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

I just bought a Pferd all in one file. It does the rakers and cutters at the same time and has guide lines so you almost can't mess it up. Very much recommended.
4 hours ago
Last season, in a pinch, I bought a $200 Jonsered 50cc. It really is last year's Husky in red plastic! I really think it's a very good deal for a homeowner saw, cuts great, light as a feather, zero issues. I feel like this was a much better option than a "no-name" brand. Repairable and rebuildable with spare parts from a reputable manufacturer.

Jonsered invented the chainsaw by the way.
1 day ago
You know the worst part about online forums? People ask questions and don't even bother to say thanks...

I forgot I posted this. But hey thanks! Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice and thanks for the well pipe sympathy, haha.

I hope to bury logs this coming weekend, weather dependent.
1 day ago
Sweet! That looks like high quality work.

I was just looking at an old pressure tank, trying to figure our something better to do with it than "big blue overgrown stump simulator".

Please, if you can, post pictures and results of your trial runs.
1 day ago
OK now that I have seen the first signs of winter approaching (well pipe froze and broke this morning...) my focus will begin to shift from home and auto repair to land improvement. Going to create some hugel-beds!

Something I've always wondered about hugelkulture: They say that the wood inside lasts about 5 years before it breaks down. After that the bed will still be excellent right? No need to add wood again, ever? Will my nasty tan clay be sweet dark earth by then? Just wondering what to expect after all the wood is gone.

Irrelevant Backstory:

My first year garden beds started off great but in the dry heat of a Mediterranean summer they ended up "eating" all my organic matter and reverting to heavy clay and became hard as a rock and dry as a bone 6 inches below the surface. Water would just turn the top few inches under the mulch to slop without penetrating further. So the beds are gonna get huglified. I know this will help but I ran outta time last year. I plan on digging down about a foot below grade and filling with wood (and all the other stuff) to about a foot above. Then topping with about 4-6 inches of soil.
2 weeks ago
I am so glad this thread got bumped. I don't know how I missed it! I am in the same situation but with worse soil and a North slope so I read everything about clay, slopes and soil improvement that I can.

But enough about me. Any updates on this project, S. Bard? I know it hasn't really been that long, in a forest-creation sense at least. Just curious.
I used dirt from my yard mixed with some horse manure and whatever else was around (wood chips, biochar, leaves, fish heads, etc...). It's only been mounded for a single season. It's a work in progress.

The manure was sweet. We have a website to help local ranchers unload their extra animal poo in my county. The guy I got mine from is one of those fabled horse whisperer guys and he raises just a few "extra special" horses (sorry I don't know what to call them) at a time. Basically he just fleeces rich people, he's a hillarious dude. Anyway, he uses no drugs. "All shit, no bull", was how he described his product. Plus he loaded my pickup with a tractor so minimal effort.

EDIT: I forgot to add: I paid 30 bucks for some compost worms and they are really pumping it out lately. Built a bin for free from scrap and I fill it with leaves and shredded office paper. And of course veggie scraps and coffee grounds. Not free but VERY economical.
3 weeks ago
Hahaha mission creep is my go to buzzword around the office! It's a very real problem is a professional sense and the reason 75% of crap doesn't get done around here. If you don't have a clear defined end state then how do you know when you get there? How do you know how much (time, effort, materials) to focus and where?

Anyways, for all that I am the worst example in my own life and on my own property. Wood shed isn't finished because now it's a water-collector and a lumber rack as well. Skirting around the house isn't done cause, "what if I use scrap lumber from the old shed...) and on and on. My garden beds this year would have been a lot better if I would have written down a plan and stuck to it. Instead of constantly coming up with "great ideas" and just let them be. On the bright side, I have done exactly that for the upcoming season and I got a line on some corrugated roofing to pick up this afternoon, hahaha.

A well developed plan is good. Changing a plan that isn't working is good. Constantly improving or expanding on a plan in progress is bad.


My mission has actually contracted somewhat. I started out rarin' to be 100% self sufficient in as short a time as possible. Then I hurt myself, became more realistic about my property, and realized how poor I was... Still working towards the goal but my mission has become "become MORE self-sufficient" as opposed to "become self-sufficient". I am actively trying to set smaller targets and one by one hammer them into dust as opposed to one big target that is hammering me. This thread has been well-timed, I just made all of these promises to myself within the last few weeks, hahaha.
1 month ago
I have never composted fish but I buried a trout's remains near some shrubs this weekend!

But I just wanted to say I had great results when I made fish hydrosolate (spelling?) a little while ago. I blended 5 large fish carcasses into liquid (wife unhappy), added sugar and about 10 lacto-baccilius (again, spelling) pills and let it sit for a month. It was a great success. Although I am not sure about the mechanics of pulverizing 50 gallons of fish maybe you wouldn't have to? Chop finely and wait longer?

-Mr. Thread D. Railer
1 month ago
When I lived in Fairbanks I used to know an old timer that would sun himself for 15 minutes a day any time the sun was out in the winter. For a month or so the sun is just too low on the horizon to get any rays at all but other than that, -20 degrees? Didn't matter to him. Probably helped that he had lived there since the 70s and knew enough about the trade offs...

Also one year my boss bought us all sad-lights which are supposed to emulate sunshine while you work at your bench. They sucked.
1 month ago