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Messages - Bruce Steele

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Consequences / Re: 2018 ENSO
« on: Today at 02:55:56 AM »
The JISAO PDO index was updated for Nov. at .15 and Dec. at .5   This completes four years with positive numbers.

Walking the walk / Re: How to resuscitate a dead field
« on: January 17, 2018, 08:38:35 PM »
Johnm33, I agree with most of the soil health recommendations in the article you posted. There are of course issues with how to economically run a farm if you try to employ these techniques. 1) If you put animals on your crops to consume the cover-crop or vegative plant fodder you can't legally harvest any crops for nine months. It used to be three months but the rules changed due to food safety concerns and now you basically loose an entire season if you graze animals.2) Seed drills are currently used in commercial agriculture but they invariably also utilize herbicides to control weeds. GMO's are designed to be sprayed with roundup so farmers can avoid cultivation. It is probably more energy efficient to drill and spray and our dependence upon corn and soy GMO's would be far less had we continued with something closer to conventional farm practices of fifty years ago. 3) Controling weeds without  herbicides, select sprays, pre emergent sprays, or cultivation is virtually impossible unless you hire people with hoes to scour your fields every few weeks with hoes. Labor costs are preventative. Yes you can pull off weed control on a garden scale but even then crabgrass, devil grass, morning glory or any weed that spreads with rhizomes will crush even a very dedicated gardener.
 I think food safety , the USDA and squeamish picky consumer preferences are far larger concerns to commercial ag than soil health. I can't even find an insurance company to cover my farm if I raise both vegetables and pigs on the same farm. The consumers and the insurance industry have prescribed the chemical dependence that defines modern agriculture. As long as the fossil fuels hold out farmers will pour on the fertilizers ,fungicides and pesticides. The groceries will appear in the picture perfect grocery store abundance we are all so used to and the soil carbon sinks will continue belching out CO2
 Grow your own food and become responsible for the soil that supports your sustenance. Learn to farm without fossil fuels. Love your animals and sustain the health of your little piece of paradise.

See FSMA signed into law 2011

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: January 15, 2018, 09:40:51 PM »
Even " freedom" can be a vice.

Consequences / Re: Floods
« on: January 11, 2018, 03:03:59 PM »
It was just dumb luck that the hills above Montecito hadn't burned in such a long time. Most of the rest of the Santa Ynez mountains have had multiple fires over that time period. I think if you were to look back over the last few thousand years you would see many extended droughts in the Southwestern U.S. Any extended drought is going to increase the risk of wildfires and even drought years can produce 2-4 inch rain events. So the debris flows could have been triggered by the same conditions that caused this event had the hills burned fifty years ago rather than last month. Ventura and Santa Barbara counties are 7 or 8 years into a drought that could extend much futher. Yes the extra heat of global warming contributes to faster desiccation of plant life and yes December fires seem anomalous but a Sept. fire and zero rains until January would result in the same preconditions that resulted in the debris flows.
 The fact that people ignored the risks is what caused the lost of life, the property damage was inevitable due to bad planning. Here is a link to warnings that went out before the minor rain event.
Maps on the link clearly show the creeks that carried the debris flows.

Consequences / Re: Floods
« on: January 11, 2018, 02:59:45 AM »
I think the single most important point getting little attention is that the hills above Montecito haven't burned in a hundred years. There are parts of the city that were built in flood plains and nobody seemed to realize the risks. Anyone who looks at the rounded boulders that are scattered around town can tell these are stream rounded. The mountains have delivered these boulders for hundreds of thousands of years. We just got the combination of fire and rain that triggers debris flows. This doesn't qualify as climate change, it's just a lack of planning and some tough luck. Stupidity will be when they reissue the building permits to repeat the dumb ass planning that allowed this nonsense in the first place. Clue to planners, bad s... happens when you ignor the obvious.
There are plenty of parallels with other issues like rising CO2 levels. Ignor and repeat until the wheels come off.

Consequences / Re: Floods
« on: January 10, 2018, 08:41:34 PM »
There isn't information on where the mortalities occurred. Voluntary and mandatory evacuations covered the vast majority of the flooded parts of Montecito and the vast majority of residents ignored warnings.
 The rain total was only slightly over two inches in Montecito. We sometimes will get 9 inches in a 24 hour period. The rain that occurred on the hills was totally expected.The problem was there haven't been any rains to get anything green started on the hills.
The fire burned extremely hot and burnt into the soil. Soil doesn't absorb water when it is in this condition.
 These flooding issues will repeat when we get the next slug of rain. The next time the evacuation orders go out they will be complied with. Same thing with warnings about climate change. After we are deep in trouble people will react but probably they won't react in ways adequate to meet the challenge.
Montecito will rebuild. They will rebuild in the same flood corridors that were just washed out. The real estate is just too valuable . Same thing with climate disasters. We will rebuild, the disasters will just repeat. When the money runs out we will get responses commensurate to the threats. Move away from the threats, downsize, grown your own food, become self sufficient. Last thing on the minds of Montecito residents. 

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: January 10, 2018, 05:27:15 PM »
Chumash Indians burnt the chaparel for thousands of years before white man arrived. They burned in the spring after the rain season so the wet ground wouldn't burn. They were trying to improve grass and feed to support more game. Condors thrived on the increased game and open areas to land and take off. They also hunted sea otters to help improve shellfish stocks, or that was the result.
 I don't think California is " less livable " unless we turn off the power. This is LaLa land ( Disneyland ) and it is a manipulated environment. There is lots of building , growth and yes solar panels and Teslas but I would be careful about touting our environmental credentials . We are masters at deception and there is a profit in the dream.
 Here is a real estate site for Montecito.
So if you would like a couple Teslas in your three car garage and live the dream you better pony up .
It is just a dream and there isn't anyone in the U.S.that can better afford to rebuild. They will continue to avoid creating defendable space to fight fires, they will continue to avoid water conservation, they will import all their food , and pay the help to keep it all beautiful. So please don't worry about the weather , global warming , fires, floods or food, some people have enough money to avoid reality.
 If you'd like to get a better look at something closer to ground level and how thousands of Californians live plan your vacation for Fresno. Enjoy !


