Episode-1297- Listener Calls for 2-7-14 — 84 Comments

  1. Topic Time Markers

    [5:40] The Year 1297*
    [9:39] Making a small garden pond productive
    [22:03] My experience so far with chuffa
    [28:08] [Steven Harris] What is the difference between winter and summer fuel
    [36:15] [Steven Harris] Is there a good C and D cell rechargeable battery
    [45:16] Is there a risk of nutrient deficiency when feeding fodder
    [51:52] Is there a depth to width ratio minimum for swales
    [1:00:31] [Brian Black] Choosing a Kimber vs. a Glock
    [1:00:31] [Brian Black] Advantages of the 7.62 vs. the 5.56
    [1:06:22] Considering sporting rifles for hunting vs. AR/AK platforms
    [1:14:47] [Brian Black] Considering security when building a home*
    [1:22:22] The basics of starting comfrey
    [1:33:03] [Darby Simpson] Simpson vs. Wheaton on chicken tractors vs. paddocks
    [1:54:15] The good news about sustainable agriculture that may not all be good
    [2:06:19] [Ben Falk] Pollard and coppicing and tree maintenance
    [2:10:39] How to talk to people about libertarian principles

    * – Added by me

  2. Thank you Darby and Jack! You hit the nail on the head. I love the humor of Paul’s writing “voice” but the chicken article left me feeling a little overwhelmed and wondering if we should put off trying our hand at chickens this year. Thanks for “talking me off the ledge”! We are definitely moving forward with building a chicken tractor.

    I chuckled when you mentioned the red tailed hawk…we do have a resident hawk in our back yard. We have watched it swoop down and grab mice and ground squirrels out of our garden. We also have coyotes that roam the fields. We have our work cut out for us!

    My husband and I were sad to have missed the Midwest Sustainable Living conference in Indy…would have loved to hear your talk on chickens!

    Thanks again!

    • Melissa,

      Glad that I could help you out! That’s why I do this. I think you will do great with chickens this year, now the fun part of picking out the breed begins.

      As for the conference, I’ll give a shameless plug for the one we are doing in March. It will be in Western Kentucky at a really nice State Resort Park. You can find the details at (MSB members get a 10% discount). I’ll be spending two hours on starting and raising poultry as well as a detailed how-to session on building my chicken tractor. Might be worth coming for you.

      Good Luck!

    • We started 6 layers about a year ago in western WA. We started with the chicken tractor. It got tiresome moving them around every day or sometimes twice a day. To be fair I built it kind of heavy, mainly with rain because the wood soaked up water and doubled weight. Jack made a great point about thinking about dimensions… the one I built didn’t really fit through some of our gates so we had to really move it the long way to put in certain spots. We also found we had to clean out the coup part more. Then the wife got tired of it and last summer started letting them roam.

      We have coyotes, eagles and hawks (not redtail) in the area. We also have fencing and a dog, and the neighbors have dogs so the coyotes don’t come near the house and normally stay out in the fields, mostly moving at night. Yet, they will never come into the lights of the house.

      We rotate the chickens through areas around the house about 2/3 an acre and do not take them further out. Most of the time they stay with our alpacas, but for a few months when the alpacas move to other fields they are by themselves. I will say the chickens seem happier. They also find things like shade better when its hot, or other water when its raining.

      We do throw them some grain, a 40lb bag is lasting a couple months. I would also say you have another source, table scraps. With kids that don’t finish stuff, they are great at cleaning that up and turn it into eggs.

      • Yeah, I’m not opposed to doing what you are. And it works since they are near your house, that keeps predation down. But if you are out doing it in enough space to use lots of portable fence, you are typically not real close to your home and out in Zone 2-4, which increases predation. And based on the article, using the number of birds he mentions and only moving them once per weeks means a really big area. This insinuates that the birds are far from their portable house (cover) and will be more likely to be picked off by hawks. My biggest issues with the article was that predation was non-existent, labor was insanely low and paddock shift was the ONLY way to make hens happy. Like Jack said, using a tractor is paddock shift. I’m all for paddock shift with layers, but you put them at risk with hawks. Paddock shift with meat birds like he suggests would be all but impossible, at least on a production scale, and most likely on homesteading scale. So I don’t doubt what you do works, I’ve done that too – until they began destroying my strawberry plants while they had acres and acres of food to graze and choose from. No more! And to be quite frank, I don’t like them crapping all over everything adjacent to my house. To each his own. My way is best, for me.

        • I totally agree.

          While I am less crazy about Paul Wheaton than I used to be, I will give him some credit on this. He has said numerous times (he should update his article to this fact) he actually LIKES and SUPPORTS chicken tractors, however, he does not like the “philosophy”. Which is the scorched earth, keep them there till its all taken down kinda thing. He more or less goes into explaining that the first thing they eat is the “ice cream” (what they want the most), then they’ll eat the stuff thats good for them next, then when there’s nothing left they’ll start eating mildly toxic stuff, then eventually they’ll eat anything because they’re starving. That’s what he disagrees with, not necessarily tractors (he likes tractors).

          Like jack said, its the exact same thing with paddocks. Leave them in long enough you’ll see the same thing. Except paddocks (unless setup as so) have zero protection (besides fencing).

          Also Darby I second that notion about portable fencing. I only run the one at a time, and it can be SUCH A PAIN IN THE ASS. A few minutes… oh boy I laugh at that. Takes no less than 15 minutes to setup one fence. That doesn’t include moving things like shelters, food bowls, water bowls (getting water) and then finally moving animals. What seems to work out best is having enough for double (or more) then moving them all together incurring a single instance of the pain in the assery.

        • Well, new Mike, I am still crazy about me!

          So, I want to go on record saying: I think paddock shift is radically different from salatin style pens or chicken tractors. For one thing, paddock shift contains trees.

