Stefan Kirk

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since Jan 28, 2015
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Recent posts by Stefan Kirk

Okay I saw this and it resparked my imagination (I have been trying to conceptualize a passive freezer for some time) and I think I came up with what is my best idea yet as far as this kind of project goes.
So you want your wofati close to home and not limited by access to water, as well as not needing a ton of maintenance.

So how about a well buried/insulated wofati near your home that is close to an outdoor cobb oven, but not just any cobb oven. You would build it rocket stove style designed to use all the excess heat into thermal mass, this heat in the thermal mass would be used to run a small simple steam engine (think metal can that you can fill with water that gets hot and vents steam through some duct of sorts) that would power your air compressor for freezing purposes.

Now here are some added advantages:
A) it cools while it cooks, since you will likely be accessing this freezer around when you are cooking it would be a good idea to have it cooled off around then to compensate for heating to due access.
B) since you are using what would have been wasted energy it is still essentially free
C) high laziness tolerance, because you will eat eventually no matter how lazy you are and thusly also cool your freezer down!
5 years ago
I wouldnt blame almonds outiright and its definitely not Northern California almond growers that are consuming a majority of the water. Another problem is just trying to raise trees in the desert without establishing ground cover or anything else to help support them is going to be a water thirsty practice anyways regardless of tree species. In fact Im well aware that meats are technically the worst water consumers because their food is raised and processed which takes water, then they are raised on that food and more water. only to be processed thereby consuming even more water. All in all it seems clear to me that the only real sustainable solution is to de industrialize the food industry. because hell I want almonds but i bet 2 trees in my backyard would supply all the almonds I could ever eat. And as far as meat goes you can have multifunctional animals such as ground birds or rabbits to weed eat and fertilize your garden.

What im trying to say is that there is no one solution to sustainability, it requires a new way of thinking about everything essentially since much of the first world is completely based on consumption. If we can shift our mentality to focus on production and sustainability then no matter what path we we take it will work itself out.
5 years ago
Leila, I also was confused when i heard that almonds were the culprits. And im almost positive its not the plants fault, more likely it is due to the fact that the soils where these almonds are being grown are so depleted that the water is a mechanism for fertilization as well as max yield. I am not an almond farmer not have i ever grown almonds, but i could easily see how more water would lead to more nuts and drought conditions would stress it reducing its productivity although it could still survive. The farmers dont get paid to grow pretty trees in an orchard they are after the nuts so they will do whatever they think (I have read many articles on misinformed farmed practices based on tradition) is necessary to increase their yield.
5 years ago
Sheri I can provide some information on CA fracking, as i recently attended a lengthy seminar (powerpoint he had was 1300 slides O.o) given the head of the geology department at Chico state who is very involved in the national fracking scene. Im sure you will be as surprised as I was to find out that fracking in CA actually isnt a big problem relative to the other pressing water issues. The techniques used are different than the long horizontal pipe fracking used throughout most fracking sites. In California fracking is actually much more sparse than you would think due to regulations and the fact that it isnt nearly as profitable here and the geology doesnt support the same widely harmful fracking practices used elsewhere. in calfornia the water used is often recycled from previous fracking projects and treated with certain compounds to make it more Jello like, which makes it less likely to contaminate an burst well casings. On top of the practices used the frequency of California fracking is much lower than other states (http://maps.fractracker.org/latest/?appid=ad67d1d697104a4bbc1c238319f03eeb) spend some time browsing this website for fracking information.

I really believe that fracking in CA is sort of a wild goose chase and that there are much bigger fish to fry in terms of saving our water.

For instance this may sound really counter intuitive but restoring fire regimes to the Sierra Nevada mountain range is something I have come to understand would restore tons of water to the water cycle. Think natives burning large areas to increase productivity as well as maintaining perennial streams.
5 years ago
Hi everyone my name is Stefan and I am currently a graduating senior in my Hydrology program. Over the last few years i have been putting in tons of personal research into Low Input High Diversity growing techniques (I even did my senior project on this with great results), this information lead me to find permaculture which is where I have spent most of my recent research efforts. I have been eavesdropping on this forum for quite a while now and am finally getting around to writing my first post (WOOT).

So thats a little of my background, now as far as CA water problems go I love that everyone wants to get involved and do their part. But from what I've learned and seminars Ive gone to I really feel this is putting our energy into the wrong spot, this is because of the nature of agricultural water use. In a time of drought if residents are able to conserve water, agriculture will come and sweep up that extra as they are scrambling and clawing to get every last drop they can. Does this mean that conserving water is wrong? NO, but it does mean that conserving water alone will not solve our problems because it will be undermined by agriculture. Lets look at almonds as an example, we all know they use excessive amounts of water and dont produce crops for the first few years. The water used to sustain these trees alone would account for 75% of residential water use in the ENTIRE state, so lets say you want to conserve water rather than using less water its about eating less water hungry crops.

Yes this could be a drastic change to some as many of our favorite foods require high amounts of water, but it is really the only way to show big agriculture we are serious about our environment and our health. We can vote, conserve, and rally to achieve the intended results but by the time we get anything done through this route it could easily be too late (Subduction, essentially the ground collapsing because too much water is removed, has been occurring in Northern CA now at a rate of almost 2 feet per year since 2011 and SoCal is far past that in terms of subduction; anyone ever hear of the Tulare lake? well its completely gone now). We need to vote with our dollars since that is all that matters now to many Americans, that means disciplined choice of food purchasing as far as where it comes from and what its requirements are. I have seen the Organic food movement take off here in Northern California to the point where organics are now the same price if not cheaper than non organic, this makes me confident that we can also do this with water wise food!

The best part is that many of these foods that you may want to give up/decrease intake can be grown in your own water wise permaculture system so you dont have to completely forgo them!

Im sorry I am currently on my laptop and the links to my sources are on my desktop at home (Will try to remember to update when I get home)
5 years ago
Hello my name is Stefan and I am currently in the planning and early establishing phases of getting a permaculture going in Marysville CA. It is in zone 9b, currently I am working on figuring out what shrubs I am going to plant with my priority being low maintenance productve plants. Can anyone please make some suggestions as to what species of shrubs they have had success with.

Some of the species I am currently considering are:
Currants
Blueberries
Blackberries
Blue elderberries

Any suggestions are appreciated!
5 years ago