Episode-1105- Listener Calls for 4-5-13 — 33 Comments

  1. I had had a “V8 moment” when you mentioned shells and local sand, and then I smacked my head and thought SEAWEED!. We have thousands of mussel shells, oyster shells, clam shells; five hundred feet from my door.

    The nice thing about PEI is that the salinity of the sand is probably not as much as a true Atlantic coast, due to the fact that we are in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

  2. IMHO, the States where gun bans are passing are States that would have done it post election regardless of whether or not some random piece of gutless scum went after children.

    • I don’t know about that. They still needed an excuse to go after guns and that nut provided one. Remember the Chicago theme “Never let a Crisis go to waste!”

      • That’s funny you posted that because just yesterday or tyrannical overlord nearly stated the same line.

        “I want to strike when the iron is hot,” Cuomo said. “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”

  3. Ready Made Resources does not appear to be offering the free dimes with a Mountain House purchase anymore …you still have that in the banner ad for them…

  4. Thanks Jack for pointing out again that you don’t have to agree with xyz but to mandate through law to try and make others think live the way one thinks is just wrong. Every one is entitled to their opinion and as long as it does not spill over my property line I really don’t care.

    I am getting so fed up with all the splitting of hairs and people putting down others when they don’t even know them or their situation. Then get their butt hairs in a knot if someone speaks out with a differing view point or speaks in a way that is offensive to them. Seems to me people are getting more and more closed minded? Divided? What ever happened to seek to understand then to be understood?

    I don’t get why so many can’t see the flim flam razzle dazzle that always goes on when the media is shinning the spot light only where they want you to look. Happens every time.

    Like I told hubby when my son came out. This is NOT about YOU this is about our son and his right to live his life to be happy to be who and what he is. You have no right to sit in judgement of him you do not have to like it you do not have to agree with it. But he is still your son. He is still a human being and deserves the same happiness you have had and the same rights. PERIOD! Besides the day he was born and you said you loved him did you only mean you would love him if he measured up to be your puppet? Took hubby about a nano second to pull his head out.

    I still fear that it will be years before he can bring his family back to this country back to his home. Once the grand children come I sure hope they can come back or we will just have to move out of country too. Sad this is suppose to be the land of the free. Funny nobody seems to mind taking his money in taxes.

    • I need to make one of those.
      I like the quote at the end:
      “When all else fails, or when all else doesn’t fail”
      Sounds familiar.

  5. Air lift pumps could be put down the casing to lift small amounts of water with with a 12 volt tire pump..

    • Maybe in a shallow well into a storage tank an air-lift would work, but in a well with an existing pump, no.
      Some considerations on well pump systems, most systems either have a storage tank and pressure tank or just a pressure tank. The pressure tank is how the system is pressured. If there is a storage tank there is a booster pump which feeds the pressure tank. Well pumps actually are 3 phase and each daws (if I remember correctly) 12 amps, the control box for the well pump is fed with 240 and converts that into the power the pump needs. By law (at least arizona law) a disconnect box is required within sight of the well pump, this is where you could connect a generator (so long as you know how if not, PLEASE get an electrician to do it!!!!)
      A booster pump on the other hand, depending on the size, (a single family up to 3 family well can be as small as 1 1/2 hp) use 120 or 240 but generally 120 and this needs to be powered as well, as I mentioned if you have a storage tank the booster pump is what feeds the pressure tank, if there is no storage tank the well pump does this.
      There are companies that sell solar powered well pumps, but they only pump 1-2 gpm verses the 5-7 gpm of conventual pumps, they do not work well as a pressurizing pump they are meant more for filling a storage tanks. I’m sure if the well casing allows the room a solar pump could be installed with the well pump, but most companies will want to install it on its own drop pipe (more expense) and the solar pumps are very expensive to begin with. My best suggestion for anyone with a well system of any kind would be to talk to a couple of well service companies and get a quote on a generator hook up. We used gas powered welders with 240 plugs and generators to run the control boxes for pump tests and well development.
      I hope this helps everyone with their own well to have a better understanding in how to power it in a grid down. I’m sorry if I was all over the place but I was trying to get to the bare nuts and bolts and using existing systems.

      • As long as the ratio between the depth of water and height to the top is in reason, I’m told that they work. Low volume, but in an emergency it might work. The side of these units can fit in a casing with an existing pump.

