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Daniel Ray

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since Feb 04, 2014
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food preservation forest garden hugelkultur
Victor, Montana; Zone 5b
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Recent posts by Daniel Ray

I wouldn't do grass as it will quickly invade areas you do not want it and steal the nutrient and water from other plants. Consider doing clover instead, it fixes nitrogen and can be cut and used like grass as a compost resource.
2 weeks ago
I wouldn't dig too deep as it is such a small build that a little heave won't damage it, just make some good drainage underneath. I would dig down about a foot, fill it about 2/3 of the way with gravel, tamp it flat, then use big stones or urbanite to lift it six inches or more off the ground, then level it as you suggested with cob.
3 weeks ago
So about three years ago I had a book circulate through my local library that was called "knitting with cat hair". I thought it was quite funny at the time, but this last year I collected the undercoat from my two alaskan malamutes and filled several large garbage bags. Their fur is clean, warm, and is much more like sheep wool than anything else. I'm not sure how to use it in any shape or form. Do I need to spin it? or can you just start felting? Anyone have experience with using pet hair for projects? I would like to make a hat similar to sunray kelley's as I aspire to look like him in thirty years.

3 weeks ago
"To the glorious Mr. Bezos, or whichever staff has opened this package.

I would like to first thank you for your dedication towards preserving the planet with the extraordinary amount of money you have dedicated and the gift for future generations.  Though my resources are much smaller than yours, I have dedicated my life's ambitions towards the same end by attempting to give an educational resource to all who are also concerned with the future of the planet. My intention is not a capitalistic one of gain, but rather to educate as many as possible and let them know the simple ways they can contribute to the health of our shared environment.

If you find the accompanying book to be worth sharing, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to make a much larger impact on the mindset of many who would find your recommendation worth investigating and would in turn read my book.

Thank you for your time and again for your generosity."

Obviously there would need to much more groveling than what is here.

1 month ago
Jeff Bezos
Amazon HQ
410 Terry Ave. N
Seattle WA 98109-5210

Worth a shot? After all he did just put 10 billion towards climate change research including activists. I think this book could fall in the category.
1 month ago
The library books donated across the state are circulating pretty well. A checkout is for 4 weeks at a time, your book has been checked out about 30 times since it was cataloged in October.

I can't give the thumbs up because I think even if a million people read your book, only about half of them would be concerned with the issues you are trying to tackle, 75% of those would be concerned but not willing to give up certain amenities, and 75% of the remaining would give it some serious thought for a few months before the distractions and concerns of modern day life take over and they just plain forget about the issues the planet is facing.

As for selling the million, I think the best way is to get it recognized by someone with a little more popularity than the meager Permies here, despite how enthusiastic we may be about your book. In short, you need a celebrity reader. For example, "Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia Owens was a very well received book in 2018, but when Reese Witherspoon chose it for her bookclub it sold over 4 million copies in 2019. Anyone know anyone famous?
1 month ago
Hi Simon, second story cob houses are possible for sure, but I wouldn't recommend it for a few reasons. The best way to build cob tall is by tapering and starting the wall very thick at the bottom. To get a true second story you would need to start at 2.5' thick towards the base and taper as you get up. The thicker the base the better in this kind of situation. You also want to make sure your walls have lots of curve to strengthen the walls integrity.

Why is it not a good idea? Nova Scotia is cold, and cob won't do you any good in that type of cold. My first cob house was build in Montana which probably has warmer temps on average than NS and the house was on the cooler side all year. Second, while building cob taller makes for cheaper buildings (roof and foundation costs) the labor involved in getting cob up 10+ feet in the air is a real struggle. If you can do straw bale, go this route or better yet, balecob. Check out my website in my signature to see a balecob house and see if you like it. This house performs much better in the cold, easier to build, and the costs were almost just as low as a normal cob house, but with probably an 1/8th the cob material.

1 month ago
Brody, I'm going to second Artie's advice and follow his three steps especially encouraging early retirement extreme. This is what I did in a similar boat to yours.

Before the wisdom of permaculture I  decided to drop 80K on 4 years of undergrad and and additional 2 years of grad school. Using the early retirement extreme strategy my wife and I are now free from debt and working hard to transition to full time permaculture.

I was the same age as you when I finished school and it only takes a few years of hard work and frugality to wipe those debts out. You can do it!

Start your fermenting business and see what you can make of it, but keep your day job till your free and you no longer need that income. As Artie said, reach the tipping point and be Gert--free from the need for so much income.

2 months ago
beautiful work! That is a wonderful looking project and quite the inspiration.

Earth pigments won't be quite as bright if you are using a local clay that has a darker color. Kaolin is pretty bone white and so the pigments tend to be warmer then using local clay that tends to make the color cooler. Do a few experiments and see what you come up with. You can do a 7.5% up to 15% pigment ratio and apply them directly to the bench you built. I usually reduce the ratios so that I have about 2-3 cups worth of pigment so I have a big test area. You won't need to bother with wheat paste in the sample as you will just cover them anyhow.
2 months ago
Look for natural pigments from pottery studios. They tend to have the most variety and the best prices, online purchasing tends to be expensive. As Gerry said, cement pigments can work as well. My finish clay plaster is a simple recipe I got from the talented Sigi Koko and I have used it as the finish for my entire house.

4 qts water
7.5 qts white kaolin clay
16 qts masonry sand sifted
1/2 cup pigment
1 qt wheat paste

makes about 5 gallons

You will notice this has no fiber in it. It is a finish plaster and needs to go on thin. Make sure whatever pigment you use stays under 15% of the binder (clay), or it will dust. I try to aim for 10% normally. The above recipe has 12.5% pigment to binder ratio.

More photos! Looks beautiful.
2 months ago