Monthly Archives: March 2016

Quail Escape

Had an adult quail make and escape yesterday. I could not find the little girl.  She hid very well on me. Well, things didn’t end well for her today. Toby my dog likes to catch them and give them a bath. Then bring me the bird. Which is dead at this point. Because this process ends up scaring them to death.

Too Much Lead in the water again…

Here a link to an Article in our local new. High Levels of Lead, Other Metals Found in Abilene Water Supply

Over the 35 years, my family has lived in Abilene TX. The city has had my issue with water quality. One that keep on happening is too much lead in the water supply. Back in the early 90’s, They tried to blame it on Texas Instruments. Yea that didn’t work out well for the city. The city ended up getting fined by the state.

Random part of the city have had a random issue with water quality, the entire time I have lived here.

Do I think the guy at the water department are bad guys. No, they are doing the best they can with the cards they been dealt. Now their communication with the general public is pretty lame.

When it comes to my drinking water, I Trust No One . I Filter it myself. I believe you should consider doing the same.

I personally use a Berkey Water Filter for my drinking water as well as an RO system.

There are many fine systems out there. Do your research and give yourself and your family some clean water to drink.

Here are some links to sites. I get my water purification gear from. These are not paid ad’s

The Berkley Guy

Air Water Ice

 

 

Next Door

I’m sure you have heard about Facebook, Twitter and maybe an even link in. But how many of you have heard about Nextdoor? A neat way to network with your neighbors. See if one is set up in your neighborhood. If not set one up.

Click this link. Nextdoor

Richard

 

Tess

Well, Tess didn’t have any babies. Time to try again. Last night She spent the night in Mystery. My male Rabbit.

Tess

Hoping for better luck this time.

Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead

Last night I had a taste test of some Mead that I made. I have it carbonating at the moment.

I had a half full 16oz bottle of the stuff. I have never had any luck with half full bottles carbonating. So I decide to give it a try.

Pretty darn good stuff even if it was non-carbonated.

Here is a link to the recipe, I used. – Joe’s Ancient Orange Mead

If your into brewing you own drink. Give it a try.

Aquaponics

I posted my first aquaponics video on YouTube on April 19, 2011. I have been running that system ever since. With some major upgrades, as well a few downgrades.

I love to grow food in aquaponics systems. I have my, Ph.D. in the school of hard knocks when it come to small scale home aquaponics flood and drain systems. Here is a typical presentation that I see on the Internet all the time.” Growing Food with Aquaponics ” While it is well done and mostly accurate. There is a few glaring error that seems to make every presentation I have seen. I fully understand why they omit the things they do. Because some smartass (like me) in the back of the room will ask a question they can not answer. Most teachers hate that with a passion. Me on the other hand, it’s a bit uncomfortable, and I don’t like it much, but it makes me stretch my knowledge base. I will go look it up and research it, to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

I don’t have a problem with the First slide in their presentation. The problem starts on the second slide. With the statement, “IT PRODUCES ZERO WASTE”. While technically an aquaponics system can be built to handle all of its waste, in a commercial environment. You’re just not going to do it in your home based system. It’s just not cost effective on such a small scale, it is much cheaper to use the waste in other ways, such as water other plants that are not in you aquaponics system.

The next statement I have a problem with is. “It uses Trace Amounts of Water”. While it is true that an Aquaponics system uses 5 to 10% of the water that you would use in a land base system. The water had better be high-quality, such as rainwater or RODI water. If do not use high-quality water, plan on 1/3 water changes monthly, and this will the seriously affect the performance of your system, and add to the waste stream. Now Tap water, Carbon Filter tap water, and Well water, will cause issues down the road. An aquaponics system is designed to just add water to replace what has been used by the plants, and what evaporates. This can and will concentrate contaminants that are in the water to unacceptable levels over time, that you have no way of testing for, other than sending samples off to a lab for testing. Now Using water that is clean presents another set of problems, but it’s more manageable. Your plants need trace minerals, and these are easily added as necessary. This also requires you to have a deeper understanding of the plants that you are growing to spot these mineral deficiencies and take corrective actions. If corrective action isn’t taken quick enough you run right smack into my third issue. which is pest management? Healthy plants, for the most part, do not have many pest issues at all. If something is just a little bit out of balance. Here come the bugs.

I guess the biggest problem, that really gets me is the statement  “No Chemicals”. Really? No Chemicals? OK, a lot of people promote using ammonia to start up an aquaponics system. Isn’t that a chemical? Yes. What about adjusting the pH or adding iron to your system. Chemicals again. What you can’t do is add pesticides or antibiotics. What a lot of people don’t understand, is what they are actually growing most of, they can’t even see. It is the bacteria and fungus, that make the whole ecosystem work in the first place.

Now as to the “Low maintenance” statement. Yes, 90% of the time it is less than 5 mins a day. On my days off I spend a bit more time because I check pH and the general health of the system. While I do a bit of preventive maintenance as well and harvest and replant. Now let something break or get clog up all bets are off.

All this being said Aquaponics has been one of my most enjoyable hobbies. My systems produce more  food than it cost me to run them. You can  make a lot of mistakes and still get a good yield out of these systems. The learning curve is steep, But I still recommend you try it if you have any interest in growing your own high-quality food.