Becoming Galt

In the next few days, we take the final step to owning our new home. Money is in escrow, seller has signed, inspections done, etc. etc. All that’s left is our signing and then the wait for escrow to shuffle all the bits about.

We’re getting a nice big home with plenty of space, in a place that has had little to no hurricane issues over the years. I have 1/3 acre of dirt to work with for gardening, and I’m presently working up the Landscaping Plan.

There’s a fully enclosed “Florida room” that is not counted in the square footage as it has no A/C in it (but has sliding glass doors and 2 windows to the home interior so can be fully cooled just by opening them). This is big enough to put the “roll in” BBQ indoors when weather is bad, and still have a Picknic Table set up and STILL have room for about 16 foot x 2 foot x 7 foot of “Hydroponic Grow Racks”.

We have a septic system, so no worries about failure of the sewer system. I’m likely going to put a small above ground “pool” in place mostly as a couple of thousand gallons of stored water “for that day”. There’s enough regular rain here that I can, if needed, collect all we would need – but would need some place to put it for the dry days.

It has 2 BIG Oak trees already in place. I have no intention of cutting them at all, but, should a SHTF moment come, we have a fire place and they are about 4 years (or more!) heating IFF necessary (so a big saw will be put into storage).

That leaves electricity. I figure I’ll just get whatever the BIGGEST allowed propane tank might be, and a propane Standby Generator, and put them by the side of the house. (Did I mention NO HOA?…) Propane in a big iron tank is a forever fuel. Fill once and wait. As I ran our prior “emergency use” electricity on about 1 quart / 8 hours, I’m figuring about 1/2 gallon for 4 hours, worst case. Call it 3 Gallons / day. So a 500 gallon tank ought to be good for most of a year ( likely a couple of years with judicious cutting back After The Fall…) I figure by then most of the AwShit will have come and gone. Even using the AC.

Until that is done, I’ve got my trusty 1 kW Honda generator and about 40 gallons of gas in car gas tanks. Call it “emergency light and fridge” (no a/c…) for about 1.5 months.

I also need to lay in a few sections of LARGE PVC Pipe, on the off chance I need to dig and line a well. Yes, at present water rights are signed over to the water company, but, should they fail, I have dug wells by hand before and know what to have in stock. This location gets about 60 inches of rain / year and the driest month still gets 2 inches average, so I’m not too worried ;-) Not like California at all ;-)

Is 1/3 acre (more like 1/4 usable what with house and all) enough to feed 2 people? If done right, and intensively, barely. But there are lots of lakes nearby with oodles of fish. I also figure on buying 5 acres or so “a tank of gas away”, for “bug out from hurricane” use, and for added “production land” if it came to that. (So going for both Castle Defense in the house and “Bug Out Plot” with an RV if needed.)

Oh, and Florida has a Homestead Law. You file Homestead and nobody can take your land for non-payment. Not mortgage (of which we will have none anyway) nor taxes. So there’s that.

I’m fairly sure that this is a defensible place, with good neighbors, and that with a lot of effort, I can have it work for at least 1 year, and probably 2, even if all the world around me goes to shit and “services” end. Hoping that doesn’t happen at all… “But hope is not a strategy. -E.M.Smith” so I have a strategic plan.

Over the next 6 months, I’ll be planting a load of Native & Perennial plants around the perimeter. I’m going for “Edible Landscaping”. So things that are quite edible, but most folks will not have a clue about it. One plant that looks like Elephant Ear but has edible roots. Another that looks like flowers on the fence but has edible greens and roots. The Oak Trees make acorns and I’ve known how to leach out the tannins since about 4th grade. Etc. etc. Essentially, every part of the place will eventually have SOME edible but unfamiliar plant on it.
Edible Landscaping by Rosalind Creasy (one of my favorite books, BTW).

http://ediblelandscaping.com/

Of course the Fru Fru left can accept “old” terms and things that are clear like “Edible Landscaping” so they have redefined or renamed it. Oh, and of course, try to make their capricious change sound reasonable by calling it “modern”:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foodscaping

Foodscaping is a modern term for the practice of integrating edible plants into ornamental landscapes. It is also referred to as edible landscaping and has been described as a crossbreed between landscaping and farming. As an ideology, foodscaping aims to show that edible plants are not only consumable but can also be appreciated for their aesthetic qualities. Foodscaping spaces are seen as multi-functional landscapes which are visually attractive and also provide edible returns.

