David Fraleigh

+ Follow
since Nov 20, 2013
David likes ...
forest garden plumbing earthworks wood heat homestead
retired from working in a library. I have lived in rural setting near Gainesville, Fl. for past 40 years... Built my house when I was 20. Enjoy animals, gardening,,.. "country living".
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by David Fraleigh

A friend of mine here in North Florida inherited the "family" farm from her grandmother several years ago,...  Remarkably, the only condition regarding the property listed in the will was that "she never plant Wisteria on the property"...
8 months ago
A friend of mine is struggling to find a material to use as mulch in her vegetable beds.  Ideally it would be inexpensive, easily available and beneficial for the garden.  What came to my mind and what I have used in the past is either the shredded-up residue from utility line clearing or old unsold rolls of hay that farmers occasionally sell cheaply around here for "mulch" purposes.  That seemed good enough except for the fact that my friend is insistent that there be no possible residue of any herbicides or pesticides in the mulch.   Because it would be impossible and ridiculously expensive to test these materials it pretty much seems to rule these materials out for her.  My initial reaction to her fear of  contamination was to say that any possible residue would be so small and inconsequential as to be of no concern..,  but then she reminded me of a local case where people were buying composted manure that was essentially killing their garden plants...
a quote from an article concerning the matter...,     "employees at the dairy farm sprayed an herbicide known as GrazonNext HL over a hay field. The herbicide contained a chemical called aminopyralid, which is used for weed control, but is particularly harmful to tomatoes, beans, potatoes and other vegetables.   Cows at the farm later ate the hay. The cows’ manure — still carrying the chemicals then composted the manure and sold it unpackaged to customers."
    So perhaps her fear is justified and there really is nothing cheap and easily available  and beneficial for the "organic" farmer to use as a mulch.   Personally I still think that old hay or shredded trees is the best answer but I am wondering what others think and use,....

