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Paul Fookes

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since Jun 27, 2015
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monies cat chicken food preservation cooking bee building solar rocket stoves homestead
My wife Fran, and I live in a compressed earth brick house that is completely off the utilities except for NBN wireless internet. We have had solar power since 1986 and a backup wind turbine. In 2020 we upgraded our system to 2 dual axis trackers with 4 Kw power output. As far as possible we try to grow as much as we can and live with a low to neutral carbon foot print. We are in the process of putting in a geo-heat exchange system for cooling our home in summer. My next project is to refurbish the hydrogen gas generator in our car or the out doors kitchen, honey room and larder - which ever I can organise time for.
Any one coming down under to NSW is most welcome. Send an email to hook up
Gulgong, NSW, Australia (Cold Zone 9B, Hot Zone 6) UTC +10
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Recent posts by Paul Fookes

Is there a set time in which the 3200 meals have to be prepared?
When we first got married, the house we bought had a small wisteria next door.  When we left 5 years later, it had demolished the fence, pulled the clothes line over and headed in to the neighbours on the opposite side.  The more we chopped it out and dug it up the more the tendrils shot up from the remaining root fragments.  To my understanding it is a plant for the not so soft hearted, needing regular maintenance and control to eliminate if from areas that you do not want it.  The roots will crack floors and take over the area surrounding.  

My advice would be that unless it is well away from your home and subterranean infrastructure, and  you have the time to manage it, think about something else.  Note that even in the edible sub-species, the seeds are toxic so they should not be eaten or allowed as pick for animals.

Thanks Susan for starting a great thread.👍✔
1 week ago
Learning is huge and having been back and reread the first post in February, there has been so much water under the bridge - received 5 BBs, elevated to the dizzying heights of pollinator and contributed heaps.  The big thing is how much more there is to learn.  The Ground Air heat Transfer system (GAHTS) is coming along swimmingly with some great advice.  Such things as when air cools it becomes more water dense and condensation will collect in the pipes and they may need to be sanitised to stop mould so it is not a health issue......  Lesson learned as a result of subscribing to I was once asked why I subscribed - My retort was why would you not subscribe.  A world community with a world of experiences and able to gain a world of experience simply by connecting and contributing.

Jenny Wright wrote:I got sick after eating zucchini from my garden this summer 3 different times and each time was progressively worse. The last time I felt like I was dying. Worse pain ever and I've given birth 5 times without pain medication. But no one else in my family got sick. I get itchy from touching raw curcubits and can't eat them raw at all without getting sick- squash, melon, cucumber, etc. But normally I'm fine if they are cooked or pickled. So I've been wondering if I had an allergic reaction or if it was a toxin in the zucchini and I just ate more than my family members. In any case I am so afraid to eat zucchini now. 😭

Just reading you history, it sounds like you have developed an allergic response to the curcubits. Itching (and probably the development of welts) is an inflammatory response. If it were the toxins, the result would have probably been the same each time.  when and if you need to handle them use kitchen gloves and wear a mask so you limit the risk of contact or inhalation.  Alternatively, they are off the family diet. It may be wise to discuss your reaction with your health service provider so you can have a management plan in place.
1 week ago
This forum has been an excellent and enlightening read.  I wonder if sometimes people are backed into a corner by the terminology that is being used and they actually see no way out.

I, for example will never use the word "equality" in a discussion because to me it has a divisive and discriminatory effect on society.  Some use the word  as in "positive discrimination" with regard to the feminist push for androgenic recognition.  It discounts friends who are transgender or who have non-binary DNA gender syndromes such as kleinfelders Syndrome.

I always and push to use "equity" which, to my mind, is what the real discussion should be premised on.  Equity is about respect, acknowledging that each person has a right to their opinion and to share it, but, I have the equitable right to say that is bullshit!  Likewise, I expect that when expressing my opinion some one might say bullshit!  Equality leads to quotas and I am not into quotas because I do not want someone chosen from a quota to design my car or the next fleet or aircraft.  I want the most competent person to to be the designer and to be the lead engineers.  In any quota system, those outside are disenfranchised.  In embracing equity, I am free to put the most competent team together irrespective of any personal attributes they have or any prejudices I may have  - overt or subconscious.  I had a female friend who after being promoted confided that she was unsure if she was promoted on merit or because she filled a number in a quota system.  Self doubt is a destroyer of confidence and can lead to self loathing and the need move into team destructive behaviours.

It has taken me a long while to understand that in an equitable society, I do not have to put up with that which is not equitable but by the same token, if I want to belong to a particular group, I need to follow the group rules.  The biggy is that the group rules only apply to that group and not to people outside it.  It is therefore unacceptable to do upskirting, be violent or abusive in general society because of normal social morés.  And these should be punished by society.  If they go unpunished, get the law changed so they are.  Likewise, if the current standards are illogical, not based on sound practice/ science or plain discriminatory, then dump the standard.