Differing from conventional vegetable gardening, where fruits and vegetables are typically grown in separate, enclosed areas, foodscaping incorporates edible plants as a major element of a pre-existing landscaping space. This may involve adding edible plantations to an existing ornamental garden or entirely replacing the traditional, non-edible plants with food-yielding species. The designs can incorporate various kinds of vegetables, fruit trees, berry bushes, edible flowers, and herbs, along with purely ornamental species. The design strategy of foodscaping has many benefits, including increasing food security, improving the growth of nutritious food and promoting sustainable living. Edible landscaping practices may be implemented on both public and private premises. Foodscaping can be practiced by individuals, community groups, businesses, or educational institutions.

The practice of foodscaping is believed to have gained popularity in the 21st century for several reasons. Some accounts claim that the rise of foodscaping is due to the volatility of global food prices and the financial crisis of 2007–2008. However, other accounts suggest that the spike in foodscaping popularity is linked to urbanization and increasing concerns for environmental sustainability.

Or, just maybe:

1) I’m paying for the damn water and fertilizer anyway might as well get something other than lawn clippings out of it. And…

2) It would be really really nice to have a large part of my standing Food Supply be functionally invisible in an EOTWAWKI event since most folks have no clue what plants (or plant parts…) are edible and which are poison. And yes, some of the Front Yard plantings will have a mix of edible parts and poisonous parts – just to discourage a certain type of poacher who sees me harvest something… (Rhubarb, for example, and roots that require oxalate removal and have toxic levels of oxalate in the leaves…)

Basically, a standing row of Sweet Corn is hanging out a “Steal Me” sign when ripe, but how many folks know how to process cassava? Or can spot it in the yard?

So yeah, I’ll have a plot of “regular garden” in the back, but all around the rest of the area will be “landscaping” that visually looks like “No Food Here!”… but isn’t.

If “the regular garden” gets hit, then I’ll just replant it with more stealthy and or more difficult to harvest (roots…) items.

And then I’m pretty much set to just finish “Going Galt”. I’m going to be a net drain on the system (SS payments and all) and a minimal contributor (property tax but can even halt that if it is EOTWAWKI). Plan to have about 1200 miles of “cars and fuel in tanks” while driving maybe 20 miles / week normally, so “set” with longer term transportation available if it all goes sideways. (basically 1000 miles in just the 2 Diesels)

Yes, I’m “excited” about finally reaching that state. We’ve been in a “worst possible” prep situation for about 1/3 year now. Rental “cottage” (small RV in RV park), all my “stuff” in storage in California and not here. Zero dirt / water / etc. that’s “mine”. But in just a few days all that changes.

We move in next week. Then comes The Big Schlep getting all our “stuff” here. We’re buying a fair amount of stuff new. Didn’t bring any beds, sofas, most desks, etc. So some of the bigger furniture will be delivered and set up new. One of my first tasks after escrow close it to hit Costco & Walmart and load up on about a 6 months Food Supply For 2. (Not that hard or that much really, as 2 old folks don’t really eat all that much. Really it’s about 1/2 Dry Pound / person-day for us; the 1 Lb/person-day metric is for folks physically working hard in a survival shelter build context. So figure 1 dry pound / day for the both of us. Or about 180 pounds for 6 months.

That’s basically about 4 “packing boxes” as several I packed up were about 50 pounds each… but still in California. But think of it as one stack about 1 x 2 x 4 feet. That’s way more than enough to keep folks going until the “garden” is carrying the load and the “stuff” is moved even if EOTWAWKI happens end of the month.

This is such a huge upgrade from “before” that it’s hard to grasp. THE big issue in California was just that if “municipal water” failed, I had zero garden and zero food beyond what was in storage and the only drinking water was about 100 gallons in plastic barrels. To last ALL of our 6 to 7 months zero rain period. I figured about 1 month, IF I was lucky, 2 months. Now? I’ve got a shot at years… in comfort even.

And I get to “Go Galt” and not contribute anything to the Oppressor GEBs “economy” while leaching off of it (via my paid in “contributions”… now retirement payments).

Yes, I’m “chomping at the bit” for Escrow to Close and let me get the last bits done before the USA becomes Sri Lanka or The Netherlands. I need about 2 or 3 more months of “almost normal” to complete. I could likely do it in 1 if it looked like SHTF was “ripe” and dumping Crazy Money at things like haul trucks was warranted. We’ll see.