1 year ago
I have had many years of working with toilets and have seen many different situations that have caused problems...  The most recent one that caused trouble involved a septic tank drain field that was failing...   The problem was intermittent because the water would slowly go down so that if the flushes were spaced far enough apart it would flush ok but if flushed soon after the previous one it would back up.   I have had tenants that blocked things by flushing toys, hand towels, plastic gloves, sanitary napkins...  etc.
   A common problem relates to the fact that modern toilets are designed to flush better and with less water than  older ones,,,,   Often times on older toilets deposits tend to build up and clog the weep holes that are located under the rim of the toilet.   This slows down the water that goes into the toilet when one flushes which in turn can disrupt the syphoning action that the flush depends on.  I usually check this function by quickly pouring a 5 gallon bucket full of water into the toilet bowl...  If all is well with the plumbing it should take the water away in one quick action...   If it passes this test then I usually assume that the toilet itself is the problem and needs replacing....
    From what you describe I personally would take the toilet out and run a stiff garden hose down the drain with or without water flowing through it  (preferably with it on and with someone within earshot manning the spigot)...   Without having to use special equipment this can flush away many blockages and also serves to more clearly define the problem,   A toilet is actually quite easy to remove and replace and things related to the plumbing are much easier to diagnose without the toilet in the way,..
1 year ago
Gerry I just saw that you had asked me a question regarding the use of galvanized pipe.  I do think that (at least with my water) the inside of pipes and tanks quickly gets covered with a mineral deposit which should probably lessen the danger of the zinc or whatever is in the galvanized coating....  Bear in mind too that galvanizing has been used in plumbing pipe for over a hundred years,...  And as for lacking an anode in the system bear in mind also that the water in the heater is only hot very infrequently when it is being used.  It is not hot constantly as is the case in the common type of tank water heaters.  and as for using a typical water heater thermostat switch to control this on demand heater I don't think it would be reactive quickly enough to be safe.  There is a lot of heat energy being put into very little water at any time ...  If the water stops flowing and the heat is still being applied it could quickly turn into dangerous steam and blow something,...  I do think that attaching a thermostatic switch to the side of it and using it as a backup to the flow switch would indeed be a good idea...
2 years ago
I don’t want to address the ethical considerations of eating meat but as a long-time vegetarian (after seeing a cow slaughtered at an uncle’s farm in my youth) I have been constantly on the search for a “meat-substitute”…  What I mean by that is that I have been searching for something vegetarian but nonetheless dense and flavorful (umami?) to “build” a meal around.  It is encouraging that meatless products have lately become so popular but their price makes them completely unpractical and unrealistic for me.  What comes closest invariably involves beans of various sorts.,,,  chickpeas, lentils and pinto beans are my favorites.,, tofu is very good…
I have always enjoyed the taste of tempeh  at Thai restaurants and wished that it was more available and affordable.  At $5+ for a one pound package it just seemed too “pricey” to use often.   About 6 months ago I decided to try to make my own,…  It is a bit complicated in that it involves soaking, de-hulling, cooking, innoculating and packaging the soybeans and then fermenting them at around 90 degrees for a day and a half.   That sounds more difficult than it really is.  After three disappointing failures at attempting to make it I have finally figured it out.   The result is that I now have been consistently making delicious tempeh for around $.40 cents a pound.  I make about 10 pounds at a time and it keeps wonderfully well in the freezer and lasts me about two weeks.   I use it in making my own fake hamburgers.  I put a patty of them on my home-made pita bread (also frozen) and pop them in the microwave for a minute,… add mustard, ketchup, pickles.., etc.   I am very pleased with the result.
   Here are a few tips that I have learned along the way…
I buy the soybeans from a local feed store,..   $18 for 50 pounds  (yes I know it is  GMO  and that it might not be so “clean”  but the little bits of chaff that I sometimes find in it is absolutely worth the difference to me between paying $.35/pound and $1.75/pound at the health store..
  Get a big pot to make it in,..  It makes it far easier.
 Ebay is a good inexpensive source for the tempeh innoculant, and for the thermostatic control that I used in making my incubator (under $10).  By the way, You could probably use a large cooler or any sort of a box or maybe even your oven but I made a large incubator out of a styrofoam sheet that I cut up and glued into a box shape,..  I added a small 20 watt light inside and coupled that to the thermostatic switch that keeps the temperature at 88 degrees.
  After the beans are soaked overnight they need to be dehulled.  This involves squeezing them with your hands in the water which splits the beans in half and takes off their covering hull.  I am not sure that this step is absolutely necessary and have seen where some people say that it isn’t..  I think that it is important because I suspect that the hulls if left in might prevent the mycelium from spreading evenly through the beans and making a firm cake.  I will soon try skipping this step as it is a bit laborious involving squeezing the beans and then trying repeatedly to float the hulls out of them…
Boil the beans until relatively soft, drain them very well, add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to make for the acid conditions that the mycellium seems to favor, add a tablespoon of tempeh starter, mix well..  Put the beans into plastic sandwhich bags with holes punched in them,..  Place them into your temperature controlled box and Voila…  32 hours later you should have the delicious tempeh.
 Youtube has several good instructional videos that address all of these procedures.
  As I said, my first three attempts were disappointing failures in that the white mycellium did not form.  These are the mistakes that I made and that hopefully you will know to avoid.  First, it is really important to get the cooked beans to be quite dry before placing them in the bags..  (apparently the mycellium “drowns” if too wet)..  I have read that some people place the beans on a towel to dry them..    
I drain them in a colander for quite a while and then place them back in the pot on the stove and stir them to help evaporate more of the moisture… Another problem I had is that mysteriously the temperature in my incubator suddenly shot up to 100 degrees after about 10 hours.  I thought that my thermostat had failed but then I realized that the fermenting process generates its own heat…  I ended up having to actually vent the box to keep it at the desired temperature.   A final tip is to punch the required holes into the plastic sandwich bags with a paper hole punch. I do ten bags at a time…    I have written too much I know,..  Just wanted to share my good experience regarding tempeh...   Can share more regarding it if anyone is interested...
2 years ago
I too value having efficient transportation.  The price of new cars totally blows my mind.  (I guess that comes with "getting old" as I remember my parents buying a brand new VW in the 60s for $2,800).  Nowadays cars and trucks seem to all sell for $20,000  to $50,000!!!  and then you add in God only knows how much yearly for insurance, maintenance, repairs.... How much of a person's energy has to go into getting basic transportaion?  Has the world gone mad?  Do we really need all of this expensive high tech,... sensors, back up cameras, self-driving capability, entertainment systems.,, air conditioners???  especially considering the fact that these things will need to be fixed.    I just read a Consumer Reports article that mentioned how simple "fender benders" now often cost so much more because the sensors located in the fenders often get damaged and need replacing.   Give me a break.  Somebody with some sense just recreate a 1960's Toyota Corrolla and sell it for a reasonable $6000.  I don't need and I don't want any of these "extras".  
  This is how I get my transportation needs met.  I buy my cars used and cheap..., I have learned to repair them myself.  My friend just spent $1100 yesterday getting his Toyota starter and front wheel bearings replaced.    In the past few months I have done the very same things to my car for a total of $120 in parts and about 2 hours of labor.
 Many people in this thread have spoken of having to have both a car and a truck to cover their needs. What really bugs me about that is that the insurers want to charge you double as if you can drive them both at the same time...   I am a firm believer in having a good roof rack and a good small trailer.  I built a house hauling the majoritiy of the building supplies behind a Ford Escort using just those two items.
2 years ago
Gerry,..  Your picture is perfect except that the contactor is missing in it and is a very necessary part of this device. It makes the high amperage current available to the heating elements.  The flow switch is relatively delicate and can only switch a minimal amount of electricity (probably just a few amps)....  It would instantly burn up if you tried to put 40 amps through it...  Instead the flow switch sends its current to the contactor which in turn activates an electromagnet inside of it which makes the actual high amperage connection.  These contactors are used commonly in almost every high amperage situation..., AC, compressors, heaters,.. etc., etc.,  and are inexpensive and easily available.  You have to match it to the voltage and amperage you need,..  In this case it probably should be 240 volts and 40 amps,  Contactors and flow switches are available on the internet.  My latest one (in the picture) is a higher quality one than the one that I have used for these many years,...  (I think that I got it from the Surplus Center for $5 back then0...    An important note here regarding flow switches is that they rate them to switch at different  Gallons per Minute.   You want to be sure to get one that activates at very little flow...  probably at 1 GPM or so,..  Otherwise it won't switch on at the low flow rate going through the pipes...
2 years ago