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|[+] pigs » Pig breeding question (Go to)||Chris Palmberg|
I've not read that book, but I've spent hours upon hours discussing breeding among dog breeders. The bottom line is that everybody seems to have their own strong opinion, irregardless if it is backed up by science or on-hand experience. Some breeders have crazy ideas that have very little to do with reality. I've talked with people who were very set against purebreds, but frankly, I couldn't see where their arguments held water. They simply couldn't defend their viewpoint when the discussion got beyond the first 2 minutes. As you can see, I'm not against the concept of purebreds. By the way, neither is nature, if you've noticed.
Consistency is most easily achieved by using purebreds. That's part of the definition of purebred, the ability to reproduce traits with consistency. Thus if you have a pig breed noted for giving consistent quality carcasses, then you can expect to see a high percentage of good carcasses in the litters you produce when breeding purebreds. If you keep the best individuals for your breeding stock, then you should be able to maintain that trait.
Carcass quality can often be achieved by crossing two known breeds, where it was previously learned that doing such a mating gave good carcass quality. Say for example, for years the farmer down the road has been mating Berkshire boars to Yorkshire sows and getting piglets that result in the ideal carcass for your needs. If you do the same thing, assuming that you choose good quality boars and sows, you'd also get the consistently good carcasses that you desired.
Once you start mating crossbreed animals, things can get a little fuzzy. A purebred bred to a crossbred will give somewhat predictable results, but there will be some variability that you can't control. You will see a higher percentage of off-types in the litters. But perhaps you are gaining the benefit of something else, such as increased litter size, that offsets the disadvantages. But once you start mating crossbreed to crossbreed, consistency goes out the door. While the farmer may see a tendency for a large herd, as a whole, to be ok when breeding crossbreed to crossbreed, on the individual level there is going to be wild variations. Thus a small farmer is not going to reap a benefit when breeding only a few litters of those cross-to-cross animals.
|[+] homestead » Homesteading For Beginners (Go to)||Matthew Rupert|
As Janes said, homesteading can mean different things for different people. Plus location makes a big difference. I homestead on 20 acres and have come up workable solutions. But if I tried to homestead 10 miles down the road, I'd have to come up with dramatically different methods.
Ray, if you ask specific questions, I'm sure people will respond. If you don't know where to start, you could try browsing my own blog in order to give you some ideas. www.kaufarmer.blogspot.com
|[+] chickens » Feeding restaurant scraps to chickens ?? (Go to)||William Bronson|
Ron, you're right......chickens love eating styrofoam! Years ago I had been given numerous small styrofoam coolers and I thought I would make them into easy to clean nestboxes. the next day after installing them in the chicken coop I came out to discover that they had eaten huge holes in them! In some they had eaten the entire floor! Quickly I removed the remaining pieces and never allowed styrofoam near them again.
Another thing my hens will eat is paper, though not as avidly as styrofoam. One time I put handfuls of shredded paper in their nestboxes, thinking it would help keep things clean and dry. The next day most of the shredded paper had disappeared and the chickens pooped paper mache for the next day. On a same note, I often dump a trash bag of restaurant waste into the middle of their pen and often there are bits of trash. Yes, I have to pick up the trash the next morning, but I notice that eat all the paper napkins.
|[+] plants » Best natural fertilizer for potatoes? (Go to)||s. ayalp|
In my own experience of growing potatoes in the tropics, I find that they do not like fresh manure. My best results have been when I dug in aged compost. I lightly mulched the top of the soil until the sprouts grew about 6 inches tall, then I added more mulch. This helped keep the soil moist and cool. When I didn't use mulch, the potatoes were smaller and fewer. Potatoes seem to be heavy feeders, because mine always do better when I've dug in plenty of compost. Less compost = less potatoes.
I've had success growing potatoes in a container on my farm where the temperatures are cooler than at my seed farm. The seed farm location is much warmer and drier, and the potatoes there do not do well. I'm not sure if it is the heat it the drier conditions that causes them to grow poorly.
Some varieties do better in the tropics than others. So try several different ones to find the better ones for your location.
|[+] small farm » Wanting to start a farm (Go to)||Steve Mendez|
"What would be a reasonable amount of land to start with if I only grew the veggies, berries and fruit? "......... That depends. Where in the world is that land located? What sort of climate? How is the soil fertility? What are the available resources? Where one person could produce an abundance of food on one acre, another person somewhere else could need 20 acres or more to do the same. Where one person may have great soil, great "in place" fertility, plenty of warmth and rain, another person may have none of that. So, it all depends.