          So, to use Jack’s style:

          paddock shift contains trees. chicken tractors don’t. Salatin style pens don’t.

          paddock shift contains trees. chicken tractors don’t. Salatin style pens don’t.

          paddock shift contains trees. chicken tractors don’t. Salatin style pens don’t.

          Trees and bushes and duff and forest and hugelkultur and sunchokes and raspberry canes and fallen apples and freaky tall grains and a lush jungle packed with places for bugs to hide.

          And while it is true, when you are getting started, your jungle might be not very jungle-esque …. maybe even looking a bit like a sad field of cheatgrass, the paddock shift system can be used to help get things moving in that general direction.


          Yes, I’m pretty hard on the salatin pens. I did it for years and found my profits were not nearly as strong as I would like. My need to improve margins is what led me to paddock shift systems.

          And, yes, while it is possible that the paddock shift system can score a 10 across the board, I think my article makes it really clear that that is only under very optimal conditions. The worst allows for a 2 and some 4’s. Of course, when people have too many chickens on an urban lot, a sacrifice area would be required – and the numbers don’t reflect that.

          Yes, I’ve moved LOTS of portable fencing. I even have a special article on what I call “fence donuts” – a way to get posts to stay up in super hard soils.

          To get a good score on time, that assumes permanent fencing.

          Predation: first, with lots of brush and a LGD, when a hawk or eagle approaches, the birds all head for the brush. And if the raptor is going into the brush, then the raptor becomes dogfood. Checkmate.

          It would take hours to convey all of my thoughts – so I’ll drop it at this point.

        • Paul can you show me ONE just one place where a system as you describe is being used and it is profitable in raising broilers. Just one? Frankly I doubt it. I mean I doubt that you can find one in the entire nation for raising broilers and making a profit.

          It can be and is done with layers. There are some folks (call em Amish lite) doing it in PA, with converted School buses. They turn the beat ass old bus into a coop, it is still okay to drive a bit. They drive it paddock to paddock while the birds are locked for the night. There are many ways to do as you say with adult birds, it absolutely does and will work.

          I am not saying it can’t be done with broilers I am saying you can’t show me one place where it is being done. If you can, bro, I am VERY HAPPY to be wrong about it as I am now working to set up a farm and poultry will be a key part in it.

          As for a LGD taking out a hawk, that I also doubt, very very seriously. But may be I am wrong, can you show where this has happened, ever. Not to some tiny crestle either a big old Redtail or Ferruginous Hawk? I see even a large dog seriously ripped to shit if it manages to engage with such a bird.

          I also do not think your tree argument is strong. Are there trees inside a tractor, no. But I run tractors right in between and under trees. All the windfall is still available to the birds.

          Don’t get me wrong I like using fence, it works great on ADULT BIRDS, it doesn’t work for shit on young birds. They either slip though or fry themselves. Or you have to use finer meshed no electo fence which is more likely to be gotten into by predators.

          So basically I think you are both right. Darby things the way he does because he is raising meat birds and he either makes a profit or goes broke. You talk a lot about profit but you are NOT raising meat birds for market. You talk about not meeting profit goals, dude when was this, when I met you a few years ago you didn’t own land and were not running birds at all.

        • Paul,

          I think the reason you struggled with the Salatin system was probably (from my experience) two fold:
          1) the pen design isn’t that great IMHO – it bakes and kills chickens. Hoops offer much better ventilation and living quarters.
          2) the birds – the cornish cross is hard to master and can’t handle big temp changes.

          Here, we have changed all of that and are making great strides in profitability. We are also growing loads of grass for our cattle herd from the nitrogen the birds apply to the pasture. We’ve converted 35 acres of row crops to perennial grasses because of the success of our poultry business. We are getting ready to convert 10 more acres. I’m providing a modest income that four people are living off of, and we’ve “unplugged” from the Matrix because of it. Pastured poultry pens are not all that bad. Are they ideal? No. Show me who is doing more though to change society in mass for our food system than grass farmers.

          Here is my big, key issue with your article and it’s philosophical: It sounds as though if someone can’t do paddocks the way YOU do paddocks then they are harming the birds. Therefore, they shouldn’t do birds at all. It’s all or nothing, that is the tone. Maybe you didn’t intend it that way, but it’s how it comes across. Melissa admitted I talked her off the ledge concerning that very issue after reading your article!

          Now, if you could demonstrate and show one viable business model doing paddock shift LIKE YOU DO IT where a guy can make a LIVING (and not just a few bucks), great! I’m literally all ears! If not, then philosophically speaking based on the tone of the article, we have an issue. Anyone who can’t raise their own, and subsequently can’t buy them because hypothetically there isn’t a viable business to buy them from, can’t have chicken to eat. It is the chicken nazi!

          I’m uber idealistic too man, I really am. I envision a business model 10 years down the road where we are just doing 100% grass meats (rabbit, lamb, beef) and a limited amount of pasture pork with lots of veggie supplement (protein is the issue there). Grain, unless we are talking about a Gabe Brown, is NOT SUSTAINABLE at this day and age. Cheap grain will go away. But I’m also a realist and in the interim, we have to do what we can as your article suggests, to get away from commercial ag. I’m about 800,000 miles away from conventional ag, and 1,000,000 miles is my goal. Perhaps you could cheer-lead that we are 80% of the way to utopia, instead of beating up the system for it’s lack of the other 20%. This is where idealism and realism collide, and idealism can kill real world working solutions.

          I guess what I’m saying in the end is, I’m right there with you philosophically. But people have to eat and most don’t have the land, knowledge or inclination to raise their own meats. This whole move away from big ag is a journey, for the farmer and consumer – even society as a whole. We can’t just undo 70 years of wrong in 15 years. We need more time.

