I think the problem is you're not (really) charging anything. There's a saying that free customers are always the worst customers, and I think that's what you're experiencing. I don't know what it is in humans, but when we get something for free, we expect everything in return. But if we are forced to give up something like our hard-earned cash, we're suddenly a lot nicer to the person who sold it to us. Your offering seems far more than generous. If I were in your shoes, I'd try an alternate approach: charge more and keep the money.
Where in the world are you located? As Wj mentioned, Eastern Coyotes (Coywolves) are an entirely different breed. They have the strength and power of wolves, with the scavenger instinct and lack of fear of people of coyotes. They are much, much larger and more aggressive than their western counterparts.
I only have experience with Western coyotes, and they are pretty easy to keep away. Put all trash away. Keep a dog. They'll usually leave you alone. I have no experience with Coywolves, but I have heard that guns are the only thing to keep them away. I suspect some electric fencing with some bait might do similar.
In my experience, any time you own land with the intent to improve it, your budget will expand to meet your bank account's size. There's just too many things you can spend money on to accurately estimate how much something might cost. I've always preferred to go the opposite direction when approaching budgets. How much am I willing to spend on this project? And then once I have that number, I can start breaking down how I want to spend it.
That being said, there are a couple of practices that are useful when trying to approach such a big unknown. The first is starting small and iteratively tackling bigger projects. Buy a piece of land and build yourself a storage shed. How much did that cost? How much gas did you use gathering the materials? Next, try and build a couple raised beds or an animal pen. How much did that cost? The idea is to keep tackling small projects that don't require you to live full-time on the land in order to get a better handle on expenses. After a year or two, you'll be much better at understanding how much different projects might cost. This unfortunately has a lot to do with the type of land you want to buy (ex: does it already have a house?).
The second is to pick a smaller enterprise and make out a budget. Let's say you want some chickens. You can look up market price for chicks, get a list of equipment needed from various books/youtube/etc, and figure out how much it's going to cost you. Now how much is that going to save you in groceries? What are the static costs (like a coop), and what are the recurring costs (like feed)? Once you've figured out a budget, try and get some feedback on it from someone who's already done this. Keep doing this for smaller enterprises, and you can get better and better at budgeting. Which means you get closer to the real cost. The bonus here is that you can come up with chunks of money for each of your dream homestead areas, and decide which ones are most important to you.
The third is to buy a piece of land, set aside a chunk of money and just go with it. This is the method I decided on personally (although, I'm not quite homesteading, and I still work and live elsewhere). I decided I wanted to invest $50k and see if I could get some profitable enterprises off the ground in 5-10 years. I split up this $50k into different buckets like equipment, vehicle maintenance, building supplies, etc. This was mostly guessing, but it was a good process to see how much I cared about things. For instance, I realized I cared more about getting a tractor than I did about improving my road. So instead of sinking money into my road, I was able to purchase a larger tractor. I also realized I cared more about building materials than I did about a larger solar setup. So I opted for a smaller solar setup with the knowledge that I have to run the generator more often and do things like 'turn the internet off' as a tradeoff for being able to build more structures. Personally, I really like this form of budgeting as it forces constraints and adapts as your dreams adapt.
And don't forget you can still make money if you want! There's no rule that says you can't try and make it with $250k, get 70% to your dreams and go back to work for a while. Designing for "forever" is such a heavy burden. Maybe try and keep it smaller — how can I have my dreams for the next five years? It's a lot less heavy that way.
This will definitely help. In cloudy climates, sunlight is less directional and more dispersed. Basically, the benefits of pointing south are reduced in cloudy climates. That being said, I doubt anyone will be able to tell you definitively. The only way to learn is to do it! Unfortunately, you'll probably need to wait a few months for better sun angles as we're practically at the winter solstice right now.
It's my understanding that Passenger Pigeons and Carrier Pigeons / Rock Pigeons belong to a completely different genus. In other words, modern wild rock pigeons aren't passenger pigeons that went ferrel — they're fundamentally a different species. They share the pigeon name only due to sketches and descriptions of their appearance.