Consequences / Re: Floods
« on: January 09, 2018, 09:01:59 PM »
From the pictures on the local T.V. news Montecito took a very big economic hit last night. The Montecito Inn took several feet of water from a debris flow. For anyone who has been there the Montecito Inn is downtown , right by the 101 freeway. The 101 is just a mess. There were areas where five to six feet of mud flows and debris sweep through residences and businesses.
 The evacuation notices for Montecito weren't as successful as the fire evacuations had been. There have been five fatalities and there may be more.
 There aren't more storms in the immediate forecast, the low is currently sitting directly over S.B. and moving off to the Southeast. Tomorrow will be nice but this is going to take days to clear the debris off the highway and from city streets. I am calling billions$  in damages . This is just the start of the rain season and there is the very real possibility this can happen again over the next month.

Consequences / Re: Floods
« on: January 09, 2018, 04:57:10 PM »
With the first rains following the Thomas fire, 2-5 inches overnight, there are debris flows in Montecito.
Three mansions where swept off their footings , several people were caught in the mud and needed rescue , and a natural gas line broke resulting in a couple houses burned. These are problems to be expected in the aftermath of California wildfires . We need the rain and these issues will repeat until something green sprouts on the hillsides.

Walking the walk / Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« on: January 07, 2018, 05:25:45 PM »
Avalonian, Thanks and I hope you find something useful in my efforts. Most of my project is with
garden crops / forage developed by Native Americans. Using homemade bio , solar power and electric tillers is a way to make the work easier utilizing mechanical slave labor without fossil fuels.
 I am a big fan of using acorn starch in lots of recipes. The preparations for making acorn flour done by native tribes lost the starch , Dotorimuk, in processing. Both OrganicSU and I explained how to recover the starch while preparing acorn flour. Different types of acorns have different starch yields. Cork Oak seem to yield more starch than Holm Oaks. I was wondering how the various Oak species in Wales taste, look and what starch yield you can get ? I use the starch as a thickener so puddings, pies, stews, all can use some acorn starch. I think also that the sticky texture that the local Chumash prefer in acorn mush can be enhanced with starch.
 None of this work is difficult and it can easily be scaled up to feed a group of people year round. It may take me a couple more years to get there but year round food supply using these methods is my goal. One month last year, two or three this year and with grains and honey maybe I can get close fairly soon.

Walking the walk / Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« on: January 07, 2018, 10:34:15 AM »
It's the first week into this years zero carbon farm and forage efforts. Last year was very different from this year because I didn't make preparations last year. This year I devoted about a half acre of garden into crops like beans, dent corn, and squash seed . These crops were dried a couple months ago and I have had a good drying season for acorns. I ran my tractor exclusively upon homemade pig lard biodiesel for my whole garden season so the crops I produced were largely carbon free, fossil fuel free.
I also tilled and planted about one acre into a cover crop of favas and peas. I have been irrigating but we are finally going to get some rains ! Without early rains I don't have any wild greens like I had last year so I will be eating pea tendrils from the cover crop.
 I currently have over eight hundred pounds of acorns but most of that will go to the pigs. I have been collecting and supplementing the pigs with acorns for over three months. I have both Cork oak, and Holm oak dried and milled into flour. I raked about three hundred pounds of Holm oak acorns in three hours a couple days ago. That was from three trees planted at a church. The mowed lawns make collecting pretty easy.
 I still have the same six chickens I had last year. They run free during the day and feed themselves where they want. At night I go lock them into their coop. I have a theory that the predators don't like the pigs because before I got pigs coyotes and bobcats would take chickens in broad daylight , no problems lately.
 This years diet isn't nearly as austere as last year . Beans and cornbread are a lot more familiar in multiple recipes . The acorn flour and acorn starch are more like ingredients of the cornbread and bean staples. I also stewed and froze several quarts of tomatoes to make for some variety. There are butternut squash buried under some hay in the hay barn to keep them from freezing and I have a big box of potatoes sprouting for planting also covered in hay.
 I have plans on adding grains into this years garden so next year will include bread. I should also start a couple bee hives because sugar is still the first thing you notice missing in a foraged/farm crop diet.
Fruit preserves , dried apricots and Yacon syrup are better than zero sugar but until you quit eatting prepared foods you don't notice how much sugar there is in the American diet. Last year I lost weight but this year my wife and I are planning a couple months and I hope to gain a little weight in the process.

I have been a Jeffers fan for over 40 years. He has been an influence on my poetry and likely my rather dark soul.
I wish the notion of wilderness and walking away from fossil fuels was a bigger part of the modern enviornment movement than ecotourism.
Primitive cultures should be left the space to be primitive and the missionaries put in the caldron. I have no faith in techno solutions , we are just postponing the inevitable.

