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cassandra



Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 1694
Location: Tasmania Australia
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 16 6:11 am    Post subject:  Reply with quote    

What with all the coming and going and wondering where I will live, I have put off ordering firewood till rather late in the year and then I have had discussions with myself about 12 inch or 18 inch wood and where to get it (sick of my current wood man who keeps delivering lots of thin branches that he has not even bothered to cut to length). And this morning I woke up, it was cold, I had no wood as I had burned the last of the short stuff last night and .... so I went into town and bought a new woodheater!

http://ultimatefires.com.au/product/ultimate-esperance-20/

It is Australian made and comes with a ten year warranty on the woodbox and fits where I want it to go, so that is good enough for me - oh and it triple burns the wood etc as well. They even install it for you, so now all I have to do is organise a time for it to be done. I was planning on dumping the present heater (on freecycle of course), but then realised it would be a good addition for the shed when it is built, so will stick it on a pallet, wrapped in plastic till the shed is built.

From this you will conclude that yes, I am staying put and will just make suitable modifications (seven foot fences etc, lol) to deal with the neighbours and focus my attention on the distant views rather than what is going on next door. And very attractive distant views they are now the grandstand is gone.

The ducks are primarily for grass mowing, snail collection etc, but meat is also a focus. Not so much eggs as I have never been keen on their taste. They are good in sponges, but I am not good at cooking sponges, so that is not terribly useful. I can sell some at local markets etc to cover food costs I expect.

Gregotyn I would start making a fuss half way through the treatment about how you will get home and make sure they arrange something. A taxi sounds incredibly expensive, but if they reimburse the cost then why not do it both ways? And if they have made an appointment in England, knowing full well you are in Wales you should be right for transport arrangements, and if not, then jump up and down feebly until they give in (with the local press on speed dial).

At least now I have the new heater on the way I can safely order in some firewood - now all I have to do is work out where to keep it so it is not in the way of various construction activities.

gz



Joined: 23 Jan 2009
Posts: 6806
Location: Ayrshire, Scotland
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 16 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Get on to the charity asap, Gregotyn. It will need sorting now,not on the day as they will have limited volunteers.
The Pirate used the Ayrshire charity transport to get to Glasgow for his treatment..I know that was cross county as opposed to cross country borders, but as treatment over the border is usual it shouldn't be a problem.

All the best for a speedy outcome.

gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 2123
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Fri May 13, 16 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Yes this week is the one to organise the haulage to the hospital-well next week now but it is not a last minute thing to be doing. I will be going to Shrewsbury in the very near future and will call at the hospital transport section and see if it is a starter for them to do both trips. Going home is the difficult one, I agree Jam Lady, as I don't know what time the 'processing' will end. That is why I want the hospital to do the honours going home, because I am already there. I had half a mind not to bother with the investigation anyway, and hope it all goes away, but it won't, so onwards and upwards. I wonder if there is a stunningly beautiful nurse who would like to befriend an old man for a day?, (well not if she has any sense!). I digress. My usual lady for the 'job' neighbour has her mother and father staying and so she can't put me up in any event, if there is any insistence then I will say she is looking after me. I am more importantly looking forward to the smallholder show before the hospital "trip".!

I was thinking MR. it was that time again when the great firing up is to begin, and wondering if you can do the job with any old wood, I have a massive amount of pallets at my disposal, but these are mainly soft wood. I also wondered if it is possible to do the burn in a small container like an old gas bottle. Some of these are no longer sent back to be refilled. I have some which are of the big type-about 5ft high and about 15 inches diameter and some of the smaller ones about 2ft 6 inches tall which I have inherited and wondered if they may be suitable to be used. I would have them professionally checked for being empty. There was something about this in the recycling section some time ago. The one thing I lack is the ability to do it! Not sure if you have heard about this new method of fertilizing using just charcoal finely ground into a powder? Apparently spectacular and thought it may be an idea to try it. A neighbour is supposed to be at it and looking for a supply of hardwood hedge trimmings, but if softwood works I would give it a try.

The wood burner looks good Cassandra. Will it do other fuels as well? I was thinking those softwood pallet blocks, and soft wood generally, as well as hard wood which will give the best heat, but is expensive-well it is here in the UK. We have sawdust type blocks in the UK too, but I have been warned off them as the glue that binds the blocks together can gum up the chimney and start a fire up there. There are some of those compressed blocks which only have pressure as a binding agent and so can be burned without any danger I have heard.