          Unless you can demonstrate a viable business model using these techniques you talk about, it would be appreciated if you would back off the idealistic tone and hatred towards pastured poultry pens. Those of us out here busting our @$$ to make real world changes in a production model would sincerely, genuinely appreciate it. You can do a lot of harm to the movement as a whole if you aren’t careful.

    • Thanks Darby! We are looking to coming to one of the conferences…March just might work out for us!

      Adam, thanks for the info! We are already throwing our table scraps in the compost pile so I’m excited to hear that we can throw them in the chicken feed pile too! I’m sure there are some exceptions so I’ll have to read up on what is good for/is not good for chickens.


  3. Regarding the use of an AR10 as a deer hunting gun. While the 7.62×51 (.308) is a GREAT round for deer I would not hunt deer with an ar10 platform for one reason….it’s heavy! A loaded scoped ar10 weighs in at 12-13 pounds. If you sit in a blind all day this is no big deal but if you walk around a lot and/or take standing shots, a 12 pound gun is a heavy darn gun.

    • Exactly where as my savage model 10 with scope is about 8 pounds. My 1895 without scope is only 6.5 pounds and is really easy to move though the bush with. It is honestly my favorite overall gun, I call it a red neck assault rifle.

  4. Its not about who created the new techno currencies, its about who guides it, or who can ‘afford’ to capitalize on it. Guiding is easy, it sounds like “never let a good disaster go to waste.” Just propaganda on different terms…

    I collect BTC, in tiny increments. I would love to see something “like” BTC take hold. I side with Jack, diversification, not instant gratification. One is none…

  5. Jack;
    Sir, with respect to your comments today regarding the concealed carry comments. specifically regarding the comments with the company Kel-Tec. I personally have owned several Kel-Tec firearms. I purchased the first version of the sub 9 compact folding rifle when it first came out. I also purchased a P-32 pistol as well. Let me say up front, before I go further, that it is in my most sincere opinion that Kel-Tec, has some of the most innovative ideas and spectacular concepts on the market. I absolutely love the ideas they come up with from their shotguns, to their .22mag pistols. I wish there were more companies who had that edge. However, it is with a heavy heart that I say I will never purchase another Kel-Tec firearm. Their engineering lacks some competence. Whether or not it is by mere coincidence I cannot say, but my personal experience with their product has been a very jaded one. I bought the sub 9 rifle when I lived in PA, and took it out to the game lands to shoot. This was a first Gen piece before the 2000 model. Over the course of ownership I put approximately 500 rds total through the weapon and the aluminum receiver was unable to keep up. I never shot more than 100 rds per day but eventually the pin which held the hammer spring in place eventually worked it’s way through the side of the receiver. It ceased to function around the 500th round. I was unable to recoup repairs or replacement from the company. Then I bought a P32. small pocket pistol which was perfect in size even though the sight system had something to be desired. Unfortunately the barrel exploded on me the first day at the range with factory ammunition. The company did replace the part without hassle , but I think that was my last straw. I take friends and customers shooting at my local range and I’ve yet to make a day when someone has brought a Kel-Tec to a range day, when something didn’t go very wrong with that gun. Perhaps it is simply coincidence, but I don’t necessarily buy that. I’d love to see a company that had their innovation and concepts in something that wasn’t dangerous.
    Mike B.
    1SG, US Army Retired EOD
    (Explosive Ordnance Disposal)
    Graduate of the University of Bombs and Bullets.

    • Well that is a high cause of concern, all I can say is my experience doesn’t match yours. I own two keltec handguns, never a problem. I own a SUB-2000 it came with a problem where it would drop the magazine, but they fixed it for free and it has never had issues ever since.

      At shotshow I must have fired 20 different keltecs and never had a single one malfunction. Of course I guess they would make sure to debug anything they brought to media at the range day.

  6. With regards to rounds for the .223/5.56, Barnes now makes a 70gr TSX that I have found to be an absolute slayer for deer and large hogs around here. You will need a fast twist barrel, 1:7 is ideal, to stabilize the long bullet. I load mine with 24gr of Varget is surplus Lake City brass and find it is quite a potent load.

    Interestingly, not long ago I purchased a lot of ammo cans at Ft. Bragg and a number of them were marked “5.56 70gr TSX”- I did some research and it seems the high speed guys around there who get to choose their own rounds have been using the 70gr TSX and it also has quite a reputation as a man stopper in those circles.

    For those who don’t reloading Black Hills Ammo an Silver State Armory both offer this as a loaded round.

    • Didn’t know about the 70 grain option, I don’t have anything with a fast enough twist to use them though, well not yet LOL.

    • The 70gr “Optimized” load is excellent (as is the Federal TBBC round that Jack mentioned). If you can find some of his writings on the various forums, Gary Roberts (He goes by “DocGKR” on various forums) has written on both. Personally, I’m using Mk 318 SOST rounds because I can’t quite lay hands on the 70gr TSX bullets.

      He’s also touched on .308/7.62 NATO rounds as well, granted his expertise is mostly in the LE/Self Defense arena but you can glean information for hunting as well.

      I’d post a link to a forum where a lot of his writings on, but don’t want to start any turf wars. If it’s okay, I’ll post the links.

  7. Jack, when I was talking about libertarians before, I should have said I thought there was a “possibility of libertarians voting as a block with republicans to slash social programs”. That was really what I meant when I said forming a coalition with republicans which my terminology was wrong because technically it is not a coalition or doesn’t have to be. I made a similar mistake years ago on the forum using the term “fiscal conservative” when I should have said something like “business conservative” instead.

  8. Can you just order talapia fingerlings and grow them without breeding them ?

    What about large mouth or small mouth bass ? I would think trout could die in the summer because the water can get kind of warm. It seems like maybe bass would tolerate warm water better.

  9. I thought the caller asking about fuel storage only brought up ethenol in case there was a storage difference between winter and summer blends. I dont think he was pointing out a witch. Not everyone who says the word ethenol is yelling “witch.”

