Joel Bercardin

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since Aug 15, 2014
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bike building chicken fungi gear homestead trees ungarbage wood heat woodworking
Living on land for decades. At times a carpenter, retail clerk, freelance writer & editor, business-association manager. I'm a local environmental activist.
Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Recent posts by Joel Bercardin

I’m making the gadget this guy explains in his video.  It’s a panel carrier or panel handle.  (I’ve taken a screen shot to show how it’s used.)  Useful if you need to carry plywood, oriented strand board, drywall… you know, “sheet stock”.  Do you use any of that for subflooring, shop floor, sheathing, bright-reflective interior walls, etc?

He's titled it a genius invention, but it's not really his original idea.  He simply shows a good way to make one.  Here’s his how-to video:  

As soon as I’ve got mine photographed, I’ll "edit" and add a pic of it here.
20 hours ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:The conversations I've noticed are among people with acreage, who are homesteading, ranching, farming.  They are the ones I see pushing Zone 5 away to some other place, not on their land. In many cases they are the ones most capable of rewilding many acres of land, but may have a philosophical issue with the concept.

Yes.  Well, that isn't so much the case in a lot of the intermountain region of BC. Coming right up to residents' fences, it's pretty wild in most of this region (valleys in the mountain chains to the west of the Rocky Mountains).  This is essentially a forested region.  To be sure, ecosystems have been impacted by mining, land clearing, and logging on some of the sloped land above the valley bottoms.  But a lot of the land that has been affordable in past decades — though, it's become more expensive — has been semi-wild, with countless mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, vascular plants, fungi.

This isn't flatland.  But I do know that many people in the more open farming and ranching regions of North America became wary of 'too much wild'.  Keeping crops & livestock from being reduced or killed by wild creatures was important for financial reasons, and before that for reasons of subsistence, so that has been a multi-generational attitude & tradition.  "Wolves kill sheep and calves"... "Mountain lions can kill your child".  That sort of thing.  My own grandparents looked at farming/ranching "good sense" that way.  Your observations, Tyler, of what is feasible with current understanding of wild nature and fresh attitudes would be interesting to hear.
20 hours ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:Another thread about wildness and permaculture:

Thanks Tyler.  I posted in that thread.
23 hours ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:I've noticed a little drift in permaculture zones, away from Mollison's original conception, a trend toward moving the zones of human influence outward until there is no zone in which human use is not the primary function, that is, turning Zone 5 into Zone 4, and thereby eliminating Zone 5.  

In the Designer's Manual, Mollison discusses the Zones in terms of information and ethics... ...

Mollison describes Zone 5 in this way:  "We characterise this zone as the natural, unmanaged environment used for occasional foraging, recreation, or just let be.  This is where we learn the rules that we try to apply elsewhere."

Here's my thought for why we're seeing both fewer Permie-book references to the Zone 5 concept and fewer conversations related to it:  In the last 15 or 20 years, a far higher proportion of people who have been attracted to Permaculture (or their notion of it) are living in suburban-lot situations.  A house and front & back yards.  I don't blame these people for trying to do something positive in the situation they're actually residing in, but suburbs are usually situations utterly removed from genuine wildness.  These people often feel fortunate if their neighbors or civic authorities aren't nagging & ridiculing them about how they're keeping their yard !

Both book authors and publishers like to sell books.  The light-green permie conceptions sell to a niche in the marketplace. The deep, dyed-in-the-wool Permie type person already has her/his living situation plus has her/his shelves of reference books.
23 hours ago

Ralph Kettell wrote:It is interesting that you mention snags in your post today as we just cut up two very long ones into logs for the base of the hugel bed we are building.  They will make nice water sponges with lots of bacteria and fungi living in them currently.

As for re-wilding we are still in a de-wilding phase.  We have way more wild than non-wild area.  However, one aspect of keeping it wild is that we feel like we moved into the woods which are replete with wild life.  The animals were here first and we do not feel like we have the right to Willy nilly displace them or kill them.  I have a love hate relationship with an adorable but very hungry ground hog.  As part of re-wilding I am going to plant a garden bed for him to eat and hopefully mostly keep him out of our beds.  Time will tell just how successful it will be.  Meanwhile we are building much better fences around the main gardens which is not precisely re-wilding.