      • Nice write up, Lyle. I have a well pump to storage tank to booster(pressure) pump to pressure tank set up. The well pump is 240V and the booster pump is 120V. There are provisions for a generator hook up to power the well pump and a separate wall plug that goes straight to the solar/battery bank. If there is a power outage for any significant amount of time I can just switch the booster pump from the grid-linked wall plug to the wall plug to my off-grid setup. As Jack talked about in the podcast, the storage tank is at a higher elevation than the lowest faucet in the house allowing a gravity fed backup to the backup.

        This may be an option to the caller to do a 4kw generator to power the well pump and a solar backup for the home/booster pump like what I did.

  6. Reading “The Holistic Orchard” the first several pages talks about orchard biology, fungi and creating a mycelium network as in a forest. One thing Phillips promotes is “ramial wood chips.” or even before planting your fruit trees in a pasture/lawn type place, to sow red or crimson clover as a cover crop as these have a stronger affinity for mycrorrhizal fungi than white and yellow clovers. He also suggests a double sowing of buckwheat for persistant grasses.

    When he goes into orchard design, on a slope he has ramial wood chips in a mound downhill of your fruit trees, then the next page shows woodsy debris covered with soil on the downhill side and a swale uphill (soil goes on top of the woody debris) swale filled with ramial wood chips.

    When you get your orchard to the point where the fungi level has built up and when mushrooms even start popping up that is your badge of success. Much more to the book.

  7. Sir Albert Howard has known the EXTREME benefits of the Mycorrhizal relationship since 1940, which he talked about in depth in his book “An Agricultural Testament”, if you haven’t read it you should, it started me on my journey of natural gardening. Also, we need to realize that life supports life, not dead wood or mulch, but the ecosystem that they bring. IMO

  8. It is effectively correct to say that fungi help reach out for water and then pass it on to the root system, many times in a symbiotic relation as the plant may reward it with sugar molecules or excess nutrients. And it goes without saying that it helps mine for nutrients as well.

  9. Jack, I’d like to comment on gravity fed water. I worked at a golf course during the summers through college. We gravity fed our entire sprinkling system to water greens and tees. We spread our watering sources out across a few deep ponds on the course, pumped it up hill daily into three very large tanks (not sure of the sizes). This is an 18 hole, 6000+ yard, par 4 public course and a business critical feature of the club. To this day, 20 years later, they are using the same water systems to keep everything green and lush.

    Certainly if planned out properly, suggestions you present in this episode are the way to go to keep well users sustained through power outages with minimal impact to everyday usage.

  10. Does anyone know what happened to the enzyme that was going to allow us to make alcohol from starch without cooking it? I recently listened to the podcast from April of last year with Steve Harris I believe that sells the still Jack mentioned today. I can’t find the enzyme for sale or any info explaining why it isn’t for sale. What happened?

    • I am still going to bring out the enzyme. I did not have a
      lot of demand for it because most people just wanted to make moonshine and
      that is a lot simpler to make from just sugar. There is a core number of
      people who want to make real fuel alcohol from free or cheap sources of
      starch, and I plan on getting the enzyme out early this summer after I
      appear with Jack at the Self Reliance Expo in Texas on April 26th and 27th,
      2013. Plus in the summer time it is dramatically easier for me to ferment
      and test the process before I release it to you.


  11. Jack,
    Regarding fungal networks, check out the episode titled “What Plants Talk About” on the PBS program Nature. Toward the end of this program, scientists discuss forest fungal networks and how they are used by mature trees to nurture young trees that are growing under the shade of the forest canopy in Douglas fir forests. Researchers have even gone so far as to trace these nutrient pathways in the field using radioactive isotopes. Very fascinating. Your theory is correct. Although you probably won’t get credit for being the first to propose the idea (it appears a small number of scientists have been studying this for some time), you do deserve credit for independently arriving at the correct conclusion. Well done.

  12. Jack,

    What was the name of company you mentioned for the small alcohol still you mentioned?

    Thanks, Paul

  13. I’m basically doing exactly what the guy who asked about the solar powered submersible well pump was asking about.

    Jack’s answer (get a low draw pump and fill a cistern) is what most people do and is way more cost effective for low scale pumping.

    but… I went with a big system that can basically do everything.

    My system here in the forums:

    Basically if you want to run a submersible pump off grid without having to fill a cistern, you are going to want a larger battery bank, a reliable way to put energy in the batteries, and a SOFT START VARIABLE SPEED PUMP. That part is important. You want a soft start pump so that the initial load doesn’t overload your inverter, and a variable speed pump because it will draw far less energy doing low water usage activities like filling a glass of water (important), and more electricity for things like watering your lawn (not important).

