Episode-703- Listener Calls for 7-15-11 — 25 Comments

  1. Jack what constitutes a “DE duster”? Do you use a little cotton bag or something?

  2. DE does not work on pillbugs. I had a HUGE problem with them last year. They literally destroyed my potato plants and pretty much every baby plant I had. Use Sluggo Plus (available in any organic garden store) around the base of your plants. In addition, make a little collar of aluminum foil around the base of any newly transplanted seedlings. That prevents both cutworms and pillbugs but obviously doesn’t work great if you have a huge amount of plants to work with.

    Pillbugs are actually a relative of shrimp and lobsters. They have gills that allow them to breathe in air and water. Because of their hard shell, they do not react the same way to DE that other bugs do. They laugh and keep going.

    Please trust me and just go straight to the Sluggo Plus (NOT regular Sluggo). It works. It’s organic and your plants will still be alive next week.

    • @ShellyB

      Thanks for the back up on that, as I haven’t had big issues with them I didn’t know DE was not effective on them. If you have an open mind you learn something new EVERY day. Thanks for being one of my sources today.

  3. +1 on Countryside. TSP fans may also be interested in Grit and Urban Farmer and Hobby Farm Home magazines as well. And they are available in digital format as well. If you already subscribe to Mother Earth News or Grit you can get the digital version free.

    Also on the subject of fuels, you can convert your car to run on propane and when to need to refuel you just go and get your tank refilled where you refill your BBQ tank. It’s just like a zamboni, they run on propane. My dad knew a guy that converted a car years ago and swore by it.

  4. On the subject of natty gas cars. I agree with you as long as your talking about an only vehicle. But I like the idea of your work car being a “home fuelled” or “alternative energy” vehicle. I think if you have the capability (I.e short distance for everyday drive, no extreme temperatures that make it unreasonable) I say more power to ya. Think about the suberb dweller that WASTES hundreds of gallons a year to drive 15 miles to work everyday. I really think that guy would not only benefit fron the natty gas, or electric, but I think it might do a great job of lowering demand on gas.

    I’m not arguing with you jack just offering a perspective I think you missed. Also I completely agree the premium put on these products is obscene. How can you sell a car based on fuel economy then charge such a premium?

  5. I’ve researched distilling alcohol for fuel in the past, and IIRC (in Ark) you can distill alcohol you just have to denature it (and probably get a permit first, can’t remember). So doing alcohol for personal fuel is totally doable from a legal perspective, at least in this state.

  6. Thoughts on the “alcohol is our savior” guy…

    Just because there’s plenty of land around doesn’t mean you can magically grow your plants to make ethanol. What about water? What about the aquifers running out? Are we going to need massive desalination plants? What energy is going to run them? How will we get the water from the coast to the land growing the plants?

    How about fertilizer? A bunch of corn (or whatever) likely isn’t going to grow in a big ol’ area of soil devoid of nutrients. If you grow the corn, then turn it to alcohol, how do you replace the nutrients in the soil that the corn took up? Seems like you’re going to need lots & lots of fertilizer, most of which on a large scale today is made from natural gas. And you’ll probably need a crap load more pesticides, which is made with petroleum.

    Jack’s point was excellent as well about the food shortage. I dunno what massive corn surplus this guy is talking about.

    I’m all for it on a local scale, but I don’t think it’ll possible, or at a minimum be as easy, as this guy makes it out to be & keep running business as usual, especially supporting continued exponential demand growth.

    • Was also thinking, oil goes into a lot more than just gasoline. It’s in plastics, it’s in asphalt, it’s in pharmaceuticals. I think I remember seeing in the US, transportation is about 35% of the oil consumption. So even if you manage to have the entire US car & truck fleet run on alcohol, what about the other 65% of oil consumption? To be fair maybe that’s the thesis of his book is that it’s only going to replace transport fuel, I don’t know. But it’s for sure not the magic silver bullet that we’re going to swap out oil & swap it in & have no pain and continue on BAU.

    • On your “thoughts on the “alcohol is our savior” guy”, I’m sorry but I think you miss the point. In fairness you are clearly not familiar with “Alcohol can be a Gas”. David Blume’s thesis is that we’ve been sold a bill of goods, there are alternatives to oil, how we use it, how government protects big business (especially big oil), and how we can and should free ourselves from out dated ideas and be more self sufficient and less wasteful.

