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About GaryD

  • Rank
    Senior Member

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  • Biography
    I'm a micro-farmer....and the author of The Urban Aquaponics Manual
  • Interests
    Microponics, woodcraft

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  • Location
    Macleay Island, QLD
  1. By way of clarification...the 8% figure refers to the volume of sand that has a particle size of less than 0.25mm. While it includes silt, the majority of this figure is fine sand. You're actually looking for as little silt as possible and you'll get a sense of how much is in a given sample by leavingt the sample to settle after the turbidity test. The silt fraction will show as a dark line directly on top of the sand. Any clay particles, which are even lighter than the silt, will settle on top of the silt layer.
  2. Hi, We've made some progress on the iAVs suitable sand availability issue. It seems that it might be no further away than your local big box store. Read about it....HERE. Gary
  3. It's good to see progessive legislation around backyard food production. I hope it gets up.
  4. Hi Ande, Broody quail are a very rare phenomenon. I went years without it ever happening....and it's only happened to me once or twice since. If you want to breed a line of quail that wil set their own eggs, you might try taking her....and some of her female progeny....and setting them up in a small colony pen to see if they'll replicate the behaviour once they reach egg-laying age. This has now become my peeling method....since I determined how much quicker it is. Gary
  5. Great progress, Brian....and very useful photos, too. What's the scope of the "fermentables" side of the project....and how's that coming along? BTW, got to love a cat that does what a cat's supposed to do. Great effort, Nikita!
  6. I've just cut the ribbon on my latest web project....Have More For Less...a discussion forum for those who aspire to a simpler but happier life. Some months ago, I decided to rationalise my various websites but, when I looked at my various interests, contrary to indicating less websites it revealed a need for more. When I looked at my various interests...waste transformation farming/Microponics (indeed everything 'micro')...designing and making things...micro-business...minimalism...writing...helping others...a pattern began to emerge and the Have More For Less is the result. Some of what's on the new site will be familiar but its focus is on how to enjoy a simpler but happier life. Growing food is a central part of that Microponics, iAVs and other integrated food production is well represented...but other cornerstones of the have more for less philosophy include: providing cost-effective shelter, DIY - designing, making and mending, providing cost effective transport and producing your own power, acquiring/keeping money and other means of exchange. If you’re…. Getting older and find that, as life should be getting easier, it’s actually becoming much harder. A parent of young children who is locked in a day-to-day struggle to make ends meet. Concerned about the looming gap between the world’s population and its capacity to feed itself in the face of pollution, aquifer depletion, desertification, erosion, climate change and the other serious environmental threats confronting us. A young adult wondering how you will ever achieve the ‘the great Australian (or other country's) Dream’ of home ownership. On a treadmill, working for people who don’t respect you or your abilities. Marginalised, disadvantaged or disenfranchised…..or lacking any sense of control over your own life and its circumstances. Convinced that the world is facing an imminent survival threat. Tired of the growing hoard of bastards who are roaming through your pockets with a sense of entitlement. Just someone who is seeking a more fulfilling life. ...then you will benefit from the ideas that we discuss and share here. Anyway, you're invited to take a look...and, you like what you see, you're welcome to register and join us on the Have More For Less journey. Gary Donaldson PS...I still plan to rationalise my websites. Over time, they'll be integrated into the have more for less project.
  7. Hi Ande, I stumbled across this little machine... ...and, this one, too.... ...and then there's this little hand-cranked unit... ...or this beauty.... Ande....a few stocking filler ideas for next Christmas. Gary
  8. Bingo! You nailed it, Ande. Thank you for providing those links.....much appreciated. I was given a small tree and I've planted it...and now I'm looking forward to see it yield these pods/nuts. Gary
  9. How does your sand stack up against the recommendations? If your sand is draining effectively.....and your water is stable at pH 6.5...why are you considering changing? Gary
  10. A lady, who does some casual gardening work for me, gave me this pod yesterday. She didn't know anything about it other than the person who grew it called it an American Nut Tree. On another occasion, she had referred to it as an Asian Nut Tree. I couldn't make any sense out of either name...largely because the number of edible nut trees that grow in the Americas and Asia is huge - and I couldn't find any images that looked like what I had either. This pod is not yet ripe...they go brown when ripe apparently. So, anybody know what it is?
  11. Hi Aswin, Congratulations on your decision to try iAVs. As much as I believe that you'll benefit in a very tangible way from your decision, I applaud your courage in becoming a member of what is still a select group of latter-day pioneers. Most of all, I thank you for your wilingness to share information arising from your experience. While we have assembled a useful parcel of infomation about what has already happened with iAVs, Mark is the first to assert that there is a great deal still to be learned....and people like you, Aufin, VKN....and a growing band of others...are going to play a critical role in building the body of knowledge and evidence that attends iAVs. Gary
  12. There are some burning stubble/crop residues...housing livestock on concrete...the use of chemical fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides (particularly in watersheds)...that probably should be viewed as criminal acts. As long as the global elite are allowed to commoditise food production, they will create barriers to non-industrial food production...and I guess that's what you're concerned about. I share that concern. The time is long overdue for the people to reclaim control over the food chain...and the water that is needed to grow it.
  13. Hi Ande, What amazes me is that iAVs (and the use of sand) eluded us for so long. When it was finally pointed out to me, I can recall thinking that it had been 'hidden in plain sight' the whole time. I've asked myself why I never followed up Mark's work earlier...many times. The only answer that I can come up has to do with the Steve Diver ATTRA article that we all relied on so heavily back in the early days. You can't help feeling, when reading Diver's cameo pieces on the main systems that were around back in 2001 (when the article was first published), that the Speraneos somehow 'improved' on iAVs....when the reverse was the case. The document also incorrectly stated that iAVs employed trickle (drip) irrigation...which is a poor description of what is actually a reciprocating bio-filter on an intermittent irrigation regime. I'm certain that there were people who understood how iAVs worked but were not interested in drawing attention to it...for their own reasons. I'm aware that Mark reached out to Rakocy who was allegedly involved in aquaponics 'research'...and Nelson and Pade...but they never (so it seems) uttered a public word about it. For the rest of us it was probably the assumption that, since it had been overtaken by the Speraneo model (who themselves did little to draw attention to the fact that their 'model' was a direct flop of the key question of media particle size) there was little to be gained from going backwards. I think it suited everybody with a vested interest in those days (early 2000's) for McMurtry to retire broke (financially and physically) to his Montana mountain top. I find myself wondering what might have happened had he been capable of persisting with iAVs back in those days. One thing is certain, the thousands of fish that perished in malfunctioning Speraneo systems would have no doubt been grateful... as would the thousands of impoverished villagers who might have survived longer than they did...and the countless arguments about what was a useful commercial model (and what was not) would have been resolved. We would, in effect, have been 20 years ahead of where we are now. Such is life. Gary
  14. If this article is correct, conventional farming is steadily being overhauled by Agriculture 2.0...the high tech approach to producing milk, meat and cheese.....with not an animal in sight. High tech laboratories are already producing wines that get past the discriminating noses of experts. What's next? The article puts a negative spin on Ag 2.0....but, given the parlous state of the planet, would a reduction in farming necessarily be a bad thing? Your thoughts? Gary
  15. Hi Ande, Seasons Greetings to you. It's currently 300C here.....or 860F for our US your Norwegian Christmas snow scene is stuff of the imagination for us. To all of our members.....a safe and happy festive season to you - and your friends and families. Gary