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Stephen Cross

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since Feb 25, 2017
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Recent posts by Stephen Cross

Here in Maine I just grow them all out and let winter take the non-hardy (basically everything,

That sounds depressing.
I am very interested in seeing how a heat exchanger for hot water is built and insalled in the tiny house cook stove and heater.
2 years ago
Seriously, the pack of pit bulls next door has killed a dozen chickens, destroyed an electric poultry fence and  terrorized my guernsey milk cow. Animal control confiscated one of their pit bulls, now they have seven more pit bull puppies. The owners haven’t paid their power bill in over a year. They subsist by renting out space to parolees and their deralect RVs.
2 years ago
If eating the problem is the solution, how best should I cook my neighbors dogs?
2 years ago
On this cool first day of October, I am sitting inside planning the interior of my passive solar green house and trying to justify (and heat) an aquaponics set up for raising talapia in Southern Oregon (Northern Jefferson). I need to state first that I hate the cheap throw away culture represented by plastic IBC totes. I was very fortunate to spend a summer working in Europe during my college years and really appreciate the way the farms were built to last many generations; stone fences, timberframe barns etc. It seems to me that a plastered tank would increase the thermal mass in the greenhouse and provide some thermal inertia necessary for stable water temperatures.
The question then becomes how to heat the water? I am planning to sink the green house 4 feet into the earth to take advantage of the mean average temperature here of 56 degrees. Talapia thrive 70 to 85 dgrees. I've seen Paul's video on rocket mass heaters in green houses since 2010. (still waiting to see how the build turned out and get performance data..)
My problem isn't extreme cold or deep snow, it is days with no sunshine.
More to the point.. it seems to me that hot compost is a more permie solution. You get long steady heat with little input once it is started, you get great weed seed free compost.
Aquaponics require pumps to circulate water and pump air to raise the O2 in the fish tank. I can see a solar panel working in the summer, and even running a swamp cooler, but what about the winter? We do not have reliable wind here, possibly micro hydro.
Any thoughts? Anyone done something similar?
2 years ago
Here in Oregon, we can legally have two cows in lactation for a raw milk dairy. Just after freshening we get 6 gallons per day per cow. We sell our milk for $10.00 per gallon and have awaiting list of customers. We stagger the births of the caves and turn excess milk into yogurt and feed the whey to pigs and chickens. We give the cows two months off milking before they calf, so for four months every year we are at half production. Chores for the cows take around four hours per day and we make about the same money as a full time minimum wage job. We also have meat in the freezer and healthier pigs and chickens.
We have kids to help with chores, and no one has to work 7 days a week (we rotate days off)
2 years ago
Has anyone tried building a plaster tank for aquaponics/greenhouse thermal mass? The IBC systems look like the fastest way to get started, but fish like steady temperatures with small fluctuations. I am thinking of building a system that would produce 500 pounds of Talapia every 6 months in an earth sheltered green house. I live in zone 8, but have many many cloudy/foggy days in the winter months. Has anyone designed a water heater/mixer system for a RMH that will not cook the fish? I start digging as soon as the ground dries out enough to get the backhoe to the bottom of the upper pasture. Any suggestions are appreciated.

3 years ago