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Messages - Farmer McGregor

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Doomsteading / Re: Small Dam & Micro-Hydro Building
« on: March 05, 2017, 09:09:16 AM »
What about doing what kids do and just using rock?  You've got a shit load of rock Eddie.  Pile enough rock up and you'll have a damn of sorts.  At least you could make a swimming/fishing hole that way couldn't you?
The trouble here is that, yes, you can slow down and hold back some water with a pile of rocks, but it leaks. BADLY!

If water can flow through it, it will, over time, tear it apart.  Have you ever gone back later to where you had piled rocks in a river to create a little pond only to discover that your dam was mostly dismantled?  Dams must hold back all of the water, releasing only under controlled conditions, or nature will un-dam it for you.  All dams require some maintenance to keep them in place because any seepage will escalate toward collapse.

Doomsteading / Re: Bamboo House
« on: March 05, 2017, 08:58:38 AM »
...These Essential Services all rely on all the other Essential Services, so one going down leads to them all going down in a cascade of interdependent failures...  ...Add in Water, Food, Telecommunications, and think about the complex chains of transactions spreading out from those, and it should be obvious that the collapse rate will be very fast - of the order of a few days, a week at most.  The Collapse won't be in a series of steps, and it won't takes decades.  It will go from Normal to Nothing in one big hit...  ...then organised groups of looters will become the new post-Collapse bandits, visiting every house and taking anything they can find...

So the skills you should be practicing now are ones that won't need money after the collapse starts, which means they don't need electricity or gasoline, banks, supermarkets, transport, piped water, artificial fertilsers, pesticides, etc.  Start from NOTHING (except a few hand tools you can carry), and don't aim any higher than day to day survival.
Great summation, P2.

This strategy: "don't aim any higher than day to day survival" was how the monastics survived the deprivations following the collapse of the Roman Empire -- vows of poverty ensured that they barely had enough for themselves, and their practices of hospitality kept any surplus distributed among the needy in the surrounding communities. Raiders learned that there was little or nothing there to raid for.  Adding their medical (herbalism, etc.) and other life skills to the mix meant that their neighbors valued and protected them (of course, religious obligations played into this as well).  So there is definitely something to be said for deliberate poverty; and the appearance of poverty is best achieved by practicing poverty.

So, RE, you need to model your SUN Communities after the medieval monasteries!  I fully intend to follow a route that draws from the better parts of those traditions (not the religious parts -- not big on self-flagellation).  Being an irreplaceable asset to the local folks should make for some essential solidarity.

I'm inclined to agree "that the collapse rate will be very fast" for the same reasons: hypercomplex interrelated / interdependent systems tend to crash rather than crumble.

Seneca Cliff, anyone?

Doomsteading / Re: Small Dam & Micro-Hydro Building
« on: March 04, 2017, 10:03:11 PM »
Have you looked into geomembrane material?

For your shallow dam, I bet there's a reasonable-costing material you could use that would give you a fundamentally impervious barrier that would hold up well as long as you didn't somehow puncture it.  Should work well with just shaped earth structures, no need for concrete, except perhaps at the spillway.

Doomsteading / Re: Small Dam & Micro-Hydro Building
« on: March 04, 2017, 09:53:51 PM »
Thanks for weighing in. I do appreciate the voice of experience.

If I built it at the right time of year, the creek could be dry. We aren't THAT  dry here in central Texas as far as relative humidity, and the bags of ready mix I don't use eventually set up completely, sitting under dry cover, in less than a year. Trust me on that one. Not partially. Rock solid.

I think that with spikes holding it together, the structural strength would be adequate. What you are saying about leaks makes sense to me completely though. Maybe a layer of poured or troweled concrete on the inner wall? What do you think?

We are talking about a tiny dam. Five feet high at the deepest part. Fifty feet wide.

