Druce Batstone

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since Jan 30, 2014
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Recent posts by Druce Batstone

I use this type of dripline extensively. The emitters occasionally become blocked from very fine sediment in the water. I have found that most blocked emitters can be cleared by lightly hammering the spiral capillary when the line is under pressure. It seems best to use a mallet and place a bit of steel pipe under the dripline. Rotate the dripline as you hammer it. I have also used vice grips to squeeze the spiral capillary but hammering seems to be more effective but is more brutal. This type of dripline is pretty good in my opinion. Blockages are rare and would be less frequent if I was more conscientious about flushing the lines by opening the valves at the end of the run.
6 months ago
Ed, 3 - 4 year old stable manure in a heap would look altogether different to fresh manure in my opinion. Let me add a disclaimer; I have never seen a pile of stable manure older than a few months. The stables where I collect manure (mixed with sawdust bedding and uneaten hay) allows people like me to collect it freely. Recently, there has been an increased demand. I am now getting stable manure that is only one or two days in the heap.  This fresh manure is dumped very thickly (say 150mm or 6" on the garden bed). It will heat up on the bed. I try to cover it within days with arborists woodchips containing a lot of leaf material that is also quite fresh. Three weeks ago I planted zucchini seeds in seed-raising mix in holes within days of laying down the manure and woodchips. The seedlings are doing well. Actually, I would prefer fresh stable manure to old stable manure in my situation. After three or more years growing pretty much everything in beds with stable manure, I have never seen a problem that I think is due to using fresh manure. Hope this helps.
8 months ago
I have used very fresh stable manure overlain with arborist woodchips now for a number of years. In my opinion the combination is great. At first, I only used stable manure. This was good but I was concerned by the possibilities of increasing fly population and smell. Covering with woodchips solves these problems. I have planted squash seeds directly into fresh stable manure and have been rewarded with good results. Potatoes grow well when planted in soil with hilling up with stable manure and woodchips. Snowpeas are currently germinating in seedling mix in a small trench dug by hand through the layers of manure and woodchips. My region is subtropical and I have enough water to micro-irrigate.
8 months ago
Go for it. Su Ba was my inspiration. Her Homesteading in Hawaii Blog is a great resource as well as her posts on Permies. Su has tried and documented many ways of growing potatoes.

My location is more like Su's - sub-tropical (but in Australia). Her posts got me interested in all-year potatoes. So far so good as we have not purchased potatoes for 7 months. I grow in ground because I have the space. Dutch Cream is my favourite variety but as I am in sub-tropical Australia the varieties will be of little interest to you. My main objective is to encourage you to grow a very satisfying crop and to acknowledge one of my Permies heroes - Su Ba.

Cheers
Druce
11 months ago
Hi Jamie and Natasha

I am at Mt Crosby near Brisbane. There are quite a few like-minded folks around here. Not sure how many are on Permies but we get together for produce swaps, two weeks apart in two locations.

Cheers

Druce
1 year ago
Welcome Peter. I am an active domestic fermenter with a background in chemical engineering. I recently purchased "The Noma Guide to Fermentation". The book is fantastic.

There is very solid information on the fundamentals and even more on techniques that can be used to replicate the ancient methods.

Miso for example is a long process. let me quote;

Miso is a fermented paste made from a mash of cooked soybeans, koji and salt. Like vinegar, miso is a two-stage fermentation. First the fungus Aspergillus oryzae is grown on either rice or barley to produce koji (read the koji chapter page 211) for a deeper understanding of this process). Then the powerful enzymes produced by koji, namely protease and amylase, are harnessed to dismantle the protein and starch in another substrate (traditionally soybeans), cleaving them into amino acids and simple sugars, respectively. Wild yeast, lactic acid bacteria and acetic acid bacteria also add to the fugue of flavours as the miso ages.



I think this quote answers your question.

Druce
1 year ago
After the comments in this thread, I would rethink the all insulating castable rocket stove if I was ever to make another. There would be two castings - the lower section from dense castable (reinforced with stainless steel needles) and the riser from insulating castable. Both would have wall thickness of about 25mm. I would try to incorporate Peter Berg's trip wire and back corner curve in the dense castable (how I wish I could go to a workshop run by Fox).The two castings could be held together by 25mm of insulating board on all surfaces. I would still use a steel frame to hold everything together and for mounting the oven.
2 years ago
Re Dense and Insulating Castable Refractory


These are supplied in bags but do not have Portland cement in the mix. Have a look at a Perth based supplier www.woodfiredpizzaoven.com.au/refractory-materials/refractory-cements/insulating-render

As mentioned, the insulating refractory is normally used as a backing layer. I think it would be quite durable in all parts of the rocket stove. The cost per bag is much the same for dense and insulating but the volume is about twice for insulating.


2 years ago
Here are some answers from a test firing yesterday.

I used a 5kg log split into kindling. The oven reached 250 C in 15 minutes and 300 C in 30 minutes from ignition. The maximum temperature was about 320 C (just off the scale in the cheap oven thermometer). There was no cooking involved. The temperature dropped by about 20 C when the door was opened in normal cooking mode. The temperature of 320 C was very stable for more than an hour when finally, the 5kg of log was just embers. The kindling was not very straight (knotty log) so I might have got a higher temperature with higher density packing in the fire zone but I think 350 C might be the maximum. I could also improve the transition out of the oven to the stack (two pieces of square down pipe) to get better draft which could increase the maximum temperature.

I purchased dense and insulating castable (Brisbane Australia). Yes I would cast the complete J stove in insulating castable to make it easier to move and to reduce cost. The temperature of the inner surface of the riser should be higher if there is less heat loss through the walls if they are insulated. Not that should have any great effect as you are looking for a chimney effect to achieve draft.

The oven I used is as Fox says - thin steel with insulation. I think there is a Japanese guy with information on the dome setup that Fox has suggested. From memory he used two stoves on either side. If you really wanted to get close to your objective I suggest you consider a larger stove (say 200 mm 8") or two stoves for more flexibility.
2 years ago