Episode-1394- Listener Calls for 7-25-14 — 41 Comments

  1. Thanks for the early show posts the past couple of days. We appreciate it.

  2. Wow, someone’s an early bird… Wild guess, but you had this one prepped yesterday. 😛

    Thanks Jack, the caller show is always my second favorite type of TSP show, second to the permaculture shows.

    I can’t wait to listen to this one, the topics look exceptional!

  3. Im just getting caught up now, listening to one of my questions answered from #1390. Got the kobo out and listening outside whilst planting my fall carrots and thinking what else I can squeeze in between rows. Thanks for the early show Jack

  4. How do we know that our question didn’t fall short of screening, but was just too stupid to bother answering?
    We would hate to keep calling in a question you will never answer.

    • That itself may be one of those questions ! But seriously if you wait long enough your question or one like it will be or has been answered . Have you heard all previous podcast ?

  5. THANK YOU FOR YOUR RANT. I can skip mine for the day. Ya know I could never get why it’s such a bad thing why we can’t just focus on fixing us. Working in our own back yard first.

  6. 83 Acres WOW! How wonderful. Just my 2 cents. When planning Know that even if you have 5 ac or less it can be over whelming at times. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You will learn, you can always redo or design around them. I have made some huge giant mistakes. Took some doing a few break downs and lots of swear words but was still able to work around them. Eventually. 🙂

    Some day maybe I could write a book on how to do it correctly hahaha for now the only thing I know is how to not do it. Just to dang busy making mistakes and having learning experiences. I do every thing wrong at least 3 times. What can I say I’m a slow learner.

    Things that I have learned (the hard way) to be very helpful are…

    Starting a file a box, an idea book or some place to hold all your wonderful ideas Writing down where you got that idea has saved me tons of time (book page number web site) Get at least a 4×4 white board. tub surround is way cheap comes in 4×8 sheets the store will cut it 4 U (what ever size you have room for) Mark down in permeant marker ALL the things that wont change. rivers streams hills buildings Favorite tree and what not. Including the property line. (for a long time I had butcher paper covering the kitchen table with plastic or glass on top so I could doodle right on it.

    If you have not had it surveyed I would do that ASAP. We didn’t know better and OMG what a nightmare 22 yrs later!!! You might also want to give a quick idea of how you would divide your property up should down the road you want to sell a chunk.

    Not sure of your age or if this is a place you see getting old on. Setting things up in zone one for when you are older or in case you are injured is huge. Example you don’t want to have to walk 100yds to go feed at the barn or pack in fire wood. Not a big deal in your 30’s but in your 50’s 60’s + that can be the difference on being able to stay or having to move.
    Same goes if you are ever injured. We have tried to set our place up so that it would be easily accessible now or with a few minor tweeks later. I can tell you that has already come in handy. ( bad weather, injuries, illness, time constraints, & a bit of age)

    String stakes and spray paint to mark the ground with. A space always always seems smaller when in the wide open outdoors and you are not tired & sore. That same space can be HUGE when it comes time to work it. I call it the Christmas tree syndrome. We have had to cut our yard space down 4 times in 22 yrs. That redo is a huge pain.

    Planning for how much time each day or week you want to spend working on your place regularly AFTER all is said and done. Nothing seems like a big deal at the time. only 15 min here and there. Not bad if you only have 2 things to take care of but it can add up if you are not careful. Next thing you know you are working 14 hour days and still not getting it all done. ( a huge sign you did it wrong lol at least for me) As you complete projects that need regular care your progress in building will slow down. Seems like a duh thing. However I would get so depressed when it felt like things were not getting done in a timely manner. Then duh I am busy running the place just as much as I am still working on building the place.

    The biggest one is plan for waste / garbage / left overs /supply storage removal or staging area ahead of time. An out of the way space is best. (sucks to have to move tons and tons of rock or 75 pallets or 6″ diameter tree branches 20 times) Each project will have it’s share of unused stuff that needs to be dealt with. Knowing ahead of time where that is going to go will prevent you from having piles and piles of crap all over. Plus it’s like building your own little store. You know right where to go when you need something in a hurry. You can go shopping on your own land.

