Eliot Mason

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since Nov 17, 2016
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dog bike woodworking
Beavercreek, OR
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Recent posts by Eliot Mason

Good idea ... or at least one that I have and haven't fulfilled!

I haven't gotten as far as thinking about BTUs and temperatures and such.  But a few thoughts ...

1 - Bell temperatures can approach 1000F.  I think throttling the burn down to reduce those temperatures is anti-rockety because it prevents all the products from being burned.
2 - How are you going to force the flow around the retort container?  I was thinking of just placing the riser tube into the middle if the barrel, just under the retort container (might need a diffuser plate there).  Uncertain how to channel the hot exhaust myself, or if its even necessary (would the steel walls of the retort diffuse the heat well enough?)
3 - How will you handle the pyrolysis gases?  My plan has been to pipe those gases into the rocket and burn them, setting up a beneficial cycle.  
4 - BB or J-Tube ... I was going to go j-tube just because it is significantly easier to do initially, and with the injected gases its easier to maintain some wood as a pilot light during the pyrolysis stage (or, so I imagine).
5 - I was considering welding 2 or more barrels together to create a longer bell that could surround a longer retort chamber (most of my feed stock will be longer branches...so a 6' or 8' retort would minimize the amount of cutting to fit).  I thought I might need to add additional rockets to bring such a mass to temperature, and then use just one to maintain and burn the pyrolytics

This is all theoretical of course.
2 hours ago
Andrea - I had to dig around and figure out which breed of pig... and bonus!  KuneKune!

My dairy maid friend wrote :
"The other key element to my herd's intestinal fortitude is our Kune Kune pigs that live full time with our dairy herd.  They sustain themselves on grass, we don't grain them unless they are pregnant or lactating.  In the barnyard, our Kunes eat the hay/alfalfa that falls out of the feeders onto the ground.  They don't share the same worms as sheep and goats!, so they get full bellies out of the deal, and it keeps the non-discriminating sheep and goats from eating that food near their poop.  The Kunes run out to pasture with the herd each day, and munch on the grass out there.  They're also insanely adorable and Pippy comes when you whistle."

So ... 10 pts to KuneKune House!
13 hours ago
Andrea - local is a great idea and the best testament for climate suitability!

Since you mention goats ... a sheep dairy used a particular breed of small pig with the sheep in a brilliant manner ... the pigs ate all the dropped hay in the barn.  This kept the sheep from eating on the ground and prevented parasite transmission!  Super Permaculture!  I'd have to dig around to find the breed type, but its another potential benefit of barn poly culture to consider!

14 hours ago
Thanks for the update!  Keep us posted on how this goes.
16 hours ago
Andrea - good questions!  I can't answer some of your specific questions but I'll toss out something that might feel like knowledge.

First, go small.  As the aforementioned KuneKune, or an AGH variety.   Small is nice because they are easier/less scary to manage, require less demanding enclosures, and they won't tear up fields as much.  Second, get a pig with a short snout as a long snout is associated with rooting and you don't want them digging giant wallows that you have to move fencing and structures around.

Breeding ... I've considered this but so far have declined and intend to stick with seasonal weaners.  My opinion is that breeding hogs is a lot more like zoo-keeping than farming. Even AGH boars get big, other varieties get huge.  The Berkshire boar at one of my providers rips 2x6 boards off the enclosure just to have something interesting to do and has to stay in an enclosure b/c they do to much damage to their pasture otherwise (this is one farmer's experience anyway - others may do better).  So there is a lot of pen cleaning, carrying food, etc.  In comparison my cows and bull are super simple.

Feed & Grazing - Breed is going to be really important here.  The other thing is your expectation - standard meat breeds, even heritage ones, grow big fast, reaching a 250lb(ish) slaughter weight in ~6 months.  They consume a tremendous amount to achieve that growth, far more than most pastures can provide without substantial additional feed.  Smaller breeds put on weight more slowly, have lower caloric requirements and generally aren't economical for selling meat from (there are exceptions ... these are generalities here).  So if you're ok with grabbing a six month old pig at 30-40 lbs and just popping it in the oven as a roast pig, you're fine.  If you're expecting to sell some fancy chestnut fed pork, you might be disappointed.  So if you're doing this for your own table, I think grazing is more viable.

Also, there's probably not much for forage in the winter and I'd expect to feed them.