And yes, I’ll be watching the s”News” closely for the next couple of months…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Emergency Preparation and Risks, Human Interest, Plants - Seeds - Gardening, Political Current Events. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Becoming Galt

  1. Tregonsee says:

    In your copious spare time, read Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon. A few ideas might carry over.

  2. The True Nolan says:

    Congratulations!! Great progress, E.M.! May you have many happy years ahead of you in the new place.

    I am not exactly sure where in Florida you are, but if you are south of the frost line that certainly opens a LOT of gardening possibilities. Year round ornamental sweet potatoes, malabar spinach for groundcover. (I used to have malabar spinach in Florida but it had an odd chemical sort of flavor. Growing the same variety here in Arkansas it tastes just fine.) One good place to look if you are interested in finding some good food plants that are not readily recognized is to go to a local Indian or Asian grocery store. Buy your taro there cheap for planting. Get fresh ginger to sprout. If you find some of the African jams there do well if your soil is good. A lot of ethnic stores even sell plants in pots or packets of seeds. And turmeric? It grows into a really beautiful plant. Heck, start them in pots, plant the ones you need and sell the rest as lovely houseplants. Same with the taro and ginger.

    I predict you will have a great time of it!

  3. The True Nolan says:

    Make that African YAMS.

  4. Ossqss says:

    I would offer 35+ years of being here “sharing” if you like. Central Florida isn’t that simple, but still good.

    Glad to have you aboard, regardless!

    Probably finding state and local taxation quite missing :-)

  5. John S Howard Jr says:

    Sounds as if you are near my brother in Lake City… he has a bug out place near Perry.

  6. E.M.Smith says:

    @Tregonsee:

    I’ll look it up, thanks!

    @TTN:

    I’m basically next to I-4 between Orlando & Tampa (Auburndale-ish). Don’t know where “the frost line” is, but I think I’m in a place with occasional frosts / freezes (like every few years).

    I’ve already been shopping the local ethnic markets looking for “starter material” ;-)
    Link: https://chiefio.wordpress.com/2022/07/13/gardening-with-emphasis-on-florida-survival-stuff/

    I have some pots on the porch of the rental with: Oregano, Basil, Parsley & Cilantro ready to set out in the new herb garden. Also a couple of Malanga roots in soil waiting to bud. (Similar to Cassava in that it has high oxalate in leaves) Inside I’ve got sweet potato and Boniato in water waiting to make slips to plant out. Impatient for the close? Who’s impatient ;-)

    Oh, and bought ñame root yesterday that’s still just on the counter.

    @Ossqss:

    Any local advice welcome! And yes, it is a bit strange not being taxed to death ;-)

    @John S. Howard Jr.:

    Odd,that: I was looking near Perry too… It looked like they had land reasonably cheap, not a lot of people, and was far enough away to be a different hurricane path while being close enough to reach on one tank of gas ( also off of the freeway… IIRC Highway 19 or some such… so not going to have all of Orlando filling it up…)

    But that’s still a ways off. Probably next year.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    According to this:
    link: https://www.plantmaps.com/interactive-florida-first-frost-date-map.php

    It looks like about Christmas to New Years I’ll get a first frost. I have a couple of pineapples growing in the yard, so clearly not a killing frost…

    I expect to put tender plants and / or bug heaven plants in the “sun room” (with added grow lights if needed mid winter). So planning on a hydroponic lettuce tray, for example, and likely year round radishes or something similar. Herb garden going there too. (it’s near the kitchen ;-)

    Bigger tougher plants outside. IFF I need to, I’ll make cloaches or cold frames for some sensitive outdoors plants, but I suspect that between Urban Heat Island and “close to building”, most things will be fine. Those that aren’t can regrow from the roots… Like “sweet potato” on the fence.

    I’m thinking a Florida local grape on some of the fence (so the squirrels will leave the pineapple alone ;-) and a Chayote (that makes so much even the squirrels ought to get tired of it!)

    I don’t mind feeding the local squirrel population some of the “harvest”… I think of it as “local livestock” for EOTWAWKI ;-)

    Then I had Runner Beans regrow from roots (after a frost die-back) even in San Jose Ca. So I’m pretty sure it will be just fine here. (If not, it can be replanted each year… you get quarts of seeds off of one 4 x 4 foot planting…)

    So while it would be fun to try growing a banana, for example, I’m happy to just buy them at the store if I get frost kill. 8-)

  8. Steve C says:

    Re the biggest permitted propane tank, it might be worth finding out whether you’re allowed to have two (or more) of them and acting accordingly. The school lab where I was labtech had to use propane for the Bunsen burners etc. – the school was in the country, so no piped gas – so from time to time yours truly had to nip outside, usually in the rain, and swap bottles (we used the 70kg size). Replace or refill the empty to be ready for next time, and you have an effectively continuous supply. Obviously,, in the case of TEOTWAWKI, getting the next charge would depend on how much S had HTF, but I’m sure you’re taking that into consideration. It’s always good to have the next lot of consumables lined up and waiting!