Hey, I like your post, Ralph.  In my area the homesteads are home to (or at least visited by) ravens, eagles, osprey, hawks, owls, black bears, white-tail & mule deer, coyotes, mountain lions, raccoons, skunks, mice, rats, ducks, ferrel turkeys, wiid rabbits, frogs, garter snakes, and many others.  We have 8.5 acres, with about 4 acres fenced to keep out the bears, deer, mountain lions, and stray (neighbors’) dogs.  Lots of snags and mossy ground logs here and there on our land.

A lot of people want to feed themselves & family maximally from what they raise.  Coyotes regularly prey on chickens and pet cats, raccoons fight with cats and will ravenously eat your chickens & fruit & veggies.  A mountain lion will take your goat or dog.

So really, besides a thread on re-wilding (thank you to Daron) we probably need a thread about how you make the balance between the general wildlife (or ecology) of your homestead site and ‘keeping it working’ for the safety and nutrition of your household.
1 day ago

Nicole Alderman wrote:Our neighbors became too busy for their chickens, and so we adopted them and took their coop/run to our place. Of course, none of us had a truck. It was me, my husband, my teenager neighbor and her mom. We pushed the coop onto their trailer and tied it to our John Deer riding lawnmower with a chain. My husband drove and the three of us ladies pulled and pushed to keep the coop on the trailer and relatively balanced down about 1/2 a block of gravel road. We all wished we had a camera, because it was so redneck. But, we did it!

I like that story... sounds like a 'mini-workbee'!!  By the way, if anyone wants to post memories from a full-tilt workbee / barn-rasing / work party, here's aplce to do it:
2 days ago

Tj Jefferson wrote:Saws (any tool really) are two things, design and materials.

The third ingredient in good industrially made, commercially sold tools is quality control.  Companies that pride themselves on providing good tools do good quality control — which involves things like pretty frequent random inspection & testing of tools from a production run.
5 days ago
I own a Stihl “Farm Boss” that I’ve had now for over 15 years, and only had to replace chains and bars — plus a carburetor that I replaced with an aftermarket one.  It’s served me very well,  I’ve also got a Husqvarna cordless electric lightweight, modest-noise machine.

Especially since you're happy with your clone, I liked what you wrote about…

Devin Lavign wrote:So for a homesteader who might want to get a chance to use one of these saws, or have limited use for such a powerful saw but an immediate need, a cheap option that could get them a saw they might not be able to afford otherwise could be highly useful.

I'm in no position to pass judgment on the Holzfformas.  The risk involved in buying a cheaper knock-off for a reserve tool, or a little-used but helpful tool, is not so great as it would be for a tool you must rely on frequently.

I haven't tried one, and I don't know anybody personally who's bought one.  I thought I'd post more or less philosophically, for what it may be worth.  I was a member of another forum website concerned with shop tools for woodworking, mechanics, electrical etc a few years back.  Someone threw out the question of participants' opinions about American- or European-manufactured tools versus Chinese-made imports.  I mentioned that I've owned some Makita corded and cordless tools that I've really appreciated and respected, because that Japanese company does good quality control at their mainland-China factories.  I think internal design, materials, and quality control are the keys.

Frequently this is why warranties are usually (I won't say always, because I don't know that) better with name-brand, quality tools.  In my region, people compare their experiences with brands with each other.  Anybody who's owned a particular saw for four or five years of at least moderate use would have an opinion worth considering.
6 days ago
I'm across the country from you, can't join in, but I think you're idea is great.  I've participated in — and enjoyed — a whole lot of those.  Organized them too.

By the way, if you now have, or soon will have, stories about work-bees/work-parties, there's a thread to share these here:
1 week ago
My reply above was pretty much about the common run of things in winter here, besides what's directly involved in homestead chores and cash income.

Thought I'd mention something that popped up last week.  A woman friend of ours — lives on a few acres with vegetable garden & horses — happens to have a life passion for making fine pottery.  She had a website that she got tired of and took down.  She's working with a web designer to put up a new site and has all the photography & the graphic aspects worked out, and had drafted some text.  She asked me to help her with the that... feedback and line-editing.  So I put some time into that.  I didn't quote a price, thought I'd do it for free.  I know at some point she'll very probably offer us some free horse manure.

Community is a good thing, even when it's not super-close-knit intentional community.
2 weeks ago