Until recently, the relationship of Passenger Pigeon with respect to other pigeon species has been simply speculation based on gross plumage characteristics. However, recent genetic data published in 2010 by Johnson and colleagues (Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 57:455) show that, despite the gross similarity in appearance to mourning doves and its relatives (the genus Zenaida), the Passenger Pigeon is not closely related to this group of pigeons at all. In fact, its closest relatives are a group of large-bodied pigeons from the New World in the genus Patagioenas, which includes the western Band-tailed Pigeon among others. Even so, scientists believe that Passenger Pigeon is still different enough from other extant pigeons to remain in its unique genus, Ectopistes. Based on an analysis of the evolutionary tree constructed from genetic data, Johnson and colleagues (2010) hypothesized that eons ago an Asian cuckoo dove crossed into North America and provided the ancestor to both Ectopistes and Patagioenas.
The biggest difference in behavioral — the Passenger Pigeon was a massively social creature. Rock pigeons are not. This influenced their effect on the ecosystem in a similar way that mob grazing does today — massive disturbance followed by complete rest. In that respect, I think techniques like chicken tractors are the closest thing we can implement to recreate the effect of the Passenger Pigeon. It's going to be on a much smaller scale (flocks of Passengers were reported to darken the sky for days), and it likely wont effect ares outside of our ownership, but I'm not sure that raising rock pigeons would have much of a similar effect that the Passengers had.
I'm curious — why do you choose to focus specifically on replanting the Rainforests, rather than other plant-based replanting? Is the opportunity to be gained there higher due to the year-round growing season?
This assumes the tank will never fail. Is that a bad assumption ? Do these tanks ever fail when properly installed ?
These tanks rarely fail (about the same frequency as HDPE septics), but all things in this world break down and need maintenance. Is this going to be a room underground that the tank sits in, or full on buried? If it's a room I wouldn't worry about it too much. You can patch it, or worst case rip it up with a sawzall and shove a bladder or different storage device in there. If it's full on buried, I wouldn't feel good about it unless you treated it like a temporary / disposable item. It will probably be fine, but in my experience it's always the things that are insanely difficult to get to that fail right when you need them most.
As a side-question, do you have any elevation change in your property? It seems like a bummer to have two tanks that both require pumps to operate.
One struggle I've seen often with land use contracts is that while they are legally binding, very few landowners are willing to write in a change in ownership clause because they dramatically reduce the marketability of property, and significantly reduce the sale price of raw land. The latter trade off isn't such a big deal — people with large piece of land are rarely in it for the value of the land. But the marketability of the property is massive. It is incredibly difficult to find a buyer for large pieces of land with all rights, and if you have restrictions on it there is a good chance you have written in a restriction that would eliminate one of the few possible buyers.
It is not to say that it's impossible to set up one of these contracts. But in my experience, land owners (or more specifically, their attorneys / financial managers) want to reserve all rights caveat to a change in ownership. Easements are one of the very few exceptions to this rule I've seen, and even then, property owners often fight tooth and nail to restrict easements as far as possible.
In the end, I think the best way to maintain control through a change in ownership is to give people something that they value, be honest, and be nice. You might not get a legally binding contract. But let's be honest, even a legal framework isn't going to protect you from a new owner who doesn't want you on their property. They can easily destroy decades of your work and the only recourse you'd have is trying to put a monetary value to your work and fight them in court (spoiler alert: that isn't going to end well for you). But if you're the nice man who does forest management for the property in trade for practicing his curiosity… they'll probably want to keep you around.
You're gonna hate me, but again I'm gonna say it depends… a natural, lightly grazed grassland won't have many opportunities to regrow itself multiple times over a season. But a well-managed, intensively grazed pasture can regrow that carbon over and over again, cycled through animals and their manure, and quickly build carbon-sequestering topsoil. Similarly, an intensively managed forest can regrow its trees over and over again, sequestering the carbon in building lumber, hugel beds, or rotting on the forest floor. I don't have enough knowledge to help explain all of the variables, but it's incredibly contextual (climate, soil, etc).