I may be late tomorrow as I am going to collect more wood from a local dealer who currently has an excess of spare 3"x3" and a few other pallets, I got 2 nice pieces of plywood today, as well as some good chopping wood, thought a bench top, or a permanent jig for something or other. I hate having to buy if I have rejected something that would have done the job.

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 2134
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Sat May 14, 16 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hi Gregotyn. Sounds like you are on top of things as far as getting your travel arrangements organized. Here's a link to making smallish batch charcoal at home - http://www.pine3.info/Charmake.htm The charcoal "fertilizer" you mentioned is called biochar. Latest "in" thing for the garden.

Planted cannas and amorphophallus tubers yesterday. Good thing as today was more drizzle. Need to mix soil for all the bulbs that need to be repotted.

Stopped by at the vet hospital this afternoon. Was petting a large (13 pound) handsome orange cat. One of the vet techs asked if I wanted my afternoon cat fix. "Kittens?" I said hopefully. Oh my. About a dozen - black, tabby, tiger stripes. Maybe 5 / 6 weeks old. One is a little purr monster, started to rev his engine as soon as he saw me. I'll go back tomorrow to photograph, but I better not have any just accidentally fall in my pocket. Two cats, Mr Jam Lord feels, are quite enough. I think four is a good number . . . . especially if you get them in pairs.

Stopped off at a friend's house to visit for a while, drop off a couple of novels and pick up the ones she'd finished. Her uterine cancer surgery (laparoscopic) went quite well but the doctors don't know why she's anemic, hence tired all the time.

Then stopped off at the grocery store on my way home, for just a few things. And that was my afternoon.

cassandra



Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 1694
Location: Tasmania Australia
PostPosted: Sat May 14, 16 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Oh kittens!!! My dog kennelling place (which seems to have started to double as a rescue facility) posted a photo of the most adorable tortoisehell lady with green eyes, about nine months old by the looks, who was found and handed to them. Not microchipped. Sooooooo tempted, but I must resist.

Today was rainfree and relatively wind free (by which I mean I could walk without leaning), so I cut some firewood in preparation for the next wintry blast that we are expecting over the next week, and phoned the wood man and left a message. He has not rung back, so I will call him again tomorrow (or Monday). Similarly the heater installation person has not returned my call, so him I will email. Since I have no idea when the new heater will be installed I have decided to order a trailer load of 12 inch wood, and to get a larger quantity of the longer wood when I am flush with funds.

Wood cut and stowed, I treated myself to a bowl of seafood chowder at the local cafe but found myself having to share my table as the place was a little crowded. The couple were nice people and we had a nice chat, though my soup got cold as I answered their questions about local history, then I came home to walk the dog.

On the way back from walking the dog I realised the wind had shifted and the loose cladding on the wall of my new woodshed-to-be was flapping rather worryingly (this is the cladding I can not remove as I can not find my pry bar). I could not find my roofing screws, so had to make do with some batten screws with washers on them to spread the load a little if things got boisterous. Naturally the battery on the cordless drill was flat so it was all a bit of a bodgy job, but it should do the trick, and if it doesn't it shows I took measure to stabilise if anyone complains.

Despite being 8 weeks out from our election, the political exchanges on Fb are becoming rather heated as all the Parties get their knives out, it is quite amusing. Particularly amusing is the statements by the two major parties that they will 'never' contemplate a partnership with the Greens to form government. Since the Greens said last week that if either of them wanted a partnership they would have to reverse quite a few policy positions (refugees, Federal independent crime commission to look into political corruption, fossil fuels etc), this is a bit of a dummy spit really and very funny to watch, and Labor is now whinging because the Greens are running candidates in their electorates. Bit of a worry really, that they have such a poor grasp on the desirability of democracy.

Not lighting the fire tonight as it is 17 in the bedroom and wearing ugg boots makes my feet hot (a sure sign I am not really as cold as my legs say I am). So I will simply haul out a leg rug for the rest of the evening.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 11568

PostPosted: Sat May 14, 16 7:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Looks an interesting fire Cassandra. Hope you find a suitable log supplier very soon to get the wood for it. Storage and delivery are always a problem as we have a number of people put us off certain days because something else is to be delivered/they need to find the room, or have a half load because they can't manage a full one.