    • Yeah, I was confused, too, and was wondering if I missed something … there was not even a hint of criticism of ethanol in that caller’s question. He basically said, oh by the way, our gasoline is 10% ethanol in case that affects anything.

  10. I hope Jack will allow MY rant about Steven Harris and his BS about ethanol fuel. I am not normally a negative individual, but Mr. Harris tends to bring out the worst in me on several subjects. I like all of Jack’s expert counsel, but Harris gives some really poor advise, on some really dangerous issues, on a really frequent basis. ANYONE who tells you (the listeners) that ethanol fuel is equal to, or greater than, ordinary gasoline has an “agenda” of his/her own – Just so happens that Mr. Harris sells & markets items that will allow you to produce a tiny amount of ethanol at home. (No fault for trying to make money… But making money at the expense of peoples’ expensive vehicles and tools is where I draw the line).

    First of all – in reality “Ethanol fuel has a “gasoline gallon equivalency” (GGE) value of 1.5 US gallons (5.7 L), which means 1.5 gallons of ethanol produce the energy of one gallon of gasoline.” (cited from Retrieved from 12 October 2011 publication.) That’s far from equal, but rather 1/3 less powerful. Furthermore, Ethanol gathers moisture from the atmosphere, causing your fuel tank, and fuel lines to rust-I’ve seen it 1000 times- It will ruin motors’ carburetors and fuel injection systems quicker than that of anything I’ve seen. It’s not unlike dumping a handful of trash in your gas tank and driving around – see how far you get.

    Thirdly, “fuel phase separation” problems occur due to fuel being mixed with water. This causes reduced fuel longevity. A gasoline/ethanol blend absorbs water until it triggers phase separation. The blend has a 90-day product life in a closed tank, but lasts just 30 to 45 days in a vented tank (IE: most ATV’s, lawnmowers/small Briggs/Honda engines-just to name a few, & older cars and trucks). With 10 percent ethanol blends, owners are recommended to replace the fuel in tanks about once a month by driving or draining, taking into consideration the humidity in the atmosphere and temperatures.

    I’m not saying don’t use Ethanol in an “emergency situation” – have at it in that case. Something is always better than nothing. Oh, and also, please don’t indiscriminately spray ether in your engines just because Harris says its OK – Long story short: You can really cause a lot of harm to yourself, or your engine with just a little too much ether.

    Push something else Harris, because Ethanol sucks in every way shape and form. It’s a good science experiment to produce something that’ll burn from household items, I agree. Let’s just use it as that though and not attempt to “pedal” something that’ll hurt people’s small and large engines for your own gain. Rant out.

    • I allowed your rant and I am sure you will hear a detailed response from Mr. Harris as well. Here is what else I did, I put some FRICKEN PARAGRAPH breaks in your comment so people could read it without a major headache.

      I may soon implement a no paragraph break = banned comments policy. I know it may seem like a nit pick but how the heck do you people who write with one giant crap turd of text expect that any of us can read it.

    • Sorry about the run-on paragraph. I was excited to “get it all out”, so I may have blasted my post a little prematurely…. That is to say, without quite enough proofreading. Thanks for fixing it. Have a great day!

    • As with anything, ethanol included, reality is usually in the middle of varying opinions.

      I have personally witnessed issues that are greater than Steve makes it out to be, but agree with him that some lazy mechanics and technicians use it as a boogeyman and blame too much stuff on it.

      Phase separation is a real issue and a legitimate concern. Ethanol does absorb water, and gasoline/ethanol blends are fine absorbing some water. The problem is is they absorb too much, the ethanol and water separates from the gasoline, then you have phase separation. This problem is compounded by the fact that the amount of water that your gasoline/ethanol blend can hold is temperature dependent. So fuel that has some water absorbed is just fine at 90 degrees, but at 20 will separate. In fact it is quite possible to purchase fuel that has some water in it (for whatever reason along the supply chain, out of your control and unknown to you) in the summer that looks and works fine only to find in the winter when you go to use it that it has separated. Been then, done that, not only have I seen it but I verified that was the problem with a petroleum lab specialist.

      Ethanol also can and does harm some parts in older fuel systems. One example I have personal experience with is the floats in the carbs of the older military gas gensets and other gas powered equipment using the military standard series engines. They are plastic, and E-10 swells them. Been there, replaced a bunch before we figured out the problem- and verified the problem by soaking one in E10 and one in pure gas for a week and measuring. Thankfully the last of those are almost gone from the system.

      My biggest advice to people is that is you are putting an ethanol blended fuel back for storage, buy it in the winter- that way the amount of water the fuel can absorb is lower, so you know it has less watering it to start with.

      Can most of us use ethanol with no problems? Sure, as long as you keep in mind the specific issues that come with it and don’t use it in older small engine equipment. But we also should be realistic about the disadvantages that it does bring.

      Personally, for what gasoline I setback I buy non-ethanol. Probably overkill, but after having issues with phase separation in jerry cans I am not eager to repeat the experience, especially not when it’s SHTF time and I need gear to work. If we are prepping for worst case scenarios, part of that should be making sure our preps are made for worst case for them, so a few extra cents per gallon is no big deal to me.

      Now I have been thinking of buying one of Steve’s stills, and I see a lot of advantages to mixing my own blends. But when I do that the ethanol and gas will be stored separate and blended when needed. Because in all my research it isn’t ethanol that is the issue with storage and phase seperation, as ethanol stores fine by itself as long as you want, but the much more complex formulation that comes once it is blended.

    • I had a detailed response to the VOMIT that will just puked up on all of us, but just as I was finishing, my browser jumped to a different page and I lost the whole thing and don’t have the time right now to re-write the whole thing. Steve

        • I’ll be anxiously awaiting your detailed response Mr. Harris. Clearly it’s going to be very eloquently written, if it follows your last post’s tempo.