    Know that only so much learning can come from books and others advice even mine. The best way to know is to just do it. Follow your gut listen to nature and your dreams. Have fun and enjoy the journey.

  7. The Islamic world needs to have a Renascence and fighting and funding them constantly to fight themselves is not going to do that. To get them to have a Renascence they need to have intellectuals present new ideas to the culture. They need to define their own borders and form their own governments. We’d be better off dropping off iPhones and Ipods.

  8. BEST . EVER . RANT about the idiocy and immorality of us being in the Middle East and assorted other wars that do nothing but line pockets of the ‘club members’ mentioned by the late genius, George Carlin.

    My husband is a ‘Nam vet (101st Airborne), who was shot in the head, Agent Oranged and sent home to be spat upon by hippies and ignored by the ‘effing corrupt VA now that his health is failing. The hippies were right BTW, they just ignorantly took it out on the wrong people.

  9. Hi Jack, I called in about rainfall records

    Here is the website that I am getting my information from. The records go back to the 1951.

    I do clearly remember the El Nino event that happened back in to the Mid 1997 in our area as the water went underneath our house and we could not get to Grandma house because there was 5 feet of water going over the concrete bridge build in the some time around 1950. There is some speculation that this year could be another significant event. Here is a picture of a house in the area.

    I will make sure not to call into the show from my computer in the future. I could hear my fan in the background. Live and learn. Thank you for answering my question Jack

    Martin from Morgan Hill, California

  10. OK… Jack’s response regarding the caller who pointed out the character deficiencies of what are essentially Arabs and Persians was a good one. To support Jack and to help the audience, there is a good book to read that will help you understand Arabs and their culture.

    “The Arab Mind” by Raphael Patai.

    This book will make you feel uncomfortable. It will make Arabs very unhappy to know you are reading it. Nevertheless it explains a lot about the baseline attitudes of Arabs and why they do what they do. (Yes. It covers sexuality.) I’m not judging. I’m saying it’s not Western culture and its… well… it needs a lot of improvement but unless you all want to go over there and convert them all to Christianity… it’s not going to change.

    BTW… forcing them to convert by sending an army over there is conversion by the sword. It doesn’t work. Trust me. That’s how the Jews got Herod as a king! We learned from that. (I’m Jewish, BTW.)

    And that’s the point relating to the History Segment. Jack does not read all the segments, but if you look back recently you’ll see that 10,000 Jews were murdered by the Christians of Spain and the rest were made to convert at the point of a sword. (BTW, those Jews will survive and move to Texas. Really.) During the Middle Ages the Christians were not exactly covering themselves in glory but it was a different time. It looks a lot like what the Muslims are doing now!

    So… Christians should not act all high and mighty about this. In the Middle Ages you sucked! But… you got better and you are seeing the seeds of improvement with John Wycliffe. It will get better still under Martin Luther. But it’s going to take the mistakes of WW II before you see a Christian world even remotely like you do today. It’s a very good world despite what you see happening in Israel and Ukraine. It was much worse before. That is why we need to study history so we can place ourselves in perspective.

    Instead of forcing people to do the right thing we need to convince them to do the right thing. When attacked we must defend ourselves but what we are fighting is our earlier selves. Those Muslims we are fighting are trapped in their own Middle Ages. We know the way out because we have already walked that path but we can’t walk that path for them. They have to do it themselves.

    And now… back to your regularly scheduled podcast. 🙂


  11. And another thing…

    “The Jewish Mind” by Raphael Patai.

    Another good book if a little dated.

  12. Jack,

    I just wanted reinforce what you were saying about people who identify(or should I say over identify)as some member of an elite unit of our military. I grew up in a house with a Green Beret, my dad, and living in San Diego I have had the privileged of knowing a few SEALs. Not ONE of them would ever identify as such. I can’t remember ever hearing any of them ever introduce themselves as SPEC OPS, a Green Beret, or SEAL. They were all very subdued, never braggadocios. (unless you get a bunch of them together in a room with some alcohol, then you get to hear some REALLY good stories).

