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Homesteading and Simple Living Comments

Comments in the moderation queue: 25

View the most recent comments below. To join in the discussion (or see a comment thread in order), click on the title of a comment, then follow the directions on the subsequent page to add a comment of your own.

For the tapered surface to give enough friction, the nut has to be very tight so the bolt is stretched out to give enough compression on the taper. The most accurate way to do this is to measure bolt elongation, but that is usually difficult. Another way is to specify how much the nut should be rotated from hand-tight.

The most common method is to use the torque applied to the nut as a proxy for the extension of the bolt. So I would suspect there to me a tightening torque mentioned in the service manual.

BTW: Do not lubricate either the taper or the threads! It will screw up the necessary friction that prevents stuff from coming loose. And it could lead to overtightening the nut.

To prevent the nut from coming loose, apply some thread locking fluid.

Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Jul 29 06:18:40 2014
Mark, I'm surprised that you have flywheel keys shear. The frictional force of the two tapers should be sufficient, with the key only in place to control spark timing. Typically, the only reason a key shears is if the nut gets loose and the blade comes to a sudden stop, resulting in a high inertia impulse. Are you able to get sufficient torque on the nut during reassembly? Does it have a lock washer? Sometimes an impact driver (manual or electric) can help tighten it. Good luck. David
Comment by David From Alabama Mon Jul 28 18:31:43 2014
Really REALLY , tighten the nut on top of the crank shaft, The key is only there for timing purposes , the taper on the crank / flywheel is supposed to stop movement between the two as long as the nut is super tight .
Comment by diogenesebrit.tex@gmeil.com Mon Jul 28 18:01:39 2014
I'll be following this with interest! I started to espalier a cherry against our brick but it was too hot for it. I'm now reading up on bonsai methods for keeping our front yard fruit trees from getting too big.
Comment by Fostermamas Mon Jul 28 11:38:39 2014

I would recommend not putting them against the south face of a structure and have them free standing if possible. Our trees are along the south face of a fence (6-8" away)and it would only achieve enough sun light to produce if it had unobstructed sun the entire day. That is because we are far enough south that the sun goes above due east and west in the summer and the trees end up being in shade from that fence. June 21st the trees would only get 7 hours of sun if they were not shaded by any other object. If the trees were just a few feet away from the fence they would get much more sun.

As far as spacing we planned ours at 6 foot spacing and it is a bit cramped I'd try for 8 feet if you have the room.

The multi-tiered cordon method seems to be the easiest to maintain after the tiers are created. We have a candelabra type shape and the vertical arms are always trying to compete due to the apical dominance. I think the horizontal would help reduce that, but I don't know how difficult it would be to balance the tiers.

We did it to get a lot of varieties in a small space but they require more work than they are worth at least in our location (the shade for us means they are not productive.)

I hope they work out better for you.

Comment by Brian Mon Jul 28 10:27:06 2014

I keep all of my fruit trees under 6 feet high, mostly using espalier forms. Probably one of the simplest and most productive espalier forms for apples is a simple fan shape. There a a fantastic book that describes a wide variety of training and pruning methods for all the different kinds of fruit: American Horticultural Society Pruning and Training, by Christopher Brickell and David Joyce

I'm growing my apple trees on semi-dwarf Geneva rootstock, because they are resistant to fireblight. One tip: varieties of trees that catalogs describe as "vigorous" are much more difficult to keep small. I'm regularly pruning 3-5 foot lengths of branches off of those each year - while my "non-vigorous" varieties are much easier to keep trained small. I absolutely love my mini fruit garden! Have fun!

Comment by Debra Graff Mon Jul 28 10:10:10 2014

I scald in 65 C (150 F) water, but don't time it. Just dunk and agitate (pull them up and down by the legs, so the feathers swoosh outwards on the up-stroke and the water gets in to the skin), until a wing feather slips straight out when pulled gently.

The timing varies with the type, age and size of duck, so this is the only reliable way I've found.

I then pluck the extremities (wings, then legs, then neck) first, since they cool down fastest. Then I do the tail, and work my way up the body.

