B. Rogers

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since Dec 26, 2017
Saving Fossils with Sunlight

I began by making tools for living: snowshoes, clothing, tents and packs progressed to homesteading on a BC island near Alaska where we built a log cabin and lived well off-the-sea. I now have extensive workshops where I build from scratch, modify from surplus or repair lots of equipment.

Though I developed powerful solar collectors, I had to do other engineering work to support my family because they couldn't compete with cheap fossil fuels. I now develop battery powered machines and tractors so, in addition to lighting, I can utilize solar energy anytime to harvest and transport dead trees, mow fields/deliver mulch, pump water and operate shop equipment.
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Recent posts by B. Rogers

Problem #1:  What I'd love to do is find an efficient way to separate the juice from the pulp.  I've put it in a fine mesh strainer and been able to get much of the juice and pulp separated but it's time consuming.  The advantage is that the pulp can go sauce and the juice can go into tomato soup.  Less boiling to get the pulp thick enough.  Any ideas for a way to separate them efficiently?

My tomato canning task has evolved into a few simple tasks:
1. Process them through a Squeezo ( looks like the photo in the initial post) that separates pulp/juice from skin and seeds,
2. Run the latter through again to extract the last bit of good stuff,
3. While bringing a large pot of the juice/pulp to a boil, add chopped basil, garlic and oregano and let boil for 10 minutes, then cool for twenty minutes, or so: boiling bubbles force too much pulp into the soup stock but if you want some in, do wile boiling,
4. Insert a colander or other vessel with lots of small holes in the pot and ladle out the clear liquid that flows into the vessel,
5. Fill quart jars with this "soup stock",
6. When the vessel no longer sinks into the thick sauce, remove it and ladle the sauce into their own jars,
7. Use a steam canner to process all of the above (I process seven or eight jars at a time throughout the above steps).
I illustrated most steps in: https://sunsavingfossils.blogspot.com/2017/09/processing-tomatoes.html
4 months ago
Had a wonderful year raising monarch caterpillars (388 resulting butterflies tagged and released) along with 181 wild caught butterflies. Fewer than 1% of monarch tags ever get recovered and reported so we expect to learn what happened to maybe four or five. One has already been reported in North Carolina that is many hundreds of miles south of us i(where NY, VT & MA meet).
Some lessons learned:
1. Caterpillars have lots of enemies: sucking critters like stinkbugs and spiders; Raising them inside behind a bright window boosts their rate of survival.
2. Feed caterpillars sprigs of fresh milkweed every day but wedge in flexible foam above water to keep leaves vibrant (otherwise caterpillars can sink and drown);
3. Periodically harvest a quarter of outdoor milkweed patches to promote new growth: all but a few of our caterpillars originated on plants less than three weeks old. Thousand of older milkweeds never had a caterpillar!
4. Chrysalises must hang from a horizontal surface: emerging butterflies can't develop flat wings unless they can hang them straight down as they harden. Glue loose chrysalises to toothpicks and suspend them from a wood "tree" (use wood glue: hot melt glue will cook them)
5. If they are not ready to fly, release butterflies on the leeward side of the trunk of a tree or other stable surface.  Breezes may make them fall if placed on swinging branches or flexible plants.
6. Tags for the underside of a rear wing may be purchased from: https://monarchwatch.org/ and this organization will keep you informed of reported sightings of those you tag. They also have lots of information on Monarchs and their food.
1 year ago
This Fokin ploskorez hoe by Ecominded looks like a wonderful tool for weeding and bed prep!
1 year ago
This Fokin hoe sure looks like it does a good job cleaning up weeds and preparing beds!
1 year ago
Sounds like fun! It's cold outside and writing a letter by the stove is inviting.
1 year ago
I've been harvesting chestnuts for a few decades and every year I plant 50 of the largest nuts. Since they don't stay viable very long, I intersperse them among garlic as I pant those cloves in October since rodents tend not to mess with them. Typically only six to ten chestnuts sprout the following spring and make it into July at when I move them into hedgerows. Some of the trees are now more than 10 years old and produce a few pounds of these wonderful nuts: more each year. Each tiny tree needs its own circle of fence to keep deer from browsing leaves and twigs and rodents from nibbling bark off the  trunk. This fencing can be dedicated to new trees once the trunk is about four inches in diameter (and the lower branches are above deer height}.
2 years ago