Mike Kenzie

pollinator
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since May 27, 2016
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forest garden fungi foraging bike homestead
Gardener, historian, farmer, mycologist.
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Recent posts by Mike Kenzie

Thanks Leaf. I just sent you a PM. :-)
2 months ago
My background: I've been successfully running used veggie oil in my vehicle since 2015. I have visited an intentional community powered by a combination of micro-wind + solar + micro-hydro + used veggie oil backup generators for electricity. Good news: it works.

Mike Haasl wrote:I recently found a free source of 30 gallons a week of used fryer oil.  Suddenly this becomes a possibility.  I'm going to seek out a few other sources as back-ups before I spend any money on this.


30 gallons of week of used fryer oil is a lot of oil. Be sure that you can commit to collecting, transporting, storing, filtering, de-watering that much oil first. This all takes a significant amount of time, energy, and effort. I would recommend starting with small quantities at first, hone your practices, then build up to that amount.

Mike Haasl wrote:Q#3: I could find a cheaper, good, old diesel generator and try to work with it...


I'd recommend a 1980's-1990's model diesel engine. Unless the engine is / injectors are designed and purpose-built to run veggie oil, 2000+ year models tend to have smaller injector ports that atomize the fuel into smaller particulate for a more complete burn. Many of these injector ports are designed for highly viscous diesel/biodiesel and are too small for used veggie oil.

Mike Haasl wrote:Q#2: I've seen that you can make "pseudo-biodiesel" by mixing WVO and diesel (50/50), WVO and gasoline (80/20), WVO and kerosene (70/30) or WVO and pure gum turpentine (80/20).  That seems a lot better than the official way of adding methanol and lye and getting a 10% waste product of glycerin.  Has anyone run one of those mixes in a generator for lengthy periods of time with (or without) success?


It's not recommended to run veggie oil on a cold start: as the engine is cranking over - but before it begins to fire combusting strokes - veggie oil can slip past the piston rings and gum-up the engine crankcase and other parts. Best to always start an engine on dinosaur diesel or biodiesel (B100 in the summertime - B20 in the cold months), let it warm up, then introduce properly filtered and de-watered veggie oil. I have personally never mixed WVO with anything. I've only ever mixed biodiesel and dinosaur-diesel.
One way to hasten the veggie oil warm-up time so that you can switch over to veggie oil quicker may be to have the veggie oil run through a veggie-modified solar hot water heater type system before it goes into the engine.

On filtering & de-watering: save yourself a lot of time, money-in-the-long-term and headaches by investing in a gravity-fed, bowl-style "waste vegetable oil centrifuge" from the beginning. (BTW, ignore the pressurized centrifuges that are not designed for veggie oil and are much more trouble than they are worth). This will clean the particulate down so small that you will hardly ever have to replace your fuel filters. And, more importantly, it is the only sure-fire way to get all of the water out of your oil. Water does end up in the used veggie oil from the food that was in the fryer, from the rain/snow when the veggie oil dumpster lid was left open, and from the mop water that "accidentally" got thrown in veggie oil dumpster. Do not let water get into your engine and blow up your expensive injector tips. Properly dry your oil with a centrifuge.
3 months ago

Flora Eerschay wrote:...But now seems like most friends with kids are using single use diapers, because washing cloth diapers is too much work.


My partner and I have been cloth diapering for over a year now and I will admit, it is a lot of work. We wash a diaper load about once every 4 days.

Flora Eerschay wrote:Some use biodegradable single use diapers, but they cost twice as much so most don't bother spending their monies on that.


Caution when reading the word "biodegradable" in diaper ads. There may be some greenwashing in some of that marketing, depending on the company and their practices of course. The sun and wind will "biodegrade" plastic... in about 400 years.
What I would like to try for my next child would be truly compostable diapers. So far, the only ones I've found have some parts that aren't compostable that have to be cut out with scissors before composting. Yeah... I'm not going to be cutting up a big poop-filled diaper to throw away the elastic; sorry. If anyone has links to 100% compostable diapers please share. Thanks.

Flora Eerschay wrote:Seems like really only a few people have a more "environmentally friendly" approach to that. What I hear more often is "with kids you'll create a lot of garbage, it's inevitable". What do you think?


