Before, After, and the Bumble Bee Nest

I removed out the rogue walnut saplings deep by twisting the roots until they let go. Then I removed most of the grapevines that I could without the Bumblebees attacking me more than they already were. And put cardboard down, and then mulch. I’m going to compost the removed weeds and brush.

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Viktorious Gardens

Have you ever been so happy that other’s road rage could roll off your back like a tip of the hat? Today is that day for me. I just met with a client and tommorow I start a job landscaping and clearing brush for them. 

They want some walnut trees trees, wild grapes, violets, and other wild things removed. I’m going to cut some cardboard with box cutters to keep the weeds from regrowing and hide it with dark mulch. I’ll make holes where we plan to plant hostas when that time comes.

I need to figure out how to pomp up the sea grass (by ripping out all the dead grass). Take out the mostly dead and make room for 3 hydrangeas.  Split up some sedum succulents and place around the grass and prospective hydrangeas. Finally, I will mulch around all that.

I’ve got some trim to move, bushes and roses to trim. Add trim around the roses and bushes, and then mulch that.

Then I’ll thin all the wild things on the east side leaving beautiful ferns where they are. I’ll try to figure out why the white cedar trees are not thriving. I will pull the purple rocket, yellow dock, and black berries  I from around the cedar. Then I will trim a huge bush with white flowers. Then I will add trim and mulch around the tree in the from yard. And finally, identify a black stemmed hydrangea, so we can get another one for the other side of the door.

The tools I will use will be a measuring tape, pruners, bush trimmers, my scythe with the bush blade, a shovel, box cutters, saw, my suede leather gloves, eye protection, garden trim, stakes,  rubber mallet, my phone to get pictures of my awesome work. And I will buy some black landscaping trim and 12 bags of dark mulch.

 I am so happy to have this opportunity. A big thank you to my friend Jeanice for networking. Thank you to Chris for talking to Jeanice, and to my new clients. This has really lifeted my spirits.

Make a Super Simple Chicken Cube Coop for Under $160

Here is a Coop that accommodates 4-6 Chickens. It’s economical, simple, and fairly lightweight. Here are the steps:

1. Set up foundation (You may wish to have wheels on the bottom to make it somewhat portable)

2. Measure (cut if needed) 6 quantities of 2″x 6″x 48″ and 4 quantities of 2″x 6″x 42″.

3. Start by making the frame for the left and right walls.

4. Use a drill to guide the screws and prevent the wood from splitting.

5. Measure 2′ up, mark with pencil and fasten shelf boards to the frame.

6. Fasten exterior walls to frame.

7. Place walls with bottom side facing foundation at 90° from final position

8. Fasten exterior floor.

9. Fasten the back wall on.

10. Gently turn and lower the bottom onto the foundation.

11. Put 2′ x 4′ x 1/2″ plywood on the shelf boards. (You may wish to trim an inch or two from the 4′ length so it fits easier)

12. Set the top on top and lean the from to the front.

13. The next day I work on it I will add mesh to the top in the front and back (You may wish to invest in vents)

14. Then add a door and figure out how it will fasten the from so I can clean the cook out, and other little doors to get eggs.

Simple Start Chicken Coop Cube0008

15. Measure width of front plywood to fit between the front vertical boards so hinges can be installed on each side of the ply wood. Cut.

16. Cut front plywood down the middle Vertically. Now you wont need as heavy duty hinges and the coop can be opened up to clean.

17. Make a horizontal and vertical cut at the bottom of one door, and add choice hardware to make the door secure and open and close-able.

18. Make a horizontal cut 2′ up so the upper and lower levels open independently minimizing draft in chilly weather when servicing coop.

Chicken Coop Cube details0003

Watch “Promote What You Value” on YouTube

What can you do if you start feeling negative and tired about things? Here in this video I talk about what I do to keep positive and invigorated with my environment. Don’t focus so much on the negative, and instead start identifying with what is truly needed.

Have you hypothesized some solutions yet? Go ahead and give it try. When you see yourself taking steps to achieve what matters and makes things better for you, celebrate that!

With ever new day, put a smile on and stand tall because you have the power to complete those small little things that make a difference down the road. You inspire others just by being you. So inspire kindness, playfulness, laughter, and your own great ideas! Thanks for reading. 🙂

Watch “Project 1 Snap Circuits Alternative Energy” on YouTube

Here’s the first project that my son put together. He was able to charge a battery from 3 V to 4v in a matter of minutes.