    My system is actually working better than I thought and I initially put in a 3/4 horse pump but yanked it out in exchange for a much better 3hp pump last summer and it’s been working great. I can take hot showers and get fresh well water when the grid is down as long as the sun is shining or as long as I have propane feeding my propane generator (which both can feed my battery bank).

      • The whole system including panels, generator, inverter, installation, wiring, labor, etc cost about $33,000. If you wanted a cost breakdown it would look something like this: 10 grand for panels, 6 for batteries, 4 for inverter, 3 for the rack (which is not on my roof), plus labor/installation/cement work and other odds and ends.

        Federal tax credits give you back about 30% of the cost.
        And my Oregon state tax credits give me back $6,000.
        The tax credits carry forward and I’m still using them up.

        If you get a 9-10 thousand dollar grid-tied system it’s basically free considering the tax credits, provided you can pay for it out of pocket and have a tax burden and would find tax credits beneficial.

        If I lived 60 miles and was on the neighboring power company I would have gotten a check for $15,000 for putting this system in as part of a green energy program they have, but my rural power company doesn’t have a program like that.

        So my total 4 year costs are $18,000. The payback period from net metering is a LONG time but the payback period on a nice pick-up for fishing boat is a heck of a lot worse.

        And it’s hard to put a price on the peace of mind from a system like this.

        The grid in our town went down recently and I didn’t even know it for the first couple hours until we finally we got a phone call from a friend asking us if our power was down. I had to run to the dryer and try and turn it on to see if the power was down because the dryer is one of only 3 things that won’t work if the grid goes down. =)

  14. Last year, Darby Simpson pointed me in the direction of a company that sold organic feed. Even driving the 140-mile round trip, we still saved money on “organic” feed. We only had 5 hens though, and tractoring them and giving them free range was a beautiful supplement.

    This year though, we’re brooding 30 chicks. We’ll likely graduate 5 of them to the dinner table (to see if we can realistically do it), but we’ll still have 30 laying hens that need feed.

    This year, when we went up to buy chick starter, we discovered that the grain producer now sells GMO-free food. They didn’t last year. They’d mix feeds to order, but you had to buy a lot more than we needed here for our 5 birds. So anyway, rather than paying $34ish for a 50lb bag of feed, we now get to pay around $21 per 50lb. It’s not as cheap as food from Rural King (or TSC), but it’s nowhere near as expensive as the “organic” feed, and it addresses the issue that concerns me most about the cheap feeds. It’s GMO-free.

    Since we’re going to have a lot more birds this year, I like the idea of growing some stuff especially for “the girls”. I’ll have to figure out how to do it in practice, but I’m sure I can reduce feed costs even more with little effort on my part. I’ll certainly share how it works out.

  15. I wonder if I need to add some type of fungal product before I really begin planting. I’ve noticed that things don’t seem to break down quickly here for me in south central Pennsylvania. I had a flower box planter I was growing Cilantro in. Once it died back for the year I just cut it off at the dirt level figuring the roots would decay. The other day I grabbed the little bit of stem still on and lifted it. The entire flower box lifted in one mass of roots and dirt. Last fall I put down grass clippings on my raised beds, covered them with a thin layer of newspapers and covered it all with dry leaves. I wet everything as I went and we have had lots of snow and rain over the winter. There doesn’t seem to have been much breakdown. The grass is there but brown of course, the newspaper can still be read. I still have another month and a half before I can put my tomatoes and peppers in but could do it sooner now that I have a hoop house over my longer bed.

  16. Jack,
    At about the 1:04:00 mark you comment that it would take you 60 days to raise a RIR or Buff Orpington to broiler size. You may have misspoken as it was said casually. It takes Darby 56 days to raise the S&G Heritage White on pasture, it takes me 42-49 days to raise CX on pasture. It takes me more like 120-150 days to raise a RIR rooster to a 3-4 pound dressed weight, even offering a 19% feed. For the sake of marketing ease and rapid inventory turns , not to mention predation concerns, I stick with the hybrid meat birds but those raising for home consumption need to know they are probably making a 4-5 month decision with a layer-breed rooster. Worse, old-school capons were a 7-month commitment.

    • Likely I meant to say 80-90 and keep in mind I am speaking of time on pasture not the full life cycle. The birds are in the brooder for say 21-28 days 80 + 28 = 118. Make sense?

      Like I said I understand why some raise the cornish rock crosses but I won’t do it. I will never do it, ever. I consider it cruel.

      The newer birds like the red rangers may be a nice compromise.