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Corey Schmidt

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since Jun 29, 2015
Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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Recent posts by Corey Schmidt

We have a wall of south facing windows and interior insulated curtains.  They don't seal perfectly against the windows but make a very noticeable difference in heat loss.  They make the windows even colder, though, and thus we get more condensation when the curtains are drawn.  For that reason I am planning some kind of exterior insulation, plus 3 rather than 2 layers of glazing, for when we move to our new house I'm currently building. There is a logging concept called 'parbuckle', , which is also used in window blinds. It allows you to roll up a curtain (or a log up a hill) by simply pulling 2 ropes.  The ropes are fixed at top and go down to the bottom of the curtain, which is fitted to a heavy dowel, and back up, often to a pulley to redirect for convenient pulling. When you pull the ropes (which can be combined into 1, the curtain rolls itself up, and when you release it rolls back down.  
 Any kind of opaque window covering will make a big difference similar to the lo emissivity window coatings, which do nothing to stop convective heat loss but reduce a lot of the radiation going out (and also in, which limits the effectiveness of lo e windows in passive solar designs, in my opinion).
1 month ago

Dale Hodgins wrote:It cost 30,000 philippine pesosâ˜ș , which is about $580 US. I will make a thread in frugality, on how to get married in style for less than a thousand dollars.

Did I fool anybody? Did anybody really think that I spent 30 thousand dollars on a one day event ?

We had everything you need for a wedding and nothing that we didn't need .

Congratulatiions! Awesome joke and awesome frugality lesson! I was briefly fooled by this.   Very best wishes for a happy life!
5 months ago
This is my indoor wicking bed planter box.

Its too cool here in the summer to reliably grow tomatoes outdoors, so we grow them in the cabin.  The resulting wall of green also keeps the  cabin a bit cooler and shadier in the summer, when the passive solar design can make it necessary to open all the windows to stay comfortable.  It also allows us to have green growing plants to enjoy in early spring and into the winter.  Its made of  a piece of 3/4" plywood that washed up on the beach.  It is 1' x 4' x 18" deep.   Its planted with tomato seeds that my wife's mother sent us from Russia  (Agata, Moskovskiy Delikatyes, Imperia), a watermelon (Blacktail Mountain), and a hardy yam that's at least 2 years old.  I lined the plywood with a sheet of plastic to create a water reservoir and put a hole in it about 2 inches up from the bottom.  I put some rocks in the bottom and an old cotton sheet on top of the rocks, then filled with storebought organic potting soil.  Any extra water overflows into a tin can.  This design saves water and keeps the house clean. I leave it outside for a couple of months in the middle of winter to freeze any bugs.  The hardy yam tuber survives the freeze and grows back (so far). This spring I put about a half gallon of urine mixed with wood ash and rock phosphate into it and topped it up with store bought organic potting mix. I add urine every 2 weeks or so, but there is no smell.  I water it with rainwater collected from the roof and also with water from the dehumidifier.  We keep track of our tomato harvest on note cards.  So far we have harvested over 5 kilos this summer!  My 4 year old eats most of them as they become ripe : )   The hardy yam is making lots of little air potatos.  And here is a porcupine in the woodshed, just for fun.
6 months ago
This is truly a work of art and an inspiration! I don't think you need it but I have seen a blog about the miraculous pond sealing effects of clumping kitty litter.
6 months ago
This thread is awesome.  Could you share what state or province you are in, Dan Allen?  I'm wondering if its worth it for me to try peaches here in Zone 6 AK.  We have mild winters for the latitude and maybe 4-5 months frost free, but a very cool growing season. Seedling sweet cherries are pretty vigorous here, as are nanking cherries.
7 months ago
Congratulations on your land acquisition.  I remember reading about 'microcatchments', which are probably in Lancaster's book too.  I think you could do one or more in a weekend.  Here is a pdf flyer about them:
7 months ago
What a great project!  I love the photos!  Are you planting any trees for human food as well?  1.7 hectares would allow for a mix of many high quality human food producing plants along with the natives, though I'm sure in your location that are many natives that are excellent food sources as well.  Incorporating some exotic sources of human food will only enrich the situation for the wildlife you are inviting in.  Growing your own in harmony with wildlife means it doesn't have to be grown in a less harmonious way elsewhere.   You say you are new to permaculture-  here is in my opinion a great resource- a design course taught by the founder of the movement, Bill Mollison, for free on youtube
9 months ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:

Corey Schmidt wrote: The animals in the forest and waters don't have the benefit of compound interest (ok maybe you can count soil building as a kind of compounding!) and are forced by the necessities of survival to work like hell every day of their lives.  I watch the squirrels around me and they inspire me because no matter how bad it gets for them, they just keep working like hell.

I'm inspired by the vultures who just cruise around for hours without using any effort until they find a nice roadkill.  Long period of relaxed observation followed by decisive action.

Good point.   lots of animals seem to live like this and its a great lesson for me about how to act... sometimes we actually get more done by doing less....  I'm not aware of any other species that 'retire', however.
11 months ago
I'm loving this thread.  One of the most financially inspiring things for me has been playing with a compound interest calculator, such as

I think most people could somehow come up with at least $100/ month to save.   I won't touch the topic of who can or cannot do this! The trick is to start young!  One popular financial guru repeats over and over that $100 per month invested in a 'good growth stock mutual fund growing at 12% /year' will add up to $1 million over 40 years.  If you make it only 10% growth rate,which is a fair enough number for an S&P 500 index fund, that comes out to $584,000.  If you only do that for 30 years, you still end up with $217,000, which could provide a sustainable and ever growing income of around $8k/year.  Try out all kinds of different scenarios with the compound interest calculator, and it's guaranteed to educate and inspire you! Its extremely simple for anyone with internet access and a bank account to take advantage of the power of compound interest.

In one sense, life on planet Earth is about survival on planet Earth.  The animals in the forest and waters don't have the benefit of compound interest (ok maybe you can count soil building as a kind of compounding!) and are forced by the necessities of survival to work like hell every day of their lives.  I watch the squirrels around me and they inspire me because no matter how bad it gets for them, they just keep working like hell.  If you remove their nest from your workshop, 5 minutes later they are chewing up fiberglass insulation and dragging it back to where their nest should be, then heroically lopping spruce cones from the treetops...  By comparison, most humans have it pretty good, even if we do have to 'work until we die.'
11 months ago

Jason Learned wrote:There are some really fast growing Asinima Triloba (paw paw trees) and they generally wait to sprout until way later than most trees. My trees don't start to leaf and flower out until May. And some of these are bred to produce early. Maybe you could get a small orchard of paw paws to grow out there. Would be great to see.

Maybe one of these will work for you?

And you might be able to grow butter nut, black walnut and some types of hickory nut and maybe American chestnut if you source from Canada, probably from New Brunswick or the islands that will have a similar maritime climate as you.

I have some butternut trees going through their second winter here.  They all survived one winter and grew a second summer but not very fast yet, max about 8-10" new stem growth in a year, and as little as 3-5".  I've been considering pawpaws for a while and wondering if i should try them outdoors or wait til i get my greenhouse built.  My main concern is lack of growing degree days.  We have July daily mean temperature of about 55 f (12.6C)  and only 3 months total with daily mean temp over 50 f (10C). I'm sure with our Dfc climate our summers are warmer than the ET climate in inland Iceland, but not by a whole lot.
11 months ago