          Your anger with those that oppose any single idea you have is absurd – and that’s why some of us won’t follow you blindly, as you may wish. I listen to you often through TSP. I agree with much of what you say, but you attack people; people with solid, fact based knowledge that argue against your, sometimes, insensible claims. I appreciate what you do, nevertheless, and I’m not trying to personally assault you. I just don’t ALWAYS agree with your business philosophy.

          Calm down. Stop attacking potential customers. That’d be a better business philosophy than pedaling ethanol as a miracle fuel when it simply is not.

          Thanks for the detailed response Tim Glance (two posts back). Great store by the way. I just bought some stuff. I feel like that’s what this community should be all about: People offering solid choices and options to “gear up” and gain knowledge/skills….. Fact based knowledge, solid recommendations for gear, and a community that can back up their claims with experience. I digress – for now.

      • Here is a tip works with most PCs and specifically firefox. If you screw up and click something and go off your page where you were typing and if your text isn’t there it may still be recoverable. In the text box you were typing, click in it, then right click and select undo. Many times this will recover your lost text, you get one shot at it though.

    • I agree that Steve can get a little twisted with some of the lightsaberish questions that come up and can come across a little brash in his responses. I also believe that he is extremely passionate about what he does. There isn’t anyone else that puts as much effort into what he does for this community (short of Jack).

      I would suggest storing the ethanol from the distiller that Steve sells. Mix it when you need it and keep it in an air tight container. Store it in a cool dry place. I bought a distiller package from Steve and that is my plan.

      I have worked in a GM dealership since 1993. I can tell you that we had a lot of problems with the E85 flex fuel systems after they got some age on them. I am not an engineer so I don’t know if it was the fuel or GM’s system.

    • Will,
      I agree. Harris is way off base on this one.
      Ethanol is a solvent. it can clean the gunk out of your fuel system and deposit in your carbs or injectors. It absorbs moisture and can phase separate once it does it will never burn. And the list goes on. I deal with it daily at work.
      Only once in all Steve’s rants did he briefly touch on this and acknowledged that vented tanks it could adsorb moisture from the air and phase separate.

        • Yes and no- while it is an aggressive solvent, they are not the same and certainly act differently on different materials.

          For example ethanol is highly corrosive on aluminum. In E10 there is not enough to make a difference. Allow it to separate and you get a mix on the bottom that is around 50% ethanol and 50% water. This mix will be highly corrosive to both steel and aluminum.

          I would suspect that most real, legitimate damage from ethanol to engines comes from cases where the fuel was exposed to moisture long enough to separate. Carburetors and fuel tanks on most items are not sealed, and in as little as a few weeks in many climates enough moisture can come in to cause phase separation. Even just the amount of fuel in the bowl of a carburetor, if it separates, could leave the pretty corrosive mix. Left over a winter or summer as people leave equipment unused this can cause a real mess.

          People who are used to being able to leave their equipment for weeks at a time without running it dry using regular gas would be more likely to see issues in this regard. Of course bets practice has always been to run everything dry, but people rarely do it.

        • Tim –
          Your observation about damage from ethanol coming from the fuel being exposed to moisture over long term storage mimics my personal experience.

          I was storing my generator without running it dry in the Florida summers (yeah, young and dumb . . . should have known better) and the separation/moisture issue cost me a carburetor. Lesson learned as far as PM and, for lack of a better way to put it, being dumb. On the upside, I’ve now got a spare carb laying around that I can tinker with and learn how to properly rebuild it.

          After that issue, I now keep ethanol-free 91-octane in the cans for storage and the small-engine stuff and make sure that everything is run dry before it goes back into the shed. It may be succumbing to fear of the boogey-man, but I’ll spend the extra cents per gallon for my own peace of mind.

      • Yep… Seems like the majority agree/have come to the same, time proven, conclusions. Thanks everyone. – Seems like Ethanol does suck to people that try to implement it’s use in there equipment. Have a great day Mr. Harris, & good luck.

        • was it Harris or Wheaton that said “it’s just marketing”???

          seems like we see a lot of “marketing” these days…

  11. Regarding nutrients and various fodder… This winter I decided to try my old bags of hard winter wheat berries normally used for mushroom grain spawn. The hens go ape-shite over them and it’s easy. Sprouted wheat is usually blended into super nutrient wheat grass juice, so stands to reason they’re super good for the girls. In this sense I think for the backyard, homestead, small flock system, “fodder,” really is more akin to sprouting. And sprouts being some of the most alive, energy rich, nutrient dense foods available, you can’t go wrong. My wheat fodder has been a superior addendum to their layer mash and choice BOSS. Also consider your local grocer. Their produce section tosses out daily (potentially organic) collections to be composted. Look around and you’ll find great sources to supplement your flock’s diet even through winter.

    • I hear ya. I’m just always looking to improve things. I might have come across more concerned than I actually am. It’s just that me being “captain common sense” all of the time.

      It seems that there would be a nutrient loss from vegetation grown in soil vs. in just water. Of course, I’m not concerned about fodder vs. feed, since that vegetation is grown in most likely awful soil. I wonder if my amazing, mineral rich well water makes a difference? Essentially, I’m just kicking around ideas, and trying to solve problems. I always dig deeper whenever I do something.

      One of those things is this. After I made the call I realized, all I need to do is introduce fish to the system. I wonder if anyone is doing this? Would fish help keep the system cleaner? I know carp love grain products (used to fish for them with corn and bread). Goldfish/Koi are just carp. The plants would benefit from the manure/nitrogen in the water, and the fish would hopefully feed on the crap rinsed off of the grains, etc….

      I suppose someone with experience in aquaponics would know. I googled fodder systems and fish and came up with nothing useful. So, I’ll just have to give it a go.

      I picture a simple system where a pump cycles water thru the system continuously out of a fish tank…..simple. We’ll see. I’m setting it up tomorrow.

