Solar dehydrator up date.

In my last post on it I asked for some help dialing in the dehydrator. I did not get much advice, but I tweaked some things. In the end I was unhappy with the natural draft. So I added a solar vent fan to even the draft out, and I repositioned it for better sun. That did the trick for herbs. It runs on a 70 to 75 degree day (no rain and a little sun) at about 105-110 Deg and has a good draft. However, rainy overcast cool days it does not work at all. You really need some dry days with a little sun, but I’m ok with that. It really puts out some volume. I have a huge volume of dried herbs now with no real work and no electricity. I will be adding some painted corrugated steel to the solar tray to boost temperatures for fruit. The steel should up the surface area enough to to give me an extra 15 to 25 Deg rise minimum. That should do for fruit slices.

The biggest surprise was how nice it is to hang herbs. I did not get a picture, but you can stager the hanging pattern to get a lot in. I made a bunch of racks from plastic ceiling return grills, but it is faster to just hang things. It adds to the drying time but it’s less work, and there is less chance of the wind messing with it when you put it in or take it out of the dehydrator.

I also want to say that I still find it incredibly fun to build things like this, and to get a feel for them. The dehydrator plus foraging, has given me such an over abundance of herbs that I will be giving herbs away all summer. The picture represents the volume from one unload.

How Owls Could Quiet Wind Turbines and Planes

If you were a field mouse minding your own business and foraging for some food in the forest, the last creature you’d want to spot you would be an owl. The reason is simple–even as the bird of prey swooped down with talons open, you’d never hear it coming.

Owls have an impressive superpower in silent flight, made possible by specialized wings and feathers that disperse the sound of air rushing past them. Now an international research team says they have taken a tip from owls that could eventually lead to turbine blades and jet aircraft that produce significantly less noise.

“No other bird has this sort of intricate wing structure,” said University of Cambridge applied mathematician Nigel Peake. “Much of the noise caused by a wing – whether it’s attached to a bird, a plane or a fan – originates at the trailing edge where the air passing over the wing surface is turbulent. The structure of an owl’s wing serves to reduce noise by smoothing the passage of air as it passes over the wing – scattering the sound so their prey can’t hear them coming.” Learn more below.

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What Personal Information Should You Give Your Sugar Daddy?

There’s this thing my mom used to always say: A hungry predator makes the easiest prey.

I didn’t get this for a long time. Then it started to dawn on me…

When a mouse is desperately foraging for food, he might not spot the hawk circling overhead. Or when a business owner is desperately in need of more customers, he might not see through the false claims in the sales pitch of someone selling him a promotional strategy.

And when an aspiring SB is in desperate need of money, he or she might be fooled into forking over valuable information at the promise of a big allowance to come.

When you’re hungry for anything, it can be hard to keep a clear head. Yet – these are the times when you most need your wits about you.

There are scammers on sugar dating websites who pose as POTs to extract personal information from desperate SBs. And despite what they might promise you – sharing that information with them may end up costing you more than any allowance they promise you’ll receive.

Thankfully, these scammer are far and few. You can also protect yourself from them very easily by being selective about sharing your personal information.

Here’s our guide to sharing personal information for SBs. 

To Share or Not to Share: Your Name

Verdict: Sharing is okay

This one is obviously not that risky and totally up to you whether you decide to share or not.

I personally choose to go by a pseudonym in all the initial phases of corresponding with any POT. Once I have an arrangement with a man I trust, then I disclose my real name.

Whether you choose to use your real name, a full pseudonym, or just a fake first name all depends on how much privacy you want to have from your sugar life. Overall, this one’s entirely up to you.

To Share or Not to Share: Your Address

Verdict: Sharing is okay, but not recommended

Sharing your address is not really an identity theft threat concern. It’s more of a privacy thing.

I personally don’t like the idea of POTs knowing where I live. Why? Because it’s the one place I can always be reached.

I’ve also come across a few POTs who seemed to be laboring under the delusion that allowance = some sort of claim over their SB.

Until I am in an arrangement with a SD, I trust and know to be respectful of boundaries, I will not be sharing where I live. I’ll even lie about my neighborhood sometimes. Call me paranoid, but my privacy is sacrosanct.

If a POT wants to send you gifts? Easy. Give him your P.O. Box address. They cost nearly nothing and provide a world of secure anonymity.

To Share or Not to Share: Your Place of Work or School

Verdict: Sharing is okay, depending on the person

This one is really up to you. I tend to share where I went to school or where I work when I know a POT is both trustworthy and has no real connection to those places.

If I am meeting a POT for the first time, however, or otherwise don’t know enough about him, I prefer to keep everything general: “I finished my undergrad in Boston,” “I’m involved with emergency care,” etc.

That’s usually good enough. I mean, it’s not a job interview.

To Share or Not to Share: Your Bank Account Number

Verdict: Sharing is not recommended until you’re in an arrangement with someone you trust

Do not give your bank account number out to any random POT who wants to send you a gift. Give him your PayPal address instead. 

Sure, a bank account number is not exactly “private” (i.e. anyone you give a check to can see it) but it is still something that can be used to withdraw money from your account.

Protect it by not giving it out unless you’re in an arrangement with a SD you trust who wants to deposit your allowance into your account. Make sure you know enough about this man – what he does, where he works, etc. – before you entrust him with your details.

