Tag Archives: sustainable living

Frackman the movie

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The main reason I have no time to organise Astrotas meetings is I am renovating an old house. It’s lovely but if he knew then what we know now do you think Gramps would have used lead paint and asbestos?

Dayne Pratsky will be available for q&a at the Tasmanian screenings of his movie on fracking in australia. For session times and venues ( burnie, devonport,hobart ) please see the what’s on page or http://frackmanthemovie.com/screenings?r=#more

Fracking suffers from being a newish process where everyone seems to be “making it up as they go along” – to quote Jolynn Minnar, director of “Unearthedhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPIEzSwPwT0

Considering the mess and colateral damage oil wells, coal and gold mines, not to mention nuclear power companies manage to make with the existing technologies, I conclude a coal seam gas well disaster is merely a matter of time and Murphy’s Law.  To quote the detractors of the movie –

..actual well integrity failures are very rare. Well integrity failure is where all barriers fail and a leak is possible. True well integrity failures are two to three orders of magnitude lower than single barrier failure rates – http://www.energyresourceinformationcentre.org.au/conversation/frackman-facts/#myth

ie: leaks are very rare but NOT ZERO. So certain are we that Murphy’s law applies to petroleum companies, Tasmania has The Penguin Jumpers Project Over 15,000 Penguin sized little woolies stored in Oil Spill Response Kits. In the case of a major oil spill, these jumpers will be used to help rehabilitate Little penguins (Eudyptula minor) that have been oil affected.

The only real question is do we want another method of fecking up the environment to add to those we already have?

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Cancer – $eriou$ Bu$ine$$

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Did you catch Stateline last Friday? Troy Langman of Tascann will be along to talk to Astrotas about Medical Marijuana soon. Local lady Natalie Daly speaks out
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-27/medicinal-cannabis/5556578

And finally ““The Burzynski Research Institute, Inc. (BRI) announced today that U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has notified the company that its partial clinical hold on its IND for Antineoplastons A10/AS2-1 Injections has been lifted.  The FDA has determined that under its IND the Company may initiate its planned Phase 3 study in newly diagnosed diffuse, intrinsic, brainstem glioma.  The Company is continuing discussions with the Agency in an effort to finalize additional details of the phase 3 study protocol for the potential clinical trial.”

to honor the FDA lifting its ban on Burzynski, “Burzynski: Cancer Is Serous Business, Part II” is available to watch for FREE online, anywhere in the world, until July 15th: https://vimeo.com/69209285

You can also see part one online which was screened at Astrotas in 2011. Shontelle Hiron, the aussie Burzynski patient I contacted for more information before screening at Astrotas is not in either movie but she has her old Current Affairs TV clips online. Read more about her remarkable story here – http://wp.me/p18qSp-3C

The fight to allow any patient access to his treatment is far from over. It shocked me to learn that at the time my schoolfriend’s mother died of a similar tumour Shontelle was in Texas receiving this potentially curative treatment.

Unearthed March Meeting pt 1

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Coinciding with Tasmanian elections but independant of any political party we screened a few short videos on coal seam gas extraction by fracking in the Karoo, the vast heart of South Africa. video 2 video 1

Quite timely considering the eruption in the press a few days before – “A leaking pond that contaminated an aquifer with uranium at levels 20 times safe drinking guidelines is still being used, despite coal seam gas operator Santos knowing it was faulty more than two years ago.
Santos eastern Australia vice-president James Baulderstone confirmed on Monday that Bibblewindi pond at the site in the Pilliga forest, in north-west NSW, was being used to store water from previous operations, which was produced from exploratory drilling into coal seams. Poor quality pond lining has been blamed.” SMH 10 march 2014

the fine was $1500 in australian pesos
worse the MAX fine possible was $1 million; worser according to NSW govt. “The CSG industry in NSW is subject to the toughest controls in Australia.” begging the question which state’s got the flimsiest? Does anyone else find it alarming that there isn’t a national consensus on best practice? There is now a ban on evaporation ponds in NSW and the site is being cleaned up – http://www.csg.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/41535/FactSheet.pdfdogs with pizza

proving the sentiment expressed by investigative filmaker Jolynn Minaar that the CSG regulatory bodies are unable to protect the environment since they are making it up as they go along. You can watch her full length documentary ‘Un-earthed’  here : http://youtu.be/IPIEzSwPwT0 and keep abreast of coal seam gas in Tasmania here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Unconventional-Mining-Tasmania/489647581112052