Because I don't time my slaughter with moulting/feather growth, I usually end up with lots of little pin feathers and hairs. A blowtorch is handy to burn these off, but be careful not to cook the skin!

When processing older ducks, I find skinning them to be much easier. They're going to be tough anyway, so I'm not going to be cooking them with the skin on. Usually they get minced, finely chopped, or slow-cooked and pulled.

For meat, though, I find chickens much easier and more rewarding. Rabbits are another level of easier again!

Comment by Darren (Green Change) Mon Jul 28 00:42:21 2014
Terry --- Those are scarlet runner beans. I really just planted them as a quick way to provide shade on the porch while the perennial vines are getting underway, but they will produce edible beans. (And the hummingbirds love the flowers.)
Comment by anna Sun Jul 27 16:20:30 2014
kaat --- We had the same experience this year. (And after I got my hopes up too!) However, I've noticed with other fruit plants that they often don't set fruit the first year they bloom, so that might be what was going on with our vine. Not sure if your females are similarly young?
Comment by anna Sun Jul 27 16:19:17 2014

Hi Anna, When I saw your post I ran out to look at my kiwis. I have two vigorous females that were flowering and one male who wasn't doing so well (no flowering). I was excited seeing a small budding "fruit" (see image on blog), but in a week they just fell off. I'm thinking the plant jettisoned them because they weren't fruits at all, due to lack of pollination. I've given my male kiwi pride of place in a nice sunny spot so hope to see a difference next year.

Comment by kaat Sun Jul 27 13:40:24 2014
What is the wild-looking plant to the left of Mark in the photo?
Comment by Terry Sun Jul 27 09:47:01 2014
To those who have commented about pathogens on the food: These are fruit trees. The bugs aren't going to climb the trees. They aren't going to be sucked up by the roots. They aren't even there after being composted for that long. It's best to wash fruit, esp. if it falls on the ground, but this is going to protect you from pathogens from possibly recently deposited animal fecal matter more than the humanure that was used under the trees. Even if the feces wasn't from you and your family exclusively the risk here is more in any handling of the fecal matter before it's fully composted, which should of course be avoided. The "bucket method" is really where contact with pathogens is a higher risk factor and higher still if people from outside the family are making deposits, but it is still manageable. Go ahead, eat the fruit raw. It'll taste great since taste arises from fertility. Let's learn to be less squeamish.
Comment by Chrys Ostrander Sat Jul 26 23:12:02 2014
As long as your manure source is only you, you don't really have to worry about the food: any "germs" were your own in the first place. Others eating that food are potentially at risk if you two were carrying pathogens.
Comment by doc Sat Jul 26 18:56:25 2014

Anonymous --- If there's one thing I've learned from our time on the farm so far, it's that our lives and the world are constantly changing, and you can't spend your time worrying about an unknown future. Instead, we build our infrastructure to match what works so far, and have backup plans (canning equipment) in case there's such an extended power outage that our little generator can't keep the freezer going.

I figure if electricity went away permanently, we'd have a lot of other issues to worry about besides keeping our frozen food safe, so we don't plan for that scenario any more than for the dozens of other possible apocalyptic scenarios. In addition, since the freezer food is only about a third of our winter diet, we could always change gears within a year to focus more on the other winter food options. But there's no reason to go there now since we enjoy the quality of the frozen vegetables and the electricity cost is minimal.

Comment by anna Sat Jul 26 13:21:39 2014

Do you guys have plans if there is ever an event where you wouldn't have the ability to store your foods frozen? I'm very curious on what you think on the matters that would make that so. Maybe you could do a post about it?

Comment by Anonymous Sat Jul 26 12:41:37 2014

I got a used hoop-house from a friend this spring, and I have to say I never want to go back to open air tomatoes. I tried high hoops before, with about 4 feet of space at the bottom, and just a plastic roof. It was OK, but the crows still got in and destroyed most of the crop. But this greenhouse is awesome! I got red slicing tomatoes in mid June! And cherries by mid-May! And as of yet no signs of the blight which always wiped out my crops by the end of July. And my passionfruits are finally bearing fruit! Definitely get a greenhouse!