Get this toy at Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Snap-Circuits-Alternative-Energy-Green/dp/B00CIXVGVY/ref=as_sl_pc_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=temperresil05-20&linkCode=w00&linkId=3130eecb51d1e4ab6728085a093d1bdb&creativeASIN=B00CIXVGVY

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associate Program an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fee by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Thermophilic Compost For Safety and Remediation

Preparedness is just not complete until you know what to do with the poop that hits the fan (or better yet before it has the chance to). We gotta get our poop in a scoop and bury it in moist carbon rich plant fluff. Now, I know you are looking through narrowed eyes thinking “Whaat?!”

We’re so used to the toilet, or for our wasted old food to go in the  trash bin that we may have not given it much thought. What other choice do we have than the way that we have been eliminating waste since the days of Roman civilization? Well, for one thing, the finished product of thermophilic compost is completely different from the inputs that undergo this biological process by being digested by microorganisms, heat, and thousands of little insect like invertebrates after it cools down. After a year or so, this pile transforms into a fertile agricultural resource. A business can be built around creating these resources as well as harvesting the heat energy, thus creating jobs. This resource closes the energy cycle between us and the land, giving back to the soil so it is not depleted, preventing plant disease. Reducing fuel loads in wilderness (7) while producing humus a resource that can hold nutrients and moisture in the soil. Plus, less water and fossil fuels are needed to transport the waste to a facility where it will need to be processed with chemicals that may end up in the environment. It saves wastes from going into a landfill. When using this method, there is no odor because the carbon filters it (8). The carbon materials soak up biological contaminates probably fixed in plant cell walls where it get destroyed or digested before it can get into the air, soil, or water (1). In-fact organisms in compost can even break down toxins into inert substances (2)! This industry has plenty of opportunity in identifying and finding uses (or properties) of bacteria, actinomycetes, fungi, and small creatures that roam the dark corners of compost piles (2).

Are you as excited about this new idea as I am? Well, I guess we must ask ourselves, do we have enough time for a project like this. A couple of compost bins can be built with pallets that can be gifted from a grocery, department, or hardware stores. We’ll have to go and get sawdust, or make piles of leaves to rot and turn into leaf mold. Then there is the chore: once the four buckets are full, bring them to the compost pile, bury the contents within in the pile, cover it with the carbon material, and then rinse the buckets out over the pile. It sounds like this probably takes about 20 minutes once a week for a family of four (1). If you have the time, do you have the space?

Where can you keep a compost pile? You may need to set one up if the power goes out for an extended length of time, going camping, or if you are out a ways from your house in a barn or shop. I think it is advisable to locate it 150′ from a body of surface water like a river, pond, lake, or marsh. A flat well drained area that is in the sun can collect thermal energy in it’s mass. It’s also a good idea to shelter it from cold winds. A compost pile will not be active when frozen but will be ok when unthawed. You’ll want enough access to be able to cart a wheel barrel to it and have it a comfortable distance from the nearest door to your home. Try to look for a place that is not in direct line of sight of neighbors, and avoid putting under tree branches. That is the area where tree roots extend and they may try to grow into the pile. Evergreen trees have their own PH level going on, a compost pile may interfere with that (3).

Here is the basic set up. Start with bare ground, a lot of little creatures will join in the party from this channel, plus it allows airflow for everyone to breath (3). Thermophilic compost piles generally work better above ground (but is not limited to that) because the air flow is easier. Cover the bottom the the bin with 18″ of cover carbon materials like sawdust, hay, straw, dry grass clippings, weeds, or rotted leaves. Some small dead twigs or wood chips about 1″ or less will help aerate the pile, but may create a coarser texture of compost which can be sifted. Probably it would be good to start to add carbon cover materials around the sides as green and browns are added. The key is to bury the goods inside the compost (not resting on top) and cover it with lots of carbon materials. If you even think you smell anything, add more carbon. The ideal carbon to nitrogen ratio is 20-35 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen. Also, it is good to make sure the compost pile does not dry out. You will want at least two bins so while one is full and baking (it takes a while) You can start another (1).

How long does it take? This takes about a year, or a year an a half, if your really squeamish. Once you have a pile that is at least 3’x 3′ or 1 cubic meter it needs to get hot, go through a decomposition stage, and then it needs to cure. No turning is necessary and in fact it is better not to because then nothing will evaporate from it. This prevents gases like carbon, nitrogen, and methane from escaping into the air, and you save all that food for the organisms, less work for you, less inputs, and nice compost. Waiting for your compost to cure ensures that whatever pathogens that were not killed by heat and microorganisms, will suffer and dwindle because of a lack of a host (2).