    Wishing you a metaphorical “Calm seas and prosperous voyage” for the upcoming heavy slog. From your description of the new place, worth every bead of sweat.

    In other news, we in the UK seem to have survived our First! Ever! Red Extreme Temperature Alert! for 40°C temps yesterday. Here it just crept up to 40.2° (104.36°F) in the afternoon, but knock off two or three degrees for the UHI and yes, it was basically what we used to call a “Hot Summer’s Day”. Another apocalypse survived! I’m sure both Cal and Fla endure such terrifying temperatures regularly.

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    @Steve C:

    In my old home town, growing up, it was essentially “Over 100F” almost every day in July & August. Often a few in June and September. 105 was common, and a few 110 F were expected each year. Highest I personally remember was a reported 117 F from the radio weather report.

    Oh, and we didn’t have A/C either at home or in school.

    We tended to call it “swimming weather” as we’d all put on the minimum clothes possible (cut-off old jeans and a T shirt for me) and head to the pool, river, or just turn on a sprinkler in the yard.

    I was in Phoenix one year when they shut down the airport due to 126 F causing the tarmac to soften / melt and planes were starting to sink into the taxiways… People are still moving to the Phoenix area in droves last I looked…

    I do find it kind of “cute” when someone in the UK or Europe starts hyperventilating about 40 C. Especially given that the first chance any of them get to fly off to some tropical destination, they take it! Me? I’d pour an Iced Tea or Chilled White Wine and sit on the patio looking over the garden… 40 C is when it’s finally comfortable “swimming weather” for cutoffs and T ;-)

  10. beng135 says:

    Brother has a 1000 gal heavy-plastic farm-tank to collect rainwater from the spouting. Not as much rain as one would guess will fill it. The prepared base has to be flat & hard of course.

  11. cdquarles says:

    I can’t remember the last time it got to or above 100F (common human body core temperature), here, in the Heart of Dixie. Average here in summer is 90F (77F is 25C, 86 is 30C and 1.8F per 1C), which may be seen on any day from late April through mid-October). Hot, hazy (photochemical haze from the plant emissions ;p), and humid (plant transpiration, surface water evaporation, and when the wind direction is from the ocean, bulk humid air motion). I grew up without A/C. Weather here is certainly survivable, and was hotter in the past than it is now, on average.

  12. Paul, Somerset says:

    Re firewood: don’t rely on sawing branches off those oaks when the time comes that you need fuel. Dense, unseasoned oak simply wouldn’t burn. Consider pruning some branches, cutting them to log size, and splitting them sooner rather than later. Perhaps during winter, when the sap is low.

  13. RalphB says:

    Florida grape…the fence between my neighbor and me is covered with muscadine, no idea what variety, but they are very prolific and yes the squirrels love them.

  14. u.k.(us) says:

    Police scanner ??

  15. Taz says:

    “It has 2 BIG Oak trees already in place. I have no intention of cutting them at all, but, should a SHTF moment come, we have a fire place and they are about 4 years (or more!) heating IFF necessary (so a big saw will be put into storage).”

    Acorns are an ancient food source, almost perfectly balanced for human consumption (fats/proteins). So those oak trees represent a huge caloric food source IF you can collect the nuts and beat back the animals (who will compete for acorns). You also might need to develop ways to process acorns into flour if these are bitter acorns.

    I am shocked, shocked, that you would even consider downing an oak tree for firewood. What’s amatta with you?

    BTW, Ebay sells tiny Chinese propane fired generators @300W (really 200W). If memory serves ~$200ea. Don’t knock em until you’ve tried them. If you do try them you might purchase multiple units just to be sure.

  16. The True Nolan says:

    @Tax. “You also might need to develop ways to process acorns into flour if these are bitter acorns.”

    Persimmons have that same tannin bitterness. Back in the early 1900s, the USDA developed a method of removing the bitterness. Put them in a container over night with pressurized CO2 (IIRC a few psi). The tannins cross link and become insoluble in water and lose their taste. Maybe not easy during a SHTF moment, but I’ve always wondered if it would work on acorns.