Variation in carbon concentrations over sites in volcanic soils could be well predicted for both pastures (R2 = 0.96) and forests (R2 = 0.93) on the basis of soil mineralogy, while for sedimentary soils, clearly less variation could be explained (R2 = 0.14 for pastures and 0.39 for forests). The dominant factor explaining changes in carbon stocks following pasture to forest conversion was pasture age. Forests, paired with pastures less than 10 years old, had on average 9.3 Mg ha−1 less soil carbon than the pastures, while forests paired with pastures between 20 and 30 years old had on average 18.8 Mg ha−1 more soil carbon and forest paired with pastures older than 30 years had on average 15.8 Mg ha−1 more carbon than the pastures.
I am always a bit surprised at the number of permies who think global warming is a swindle. It is true there are two sides to the story, and the truth likely lies in the middle. But "both sides" arguments often are used as a manipulation tactic by manufacturing a radical point of view to pull the "middle" toward radical. As mentioned, a husband and a wife are each one point of view. But with science, there are more than two parties. I am often reminded of the silly John Oliver skit about both sides. If we are honestly to weigh "both sides" against each other we should have 96 people on one side and 2 people on the other to accurately reflect current scientific thinking. If you want to simplify the global warming argument to "is mankind causing climate change" the percentages get much higher (100%) or "is carbon dioxide a significant contributor to climate change" (99%). There continues to be a radical 1% view, and of course laws of probability do say it is possible they are right. But I am a somewhat rational person, and I will side with the 99% on this one.
Aside from that, I just don't see any downside to taking global warming seriously. So what if we invest billions in clean energy and environmental-friendly production? The fact that it will cost a lot isn't a good argument from my point of view (not to mention, these clean-energy industries often create jobs and improve the economy). How much did America spend in the 30s building infrastructure as part of the New Deal? As Roberto mentioned, we spend plenty more money on terrible things currently. And quite frankly, there is no economic-based argument you can make to me in terms of poisoning the only planet we have. I just don't care how much it costs. The economy is an idea in man's head. Our planet is real.
I am younger (33), and all I can see is a generation that poisoned my planet while knowing exactly what they were doing. I do not see many solutions possible while this older generation lives and cares so much about their economy and so little about their children. My solutions include moving away from coastal areas, buying land with access to year-round fresh water upstream of other humans, and expecting my world and climate to change dramatically year after year. It is a selfish point of view.
In terms of carbon per acre, grass will definitely sequester more carbon (denser root systems and vegetative mass). But I think your question is more complicated by climate. In the boreal forests, grass grows weakly or not at all, while tree systems thrive. And so in the boreal forests, trees sequester more carbon than grass does. I'd say the answer to your question is that the plant that grows the best will sequester the most carbon.
In your climate, I would suspect the best management plan would be meadow preservation — removing dewatering species like Lodgepole that invade meadow edges and reduce the grasslands. Water is going to be your limiting factor for vegetative growth, and grasslands will only really thrive in wet areas in the West. Native Americans used to routinely burn meadows to fill in this function, which is another option (Rx'd burns). But then you get back into the carbon question with burns…
Twenty years is a long time. However meaningful the agreement you reach with the landowners, it is likely the property will be sold within 20 years. For that reason, I'd try and focus on a different group than hobby farms and estates. Do you have any relationships with ranchers? Preferably older, generational family-owned operations. Ranchers often own large tracts of land that they use for temporary grazing and agroforestry. They might be interested in trading use of land for wildfire control work and restocking (most likely fir). Even then, I'd be a bit concerned about the 20 year timeline. But the only way around that is to own the land yourself.
In the meantime, definitely start some seedlings. Many tree seedlings take 2 years before they're suitable for planting. You've got some time to figure out what to do with them.
Dan — I was worried it might be a bit muddled. Ran out of coffee yesterday and I'm feeling the pain now.