Not partially. Rock solid.
Have you ever busted one up?  Apparently you have the humidity to saturate it.  Out here they last pretty well under cover but the ones that get hard it's only the outer inch or so.  If you bust it open its nowhere near solid like you would want it to be for structural purposes.  Crumbly in the middle.

Maybe a layer of poured or troweled concrete on the inner wall?
Definitely something like that, though I'm pretty sure you'll want rammed earth.  You have to have a fairly impervious membrane because seepage will only get worse and will eventually break through catastrophically.  Water is aggressively erosive.  That's where bentonite or another expansive clay comes in.  Poured concrete would need to be thick enough to not crack up easily, so it would need rebar.  I suspect that packed earth over a solid structure is your best bet.  Dirt (clay) is far more inclined to self-seal than concrete.

One of my brothers has a smallish earthen dam that gets perforated by pocket gophers and salamanders.  By spreading bentonite on the surface of the water so that it settle down onto the dam you can seal the holes.  The outflow of water carries the clay into the perforations where it clings and expands and clogs them.

Dam construction is way more complex than first meets the eye: pile up dirt to stop water.  Seems easy but keeping it in place is a be-otch.  I wish we were neighbors so I could get right in there with you.

Doomsteading / Re: Bamboo House
« on: March 04, 2017, 08:48:59 PM »
...seed producing is a bitch.  Just take the potato as an example.  I don't even know how they do it.  I know it takes a lot of land and a lot of know how.  That's a whole thread in and of itself.  Especially when you start talking gmo's and terminator seeds
Yup.  I get annoyed with the people I talk to who claim to "save all their own seeds" because they kept some tomato or pepper seeds.  When I start inquiring about their techniques for maintaining cultivar purity, it quickly becomes obvious that they haven't a clue about what it really takes to produce seed.  This is indeed "a whole thread in and of itself."  I really wish I had time to write full length posts on some of these topics to provide fodder for extended discussion in the Diner.  Incidentally, GMO's and such really only affect the industrial mono-crop big ag crap that I want nothing to do with anyway.  I want heirloom open pollinated stuff that they don't mess with.

I wallow a lot.  I think too much.  I take shit too seriously.  I think it's faulty wiring (or at least abnormal wiring).
Faulty?!?  Dude, remember: The unexamined life is not worth living.  You're alive and conscious and going through life with your eyes open!  Of course things are going to bother you -- if it was otherwise then you would just be another deluded sheeple!  Focus on the things that count and use your mental energies to propel you toward the progress you want in your life.  And -- very important! -- cherish, enjoy and delight in your children while you can, and make sure they know you're doing it.  Did you have anyone that you knew delighted in you?
I sure as hell didn't.  It's a big part of why we are the way we are.

Doomsteading / Re: Bamboo House
« on: March 04, 2017, 07:22:22 PM »
I want to go hard core homestead.  I really do, and I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  11 acres on a river that my mother and step father will own.  That's good enough for me.
I go over this problem in my head all the time: no matter how much we detach from the industrial supply chains (#1-Food, #2-Water, #3-Shelter, #4-Heat, #5-Clothing (work boots are a bitch), #6-Lesser necessities) there will always be PROPERTY TAXES (government rent since there is no such thing as 'private property' in the USofA).  We will have to come up with some amount of cash income since you can't trade or barter with the county tax assessor.
That bugs the hell out of me.

If I were you, Mr. Bamboo, I would do what makes the most cash while I can and plow every available spare penny into prepping for hard core homesteading: buy tools and equipment, BOOKS that will be there after the www goes down or becomes so monetized that free info no longer exists (this is where it's going according to those in-the-know that I know), look for opportunities to practice and learn skills that will be useful later (an important one of those for me has been working with livestock -- just took one of our steers to a slaughterhouse yesterday morning, a new experience for me since the last three we totally butchered at home).

Permaculture is great, but I really don't believe that any of us can make a living as a designer due to inadequate demand.  After all, there's a reason you don't meet many people around the nation that are able to work full time as designers; maybe also as a teacher if you can find your way onto that pyramid scheme, though I think it has largely run its course.  If there was much of a market for permie designers then there would be more people actually doing it successfully, which there aren't.  Demand creates supply.