      The Ethanol Industry is motivated by profit therefore they use feed stock which is cheep and readily available, corn. They are not concerned with fertilizer runoff, using sustainable growing methods or utilizing by-products from the distillation process. Blume on the other hand goes to great length to promote permaculture methods which encourage systematic benefits resulting (as stated in the interview Jack played) in by-products which are worth more than the alcohol produced.

      Early on in the book is a quote from a Dr. Barry Commoner of the Center for the Biology of Natural Systems who said “It’s always possible to do a good thing stupidly”. “Alcohol Can Be a Gas” is an encyclopedic book on everything you need to know to become a small scale ethanol producer. It provides the information for an individual to do a good thing in smart ways. Not everyone will but some folks are using Kudzu in the South, a Texas company is utilizing what would other wise be waste water melons and myself, I’ve used pop syrup that was destined for the waste water treatment plant to make usable Ethanol fuel. These projects would never have happened if we only considered why an idea can’t work instead of thinking about a better way to do things.

      • @Rich Ralston,

        I think you got it backwards bud. While I agree corn sucks if you are going to make ethanol at all it does make ethanol, ask anyone like me that enjoys a good sniff of JD from time to time, it makes really good ethanol.

        The reality is that the government has done a lot more to make ethanol a common fuel than Mr. Blume! I am not happy about it but right now 10% of every tank of gas is Ethanol, that is all about government mandates and nothing to do with Blume.

        It is also destroying fuel systems of cars on an ongoing basis and by the time we get to E15 as mandated most vehicles over 10 years of age are going to have BIG problems.

        • I’m not at all sure what you think I have backwards; 1) I never said corn wasn’t a good feed stock for ethanol, it simply has some down sides, largely those involved with the methods used by agribusiness to produce it.

          2) I never gave David Blume any credit for the success or current standing of the Ethanol Industry. Clearly that is due to government tax breaks and mandates but they have also encouraged business people to forge ahead in unsustainable ways. Mr. Blume promotes decentralized, small scale, sustainable production by individuals. Thus advancing their own independence, self-sufficiency, and liberty.

          3) After 8 years & 250k miles on 4 vehicles running various levels of Ethanol, all with no seal or fuel system problems, I am not so sure about your assessment of what will happen when we get to E-15%.

  7. Great show, as usual. One thought, though: regardless of its editorial stance on what’s causing climate change, Mother Earth News is a really accessible introduction to the rural and more sustainable lifestyle for people who are new or reasonably new to the concept. To dismiss them because they peddle the status quo belief on climate change I think is throwing the baby out with the bathwater (as goofy a figure of speech as that is). MEN, Grit and the other commercial rural living magazines definitely have a place, as of course do the more technical (and dare I say, WAY over the heads of most newbies) journal-type publications like the one mentioned in today’s show, many of which I also read. The commercial mags actually do have a LOT of how-to and do-it-yourself info on their websites, more so than the print version. Just wanted to throw that out there for chewing…

    • @Victoria, on what planet and in what dimension did I “dismiss them”?

      I said it wears on me that I have to get a fricken eugenics or climate change lecture in ever dang issue but I also said I still buy the magazine.

      My main point and I though was very clear about it is that the magazine I mentioned provides a lot more practical how to articles. My view on Mother Earth News is actually very common among their readers. Read their letters to the editor section if you want to see what I mean.

      I do feel if they keep up their current stance and continue to focus more on a loosing political agenda rather than practical meat and potatoes competitors will capitalize on it. If I can get a better product from another producer I may eventually “dismiss them”, but that is far from what I did today.

    • @Victoria it is also clear you have NEVER read Countryside and Small Stock Journal, there isn’t a damn thing overly technical about it. It is actually a LOT like what Mother Earth News was like 10 years ago.

      • Wow – really didn’t mean to offend. Just saying that there are a lot of people who really enjoy the magazine is all. Sorry if I came off in any other way. I actually have read Countryside – I have a copy sitting right here as I write. It’s just not a magazine I think most people living in the city would pick up over Grit and MEN – awesome as it is – but I very much could be wrong. Again, didn’t mean to cause a ruckus – wasn’t my intention at all. I really respect your work and your opinion – just happened to have a little something extra to add is all.