Comment by Eric in Japan Sat Jul 26 08:20:17 2014
Back in the "good old days" when I was growing up in Maine, we took what we could not use or repair to the town dump. You took whatever you wanted to get rid of and also had the chance to pick up something you needed that someone else has dumped there. It was a real recycling center!
Comment by Sheila Fri Jul 25 21:26:34 2014
I guess you could say you are putting your money... I mean humanure where your mouth is with this new step! :)
Comment by Eric in Japan Fri Jul 25 20:00:10 2014
Welcome to the inner circle of humanure composting!
Comment by Eric in Japan Fri Jul 25 19:58:11 2014
Our local wastewater treatment plant recommends using humanure only on plants which are not eaten raw. The likelihood of foodborne illness is reduced then.
Comment by Rita Marsh Fri Jul 25 17:32:45 2014

I just came in from placing pennies in my tomatoes. While the blight hasn't been as bad as previous years, it still has affected my tomatoes by "creeping" up the vines after lower tomatoes have been picked. my vines are over 7 ft. tall and producing very well. This is first year that I haven't had blossom end rot and I attribute that to the amendments I used all season so far - a boron (borax), Magnesium (Epsom salts), and Dolomite lime mixture I read about online. I have exceptional results in my raised beds and Earth Boxes! However, my tomato vines are getting "leggy" as I keep getting rid of leaves and limbs showing the blight. I still have huge tomatoes on my Beefsteak and Mortgage Buster tomatoes. I'm going to try the powdered milk in addition to the pennies and I'll try to let you all know how it goes. I'm also going to put a penny near the roots of my Roma tomatoes that are just beginning to bear fruit. Thanks to everyone for their input here. Much appreciated.

Comment by Sharon Mizell Fri Jul 25 16:00:29 2014

You might consider sticking a thermometer into the hart of the bin when you've closed it.

Monitoring the temperature difference from the ambient temperature might allow you to check both whether it heats up enough to kill the pathogens and when the biological activity drops to background levels.

After the latter it should be fine to use, I'd say.

Comment by Roland_Smith Fri Jul 25 14:02:08 2014

You can't steal trash!!!! But, in this world we live in now you are a criminal for breaking the "code" it's not a law but a code among many hundreds of thousands that make you, and others Outlaws.

We need to circumvent these "recycling" places by creating Trading Posts with other "Outlaws".

Edith

Comment by Edith Fri Jul 25 13:23:21 2014
I don't think this will put you in the clinker, even if you do return to the scene of the crime!!!
Comment by Sheila Thu Jul 24 23:04:13 2014
Rose Nell --- Thanks so much for your kind words! This was another instance where I was sad the photo was too late for my bug book....
Comment by anna Thu Jul 24 16:55:12 2014
jill --- Unfortunately, that's not our image. If you click on the picture, it will take you back to the spot where we found it on the internet. Good luck with your book!
Comment by anna Thu Jul 24 16:54:37 2014
Karen --- My brother loves grape leaves, but I never enjoyed the flavor. Too bad, because we do seem to be much better at growing grape leaves than fruit. :-)
Comment by anna Thu Jul 24 16:53:13 2014

hello,

we'd love to use the sheep with the haha image to illustrate the concept in our book, Canada West Landscape Architecture

very cute!

jill

Comment by jill Thu Jul 24 15:58:39 2014
I love this photo. Keep this one in mind, if you ever go back to watercolor. Love mom roseanell
Comment by roseanell Thu Jul 24 10:27:44 2014
Anna: though grapes may take another year to arrive, do you plan to use the grape leaves for anything this year? Dolmades are one of my favorite things in the world to eat, and I think I almost look forward to eating the leaves more than the grapes from our vines someday.
Comment by Karen B Thu Jul 24 05:24:47 2014

Always a good investment, plus the safety factor that makes your mom sleep better at night. mom roseanell