    Thanks again for keeping everyone honest


  13. Loved your rant on “You can’t buy happiness” My way of putting it was always “It may not buy happiness, but it sure makes the hard times a lot better”

  14. Thanks Jack for the inspiration.
    Had mp3 machine trouble so got behind.
    Then took truck driving job (no many radio stations out there)
    Got mp3 player fixed, downloaded (MSB has its benefits!) all.
    But now in a dozen episodes I’ll be all caught up.

    Back-to-back Jack has seen me through a tough time, being the Voice of sanity.
    So, what to do now? Buy an mp3 recorder! Whether it will work in a noisy 18-wheeler remains to be seen, will experiment. The matter is complicated in that only hands-free” devices are allowed by Federal DOT regulations, so I’ll have to get a headset for it.

    Onward and forward. Damn the torpedoes!! Scotty, give me warp 4.
    At age 58 I’ve learned a thing or 2 and there is an audience for that.
    Thanks Jack for being that shining city on the hill.

  15. @Gordon with 83 Acres. I had two thoughts:

    Another option to taking a PDC or even if you are taking a PDC is to have some other permaculture people offer their ideas/designs on your property. It sounds like you hadn’t even selected a home site yet and some extra consulting up front could save you a lot of energy, money and possibly heartache later. I get the best ideas when walking anyone’s land but mine.

    Since you are going to be homesteading, are there any creeks or springs on your land that may be suitable for a micro hydro install? Having that knowledge before selecting your home site may say you a lot of money by reducing the length of lines you would run to your home or out buildings.

  16. Just a heads up, surplus MOLLE II Fighting Load Carrier vests have become very inexpensive. Old Grouch’s Military Surplus has them for $14.

    I agree that this isn’t the kind of thing a person is likely to need, but when you can get a nice ALICE/LBE or MOLLE FLC and pouches for less than $40 it might be worth it for no other reason than to give the paranoia itch a good scratch.

  17. Thanks for the info on lemongrass oil to fight gnats. Unfortunately I do keep bees, so it sounds like I would want to avoid that (if I’m misunderstanding that let me know!). If anybody has any other tips or tricks to get rid of them, or any idea of why they show up, I’d love to hear it! I’ve NEVER seen this kind of population of gnats before and can’t figure why they picked my house!


  18. I know a Vietnam seal that holds similar views as expressed by Jack and other comments, to add to the pile. Rincon Vitova is a superior insectary and also carries an entemophagous fungal fly spray called BalEnce (beauvaria bassiana).

  19. Has anyone ever heard of someone building a safe into the foundation when building a new house? I know Jack has talked about a drop safe, which sounds like it is a smallish hole in the bottom foundation for putting valuables, but not large items.

    I certainly don’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars in valuables, but if I were building a house from scratch and there was something I could easily do to make a 6′ deep built-in safe in the foundation so all I had to buy is the door, that would be interesting. But could that be done securely, or is the door then going to be the point of weakness?

    • When we were building out house we were asked if we wished to install an inhouse storm shelter. I’m sorry we didn’t take that option but it was frankly too small and claustrophobic. Nevertheless… I don’t see why you could have one built as part of pouring the foundation of your house. Depending on the design of the foundation and how big you want the safe to be, it might be best to consult the builder. And you might want to consider a storm shelter. It’s all part of the preparedness stuff we all ought to be doing.

      Regarding a safe door, I’ve seen such doors for sale on the Internet and it looks as sturdy as any safe I’ve seen. But you will need exact dimensions if you want the builder to create an opening just the right size. Just ask them. I’m sure this isn’t the first time he’s heard the question.

      • Thanks! I would love to know how they would attach the door to the foundation. If it is just poured concrete I’m guessing a few minutes of hammering with a standard hammer and 99 cent masonry chisel would free it. So I wonder if they end up having to reinforce the surround, in which case it probably is not any less expensive than some of the safes in the video posted above.

      • Regarding the density of concrete, their are various schedules of concrete so that a simple chisel will not penetrate it easily. (They aren’t using that stuff from the home garden center after all.)

        o Ask your contractor what the psi will be for the concrete he will be pouring. Typically it will be 3,000 pis to 4,000 psi or a 5 1/2 sack or 6 sack mix. That will serve most purposes.

        o You can perform a concrete stress test by collecting the concrete into a special form as they pour. Check with a local lab for the exact form they require… usually a cylinder of a specific size.

