Episode 20- My Year 2 Garden Questions with Jason Akers

Jason is the Self Sufficient Gardener. You can find him here:

http://theselfsufficientgardener.com/

http://huntgathergroweat.com/

Bike Commute- Give it a try.

Now that spring is here consider giving bicycle commuting a try. Nothing is better that getting back on your bicycle and feeling the sun shine on your face. Not to mention the amount of money you save not purchasing vehicle fuel. Some basic equipment I recommend carrying with you is a pannier to keep the weight of anything you are carrying off your body and on your bike, a spare tube, a wrench, sized for your bike’s bolts, a patch kit, tire tools, a compact pump, chap stick, a knife, keys for your bike lock and hand cleaner. (When I get to work it is frowned upon to have bike grease hands.)

Make Your Own Gravity Fed Home Water Filtration System


Note from Nick: Thanks to Cash for contributing this great article. I personally own the Royal Berkey system from Jeff “The Berkey Guy” at Directive 21 and think it is a great addition to any home from both a practical standpoint and aesthetic standpoint, however if you have been looking to make a quick little project and save some money this is a great way to make your own Berkey-Style water filter. Not to mention that home filtration is a basic prep I think everyone should have. If you end up getting the fitlers from Jeff over at Directive 21 please tell them that you are purchasing because of Save Our Skills and that would help to support the efforts of this website.

Thank you!
– Nick LaDieu

By Cash Olsen from KD5SSJ Solder Paste, Solder Tools and Solder Kits

I just made a water filtration system similar to the commercial units, cost about $100.

There is nothing real difficult, drills and hole saw. I have seen the details of a similar system, elsewhere. The major difference in my unit is that I used a Gamma lid in the top bucket for easy access to the filter elements and clean out of any silt and debris. The top bucket to bottom lid is carefully sealed with silicon caulk to make sure that no unfiltered water can dribble down the outside of the top bucket when being filled. The bottom bucket has a replacement spigot purchased for other water containers.

I purchased 4 sterasyl ceramic filter and installed two in this filter and will save two for future replacement. The filters are the same as used in the commercial units. Cost was $35 dollars each. So my total cost comes in right about $100. All the specifications of my bucket would also be the same as a commercial unit because the critical components are the same.

This was what my 5 gallon filter looks like.


This is the first bucket with the Gamma lid mounting ring attached. This should be done first because it must be driven on with a rubber mallet or hammer with wood to protect the ring from marring. This requires about 6 -7 sharp raps of the mallet around the ring with the lid removed.


This is the bucket with the Gamma lid in place. This should be removed for further assembly.

The next step is to mount a normal lid to the bottom of the bucket. This is rather critical. First apply a bead of silicon bathtub caulking around the inside recess of the lid so that when the bucket is set into it it will seal the bucket to the lid. Then apply another bead of silicon bathtub caulking around the bottom of the bucket just above the lid. This is important because you don’t want any contaminated water which might run down the side of the top bucket to be able to get into the lower bucket, that’s why it needs a very good water tight seal. Allow the silicon caulk to dry at least overnight, the instructions say that it is shower ready in 3 hours but this only means that the surface is skimmed over.


I measured 3″ from the center of the lid to the and marked two places, one on either side of the center. Use as small drill bit < 1/8″ (0.125″) and drill two pilot holes at each of the marked places. Drill as straight and perpendicular to the lid, as possible, through the lid and into the bottom of the bucket. Using the 1 1/2″ (1.50″) hole saw, picture 100_0117.JPG, enlarge the the whole in the bucket lid in both places. Using a 1/2″ (0.500″) drill bit drill two holes through the bottom of the bucket. The plastic lid and bucket are very easy to drill but be careful not to enlarge the 1/2″ hole size because this will only make it more difficult to seal the filter candle to the bucket in the next step.


From the top of the bucket mount the Sterasyl filters in the bucket. The rubber seal goes on the bottom of the filter and to the bottom of the bucket. Thread the wing nut onto the threads of the filter from the other side of the lid as shown in picture 100_0106 and tighten it good by hand. I used rubber gloves while installing the filter candles so as to avoid oils and other contaminants on the ceramic surface. There is a significant gap between the bottom of the top bucket and the lid, this is why it’s necessary to get a good seal and also the enlarged hole to give access to the wing nut.


shows the filter candles mounted in the top bucket. Picture 100_0112.JPG is a closer view of one candle mounted in the top bucket.


shows the bottom bucket with the drain cock, I have not yet mounted it at the time of this picture. Drill an appropriate hole for the grommet and mount it very near the bottom of the second (lower) bucket.


Shows the finished 5 gallon filter completed stack. I removed the locking ring and I have not yet determined if I want to seat the lid on the second bucket. I have found it to be very handy to be able to unstack the system and carry each bucket by it’s bail handle.