        • OK – just re-read my latest edition of Countryside and you’re right – ‘WAY over the heads of’ was the wrong choice of words. But putting the two side-by-side, there really isn’t a tonne of difference in content – the political discussions notwithstanding, and the presentation. They do have more in-depth articles in some cases, I agree. So from that perspective, I’ll concur. But I still think that most newbies would be attracted to one over the other, at least until they get into the homesteading gig a bit more. That’s all… Next time I’ll go review my issues of the publications again before commenting!

  8. Thanks for the great answer about the tick problem. I am going to get some Gunea hens first chance I get.

  9. Jack there must be something wrong with me. I prefer Countryside and Small Stock Journal to Mother Earth News already. I find that I buy it less and less frequently. Great show as always.

  10. Regarding the information on tick control. I attended a lecture recently from an Army entomologist and was told that tucking your ABU/BDU/DCU bottoms in your boots was incorrect. The best method is to use boot bands and allow the pant legs to overhang the lip of the boot to let bugs (including ticks) slide off. This same principle applies to blouses/shirts. As such it is recommended for an individual not to tuck in their shirt/blouse or roll up their sleeves when in the bush.

    Also, ticks do indeed love the tall grass, but the environment they most prefer (especially in North America) is the area that is in-between the light and shadow in a clearing. Hence, be mindful of them in this type of environment. If you are having to go into a tick infested area wearing permethrin impregnated clothes, or using repellent with at least 30% of DEET is ideal. When performing field training exercises I would typically immerse my BDU’s in permethrin and wash them one time after they dried. Note that the permethrin is still effective after 4-5 washes of the same set of BDU’s. I would then apply insect repellent to my exposed areas (neck, hands, face).

    • I’ve used permetherin (of the spray on variety) in a little place called Quantico, VA. It seemed to work pretty well against ticks and spiders. Spray your sleeping bag, poncho liner, and a few sets of utilities, and let dry. It held them off pretty well, unless you landed in some type of tickopolis. I think that blousing your boots (the Marine/Navy way) with a band works pretty well, but I still have found many crawling on me after an extended land nav session. I think that my record was about 30 deer ticks crawling on me when I returned. That was shattered by one of my buddies who stopped counting after 200. They really liked the area around our socks.

  11. @ Brian, Welcome to New Hampshire! Have you looked into the Free State Project? I have a couple Guineas, but have lost 9 in the past year from predators. They are awesome birds, though. Billy Joel and Cindy Crawford offered their property for a study on tick control. Guineas are a bit noisy, but my neighbors welcome them for tick control. The noise isn’t that bad, unless your neighbor is an assclown. Guineas are also a delicacy in France, Italy and many other parts of the world. I recommend them braised with Amontillo sherry, garlic and rosemary. They are the least domesticated poultry and have wild instincts, yet require some intervention; they don’t do so well in the wild on their own in this area. If you want to purchase Guineas, or any other small livestock, I recommend looking up “Chicken Swaps of New Hampshire” – these are often held at the Tractor Supply Company. I am very concerned about the use of Deet -causes liver damage. I save that for the rare times when I go into deep woods away from home. Around home, I am experimenting with herbal oils – germainium, neem, eucalyptus, lavendar, thyme. Some of these can cause MISCARRIAGES, especially pennyroyal, so please do your homework and exercise caution around humans and animals. No repellant is 100%, so I check at least twice a day for three days following exposure-that’s everyday for me. Chronic Lyme is the thing I fear most -it will be my personal SHTF! NH just passed protections for doctors to treat Chronic Lyme with Antibiotics. You may also like these resources put out by a NH TV station.
    Live Free or Die!

  12. Countryside is a great magazine, we just found it this year along w/ Backwoods Home Mag. We started out a few years ago reading Mother Earth News and I still look forward to every issue (I tend to lean toward the believer side of the climate change debate). We also recently found Grit which seems to focus more on the agricultural side of homesteading than the political. If you haven’t read Grit I would recommend it.

  13. A caller mentioned Mother Earth News for the real estate ads…. They link to a web site which has all the search features for any county in the US. and you can search by size and price and type of property. I dream a lot when I go to this site.