Gregotyn, small quantities of charcoal are usually made in oil drums. I haven't heard of them being made in old gas cylinders, but if you could cut them, no reason why not. You can make soft wood charcoal, but not the best, and I am always wary of pallets as you don't know what they are made of or what they have been treated with. Still, you know your pallets, and I assume you reject any really nasty ones.

All sorts of things are claimed by some people about biochar. I would claim that it will absorb and release nutrients and water slowly, and it does need to be mixed with fertiliser (such as from a wormery) or mixed into the compost heap, so it absorbs the nutrients, but could be a good thing to use. I use it on our vegetable garden but so far without spectacular results.

Jam Lady, the number of cats you have depends on whether you want peace with Jam Lord or not by the sounds of it. Kittens are so lovely, but make sure none do pop into your pocket if you want domestic peace.

gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 2123
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Sat May 14, 16 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Thank you, MR, for the information on biochar, I won't be entering the market, if it is as non dynamic as you say. I would suspect that your veg patch is fairly well off for manure, so that anything else added will not have a spectacular result, ie someone with a run down plot may well benefit, but with dwindling improvements year on year. A local lad has just begun looking for hardwood hedge cuttings to start up, he has already bought the burner, a stainless steel affair I am told, I have not seen it so don't know. But I think he is trying to find the horse now that he has already got a brand new cart; methinks I would have ensured a supply of fuel first, however he does have access to his brothers farm, but he will need a lot more than the 100acres or so of that farms hedges to give much income-but I am only guessing. He has asked me about me supplying-sounds desperate! I would have thought he is winding up at the wrong time of the year. I am thinking the fuel will best be found in the autumn when there is less sap and if he wants any lengths he will have to cut it himself. Just my thoughts.

I really cannot give my thoughts on cats on, but each to their own. They are not for me. I am happy to stroke them and happy to look after the neighbour's cat when they go away, but couldn't cope with a cat-we just always had dogs at home and so I have too. They say cats adopt you-so they sense me as a non starter! Any way that makes me a Mr. Jam Lord and a bit more, as I think one cat is too many!

I am late starting here today as a friend has given me a lot of pallets that are going to burn if I don't want them. I went this am and the problem is that they are all too wet in reality for me to get dry in a hurry so I have taken a van load. It all stemmed from the fact that he had a new ride on mower in a crate and I told him nor to burn it. to which end he said it had to be gone by today so I did most yesterday and some today, but have left a lot-no room in van, so will get it bit by bit and hope he sells another ride on whose pallet is lovely wood to chop and arrives dry.

gregotyn



Joined: 24 Jun 2010
Posts: 2123
Location: Llanfyllin area
PostPosted: Sat May 14, 16 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We, Cassandra, are enjoying a lovely morning and the sun has at last started a day without being cold, I suspect a flash in the pan-surely we cannot be starting spring and summer together? Just make sure you keep warm-glad you got the wood cut. I am well noted for B-I-Y, bodge, as in not quite a D-I-Y job, comes in one word "thatlldoit". The "ll" stands for "should, but won't"! I don't know the size of the shed but a rope tied round it would help contain the flap to some degree. I must admit to having several drills so one is always up to speed

A bit worrying if you accidently elect the wrong gov't by the greens splitting the left vote and you get the ultra right by default. Maybe time to put the greens to one side for a while get the left of centre party in and then start to chip away at them. Don't complain about 8 weeks pre election jargon taking over. It seems to go on for years in the USA. Talking of which Mr Trump has backed off a bit in the Muslim affair. All politicians seem to revert to thimbles after promising buckets and in his case barrels. (sorry, J.L.).

I am a 'leg rug' man when it comes to keeping warm, as it gets a bit chilly and draughty in the evenings. My evenings don't last too long as I am in bed usually by 8 pm., getting up at 4.30-(5.00-I'm late)-means early to bed to rest even if sleep often evades me. When I retire then I will sleep till I want to get up and go to bed when I want, luxury!

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 2134
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 16 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Moved two large plants outdoors for the summer. Needed himself's help with one, couldn't manage on my ownself. Dumped all soil and completely repotted. Watered, of course. And then later in the afternoon it rained. Just 1/10th of an inch but no complaints.

