Dan Fish

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since Dec 31, 2019
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dog forest garden fish fungi trees hunting books food preservation building wood heat homestead
Sierra Nevada Foothills, Zone 8b
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Recent posts by Dan Fish

Personally I would like a book, or more likely a chapter or two about water. Developing springs, digging water delivery trenches or constructing flumes, small ponds and dams, creating a wetland, etc.
3 days ago
Just get a surplus E-Tool. They suck to dig a hole with but I guarantee that they suck less than all the other options. They aren't fragile. Just make sure it's the genuine article with an NSN or you will be more disappointed than necessary.
1 week ago
It's been crazy for sure. We were under evac warning a few weeks ago but never got the word to move out. That fire is now out. The smoke has been THICK with the exception of Tuesday and Wednesday, due to the winds pushing it off and necessitating a Public Safety Power Shutoff, another great benefit of living in California!

Here is the real crazy part: Tuesday night my son was out on the deck and he goes, "there's a fire across the river canyon". I go outside and immediately bad thoughts start kicking in. It looked like a huge fire across half the ridge about 2 miles away and with no power we weren't getting the news or anything. Fire up the genny and check the local news. Insanely enough, it was actually the glow from the North Fire Complex, like 40 air miles away. I guess the lack of smoke allowed it to be visible for the first time even though that things been burning for a while... It was creepy, especially because the clouds and smoke rolling around out there really looked like flames flaring up and whatnot. I wish my phone could take better nighttime pictures. It was unreal.

1 week ago
First to answer your question: I used a pick, a digging bar and the grubbing end of a pulaski to break up the ground. Hard work.

I have the same land. Ultra-compacted clay. I made some garden beds there doing the following:

I dug it up about 1 foot deep. Picked out rocks and the pure white clay chunks that might as well be rocks.

Mixed in wood pieces, horse manure and some biochar.

Planted a green manure cover crop and let it grow for 6 months.

Then I mounded it all up into beds, and covered all of it with 4 inches of wood chips. I also filled in the paths with wood chips to a depth of about 8 inches. After this the green manure crops popped out again.

I scraped off the wood chips and the green manure in the spring and mulched with some compost, then re-covered with the chips/green manure. Then I doused it with aerated compost tea and planted.

Results were pretty ok. The garden started great but ended up "self compacting" over the course of the season. Upon investigation the actual growing depth of the beds is more like 6 inches (they are almost 18" high) and under that is just nasty water-phobic clay. Tomatoes grew ok, Zucchini and Lemon Cucumber grew great. Peppers and Melons sucked. Pickling cucumbers are so bitter as to be inedible.

I will be incorporating about 400% more organic materials and biochar into as many beds as I can before next spring. I think I will be in business after that.

Anyways, food for thought I guess.
2 weeks ago
Still gotta be the pulaski.Chop, split, dig, trench, grub, pry, all with one sweet looking tool. Bonus, it makes you look like a sexy-ass firefighter!

"The (pulaski) is the greatest (non) battle implement ever devised".
   --(not) Gen George S. Patton

3 weeks ago
I have almost the same question and I thought it might be better to post it here instead of a new thread. I hope that's ok.

Almost the same situation: I want to supply 30 amps to a small cabin 160ft from the panel on the side of a house. The supply from the panel on the house is through a 40A breaker. At the cabin I would like 2 separate 15A circuits. Do I need a 30A breaker at the subpanel in the cabin before the 15A breakers? Or is it ok to pigtail both 15A breakers together directly from the wire coming from the 40A breaker at the house?

3 weeks ago
Thanks for following through with the updates, Michelle! My garden beds which were also in their first year had many of the same issues so it was very helpful to see what you did and read the advice others gave. So yeah, thanks for taking one for the team, as it were.
1 month ago
I try to just drive them off with a few rocks or whatever. Lord knows I need the help with the mice and voles but I have killed them before too. I shot two snakes (with one shot, i might add, haha) because they were together, tip to tail during mating season and edging up under my house. I don't need a snake den as I have kids and a really dumb dog running around.
1 month ago
DuckDuckGo! Been using it for a few years. Works fabulously!