        As they are pouring your concrete, you pour some of the concrete into these special cylinders. You then take them to a lab and have them tested. (This will probably scare the crap out of your contractor since he will know exactly what you are doing.) The contract likely specifies a certain psi for their concrete or specifies a mix that would provide that psi.

        o Be sure that the temperature when pouring is within standards. I’ve seen some chuckleheads try to pour concrete in freezing weather. The concrete won’t set right.

        o You should have rebar installed before you pour the concrete and either tied or welded into a frame. (I am no expert on rebar so I don’t know for sure.) Thus even if someone chips through they will hit the rebar.

        o You don’t want water drawing up though the concrete floor so be sure there is a layer of a few inches of sand and a plastic water barrier underneath.

        o Make sure they don’t “drop” the concrete from a large height…. like 8 feet. They should use a hose in that instance. Concrete tends to separate when dropped from a distance and that affects the density.

        I hope that wasn’t too complex. It’s a big job and not exactly the sort of project a weekend warrior should tackle. (That is… a walk-in safe or storm shelter.) If you don’t get it right, the concrete won’t be dense enough and the life of the concrete will be considerably reduced.

        For the normal floor safe with a flange in the back as Jack described, that is well within the ability of the weekend warrior. The only problem you might experience is cutting a hole in the concrete slab after it has been poured. You might cut a hole right over top of rebar and have to expand the hole to find a place between the rebar or cabling.

        Did I mention that I am not an expert on rebar?

        I was a soils inspector in another life. I inspected preparations prior to pouring a foundation. I did not inspect rebar so I have no opinion on it beyond what anyone would have. I have seen a lot of rebar but I have no training in inspecting it.

      • One more thing… a walk-in concrete safe is probably underground (though not necessarily so). If it is underground you will have the problems with water leeching through the walls as any east coast basement would have. Follow the normal waterproofing precautions for basement construction. Slapping some waterproofing on the inside walls is a poor solution. The waterproofing should begin on the outside. It will include gravel and a leeching drain near the bottom of the wall to carry off an excessive buildup of water.

    • Some example floor safes:

      As you can see they have a flange on the bottom. So to get them out you’d have to remove all of the concrete down to that level.

      The useful depth of in floor safes is limited to how far in you can reach unless they have some sort of pull out sleeve.

      If you have the space, a walk in room with a vault door could be poured at the same time as the foundation. I’ve been eyeing these:

      Though I’m sure they get pricey pretty quick. =)

      • Generally speaking a pocket door is a weak spot in any wall. However, the Ballistic Door at the same site you provided looks interesting. As you say, though, the elements of the frame should be installed at the time the foundation is poured.

        Note: I have never installed such a door. I am only thinking what I might do. It is a thought-experiment for me. I defer to those with experience in installing such doors in concrete.

    • Yes. It can be great but one must take care not to undermine your existing foundation. I read of one local guy here in Austin who dug an unreinforced hole about 70 feet deep. Apparently he did this in his spare time. Given the soil conditions here in Austin he could get away with that without killing himself or killing his neighbors as their houses collapsed into the hole like it was a sinkhole in Florida. But in the general case, digging a large hole underneath your home without special consideration for the loads your house is making on the soil will cause your home to settle unevenly.

      In other words… unless you have an engineer helping you, it is likely you will break your house in two.

      So… if you are building a house from scratch, ask the architect if you could incorporate an in-house storm shelter in the design. That should be easy to do. Doing it after the fact with a big heavy house over top is a different proposition. Check with an engineer who knows your local conditions.

      If you are going to locate a storm shelter outside of your home, make sure it is located well away from your home or your neighbor’s home.

      A rule of thumb to use in locating an underground storm shelter is…

      1. Find the elevation at the bottom of the foundation of your home.

      2. Draw an imaginary line at a 45 degree angle from the bottom edge of your home’s foundation down and away from your home.