      • If you intend to elevate the level of complexity to the degree of indoor aquaponics, then why bother with fodder? Just grow some kale, chard, spinach, and cilantro (etc) and use the occasional fish as protein to feed your flock.

  12. Jack, not sure if you’re aware of this, but no-till with the use of herbicides has been around for a while in the wheat fields of Montana. It’s known as “chem fallow”. Besides holding topsoil, it reduces the moisture loss associated with plowing. Lately, some farmers have started to rotational crop legumes with the wheat for the nitrogen fixing properties, green manure, and added profits. Here is an article from 2009 that does a decent job explaining things:

  13. Well Steven Harris should talk to John c Dvorak who worked at Union oil and tested gas for a living. Gas you buy in southern Texas will operate different in Denver, Colorado because oil is formulated different for different sub climates.

    Ethanol =junk. I drive the same roads, 5 days a week, I fill up with non ethanol 91 octane, I get 405 miles to the tank. I fill up with 91 octane 10 percent ethanol I’ll get 250 to tank. I tried multiple different stations and kept getting the same result. Ethanol addicts will even admit you get less milage with ethanol. But the price is the same with or without…..

    Screw wasting corn on ethanol when you could eat it (but I guess this is the only thing gmo corn is good for)

  14. If the government is the ones protecting us from the big bad corporations, how on earth does things like “horse meat” slip through systems? Hmm Hmmm???

    This food issue for me, is the SINGLE leading issue that lead me to a total lifestyle and outlook change. It led me to survivalism, then to prepping, to a total down shift in “American Dream”, permaculture, living on acerage etc.

    Any government or any person that supports governments ability to provide cover for companies like Taco Bell to claim that their meat is “ground beef” by only having to be what.. 30% “ground beef” has lost their Fing minds. Jack you hit this argument way out of the ballpark. No they’re not protecting us, they’re providing fucking plausible deniablity and cover. Who the hell went to jail for life for samnella poising of children who ate at jack in the box in the 90s? Nobody. Why? Because factory chicken farming is DEEPLY protected by government.

    Big Ag (the republican’s FAVORITE and i mean FAVORITE corporatist industry) is so protected here in Louisiana. Big Dairy in particular. Just like the ground beef, they want the USDA to allow artificial sweetners to be tucked under the guise of “milk” as ingredients. Sick, just sick. Meanwhile, you’ll go to jail for a decade for selling raw milk.

  15. I have Accupower LSD “C” 4500mah and 10,000 mah “D”
    They are expensive, I get mine from I can get two for about 32 bucks CDN

  16. Jack as far as no till being connected to gmos this has already been happening for over a decade. Most gmo soy fields are no till around the world. It has been used here, Canada and South America as a way to sell less cost. Only the big thing is that every year the farmer has to buy more herbicides to kill the so called weeds. Now there are so called super weeds.

    2,4-d is one component to the mixture of agent orange. It is not one molecule short it is just one of the chemicals mixed in to make it. Agent orange is not the only horrible chemical mixture that was used. There was also agent pink and some other colors.

    There is two sides to the no till. One is there are people out there who realize it is the best for the soil and then there are the gmo people also using it.

    There was an article about this in Acres USA sometime last summer. In the many books against Monsanto out there the no till is mentioned as well.

  17. Just curious about this LGD thing concerning hawks.

    The thing is I have an akbash/great pyr mix that when he puts his paws on my shoulders is taller than me and I am 5’10”.

    This breed is known to kill cougars, chase black bears away, kill the infamous pitt bulls with one bite(when researching the breed I read a number of antidotes).

    So Besides being probably to slow to catch a hawk unless the hawk gets tangled up or too focused on prey on the ground I do not see any of these breaking through such an LGD as mines thick fur.

    Now here in south central Missouri we also see bald eagles flying and a couple species of owl. I have seen a great horned owl large enough to figure that must be where the whole gargoyle stories mist have come from. If they were not so shy of humans I could see one swiping an infant with no problem.

    But here is the key. I have watched a red tail fly over where my chickens free range and go down into the pasture over an acre away and sit on a branch. It seems more intent on scanning the field for mice than messing with the chickens.

    I also have a dog and goats near the chickens. Those large creatures coupled with many places for the chickens to hide must make it uninteresting for a hawk. We will see this summer when I run some on pasture.

    I also am planning on setting up a small guniea coop on my upper pasture near a forest edge. This will be away from my dog and goats. These birds are able to fly much better than chickens, their cacophony of noise also has an affect on predators.

    But from many an old farmer around here I am told that the biggest thing is if guineas are not trained to a shelter they will go wild and roost in trees. The biggest thing is while they are asleep owls will supposedly go and bite their heads off.

    Either way on the upper pasture well away from much human contact for quite a distance I expect to see some predation. Then again this bird is agile, will have a shelter and a forest edge as well as bramble to hide in.

    As for the effectiveness of the dog? I have heard foxes doing mating calls(scary stuff), there are numerous bands of coyotes around, hawks, numerous species of snakes seen(chickens were eating a ring neck one day and enjoyed a baby copper head), raccoons and recently a second possum who was only stealing eggs.

    Out of all those predators and surely more I have not yet lost a bird to predation in a year and five months.

    Weather has been the hardest on the birds and next parasites. The only birds I have lost were chicks that were too weak from the hatchery.

    • I think a dog is a good hawk deterrent don’t get me wrong, I just object to Paul’s assertion that the dog would kill the hawk. A dog has one real weapon, its jaws. Those jaws are remarkably close to something pretty important to the dog, its eyes. I would say unless the raptor was on a bird it had already killed and jumped from behind that said dog would be in deep shit engaging a raptor. You know how to take down a 400 pound man? One good poke in the eye!

      Have you seen the claws on a large bird of prey and these animals do one thing with those claws, feed themselves by killing.