I purchased the buckets and lids (including Gamma lid) from BayTecContainers.com and I purchased the 4 x Doulton Super Sterasyl Ceramic Filter Candle 10″ @ $35.00 10 Long Mount W9121709 total including shipping was $141.99 from www.FiltersFast.com . I have a spare set of ceramic filters for replacement. I’m sure that there are other sources for all of the components.

Note from Nick: I talked with Cash and he agreed that Super Sterasyl Ceramic filters from Directive 21 was a better deal (saving about $10)

Follow the instructions with your filters candles for the initial use and restarting after prolonged lack of use.

Remove the Gamma lid to fill the top bucket and replace it loosely while the filtration is taking place. At the rate of 1 liter per hour (gravity feed) for each filter you should expect 5 gallons (18.9 liters) to take about 9 1/2 to 10 hours, or 10 gallons per day (two 5 gallon runs in 24 hours).

If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below.

Episode 19 -First Year Gardener Commentary

Announcements

  • The Survival Channel is in the works
  • SOS 2.0
  • Lots more coming … so stay tuned!!

News from the Homestead

  • Why you should never completely trust any guru. Use your head.
  • Bee Keeping Mentor – An important thing if you want to keep bees
  • How to trim grape vines going into year 2
  • Why I think chicken tractors are swell

First Year Garden

Enhanced fruit growth decimates my plum tree

  • I’m ok with buying soil your first year if that is what you want.
  • Square foot garden is a highly accessible method for year one gardeners. It is great for getting people to catch the bug.
  • How my corn was a failure
  • Pole bean madness… wrapped around everything
  • How an acorn squash plant killed about 1/3 of my crops
  • and more…

An Introduction to the Hand File

Using a hand file is a skill that anyone can learn with just a little guidance and some practice. The key points are:

  • Get a handle for your file.
  • The file should only be in contact with the workpiece during the forward cutting stroke.
  • Get a file card to clean the file.
  • Protect it like any edged tool.

A file has the advantage over a grinder for the beginner of not removing a lot of material quickly. Taking a right angle grinder to a shovel will quickly reshape the edge and reshape it badly if your hand is not steady. Also a file will not heat up the tool like a grinder will. Heating the tool metal can affect the temper of the metal and actually soften the metal making the edge not last as long.

A file works well for sharpening and cleaning up the edge of a tool. If you don’t wait too long you can clean up the edge of a yard/garden tool in just a few minutes, sometimes in less time than it takes to get out and plug in a grinder. I like the tactile feedback you get through your hands from the file. The only thing you feel using a grinder is a buzz. With a file you can actually feel when the metal has smoothed out or if there is still a bump, dent or burr. A file is not what you use to put the edge on something that must be very sharp like a knife or wood chisel.

The file only cuts on the forward stroke (assuming the handle is toward you) and you should lift it off of the work piece on the return stroke. I am right handed so I hold the file handle in my right hand and hold the other end of the file between the thumb and first finger of my left hand. The direction you file should be from the edge toward the back of the tool. Another way to describe the filing direction is to have the edge of the tool pointing toward you have file away from you.

Until you are an experienced metal worker I recommend following the original bevel or angle of the edge on the tool. How different angles are used on different tools is a topic for another, much longer, discussion. Don’t worry about matching the angle exactly, the beauty of using a file is you will not be removing metal fast enough to drastically change the edge angle of a shovel or hoe.

If the item being filed is not held securely you can get chatter, which is the piece being filed vibrating which can cause your file to skip or jump. A vise mounted securely to a workbench is ideal. With something like a hoe or shovel you can often times put some weight on the handle while is on the ground and do a quick clean up on the edge.

I urge you to buy a 8″-12″ fine toothed file and have a go at sharpening the edges your digging tools (shovel, hoe, pick…). You will be surprised at how much better they work.

Close to 100 chicken tractor designs

Build a chicken Tractor

To get my home flock started I am going to build a chicken tractor. I hope to eventually implement a paddock system, however in the short term I need some basic shelter to put the birds in and the chicken tractor seems like the best option.

Chicken Tractor Resources

Arjun Added a nice link to the Save Our Skils Facebook Page of 180 chicken tractor designs.

Darcy from Stumbling Homestead Chicken Tractor Design

A Pallet Wood Chicken Tractor

A small and very well explained design of a chicken tractor

Here is one made from 100% PVC of particular note is the link on making PVC hinges.

Chicken Tractor Video #1

Chicken Tractor Video Series from Garden Girl

Article from above design: Garden Girl Chicken Tractor

I’m going to glom something together this week using elements from some of these designs, so stay tuned. If you have any chicken tractor designs you think I should look at please