velacreations

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  1. ande liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Making Rabbit Fur Products   
    We have a new instructable on how to tan and process rabbit furs. In this example, we make a a rabbit fur hat.
    Make a Rabbit Fur Hat from scratch
    Learn more about how we raise rabbits:
    Rabbits - VelaCreations
  2. ande liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Rocket Mass Heaters   
    We just built a Rocket Mass Heater, and it works great. It burns sticks, instead of logs, and 40 minutes of burning gave us heat for more than 6 hours afterwards.

    here are more photos:
    Rocket Mass Heater - a set on Flickr
    And an explanation of it:
    Rocket Mass Heater - VelaCreations
    This is not a cob model, it is a metal box filled with sand with a RMH in the middle. We wanted to have it so that we could change it if we needed to.
  3. ande liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Aqua/micro-ponics with fish/quail/rabbits/worms/compost?   
    Hey Gary, I'm glad to be here.  Sorry for not being around, we've been super busy lately.

    Anyway, a flow through worm bed is a worm bed where you put food in on the top, and on the bottom, worm castings come out.  You basically set up a grill, and the vermicompost sits on top of that.  It saves a lot of labor, because you don't have to separate worms from vermicompost, they stay in the bin and finished castings fall through the grill.

    Here's the "grill" in mine.  This is basically a big wooden box with a plastic liner, and then the grill is made from weed wacker string:

     
    When you first get it going, put cardboard on top of the grill, and then once the bin is filled 1/2 way or more, the cardboard will rot away, and vermicompost will fall through. 

    Here's the first set up, I fill the box 1/3 of the way with vermicompost when we first start the bin:


    The worms stay in the top 30 cm or so, the bottom 30cm is just castings and maybe a few eggs that will hatch and move towards the top.  It takes a long time for the stuff you put on top to make it through the system, I'd say at least 4 months.

    Here's the bottom:


    Commercial systems have a bar and winch that gets pulled across the top of the grill to make harvesting easier, but an old broken rake from below works just as well:

     
    You can make these units very long to process a lot of waste.  I try and load no more than a few cm of material each week.  I try and spray it down once a week as well, or dump waste laundry water or whatever junk waster you have available (could empty AP filters here)
  4. kellenw liked a post in a topic by velacreations in What have you harvested lately?   
    We gathered some more prickly pear fruit yesterday.  We found 3 different species, each has a distinct flavor.  The green one in this photo we bought from the store for comparison (this is eaten like a vegetable, not ripe).
     

     

     
     
    The round one we are calling prickly apples, because that's the taste they have.  The others are similar to watermelon.
     
    Here's the total haul, which took about 30 minutes to pick:



     
     
    Total was 16 kg of fruit.  It should made 10 liters of juice.  It came from about 5 plants.
     


    We also picked about 65 pads for planting. These were from the best fruit producing plants.
     
    There's a lot more out there to harvest, I think we could easily gather at least 3 times this with what is currently ripe.
  5. Ravnis liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Everything you need to make Good Apple Cider from scratch   
    Here's my full instructions on picking apples, making a grinder, making a press, fermenting, and bottling your apple cider. I've been making it for a few years, now, and I'm finally able to produce high quality cider consistently. It's fairly easy when you make the basic tools. It takes a day or 2 a year to produce many gallons that will last you all year (maybe less if you drink a lot).
    Full Instructions >>
    Here's the grinder, very easy to make:

    The press is a bit harder, but still doable and useful for other things:

    Finished and all bottled up:

    Make Apple Cider from Scratch
  6. Ravnis liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Everything you need to make Good Apple Cider from scratch   
    Here's my full instructions on picking apples, making a grinder, making a press, fermenting, and bottling your apple cider. I've been making it for a few years, now, and I'm finally able to produce high quality cider consistently. It's fairly easy when you make the basic tools. It takes a day or 2 a year to produce many gallons that will last you all year (maybe less if you drink a lot).
    Full Instructions >>
    Here's the grinder, very easy to make:

    The press is a bit harder, but still doable and useful for other things:

    Finished and all bottled up:

    Make Apple Cider from Scratch
  7. Ravnis liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Everything you need to make Good Apple Cider from scratch   
    Here's my full instructions on picking apples, making a grinder, making a press, fermenting, and bottling your apple cider. I've been making it for a few years, now, and I'm finally able to produce high quality cider consistently. It's fairly easy when you make the basic tools. It takes a day or 2 a year to produce many gallons that will last you all year (maybe less if you drink a lot).
    Full Instructions >>
    Here's the grinder, very easy to make:

    The press is a bit harder, but still doable and useful for other things:

    Finished and all bottled up:

    Make Apple Cider from Scratch
  8. kellenw liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Everything you need to make Good Apple Cider from scratch   
    Kellen, you'll have to come visit so I can REALLY share with you!
  9. Ravnis liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Everything you need to make Good Apple Cider from scratch   
    Here's my full instructions on picking apples, making a grinder, making a press, fermenting, and bottling your apple cider. I've been making it for a few years, now, and I'm finally able to produce high quality cider consistently. It's fairly easy when you make the basic tools. It takes a day or 2 a year to produce many gallons that will last you all year (maybe less if you drink a lot).
    Full Instructions >>
    Here's the grinder, very easy to make:

    The press is a bit harder, but still doable and useful for other things:

    Finished and all bottled up:

    Make Apple Cider from Scratch
  10. Ravnis liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Everything you need to make Good Apple Cider from scratch   
    Here's my full instructions on picking apples, making a grinder, making a press, fermenting, and bottling your apple cider. I've been making it for a few years, now, and I'm finally able to produce high quality cider consistently. It's fairly easy when you make the basic tools. It takes a day or 2 a year to produce many gallons that will last you all year (maybe less if you drink a lot).
    Full Instructions >>
    Here's the grinder, very easy to make:

    The press is a bit harder, but still doable and useful for other things:

    Finished and all bottled up:

    Make Apple Cider from Scratch
  11. GaryD liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Airlift test   
    I've never seen one with a check valve on the intake, but I can assure you, the air is only pushing up.
  12. ande liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Airlift test   
    So, we have a small above-ground pool, I've used it to grow handfulls of fish over the last few years, and this year, I am making a filter for it.
    I have a 12 volt air pump, rated at 38 lpm. It uses 18 watts. So, I decided to do some airlift tests!
    Made a simple airlift with 1.5" PVC, very simple to make, took me about 30 minutes to slap it together to run some tests.
    At 30" submergence, the pump outputted 8 gallons per minute. When we increased the submergence to 48", the output increased considerably (12 gpm).  This was basically at no head, though we did hold the outlet at about 2" above the water line.
    I am going to try a 2" airlift test today or tomorrow with the same pump. I expect that I can get the volume to nearly double with the larger pipe and 48" submergence.
    I'll take photos of the simple setup, because it's just a few parts, a bushing, reducing T, some pipe and an air hose. Not much to it, and you can slap one together pretty fast.  It's loosely based on the designs in the Koi forums, where they use 4" and 6" PVC to pump over 4,000 gallons an hour.
    But even the setup we had yesterday, 12 gpm for 18 watts is pretty good for energy use.
  13. kellenw liked a post in a topic by velacreations in What have you harvested lately?   
    sure can, and I have a batch brewing right now, only about 8 liters or so, just to try it out.  I'm racking it off this week.  I've never made it before, but I've had it from other people, and it can be very good.
  14. ILFE liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Water   
    We live completely off rain catchment in a dry area.  We make tanks like this: http://velacreations.com/howto/cistern-howto/
     

     
    It's basically a round retaining material (sheet metal is fast and cheap) to hold a roof.  Then, we put in a liner to hold the water.  No concrete floors to crack over time, no expensive plastic tanks.  We can put one of these up in a couple of days and add 24,000 liters of capacity to our system. We have 3 of these for the house, then another with a cheap pool liner for the forest garden, and another with a EPDM liner for the animals/barn.  We also have 4000 L plastic tanks on the sheds and such.
     
    Any water that doesn't go into a tank gets routed into swales and collection basins for trees and gardens, and the overflow for everything goes to a dirt pond. We try and keep every single drop on this property.
     
    Also, don't forget about grey water.  It is a valuable resource most people flush away. We route grey water through a special wicking/filter bed inside the house to grow vegetables year round.
  15. kellenw liked a post in a topic by velacreations in What have you harvested lately?   
    sure can, and I have a batch brewing right now, only about 8 liters or so, just to try it out.  I'm racking it off this week.  I've never made it before, but I've had it from other people, and it can be very good.
  16. ande liked a post in a topic by velacreations in AP bacteria instead of showering?   
    I don't think these are the same as LAB, but maybe.  The description is very similar to AP bacteria. IMO might be similar.  From what it sounded like, we need to be bathing in our biofilters.
     