As the money runs out for all those landscape maintenance clients it will do so for potential permie clients as well.  Better to be good at growing and providing food which will always be in demand, and will probably become more valuable as the industrial system implodes.  Maybe WAY more valuable.  Also there is the problem of local seed suppliers; doesn't matter how good you are at growing food if you don't have seeds.  Producing seed is a much more complex business than most people realize.  This is now my principal priority in the process of achieving self-sufficiency: becoming a source of locally produced seed for all of the important survival crops.  It's by far the most challenging endeavor I've taken on.

I say all this to try to push your thinking outside the box you're currently wallowing in.
Best to you,

Doomsteading / Re: Small Dam & Micro-Hydro Building
« on: March 04, 2017, 04:34:35 PM »
I found out Home Depot (the one up by Ft. Hood) will deliver anything for a flat  $79 fee. I am considering ordering three or four pallets of Quikrete readymix to build the dam for my new swimming hole, just using stacked bags (with big nails driven through them for rebar).

Very fast build, no forms, the concrete sets right in the bag and the bags exposed to the outside quickly biodegrade.

I've seen nice looking retaining walls built this way here by the highway department. (The added nails to reinforce the wall is my idea).
Eddie, sorry to intrude, but I can't not comment about stacking bags of concrete mix.

For retaining walls, it will work in a relatively dry climate like Texas and Colorado.  The bags absorb moisture and over time some of the concrete sets up.  The static pressure behind the wall is fairly minimal unless a lot of moisture builds up there -- again, okay in the desert.  Notice in the pic how the stack of bags is canted toward the hillside; that helps with the pressure as well.  Actually, they might use bags of concrete because the low-portland fence-post mix is really cheap since it's mostly sand and gravel -- as cheap as concrete block and way cheaper than cut stone  -- and much easier to work with since there is no 'fitting' required.  Pile the bags, they conform to each other nicely, push in and tamp down some backfill, pile more bags.  Gorillas can do it.

The bad news: this will not work as a hydraulic dam; it will fail.

Water pressure is a totally different beast than stacked/rammed earth; it presses outward as much as it presses downward -- earthen fill does not.  Yes, some of the concrete in the bags will set up after getting wetted, but not consistently, and it will be riddled with paper leakage pathways.  Even a little leak eventually becomes a big leak.

I've got some background in (mostly commercial) construction, including working with concrete structures like monolithic storage tanks for thermal solar, or embedding tanks in monolithic pours (a bitch of a job) and a lot of retaining walls.  Trust me, a concrete dam can not have escape paths for water because it will enlarge them over time.  Now if you used the stacked bag thing as the outside stabilizing retainer for a rammed earthen dam with a good bentonite layer on the inside, that might be okay, but all you're really depending on there is mass -- lots and lots of mass.  The concrete in the bags serves little purpose.  This is true for those retaining wall affairs as well.

It's all about the mass, it's all about the mass... (there's a song in there somewhere).

If you've ever had sacks of concrete mix get soaked and allowed to harden, you've seen that you don't end up with bag shaped blocks, you end up with crumbly partially cured crud that doesn't even make good rip-rap.  The moisture does not saturate or distribute into the contents of the bag evenly, and portland needs to be kneaded or churned to get thoroughly wetted (it's somewhat hydrophobic), so they don't set up like you'd imagine.

Use the concrete, but mix it (always spiking with some extra portland since sack-crete is low quality) and place it in properly formed and reinforced structures that you can count on.  Failures really suck.

Geopolitics / Re: Trumpty-Dumpty POTUS Thread
« on: March 04, 2017, 07:35:26 AM »
Trump is polarizing the press and the country. The mainstream print media is gunning for him (and why shouldn't they be?) and the Alternative Facts media (Fox and Breitbart...and now definitely Zero Hedge) are his apologists). The problem, as I see it, is that issues really don't matter anymore. Nothing matters, except showmanship and feel-good populist rhetoric.
This brings to mind one of JHK's favorite sayings, that we've become a nation where "anything goes and nothing matters".

