ECO-Tours only purchases trees and dirt to plant them in...

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Lake Superior Traditional Ways Gathering

Char created, approx. 130 gallons everyone who received char also received instruction on turning it into a forever soil amendment that will enhance the habitat available for the soil microbiome for tens of thousands of years!
This was my process laid out to mimic the timeline. First, on the left, a small retort made from a dog dish and a lid found at St. Vincent DPaul thrift store as well as a cookie tin and self tapping screws. When making char using a retort like this, you need to put your dry woody material inside the tin, secure the lid with three self-tapping screws, then poking a few holes in the top to let the flammable gasses escape. The evidence that you char has finished, is when th egasses stop coming out, to cool, just flip the container upside down, holes down on a relatively flat surface that is fire proof. Between the two retorts for making char is a one ounce chunk of completely pyrolyzed char, propped up on an herbal supplememnt container. For scale, the container is just over four inches (10.16 cm)tall and two inches wide (5.08 cm) on the bottom part The white lid is 2 1/8 inches (5.4 cm)across.The one ounce chunk easily fits inside. Just a handful of char has fourteen acres of surface area, so adding the proper amount of nutrients, minerals and essential life takes time. The next two items can be interchanged, but the best end of the wood to mount the crusher was after the screening step. In fact, they must be interchanged, until it is crushed, it can't really be screened. I heard of an event that took place this weekend, where three and a half tons of char were "danced" down into small particles! That will be some seriously energized material! The crusher in small scale can be a hand crank coffee mill. Larger scale crushers can be made from concrete mixers with a few boulders in them, hammer mills and grain mills are also serviceable. A functional large scale screen can also be made by inserting 1/8 inch (2mm)screen inside a slotted 55 gallon drum, then rolling it on a tarp or over a wheelbarrow. Again, for maximum efficiency and carbon free operation, human powered units count for more carbon storage points than electric ones. Beyond that, of course are the nutrients and minerals. I found an eloquent way of saying succinctly what folks need to know about nutrients and minerals. Add nutrients and minerals that are abundant under your management scheme and cultural practices. That allows each farm to understand the words the way their scale and particular land offers. If you have livestock and manure is available, use it! If you have slaughter operations, or catch a lot of fish, use that waste! As many sources as you can get, added a little at a time. When you can't have the scent of the nutrients disappear after stirring the char for a few days, stop adding, you are approaching stauration! Between the black box and the blue box, is where the longest part of the process takes place, adding microbes and allowing time for their maturation. Think of it like having a pet for about six to ten weeks. During this phase, you need to check on and stir your 3-D black petri dish two to three times every day. At 14 acres (5.6656 ha.)per handful,microbes need many, many generations to populate it.Since most of them are not very mobile, the stirring helps tranfer them surface to surface, so stir them with love and compassion, you don't want to be aggressive and violent about the stirring, but just take some effort to thoroughly mix the material, it really helps get the transfer to take place. If youhave done well, providing a wide varit=ety of nutrients and minerals will enhance the availability of habitable space when the ransfer is complete. Several "tricks" exist for getting good microbial communities. It does not hurt to have them be local either, the stronger the members and local winners of the local microbiome, the stronger your biochar will be. Find the best microbes under compost heaps, elder trees wherever your best soils are, or make a compost tea. Try a little of all three! The blue topped container is the biological "test" that I use to determine whether char is "done" or not. The sides, which I temporarily segregate with a small piece of cardbord, are labelled "WORMY SOIL" and "BIOCHAR" I fill the two sides, then remove the cardboard, loosely cover it overnight in the garage or basement. If the worms can be found on the biochar side the next day, it is ready to be released into the environment. I have had them reject the char and after stirring and keeping th emoisture level perfect, abotu a swet as a wrung out sponge, they deemed it finished! At the very end were a few containers of crushed, charred material that I had for sale, enough to do three to five gallons and a larger one that would be enough for a four by four foot (1.2m X 1.2m) bed. After the burn, the tools were packed up and the buckets were filled with finished char. We also had a few larger volume containers, a couple thirty gallon ones and a twenty gallon one, plus a half dozen containers large enough to hold two grocery bags full each. It was a veritable char fiesta!

