one crazy idea might be to scrape them off with a tractor bucket along with the top 3 inches of topsoil. Place it all in one big mound and let it compost down. Maybe ass some grass and manure to get it going faster. once it's all cooked down, then you could probably sift the plastic stuff out of the finished compost with a giant screen of some sort. Then you can return the soil to the places you want it. I would put down a nitrogen fixing cover crop in the area that gets scraped off, to avoid erosion and to help jump start the next crop. Again... probably a crazy idea, but it would go a lot faster than doing each one by hand.
I just wanted to update this thread. I have one of these puppies, well... he's 3 years old now. He's the most awesome dog I could imagine. He watches over our house and livestock and loves to play in the snow with the kids. He's just a lovable fluffy 95 Lb baby. Sorry for the super late update, but... Thank you CJ. Higgs is the best dog around these parts, even the vet loves him. And, he only barks at every other thing, so that less than half the normal amount. :)
I've heard this a few times and I think there are a couple of things that always come to mind. It depends on what kind of rabbit your talking about. A farm raised pasture fed meat rabbit will have a nice bit of fat on it. It's very light fat with little flavor but there are a few ounces of it on each rabbit. This assumes that you are raising them with a good feed source and butchering them at around 8-10 weeks old. Older rabbits will have more fat.
If you're dealing with wild rabbits such as cotton tails or snowshoe hares, you'll not likely find much fat. Mostly because these rabbits are more active and they have to keep moving to stay ahead of predators. It's important for rabbits to not carry much extra fat for them to breed successfully. Fat rabbits have smaller litters, less frequently and the males are less likely to want to mate if they are too fat. So it seems that it is in their nature to live thin to be productive.
As for starvation, you'll probably starve slower with rabbits than without them. Food is food at that point, right? If you're in a position where rabbits are all that you have left to eat, I'd suggest eating as much of that critter as you can. Heart, lungs, liver, kidney, eyes, bones. You can pretty much eat all of it, except the hair and teeth. If you're out hunting wild rabbits to keep from starving to death, I'd also suggest carrying a few field guides for wild plants, bugs and fungus that you might find along your way. There's many insects that have a good fat profile and that don't taste all that bad. Of course, if your starving, and hunting for food, there's no such thing as a hunting season, so don't pass up opportunities for trapping small birds, mice, squirrels, chipmunks and other wild edibles if it means staying alive.
I really like rabbits. They are my favorite farm critter, because they are quiet, productive and easy to care for. Like anything else though, they can't be relied on as your only protein and fat source. I think a good balance for a rabbitry is to have a breeding pair of pigs to provide nutritionally rich meat and a few extra pounds of fat. There's always more fat on a pig than most people like, so I save the extra, for mixing in with rabbit meat and making sausage. They work very well together and nobody starves.
Here's week two. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet but I would really love to know how you all feel about it so far.
Please leave your comments in this thread. And please consider going to Rob's channel and showing him some love with a comment or a thumbs up. It only takes a few seconds to show a little appreciation for a family that does as much as they do to help educate folks for free and it help to spread the permaculture word.
Nice work Bret. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you're motivated properly. A new family and new land will certainly get you up and running to provide the best you can. Congratulations. I look forward to seeing how you progress in the year to come.
Ever since my family started line drying our laundry exclusively, I've been looking for a way to manage the old gas (propane) dryer. I turned my old one's housing into a cold smoke chamber for smoking hams. I like the idea of using the drum for a fire pit or garden center piece. Nice find
What is the main reason for having the worms? Do you need the worm castings or is it that you need to get rid of some biomass? I realize that it's probably a balance of both, so how does that split out as a percentage?
What are the dimensions of the space you can dedicate to a worm farm?
How much biomass do you need to process?
What are the demands of the plants you're growing? How much worm poo do you need in a growing season?
I use a couple of 40 gallon plastic bins to house my worms. They eat like crazy and I get about 5 gallons of castings per week at peak production in the fall. It varies by the temperature and the food source. It's not enough for my whole garden but I also have chickens so...I've got lots of compost.