Now you may be thinking, how do I make sure, sure my compost is sanitary? This is the part that amazes me. We’ve got the three things that happen biologically and insane case studies that need to be verified, because if it is really true, then we’re saved! The angel wings that have been holding back the wrath of evil all this time were the very little creatures many of us wash and try to scrub away. Not to say we shouldn’t wash our hands or anything, but lets just take a look at what happens in a compost pile. First off the good microorganisms found in the soil, carbon plant materials, or other inputs see the pathogens in our crap and wastes as competition, so that means they fight and even eat those bad buggers. Finally as the thermophilic bacteria gain energy they start to heat up their environment this allows the pile to reach temperatures of 35-450 C (95-113.0 F) to 45-550 C (113-131.0 F), which will kill stuff that doesn’t belong there from 1 week at lower temperatures to a couple hours at higher temperatures (2). There has been case studies where rats were exposed to soil with lead in it. the rats that were on the soil that was inoculated with compost did not suffer from lead toxicity as opposed to the control that had soil without microbes. Rest in peace poor fellow <:(5). Also there are records from an Austrian Farmer who was affected by the Chernobyl disaster who was helped by a microbiologist and  agriculture scientist named  Dr. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer (6). Basically they sprayed compost tea on the spent green manure crop and tilled it under. The next year, the contaminants of cesium that were there before, were now gone!

Are you ready to get started? You may want a wooden box to hide the fact that you are pooping in a bucket, at least until the lid is lifted. Then you will need four buckets or so, about 5 gallons or 20 liters all the same size and shape to fit in the box., a toilet seat for the box, or a toilet seat (for a bucket), a steady supply of raw sawdust, grass clippings, or rotted leaves. You may want a lid remover in case the lid on the bucket gets stuck, a couple compost bins (YouTube DIY), a 20″ compost thermometer, and a pitch fork for harvesting the compost. You can click the blue links in this paragraph to get the items on Amazon, or you can follow this link to get most of what you need plus biodegradable bucket liners (if you prefer not to have to rinse buckets) as the Lovable Loo kit at humanurehandbook.com. If this was really interesting, you can reed the book for free, each chapter is a separate PDF with it’s own link (4). I’ll leave you with a little poem to sum everything up:

When you do your doo in the Lovable Loo, keep it all covered and it will provide for you too.

Bibliography:

1. http://humanurehandbook.com/manual.html (5/28/2016)

2. http://humanurehandbook.com/downloads/Chapter_3.pdf (5/28/2016)

3. http://compostguide.com/how-to-choose-a-compost-site/ (5/28/2016)

4. http://humanurehandbook.com/contents.html (5/28/2016)

5. http://permaculturenews.org/2006/04/22/compost-miracles/ (5/28/2016)

6. http://www.ibiblio.org/steved/Luebke/Luebke-compost2.html (5/28/2016)

7. http://www.stateforesters.org/about-action-plans/forest-trends/wildfire-fuel-loads-and-urbanization  (5/28/2016)

8.  http://news.mit.edu/2014/need-a-water-filter-peel-a-tree-branch-0226http://news.mit.edu/2014/need-a-water-filter-peel-a-tree-branch-0226 (5/28/2016)

Resources:

https://attra.ncat.org/index.php (5/28/2016)

John Kohler and his Info packed YouTube channel: Growing Your Greens, (5/28/2016)

 

Opinion Commentary: Once Fracked We’re…Not Pure Michigan

People pay thousands, millions, billions of dollars to vacation, hunt, fish and live here in the most beautiful places in Michigan. But apparently one industry has tried to get a discount on their auctions of our public state forests and leased property here. “Fracking” is just code word to identify the tip of the iceburg easily. Let’s zoom out and look at the entire picture. Let’s talk about unconventional shale oil and it’s byproducts like natural gas. Granted we absolutely need energy to cook, shower, get to work, to make the baby diapers and other things that keep things clean and dry or wet, and for people to not be an icicle in January… But, there are problems with the way we attain the resource called unconventional shale oil.

Collecting signatures to get a ballot question: “Should We Ban Fracking in Michigan?” I’ve talked to people on all sides of the issue. People on the zoning commissions, nuclear powerplant workers, farmers, muscle car enthusiasts, retired chemical plant employees, previous employees of oil companies, landowners, even veterans.image

Their stories surprisingly prove to me there is good cause to find the truth and let people know. The greatful people keep me going.

But, many times I’ve walked with petitions, with pain in my stomach and no hope, and feeling dizzy and full of nausea looking around wondering who is going to heckle me, who is going to call me stupid this time? I go back to researching whenever someone says “NO, that is NOT true!” Sometimes people confide they are invested in those technologies. So I’ve learned you have to take a neutral stance and just ask the question flat out to anyone walking by, “Would you like to sign my petition to help get the ‘Ban Fracking in Michigan’ question on the ballot?”