There's a small tree / very large branch down in the woods. Suitable for firewood but we have so much else that's more sizable (will need splitting once cut to length) that I laid dibbs on it to edge a path. Too long / heavy for me to shift. So. He didn't want to gas up the chain saw for just one cut. My lithium ion battery chainsaw was flat. (Charger was not connected. That's not in my job description, don't look at me.) So he got the battery sawzall. Which was charged but ran out of oomph before completing the cut. So, again. Got my small battery chainsaw and that finished the job.

Now I just need to cut back and transplant some running myrtle that's trying to acquire the path, and we can move the pieces to edge it.

In the morning, though, I went back to the vet hospital. No kittens came home with me, but I think I did get some charming images. Caturday

No need to apologize, Gregotyn. This is the most ludicrous election cycle I can recall. But then I've always felt that wanting to be elected to public office should be grounds for disqualification. In this cycle, however, it is not merely the candidates but also the rabble baying at their heels.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 11568

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 16 6:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Lovely cat pictures Jam Lady. Kittens are so sweet, and luckily most grow up to be rather nice cats-at least at home. Unlike piglets, which grow into huge pigs, but then you like pigs better than cats Gregotyn, so each to their own.

It seems Trump has declared the new London mayor an honorary non-Muslim, but has been rebuffed unless he accepts all Muslims. Perhaps he shouldn't have brayed so loud.

We have a number of big branches down in the wood courtesy of the Easter storm, and have to find time to get them in, and work out how we are going to get some of them fully down and extracted.

Pity about the pallet being wet Gregotyn. Hope you get some dry ones soon. The man who has the charcoal kiln sounds as if he should have researched and found suitable timber/wood first. If he is looking for hedge clippings he is definitely going the wrong way. Doesn't sound as if he has much idea. If you know him well, I would suggest to him that he goes on a charcoal making course with someone.

We don't really have access to manure, so I tend to use mainly my own compost, which probably doesn't have that much nutrient, and the contents of the wormery. The last lot of compost has worm manure and biochar mixed in with it, so should be quite good.

I hope you manage to get your government sorted out satisfactorily Cassandra. Ours is being very worrying too, and at present the EU referendum is also extremely worrying with both sides of the 'debate' lying to suit themselves.

Yesterday we went to the Dorset Coppice Group's Open Day. Quite interesting, and met several people we knew. One does really lovely pyrography, but sadly her machine packed up part of the way through the day.

cassandra



Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 1694
Location: Tasmania Australia
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 16 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

It's not the Greens doing the splitting. It is Labor who have turned rather right wing themselves in recent times. They have been confident they will get back in because the Liberals (our far right group - silly name when you think about it) have made themselves pretty unpopular. But because they don't fancy having to form government unless they can call the shots, they have decided to run a scare campaign to frighten people off the Greens and convince them we are the enemy when clearly we are actually their natural allies (if they would only do something more honourable about refugees, establishing an independent crime commission to examine the behaviour of politicians and get their act together on climate change). So now they are running around telling people we are allied with the present government and preference-sharing with them, lol. It is farcical - or it would be but for the many gullible people out there who also vote.

Cold overcast and blustery winds here - winter is definitely on its way. The fire has been lit since before lunch, the bacon bones are simmering on top, and tomorrow night it will either be minestrone or pea and ham soup, but tonight I suspect it will be an omelet due to lack of forethought on my part.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 11568

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 16 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I think biochar may have some advantages Gregotyn, just perhaps not the 'best thing since sliced bread' that some people say.

Cassandra, I have been following some of your political posts on FB, and it does look a bit 'interesting'. We have just over a month to go to our referendum about the EU, and similar lies are being told. The US has already said if we leave, we have to renegotiate trade agreements, but the out people are saying it will business as usual and nothing will change except we will not be paying into the EU and we can refuse to accept people from the countries within it. They are not pointing out that this has never happened before; even Switzerland has to accept certain restrictions when trading with the EU, so why should the UK be different.

I had a good day in the garden yesterday. I managed to dig over 2 raised beds, so now have somewhere for my leeks, which are nearly ready to go out, and half my cabbages, which aren't yet I don't think.

Husband did some work on the tractors and managed to cut himself, which bled a bit, so we are having a day off today as son is travelling back from a weekend away.

cassandra



Joined: 27 Mar 2013
Posts: 1694
Location: Tasmania Australia
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 16 9:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Renegotiating trade agreements might not be such a bad thing. Particularly if the negotiation takes long enough for Jeremy to be in charge. You can get rid of the Investor State clauses that are rapidly placing Australia at risk.