Stress, malnutrition, overfeeding and age are usually the main causes of trouble if you have a whole group of does that won't breed. It could also be something up with the buck. Have you tried them on a different buck? Over feeding seems to be the big issue when it comes to a buck's performance. They get fat and then they don't work. It's similar for does, but if they are having litters 3 times a year, it's tough not to want to keep them a little chubbier. :)
When I had rabbits that wouldn't breed right away, I'd try changing the routine of the day. For instance, try bringing the doe to the buck before you feed them for the day. Or give the buck a little tiny slice of apple to eat, just before you bring the doe in. She'll smell the treat and maybe more inclined to perform her duties, in hope of getting a piece of apple too. If she breeds, return her to her space and then give her a treat.
Without seeing and knowing more about your setup, it's hard to say for sure. Rabbit can be a little funny from time to time. Can you provide us with some more details on what your working with?
number of males and females
-barn, hutch, colony
Do you have other animals that would be a rabbit predator around? A new dog or cat might be just the type of thing to set a bunch of rabbits off of breeding. It could be the smell of such animals on your clothing as well.
I hope some of this was useful
I'm looking to start my rabbitry up again next year. I miss having them.
Would you consider sharing photos of exactly what you're dealing with? Advice can vary greatly based on what we all imagine in our heads. If I could see the trees and how much shade they cast, I could probably give you a good idea as to what "I" would do.
If that's not possible, could you give me a more accurate idea as to where the trees are located?
how large are they?
What percent of the land to they shade at noon on the shortest and longest days of the year?
What are your soil conditions like?
What are your goals for the land?
-other structures or projects
My chickens, take a break every year for about a month or so. They typically lay from february to december. Everyone needs a break every once in a while. Keep them fed watered and safe and they'll be back to work in no time. In my experience, there's not enough meat on a layer hen at this time of year to make it worth butchering anyway. You're doing great by the sound of it. Just keep doing what you're doing and keep an eye out for new eggs in a month or so.
I have some seeds for sale from my own food forests and gardens. I'm in zone 4-5 depending on the year. The last week was -30F. Everything that I have for sale was harvested this past summer and fall. Maybe the list will give you some ideas for what you might start with.
This is one of the spaces that I've used for trialing different seed mixes. A lot of my favorite squashes have come out of this space, as well as a number of pretty awesome flowers that I've used to make my house smell nice throughout the season.
Today it's so cold that everyone gets a swearing pass for the day. I usually have a rule about being polite and not using crude language in the house. But today... I let it slide when the little one said "shiiiiit!, it's so cold!". I was like " yup... pretty fucking cold, Kiddo."
I'll take a frozen tree squirrel over a deer frozen in the headlights, any day. In Maine, critters stay out of the road, cuz we don't swerve unless it's a moose. It's your best bet for survival in that situation :)
Somehow porcupines seem to be rather road-dumb as well.
Today was so cold that my gloves froze after they got a bit wet, and I couldn't get enough grip to open my front door. I took the glove off and -without thought- stuck my semi-moist hand directly to the metal handle of the door. And that's where I spent the next 30 seconds, contemplating my stupidity. Thankfully, it's a cheap handle and it warmed up quick enough for me to keep all of my skin. I'll be adding a rubber coating to that handle in the spring or replacing it with a less dangerous one.
Today it was so cold that both of this years' roosters woke up with black tipped combs and wattles. Frostbite is just a fact of life for chickens here. It's just a matter of how much and how well they deal with it. I've never lost a bird to frostbite. I have lost a few to stupidity though. During a blizzard a few went for a walk and didn't come back to the coop. I found them in the spring, frozen against my woodpile and under my porch. Not the smartest critters, but plenty useful for eggs and pest control. :)
Today was so cold that the moisture in my breath condensed and froze my mustache to the a fore mentioned scarf during the outdoor chores. I had to wait near the wood stove for a few minutes just to get free from my frozen clothes without losing hair. LOL
...that I sneezed while shoveling the driveway, and my sinuses were so frozen that only ice and blood went out into the air. It froze in an icy mist that gently covered the snow in front of me. I observed it for a few seconds, trying to think bout how cold it would have to be for such a thing to happen.
