Monday, March 28, 2011

Rainy Day Sundays Always Get a Project

These pictures are from yesterdays 'No Picture Post'

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Circle of Life

I thought that I would try an experiment with aquaponics. It is the most efficient use of water to grow food. If you use organic fish food, i.e., bugs, worms and duckweed and others, it is a completely organic process. You get fresh fish, like tilapia, and fresh vegetables, like lettuce, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and anything else that you like to grow in your conventional garden. I got on craigslist and bought a blue plastic barrel. The blue ones are used for non poison materials. Stay away from the black onesL. I started by cutting out some paper stencils to use for holes in the side. Then I transferred them to the side of the barrel. I marked line where I will cut the top off of it. I will then cut the stencil pictures out. The pictures are suppose to read “WATER + FISH + PLANTS” When you add this up it should equal balance. This should work. The fish eat and create waste. The water becomes high in ammonia, which will eventually pollute the water and kill the fish. If you pump the water into a grow bed of approximately the same volume, bacteria will convert the ammonia to nitrites, and in turn, different bacteria will convert the nitrites to nitrates which the plants love. This efficiently cleans the water and it can be returned to the fish tank. This is a complete cycle and the only water consumed is from evaporation or that stays in the plants such as tomatoes. Here is some pictures that I took of what I did on this rainy Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Spring is near

This last Sunday it rained most of the day, and I thought I would take some pictures.  These are of the front of the house, with the plumb tree in full bloom.  I think that the lawn is going to green up just fine.  I am planning to try to sell our home soon. We have lived here since November 2005. It would have been nice if we could have raised our children in this home, because it is the perfect family home.  It is large enough inside and plenty of room outside in the yard.  It is even zoned and large enough for horses.  There are several horses in the neighborhood.  The neighbors are great with a mix of young families and older ones too. The traffic is light and it is convenient to get anywhere.  It is about 18 to 20 minutes to uptown Charlotte from here.  There are both elementary and secondary schools very close.  It is only 3 or 4 minutes to the grocery store, and 6 or 7 minutes to Costco, Lowe's or Home Depot.  There is Target, Sam's, Pet Smart, Movie Theater, Wal Mart, Auto Zone, and Pep Boy's . Texas Roadhouse, and Starbucks, you get the idea, are all within that shopping area. It is close enough to get to fast, and far enough to not give us any of the traffic.  The Hospital and Doctor offices about 10 minutes from here.  The only thing that is a long way from here is our children and grand children.  They are about 1800 miles and about a 27 hours drive.  All said, it is time for us to think about a new adventure.  Alex and I will miss our new friends, and that will be difficult.  Old ones and new ones are ahead of us though. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Water Management and trees

I few years ago, before we moved to North Carolina, Alex and Stephanie worked to plant about 25 trees on our land in Colorado.  We tried to water them and help get them started. We failed, they all died.  The idea was to get trees started before we had to leave for NC, so that they would be well established.  The other day I came across this article on a design for catching condensation from the air to assist in providing for newly planted grapes in Northern California. Each day the dew would form on the lid of the container and drain into the reservoir. The reservoir has a wick on the bottom that would supply the newly planted grape vine with the necessary moisture. I will try to design something that uses a tote box from Wal-Mart, and use the wicking idea.  I remember my grandfather would always plant a tree, and put a bale of hay on the south side of it.  He would pour water on the bale of hay, and it would keep the ground wet for a week or so.  That presents a problem when the cattle in the area eat the hay. To be successful with trees in climates with little rainfall, I have learned from the friends in the desert, it's all about water management.