James Freyr

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since Mar 06, 2017
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books building cat chicken food preservation homestead cooking purity trees
James is in his forties, is an active homesteader who is married, and has no children aside from six cats. He is an alumnus of The American Brewers Guild and while he no longer brews beer he does dabble in the fermentations of food and dairy. He resides in the state of Tennessee where he has been in the skilled trades since 2004 but as of lately only installing hardwood floor and tile and is trying to hang up that hat to homestead full-time. An avid gardener for more than twenty years, he is preparing to add animal husbandry to his lifestyle. When he has free time he enjoys hikes through the woods and reading books.
Middle Tennessee
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Recent posts by James Freyr

Redhawk, can you please expound on the oxygen part and help me get a better understanding? I'm under the impression that H2O2 releases a single oxygen, leaving water leftover, and a single "free radical" oxygen molecule is what sanitizes, killing bacteria. Are there any benefits to having this single oxygen atom in a soil?
29 minutes ago
I love watching happy animals, and that bison is having a good day. It makes me smile
42 minutes ago
Hey Dustin I’ll offer my thoughts.

I’ve poured a lot of concrete in the last twelve months, and here’s what I’ve learned from concrete guys, my contractor, and my own obersvations.

Concrete is heavy, heavier than water. I was pouring concrete in three foot tall form tubes, with about two of those feet in the ground and a foot above ground. I accidentally mixed one batch with too much water. It was soupy, like really soupy. I poured it in, and in real time over the course of a few minutes, I watched the concrete ingredients (what they call “heavies” in the construction world) settle, leaving a puddle of water about an inch and a half deep at the top of my form tube. I dumped more wet concrete in, which displaced the water, resulting in a cylinder full of concrete. Having witnessed this, I like to think that if you were to pour a footing in a single pour, the heavies are going to occupy all the space in the hole and any ground water will be held back by the greater in mass & density concrete. If there is standing water in the hole, I suspect that as concrete is poured in, it will be displaced and come up and out of the hole in the ground.

You mentioned you’re up in Pennsylvania, and I imagine things are still cold. If I may offer a piece of advice, consider using the fast-setting type of concrete mix, and/or use hot water when mixing the concrete. I was chatting with my concrete guy and he said calcium carbonate is added to wet concrete at temperatures below 70 degrees to generate heat to help it set. The colder it is, the more is added, and on really hot days in the sun, retardants are added to slow the concrete setting so it can be worked. Concrete doesn't dry, it cures. The chemical reactions that make it harden vary in speed depending upon how cold or hot it is. Also, avoid letting fresh concrete that is 24-48 hours old freeze. The water molecules haven't had enough time to bond with the concrete mix, it can freeze and expand and structurally weak concrete or crumbling failed concrete can be the result.

I’m no concrete professional but it’s a few things I’ve learned along the way. I hope this helps you if you choose to mix more concrete for your footings. Best wishes!
44 minutes ago

Alexander Baker wrote:
James (if you're still there), did the new phone route still help? I have an LG smartphone that's a few years old, but the issue is inside my apartment, my phone drops calls nearly every time.

Hey Alexander! I'm still here! Thanks for reviving this thread. I've been meaning to post an update.

Getting a new phone really did help a lot, but I still had dead zones in the new house. My wife and I decided to spring for a repeater because she can work from home, and that requires a decent internet connection. There are no high speed internet offerings out at the new farm other than through a cell phone provider, or satellite. Interestingly, Viasat doesn't offer satellite internet out there, it's only Hughesnet. So we knew that if we could get a stable 4g signal from verizon (our current carrier), that would suffice for her needs to work from home. We took the plunge and purchased a cel-fi go-x repeater. I installed it, putting the broadcast antenna in the attic aimed down and it works as advertised. I was getting one bar one the phone or an occasional two bars if I stood on one foot, closed one eye and held my breath, and the repeater took that fairly consistent one bar and gives us four bars inside and just around the house, like on the porches. If I stray 20 or 30 feet from the house, I've lost the repeater signal. The signal it rebroadcasts is very localized, but that's ok with us. We now have a stable, consistent signal throughout the house, even in the basement. My wife brought her laptop from work out there one day to test it to make sure she can work from home before we move. She set up her phone as a hot spot and connected to that from her laptop and it was satisfactory.

1 hour ago

John Weiland wrote: Are the specs regarding 'on-demand' hot water heaters (gas or electric) for low use households convincing enough to go that route in the future?

I just installed an on-demand or tankless water heater. It's propane fired. It made perfect sense to my wife and I for our needs. I really like it for several reasons. My favorite reason is it only makes hot water when we need it. No keeping water hot 24/7. It also makes hot water almost instantly from when it turns on, only having to wait for it to travel through the plumbing and will compensate for demand regardless of how many faucets are open. It has a digital thermostat. I keep ours set at 115 degrees. Lastly, and some design thought that I really like, is it has bypass valves at the inlet and outlet. I can turn off the water in and water out, and open two other smaller valves, one each on the inlet and outlet, and flush the mineral scale deposits out of it with vinegar, keeping the heat exchange efficient as the years go by.
1 hour ago
Who here has a cat or dog that loves to "help"? Share your stories and pictures if you have some!

This is my cat Biscuit. She likes to help me when I'm at the computer. Sometimes it's a more passive style of help like these pictures, other times she continually walks back and forth on the desk, rubbing on my chin, repeatedly sweeping her tail across my face and stepping on the keyboard creating havoc with whatever I'm working on.

7 hours ago
I think there are other variables that, when considered, can change the equations for calculating energy savings in tank style water heaters. For instance, a real efficiency killer in heat transfer from the heat source, gas or electric, is mineral scale deposits on the inside of the tank. A new water heater will heat the same volume of water faster, using less energy, than one that's identical but 10 years old with a layer of mineral deposits lining the inside of the tank.
19 hours ago

Alex McQueen wrote:
I questioned her about soil diversity and killing it off. She says it's actually beneficial and also puts oxygen into the soil.

Anyone heard of this?

I've never heard of this. You're absolutely right about the peroxide killing microbial life in the soil. The oxygen your neighbor thinks is beneficial is doing more harm than good. Peroxide releases single oxygen molecules, which are extremely reactive, and kill, and can also bond with other minerals or compounds in the soil. The oxygen that benefits soil life comes in pairs, O2, what we breathe.

I think she is, unfortunately, turning her soil into dirt.
1 day ago
Chemcial fertilizers are man made using chemistry. Sometimes it can begin as an ore mined from the Earth, then using strong acids, dissolve and separate the minerals and elements from one another, and with a little more chemistry, extract the desired minerals, and finally mix with "other" or "inert" ingredients, and presto, chemical fertilizers like triple super phosphate 0-45-0 are made. The number 45 means 45 out of 100 pounds of product is phosphate. Chemical fertilizers are harsh, and on the mild side of things completely disrupt the soil food web and throw out of balance the soil microbiota, and on the extreme side kill the fungal and microbial soil life.

Organic fertilizers are made from things such as bat guano, seaweed, fish bones or entire fish, chicken manure, decomposed leaves, composted plant matter, etc. Even that ore used to make the triple super phosphate mentioned above, ground up into rock dust can be an "organic" fertilizer. I use organic in quotes as some folks think or require certification of a product by the USDA is necessary to call something organic. Organic fertilizers are usually mild, and can sometimes feed and nurture the soil food web.
Here we go again! I hope everyone is doing well today as our planet leaves one quadrant and enters another in its trip around the sun. Happy spring to all in the northern hemisphere and happy fall to everyone in the southern hemisphere!
1 day ago