      Now likely the red tail in your area sees that big dog and doesn’t want the fight. Like I said they are a hell of a deterrent. It isn’t that they do not work, I just don’t think anyone can show me an example of a large hawk becoming dog chow, though if it exists I really want to see it, it would be cool to see for sure.

  18. On new home security –
    Brian’s responses seem to mostly cover theft deterrence and slowing home invaders.

    So a couple of thoughts on other things..

    If you’re building from scratch, Steel doors in steel door frames are an option to the Door Devil.

    While building its very easy to run wire for any security options you may want in the future, and wires cheap, so consider extra wire runs.

    Bedroom security is important. I like designs where all of the bedrooms, and at least one bathroom are behind a ‘hard line’ that can be locked at night. This would be a steel interior door, that closes off the ‘bedroom wing’ from the rest of the house. Second floor would be preferable. Windows should be inaccessible or very difficult to penetrate. Think size, height off ground, prickly things under windows, etc.

    The advantage of this its it can also be used as a lightweight ‘safe room’ if you have a home invasion scenario during the day.

    Fire protection is also important. Again, during construction, easy to run wires to connect your alarms, and to include fire safety devices, and storage areas for equipment during construction.

    Think about a safe room/shelter as part of your design. The book ‘The High Security Shelter’ has some good info. If building from scratch w/ a basement, you could add a poured concrete floor for the first story and basically have your entire basement be a shelter (see book). The advantage being, if this is your storage area (water, food, etc) all of your supplies are always inside your shelter.

    Take a look in the forums, there’s some good stuff on people’s ‘wish lists’ for new construction.


    • I should have added..

      ‘shelter security’ (hurricane, fire, earthquake)
      ‘food security’
      ‘water security’
      ‘energy security’
      ‘physical security’ (theft, home invasion)

      All of these should contribute to your overall design, and can be more easily/cheaply incorporated during the design phase.

  19. I LOVE and carry daily a Glock 26. It’s nicknamed the ‘Baby Glock” & is a 9mm. If the concern is wanting to leave it at home because of discomfort I can say that’s never been an issue. I use Hornady Critical Duty rounds to make up for my buddies ‘you should carry a 40’ comments and counter the 45 comments with a ‘how many rounds you carrying? Do bad guys come in greater numbers typically?’ type questions. I use an Old Faithful holster. Highly recommend it. I also sprung for the Lasermax Guide Rod laser. It would take a lot to get me to change my set up in any way.

  20. Let me preface this by saying I love the show and Steven Harris is my favorite expert to listen to… which is why this winter fuel/summer fuel question is really bugging me. The exact wording of the key final sentence of the caller’s question was:

    “Also, Minnesota gasoline is 10% ethanol if that makes a difference. Thanks for your help…”

    I just can’t figure out how that was even remotely, .000001% interpreted as a witch hunt on ethanol. Am I missing something? Does just uttering the word ethanol translate to “Ethanol sucks … it ruins equipment! Grrrr!” Are there any other trigger words we should know about that cause a manufactured rant?

    • I think Jack & Steve both addressed that. If ethanol is not at all a problem, whys it brought up at all? Because in even a small way the question proved they somewhat believed the ethanol lie. An analogy; if I told you that the sky was blue because of chicken farts, and if there were a news story came out saying there was a live chicken shortage you wouldn’t worry about the sky not being blue because you know my blue sky story is crap. The fact the ethanol was brought up shows he bought the crap. Did Steve get a little excited? Yeah, but you know what your coworkers and friends would do if you bought my chicken fart story? Little animation there also. People being duped will always bring out laughter, anger, frustration, etc.

  21. Seems like a major stretch. It sounded to me like someone who doesn’t know as much about fuel as the expert (Steve) and was just providing as much details as he knows about his setup.

  22. Follow up to the Glock/Kimber question. I’ve got a Solo Carry that I currently carry concealed. Definitely the easiest-to-carry firearm I’ve ever had. Prior to that I carried a Sigma (close to Glock 17 size and way too bulky, even with a good holster), a Walther PPS (better, and with some really nice features- wish I wouldn’t have sold that one), a Sig 1911 full-size (too heavy), and finally the Solo. With the extended magazine I feel like I’ve got enough firepower and the Solo is small enough to carry everyday, even in a pocket. Just one caveat- the Glock will run on almost anything whereas the Solo is only happy with premium defensive ammo, and Kimber even says so in the manual.

    I will add that the right holster makes a huge difference. I use a Milt Sparks VM2 and it is worth every penny and helps keep the gun on my hip instead of in the truck. Just my $.02. Great show!

  23. I carried a KelTec P-11 (sub compact 9mm) for a few years. It was a great little gun. I it didn’t malfunction in several hundred rounds that I put through it, and it was very easy to conceal.

    I took my little beauty to Frontsight Firearms training in NV and discovered something when I shot a lot with it for the first two days.
    1. Slide locks back on an empty magazine.
    2. I’m a lefty, as I pull the gun in, my firing hand tips a little to left as grab the next mag to insert it.
    3. Slide retention pin slides out the side.
    4. Upper slides off the front of the gun onto the ground.

    I think there’s another 9mm option from KelTec, but I’d definitely avoid the P11. I carried it for years not knowing how screwed in a bad situation.

    During the same 4 day training wife was battling with a double-action Sig style (Astra) 9mm.
    Frontsite gave us both Glock17s to try for the remaining 2 days.
    We came home and bought 2 Glock19s and have been carrying them since 2011.

    I now live in a warm climate so I’m trying to figure out stealthy ways to carry the Glock without wearing a Hawaiian shirt everywhere, but otherwise I love it, and I am confident it will work every time. My wife has a couple nifty Roma gun purses and it’s comforting to know she can handle herself and has 15 rounds with which to do it.

    • There is something I just don’t like about a glock but it is also irrelevant because I can’t argue with the results of a glock.