The rest / Re: Russiagate
« on: December 29, 2017, 09:54:12 AM »
Rob, I am about sick of the thought police crap. Sidd happens to be one of the best sourced commenters on this forum. He lives in the part of the country that happens to also have plenty of Trump supporters . I would trust that he would be able to sort through the politics of his neighbors whilst maintain a civil relationship with them.
 Even if we did have a Trump supporter here on the forum , and I don't know who they are , I would hope we could look at whatever they might have to contribute here without resorting to witch hunt tactics.
 Fairness and an open mind are important attributes IMO. I have good friends that are Trump supporters and as much as I wish they would change their mind(s) I am not going to walk away from people I have known my whole life just because I don't agree with their political affiliations. I also have liberal friends I consider misguided but I apply the same standard to my friendships with them.
They are my friends, they are willing to go out of their way to help me even though they understand my political views. And sometimes Rob I consider it the greatest compliment to be trusted by my political foes. In the harbor where I spent a major portion of my life even my enemies would put their boats and lives in peril to save me if they knew they needed to. That my friend is a place worth living in.

The rest / Re: Arctic Café
« on: December 25, 2017, 11:12:32 PM »
Terry, I hope you have a good holiday season . Re. Ain't life wonderful ? Well yes but looking into the future gets kinda depressing.
 Some Mexican friends dropped off some tamales and Budweiser . At least I get to drink here at home , my Mexican friends are stranded a thousand miles from their families. They are celebrating Christmas on Skype. 

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 24, 2017, 05:11:53 AM »
I mentioned before that I had sold some pigs to a lady who lived up Wheeler Canyon, a long dead end canyon road downwind and close to where the fire started. I had tried her phone but only got a strange tone. The roads are open so I took a drive to see how her farm had fared. As I feared she was totally burned out but amazingly her livestock survived even as the house and barns burnt to the ground.
Now however without power her friends were hand watering her 60 or seventy head of alpacas, pigs and horses. Neighbors were pitching in to help clean up and fixing the fences to keep the stock within her very scorched perimeter.
 I did make contact and I am going to buy back as many pigs as I can market or afford. I told her that I would be willing to sell her new stock when she got back on her feet for whatever price she sold me the now stranded herd members. The wooden bridge to her property was burnt out but she said it was the first priority and would be replaced soon.
 She was apparently there as the fire arrived because she told me the pigs were calm and never panicked even as the flames burned everything around them.
 I am going to be challenged both monetarily and logistically in trying to get her pigs to market . I hope my restaurant customers can step up and handle some extra product. Like I said already I will be here if and when she wants to grow her herd again but these sorts of experiences leave any farmer questioning whether they want to start again.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 22, 2017, 05:05:14 AM »
I used to have a 125 lb. dog that was a good hiking partner. We would go off trail and that often required crawling under the brush known as chaparel . The dog would make better time than I could and when I was completely stymied I would call out to him and wherever he crashed back through the heavy cover I would follow because he could find the game trails with his nose. If you look at the attached photo you wouldn't know these slopes were ever completely brush covered for the last hundred years. Like I said before the game it protected is gone. I am still hoping for rain this season but any heavy rains will be scary . I miss the dog, he was a real trooper.

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: December 22, 2017, 04:06:39 AM »
The list of countries yielding to the threat and voting with the US are Guatemala, Honduras, Israel,
Marshal Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Togo and the US of Trump. The rest of the world better watch out ,we're taking numbers. If you're lucky we will remove our military bases.

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: December 21, 2017, 03:20:41 AM »
Rob, Questions like " Are you trying to tell us we are all doomed ? " is known as a thought stopper.
Martin has the best responce , we need more than a renewable electrical revolution. It should be obvious that we need to work on pulling down some of the CO2 already working it's way through the short term carbon sinks, and sending it into long term sinks.
 I am dubious about the adoption of renewable electrics by a certain segment of society even if it makes economic sense. People driving Hummers, muscle cars, and that segment of society that would categorize all of us here on the forum as nut jobs. Don't you know any of these people?  I know some of them and they know me. They will vote for Trump again.
 I have solar electrics and it is great stuff but to me there is just so much more work to do. Renewables need to be adopted by a much larger segment of society .
 Sorry if I don't have an answer about why I believe this transition isn't going to be the boon to the economy you think it will be. I don't understand how the economy keeps floating while we continue to go deeply into debt. When things do turn south solar panels and a new tesla might be down on the list of people's priorities.

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: December 20, 2017, 06:47:48 AM »
Off topic I suppose but watching that circus is meant as a distraction.
I try to think along minimalist lines. Food , Clothing , Shelter
None of those things are locally produced in the reality of LA , New York, etc. our shared experiment.
We are so damned concerned with our cars and our electrical supplies. Maybe that's because we realize without maintaining the infrastructure to move all those basic supplies we can't maintain civilization?
So how about looking long and hard at how those basics are produced and how to do that with batteries?
Maybe think about fertilizers , tractors , cotton production, corn and soy beans. Soil killers all, regenerative agriculture and it's part in pulling down carbon ? Who the f knows and I am a farmer.
I just have a hard time thinking that we can fix the car , electricity issues and all the while ignor those things that sustain us. Yes  cars and electricity are very large contributors to our carbon footprint but neither of them will ever contribute to pulling down carbon, they are extravagances , bad habits.
So back to why I think growing the economy, keeping up the luxuries we expect will lead to ruin?
Because they are a distraction.
If my history in fishing and if what knowledge of acidification I have counts we are continuing apace .
Mauna Loa keeps going up and acidification follows along . Yes transforming our transport system should change the trend line eventually but let's be honest about how long it's gonna take . We have to reduce CO2 emissions by an enormous amount before Mauna Loa flattens out and begins to fall.
So without the proof I might need to convince you I think screwing up the land carbon sink by continuing conventional farming  + how soils will react to the heat that is coming. How the oceans and the carbon sink they represent is transformed by the extra heat and acidification that is in the pipeline for decades to come ? We are distracted and I think this catches up to us . Castles made of sand eventually return to sea.
There it is Rob, why I think the economy, any economy that forgets the basics is doomed . Cars, electricty? The economy?  Is that really where we should continue to focus? Trump thinks so ( IMO )
He isn't alone