I think the biggest difference is that planning is a process — it is research, re-aligning your context, and problem solving. The result of that process is a plan. While the plan can be useful (you shouldn't ignore it!) the knowledge gained from going through the process is at least an order of magnitude more valuable. One of the biggest values is re-alignment and forcing yourself to focus on your longer-term goals. Sometimes we can get caught up in our plan (build swales) that all we're thinking about is how to build the best swale instead of why we were building the swale in the first place.
To me, goals are the things that should stick around long-term, but your plans should only last at most a year (ideally, a season).
Keeping on track with your tasks and ensuring you're always working on the most important thing is one of the most challenging things in the world. There's the obvious stuff that knocks us off track.: a broken water pipe is going to take priority over perimeter fencing, animals have a tendency to get loose, three feet of snow drop two months too early, machinery breaks down. For me that was almost my entire summer. We had a huge winter last year, and every time I thought I had room to move forward, I'd discover a new broken piece of infrastructure.
I try (and fail) not to worry about that stuff. It'll happen, and all I can do is add in flexible time to my plans to deal with the unknowns. What I can control are my plans. More specifically, constantly planning. As Eisenhower made famous:
In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.
I love to plan. It's one of the things I do professionally in my non-permaculture life. But plans are overrated. It's easy to come up with a plan and say "1. Swales 2. Plant tree lanes 3. Reseed pasture" and assume you have a task list. But when are swales done? They may have been very important the first couple of swales, but by swale 8 or 9… are you really working on the most important thing? That's where distraction lives. The solution for me is to value planning, not plans. Planning gives me the perspective of the whole, and really think about my priorities. I think a lot of people get stuck on plans. They treat a five year plan like a task list instead of a forecast. Forecasts always get more and more accurate as you get closer to current time, and each time you do it you get better at it. It's a lot like meditation in that aspect. Meditation is a practice, not a thing you complete. For me planing is a practice. The value is in the planning, not the result. The purpose is to re-align your perspective to what's important. And the more often you do it, the closer you get to actually working on what's important.
In general, I agree with Joseph — I don't cook any slow-cooked items in my cast iron. Cast iron excels at high temperatures. But I do often make stock or beans overnight in the fire (still, that's closer to 8 hours). Does your dutch oven have the dripping knobs on the bottom of the lid that condense water and force it to drip down? Are you putting plenty of oil in the dish?
It might also help to know what kind of things you're trying to cook for 24 hours. Something oily like carnitas would do much better than something acidic like chili.
Had a little time to play around with a new toy and get a bit of footage of this silly beautiful little place I get to call home (well, one of them). The shed is wrapped up, next year's wood is split and in the woodshed, the water is turned off, snowmobiles are sleeping in the barn, and the snowcat is tuned up and ready to play. Now we just wait for the snow to pile up.
All I can say is that I feel your pain! I struggled over and over this year to get a cover crop established. Even when it would rain, the next day the top 1/2" of soil would be bone dry from the lack of humidity and sunshine. Adding in the squirrels and birds meant that any larger seeds got eaten way before they were able to germinate. I think I planted 1lb of field peas and maybe got two dozen plants out of it. This is really frustrating to me because there is plenty of water — just not in the right places. With no irrigation, the soil was still moist about 2" below grade all year round. Mulch was unhelpful for me. Enough to keep the soil moist prevented seedlings from emerging, and less than that got blown away by winds or hauled off by animals.
One thing I am trying this year is seeding a spring cover crop right now, when there's only about a 1/2" of snow on the ground. I am hoping the snow cover will keep the seeds dormant and animals away until the spring (most of the birds have migrated away by now), and the seeds can germinate as soon as the snow melts, which is always highly unpredictable. I'm also considering a strategy similar to yours, where I broadcast a cover crop in the spring, then cover the plot with burlap / fabric / plastic (something I can pin down) for a few days to allow the seeds to germinate, then remove it for the rest of the growing season.
This turned out great, thanks for the video! If I wanted to learn more about this style of RMH, are there any other resources I can look at? I really like the compact footprint and visual style of this one.
