What Should I Do?

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What Should I Do?

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Enhanced Problem Solving

Resources for finding new answers
Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 1:33 PM

Executive summary: Day after day, humans are challenged to solve problems big and small, yet our brains didn't evolve for optimum problem solving! Fortunately, many simple techniques have been developed to overcome our brains' problem-solving drawbacks, and these techniques can greatly improve our chances of problem-solving success. Unfortunately, while most people solve problems to the best of their natural ability, they have little to no understanding of their brain's shortcomings in this regard, or of ways to overcome them. To better enable us to work smarter, not harder, this article seeks to demonstrate the validity of these assumptions, and to point readers to further problem-solving resources.

Imagine this: Someone offers to pay you $100 for every song you can name! Whoopee! Easy money, right? There's just one catch: you can only use your unaided mind to come up with songs. That's right, no outside assistance – so just step away from the computer, and put down that smartphone! (Just for fun, do spend a few minutes trying to name every song you know.) » Read more

What Should I Do?

Phil Williams

Additions to a Food Forest

Planting Red Mulberry Trees
Friday, November 14, 2014, 11:41 AM

Red mulberry trees are one of my favorite trees. They make fantastic additions to any permaculture garden or farm. I actually have two mature mulberry trees on my property, which is great, but I also planted half a dozen in my food forest. » Read more

What Should I Do?

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What to Keep in Your First-Aid Kit

The basics for medical supplies
Friday, November 7, 2014, 5:07 PM

In an emergency, a properly stocked first-aid kit can often mean the difference between stopping a situation from escalating before it gets out of control and winding up with a life-threatening incident on your hands. » Read more

What Should I Do?

Phil Williams

How to Care for Chickens in the Winter

Protecting your flock from harsh winter conditions
Friday, October 31, 2014, 5:01 PM

When I talk to people about my chickens during the winter, many people ask me if I have to bring them inside over the winter. Of course the thought of my red birds running around making a mess, roosting on my couch, scratching the floor, and the manure would be horrible! Believe it or not there are people that keep chickens inside like a dog. They use chicken diapers. I know it’s crazy. Anyway, chickens are much more cold-hardy than most people think. I think it is actually cruel to provide heat for your chickens. It doesn’t let the chickens become acclimated to the cold properly. They are definitely not meant to be inside. » Read more

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Build a Solar-Powered Water Heater

Solar water heater using a thermosiphon loop
Wednesday, October 29, 2014, 4:18 PM

This is a very simple design for a batch-type solar water heater that uses a thermosiphon loop to move water between a solar thermal collector and a storage barrel. While it’s not the most efficient method for solar water heating and works rather slowly, it effectively demonstrates the operation of a thermosiphon and its connection to hot water storage.

What Should I Do?

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How to Install a Raspberry and Blackberry Trellis

Upgrading from a basic to a refined trellising system
Monday, October 20, 2014, 3:47 PM

My old raspberry and blackberry trellis was made of green ‘T’ posts and light gauge green wire. Not particularly attractive, so I decided to install a more professional looking trellis. I just moved my raspberry and blackberry canes up against my fence, so I already had one side of the trellis taken care of. The other side, I decided to install a standard two wire system held up with 4x4 wooden posts. This system works well, looks nice, actually it is hard to even see, and is easy to install. » Read more

What Should I Do?

How to Winterize your Asparagus Patch

Protecting this delicious perenial
Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 6:41 PM

There are a couple of things that should be done to winterize your asparagus patch. In the late fall or early winter you should cut back your asparagus ferns. This will help to break the pest cycle of the asparagus beetle that loves to overwinter in the ferns. Wait until the leaves are yellow and brown. Then cut them down with good sharp pruners. Make sure to leave about 2 inches of the asparagus plant above the surface. If you cut them too low, that can cause damage to the crown, or growing point. After you have cut them back add about 4 inches of mulch to protect the roots from any winter damage. Finally, make sure you put the cut ferns far away from your asparagus patch. A compost pile is a good spot. I put them in a far corner of the garden and let the chickens peck at them. They like to pick at the berries and seeds, and they love to walk and sit on the soft ferns. » Read more

What Should I Do?

Phil Williams

How to Control Deer Damage on Fruit and Nut Trees

Protective measures to consider
Wednesday, October 8, 2014, 7:42 AM

If you are planning a food forest, an orchard, or just a few fruit trees, it is a good idea to observe your site for evidence of deer. My wife & I live in a semi-rural area just outside of a small town. We have farms and single family homes around us. I really didn’t think much about the deer when I originally planted (50) fruit and nut trees out in my pasture. I knew they could be a problem, but I thought with the busy road and my neighbors around me, they would not be interested. I couldn’t have been more wrong about that! » Read more

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DIY Faraday Cage

Building Your Own Faraday Cage

EMP protection for electronic devices
Friday, October 3, 2014, 2:58 PM

A Faraday cage is an enclosed space with an outer layer that conducts electricity. The physical shape of the Faraday cage does not matter: it can be spherical, cylindrical, or a box. Either the cage itself can be made of a conductive material, or the cage can be built of a non-conductive material such as wood and then covered in a conductive material.

The conductive material can be as simple as several layers of aluminum foil, which makes constructing your own Faraday cage a fairly simple and inexpensive affair. » Read more

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Thyme - Daylillys

Multi-Functional Plants for the Permaculture Garden

The many reasons / uses for a variety of plants
Monday, September 29, 2014, 10:26 AM

If you have a choice of planting a tree, shrub, vine, herbaceous plant, or groundcover that only has one function or another species that fills that desired function and also provides three other benefits, why wouldn't you plant the more functional species. In permaculture, elements of our designs should serve at least 3 functions. Many species can do much better than that. Below is a list of some of my favorite multi-functional plants that I am currently using on my permaculture site. » Read more