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: December 19, 2017, 04:59:09 PM »
Rob, P-maker didn't have his statement in quotes and I was just quoting P-maker.
I still think the question of supporting growth, GDP and the rich getting richer or what passes for American capitalism is far more important to Trump than climate change. I also think any major change in that system " the collapse of the capitalist system "that results in a depression would result in more immediate damage to the US than the immediate risks of climate change.
 I know there are plenty of people who believe we can transition to a green economy without suffering a major hit to the economy. I don't happen to be one of them. Practicing techniques that are designed to prepare for such an eventuality , the lack of transportation infrastructure, an Internet gone black, and all the grim realities of a major depression is just easier to ignor than consider a real possibility.
 So listening to what Trump says is obviously a waste of time and watching what he does much better reflects his inter thought processes.
 I happen to believe the consequences of ignoring climate change will result in the breakdown that would result from a depression , it will just take longer  to begin and last much longer.  Recovering from pushing climate change too far won't be possible IMO so as terrible as it sounds I would prefer a depression now but peons like me don't start depressions, the bankers do.
 In spite of my opinions on how this plays out I would prefer to live as simply as I can. I see far too many people preaching green but living black.

The rest / Re: The Trump Presidency (was "Presidential Poll")
« on: December 18, 2017, 05:53:47 PM »
" Trump is right, the collapse of the capitalists system is most likely going to be worse for the US than any climate change effects hitting them in the foreseeable future "
 P-Maker is correct and even Trump knows what our future is without all the support structures capitalism and technology provides. Our fires would have apocalyptic consequences without the 8,500
firemen and 1,000 fire engines brought in from many places in excess of 1,000 miles away. Should anyone without the communications network , fast transport ( cars ) , or modern fire control be caught in the backcountry their survival would be challenged. Their livestock would fry and any crops they might be growing would be lost. The situation in the aftermath of the hurricanes illustrate how dependent we are on electrical supplies. I suppose totalitarian governments can also supply these services but we in the US are gun crazy and how we would transition to a non-capitalist system is problematic. " I got mine " is the first rule and has generations of converts willing to enforce this rule.
Trump is emblematic of our mindset and any idealists out there would quickly revert should they and their family face starvation. We currently import ~ 95% of seafood eaten in this country, here in Calif. we import a similar percentage of pork from out of state. Money moves all this food and faith in our money keeps the system liquid. Take away the money and all hell will break loose.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 17, 2017, 05:34:41 PM »
The fire in the Montecito-Santa Barbara area seems to have for the most part burned itself out overnight. There were a couple homes lost but it is a testament to the firefighters skill and planning  that things didn't go much worse.
 There will be three days of good weather to snuff out the small hot spots still burning on the West end of the fire. The East end of the fire by Fillmore and the back country are still troublesome but how we got through yesterday without larger losses is just amazing.
 I would have predicted worse but my guesses on various polls on this forum force me to question my predictive skills. There have been multiple fires in the years I have been living around here where hundreds of houses burned but S.B. looks to have dodged the bullet this time.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 16, 2017, 05:37:26 PM »
Mandatory evacuations have just been put in place for most of Montecito, everything North of the 101 is now mandatory. The cell phone is buzzing right now. This could become the most expensive fire in US history( today ) is  if things go badly wrong.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 16, 2017, 05:18:11 PM »
I got up before dawn and started watching live coverage on the local TV . Conditions seemed rather mild but within a half hour there were reports of downslope winds at 36 mph all along the ridge line from Montecito to Gaviota. The fire moved very quickly with spot fires jumping out in front of the majority of the flames. If the fire gets much closer to town I expect new evacuations will be be put in place and the cellphone will buzz with the new notices. I will post if that happens. We are going to have strong winds all day with the worst expected at dusk hence the term " sundowner "
 There was an oil delivery truck that overturned on the Northbound lanes of the 101 freeway last night in SB and the northbound lanes have been closed for 9 hours. The 192 is the route locals would usually use to circumvent a freeway closure but it is closed due to the fire. Anyone headed north out of L.A. should  take the 5 , avoid the 101.
 Latest weather service has reported gusts to 55 mph above Montecito
 Allison, I posted earlier about the sow... then erased the bad news. She was having lots of trouble with the front and rear legs on her right side. She was having difficulty standing. Sometimes being a farmer requires tough choices. I sold pigs to a lady who lived in the hills above Santa Paula in Wheeler canyon It burned there so fast there wouldn't have been any chance of evacuating her animals. Her phone lines are down.