As for wintering ... check out Walter Jeffries and Sugar Mountain Farm (https://sugarmtnfarm.com).  His pigs over winter in open pastures - in Vermont!

I'll hope others have actual knowledge and experience on your questions of hoof health.
16 hours ago
I have a strong bias towards Miele.  Over the years and properties we've had Miele dishwashers and clothes washers (and Asko and Bosch washers too).  The Miele dishwasher was/is so awesome I wanted to stand on the roof and shout "My dishwasher is better than yours!".

I find the European appliances are designed for a very critical European audience, while the Asian produced pieces sold in the USA are cosmetically interesting and engineering poor.  Yes, the Miele can be expensive to repair but parts are available.  Refrigerators in particular seem disposable now.  Ovens are simpler and they should hold up better than a refrigerator.

An essential question is the warranty.  In the USA warranties are almost non-existent now.  In Japan?  IKEA (including in Japan) offers a standard 5 year warranty so you might consider their offerings (https://www.ikea.com/jp/en/cat/appliances-ka002/)
1 day ago
I think the saltiness is probably a function of ocean proximity - and is really not a problem.   I'd suggest that the salinity won't be a problem for fixtures, pipes, etc but you might want to have an RO system at the sink for drinking water and some kitchen functions (ice, canning, kombucha).  That's a decision to make down the road.

I'd agree with Brian & Kyle on the bleach ... bleach might be nasty but balanced against the $ and  carbon footprint of digging a new or deeper well, it fares very well.  But it seems like some determination on the source is important to make sure the bleach goes in the right place and sufficient volume.
1 day ago

I've never dealt with kraft paper ... so I'll offer nothing on that point.

As for the floor... I've been wondering if you need to line the floor bays.  It would depend on the permeability of the floor - which is a function of the materials and construction method.  If its a sheet good (vinyl/marmoleum) I think its watertight. Even a wood floor often has a barrier in it to prevent moisture coming from below and warping the floor - and that should stop moisture from getting out.
1 day ago
You piqued my curiosity so I went looking ... my sources are scattered all over the world.  I bet some state or county level gov unit in WA has some other numbers...

Basically, any amount of coliform renders the water undrinkable.  Iron seems to be well above the EPA suggested "cosmetic" limit of .3 mg/l but well below one state's medical limit of 2.5 mg/l (North Carolina). Conductivity - a measure of salts for those at home - is into the second category level (.  https://mrccc.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Water-Quality-Salinity-Standards.pdf  says that water " Can be consumed by humans, although most would prefer water in the lower half of this range (800-2500) if available"

So the issue is coliform .... https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/h-s/pdf/en/HealthyEnvironments/water/Coliforme.pdf suggests the next step is to identify the source.  You may be able to clean the source out, dig a deeper well, or filter.

1 day ago
Mike - I was reflecting on Letellier's response and it occurred to me that we are probably missing a detail.  It seems probable to me that the cabin has a layer of tar paper on the outside already.  It has been common practice to do that.  If that's there then the extensive interior work that Letellier suggests may be moot.

Of course, you may not know until you've gained access to that first bay...

Also, I realize that I failed to include two other points in my previous post.

First, any tape you might use to seal the interior needs to be fancy stuff.  No duct tape, packing tape, foil tape, etc. 3M makes some stuff (of course they do...) (https://www.3m.com/3M/en_US/company-us/all-3m-products/~/All-3M-Products/Adhesives-Tapes/Industrial-Adhesives-and-Tapes/Air-Barrier/?N=5002385+8710676+8710815+8711017+8747182+8759538+3294857497&rt=r3).  The other "most popular" brand is Sika (https://usa.sika.com).

These tapes actually bond for a long time.  I can attest that whatever the "standard" tape was in early 1990s Wisconsin had completely failed in a decade.

The other thing ... leaky buildings leak everywhere, and that's one way to avoid problems.  Once you start sealing the place you've go to do the whole thing right, otherwise all that moisture and warm air will be concentrated in one place, a veritable jet blast of moisture into one place and THATS A PROBLEM,  Not long ago here in relatively balmy Portland we had a cold snap and people suddenly found the air leaks... one unfortunate homeowner had a leak in a bathroom vent pipe and it created a giant icicle in the attic that then broke off and crashed through the ceiling!
2 days ago