Phil Stevens

master pollinator
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since Aug 07, 2015
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duck trees chicken cooking wood heat woodworking homestead
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Recent posts by Phil Stevens

Have a look at bladder storage for your crawl space. Much easier to install than a tank. As long as they're protected from direct sunlight and prolonged freezing temps, they last a long time.
7 hours ago
Ivy is a massive problem here as well. We have neighbours who don't care for their section and it's strangling several of their big trees. What's worse is that it sets a huge crop of berries in the autumn and those get dispersed by birds...onto our land. We pull thousands of ivy seedlings every year. It's frustrating in the extreme.

My main method of getting rid of it is repeated hacking. Cut anything that's growing up a tree or fence and let it die, then pull it down in sections. I use a stout rake to get it out of the ground if there's nothing else around it that I care about, otherwise I yank it out by hand. I pile it up in sunny spots with decent air circulation and it usually dries out without taking root again.

Once it's dry it goes into the kontiki whenever I do a batch of biochar. You really don't want to burn the stuff when it's green, because it makes toxic smoke. But a flame cap mitigates this really well.
7 hours ago
You've hit on something that does a pretty good job of describing my culinary journey. I think of it as a vernacular method and it has holistic elements to it, like getting to know cultural traditions and foodways that have grown up with particular families of ingredients. There's typically a foundation that underpins a range of dishes, and then you apply the tweaks and mods as you get better at the basic build.
3 days ago
As you come up with a concept, it always pays to refer to basic principles of engineering and physics. For example, when fluids are involved, there will be losses from friction and turbulence. Every conversion of energy from one form to another comes at a price (that's physics). The art is designing a system that is as efficient as possible and can be built from materials at hand with tools you have at a cost you can manage (that's engineering).
4 days ago
Nice solution for gathering temp data!

This thread is timely - my main work task for today (aside from reinforcing fences against some errant lambs) is refactoring a bit of code to detect DS18B20 digital temperature probes on an ESP32-based board. I really like these sensors, as they can be ordered in a waterproof form factor and you can put as many of them onto a daisy-chain line as you want thanks to the UID that's encoded in each one:

DS18B20 at Adafruit

You can get them cheaper in bulk via Digikey, Mouser, or many vendors at Alibaba.

5 days ago
Welcome, Diane. Excess lime in the water just settles out and stays on the bottom. No harm done. I always go for more than I need in the mix just to be on the safe side.
6 days ago
Technically, if you release a live mouse in the chicken coop, you're not killing it....
1 week ago
note to the squeamish: you might want to skip this post

How big are your chickens? Larger breeds can swallow a mouse, so releasing the trapped ones in the coop is one option (they might get away, though).

To humanely kill a trapped mouse, you will need to devise a way to hold it so that you can dispatch it instantly with a blunt object. I personally don't think drowning is humane, but it's simple. There's also carbon dioxide, which makes them lose consciousness and then asphyxiate. I once used the gas produced by a batch of homebrewed beer to euthanise a pet rat (that was hard but I am glad I did it that way). Then there's freezing. Some people say freezing is painless...I'm not sure about that.

After you've done the deed, quartering the mice will make them easier for the chickens to consume.
1 week ago