... then my dog began to eat it!
I finally decided to wear the scarf my wife made for me a few years ago.
I have the following seeds for sale from my gardens and food forest areas. Everything was harvested this year from plants on my property. If you see something you would like to have, PM me with a list of what you'd like and I'll send you an invoice through paypal. Some things are very limited so it's first come first serve. Seeds go in the mail as soon as payment is received. Orders over $30 get a free seed gift of something not listed below. I can only ship to US and Canada at this time. (sorry)
Flowers ($5 per pack)
-White Cosmos (50 seeds)
-Striped Seed Sunflower (50 seeds)
-Nasturtium (yellow and orange color mix) (50 seeds)
-Marigold (red and yellow mix) (100 seeds)
Nicole Alderman wrote:Is it easy to sprout from seed? Things are still hit and miss at growing in my garden, either due to my soil or lack of ability, LOL! I love licorice flavor, and so think I'd like this, too!
Hyssop flowers and young leaves have a very sweet anise flavor. It's one of my kids favorite summer edibles. They like to combine them with other garden veggies like tomato and cucumber.
If you like anise and mint, you might like Shiso leaves. I was going to try this fermented shiso leaves, but the plants got killed by frost before I got the chance.
Judith Browning wrote:I am so happy to see this, Craig....I was going to order new seed over the winter because when we moved I left all of my plants behind and the seed I gathered and planted here has been spotty at best showing up. I want mounds of it again. It was always full of bumblebees and such a beautiful rich green leaf and lovely flower. ...and we dried a lot for tea. I have just the last bit dried from more than two years ago and the flavor is still strong.
Will send you a PM and this time I have PayPal.
My siberian pea shrubs are looking good by the way dormant for now and still in big planting bags...will transplant this spring.
I'm happy to hear that the Peashrubs are working out for you. They are hardy as hell once they get going. Bumble bees love them too.
I'm always amazed at how quickly the hyssop forms giant mounds. I tried feeding some of the flowers to my pigs one year. They tossed them all over the place but didn't seem to eat many of them. Now the place where they were, is full of hyssop. I must have had every bumble bee for miles around eating on five-foot tall hyssop plants. Thousands of them! If I had saved all the seed I could have, I'd have a five gallon bucket full. Sooooo many purple flowers!
I'll have your seeds out to you ASAP.
Tj Jefferson wrote:Craig have you got a list of your goodies? I am ordering seeds now and would love to throw you some business. I think you have caragana too? Anything else?
Yes I do have a lot of other seeds for sale. I'm going to make a master list and post it on this site sometime this weekend. I'll post it in this thread as well.
I'm also planning to sell apple scion wood, comfrey roots and maybe nettle roots too, in the spring.
Agastache foeniculum is one of my favorite perennial flowering plants. It's a great resource for pollinators, especially bumble bees and tiny pollinating wasps. The leaves and flowers are great when used for making tea and they have enough sweetness to make a great addition to a salad of wild greens. I especially like the way they pair with dandelion and Asian greens. I've even crushed the leaves in alcoholic beverages similar to a mojito. If you like the flavor of anise, black licorice or sambuca, you might consider adding this plant to your garden. It's easy to grow, perennial and a reliable source of food for our pollinator buddies. Even if you're not into the flavor, this plant is beautiful, prolific and easy to maintain.
I have a small mountain of seed from this year's crop that I would like to share with my permie peeps. I'm selling packs of over 250 seeds (probably closer to 400) for 10 dollars. If you PM me with your email address I will generate a paypal invoice for you. Once paid, the seeds go immediately in the mail to your door.
Here's a video of my hyssop flowers being mobbed by bees. They are planted in my herb garden along with the grapes, nasturtium and raspberries.
In the new year I hope to have an online store to manage all of my seed sales. These preliminary sales will make that possible for me.
Best wishes and thank you all for your support