Erica Colmenares

pollinator
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since Feb 11, 2018
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goat forest garden chicken
We're transitioning to a wooded Tennessee property (currently living in a Nashville apartment). We have a son (born in 1997, now out in the world) and a dog (standard poodle, SO not a rural animal). We're interested in food forests, chickens, goats, and, well, everything (we're total newbies to permaculture).
Charlotte, Tennessee
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Recent posts by Erica Colmenares

James Freyr wrote:
So it's difficult to tell if it's been useful as it's all hidden beneath baseboard and thresholds. Maybe if I removed a piece I might find bug corpses, but I don't need to know that bad ;) . Looking back and thinking about it now, I would have been more generous with the diatomaceous earth and really loaded it up, but I only had less than a quart with me, so I sprinkled it in lightly. I am glad I did it and I will say we don't see hardly any of the crawling kinds of bugs in the house, so I imagine it's having some sort of impact.



Could you describe how you did this? Did you just pour (or spoon?) the DE into the crack, where the subflooring and drywall meet?
10 hours ago
We're a couple months out from moving into our house. It's not the "dream green home" we envisioned. In some ways it's better and in other ways I am disappointed. For us, building has not been a "green" endeavor.

I'm trying not to think of the things I wish we'd done differently too much, but the most important one is that we would have scrapped the design we got with an architect, because it was too expensive to build it in the manner we wanted to. Instead, we adapted it, and in the process have ended up with a much more traditional build. And a more traditional contractor, instead of the younger guy who would have been much more thoughtful each step of the way about the impact of the build on the earth.

We did a couple things that I am really happy about. The house is laid out correctly for a passive home, and the eaves will keep out summer sun, and let in winter sun. We hired a company out of Nashville to do our insulation and heating/cooling, after our contractor kept talking about how you don't want a house to be too air tight. Yes, yes we do! :-) We did a pre-dry-wall blower door test, and after a couple tweaks got down to one air exchange per hour. I'm very happy with that.

I've perhaps prioritized having a good relationship with my contractor over getting more of what I want. That attitude has made for a happier year for us, but ... I don't know. Going along to get along might not be a sustainable attitude.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you all once again for all of your input, as it definitely made our home better, in the end.

James Freyr wrote: Also, I installed some trim in the closet, but before I did that I sprinkled diatomaceous earth in the expansion gaps between the hardwood floor and wall. These gaps often end up being bug highways, and I figure now's my chance to take proactive measures for indoor bug control, especially since I refuse to spray bug poisons. I used a shim to scoop DE from a mason jar and sprinkle it into the gap before the baseboard was installed.



Hey James,

I'm wondering if you could describe this a little more. We're at this point in our house build, and I want to talk about it with our contractor (or just do it myself). Are you glad you did it? Maybe it's too soon to know if it was useful.

Hope you're enjoying your new house!
1 day ago

Michael Fundaro wrote:
I suspect your contractor gets the asphalt millings far cheaper than gravel or any other product but I suspect he is not passing that saving on to you.  



I haven't loved a couple things about this process with our contractor, but he's been good about telling us which options are less expensive (including this one).

I think I suspected that it wasn't going to be a good idea, but liked enough about the idea (the savings, the re-use of road surfacing) that I was considering it. Thanks to you and John for steering me right!
1 week ago

John C Daley wrote:I googled and found this;
leaching from Asphalt
The use of recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) as road base material is an increasing trend in the road construction business.
... When subjected to rain water, these heavy metals and PAHs have the ability to leach out of the road base and
infiltrate into the water table, potentially impacting the quality of drinking water.



Hey John, I did some googling too, and found some of what you'd reported. I also looked here on the forums and saw a couple folks posting about using millings, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask. Sounds like better safe than sorry. Thanks!
1 week ago
We're finishing up a house build in a wooded terrain. The "driveway" to the house is an old logging road that is more or less kept up, though it has potholes, etc. The contractor is suggesting asphalt millings instead of gravel for a slight road upgrade. He says they last longer, and I do like the idea of them being a second use of roadway. But does the asphalt leach?
1 week ago
[quote=Jim Guinn]Don't know if these will give you any ideas....

Our first coop (8x10) and run (10x16) in 2013

[/quote]

You wouldn't happen to have plans for this? It looks great. I keep looking for The Best Chicken Coop plan, and can't believe it's not out there. ;-) I'm not handy enough (yet!) to wing it.
2 weeks ago
My mom was a big collector of house plants. (She also put in a full-on veggie garden in our front yard instead of lawn on a "nice" street, bringing on the anger of all our neighbors LOL.) She had a beloved indoor orange tree, maybe a Calamondin? I first remember it in her bathroom, probably in 1970 or so. Over the years, she would have one of us slog it outside for the summer, and back in for the Wisconsin winter. One year we were slow to help, and it froze. She cut it down to the ground, and it came back just fine.

She passed away in 2016, and my sister inherited the tree. This past week she sent me and the other sibs a photo of it in all its Christmas glory.


3 weeks ago

John C Daley wrote:If you can install a round tank it will cost vastly less than those hog system tanks.



I'll look at that. The hog tank system was drawn in by the architect,  but we definitely haven't picked a tank. Thanks!


When you say the bloke will not do what you asked, can you give more details.


He's the county official who approves septic permits and does final plumbing inspections. Seems to be fairly overworked and also hard to move.

Tbe tank size info is so helpful, John. And very clear. We do have county water piped in, so the plan is to use the rainwater for outside. But I get that the rainwater will be a resource we'll have if the county water fails.
3 weeks ago
Hi friends!

We're over half way through working with a contractor to build a home in middle TN (40 minutes west of Nashville). We had to give up on gray water as part of the build (the county water guy didn't just say, "No." He said, "Hell, no!") So we're trying to do as good as job as possible of using the rainwater off our garage and house roof. I have learned through this build process that each subcontractor has a way they alwaysdo things, and I want to be ready to direct a different way, if needed.

The site is a gentle slope, with the house and garage on the uphill side. We don't anticipate doing much on the north/drive side of the house. The to-be-dug pond or series of pondlets will be to the west of the house. Not a lined pond or anything. Just places to hold water and slow it as it moves down the hill.



The house will definitely have gutters on all four corners, and at the breezeway roof. We hadn't thought about having any ponding to the west of the house, but perhaps that would be better than the contractor's idea of burying hoses to take water to the west side of the house.



The garage rainwater should mostly go into a cistern on the north side of the garage. That is the highest point in our site, and we're hoping gravity will do most of the work to water gardens below. I haven't sized the cistern yet - any tips on that would be very helpful. Here in middle TN we tend to get about an inch of rain a week, 50+ a year, with some drought in the summer (2-6 wks, depending).

4 weeks ago