The Kitchen Sink / Re: Recipes
« on: March 03, 2017, 06:17:01 PM »
The Mar-a-lago Club Sandwitch

The Mar a lago Club Sandwich
The Mar a lago Club Sandwich

Gather together a bundle of 2x2x2" cubes of well-laundered Russian cheese, baloney and other assorted Russian mystery meats.

Sprinkle these with American diamond dust, gold leaf, mayo and a drizzle of Only The Very Best mustard.

Smoosh these between slices of Oligarch Brand Russian Bread which has been thoroughly laundered and then hung out to try.

Be sure to stack this sandwich so high that only a very Big Mouth, after a day of Big Lies, could get a good Yuge bite of it.
JRM, you're on a roll!   This thread is hysterical!
I haven't laughed so much in quite a while.

Economics / Re: Official Death of Retail Thread: Life Without Walmart
« on: March 02, 2017, 10:45:29 AM »
JC Penney and Sears were both gutted by their corporate leadership, who stole the family silver and moved on. What's left is the parts that couldn't make money. They've been on the brink of BR for years and years. When they go, a lot of legacy type mall space will be shuttered. That I do believe.

What I don't see is shameless commerce grinding to a halt. All the Medicaid kids in my practice are still buying their Air Jordans somewhere.

Sites like ZH have been crying doom over mall closures for the whole time I've been reading their shit, which is more than five years now. It's not that malls are doing great, it's that the changes in retail are complex and multi-facted, and hard to parse out. I put a lot of the blame on the LBO boys sucking the juice out of these companies through various restructuring deals. It's a vampire squid problem, not just the end of commerce in general.

Is it healthy? No. Does it portend collapse? Yes. But is it as bad as JHK would like to believe? Not nearly. Is it as bad as you think it is? No. At least not yet. Gonna have to hang in there for a while if you want to see JIT commerce lock up from credit collapse.
I'm mostly with Eddie on this one; obviously people are still buying stuff, just not so much by driving to the mall.  It's as much a demographic/sociological shift than a product of collapse.*  Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Wards, along with some lesser names, built their brands on mail order via catalogs distributed by the Postal Service.  What kind of TEOTWAWKI hysterics took place when all those folks -- folks that had lived their lives within walking distance of their home -- that now had cars and could drive to those shiny indoor shopping circusses (malls) to actually look at the products before paying for them quit ordering from the catalogs?  Oh the horrors!  What's to become of our lucrative mail order business?  The ones that couldn't afford to proliferate into brick and mortar no longer exist.  My dad, a farmer, thought it was great that he could drive to Sears for a new Craftsman tool when he needed it rather than wait two weeks for it to come in the mail.

*Ahem! That is not to deny that we are in a shrinking economy, that collapse is contributing to the demise of many old business models.  It's just that, as Eddie points out, there are other factors in play here, including the continuing pervasiveness of the car culture.  I have read on occassion that studies into the failing of malls reveal a couple interesting details.
1) In recent decades malls became the hang out of the teenage population, causing older buyers, the ones who actually spent real money, to find the environment repugnant.
2) Those same older buyers got older, fatter, lazier and, other than those that used mall hallways as an indoor exercise arena, increasingly refused to walk the ridiculous distance from the parking hinterlands to the destination store; they wanted to enter the store from the outside.

This has lead to the current trend in mall restructuring where all stores are directly accessible from an outdoor entrance so that the slobs can park in the handicap space and shuffle their fat ass inside.  Both of the malls in the city near me have done this.  The older one converted into a row of big-ish box stores with separate entrances; a Whole Foods is one of them, Office Depot another, etc.  The other larger newer mall tore down 80% of the old 'hallway with little stores on both sides' and built entirely new freestanding buildings for Nordstroms, etc.  No more 20 acre parking lot; instead it's lots of smaller lots with buildings in the middle of them.

