this kind of thing, by species, or a general guideline for all trees, or is it too variable to give any general rules?
1 month ago
I just wanted to share what my kids did for me for Father's Day today, because I'm moved by their love and connection to me, but I mention it here because it's all about permaculture.

I work full time, but in my spare time I'm trying to develop the house and garden and surrounding land using permaculture principles.

So after a very nice brunch, they presented me with:

My daughter even provided me with a quarter for flipping. So I flipped the quarter and for either heads or tails, there was a choice of project, things like these:

(These were all individual slips of paper. They only appear together because I scanned them that way.)

On the back of each project slip were things like:

So we'd visit the specified area of the property and do the activity, then flip again and do the next, until we'd done all ten of them. And apparently I won the game, because:

1 month ago
Just wanted to thank you all for this excellent advice. I am digesting all the suggestions and thinking about which ones I can implement, and in what order.
1 month ago

John C Daley wrote:Do you have a photo of the house?

The first floor is a big rectangle divided into rooms (and a garage). The second floor is a smaller rectangle in the middle of that triangle under the roof. There are unused crawl spaces on the sides of the triangle, and an unused attic above the second floor.

There are louvers in the attic, so I'm wondering if fans up there blowing air out (and maybe airflow grates on the upstairs ceiling so heat can rise easily between the second floor and the attic) would help keep the upstairs cool. Has anyone done this?

1 month ago
I'm trying to find ways to make the house comfortable without burning fossil fuel.

In summer, my upstairs is sweltering while the basement is always a cool 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Is there a reasonable way to pump that colder air up to cool the higher floors? This would use some electricity, but much less than an air conditioner, because the air is already conditioned. My house doesn't have duct work, though, so I'm not seeing a good way to do it.

Just wondering if anyone has experience with this kind of thing.
1 month ago
I want to put up some bat boxes to help control mosquitoes, and the best place I've got to hang them is on the side of my house, facing south. This is also right over a garden bed, and my thought is that this is a good thing, because the guano would drop right into the garden.

But I'm wondering if this is actually bad or even dangerious, either because it's too much fertilizer or because the guano could be toxic or disease carrying in some way.

Does anyone have any idea on this?
1 month ago
This one is painful. I ordered FIVE POUNDS of high quality chocolate, and the mailman left it on the porch and an animal got into it (racoon, I think). Most of it was left behind, but I think this makes the entire batch unfit to eat, because I don't know what animal it was with what diseases, what parts were touched AND I would likely eat some of the chocolate raw.

What's a good permie way to do something constructive with this stuff (beyond composting, of course).

I don't (yet) have chickens or any other animals to feed it to, so that's out.
2 months ago
I'm trying to build something like this:

Basically, you make a bottle with a tube coming out of it and you fill the bottle with yeast and sugar (or maybe vinegar and baking soda) and capture the resulting carbon dioxide. I've done this, and I added a pressure gauge, but I'm finding almost no C02 pressure. I can't tell if this is because my rig is faulty, or if I don't have enough feedstock to produce enough CO2.

Has anyone tried anything like this? Is this a viable way to make enough CO2 for a few liters of seltzer a week?
3 months ago

Amit Enventres wrote:
I will never grow white button types. They look way too much like poisonous varieties and there's a saying: there two types of mushroom hunters careful ones and dead ones.

Do you think it's that risky even if you grow them in, say, the basement? If you sterilize the medium and then innoculate with button mushroom spawn and then grow something that looks just like button mushrooms, how likely is it to be a lookalike?
3 months ago