By a bit of experience, what do you mean? My own wwoofer feels he has a bit of experience, but honestly, he'd starve if he tried to independently grow all his own food. He only has experience of growing in a good location where everything is already developed. He hasn't seen mass diseases, crop destruction due to insects, nor severe drought yet. Nor has he had to start up his own farm.
I'm not trying to discourage you, but on the contrary, I'm trying to encourage you to be realistic so that you may succeed. That said.....having no land and no money will make things more challenging. In my area, no land isn't a major obstacle as long as you have transportation. I've helped a few young people get introduced to landowners who are willing to allow others to temporarily use their land. One family has been very, very successful farming small plots here and there. After a few years they have already saved enough money to have a down payment on their own 20 acres. Another couple are also farming multiple little pieces of land and are doing quite well.
The lack on money will be more challenging. It means that you may be spending a lot more time working than if you had some cash to buy things like a truckload of manure or compost, water for irrigation, piping or hoses, etc. Having to make do without a pick up truck, without small equipment, will take time away from actually working your crops. Lack of money also means that buying enough seeds may be difficult. And buying fruit trees may need budgeting.
Starting out with nothing can be done, but it takes a willingness to work long and hard, be resourceful, and live a simplistic lifestyle. Many a person in my area started out living in a tent or garden shed for one or several years while struggling to get started. They often started out with a small bit of land, made improvements, sold it and bought something better. I know several small farmers who bought & sold several pieces of land before finally getting their current farms. Those that were determined and disciplined generally succeeded.
If this is something you really want to do, I would suggest that you read and learn as much as possible. Then start out small, gradually getting bigger as you gain experience. It an be an exciting and grand experience!
|[+] trees » Has anyone grown macadamia nut trees? Did you start them from seed? (Go to)||Jo Hunter-Adams|
I'm growing macadamia trees on my homestead in Hawaii. Yes, they will grow from seed quite easily, but like citrus and avocado, you won't know what you've got until the tree matures. As a result most people plant grafted trees so that know that they are putting their effort into growing a tree that will produce the type of nuts they are looking for. I've seen plenty of macnut trees grown from seed that mature out to be good producers, but I've seen an equal number or more that either produce very small nuts or not very many. My own trees are a known grafted variety that I got free as rejects from a local orchard. They were funny shaped and the orchard man wasn't interested in fussing with them. I've trained them into nice trees.
They grow moderately slowly. It will take years before they offer any significant shade or get tall. I planted mine about 10 years ago and they are perhaps 10 foot high now.
Once established they handle dry conditions ok. But in order to produce a decent crop, they need moisture during flowering time. The orchards here that are in dry locations will run drip irrigation during the flowering season. I have a friend living in a dry location and has a dozen trees. She directs her grey water to the trees during flowering time, thus getting an abundant crop each year.
Hope this info helps.
|[+] food choices » "Rabbit" Starvation--How is it prevented? (Go to)||Ken W Wilson|
Medically, the problem comes down to lack of fat. Rabbit meat (and some other wild meats harvested at the end of winter when the animal is in poor condition or on the verge of starvation) has extremely little fat. There's none laced in the muscling of rabbits, like that found in many other animals.
The problem with rabbit comes when a person tries to survive predominately on just rabbit. The human body needs fats. When we are not eating meats containing fats, we get it from other foods. Thus vegans don't run into trouble not eating meat fat because there is plenty in vegetables and nuts. But for people that opt to eat just rabbit and nothing else, or are forced to because that's the only thing around that is edible, then they can quickly get into trouble with a deadly situation. The rabbit it isn't toxic, it simply lacks fat.
Cultures that survived upon high meat diets, consumed plenty of fat along with the meat.
|[+] homestead » A giant list of things you can make yourself (Go to)||Cheli Scott|
Instead of a giant list of things, how about a list of giant things.......
More things we've made ourselves instead of buying them....
1- our farm. We started out with 20 acres of once upon a time, many decades before, a place that had been used to graze cattle. Prior to that had been used by an adjacent ranch to work with their ranch horses. It had been abandoned, allowed to regrow into a young woods for years and years to the point that all the buildings and fencing had rotted away and totally disappeared. Instead of buying a farm, we made our own.......buildings, pastures, gardens, rock walls, fences, the whole shebang.
2- our house. We bought the materials, but we did the building.
3- our food. 98% of our food comes from our own effort, one way or the other.
|[+] market garden » Best way to start no dig on former dairy land ( grass and some weeds ) (Go to)||Dereck Downey|
Welcome , Dereck!!