      3. However deep you dig your storm shelter, the bottom of the hole should NEVER INTERSECT that imaginary line.

      4. There may be other restrictions. I am assuming a basically level landscape throughout. I can imagine all sorts of situations where you won’t be able to build an underground storm shelter… safely.

      I hope that was clear. You can get away with all sorts of things but getting away with something is not the same as doing it safely. If you have doubts about your situation, then you shouldn’t do it without an expert backing you up. Also… if you are absolutely certain about what you are doing, you probably shouldn’t do it. Anyone who isn’t a little nervous here simply doesn’t understand the issues and needs to consult an expert.

  20. About the lemongrass oil for killing gnats….you said it could also kill bees, but I have always been under the assumption that lemongrass attracts bees. A lot of beekeepers in Illinois use lemongrass oil to bait their hives and I unwittingly used lemongrass oil in some homemade bug spray last year. Kept the other bugs away, but not the bees.

    • The smell yes, they likely could drink it but there is a difference in smelling or eating something and having it misted on your body.

      Let me put it this way, I love using Tabasco on my food but what happens if you spray it in my eyes?

  21. @Jack
    I am listening to the end here and I can’t remember if I told you or not, but I have gone on a complete and total media “diet”. Other than this show (and I still try to fastforward or whatever) I do not consume ANY of “that” media. I don’t go to any news site, read any news blogs, visit any financial news site. Nothing.

    I listened to quite a number of interviews with VERY rich people, and one thread that was in common (amongst many) was that they don’t pay attention to media at all. Other than once in the last 2 months (I was asked to) I haven’t been to a single news site.

    What happens when you stop reading/consuming news? You have to occupy your life and time doing something else, which normally involves looking at your own life.

  22. beneficial nematodes will control gnats.
    Gnat Patrol – Steinernema feltiae is the products from Hydro-gardens. they use actual live nematodes that come on a sponge. There are other stains of nematodes that you can buy that control larval stages of all pests that harbor in the soil during any part of their life cycle. For anyone having flea problems you should try them. I’ve used the ones from hydro gardens and Bob Webster from KTSA San Antonio talks about them alot also.
    Cheers! Tar

  23. The Alice pack was a pretty sweet piece of gear. One difference between Alice and MOLLE packs is that Alice has a metal frame, MOLLE has plastic. It’s a tough plastic, but I’ve seen them break before. I’ve never seen an Alice pack break. Plus I think you can use the Alice pack without the frame easily while it’s not quite the same with the MOLLE.

    Do people who were actually Rangers say they were “Airborne Rangers”? I think I’ve heard legit people say “I was with Ranger battalion” or “I was a Ranger”. Usually if I get a bad vibe about someone who wants to talk about their military service, I just shut up and listen and not say that I was in just to see what kind of silly things they have to say.

    • “Airborne Ranger” is accurate and it is in a hell of a lot of cadences but day to day, Rangers don’t say it, that is a definite truth.

      Also when you hear someone say I was “with the Rangers” generally it is an honest person saying, “I served with them” not claiming to have actually been one.

      I have sniffed out some BSers about I was a Ranger though by having been Airborne myself. I don’t ask them about being a Ranger, I just talk to them about jump school. Jump school has been the same for decades, there are constants. It really isn’t that hard (if you are in good shape and can run and follow instructions). When someone hasn’t been though it they may know some terminology and some basics but if you start saying remember this or that and ask them some stuff about jumping, you know very fast when they were not even airborne.

      And there is no such thing as a Ranger that hasn’t been to jump school.

  24. Sorry guys I am a couple days behind and just listened to this one. If you are planning on using a Alice pack or molle pack to bug out or get home, think again. I recently went back packing 23 miles in 3 days, we backpack sections of the AT as often as possible and I figured I would give my get home bag a test, a 5.11 Rush 72, that I keep loaded in my truck to get home if needed. I kept it outfitted mostly the same, except i swapped my poncho for part of my tent (the wife carried the rest of it). Well long story short it sucked… the pack doesn’t distribute the weight well and the hip belt has little to know padding. My shoulders and back took the brunt of it. My suggestion is get a good civilian backpacking pack, with a solid frame, good shoulder and waist straps, and load lifters, and get fitted for it, it will make a world of difference if you have to walk.