Comment by roseanell Wed Jul 23 21:49:28 2014
Thanks for all the book reviews you do. I don't have a lot of time to read and when I do, I like to pick something up that I'm pretty sure I can get something out of. You make that a lot easier with all the reviews you do in the homesteading genre.
Comment by Robin Tue Jul 22 16:45:24 2014
I have a 100w solar panel and am borrowing for curiosity sake 3 more 100w panels that feed my battery. After the charge controller goes into dump mode (usually 10:00 AM with 100w panel and a 175 Ah battery) the Power Jack Plug N Play inverter goes to work. Usually on a sunny day we produce .8-1.2 kWh of energy that goes through the inverter. I have had the same inverter for almost 6 years and I haven't had a single issue. I have monitoring equipment attached to the inverter for information and records, it matches the frequency, wave form, and voltage of the grid power exactly. The worries about frying linemen in a outage are 99.9% wrong. The inverter requires the grid power to turn on and match the power produced with the grid requirements. Without this grid 'template', the inverter doesn't even allow electricity from the panel to even enter the device past the LED fault indicator. I wouldn't put 300 watts of solar into the 400w rated device because I would worry about over heating. A simple form of 'insurance' should the fan fail or cannot handle the amount of heat generated, is to attach the inverter to a 'control board'that is then attached to a wall or stud, with the fan/solar contact side placed so the heat is able to escape quicker and easier, usually facing upwards. This allows the heat to vent out the top easier and faster due to the fan and vent being on the upward side as heat rises. This offers a buffer zone should the forced ventilation of the unit fail. My inverter has been running consistently at 350w being since 7:00 this morning, it is now 1:30 in the afternoon and the inverter, while warm, is not even close to overheat. We currently have 400w of solar and not a cloud in the sky.
Comment by Tanner Johnson - CEO of Custom Coops, INC Tue Jul 22 14:41:42 2014
what a lovely story! i had one too, my hillbilly grandmother (and i use the term hillbilly with the greatest respect). my parents were very abusive, and the relatively little time i spent with grandmother enabled me to become a loving person in spite of that. we never, ever know how profoundly we can influence a child's life with even the smallest act of support or kindness, which i think is the best reason in the world to help a young person at every opportunity.
Comment by teabag Tue Jul 22 06:53:59 2014

Hello!

Yes another message from a production company! Sorry!!

I am a producer for Original Media in NYC currently doing a search for a Wilderness MacGyver. Who is that, you ask? It’s that guy who can make anything out of anything, when modern day technologies and machines might not be available. He’s your handyman in the middle of nowhere. If he has to make tools or use down logs already on the property for building materials - he does.

Think Off the Grid. Think of a guy who can make Dams, Outhouses, Smokers, Log Cabins, Fish Wheels, Hunting Blinds, Fences, Ice Houses, Make Shift Saunas, etc…. Anything made in remote areas that make use of the elements around you - is what we are looking for. A modern day Dick Proenneke!

Do you know this person? If so - I’d love to talk to you and hear your story. Please call or email anytime and look forward to telling you more about the project.

Comment by Matthew Mon Jul 21 12:29:37 2014
I'm glad to learn that basswoods may take a year off, our giant tree is just outside our back door. The arching limbs give great shade and we use the area under it to work on projects. Our back deck is there also and I spend lots of time sweeping and leaf blowing the various "droppings" from the tree. I think I hate the balls the most but can't give up the tree.
Comment by Teresa Lee Mon Jul 21 11:16:27 2014
And a girl, too, I think. Males have blue necks, though he may just be hiding his. Can't hardly take a walk in the woods around here without spotting at least one.
Comment by Emily from Bristol Mon Jul 21 08:34:40 2014
Not sure what kind of lizard is in the picture, but who wouldn't love something called 'skink' or 'gecko?' Plus, they're helpful in the garden. :-)
Comment by Jake Mon Jul 21 00:11:53 2014
They are the easiest critters to raise, they breed fast and very low maintenance compared to crickets. And you can even feed the larvae if you have too many. I have many turtles and this has been the easiest way to gut feed and get my babies fed.
Comment by Chloe Sun Jul 20 17:48:11 2014
If you plant half as many, there will be a total crop failure and you'll get none! Keep planting. :)
Comment by Eric Sat Jul 19 18:32:06 2014