It was very chilly this morning - one degree. And did not exceed 12 all day. But it was sunny and the wind had dropped so I did the washing which almost dried (it is presently festooning the loungeroom, much to Seb's disgust as he can not reach his bed.)

Biochar is one of those one-size-fits-all gardening solutions that work well in some circumstances but not in others. Personally I just chuck the charcoal from the woodheater in the compost (along with the ash) and let the worms make of it what they will. Bit like Alan Savory's intensive grazing to rehabilitate the land. Works very well in some places, but can be bad in others, though the biochar will be unlikely to cause actual harm.

We have another eight weeks of campaigning to go, so it will be a very tense period I suspect. I am trying not to take it at all seriously at this point of the game as voters have very short memories.

Jam Lady



Joined: 28 Dec 2006
Posts: 2134
Location: New Jersey, USA
PostPosted: Mon May 16, 16 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

What sort of weather do you want? Whatever it is, we probably had some yesterday. Started off with morning sunshine and some haze, then complete overcast. Darkening skies and rain. Hint of sun. More periods of overcast and black clouds complete with rain that stopped in 15 to 20 minutes. And wind. Oh boy did we have wind. Fresh spring green leaves whipped off their branches and scudding horizontally across the view out the window. Birds flying sideways too.

Must have been a front coming through. Overnight low was 39 degrees Fahrenheit / 3.2 Celsius

Today is brilliant sunshine and fleecy white clouds. And still the wind. Used extra clothespins to fasten sheets to the clothesline.

Mr Jam Lord and I were standing at the bottom of the driveway, rearranging a half whiskey barrel planter that some lackwit had bumped out of position when turning in our drive. Along comes Maggie, who works at the local post office and rents a cottage from neighbors down the road. She pulls over, gets out, opens the back of her car, inside of which is a plethora of peacock feathers. (Her landlord, you see, has peacocks.) She starts selecting this one and that one and hands me a fistful of feathers. My cats will be ever so happy. And I'll drop a couple off for the vet hospital kittens too.

Now, about compost and manure and fertilizer:

Compost and manure are more like roughage in your soil's diet. My friend with horses gifts me manure, with my choice of fresh, over-wintered, or vintage. Solid sh*t is rather low in nutrients, high in organic matter. My favorite - llama and alpaca - is about 5-3-3, small pellets, non-burning. Rabbit is also good, as is Guinea pig. Loose sloppy poop - pig, chicken, even cow - is an issue because of urine, which is high in nitrogen. Human urine, well diluted with water, is a great nitrogen source.

Fertilizers can be organic / once living - dried blood, leather tankage = nitrogen. Guano (bird poop from seabird colonies in South America.) Rock phosphate and / or green sand - inorganic source but still classed as "organic." Inorganic fertilizers are generally chemical salts, more readily available to plants, use with care because salts can burn tender roots, even tender plant leaves if scattered too impetuously.

Let me know if you want more.

Shall now to go out and do some watering - the wind is very quickly sucking moisture out of containers. I'm reluctant to do any planting in these conditions.

Mistress Rose



Joined: 21 Jul 2011
Posts: 11568

PostPosted: Tue May 17, 16 5:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I agree about TTIP, which is similar to your trade agreement Cassandra, but that seems to be losing credibility now it is out in the open. Currently the Tories are doing all they can to keep Labour from ever winning including some that could easily be called jeremandering, although that is still being investigated. If it is proven, there is a chance the last election could be declared void, which would set the cat among the pigeons, but probably won't happen.

I have been adding the charcoal fines, biocahar, to the compost heap as if there are any nutrients going, they are going to get absorbed. Adding wormery compost and/or liquid helps too.

I don't have a ready source of manure Jam Lady, but interesting to see you think alpaca and rabbit are the best. Well rotted horse manure is generally regarded as good too I believe, and the one I can get if anything.

We sometimes have to use sequestered iron on odd things, as the chalk we are on causes chlorosis.

Out of interest, the place we had the Bodgers Ball at the weekend before last was built on guano. The people that built it made their fortune on importing it during the Victorian age. I think it has fallen out of use rather of late years as chemical fertilisers have become more used.

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