Sounds like you have a decent piece of land to start your project with. Congratulations. Mind telling us a bit more? Where is it located? What's the climate like? What's some of your goals -- self-sufficency? Market gardens? Permaculture homestead? Focus upon a particular crop family? Food forestry? Etc. Plus, how along are you in experience? Novice, intermediate, experienced?
First let me say, in my opinion there is no single "best way" to do things in permaculture. There's lots of leeway, flexibility, and possibilities. So when I'm working a new project, I often try small plots using different methods to see which works best for me in that location.
Some grasses and weeds are notoriously difficult to smother, others are easy. So a 4" mulch layer may or may not do the trick. But as weeds return, if you chop each one as they first appear, it should not be overly difficult to control and eliminate them. Many new gardeners make the mistake of waiting too long before doing something about the returning weeds. Cardboard may or may not be the answer. I've used cardboard over grass, and while initially happy with the results, I have since abandoned the method. I found the cardboard effective to a point, then it had problems associated with it-- it got slippery during wet periods making a dangerous walking situation. Yes, I fell several times. It also didn't uniformly rot away, leaving huge chunks that I ended up removing and carrying away to a hugelpit. The wind here would kick it up and make a mess.
The one thing I would say NOT to do is use landscape fabric. I've never been happy with it. Plenty of people have their own horror stories about it. Once down in place for awhile it becomes a nightmare to remove. It never rots away, but it shreds, causing hours and hours of work to remove it. And contrary to the advertising, there will be plenty of weeds growing in the top mulch plus plenty of grasses growing back right up through the weedblock cloth. I've tried even heavy duty professional landscape cloth and have had grasses grow right up through it. And those grasses that fail to make it through the fabric weave their roots and shoots into the fabric, effectively gluing it to the soil. To remove glued down landscape cloth I've had to use my pickup truck to pull it up in pieces. Not a fun job.
Personally I've taken pasture areas and mowed them down real close to the soil. Then I run a rototiller shallowly across the top to cut the grass plants off at the soil level. The tiller is simply faster and easier than using a hand hoe to chop. I'll do this on a sunny day and have to sub dry out to uprooted grasses. The next day I'll rake off the grasses, transferring them to a compost bin. I'll cover the exposed soil with a very light mulch, just enough to protect the soil microbes.,no more than a 1/2" thick. Then I'll wait a week or two for weeds and grasses to grow back, then either chop or rototill them off. Reapply a very light mulch as needed. Then wait again for a week or two to see what sort of regrowth I have, chopping or surface tilling until the major regrow this gone. The only thing I haven't controlled this way in my farm is bermuda grass. It works for most everything else. Now with the majority of weeds and grasses controlled, I'll get on with mulching, soil amendments (after a soil testing), and gardening.
Hope these ideas help. I'm sure more folks will chime in with their own experiences. There's more than one way to start out.
|[+] homestead » A giant list of things you can make yourself (Go to)||Cheli Scott|
Gosh, I can't think of all the things that I home make, compared to my friends who go out and buy stuff. I don't buy paper towels - I use rags from discarded clothing I get for free. I don't buy flowerpots for my seedlings- I make my own out of discarded containers I get from the dump. I made my own hydroponic system. My own greenhouses and mini greenhouses. My own garden labels. I didn't buy a house address sign (required here)- instead I made my own artsy house number sign. All my yard art is homemade. I've made many pieces of furniture out of purchased cedar and ohia harvested off my own land. I'm presently making picture frames out of wood and other materials from my land. I've made plenty of raised garden containers and mini ponds instead of buying them at Home Depot. Most gifts are handmade. Much of my art decor is handmade by me or my friends, I've been gifted items that my friends sell for in the hundreds, even thousands, so these are not cheesy looking items! Homemade doesn't mean poor quality. I've also made some clothing, but sewing doesn't thrill me, so I don't do it much.
I guess if I thought about it, I could list more. But making my own is a normal way of life now. 20 years ago I would have gone to the store for my stuff.
|[+] meaningless drivel » Emergency alerts - how to get them? (Go to)||Bryant RedHawk|
Old outdated smart phones can often be gotten for free. People don't want them so either throw them away, pitch them into electronic recycling bins, or give them to an abused women's group. Just put a notice up on a local bulletin board that you want one for emergency notices and I bet someone will donate an old phone. Might have a cracked screen, but who cares. Or contact an abused women group and see if they have surplus smart phones.