Many people just don’t want to talk about it. There are cars zooming all around, each tire took 7 gallons of oil to make, oil being burned at breakneck pace. One guy was laughing his butt off. My shoes are made from oil, my pants are polyester (OIL) the cotton on my back would have never gotten to my hands without oil, 80% of the food I eat these days (OIL). So essentially in his eyes, I would have to be dressed in locally sourced hand made fiber, be a full time local farmer, and be feeding a horse from my neighbors hay field at that moment to have any credibility.

Still he had great ideas to recycle all plastic and other oil products and turn it back into oil. We have the oil locked up in tons of plastic and polystyrene now so if we could keep using it with minimal impact to our planet, well it could be a good thing, maybe? Next I get people who ask me questions:

Why is it so bad?  My answer: I explain the energy return on investment. For each barrel we burn getting the oil about 3-7 barrels are created. Wind energy fares better, with 1 barrel we get 15 barrels worth of energy.

I talk about aging infrastructure leading to leaks, and millions of gallons of water that are needed for each well.

I show them pictures of how they change the landscape when they create numerous frack pads.  5-10 acres of land must be clear cut for each well, with roads leading to each one. There are open pits of dirty frack water waiting to be drawn up, (processed and recycled) used somewhere else, re-fracked with, or stored in containment barrels. That water contains contaminates from 2 miles deep within the earth like radon, thorium, lead, and polonium. Studies are being released showing that these contaminates are escaping into local surface waters like lakes and rivers in places like West Virginia. In North Dakota landfills keep Geiger counters at the gates of their entrances to block heavily contaminated frack wastes from getting dumped there. We just don’t have the technology to deal with this amount of added radioactivity yet.  

Hundreds of semi truck trips are taken to deliver water, materials, maintenance, and removal of water. This will help hasten the rate at which our already aging network of roads deteriorate.
Holes are drilled 2 miles down and then 2 miles horizontally. The shale in the horizontal shaft is exploded and shattered, the water is laced with silica (to keep the fractures open) and hundreds of “secret chemicals” are pumped at high pressure to hydraulically release the goods. Any of you who have taken a technical physics class that appreciate the power of hydraulics and how a little force on water can move many tons of mass (hmm…why are we having so many earthquakes in Oklahoma again?) Many accidents occur at the surface of well operations or in transporting chemicals. Another reason is that our infrastructure that uses this natural gas needs billions of dollars of repair on a nation wide scale, not only that but our water pipes need mass repair as well!

No one wants to live near these operations, it’s noisy, smelly, and they use high intensity lighting at night that disrupts the animals nearby, these operations work 24/7. Dust storms being reported, OSHA wants workers to wear face masks to prevent breathing in silica. no one wants to insure property near these operations. These resources are finite, our great grandchildren will probably never have access to them. It’s expensive, each truck alone costs a million dollars, plus it takes millions of dollar to abandon and remediate the land, so once the cat is out of the bag…uugh!

What do you expect us to do instead? I even get people who say they’ve been working on this problem for years, as a writer, and there is no solution. Even composting releases methane. Where do you expect us to keep the compost pile? I do remember Ira Flatow’s Science Friday where he interviewed the scientist who was part of the Biosphere project. It had to be canceled because the composting system was depleting the oxygen and releasing methane in the dome and that made the air in the Biosphere not fit to breath. But in Grand Junction, Colorado the wastewater plant is reducing it’s release of methane from sewage by turning it into energy for their city utility vehicles. To add oxygen, we also need to grow more plants and trees, that would also help moderate the climate.

I’ve talked to a gentlemen who liked to hunt. Who had traveled to Pennsylvania to go turkey hunting and was dismayed to run into oil pipelines across their hunting grounds. He also talked about how Sweden is using their trash to make energy and are even importing trash to create more energy.

I’ve talked to people who live in Pennsylvania; who’ve experienced questionable water, afraid of what is coming out of their taps. If they can’t directly prove that they were impacted by oil and gas, (which the EPA does not have the proper equipment to test for the radioactive materials at levels in which it is present) or if they do not sign a non-disclosure agreement the expenses are their’s alone to bare when it comes to water testing and filtering. In the end, I feel I’m helping by talking to people about solutions and their first person experiences.