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    @TTN & Taz, per Acorns:

    Um, in the article, just above the Edible Landscaping link, I noted the acorns and that in 4th Grade in California we were all taught about the local natives method of leaching the tannins out via a rough grind and then repeated water washes. Easy to do with all the water in Florida ;-)

    Per cutting down oaks: Also as noted I said I have no intention of doing it. BUT… should it become a choice between freezing (in the 2 days a year when it happens here ;-) and cutting a limb off the tree, well, I’m cutting the limb… I’d not “fell” the oak for the simple reason the trunk is about 3 to 4 feet thick and not only do I not have a saw big enough, I could not haul it through that big of solid oak anyway… But yes, 1 st value is as shade and acorns. 2nd value is as squirrel attraction (since fried squirrel is good eats…). 3rd Value is as building material. Then way down at the end and only once the fence has been fed to the fireplace… it has value as emergency firewood. (And yes, I know it will be wet wood and need some drying).

    I fully expect if it ever reached that bad that a local wood lot would pop up…

    @H.R.:

    You can make Diesel… Take animal or plant fats or oils as 80%. Add 1% lye to 19% methanol or ethanol. Stir all together and let stand at a warm room temperature. Overnight it will separate into 3 layers. The original lye is recovered (it is just a catalyst), a glycerin layer (that I think is on the bottom), and a layer of biodiesel. In normal times, the biodiesel is washed and dewatered to polish it clean, filtered to Diesel Spec microns (5?) and blended with regular Diesel. In an Aw Shit World, you can run it straight in climates above freezing.

    Oh, and the U.S. Military in Humvees runs straight Jet Fuel with 1 quart of motor oil per 10 gallons blended in to keep the rotary injector pump lubed. My Mercedes inline Bosche can run kerosene without the added motor oil… but likes it with about 50:50 regular Diesel per the owners manual.

    @Per Escaping The Hurricane:

    Depends entirely on how far South you start and where you need to go to escape it. Start in Ocala and run to Georgia? Easy on one tank. Miami to Atlanta not so much… to Houston, forget it.

    I keep one car fully fueled up with a 400 mile range at all times. I have about 10 gallons of fuel cans should I need extra (for an added 200 miles ) The ML can do 600 miles on Diesel (not towing) with the big 25 gallon tank

    But really, being retired, we can just pack up and go 4 days before everyone else and call it a vacation trip. Really. Just go to Atlanta for a tour of the place. Or D.C. for the monuments tour.

    Yeah, we would “bug out” lots of times that it wasn’t needed. But we also want to visit a lot of places here that the Spouse has never seen. Just call it a feature and move on ;-)

    FWIW:

    I’ve started planting out Sweet Potatoes & Runner Beans on the fences. A small test plot of summer squash and regular green beans is also in progress. The odd bit? The house came with 2 pineapples. Since the squirrels decided they were ripe (during escrow), I’ve rooted and planted the tops. I’ve now got 4 pineapple plants going! A small Pineapple Plantation in progress ;-) Neighbors have mangoes and papayas, so I’m going to ask them for clue how to grow them ;-) Oh, and they have bananas too… Florida Gardening is going to be a bit different for me 8-0

  18. p.g.sharrow says:

    “… Florida Gardening is going to be a bit different for me 8-0”
    Sounds like fun 8-)

  19. jim2 says:

    It had been awhile so I had to look it up to be sure, but lye is consumed in the saponification reaction.

    https://chem.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Organic_Chemistry/Supplemental_Modules_(Organic_Chemistry)/Esters/Reactivity_of_Esters/Saponification

  20. H.R. says:

    @E.M. – Yes, you can make diesel. You covered that topic here long before I ever bought the truck and now it’s here again. Thanks! That was another reason to have at least one diesel vehicle. But I never thought I would possibly have to do that. Now? Maybe so.

    You mentioned that my newer diesel would be a lot pickier than the old diesels, which could probably run on distilled cigarette butts and sauerkraut juice ;o) I’ll have to write down and print out that recipe for compatible home brew because if we are out of diesel, I probably won’t be getting the recipe (or anything) online.


    I mentioned I went to the really good Asian market and bought some Japanese yams. I think I’ll give those a try in the yard instead of eating them. I might just pick up a couple before we leave and bring them along to plant. They are about the size of a baseball, though a bit elongated. I don’t think the largest one in the bin was even as large as a softball. They are just really a nifty size or perhaps the store only bought that size/grade because it is preferred. Maybe they do get larger. I dunno. Oh, and they are red-colored and not the orange of the yams here in the states.