Usually when you want cold stratification, you want it in a moist growing medium at or around freezing to mimic winter time conditions. I'm still learning a lot of this myself, but this year I plant to put a bunch of seeds in a moist sand mix and leave it in my garage all winter. Last winter I assumed dry seeds in cold weather would stratify them, but that was not very successful.
In my own research, it really deeply depends on the specific species, and even then stratification is all about increasing chances of germination. No stratification may germinate 10%, while a cold stratification may germinate 60%, but scarification and a cold stratification may germinate 95%. For example this guide on growing Ephedra has this complicated bit on germinating the seeds:
In experiments with 6-month-old seedlots, 7-day germination for unchilled seeds at 10 to 20 °C was 10% for 1 lot of green Mormon-tea, 49 to 54% for 2 lots of Nevada Mormon-tea, and 95 to 100% for 3 lots of Torrey Mormon-tea. The 7-day germination after 2 weeks of chilling at 1 °C was over 90% for all seedlots. Germination is generally highest at temperatures of 15 to 20 °C, except in more dormant lots, which show higher percentages of germinatation in temperature regimes that include a temperature in the chilling range (Young and others 1977). Germination is suppressed by higher temperatures, which probably prevent the otherwise nondormant seeds from precocious summer germination. Ephedra seeds germinate readily during prolonged chilling. Kay and others (1977) reported 76% germination during a 30-day stratification at 2 °C for a Mojave desert collection of Nevada Mormon-tea. In chilling experiments with the 6 seedlots mentioned above, weeks to 50% germination at 1 °C varied from 6 to 7 weeks for the Torrey Mormon-tea collections and from 8 to 9 weeks for collections of the other 2 species. All viable seeds germinated during chilling within 12 weeks.
Good luck! I might suggest trying a few different methods of stratification instead of putting all your eggs in one basket. 20 seeds isn't a huge number, but it's enough to try a couple of batches at least.
No worries about asking more questions! Carbon from trees generally gets decomposed by fungi, but I found this diagram which may be more helpful. Even the smallest creatures can do big things if there are enough of them.
I'm not expert enough to answer your CO2 question other than to tell you plants definitely take in more CO2 than they exhale. In terms of mulch and micronutrients, yes — some is better for specific nutrients than others. I'd really suggest you start with a soil test. You definitely have more than 0 micronutrients! You'll just need to learn the state of your soil before you can think about amendments.
Most plants are made up primarily of carbon, and the fruits we extract from plants are primarily made up of carbohydrates (carbon + oxygen). That carbon comes from the carbon dioxide in the air that plants process. In a oversimplification: CO2 goes in, O2 and carbohydrates come out. There are of course differences between different plants and a lot of other chemistry-related details, but that simplification generally describes where the mass from plants come from.
The mass of a tree is primarily carbon. The carbon comes from carbon dioxide used during photosynthesis. During photosynthesis, plants convert the sun’s energy into chemical energy which is captured within the bonds of carbon molecules built from atmospheric carbon dioxide and water. Yes, the carbon from carbon dioxide in the air we breathe out ends up in “food” molecules (called glucose) each of which contains 6 carbon atoms (and 12 hydrogen atoms and 6 oxygen atoms).
Many of the nutrients come from the atmosphere. It's helpful to remember that plants don't grow up from the soil, they grow down from the air. Mulch might help, but I would not recommend mulch on the scale of 100 acres. If you are looking to increase the organic matter in the fastest possible manner, I would personally recommend keyline plowing (to break the compaction from commercial grain operations), seeding it with a good pasture mix, and animals. A combo of cow/sheep and chicken tractors in an intensive grazing plan can do wonders for pasture in a small amount of time. The plants grow from the air, the animals turn those carbohydrates into organic matter, and that organic matter gets incorporated into the soil. The animals will help the pasture grow faster, and the pasture will feed the animals. And of course, definitely start with a soil test… after years of commercial operations, you may be lacking in micronutrients or have a severe pH imbalance.
jim hughes wrote:talk to me about the coffee beans? where are you getting the green beans?