Time will tell whether this proves effective for them.  It strikes me as a desparate grasping for the glory days of profitable retailing without recognizing that a relentlessly contracting economy means a permanent slide toward failure, however slowly it occurs.

Which brings me to another point I want to direct toward Eddie: you, in Austin, and me, on the Colorado front range, live in pockets of relative prosperity when compared to most of the nation.  It's easy for us to take for granted that our geographical locations are typical, but they decidedly are not.  I come from a VERY large family, have connections all over the country.  The stories I hear tell me that most other areas are showing the symptoms of contraction and collapse far more visibly than out here.  Visitors marvel at our area's lack of trashed out neighborhoods, empty dilapidated manufacturing facilities, un-maintained roads, etc.

The thriving old-town districts with no skid row around the corner, nice brew-pubs and night life have them talking about moving back.  BUT, the same profession here pays half what it does in Atlanta, or even Dayton which is in many ways a cousin to Detroit.  People are willing to live here for the "quality of life" even though the mean wage level is significantly lower.  Again, the relative prosperity here is a fluke, not exemplary of most of the country.

The Kitchen Sink / Re: Heads Up
« on: March 01, 2017, 02:51:40 PM »
I don't really follow Reddit so better to post here.

But going back to the original comment whilst I did not always agree with JRM's point of view I did find his posts to be enlightening and of high quality. It would be a pity for him to stop posting or commenting on various articles. Saying that do what you think is necessary but just know I and I am sure others would value your answers and inputs. I know the Diner can be a difficult place with opinions being constantly challenged but a challenge, or even a major disagreement, does not entail a lack of respect; it is just people are in the habit of challenging ideas. The main thing I always say is provided you make a good post that is supported with facts or solid reasoning and does not involve insulting others then you are posting quality material. People may disagree but people will respect a person who makes well defined arguments and quality posting. Being extra civil (not saying you are not civil, just being general here) is extra browny points.
Ditto that.

The Kitchen Sink / Re: Heads Up
« on: March 01, 2017, 02:30:40 PM »
If you just want to share links, we have a Reddit sub for that.
Is this a dis-invitation, RE?  Are you trying to run him off?

I hate Reddit and will not bother to look there.

Reddit is a lousy software package for discussion, but it's GREAT for posting up links!  It's really fast.

Far as "running him off" goes, I believe I already did that.  This is nonsense about "not having time" for discussion.  A few days ago he was posting up 10 times a day, and long ones too!  You think he all of a sudden got too bizzy?

He needs to grow up and be able to take criticism without getting his knickers in a twist about it.

I'll take that as a 'Yes'.

The Kitchen Sink / Re: What you should not say in public...
« on: March 01, 2017, 02:25:07 PM »
I also disagreed with him on the refugee issue.  On that one, I'd make a determination on carrying capacity before anyone can migrate.  If you take people from one spot and load them into another one, you'll just destroy that ecosystem too.

Another good point to ponder.  This ran through my mind as well while reading his article, but figured that if he had the power to enact the other measures, surely this issue would be dealt with as well.  Besides, with long-range transport broken down, migrations would be limited to mostly walking distances.  The logistics of large groups walking for extended periods of time would largely circumscribe it.

The Kitchen Sink / Re: Heads Up
« on: March 01, 2017, 02:18:27 PM »
If you just want to share links, we have a Reddit sub for that.
Is this a dis-invitation, RE?  Are you trying to run him off?

I hate Reddit and will not bother to look there.

The Kitchen Sink / Re: Heads Up
« on: March 01, 2017, 01:45:52 PM »
While I don't have time for discussion on this forum, I may like to share interesting tidbits found on the web now and then.  Others can feel free to share their own tidbits here, too.
I, for one, am disappointed that you're not available to discuss this.

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