    [thinking]
    Nah… I’ll eat these yams to make sure I like them before I plant any. Maybe their common name in Japan is Wasabi Yam or Carolina Reaper Yam😉 🤣🤣

  21. The True Nolan says:

    I believe that the older diesels will run on a well strained mixture of 2/3 old fryer oil and 1/3 regular unleaded gasoline. That is only good down to about freezing, and I am not sure whether more modern diesels run well on that.

  22. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jim2:

    This is more of a trans-esterification and not a saponification reaction. So the lye acts as catalyst.

    The fatty acid on the glycerin backbone gets pealed off, then reacts with methanol or ethanol. It does not end up as a sodium salt, but as a methanol-ester or ethanol-ester.

    @TTN:

    Depends on the particular Diesel (and the tech it uses) how picky it is about fuel. The old INDIRECT-injection Ricardo type would eat most anything that was close to oil:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Ricardo

    My old Mercedes is of that type. Mechanical injected into a precombustion chamber and not an electrical anything in sight in the fuel system.

    “Modern” Diesels have made many changes. First off, the fuel is directly injected into the combustion chamber. No longer does the fuel get a soft start in a pre-combustion chamber and then that gassified mix passes into the main combustion chamber to finish. Second, most now have a “common rail” design with 10,000 PSI type pressurization. This has a pump that is critically dependent on lubrication being well inside spec. Third: the injectors are fussy, like the piezoelectric ones that use massive electric flows to “sputter” in a train of tiny bits of mist. Get the viscosity off, your injectors are not happy. Then there’s the computers and sensors… They will administratively shut down the engine if they detect fuel outside of “spec”. (Just what is tested can vary by maker and sensors built in).

    Bottom line is that “modern” Diesels are picky primadonnas that only want to run on exactly the pristine spec of Diesel #1 or #2. Older indirect injection engines with a precombustion chamber and steel mechanical injection parts will tolerate all sorts of deviance from spec.

    My owners manual for the 5 Cylinder Turbo iron head Mercedes said it could be run on 1/2 Kerosene in winter. My even older 4 Cylinder non-Turbo said up to 25% Regular Unleaded in winter. It was happy with that in 1985 or so. But last time I did it (with 10% ethanol California gas) the engine was a much harder start and not as happy. So note that even the gas has been changed.

    Then there’s the issue of compression ratio… That can vary widely. Higher is better for UCO.

    So “UCO” or Used Cooking Oil has 3 problems. 1) it is too viscous (and this gets worse with cold eventually turning to a solid at way cold). 2) Using RUG (Regular Unleaded Gas) to cut the viscosity makes the Cetane Rating poorer, so harder to ignite and more prone to Diesel knock. 3) It tends to deposit carbon inside the combustion chamber and eventually gums too, literally gumming up the engine unless the viscosity is controlled and the compression high enough to assure full combustion.

    To properly use UCO, you must address the viscosity (often done by heaters in the fuel system), and have high enough compression to run poor Cetane fuel if cutting it with RUG. Then the injection / combustion process must fully vaporize and burn the oil so that carbon and gums are not formed. That usually takes a different (older) engine design.

    Lister engines are good for it, and can make a great “Disaster Friendly” prime mover:
    https://www.dieselenginespares.org/lister-type-diesel-engines.html

    Many such plant oil engines have 2 fuel tanks. They are started and warmed up on kerosene or Diesel then swap to plant oils when hot and combustion / injection are better.

    Doing the conversion to Bio-Diesel removes the glycerin that is the source of the gums and it makes the molecule size smaller (only one fatty acid per instead of the 3 in a triglyceride fat) so it is easier to burn fully without coking (easier access for O2 molecule to the whole fuel particle) and the injector can more easily turn it to mist.

    Pretty much all diesel engines like bio-Diesel (until and unless it gets so cold that it starts to solidify…)

    @H.R.:

    There’s a bunch of different sweet potatoes. I’ve got some purple ones started ;-)
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sweet_potato_cultivars

    There’s even one that can be white flesh and more like 1/2 way between a yam and regular potato:
    https://abasto.com/en/recipes/boniato/

    Boniato or camote or Cuban Sweet Potato. So far I’ve not gotten these to start shoots (but the effort is young…)

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