In society the biggest driver for most people is money not survival - But survival is a primitive drive so money is equated to survival.
With Permies, the drive is survival but the corollary is sustaining and improving so I can achieve most if Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  Whether self-actualisation needs to be obtained is a  discussion for the more academic folk.  But I do not need money to achieve it so I am a deviant in that I deviate from what the mainstream sees as normal - get up, go to work, make money, spend it,  go home  and repeat for 40 years. It is not hard to see why Premies and permaculture gets a bad wrap.  It destroys the tenet of corporate greed, creates self sufficiency, works as a collective for personal and environmental success all without 40 years of mainstream normal and often in harmony within the collective group (s)

Equality, trolling, rape, bullying and belittling are merely tools for advantage, individually or collectively.  A long while ago, I distilled in my mind that there are two ways to climb the ladder of success.  The first is to stab the person above you in the back and they fall off the ladder.  When you climb up to that position you have no way of knowing how to do the job because you do not have a mentor at that level so you ultimately fail and quit and this also fall off the ladder.  The second way is to mentor the person under you so they can do your job and when they are competent, you then have a choice, either progress to the next level and be mentored or step off the ladder to seek a new ladder to climb.

Being a contributor on Permies, I am part of  community and as such have a set of rules to follow.  I affectionately call them RAPs (Rules According to Paul).  And on the odd ocasion have been RAPed over the knuckles.  But you get that so lets move on.

The thing that strikes me as the greatest positives is that as a community member, I can be mentored and be a mentor.  I can ask questions and get answers or I can answer questions.  My opinions are respected by receiving thumbs up or receiving apples or if I screw up, get a thumbs down or get an apple core.  Or, and it has happened, have a post deleted.

Haters are probably just individuals who cannot contribute so need to try to pull it down so they can look like "big people"in the eyes of their peers.  But who would want to be in that peer group?

marcus thompson wrote:

Women lost their hair to bitter squash. Makes me wonder about growing squash.

Cucurbitacin is a very interesting chemical and is being studied for its pharmaco-therapeutic and chemotherapeutic properties.  The reason that people lose their hair with chemo is that the protein bonds are broken because the chemotherapy destroys rapidly dividing cells so hair is affected.  Yes it is toxic but it also occurs in many subgroups which are alcohol soluble.  Be aware that there are 19+ variants of the same toxin.  "Toxic Squash Syndrome" is well documented.  The research is focused on inflammatory disease as well as use for treating cancer due to its known cytotoxic (cell destroying) properties.  

As pointed out earlier, the bitterness that one finds tolerable or intolerable varies from person to person.  To some people, brussel sprouts and broccoli are quite bitter to the point of being acrid where as others find them sweet.  Children will find most foods in the cabbage family unpalatable because they have not developed the taste receptors to "like" them.  It is not that they don't want to eat them, they just do not like the taste.  It can be nauseating to them.

This topic is certainly very interesting and especially eye opening.  If in doubt as to whether something is edible, try a very small amount by chewing it up and spitting it out and then if there are no ill effects chew up a little bit and swallow it.  The first Frenchman to eat a snail must have very game indeed.  The rest is history as they say.

1 week ago
For this BB I used  a tractor with a front end loader (FEL) for 42 minutes to move dirt from a pile to an adjacent site.  To ensure that I can document my learning, a journal for each BB is created.  As my learning increases, it can be documented in the journal page  The following are the proof through pictures and the journal.
1 week ago
Here is my e scoop submission for consideration.  So I can document what I have learned during the preparation for submission I write a journal that I can add to as my knowledge and skills improve
2 weeks ago

Alex Moffitt wrote:Later I joined sustainability groups in churches and universities, and did volunteer work making charities more economically and environmentally sustainable.
Additionally I have been able to research and find ways that people can be more environmentally sustainable, by creating systems and methods that are indisputably better.

I work as a land surveyor, I have studied engineering, I also benefit from working as a land surveyor by being able to observe so much and be exposed to such a wide variety of people and environments.
My company also has ecologist and works setting out very large solar farms,
I currently have 15 journals filled with my designs, inventions, modifications, variations.
and I have come to accept that 1/5 of my designs will have been already made by someone who has spent 20 years plus working on them.
I also am not as good as everyone else is at structuring the sentences, body, conclusions, etc. So I understand that I need to improve in this area!

Like your style Alex.  First and foremost never ever compare yourself to anyone else!  The fact that you cannot structure a sentence so you say = so what?  Your post looks OK to me and I get the jist of what you are saying. And that is what counts.
Permies is not a site where English is a first language for a lot of people.  It is an international group of like minded people based on the Permies Ideal.

I am Paul, and am married to Fran, no kids.  We live just out of Gulgong NSW in a rural community.  In former lives, I was a registered nurse and in the Army for 43 years, retiring in 2020.  We have 10.8 Ha (25 Acres) and have never been on the grid.
Our house is compressed earth brick designed by Sun Earth.  I am installing a ground air heat transfer system (GAHTS). In terms of Permies, I joined in 2015 but did not actually get into it or fully understand what is going on mid 2019.  Since then, I have discovered that I have a number of great reference books written by leaders in permaculture.  These were purchased when I did not actually get it.  We are starting to build a hugel and get the gardens more productive.

To get more involved in Permies, I suggest that you look at completing your profile and getting your first scavenger hunt completed.  Along the way you might look at completing a couple of badge bits (BB).
2 weeks ago
Welcome Alex, to Permies down under.  Pleasure to have you on board for the journey
2 weeks ago