Arctic sea ice / Re: JAXA Arctic Sea Ice Extent Ranking - end of 2017
« on: December 16, 2017, 05:44:53 AM »
Seventh, I have a history of voting for melt numbers that exceed results. I am afraid I need to moderate my negativism.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 16, 2017, 04:44:38 AM »
Terry, I know you had a place in San Bernadino and that you also knew the Great Basin. Lompoc is close to where I live and yes vineyards and mansions have taken over what used to be Lima beans and Garbonzo Beans that were dry farmed for five generations around here before grapes took over. Pot farms are springing up now with about 150 large greenhouses popping up within two miles of where live over the last year. I am but a simple pig farmer and I don't have visions of vast wealth dancing in my head like sugar plum fairies . Maybe growing up in places like Winnemuca, Baker city, and Livingston temper a honest mans expectations.
 I still can see the Milky Way at night .I still have coyotes, cougar, and roadrunners as occasional visitors. Something always tugs at me to venture far afield . Most people don't want to live hard agains't the anvil but when civilization decides a pig farmer isn't what they want for a neighbor I will move someplace else .
 I know I am off topic but I hope Terry and I can reminisce on memories of where we both have lived
 Back on topic. I said a couple days ago that sundowners and strong north winds were the biggest threat to S.B.   Saturday is going to test the fire lines in S.B. Sunday and Monday will result in Northeasters for Ventura county and the Sespe Wilderness will fry. I have hiked hundreds and hundreds of miles of the wilderness that has already burnt and as the fire digs deeper into the backcountry it will burn a lot more that I know from all the time I have been privileged to spend there. I worry the wildlife hasn't had refuge from the inferno. Sometimes our fires burn in a patchwork that provides some opportunity for survival but the drought, the dryness and the deadwood are going to be a death knell I am afraid. So many springs have dried up already... 
My family has lived around here for 150 years and our ( human. ) complicity in all this destruction wears on my soul. Millions and millions of my fellow human cohabitants don't feel my pain for the Coyotes, Cougars, and minions lost. They can't feel for what they know not.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 14, 2017, 04:28:52 PM »
SB fire history tends to be repeated . I don't live there anymore. Where I live in the Santa Ynez valley is fairly safe. If I was forced to prepare pigs for a fire I would make a big big wallow in the middle of a big dry paddock and fence them into the wallow . Kinda like getting into a swimming pool is about your best bet if you can't get out in your car..
Please don't worry about an old swineherd, worry about why rich people in Montecito refuse to ration their water during a drought or even limit new well permits. Worry about why they refuse to reduce the fuel load that surrounds their homes and create a defendable space. And finally worry why the rest of us are forced to pay a tax load to protect the real pigs. 30 million dollar homes, private jets ,a couple Teslas , and staff to keep up the grounds but firemen brought in from places like Oxnard or Compton.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 14, 2017, 08:42:02 AM »
Due to the interface between the inland and the oceans we tend to get offshore winds at night as the inland areas cool ( and the ocean is relatively warm ) and the reverse
 of a warm inland and a relatively cool ocean resulting in daytime upslope winds. The firefighters use these conditions to create a fire break between the heavily populated coastal areas and the heavy vegetation in the inland areas by " firing off " the chaparral during the daytime upslope winds. They are contemplating a very large burn tomorrow because there is a potential sundowner ( very strong downslope winds ) this weekend. They are running out of time. The decision hasn't been made yet but tomorrow's the day
 There are now ~ 8,000 firefighters and 500 or 600 engines working this fire. Just one single home in Montecito can cost 30 million dollars. A bad decision might be very expensive.
 There are of course risks if they get the timing wrong.

Science / Re: Beaufort Gyre Reversal and a Return to 1960's Level SIE
« on: December 14, 2017, 07:08:39 AM »
Since the 2012 GAC I have been watching ITP buoys. They have shown a deepening of fresh water in the Pacific warm water layer yes but when did the BG reverse?  Slow down yes , on occasion, but when did buoys move from the Beaufort off Barrow or the Mackenzie eastward ( counter clockwise) and exit the Arctic via the Fram ? I must have missed something but the ITP buoy data is all cataloged and available for review. Where is the evidence of a reversal ?  Not saying it never happens but damn I must have missed it.
 I would think the Garlic press in 2016 was evidence of a large freshwater exit but it wasn't the Fram
and it wasn't a reversal.

The rest / Re: Who should be the Democratic nominee for President in 2020?
« on: December 12, 2017, 04:38:28 AM »
Charles Barkley
 Now OT. Oren , I too wish we were talking about something else besides Politics.( although ) I try to serve my time on committees and commit to the small time due diligence of Democratic processes. I am conflicted. I think my time is required because I question anyone who drawn to power. Damage control means sitting through all the days of pointless meetings until the one day arrives when your efforts ( your opinion ) might make a difference. Politics
 I am reduced into efforts at subsistence. So much seems preposterous , the knowledge of climate change in the detail contain herein, the ridiculous processes of politics. How is it we bridge the huge divide?

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 11, 2017, 06:30:14 PM »
The smoke from the fire was Terrible yesterday. My solar system that was putting out
~ 3000 W at noon before the fire was only putting out 300 W yesterday. It would have been a blue sky but we never saw anything but a blood red sun and an Martian red sky. My wife and I holed up in the house but the critters have been in crappy air for a week now. One sow had what appeared to be a stroke but I don't know if the smoke had anything to do with it . She is still ambulatory but her front and rear legs on one side are having trouble.
 Things are somewhat better today, I can see some blue . I can remember smog from the seventies that was similar to today's conditions.

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 10, 2017, 04:15:46 PM »
There were multiple emergency notices that went out over the I-phone last night. The fire has jumped into Santa Barbara county and is rapidly moving west. There are evacuations now in the hills from Carpenteria to  Montecito. Santa Ana winds are still blowing. There is a very thick tree canopy throughout most of Montecito. The fire on the ridge line is now in the area above Jameson reservoir so any change in winds that become northerly would be worst case.
 A local newsfeed called Noozhawk has been the best source of ongoing news stories .