Renewable energy is taking off. First, I’ve recently read an article about how Japan completed their 5 MW biomass plant that uses wood chips. And now there are plans to build a 50 MW biomass energy plant. Also, here is a break through in Alberta Canada that uses giant fans to capture carbon in a liquid that absorbs the carbon and it can then be combined with hydrogen that was produced by solar or wind power to create a hydrocarbon. Plus, Michigan State University had developed clear solar panals. And most of all we can also move past our disdain for cannabis and start creating with hemp. I keep reading good news from cities, and entire states (like Hawaii), and small countries that are using sustainable and healthier technologies. Even if it takes 90 years (we really need to do that in half that time) there plenty of work to be done to create a different culture with energy use. As environmentalists, informed citizens, voters, volunteers, producers, and consumers we are doing something meaningful with our investments of time and money. Thank you for reading.

If you want to learn how you can make a difference, visit www.letsbanfracking.org

Resources:

Environmental Working Group,
DANGER IN THE AIR: HEALTH CONCERNS FOR SILICA IN OUTDOOR AIR, http://www.ewg.org/research/sandstorm/health-concerns-silica-outdoor-air, September 25, 2014

http://letsbanfracking.org/index.php/resources/let-s-ban-fracking-brochure

The Fracking Facade: https://youtu.be/IPIEzSwPwT0

Gary Cooley From Grayling, MI
http://www.tricitytimes-online.com/Articles-News-i-2014-05-07-218250.112113-Dream-home-now-a-nightmare.html

The Resilient Master List

In this blog you can find examples and descriptions on how people around the Midwest apply technology to adapt to using less fossil fuels.

Here are somewhat of a tables of contents and can serve as subjects of study for inspiration:

Insulating/ conserving energy
Gardening/ Permaculture/ orchards
Forest Management/ foraging/ camping
Edible/ Medicinal herbs and mushrooms
Edible insects
Hunting (bow or non gun especially)
Water purification
Hemp biodiesel
Food storage (drying, fermentation)
non power tools
Solazyme
Carbon Capture producing hydrocarbon
Wind Power- small household/ farm use
Solar panels
Solar Thermal/ Passive Solar
Thermal Mass/ Rocket heater/ Stove /Cobb
Bio Methane
Air Dry Clothes design
Material reuse (crafts with kid/ connecting people with way to recycle electronics, and hazardous materials)
Soap making demonstrations/ homemade vinegar cleansers/ oral care (tree twigs like walnut and sassafras, baking soda, salt, boiling hardwoods for antibacterial tannins)
Pottery
Ashes and their uses
Hand built shelters
Low energy carpentry
Low energy food prep
Bushcraft
Indian heritage
Preindustrial family history
Homeschooling
Caring for animals (especially horses and chickens)
Time Management
Demanding responsible safe technology!

Bicycle, Motorcycle, walk, share rides, work at home (Home stead, work
over internet, home business), raise or forage for food close to home,
cook at home, plan for less grocery trips), buy things with the least
packaging, live simply, etc. With enough imagination this list can
keep going.

These are fun to search out on Google or You Tube:

Wild food: Eattheweeds.com
Solar Oven:  http://www.sunoven.com
YouTube search: Build a Rocket Stove
YouTube search: Biogas Digester
Solar Thermal: www.havenheating.com
Tony Buck’s Solar Porch
YouTube Search: Biomass Stove
YouTube Search: Passive Solar
YouTube Search: Water Capture
Build a self sustaining food system: http://www.geofflawton.com
Make your own soap, YouTube Search: Make Soap, Home Made Cleaning
Products, homemade shampoo, homemade toothpaste
YouTube search:wilderness survival, off grid living, Bug out
Bag
Can your surplus, also I cook all the food I need for work in
small jelly jars in a boiling pot of water, canning lids seal and
eliminate the need for refrigeration. YouTube Search: home canning
Refrigeration, YouTube search— Clay Pot-in-pot Cooler
Solar Shower, yes it’s plastic and it comes from the camping
section from a big box store, but sit it in your back yard and find a
way to hang it in your bath and you have a renewable way to take a hot
shower. Want to shower anytime: YouTube Search Compost Shower or if
you have the money use geothermal or Solar Thermal from Haven Heating.
Solar Dryer, convert your old dryer using the warm air in your
attic—www.builditsolar.com
YouTube Search— Solar Dryer
Hang close up to dry
Residential solar panel, or wind generator systems can come in
kits electrically literate folks will love, especially if you have
space for lots of batteries and electrical things. Check out inspiring
websites videos that tell you how to integrate it with your current
electrical plan:
http://makezine.com/projects/make-any-home-appliance-into-a-solar-electric-hybrid/
YouTube Search: $100 Dollar Solar Power Setup
Wash Clothes YouTube Search: off grid Laundry
Prime People Power Mover generator—https://youtu.be/M1Mp-NGfw0s, http://www.los-gatos.ca.us/davidbu/pedgen/plans.html