Hamilton Betchman

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since Jul 12, 2018
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Recent posts by Hamilton Betchman

I have struggled with gout for the past 5 years. I did not know I had gout until a year ago.
It first manifested in my Achilles tendon, and I had no idea what I was dealing with. Eventually it spread to my big toe, and this was the clue I needed to put two and two together.

The first and most important thing to do is to identify your triggers.
Many attribute their gout flare ups to things like processed meats, offal, red meat, etc.

For me, I found that what actually triggers the gout is to eat any combinations of the aforementioned classic gout foods within 24 hours of consuming processed sugars,processed wheat, and alcohol.

Some of the worst foods for me have been: Takeout pizza, cakes, sweets, and****BEER**. Beer is almost a guarantee for me. If I eat nothing all day, and drink 3 beers, my gout will be flared up the next day.

I have since found that I can drink pretty much any other form of alcohol that isn't sweetened and be ok.

So to summarize, I have found that my biggest triggers of gout are Beer, Gluten, and Sugar. This may be different for everybody, but I suspect many others share these triggers, and would not have thought they would be triggers just as I used to.

Some other unexpected minor triggers for me are ibuprofen and acetaminophen . Taking these medicines slows down my gout recovery. I suspect it has to do with the strain placed on the liver.

That being said, what can we use in nature to treat our gout when it is flared up?

For me, the natural supplements have outperformed the pharmaceutical substitutes.

The first thing I do is to drink plenty of good quality water; until my urine is nearly clear and odorless.

In order of effectiveness for me has been.

TART cherry extract. The extract works best for me because the whole cherries have a lot of sugar, and since sugar triggers inflammation, recovery is slowed.

Tumeric. Tumeric works great for all the inflammation I have, and is best used in combination with tart cherry to have maximum effectiveness.

Mullein. Mullein tea is my local option. I find it growing all over the place in fall and winter. It's best used by drying the leaves for preservation and making tea from this. Mullein tea is not bad, and it starts working nearly immediately .

I'll end my entry by emphasizing that everybody is different, and what works for me may not work for you.  
1 week ago

Emily Smith wrote:I’m in zone 7b/8a and the queen of time mismanagement.  We’re 9 weeks out from the first frost date (supposed to be Nov. 16).  Is it too late to start seeds?  I have Brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower seeds.  I’ve never tried a fall garden and was wanting to this year.

I am in 8a and I just got my seeds started last week. I like to grow collards, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, garlic, onions and peas during the fall. My collards are cold tolerant down to about 10 F or so and they usually grow over winter just fine.

Softneck Garlic would probably be perfect to plant right now anyways, so there is no worries there.

You still have a few months to start your onions from seeds too.

I collect old sheets and blankets for everything else. I picked up an old greenhouse from a friend that he got rid of because it was missing pieces. I use the pipes and connections to frame out my row covers, and since it so seldomly gets below 25F, I only end up using it a few times a year.

Winter is my favorite time to grow and garden! The pests are non existent, the ground needs less water, and the things that grow in the winter are by far my favorite to eat; the only drawback is the limited light and lower angle of the sun mean that only a reduced portion of my garden continues to produce well.

So to answer your question, no it is not too late!

Pearl Sutton wrote:I had a bad year here, out of the 300-some squash (summer and winter) and pumpkin plants I put in of 20+ types, I currently (September) still have 4 plants: 1 tromboncino and 3 (still young) kabocha. All the rest died of fungus or squash beetles. The things in better soil hold out longer (although none long enough to set fruit) so soil improvement is happening, and the ones that are still alive climbed things. I think it got them enough air flow to avoid fungus, and maybe got them up out of where the beetles can reach them so easily. So for next year, I am wondering Which squash varieties climb best?  Maybe if I start with things that will go up, I'll get some squash.
Thank you! :D

I have had great success with Seminole pumpkin this year. They climb well, and are not as heavy as the trombocinos are. North Georgia Candy Roaster is another good variety for you to try, but they may get too heavy for most vertical structures to support. I am currently growing all three, and hope to form some sort of landrace in the next few years/decades.

My trombocino seeds have been naturalized for 6 years now, and this is the first year i have introduced the other varieties. I have harvested just over 1000 lbs from my 1000 square foot garden this year so far.

All three of these varieties can endure the vine borerers, squash bugs, and humidity with great success.
I promised I would take notes, so I will deliver!

For liquid soap:

I did not use any "fish grease," because the fish smells are the fish fat, amd I didn't think this method would help. I'd love it if this weren't true, so please prove me wrong! Anyhow, without knowing the exact amounts, the following oils would most likely have been present: Canola, "Vegetable," peanut, grapeseed, avocado, coconut. I also had some frozen, used, duck fat, pig lard, and bacon grease." All of this went into the pot for cleansing.

I found these instructions online: "For every cup of frying oil, whisk together ¼ cup water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Add mixture to warm or cooled oil. Heat oil gently over low heat (do not let it simmer), stirring constantly with heatproof spatula, until starch mixture begins to solidify, 10 to 12 minutes." To clarify, you want the oil warm and melted, but not got. I then poured this mixture through a cheesecloth lined strainer.  

I then let the mixture cool in a clear container. Since oil is lighter than water, I noticed some layering and poured off the good oil up top, into a steel pot.

