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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

What I was noticing 20 years ago when Permaculture became popular was people utilizing planting & cultivation techniques they’d read about in PC books — and maybe throwing in a chicken tractor, etc on the livestock side.  That’s more of a ‘procedure hodgepodge’ than a design.

There’s a wide, wide range of appropriateness (in both design & procedure) and Bryant’s observations point out some of the key considerations…

Bryant RedHawk wrote:Location is probably the most critical factor when it comes to designing, then it would be what do you want in the order of food plants, then it becomes a matter of adjusting to 1. the location, 2. the environment being dealt with, 3. soil conditions.
So if you want to be "food Independent" you will need to be able to grow a very wide variety of plants, animals, trees, etc. There are not many locations that this can be done without some manipulations.

I’ve met quite a wide range of homesteaders, too… a real spectrum of physical, demographic & personality types.  One thing you get from people, say, 50-years-old and older, is that besides the factors that Bryant mentions, there’s also age.  Because older people trying to do the PC route will tend to choose strategies that also realistically suit their physical-energy level. So age actually is another factor in developing design.

One thing a man of about 70 told me was that he felt people in their 20s or early 30s might renounce machinery, which will affect at least some details in design decisions. But an older person is usually grateful that assisting & enhancing machines exist. He said that he would welcome the day when more of the needed machinery is electric, and when it’s easier and cheaper to have the electric-energy source as part of the home situation… very-high efficiency being one of the ingredients of that.
50 seconds ago
This morning I was called upon by someone I know to look at their scythe and see why it was hard for the guy to use. I watched him hold the scythe and use it a little. He's tallish and his scythe wouldn't mount well in his snath in any provided adjustment to be fixed at a proper angle.

You need the blade to move (in it's arc) fairly perpendicular to the grass or other plants you need to cut.  The tang of the blade was clearly fashioned either for a shorter person, or for a different snath.  So I removed the blade, clamped it into a bench vise, heated the proper portion of the tang, and twisted the angle of the blade somewhere in the range of 20 degrees.  That worked out great & the guy was pleased.

I'm posting a link to a page about doing this sort of thing.  The demo shows an electrical-induction method being used for heating the steel of the tang to the required heat range for twisting, but I used oxy-acetylene — simply what I had in my shop equipment.  I hope this may be helpful to some of you who are finding your scythe uncomfortable and inefficient.

Adjust Scythe Tang
4 days ago
I agree with most of what Chris has said above.  I'm glad the company exists.  Since the OP seems to suggest a desire for feedback, I want to offer one comment.

Chris Kott wrote:In addition to carrying most of the best lines of hand tools available for all-around use, they carry many solid types of gardening tool usually not found anywhere but online. In addition, they also carry woodshop and woodworking tools.

Their pricing is middle-of-the-road to pricey, but I have never found them to sell anything sub-standard. It's like a high-end Princess Auto. Also, their quarterly catalogues are useful, though I think I will investigate their online options and perhaps do away with the needless paper expense.

I went in to the Vancouver store with my wife one time to get a couple things we knew we needed, and then to have a look around and see what else they had that might be useful.  We were in the city for a few days at that point, and we were homesteaders who were cleaned-up, well-showered, and wearing nice clothes. I saw a dado set for a tablesaw that looked like a very good tool (it was in a display case and had a stock number which I wrote down, but no price shown).  I went up to the customer desk and inquired about it, asking one of the clerks what the price was.  He just looked at me and replied "More than you'd want to afford"...  not even a laugh or an explanation.  He might have been right, since (as Chris said, above) a good share of their tools are pricey.  But he didn't offer advice about where to shop for a more cost-effective option for that item.

Maybe they fired that clerk, who knows?  His style was terse, and probably not the best PR for Lee Valley. I've got to say I felt weird enough that I remember the experience.
5 days ago

Wj Carroll wrote:Eastern coyotes are very aggressive and smart.

This is interesting to me. I'm not a field biologist, but I've lived amongst wildlife for most of my life (deer, bears, raccoons, packrats, coyotes, and so on).

Our coyotes here are not so big, and their packs are usually not large, and they're shy coyotes.  Oh, definitely, they're a hazard if you're keeping chickens, ducks, or rabbits... or a family cat. But that's about it.

Here's my personal mystery:  We also have cougars here on the British Columbia mainland, and I've seen four without ever going looking for one.  Although the human population of the mainland is probably about 40 times as many people (of all ages & sizes) as on Vancouver Island (off the mainland coast), the statistics for cougar attacks on humans are w a y  disproportionate — whenever the news media carried a story, it was virtually always an inciident that had occurred on Vancouver Island. The human population on Vancouver Island is not generally very dense. So I've wondered if the genetics of the Vancouver Island mountain-lion population is generally different (more aggressive & fearless toward humans) than that of the population here on the Mainland.

Point being that while generalities about a specific species can be interesting, I tend to think there really are no grounds for believing all local populations (say, of coyotes) will behave in terms of the general pattern.
1 week ago
How are things working out with your 13-year-old, Tamara?
1 week ago
Caleb, i was just thinking how much I enjoyed that you posted the OP for this thread. You seem like a genuine DIY-guy.  Keep posting about what you do along that line, okay?  Cheers.
2 weeks ago

Jay Angler wrote:On creative days, I often look at the kitsch stuff and wonder how it can actually be re-designed or done that would actually be useful.

Yeah, that's the spirit!
2 weeks ago
Obtaining & physically extricating a fresnel lens from a defunct projection TV:  
2 weeks ago

Nick Kitchener wrote:I was a professional electronic repair tech back in the early to mid 1990's and saw the writing on the wall back then. I ended up getting out and retraining in a new career. The component densities and complexity is so hoigh in a lot of devices, you need specialized equipment and training to fault find and repair them.

Point well taken.  But I still resonate personally with what Chris wrote, above.

I use Apple products, but it’s not like they never break down or develop issues.  I separate my feeling about what I've experienced as the good qualities of Apple products — like ease of use, and general dependability — from my feelings about their planned obsolescence… and about the smug nature of the big monolithic company Apple became.

I’m a DIY’er at heart.

I liked what I learned about Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak’s early idealism.  But it’s well known that Jobs gradually became authoritarian and ultra-competitive.  It seems like he found no way to resist the pervasive business-world patterns.  They transformed him and the company he’d started.  Just one example.
2 weeks ago
Yours is a very moving, inspiring story, Laverne.  More power to you!

Glad you found
2 weeks ago