I’ll let the global health experts from Melbourne University sum it up

It is clear that Australia must quickly move beyond its reliance on coal for health and environmental reasons. However, when taking into consideration the uncertainties over health risks, the unfavourable comparisons with other energy options, the climate risks associated with fugitive emissions, the moral obligations Australia faces as a gas exporter, the potential displacement of renewables and doubts raised over the claim that gas will prove to be a cheap energy option,33 the scale is firmly tipped against the further development of unconventional gas. ~ https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2014/200/4/harms-unknown-health-uncertainties-cast-doubt-role-unconventional-gas-australias

Weeds: Guardians of the soil

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weeds: guardians of the soil by Joseph A. Cocannouer

that is a link to a free pdf copy from the Soil and Health Library. it is out of print now but I splashed out at abebooks and bought myself a secondhand hardback copy the other day after someone lent me theirs on the annual Astrotas weed walk.
weeds coveri have yet to find a modern equivalent, and as the soil health librarian, Steve Solomon, an expat american who now lives in Tasmania says;
” The wisest student learns from the originators of a body of knowledge because those who later follow in the founders’ footsteps are not trailblazers of equivalent depth. This is especially true of the writings from many post WWII academics and professors who mainly write because they must publish . . . or perish. Even when the earliest works in a field contain errors because their authors lacked some bit of data or had a fact wrong, their books still contain enormous wisdom. If nothing else, study of older books lets us discover that the conditions that prevail today aren’t the way things always were—whilst on some levels, some things hardly ever change at all. ” Australians may order/contribute electronic copies of out of print books on soil and health from him (including the weed book but the other link is quicker and is a nicely presented copy).
I love weeds 🙂 They do not try to kill me the way our cultivated plants do – i do not know why that is, touchwood. Perhaps it is because i have had a leaky gut and until now have not eaten them.

Growing oyster mushrooms on coffee grounds

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Thanks to the Astrotas presentation last year I have been roped into talking about how to grow oyster mushrooms at home, cheaply and easily using readily available supplies and non sterile techniques. SIMPLE in theory but I have yet to actually get some mushrooms although my spawn is coming along nicely after two failed batches which succumbed to mold.  20130331-135826.jpg
For safety please only use food grade cleaning solutions, implements and substrates (including paper or cardboard) – whatever your mushrooms eat will be what you eat! Mushrooms are fresh food – don’t eat any that are slimy or spoiled. Cut them and store in paper bag in fridge before the edges unroll to prevent spores being released into the home ( these can cause allergies).

Just following this dudes instructable for a continuous supply of pearl oyster mushrooms –

” oyster mushrooms are very easy to try as they usually have mycelium on the stem butts, they love coffeee grounds and are very vigorous (even if you get some contamination they out compete mould under most circumstances if left alone. Should you get some spots of mould quickly remove them and try a cooler temperature to help the mushrooms get the upper hand. Also you can try filling a spray bottle with 3% hydrogen peroxide and give the mold some sprays. Mycelium is actually very tolerant of peroxide so it makes a good choice for keeping things clean.)” ~ http://www.instructables.com/id/Gourmet-mushrooms-in-an-old-coffee-cup/?ALLSTEPS

either purchase spawn or start your own spawn from oyster mushroom stembutts. Follow these instructions from the mad bioneer http://madbioneer.blogspot.com.au/2011/01/coffee-ground-mushroom-spawn.html This batch has been raised in reboiled coffeegrounds without topping up – I just innoculated the grounds with oyster stembutts in a ratio roughly two parts grounds to one part stems to give them a head start and left them in the fridge till I could see mycelium growing through.

Tips to give your mushroom culture a head start against competing germs:

  1. sterilize all work surfaces containers and implements with heat, alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.
  2. wash hands thoroughly
  3. wear a mask
  4. work under a fanhood
  5. Collect coffee grounds for substrate in sterilised containers with lids – keep in fridge or freezer until ready to innoculate if not using immediately

Optional – running the mycelium onto corrogated cardboard before transfer to a bulk growing medium as described by Paul Stamets book “Mycelium Running” which is in the State library http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UzmwLrDkruk
Prepare straw for bulk substrate if you want more than coffee grounds using hydrogen peroxide http://www.ehow.com/how_7537106_grow-mushrooms-peroxide-method.html

then bag up http://milkwood.net/2012/11/09/growing-pearl-oyster-mushrooms-in-bags/

Pasteurisation – 63 deg C for 60 minutes http://substratecalculator.info/

Q: Should I Pasteurize or Sterilize My Bulk Mushroom Substrate (or neither)?