Here is a satellite heat map from last night. Is

Consequences / Re: Wildfires
« on: December 06, 2017, 03:08:31 AM »
Last night I got a phonecall about a power outage in Santa Barbara. I put the post on the wrong thread
before I realized a fire had caused the outage. Daybreak I could see the smoke 80 miles away and by this afternoon there was smoke and bad air conditions. Freezing temperatures and inverted atmospheric conditions seem to be shoving the smoke to the ground here in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Feels kinda funky to breath .
 We have been in a unrelenting drought in Ventura and  Santa Barbara counties. Yes we got average rains here last winter but it in no way stopped the tree die off that has taken out millions of live oaks on Southern exposed hillsides. It has to contribute to the ferocity of these fires , dead dry oaks burning differently from live ones. The live oaks will often survive fast burning fires and produce new leaf come spring. I expect the heat of burning all that dead wood will result in extra live oak mortality on the Southern exposed hillsides.
 We expect fires during Santa Ana conditions. Living in the canyons , in oak habitat , comes with risks.
I live in the flatlands by the river on agriculture land. It never , well never in the seventeen years I've lived here, blows Santa Ana here where I live. It does however freeze under these conditions and today I was fixing freeze damage on hoses that popped late night.
 We need rain

Consequences / Re: Weird Weather and anecdotal stories about climate change
« on: December 05, 2017, 08:34:21 AM »
OK probably  the 10,000 acre fire between Ojai and Santa Paula. Big Santa Ana winds tonight with years of drought. Fires are expected I suppose.

Walking the walk / Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« on: December 02, 2017, 05:40:09 PM »
Something called carbon farming is being explored here in Calif.  Problem is the analysis isn't full lifecycle so although composting pasture results in a carbon gain there isn't an accounting of whether farmers just add extra cattle to their newly improved pasture forage. Since cattle are literally
" the sacred cow " here in the west nobody seems willing to confront the obvious error in paying farmers to improve soil carbon while ignoring the carbon-methane consequences of the cattle any given pasture supports.
 Soil carbon gain on conventional tilled crop land is only about 1% even with cover crops and reincorporating crop residues. That is a best case and carbon loss is more common.
 Silvoculture or some mimicry of dehesa here in the new world is untested . Hence my interests in testing nut crops and pigs as grazers. Pigs don't have the same methane issues as cattle and can utilize acorns. Also they are very happy with a truck full of acorns and know now the sound of the diesel truck driving down the driveway and come running at my arrival.
 Although I have been feeding pigs acorns from valley oaks for a couple months the Holm oaks I prefer for my own consumption are only now beginning to fall. I have about 200 lbs. in the drying racks. Every year I find more and more interest in acorns as a component of the human diet but of course I am only retracing a well trod path. Here is an interesting ethnographic study on Holm oak utilization in Spain prior to 1965 from people who lived it.


Walking the walk / Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« on: November 15, 2017, 07:28:37 AM »
Sidd, Hams , bacon and Lardo are all cured skin on. The butcher skins some cuts but there is really no hide.

Walking the walk / Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« on: November 13, 2017, 03:53:17 AM »
It is acorn season. The black oaks dropped acorns in the Sierra back in Sept. , I only collected enough black acorns to start a few new trees. The valley oaks masted in October and the pigs have eaten most of the two hundred pounds I collected. The coast live oaks are having a very big mast so I am working on some live oaks this year. The cork oaks are also dropping acorns right now . The cork oaks yield a nice white flour . All the others yield brown flour. My staple flour producer remains Holm oak acorns from last years mast. The Holm oaks aren't dropping yet but I still have enough acorns from last year to maintain acorn flour production year round.
 I produced a batch of flour for a local cultural event. I used 2 pounds of Holm oaks and saved the starch that I got for the recipe that follows
.8 pounds flour
3/4 cup acorn starch
Gallon + 3 pints water
 Here is a letter from a friend who made the mush she describes.

The acorn mush was a BIG hit!!

Ignoring your instructions, I waited until very early Saturday morning to cook it in a stainless steel stockpot. I mixed the starchy fraction into 3 quarts of water first, then thoroughly whisked in the dry flour a little at a time before turning on the heat. As it began to thicken I added 2 more quarts of water, stirring constantly throughout the process. When it seemed thick enough, I turned off the heat and put the lid on. When I got it to the Museum a couple of hours later it had thickened even more, so I stirred in another 2 cups of water before transferring the mush to a big basket for serving at room temperature. It stayed pretty thick even after that; I could have added more water but decided to leave it that way.

We put it out in the private area for the Chumash presenters and their families, along with other refreshment snacks  -- toasted chia seeds, lemonade-berry drink, and various traditional (!) Indian foods like coffee, granola bars and Fritos.

The mush came out with a mild but nutty flavor and just the right gluey consistency. Everyone -- even the few public visitors who we allowed to have a taste -- agreed it was delicious! The whole big basketful was all gone by mid-afternoon, and I got SO many compliments! Of course I told everyone that the credit was due to you for having done all the hard part.

Permafrost / Re: Arctic Methane Release
« on: October 17, 2017, 02:00:26 AM »
Avalonian, ++
The Arctic will exhibit nutrient limitations due to the lack of upwelling. Riverine inputs are seasonal.

Policy and solutions / Re: Low GHG Meat
« on: October 03, 2017, 07:13:51 AM »
However we get there we should keep a close eye on the goal ... Zero fossil fuel. Food is an economic decision for consumers and " cheap " is important . I can't speak for farmers in general but farming is a difficult way to make a living. Many of us need a second outside income to keep the farm going at all.
So a conversion to electric better be cheap just like the prices the public expects to pay for food.
 Where is there any discussion of these issues?  Maybe I am missing something?