    I don't know.  I only shower every few days, twice a week usually.  I probably stink, but I can't smell it, so I don't care.  I don't wear deodorant or anything like that.
  17. ande liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Radial Flow Filter inlet - does it have to be in the middle?   
    I just made a double RFF for my rain catchment system.

    Here's the first barrel. 2 inlets, screened outlet (for now)

     

    And then here's the next one, though the outlet is bigger and not vertical


     
    So far, it's working good, just keeping debris and dust out of the tank. I drain these over time, so it also works like a first flush.  The second barrel is a lot cleaner than the first, but I need to see how it does over a whole season to know for sure.

    It's not perfect, and certainly not pretty, but I think it will do.
  18. TheDictator liked a post in a topic by velacreations in Radial Flow Filter inlet - does it have to be in the middle?   
    I don't see how you can get even close to even distribution without a weir around the whole top of the barrel, otherwise you still have the outlet pulling the water to one side.
     
    Now, the next question is, what is the difference in performance from a centered inlet vs an inlet to one side.  Are we talking about a few percentage points of increased efficiency or a major difference?
  19. kellenw liked a post in a topic by velacreations in What have you harvested lately?   
    We gathered some more prickly pear fruit yesterday.  We found 3 different species, each has a distinct flavor.  The green one in this photo we bought from the store for comparison (this is eaten like a vegetable, not ripe).
     

     

     
     
    The round one we are calling prickly apples, because that's the taste they have.  The others are similar to watermelon.
     
    Here's the total haul, which took about 30 minutes to pick:



     
     
    Total was 16 kg of fruit.  It should made 10 liters of juice.  It came from about 5 plants.
     


    We also picked about 65 pads for planting. These were from the best fruit producing plants.
     
    There's a lot more out there to harvest, I think we could easily gather at least 3 times this with what is currently ripe.
  20. kellenw liked a post in a topic by velacreations in What have you harvested lately?   
    They also come in a lot of different fruits and flavors:
     

     
     
     
    This is what our wild ones look like:
     

  21. kellenw liked a post in a topic by velacreations in What have you harvested lately?   
    I have no idea if you can get them there, because it's probably regulated.  There are lots of spineless varieties for many species. 


     

     
    All of the ones grown in Latin America and Africa for human consumption are pretty much spineless.
     
    They can be grown from seeds, but they are a tricky.  You need acid treatment, then cold stratification for 3 months, then hot germination (30C, I think)
  22. ande liked a post in a topic by velacreations in What have you harvested lately?   
    They should have imported the spineless variety and Australia's wildlife would have kept it in check. Perspective is everything with these things.  Just like rabbits, who are wonderful livestock for the small homestead, become a problem when people ignore the natural checks and balances that exist in native ecosystems.
     
    Prickly Pear are native here, and we have all kinds of varieties, with fruit coming in lots of different sizes, flavors and colors.  They are an extremely useful plant, being one of the most efficient plants with regards to water efficiency. I believe it takes 1.5 kg of water to make 1 kg of prickly pear biomass.  Harvests for the pads (vegetable) average over 100 tons/hectare without irrigation.

    I'm planting spineless varieties throughout our property on contours for erosion control and perennial fruit and vegetable production.  They are super easy to propagate and grow in our climate, and provide a wonderful multi-use plant that survives despite anything you do.
     
    The native spined ones go along the perimeter fence that will eventually become and impenetrable wall of spines in a few years.  These cactus fences are great for predator protection in our area, even keeping out foxes.  They also save me a lot of money on fence maintenance.

    Here's the fruit and jelly we make, super simple and a favorite among just about everyone that tries it.


     
    Take those fruit, wash them real good, cut into pieces and boil for about 20 minutes.  Strain and you have this juice:
     

     
    Once you have the juice, it's like any jelly.  Add sugar, acid, pectin and can:



     
  23. kellenw liked a post in a topic by velacreations in What have you harvested lately?   
    I've got so much harvesting all the time, I don't even know where to start.
     
    Made prickly pear jelly, mint jelly, plum jam, and apple preserves today.
     