To Share or Not to Share: Your Social Security Number

Verdict: Hell NO, under no circumstance

Seriously, nobody you’re entering into an arrangement with needs to know your social security number.

If he says it’s because he wants to get you an extra credit card on his account but under your name, just say “No thanks, I prefer cash. Or a prepaid credit card will do just fine.”

If he says it’s because he wants to put your on his payroll for tax purposes, say “No thanks, I’m not really looking for formal employment. Plus, you do know that if I’m paying taxes on my sugar baby allowance, you’re going to have to give me an extra xx% of the amount I asked for, right?”

Seriously, do not share your social security number with anyone. If he asks, write him off as a no-go, no matter how promising he seems.

To Share or Not to Share: Your Driver’s License Number

Verdict: What?! Why?!

There is really no reason in the world why a SD should ask for your driver’s license number, unless he is also your rental car agent. Which, I’m guessing, he’s not.

All of this might sound a little secretive, but it’s really not. There are so many ways to share who you are with a POT without disclosing compromising personal information.

Feel free to talk expansively about topics you’re passionate about, your interests, your hobbies and even more qualitative details about your life – but keep your personal information to yourself.


Today’s walk was for lemon balm. I found a bunch of it growing wild last year. And transplanted some because it was pest free and very strong scented, but I have a very small patch so I walked back to get some. The new solar dehydrator makes drying large batches easy and free so it’s a bit of a motivator. The area is very brush filled and overgrown. But you can smell it from yards away. I included a shot of the area for context. I only harvest 3% more or less, just what I will use. I take just the tops and just the high plants, so the lower smaller ones get some sun. In case I come back. I avoid old plants, ones that are too large and ones with poor color or smell. When I get back I check the leaves over and get rid of any with spots. It’s probably just fine, but I think if you forage you should be more selective then if it’s from the garden. If I go back to pick for making tincture I will likely take a great deal more an be a little less picky.

While I was walking out to the patch I found a ton of wild strawberries, nice tart ones. They are not worth going out for, but nice to snack on if they turn up. Also found a mushroom.

Happy hunting


Arctic Food Network

Regional Food-gathering Cabins
Baffin Island region, Nunavut, Canada /// 2011-12

By architects Lola Shepard and Mason White at Lateral Office, Canada.

“Some of the greatest challenges facing northern communities are physical isolation, economic marginalization, youth disenfranchisement, and loss of traditional knowledge. The younger generations of Inuit find themselves caught between traditional and contemporary cultures.The traditional Inuit diet, which is centered on hunting and fishing, has been slowly compromised by an influx of southern manufactured food products, leading to increased obesity and diabetes levels.

The Arctic Food Network (AFN) addresses an urgent need for a snowmobile accessed regional network of arctic farms, freezers, and camp hubs. The AFN encircles the large body of the Foxe Basin in Nunavut, Canada, home to a richly diverse wildlife, along the coast of Baffin Island and some 30,000 Nunavummiut.

Ultimately, AFN seeks to enhance the production and exchange of local food, to create small-scale local economies.

Food highways and hubs provide social infrastructure – adapted to the unique geography and culture of the Arctic.”

In most cases, the best strategy for a job interview is to be fairly honest, because the worst thing that can happen is that you won’t get the job and will spend the rest of your life foraging for food in the wilderness and seeking shelter underneath a tree or the awning of a bowling alley that has gone out of business.
—  Lemony Snicket

Tool use is ‘innate’ in chimpanzees but not bonobos, their closest evolutionary relative

“Chimpanzees and bonobos are the two closest living relatives of the human species - the ultimate tool-using ape. Yet, despite being so closely related on the evolutionary tree, wild chimpanzees and bonobos differ hugely in the way they use tools. Chimpanzees show the most diverse range of tool use outside of humans. For example, chimpanzees use sticks to 'fish’ for ants and termites, stones to crack nuts, as well as tools for grooming and communication. Bonobos rarely use tools and never to forage for food.

The question of 'what makes a tool user?’ is a key one in human evolution, says researcher Dr Kathelijne Koops, and the origins of human tool mastery could lie in the gulf between tool use in chimpanzees and bonobos. Is it to do with the environment the apes live in and the surrounding opportunities for tool use? Or perhaps the opportunities to learn from other apes through social contact? Or something deep-rooted. Something intrinsic. 

Koops, in collaboration with colleagues from Kyoto University, conducted painstaking research tracking communities of wild chimpanzees and bonobos in Uganda and Congo for months, cataloguing not just all tool use, but also all potential for tool use in terms of the different environments and social time spent. They also investigated the innate propensity for object manipulation in young apes, regardless of whether said object was deployed as a 'tool’ - the first wild inter-species comparison of its kind. 

The researchers found that environmental opportunities did not explain the difference in tool use. From nut trees to ant nests, stones to shrubs, the bonobos had access to as many tools and promising foraging opportunities in their stomping ground as the chimpanzees. Nor did social opportunities. In fact, young bonobos spent more time with their mothers, and had more individuals in close proximity for more time whilst feeding than young chimpanzees. Young bonobos also had more social partners than young chimpanzees” (read more).

(Source: University of Cambridge)