Policy and solutions / Re: Low GHG Meat
« on: October 03, 2017, 05:53:06 AM »
The confinement farms are economically supported by GMO grain that allows roundup to supplant cultivation and manpower.
 The efficiency of eliminating human labor and the efficiency of scale allow urban consumers to eat cheap protein and sugar. The bargain is we can ignore willfully because we crave, and fat and sugar are cheap, and suffice.
 Maybe I am cynical but perhaps it would be easier to somehow replace everyone's sugar and fat with some replacements that are still sugar and fat but fat and sugar from low or zero fossil fuel sources and methane mediated farming techniques ?
 How do we get from fossil fuel supported ag to anything near zero fossil fuel ag ?
 With zero fossil fuel ?   Nobody has a clue how to do that and there is almost nobody asking how we are suppose to get there.

Walking the walk / Re: Zero-Carbon Farming and Living via the Acorn Path
« on: September 30, 2017, 06:45:54 PM »
Dear Sidd, I put one cup of acorns ,ground into cornmeal consistency , into a quart jar and fill with water. I pour off about three cups of water a day and repeat about six or seven times over the period of a week.  When you pour off the water you will see a white layer of starch that rests at the top of the acorn meal that you should try to retain... This starch can be used as a thickener for various recipes like chocolate pudding or Dotorimuk.  The problem with flow through is you will lose the starch but I believe flow through would do a good job of removing tannins. All acorns have different amounts of tannin so the amount of water I use might be different than what your local acorns require.
 Maybe the most valuable part of the Acorn Challenge for both OrganicSU and I was learning that foraging and preparing acorns has the potential to get you through a tight spot . It is a confidence builder . The first year gave me some impetus to be better prepared  and inspired this years zero ff garden . I have been drying corn, squash seed and beans as dry goods for winter. I mean acorns are
O.K. and relatively tasty but variety is a good thing in the kitchen.
 So I am coming up with some preliminary calorie numbers. My dent corn crop produced the most calories which is probably why it is so important to so many Native American Indians. It is also fairly easy to dry and winnowing . The squash seed is labor intense but they dry quickly in a hot sunny window. The beans need picking , threshing and winnowing and for me they produced far less calories than corn on a similar sized planting area. I haven't started on harvesting the amaranth yet so I don't have a calorie count but as with the beans they require threshing and winnowing. I have been looking at bicycle threshing machines but that is a project for another year and for now I am using manual methods.
 Preliminary calorie count. 300,000 from corn, 50,000 from squash seed and about 10,000 from beans.
That and this years acorns, forage, and winter green vegetables should get the wife and I through two or three months . The chickens will provide another 5,000 calories and an acorn fed pig another 100,000 but we won't use anywhere near a whole pig in two or three months. Salted and air cured pork can last over two years without refrigeration.
 I believe Organic SU proved that an avid forager can get by on very few fossil fuel calories. Knowing which plants are locally available, knowing when and where to find them and learning how to make tasty meals with what's available is a challenge . If we had grown up in a hunter gatherer society we would have mentors to educate us but expert advice is hard to come by on this subject so the Internet is a handy backup. If the internet went down relearning how to do all this would be extreamly difficult .
Seek out good council, read, be careful and like Avalonian says know your hogweed from your hemlock.
 I am already making plans for next years garden efforts and harvesting tools. It will be awhile before I get spring fever but grain crops are next .
 There are some imbedded fossil fuel calories in my old 1960 Massey Ferguson ,my electric tiller and solar array but they can be amortized over several years. Direct fossil fuel use zero. Garden food calories from dried crops ~ 375,000 . Forage season for walnuts and acorns is just begining and I have started using piggy biodiesel in my Ford truck so collection costs will be from renewable energy.

~ 375,000 and counting

Consequences / Re: Hurricane season 2017
« on: September 07, 2017, 08:10:00 AM »
This is the same web-cam video Sigmetnow linked above for the Maho Beach Cam but it runs for 21 minutes. Same Web cam but starts earlier.

Now imagine 33 hours of this !  Everywhere Irma goes must sound like this. Hypnotic. I listened to this earlier and that wind was in my ears for a couple hours. No I-pad necessary.
And many thanks for Sigmetnows impressive series of hurricane links.

Walking the walk / Re: Gardening
« on: August 31, 2017, 08:15:32 AM »
It seems kinda trivial to talk about gardening with all the misery going around but it has been harvest season around here and there have been several days of good drying conditions with 97 to 102 F continuing for at least another week. The early corn gets smoked and sun dried , it's called chicos. Added to a batch of beans and soaked overnight it returns to sweet yellow corn in a batch of bean soup. Corn has passed milk stage ( and chicos corn ) and I have been picking and drying a bushel  a day. Watermelons are ripening but they are summer garden fare and don't keep.
 I have a very nice stand of black-eyed peas and they are so very good picked green and cooked up into Hopping John. I planted the black-eyed peas for dried beans and I have plenty extra to pick for a couple southern born chefs I know. Strange how simple things are so cherished.
 The pepitas, hulless squash seeds, are a pile of work to scoop out and dry but they offer up a huge calorie source for later in the winter. The piggies are enjoying the leftover pumpkin meat.
 As it turns out drying all this produce is way more work than growing and weeding the garden. I still have many bushels of corn, another hundred+ pumpkins for pepidas , black beans, black-eyed peas , and Limas to thresh and dry.
 So no fossil fuel for plowing and cultivating, solar electrics for water pumps and hot sunny days for drying results in lots of food for winter and plenty of food for summer fare. When it's all done and dried I'll make some attempt to weigh it and get some calorie calculations . Acorns will be starting soon and I will be using piggy bio-diesel in the truck I use to go collect them. The tractor is still happy running on the piggy bio. I will be using it to plow and prepare pastures for the rain season. About three months of work to go.   