    • The duel comment was a FRICKEN JOKE, and I love Paul but he should not get butt hurt so easily because someone disagrees with him.

      • No butts were harmed in the creation of this podcast. 🙂

        And I declare me the winner of the duel. Even though that is probably contradictory in all the rules. 🙂

        I think that Darby’s stuff gave some good fodder for our podcast. And it came at a moment when earlier the same day we were discussing our chicken plans for this year.

        • Paul, I declare Darby the winner. LOL frankly the people on your show with you seemed pretty uncomfortable by the end of it.

        • I appreciated both Paul and Darby’s comments.

          For me, since this is my first year with chickens, I’m going to go the chicken tractor route, learn the lessons and tweak along the way.

          Mistakes will be made I’m sure, but we’ll learn a lot along the way and I’ll be checking both Darby and Paul’s blog regularly for tips, pointers and advice.

          Thanks all!

        • Paul, I totally respect what you are doing and from a homesteading perspective I think it’s plausible, especially for eggs. I’ve done it here, so I know it is but we still used a little bit of grain on a daily basis for many reasons.

          So let me get this straight: My “stuff” gave you some “good fodder” for your podcast? This “stuff” being my implemented, functioning, proven, profitable system that is leading consumers away from big ag? In contrast to your hypothetical, non-implemented, thesis of a system you have yet to build?

          I say this with the utmost respect Paul, I really sincerely do: I’ll give your commercial paddock shift ideas some heavier consideration once you actually back them up with real world results man. And put numbers to them. I’m an engineer, excel speaks to me as do profit margins at the end of the season. Until then, please consider having a little respect for those of us actually making a real world difference in the food production system for meats. It is hard to give you much credence when you are arm chair quarterbacking from a utopian perspective.

          I’m still waiting for a reasonable reply to my questions listed above from days and days ago. Where is there a working, functioning, profitable model of this system you speak of? And I don’t give a rip what Sepp Holtzer or Geoff Lawton or (insert name here) are doing. Point me to a system in the states making money on a commercial scale with paddock shift and no grain. Please, link it right here. I would seriously like to see it in action, and I’m not being sarcastic. You forget: I’m an idealist too. It’s what drives me to make my existing, working systems more sustainable.

          I will say, I think a fodder system could have a lot to offer in terms of curbing grain use and increasing sustainability for meat birds. A good friend of mine here locally (with a PDC I might add) has talked me into experimenting with just that this summer.

          Will await your response, and/or real world results.

        • Sorry Darby, I just don’t have the time.

          I worked for over 30 years as an engineer before getting bitten by the permaculture bug and shifting gears.

          If you look at my article and listen to the podcast you will know that I was doing what you are doing now. I was doing that 12 years ago. While I could see a path to improve profits, the profits were too narrow for my taste. I built paddock shift systems (with permanent fence) – and then divorced it. After writing the article I have heard from about a hundred people having great success with the technique.

          Have I not already mentioned chaffin family farms? There’s ample proof. But, yes, people want to be spoon fed the detailed numbers. I get it. If you are not willing to do your own research, then you will just have to wait until I rebuild my systems here and post the proof.

          This will be about the 200th time in my life, I have to prove it. And once again somebody is stating something like “going to mars is not possible until there is a white paper about somebody having gone to mars and another white paper repeating the experiment and confirming the results.”

          Bottom line: If you don’t want to do the research, or experiment, nobody is forcing you to travel this path. I know it works because I’ve seen it and I’ve talked to people about the numbers and made suggestions about improving the numbers further.

          And the “arm chair quarterbacking” comment is really fucking rude.

          Fodder …. that takes me back quite a few years. I would tell you a lot more things you should consider that would be better, but … I prefer to share this sort of thing with people that groove on it.

        • So Paul what you are saying is that no you can’t show a single person profitably raising broilers with the method you seem to indicate is the only method worth doing? Do I have that right?

  24. Sorry you feel that way Paul, I was trying to have a beneficial discussion here. I openly asked for that info, assuming if you cared about sustainable food production you would share it. I guess I was wrong. If you have proven it before (or if someone else has) and have it documented, share it gracefully when someone asks for it perhaps – just a suggestion.

    Personally, I see meat birds as a means to an end. But I doubt discussing that here would be of any benefit so I’ll save it for another day.

    No, you had not mentioned that farm before (at least not to me). I just asked for some basic facts a couple of weeks ago, as did Jack, in the show comments. No reply. And when I ask for it again, the claws come out.

    I’m doing on my own research thank you, it just doesn’t happen to be on paddock shift (as you define it) with chickens. And I’m not saying it can’t be done with meat chickens, but obviously I have my doubts. And if I didn’t “groove” on something, I wouldn’t sincerely ask for it. Wow. Assumptions! Sorry I asked….

    I didn’t listen to your podcast, because more than one person told me it was a complete waste of my time. I’m starting to think they were probably right. Seriously, I think we probably agree on way more than we disagree about. From what I can tell in my limited experience, you seem to like to high-lite the later as opposed to focusing on the positive. This makes discussing something with you a bit of a lost cause. Really I believe we are on the same team here, but I’m not certain you see it that way. Of course, you are entitled to your opinion.

    Maybe my comment was rude, if so I apologize. But all I’ve heard out of you is how bad something is and no validation of what you purpose being better after having asked for it. I think “rude” is chastising a person and his system without offering aforementioned proof of results, after multiple respectful inquiries. And “rude” is assuming I want to be “spoon fed”. That’s an arrogant comment man. But my skin is thick, so I’m all good.

    As a suggestion if I may, if paddock shift works and is so superior then why not list that validation from this other farm in your “Raising Chickens 2.0 article” for people to read?

    It’s obvious I’m wasting key strokes here, I’m really not certain why I’m trying to have a rational discussion with you. Good luck in your endeavors Paul.