Last time I did this, my friend bought a 50lb bag from a local roaster and split it up. If you have anyone roasting near you, I'd ask them first. Coffee shipping is kind of a crazy business, and if someone is already getting regular shipments it's easy for them to add on extra to their orders. Google also has a lot of results, but I'd definitely pay attention to shipping.
Perhaps too obvious, but cooking your own meals is probably the best cost savings mechanic I know of. I can make around 20 super delicious pizzas for the cost of one mediocre take out pizza.
Roasting your own coffee isn't as hard as a lot of people think. A 20lb bag of green coffee beans can be had for super cheap, and fresh roasted coffee is going to blow away anything you can buy at the grocery store.
Getting comfortable with basic woodworking (very basic!) is another way to save money on just about anything. Make your own tool holders for the shed. Fix up a cheap Craigslist desk into your dream workspace. Make a hanger for your hats. Or a bed frame. Or a new shed door. Most of this stuff is at least 10x cost savings versus buying something off the shelf, and you don't need more than a circular saw and a screw gun to make most things. One day I hope to build up to Matthias' level of building his own woodworking machinery.
Now if only I could find a way to craft my own health insurance…
Judith: Of note, that paper was from 2001 when CCA was still widely used (the chemicals mentioned in the paper are the ones used in CCA products). In 2003, arsenic-based preservatives were outlawed in America and manufacturers have since moved to MCA/MCQ, which has a radically different chemical composition.
I would be curious to hear specifically why people think (modern!) pressure treated lumber is bad, and in what context. Just because something has a chemical makeup we're not familiar with does not make it bad. Everything I have learned talking to foresters and other people in the lumber industry is that the old style CCA wood was really bad, but the modern stuff will only leach copper into soils over time and contains no known carcinogens or toxic chemicals. That does not mean they are right, but I'd love to hear a cohesive argument past "it's bad" as that's not really a great way to convince engineers and contractors.
I use PT wood, not often, but I do. I do it because I value the lives of my friends. These timbers are in contact with the soil, making it highly susceptible to rot and insect damage — damage not obvious to the eye until failure. Since the wood is in contact with the soil, it's often a part of the foundation of structures, and that's not an area I'm willing to leave as my weakest link when building. I have seen far too many houses and decks collapse in very bad ways because people did not take dry rot / termites seriously. This is especially relevant to my climate, where heavy snow load can come in unexpected and pile up quick.
I have seen many "natural building" techniques in effect that terrify me. People will often build a structure, take a look at how it's holding up the next year, and declare it a success. I have watched people follow Mike Oehler's advice about PSP, but neglect to follow his advice about replacing structural posts every few years. Most of these techniques are great for fence posts. It can rot away, fall down, and maybe a cow gets loose. But I would never use that kind of technique for a pylon holding up a cabin under 12ft of snow.
That being said, the best way to preserve wood is to keep it dry. Choose structural techniques that do not require you set timbers into the soil. Build a foundation out of boulders, concrete, cinderblocks, etc. Drill or set metal anchors into this foundation and attach your timbers. You can also build skiddable structures that you can jack up when the skids rot away.
What's the advantage to going this route over pouring a concrete pylon and keeping the wood above grade? I don't know for sure if your approach would work, but it does seem to be quite complicated and include a good bit of nastier-than-concrete stuff. I know for one I wouldn't want to be filling a 5' pipe with hot tar.
I'd be worried about the end cap disconnecting and PVC crushing, despite the sand foundation. A 8" Doug Fir post is going to hold somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000lbs / 450psi. I suspect that's more than sufficient to exceed both the tensile strength of the vertical pipe and the crushing strength of the end cap and the holding power of the glue and the shear strength of the end cap. There's also going to be a lot of shearing force in the vertical pipe from your moment forces, and the question of whether the tar will be rigid enough to seat your beam in the first place.