Perhaps. As a pattern-literate permie, I tend to see garbage creation is a matter of individual and societal behavioral patterns. For example, there are people in my social circles who buy their babies those little single-use plastic squeeze tubes with "food" industry products in them. Lots of garbage created. Our family grows much of our own food and a lot of what our baby eats what comes out of our own garden and our farm. Our baby hardly eats anything that was ever wrapped in single-use plastic, hence less garbage. And I put that pattern down to years of re-adjusting and practicing new patterns of behavior at our homestead.

Flora Eerschay wrote:One example of newborn parents: they have some reusable diapers which they didn't start using, some biodegradable single use diapers and some cheap single use diapers which they use most often. Other friends used the cheap single use diapers only.


Yeah, I get it. Every person and every family is different. For example, I have had more than one single mom tell me that they would love to cloth diaper their child, they just do not have the time because they are a single mom. IMO, they should not be faulted for their decision to not cloth diaper. Every individual person and family unit has their own unique situation that may - or may not - easily accommodate what their own - or someone else's - opinion of a more environmentally-lived life is. It's up to each of us to do the best that we can when we can while recognizing that the current cultural mainstream is unfortunately not very permacultural and hence, not very accommodating for individuals, families, and communities to be more permacultural. Of course, we are all doing our best to change that: building a better world one backyard at a time, and adjusting one personal pattern of behavior at a time.

Flora Eerschay wrote:The permie friends mostly used reusable cloth diapers but also moved out of the city first.  Seems like the thing is extra hard to do for city people.


What makes it extra hard for city people?

As for water: yes, it takes a lot of water to wash diapers every 4 days. However, if my very primitive understanding of the global water cycle is correct, then the water used for the diapers does eventually go back into the global water cycle. I'm assuming this is true whether the diaper washer is using a gray water laundry-to-garden system or a conventional municipal treatment facility. Last I checked, there was no plastic diaper-to-landfill cycle. Just a whole bunch of ever-growing landfills.

On electricity: we have solar panels on our house so the electricity is from the sun. Hang drying works well for my climate, but when I bring them inside I do tend to run the diapers in the drier for a short "fluff" cycle so that they cloth is softer on the skin. If one is trying to do this and be "environmental" I highly recommend finding out what the source of one's electricity is, because cloth diapers do use a lot. If you're being supplied with dirty electricity, perhaps look into a bicycle-powered washing machine.

Despite all of the work, I'm still very glad we are cloth diapering and inspiring others that it is possible.

PS- With our next child we are looking into trying elimination communication (aka: infant potty training). Something else to consider if you're looking to be really environmental.
3 months ago
Thanks for this thread; I'm just now getting started building out my 12 volt DC micro-grid setup. As for your product question, I supported GoSun's latest crowdfunding campaign & got their 12 volt cigarette lighter plugin "Brew: Travel Coffee Maker" along with the rest of their "solar kitchen" setup which included a 12 volt DC refrigerator / freezer combo (the Chillest).

GoSun wrote:Stainless Steel Travel Mug, French Press & Heater All-In-One, makes tea or coffee anywhere in just 10 minutes.


I just got it in recently & I've used it already & it works well. In addition to being a 12volt DC device, what I like about it is that it's actually 3 widgets in 1: a kettle, a french press for coffee or tea, & a travel mug!
3 months ago
Thanks Nikki! I read the SoKindRegistry website and love their mission. I'll definitely give them a try next time. I also definitely want to read Hunter, Gather, Parent! It appears to have amazing reviews. Thanks again for the recommendations. I really appreciate them.
4 months ago
Thanks for the reply Paul. I don't mind buying pie to extend my signature character length to 1000 characters.

However, it appears that there might be a software bug either on the frontend reporting of what the signature character limit is (sans pie) or on the backend signature limit itself (sans pie):

My current signature is 448 characters. The attempt to change my signature to 473 characters is being blocked by a real backend (not displayed) limiter of 255 characters when the displayed frontend limiter says the limit is 766 characters.

Is my current signature length of 448 characters a result of being grandfathered back when I had earned pie?

What is the meaning of the displayed frontend 766 character limit and how does that relate to the actual backend 255 character limit?

I'm attaching screen shots.
Thanks again.
Hi permies software mods,
I'm trying to update my signature, but it's now limiting my character limit to 255 - even smaller than it currently is at 448. The forum software is telling me that the character limit for my signature is 766. I'm trying to update it for a signature of only 473 characters but it's not letting me past 255 characters. What am I doing wrong?

New signature that I'm trying to implement:
Worm Bin Design Plans | Permaculture Instruction | BackyardRegeneration.com |  Fungi | Composting | Consulting

Thanks in advance. :-)
Hello permies,

I am offering my services as a permaculture instructor.