Science / Re: Carbon Cycle
« on: August 11, 2017, 04:53:39 PM »
Here is a paper about carbon fluxes in the area of the MacKenzie Shelf. It contains data collected from three buoy arrays monitored in the 2014 melt season. Temperatures at surface and at depth, current direction and velocity, DIC, and pCO2. 29 pages with lots of informative info relevant to late season melt and carbon transport in the Southern Beaufort.

Abstract. The Mackenzie Shelf in the southeastern Beaufort Sea is a region that has experienced large changes in the past several decades as warming, sea-ice loss, and increased river discharge have altered carbon cycling. Upwelling and downwelling events are common on the shelf, caused by strong, fluctuating along-shore winds, resulting in cross-shelf Ekman transport, and an alternating estuarine and anti-estuarine circulation. Downwelling carries inorganic carbon and other remineralization products off the shelf and into the deep basin for possible long-term storage in the world oceans. Upwelling carries dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) and nutrient-rich waters from the Pacific-origin upper halocline layer (UHL) onto the shelf. Profiles of DIC and total alkalinity (TA) taken in August and September of 2014 are used to investigate the cycling of inorganic carbon on the Mackenzie Shelf. The along-shore transport of water and the cross-shelf transport of inorganic carbon are quantified using velocity field output from a simulation of the Arctic and Northern Hemisphere Atlantic (ANHA4) configuration of the Nucleus of European Modelling of the Ocean (NEMO) framework. A strong upwelling event prior to sampling on the Mackenzie Shelf is analyzed and the resulting influence on the carbonate system, including the saturation state of waters with respect to aragonite and pH, is investigated. TA and the oxygen isotope ratio of water (δ18O) are used to examine water-mass distributions in the study area and to investigate the influence of Pacific Water, Mackenzie River freshwater, and sea-ice melt on carbon dynamics and air-sea fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the surface mixed layer. Understanding carbon transfer in this seasonally dynamic environment is key to quantify the importance of Arctic shelf regions to the global carbon cycle and provide a basis for understanding how it will respond to the aforementioned climate-induced changes.

Science / Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« on: August 08, 2017, 08:25:39 PM »
Suicide rates for farmers is about double the rate for other occupations.

So after doing your best and getting your ass kicked enough times by the weather, the prices, disease in your herd, or a million other things you can't control , throwing in the towel becomes an option.
Climate change is only going to add risk and extra pressures to an ongoing problem. Some places may actually get better due to increased rainfall but they won't compensate for the negative effects of heat and drought elsewhere.
 When farmers are expected to convert to zero carbon farming we should expect more failures on the farm unless farm prices compensate for conversion costs. IMO ,expect very few farmers to successfully make the conversion and suicide rates to increase in other occupations as food prices spike.

Up one bin 4.00- 4.50

Up one bin 3.75-4.25 

Policy and solutions / Biodiesel farm production
« on: July 29, 2017, 06:18:20 AM »
There are several biodiesel production technologies currently in use that can power heavy equipment on farms. Vegetable oil can be produced by cold press or solvent extraction techniques. Solvent extraction produces a higher oil to bulk seed ratio but requires extra steps to process flake and dry the bulk seed and requires extra steps to retrieve the solvent with stills . Methanol retrieval from the glycerine byproduct is another step requiring the use of a still, retrieval of methanol from glycerine is common in most biodiesel production operations.
Farmers can send their oil seed crops to oil extraction facilities or process with oil seed presses on farm.
Farming oil seed crops is dependent upon large tractors and combines and trucks to transport seed either into silos or to processing facilities. The oil produced can be distributed to restaurants for deep fryers and be reused later in biodiesel production.
 Oil production from various oil seed crops like soybeans, canola, safflower and sunflowers all require similar equipment but the size of the farm operation generally determines weather the farmer is required to send his crop away for processing or process on farm with all the extra processing machinery necessary for on farm oil production.
 I have described two oil production models that are determined by the amount of production and the size of the farm.
 Although these same techniques can be scaled down to very small farms but the combines required for harvest are never small or cheap and oil presses and dryers necessary are all expensive.
 I have been experimenting in biodiesel production from rendered pork fat because at very small scales you can avoid the costs of combines, large tractors, driers and oil presses. Buying the required methanol and sodium hydroxide is not difficult and there is the potential to produce both of those chemicals from scratch if necessary. I consider the scale of the various options as steps that can be repeated in various sizes of farm operations.  Under very extreme collapse scenarios biodiesel production still offers a potential way to power farm equipment.
 Just rough numbers but vegetable oil production is about 80 gallons per acre but I would defer to Sidd on more accurate numbers.
 One lardhog can produce about fifty pounds of extra fat along with about 180 lbs. of meat .
Here is a recipe for biodiesel from lard. I currently don't use solvents but oil quality would be better if I did. The biodiesel is still effective at running my old tractor but only during hot weather.

Science / Re: "climate porn" vs. "not alarmed enough"
« on: July 28, 2017, 10:55:52 PM »
Sidd, Included with articles like the Wallace-Wells piece should be solutions . There are so many very brilliant people here on the forum but as it turns out not so many with working experiance in agricultural
solutions to a climate troubled world. You have far more experiance in agriculture than most people here and although from your posts it is obvious you are very well educated it may be your agricultural techniques that make your opinions relevant to those of us that didn't follow through on a path to higher education.
 Like I said up thread I have trouble gaining traction with people on why experimenting with zero ff farming is important.  If I keep coming back to you for your thoughts about ag it is because I value your opinion. I probably have a better idea about gallons of soy oil produced per acre, bio-diesel production per gallon of used oil and processing equipment required than most other readers here but if you could put some of those numbers down for others readers here to look at I am certain they would find the numbers and techniques interesting.

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