    Butcher 6-10 rabbits every week.  I cut about 2 buckets of weeds/grass for them every day.  I have about 20 muscovy ducks to be butchered, and we get about a 20 eggs a day (chicken, guinea, duck).
     
    Garden is overflowing with tomatoes, cucumber, squash, peppers, beans, potatoes, mushrooms, and leafy veg.
     
    Peaches, apples, mulberries, plums are all ripe on the trees right now.
     
    The Forest Garden is bursting at the seams, and we planted several more trees this year, including loquat, pecan, figs, pear, american plums, pistachios, and almonds. 

    Really getting into Prickly Pear farming this year, it's been great for erosion control on the dry slopes and produces awesome fruit.
     
    Apple cider season is almost here, as well as fruit wines.  Yum!
  24. velacreations liked a post in a topic by Old Prospector in What have you harvested lately?   
    OverviewDue to its antioxidant action, prickly pear cactus juice can be used to improve your overall health, may be able to reduce cancer risk and can even reduce the severity of your hangover when you overindulge in alcohol. It’s available in supplement form, or you can use seven to 10 medium cactus fruits to make one cup of cactus puree. Strain your raw fruit pulp through a medium-fine wire strainer. This removes fibers and seeds. Freeze pulp and puree for future use, recommends Ran Knishinsky in “Prickly Pear Cactus Medicine.†Always consult a health care professional before using a new supplement.
     
    Anti-Cancer Agent Cactus juice may help reduce risk for cancer, says Da-ming Zou, lead author for a study published in Nutrition Journal. It may someday be used as a natural alternative to chemoprevention of cancer, in which chemical agents are used to ward off cancer among high-risk populations. Chemical agents are expensive and have numerous undesirable side effects. Cactus juice may be a good alternative because it can inhibit cancer cell growth and slow tumor growth, says Zou. Cactus works just as well as a synthetic retinoid that’s being used in chemoprevention trials, Zou says, but he notes that more study is needed to confirm this benefit and the mechanism by which the cactus works.  
    Antioxidant Action Cactus juice provides antioxidant benefits, says Luisa Tesoriere, lead author for a study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.†In fact, Tesoriere says it works as well as vitamin C supplementation in enhancing overall antioxidant defense in the body, and outpaces vitamin C in reducing oxidation of fats, a process that contributes to atherosclerosis. Prickly pear supplementation also may cut risk of degenerative and age-related diseases that oxidative stress plays a role in, says Tesoriere.
     
    Hangover Prevention
    Prickly pear cactus juice may help you prevent—or at least lessen the effects of—hangovers, says J. Wiese, lead author for a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Hangover severity may be related to byproducts of alcohol metabolism as well as inflammation caused by impurities in the alcohol. Cactus juice diminishes your body’s inflammatory response. Wiese conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial and found that people who used the juice prior to drinking cut risk of a severe hangover in half. The juice significantly reduces three classic hangover symptoms: nausea, dry mouth and loss of appetite, Wiese notes.
  25. ande liked a post in a topic by velacreations in What have you harvested lately?   
    They should have imported the spineless variety and Australia's wildlife would have kept it in check. Perspective is everything with these things.  Just like rabbits, who are wonderful livestock for the small homestead, become a problem when people ignore the natural checks and balances that exist in native ecosystems.
     
    Prickly Pear are native here, and we have all kinds of varieties, with fruit coming in lots of different sizes, flavors and colors.  They are an extremely useful plant, being one of the most efficient plants with regards to water efficiency. I believe it takes 1.5 kg of water to make 1 kg of prickly pear biomass.  Harvests for the pads (vegetable) average over 100 tons/hectare without irrigation.

    I'm planting spineless varieties throughout our property on contours for erosion control and perennial fruit and vegetable production.  They are super easy to propagate and grow in our climate, and provide a wonderful multi-use plant that survives despite anything you do.
     
    The native spined ones go along the perimeter fence that will eventually become and impenetrable wall of spines in a few years.  These cactus fences are great for predator protection in our area, even keeping out foxes.  They also save me a lot of money on fence maintenance.

    Here's the fruit and jelly we make, super simple and a favorite among just about everyone that tries it.


     
    Take those fruit, wash them real good, cut into pieces and boil for about 20 minutes.  Strain and you have this juice:
     

     
    Once you have the juice, it's like any jelly.  Add sugar, acid, pectin and can: