The Vermont Sail Freight Project

Vermont farmer and baker Erik Andrus not only uses draft horses on his farm and to deliver baked goods, but also plans on reviving the lost art of shipping freight under sail power. Andrus has a Kickstarter going to fund the the consturction of a 39 foot sailing vesel, the “Ceres” which will carry 12 tons of rice and other shelf-stable goods from Ferrisburgh, Vermont to New York City.

vermontboat

The Ceres is already under construction and is due to start sailing by this fall. You can follow progress on the project at: http://vermontsailfreightproject.wordpress.com/

And James Howard Kunstler interviewed Andrus on his podcast.

Someone revive the west coast version . . .

Straw Bale Garden Part III: Adding Fertilizer

watering fertilizer into a straw bale garden

After watering our straw bales for three days our next step is to apply a high nitrogen fertilizer. We’re following West Virginia University Extension Service’s Straw Bale Gardening advice. They suggest a 1/2 cup of urea per bale or “bone meal, fish meal, or compost for a more organic approach.” (I think they mean blood meal as bone meal does not have much nitrogen in it.)

Choosing the organic approach, we’re watering in two cups of blood meal a day to each bale for days four to six. Days seven through nine, we’ll cut back to one cup of blood meal per bale. By day ten the bales should be almost ready to plant.

Once the bales are conditioned I’ll need to add a balanced organic fertilizer to provide potassium and phosphorous. And I discovered that taking the time to level the bales prevents fertilizer from running off when you’re trying to water it in.

Fertilizer Issues
Buying a high nitrogen fertilizer, even an organic one, is a bit of a conundrum. I object to chemical fertilizers, like urea, on philosophical grounds, but blood meal, a byproduct of our industrial food system, doesn’t make me feel much better. Urea would be a lot cheaper.

Perhaps the best solution would be human urine. Throw a week-long party, serve a lot of beer and invite your guests to fertilize your bales! Undiluted human urine has an NPK ratio close to that of blood meal.

Those of you who have experimented with straw bale gardens please leave a comment on what fertilizers you used and how it worked . . .

A Straw Bale Urinal

straw bale urinal

L’Uritonnoir, a plug-in straw-bale urinal. Photograph: Faltazi

At the risk of becoming a blog entirely about urine and straw bales, Anne Hars alerted me to an article in the Guardian, “L’Uritonnoir: the straw bale urinal that makes compost from ‘liquid gold’” about French design studio Faltazi’s plug-in straw bale urinal.

The device comes as a flat polypropylene sheet, which is folded into shape and slotted together, then threaded on a looping band around the bale, its funnel wedged deep into the centre of the straw to channel the fluid to the composting core. A deluxe version is also available in stainless steel – presumably for the VIP bale urinal area.

L'uritonnoir by faltazi

According to the article, Faltazi’s straw bale urinal will debut this summer at the French heavy metal festival Hellfest.

Ladies will have to pack their funnels.

Saturday Linkages: Tall Bikes, Za’atar and So Much More

tall bike at Ciclavia

Growin’
Why Your Supermarket Only Sells 5 Kinds of Apples http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/04/heritage-apples-john-bunker-maine …

Taming the Wild Thyme: A Visit to a Za’atar Farm in Lebanon http://ow.ly/kqeoi 

New Farmer’s Almanac for 2013: http://boingboing.net/2013/04/21/new-farmers-almanac-for-2013.html …

Plants as Education: Kit Brings Gardening Back to the Masses http://dornob.com/37885/ 

Fortrait #4 “Subterranean Breakfast Nook” http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/04/fortrait-4-subterranean-breakfast-nook.html#.UXnyUt75KCs.twitter …

Buildin
Temporary Housing for Displaced Fukushima Residents http://lloydkahn-ongoing.blogspot.com/2013/04/temporary-housing-for-displaced.html#.UXnyPtA6AAs.twitter …

A Biodegradable and Sustainable Home by Torsten Ottesjö: http://ifitshipitshere.wordpress.com/2013/01/08/hus-1-a-biodegradable-and-sustainable-home-by-torsten-ottesjo/ …

Designin’
Caddis fly larvae coaxed into building cocoons out of precious metals and gems – Boing Boing http://boingboing.net/2013/04/23/caddis-fly-larvae-coaxed-into.html …

Altered Appliances: Bake Your Own Edible Dishware | Designs & Ideas on Dornob http://dornob.com/altered-appliances-bake-your-own-edible-dishware/ …

DIY Bacon: http://www.smallanddeliciouslife.com/the-bacon-life/

Bees in slow-mo! http://www.smallanddeliciouslife.com/dance-of-the-honey-bee/ …

A house in Alabama, a yard in Africa: #JoeMinter and 400 years of African-American history: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/garden/joe-minters-african-village-in-america.html?ref=garden … pic.twitter.com/qx07xlvDa4

Bikin’
Here’s what it feels like to ride a 14.5-foot-tall bike http://grist.org/list/heres-what-it-feels-like-to-ride-a-14-5-foot-tall-bike/#.UXl2JmJoeY0.twitter …

Bikesnob on self driving cars: http://bikesnobnyc.blogspot.com/2013/04/this-just-in-off-to-cleveland-then-im.html …

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