A: You should always pasteurize your substrate & not sterilize it. The reason for this is because you won’t be innoculating your bulk substrate in sterile conditions like you would if you were doing, say, the PF Tek. You pasteurize a substrate by holding it at 140 degrees Fahrenheit to 160 degrees Fahrenheit for at least 90 minutes.

By only pasteurizing & not sterilizing your bulk substrate, you allow a select group of microorganisms to survive the pasteurization process. These microorganisms in your substrate won’t harm or inhibit the mycelium you’ll be spawning to it, but they do inhibit the growth of molds & other bacteria that may land on your bulk substrate when you’re spawning to it. Pasteurization also ensures that you kill all mold spores, seedlings & most bacteria & other harmful organisms that would otherwise prevent the mushroom mycelium from properly colonizing your substrate.

If you were to sterilize your bulk substrate prior to innoculation, if some mold spore or bacteria were to land on your substrate during the innoculation process (and they most surely will), they will thrive in an environment with no biological competition for the nutrients in your substrate (since molds/bacteria grow at a significantly faster rate than mycelium, the mycelium doesn’t actually count as competition until it has fully colonized a substrate. When mycelium as fully colonized a substrate, it is all but 100% protected from contamination).

How “Wet” Should My Prepared Bulk Mushroom Substrate Be?

A: Your substrate should have enough moisture added to it to bring it to what is referred to as “field capacity”. Field capacity is a term used by mushroom growers (amongst other professions) to refer to the perfect amount of moisture in a given substrate.

To get a rough idea of field capacity, it’s about what a wrung out sponge feels like. If you can pick up a handful of your substrate and hold it in your hand and no water drips from it, then you can squeeze that same handful of substrate kind of hard and only get a couple droplets of water & then lastly, squeeze that same handful of substrate really hard and get a small stream of water for a second or two and then it stops, that’s about field capacity.

Here is an excellent video on YouTube demonstrating how to check your substrate for field capacity.

Spore mass slurry method http://madbioneer.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/spore-mass-slurry.html developed by mycologist Paul Stamets as a way to spread spores over a wide area to help them create mycelium mass.

Further reading in my bitmark collection of websites http://bitly.com/bundles/o_7fsbd1rqgo/1

For the well serious student Milkwood permaculture is sending over Will Borowski Mushroom Cultivation: May 2013 When: May 4 2013 – May 5 2013 9:00am – 5:00pm Where: University of Tasmania – Hobart http://bit.ly/VlONJY?r=bb.

Where to Purchase mushroom kits/spawn

Fungi Culture Attractive counter top box of pearl oyster mushrooms, simple and fully guaranteed kit just open the box and keep moist http://www.fungiculture.com.au/products/pearl-oyster-mushroom-kit

FUNGI Located in Queensland and ships australia wide. http://www.fungi.net Logs or dowel spawn Oyster (white blue and brown) and Shiitake, King Stropharia spawn, button and swiss brown kits. (UPDATE: not reccomended – tried two kits stropharia and shiitake but no mushrooms, worse – won’t answer my phonecalls or emails)

jennys plants, melbourne sells Funghi Mara kits on ebay

Love Mushroom

Oyster Mushroom

Golden Mushroom

Pleurotus Eryngii

Shi-Take

The mushrooms may be cultivated by 3 methods:

1. Garden Log Method (shiitake, oyster)

Fresh, green logs approximately 50cm long may be split and seeded with the spawn and then secured together and left to incubate in the garden, Mushrooms start to appear 3 – 6 months on birch wood, and in 8 – 12 months on oak and beech wood. Inoculation may be done all year round. The result is a decorative garden feature which produces edible mushrooms in Spring and Autumn.

Note: Conifer /cedar wood is not suitable for seeding the mushroom spawn.

2. Sandwich Ply Board Method (all)

The sandwich boards are made of specially prepared steam sterilized poplar wood which are used as a “starter” base for the mushrooms, in much the same way as corrugated cardboard method. Once growth is established, the sheets are then transferred to a suitably moist, shady location in the garden where the mushrooms are then picked seasonally. Note: A garage or cellar location with a temperature range of 20 – 30 deg C is is ideal for incubating the wooden sheets.

3. Straw Compost Method (shiitake, oyster)

AQIS http://www.aqis.gov.au/ quarantine regulations. Cultures and/or spawn of certain varieties listed on table 1 of the website may be imported from overseas on agar plates, vials, test tubes, straw, sawdust, wood plugs or grain carriers. An import permit is required (fee applies but it is valid for at least a year and can be used for multiple consignments) and each consignment should have a manufacturers declaration enclosed.