I wanted to stick to 1920's era tech for this, so i simply weighed the oil. It came out to 8.4 lbs. I found an old recipe that gave a generic calculation and an average KOH value of
.2X where X is the weight of the oil.

Balances and scales were certainly readily available in the 20s, so I used an old doctor's 2 beam balance to weigh my ingredients.

So anyways, back to my calculations.
With 90% KOH and a .2 factor that meant (8.4 * .2 ) / .9 = 1.867 lb of KOH needed and for a 3% superfat .97 *1.867 = 1.81 lbs.

Now you will mix that much lye into 2.5x as much water.

Edit** A note on water quality. It is absolutely crucial to use a soft water for good soap making. You can use distilled water or rainwater if you aren't sure.
That is 4.5 lbs or a little more than a half gallon water
Be careful and always use proper PPE!

With the oil on the stove on low heat, add the KOH solution and begin whisking thoroughly. I cheated here and used a hand mixer. Increase the heat to medium and and continue whisking until you get a mayo like consistancy.( You can actually pour these into molds for a solid soap now, but it will not be really hard and will go rancid quicker.)
Remove from heat amd forget about it overnight
It will remain warm until fully saponified, and may take 24 hours.

At this time, dilute the solid soap with an equal part of water
Stir vigorously for about 10 minutes. Then let it sit. You can forget about it for a week, or stir it every few hours to get a quicker result.

edit note: this is not the time to get impatient, put the hand blender away. if you over mix, you will get a frothy mess that will ruin your soap.  This mess will eventually recover, but it will not be of the same quality.

After the mixture becomes homogeneous, you can add more water for a thinner consistancy, if that is what you like.

Edit note: if you find the soap too hot after a while, you can always add carrier oils and fragrances. Be careful though, only add a small amoint at a time. .5% of the total weight is a good target for fragrance oils. You dont want to overdo it here.

6 months ago

r ranson wrote:

Hamilton Betchman wrote:

I want to say there is a way to calculate lye based on Specific Gravity of the oils, but I am not sure. I will look into it.

exactly!  With cold cured soap this is hugely important.

However, with the hot-cured soap, this wasn't needed because you can tell if there is excess lye before you pour the soap into the mould to cure.  Since our cooking oils are mixed, I want to find that hot cured soap recipe to try.  

I will be making liquid soap, hot process, and I will share my results.
6 months ago

r ranson wrote:The recipe I have lost had something like this for cleaning used oils.

Heat the oils, add cold water to the oils and it precipitates the particles and odour causing stuff to attach to the water and fall to the bottom.  Let it sit a while, then pour off the oil and repeat a few times until the oil is clean.  

I'll try this soon and report back. I have tons of old cooking oil and I am running low on all purpose cleaning soap.

I want to say there is a way to calculate lye based on Specific Gravity of the oils, but I am not sure. I will look into it.

The issue I have is that I just pour all my used oils into one vat and there is no real way to know how much of each is present.
6 months ago
i have recently heen usimg a venturi siphon, but find it very limited with my high pressure and volume application. Can anyone suggest some more high volume equipment? thanks!
6 months ago
I wanted to share a few more photos. One photo shows what they will do if left an entire week. They will eventually eat the grass too! It seems like they prefer the "weeds" to the grass.They also do make a dust bath everywhere I move the coop, but this spot regrows within a week.
6 months ago

Jay Angler wrote:That's a beautiful build Hamilton, and your evaluation in your last post is good too!

Things I like about it: 1. You used hardware cloth - modern "chicken wire" is too wimpy to keep many predators out - 1/2" hardware cloth is an excellent choice.
2. The coop is large enough to walk into - chickens are messy! At some point, a coop or coop/run combo is going to have to be cleaned, so being able to get into it and reach all areas without having to crawl through shit is an asset. Also, if a chicken gets hurt, think about how you're going to get to it when planning a coop.
3. The coop has a secure area with a good roof, and open areas for sun - if chickens are largely contained to an area, even if they're going to move daily, they need 8-10 square feet/chicken for quality of life - particularly if there's a squabble.

People need to heed your warning about weight! I'm only about 5'4" and 115 lbs and there's no way I could move your coop. I've seen too many plans get grounded because it took too many people or was just too hard to move. That can be affected by weather also! Is there a time of year when the wheels will just sink into soft, water-logged ground? Do you need to find a garden area where you can "plant" your mobile coop for the winter because it doesn't move through snow?

Personally, I recommend that perches are easy to remove (ours are held with bolts) and especially, that nest boxes are easy to remove. The latter is because it's much easier to clean a nest box if it can be removed, and cleaned out in the open with either the roof removable or the back removable. The nest boxes are a great place to get a mite infestation (which can pass to well-cared for chickens from wild birds) and they can get messy if for some reason a bird is laying weak-shelled eggs which break easily, or a bird starts roosting in a nest box. Cleaning chicken infrastructure is generally not on anyone's "I love to do this job" list, so I really encourage people to think about that as they're designing their coops. I *really* like Hamilton's attitude - he designed for *his* comfort as well as his birds!

Thank you for your advice. I will certainly be sure to make my nest boxes removable.
6 months ago
I just wanted to share this photo of how the chickens eat all the weeds and leave just my grass.

This is after 24 hours.

6 months ago