After permaculture gardening, my greatest love in life is teaching permaculture. There is little more in life I wish to see than the permaculture paradigm spreading and helping more people and ecosystems out. Since this passionate spark in me lit, I have written and taught multiple permaculture classes which I am available to present via online video conference (eg. Zoom, Jitsi, etc.) or in-person.

Here is a selection of original slide show presentation classes that I am available to teach:

   • Introduction to Permaculture: Ethics, Definition, and History of Permaculture [1.5 hours long]

   • Principles of Permaculture [2 classes, 1.5 hours long each; 3 hours total]

   • Permaculture Domains [30 minutes long]

   • Permaculture Zones [1 hour long]

   • Permaculture Sector Energies, Aspect, Orientation, and Mapping [1.5 hours long]

   • Composting: the Permaculture Way [1.5 hours long]

   • Forests or Deserts: a Choice – on the Amazon rainforest as feral food forest [2.5 hours long]

   • Fungi: a Permaculture Perspective [2.5 hours long]

   • Wild Mushroom Identification How-To Class [2.5 hours long]

   • Mushroom Log Inoculation How-To Class [1.5 hours long]

   • Worm Farming (Vermiculture) How-To Class [1 hour long]

   • Social Permaculture [2 classes, 1.5 hours long each; 3 hours total]

   • Container Pot Gardening: the Permaculture Way [1.5 hours long]

   • Permaculture Models for Higher Education [30 minutes long]


Currently, I am creating more slide show presentations classes on other topics and I can also create original slide show presentation classes on additional permaculture topics of interest to you upon request. In addition to that, I am available to expand the class on any of the above listed topics to suit your time needs.

Contact me to teach as guest instructor in your Permaculture Design Course (PDC). Or perhaps hire me to teach a one-on-one class or a small group for a club or home school group that you want to introduce some of these ideas to. The class content is generally designed for high school education level and above.

I am also open to selling the permaculture classes listed above as a slide show presentation packet, where you would get the slide show presentation class - in Powerpoint format - as well as the class notes - in Word document format - on what to say for each slide to be used to teach your own class(es) or for self study.

Fitting within people’s budgets is important to me, so I offer pay-what-you-can-afford sliding scale pricing.

Here’s a little bit about my permaculture education and experience background. I have...

• ...completed a total of 5 Permaculture Design Courses.

• ...completed 4 mycology (mushrooms and other fungi) courses.

• ...completed a compost, compost tea, compost extract, life in the soil, soil microscopy course.

• ...been permaculture farming and gardening since 2012 in temperate, subtropical, and tropical climates. We currently grow over 50 meals per week at our homestead and I also currently work on a farm.

• ...been teaching permaculture classes since 2016.

• ...published original permaculture content in print, podcast, and video formats.


If you would like to see my full résumé as well as references, I can supply that upon request.

I look forward to talking to you more about my permaculture instruction services or slide show presentations packets.

Contact me for more information by sending me a Purple Mooseage (Personal Message) here on permies, then we can further arrange details via email, phone and/or video call.

Let’s get permaculture into more brains together! :-)
5 months ago
After doing several years of deep research on composting worms & then after several years of hands-on experimentation & lots of success, I have come to intimately understand what composting worms like to eat & what they do not like to eat. I created this one-page What To Feed Composting Worms (& what NOT to feed them) document so that my friends, family members, & worm composting clients can print it out & keep it next to their kitchen compost pail so they know what their composting worms will like to eat & what they will not.

The front page includes the "YES! Foods" while the back page includes the "NO! foods" so that the document can be printed out front-and-back on a single page. Some folks like to laminate the page so it lasts longer so that it may also be useful for future guests or new roommates.

Personally, I use two kitchen compost pails: one compost pail for the YES! foods kitchen scraps that go to feeding my worms & the other compost pail for NO! foods kitchen scraps that end up in my other compost systems: keyhole gardens, compost tumblers, bokashi, etc.


Thank you in advance for supporting this work of helping to get more folks composting in my community & around the globe. :-)

Low resolution sample; legible high-resolution download available upon purchase:




PS- This document can also be found in my How-to Build a Worm Bin Design Plans.
6 months ago
Awesome reply Heather! I love Formidable Vegetable Sound System! Yes, I will add music & music videos to the original post.
Those books look great too; I'll definitely check them out. Thanks. :-)
6 months ago