Friday, August 6, 2021

Human Ecology

When I first heard about the covid-19 virus, I prepared myself mentally for two to two-and-a-half years of quarantine. Understanding how viruses work and how little people seem to understand the science we have about nature, I knew that this was no short-term problem. A year-and-a-half in and we are finally getting some movement toward a resolution, at least in my country. because I'm inquisitive, I have been reading up a bit on the history of vaccination and how long it has taken to eradicate different illnesses using vaccines. The first disease eradicated through widespread innoculation was small pox, which took 200 years to eradicate. In fact, charles Darwin encouraged people to not get vaccinated because he felt that nature would save some people and that they would "naturally" be immune. The problem is, he didn't understand virology and may have personally doubled the length of time it eventually took to vaccinate enough people to defeat the disease. We have had much better luck with other vaccines. Many of us remember getting regular tetanus shots or the boosters for that. We all lined up to get our polio vaccines, measels, mumps, rubella (MMR) and others. The idea that public health and the lives we could save by getting vaccinated have no value is particularly heinous especially when the same people are ready to jump at the opportunity to say "all lives matter" and every fetus has the "right to life".
If we start from the perspective that claims all lives matter, it follows that we would use scientifically proven methods to protect and defend life, but that's not what right-wing folks believe. We are now seeing the most vehement denial of fact I have seen in my lifetime. About half of the people in my nation don't intend to get vaccinated against covid-19. The fact that the overwhelming majority of deaths are currently in the un-vaccinated population matters not to many who still claim that thei rlies are more important than the facts. I won't list the dozen or so excuses that people are clinging to or muddy the waters with repeating their lies. We have all heard them. I want to point out that just yesterday I heard of a brilliant way to gain compliance from those who refuse to step up and do the right thing. I can't recall what company has done it, but they have developed policy that specifically and explicitly states that if an employee gets vaccinated and later gets covid-19, they will be paid their full salary during their illness and convalescence. Any employee that refuses to ge tthe vaccine that later contracts covid-19, will be fired without receiving any compensation. changing the work environment has led to a massive increase in employees getting vaccinated. It seems that when people are put in an environment where they can clearly see the difference between one course of action and what may result from it and another that has very different possible outcomes, they frequently make the best choices. This is no longer theoretical. Humanity faces a clear and present threat and those people who think they have the right to do what they want, even if it risks all of the rest of us need to be removed from society. We have the right to a safe environment, that's the only way to practice what we preach.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Rhinelander, Wisconsin Closes Two Wells

Most people who are familiar with Wisconsin know about the Rhinelander/Eagle River Area. Many who live there or have cottages in the area refer to it as God's Country. This is the area that I typically harvest wild rice. It has gotten more difficult over the past thirty years to find waters that are not contaminated with oil and/or gas, but that is the cost, it seems, of places being popular. There are places that still remain somewhat untouched by modern maladies, but two municipal drinking water supply wells have tested positive for PFAS, you may know it as an ingredient in high performance fabrics made by DuPont, or perhaps as Teflon, the non-stick cooking surface that was touted as revolutionary but that flaked off the pans it was coating. It may be something you have un-knowingly purchased as flame retardent clothing. Most children's sleepwear has it and a tiny bit is released every time you wash the garment. These wells in Rhinelander are not just a little bit contaminated, the health advisory has been exceeded by nearly fifteen times. Regulators set the action level at 40 ppt (parts per trillion) these wells are at nearly 600 ppt. The reason PFAS is called the forever chemical is because it literally does not breakdown, not in nature and certainly not in our bodies. It presents a long term problem that cannot be ignored.
Especially now, when property values are peaking and tourism brings in 90% of the income to several couties around this great lakes and rivers district, having to deal with forever pollution of the public water supply has an even more profound cost.The Mayor was interviewed and he said that they are taking a position that noone is at fault.7,500 souls spread out over nearly ten square miles will have a difficult time funding even one more well and for the people outside the city limits, they are completely on their own as far as finding clean and fresh water. This problem has been known since 2013. Since the municipality only had five wells to begin with, this makes their fresh water source rather precarious. It has been reported that if they have to close one more well, they won't have enough water to meet the needs of residents.