I know of three ways to keep untreated wood preserved for 200 years:
1. Keep it dry and out of the ground all together
2. Live in the desert
3. Live in permafrost
Ah I see, I was assuming this was a type of ram pump since the video didn't really describe it's functionality at all. It sounds like a bit of a reverse ram pump — you input a small, high pressure stream and you are able to pump out a larger, low pressure stream. To be honest, I'm not sure I see much applicability for this one over say a generator and a sump pump. The laws of thermodynamics are always going to get you, and you need more energy in than comes out. With a ram pump, this works because we usually have a fairly unlimited (well — much more than we need) energy potential from the vdrop + flow of the source (be it a spring or creek). This kind of pump seems like it's more designed for hurricane country where you might have a flooded basement you need to pump out ~10ft or so, but no electricity. I suspect in a closed system the efficiency losses of this type of pump would come back to bite you in a big way.
I think the answer to your question is time and space.
If you want to breed tomatoes, you can plant hundreds of them in a decent sized home garden. You can run through an entire generation of tomatoes in one year.
If you want to breed apples, you can only plant two or three in a decent sized home garden. It takes at least 5 years, sometimes up to 10 years to produce fruit. You claim you saw a single tree produce fruit in 3 years, but that is an anecdote — not an average (and breeding is all about large numbers). That same fruit may develop differently if grafted onto another root stock (larger, sweeter, etc). that's another thing about fruit trees — the rootstock affects its disease susceptibility, soil tolerance, height, etc. So really you need to test each of your new seedlings on a variety of different rootstocks, and each of these needs the same amount of space as every other tree. Once you have a good variety, you need to understand it's pollination and chilling hours requirements. Which means planting in a new location and climate — far away from your breeding grounds — to be able to understand it and share it effectively.
This is a lot of time. A lot of space. A lot of time relative to a human's lifetime. Cultivars like Honeycrisp take lifetimes to discover and cultivate. I don't think it's a matter of people not caring about biodiversity, but when the required effort approaches lifetimes, specialization tends to win out.
But I'd say plant away if you have the time and the space!
I used to make a lot of sprouts, but have moved onto making microgreens instead. It's about the same amount of work (you do need sun or a grow light though), but I enjoy the flavor of microgreens more. I tend to favor the spicy ones — radish and mustard seeds — but aromatic herbs like basil can be really nice in the right meals. I like to use mine to add some greens to simple breakfasts and lunches. They do really well with potato & rice based dishes, adding a nice bright flavor to the meal.
I only discovered ram pumps this year and I'm entirely fascinated by them. You can definitely make them on the cheap with some simple supplies from the hardware store. I'm hoping to build one next year and throw it in my creek to get a constant flow of water up to my garden pond. For me, this pump seems extremely ideal. If I were to tap into the creek at an elevation above the pond, I'd need to run hundreds and hundreds of feet of pipe. But with a ram pump, I should be able to tap into it much closer since I only need a fraction of the flow of the creek. I was originally looking into solar powered pumps to do this for me, but the struggle is that the creek is very shaded near the pond and has very steep banks (from grazing). I'd need to spend a thousand or two in pumps & solar equipment to get a trickle up to the pond. But I've got plenty of flow and a decent amount of vertical drop, so I think the ramp pump would outperform that setup — and be less maintenance — AND save me a ton of money.
Yesterday (after driving 2hrs out of my way to get corrugated roofing due to shortages) I got a roof on the shed. Just in time for this weekend's forecasted 1-2ft of snowfall. In the past 2 weeks I managed to fully construct a 12ft high shed built for heavy snow (think 2x10 rafters @ 12' oc) pretty much entirely by myself (the girlfriend helped me raise the posts). And cleaned up the property for the winter (anything left out will be crushed). And got the snowcat running. And somehow managed 40hrs of software consulting in between. Needless to say, I'm beat. Depending on how the snowpack develops, I may try and get some real siding on the shed next week after my cousin's wedding. Otherwise I'm just going to staple up some fence wire and tarps for this winter and call it a season.
Feels good to have such a productive couple of weeks, but damn I'm looking forward to some rest time. In the meantime, still trying to enjoy squash season…