In the US, smart phones without SIM cards in them will receive emergency notices. They can also call 911. I know that for a fact because I keep an old iPhone 4S beside the bed just for the purpose of emergency messages. No SIM card. I've gotten flash flood warnings, tsunami warnings, and the latest....a ballistic missile alert. Thought I had 12 minutes before the blast and discovered I had absolutely no protected place to go. So I did the next best thing -- finished eating my hot breakfast before it got cold. For real! Luckily it was a false alarm. But my main concerned is a lava eruption. Sitting on the side of a volcano, I will only have a couple of hours to evacuate, so an alert over a smart phone can be real, real beneficial.
ps- basically zero cost......free old phone.....no SIM card to buy.....no phone plan to pay for. Just plug it into a charger to keep it running, which just costs pennies. I find it to be a cheap solution.
|[+] recycling » Polyethylene Heat? (Go to)||Su Ba|
First, I can't say that a homeowner burning plastics is a good idea for the environment. Nor for the normal wood stove either.
A tale.... Years ago a friend on mine decided to heat his shack by burning plastic. Not that I support his decision, but I can understand it. He was broke and had no means of cutting firewood that year. He was burning twigs and whatever small branches he could bust up. As the winter temps plunged down into single digits he started burning plastic. Plastic pallet wrap, and when that ran out, plastic bottles. He saved himself from freezing that winter, but he did cause some damage to his wood stove and burnt a hole through the base of his stove pipe. Apparently plastic burns a lot hotter than wood. Lucky for him, his wood stove was one of those wood/coal burners so it survived to high temperatures. End of tale---plastic will burn and produce intense heat. But at what cost to the environment? I don't know.
I am aware that the State of Hawaii allows one of the electricity generating companies here to burn plastic. But I don't know what the furnace requirements are, nor what the state of pollutants are.
I would think there has been lab work done on this topic but I don't know where to look for the results. Probably posted somewhere on the web on a professional site.
|[+] fruit trees » Fruit fly traps (Go to)||Sharol Tilgner|
I tried fruit fly traps like these and found that they work ok. But old fashioned flypaper worked tons better! I live in the tropics where fruit flies (called vinegar flies here) abound. With the constant influx of new flies each day, I find that flypaper does a much better job for me.
|[+] cooking » Dealing with spent cooking fats (Go to)||Annie Lochte|
Dan, I'm with you. I never deep fry food, nor do I use hardly any oil for pan frying. But if I did, I'd most likely save the oil to feed the birds during the winter....if I lived in a cold climate, that is. But where I am, it's too warm to give it to the wild birds.
|[+] cooking » Dealing with spent cooking fats (Go to)||Annie Lochte|
One permie solution is to give away or share your excess. Around my area there are public bulletin boards (at food stores) where I can post a note about free stuff I want to give away. I can safely meet a person at the store to exchange items. Another location I use to make exchanges is our local farmers market. There are lots of people there so it is a safe spot.
When it comes to used cooking oil, I'm the recipient of the exchange. I use the oil/grease for my chickens and pigs. And soaking a rag in grease makes a nifty fire starter.
|[+] meaningless drivel » 2018 New Year - Goals (Go to)||Daron Williams|
I posted this on my blog a couple of days ago. It applies nicely to this discussion I think.
Highlights looking back....(as explanation, these were some of my projects from 2017)
...found a successful solution to growing slug-free greens & carrots
...came up with an affordable (for me, that is) greenhouse to thwart the pickleworm moth
...had great success in learning to grow cucumbers (a difficult crop in my area)
...learned that creating a steady farm income requires a lot of time. I also learned that as of yet, I don't have enough time to devote to steady farm income. I still have too many other projects that need to be finished first.
...managed to create 1/4 acre more of edible pasture. It's a slow task, removing undergrowth, thinning trees, adding soil amendments, getting something edible to grow.
...added a Wwoofer/caretaker
...added a new puppy to the family
...invited to Kapapala Ranch -- thrice! (This is a very large working cattle ranch not far from me.)
...finish the bathroom
...build an outdoor deck and add a hot tub
...put a new roof on the house
...get the refrig and freezer onto their own small solar system
...get all the greenhouses into production
...develop a steady farm income
As you know, I'm not into New Year's resolutions. Why set myself up for failure, along with the accompanying guilt, stress, and depression? Sure I'd like to lose weight, get rid of bad habits, accomplish great tasks...just like most people. But I'm happier if I refrain from resolutions and just stick with a few sensible ideas for priority projects I'd like to work on. If they get completed, fine. If not, then I'll just continue to plug away and enjoy working on them as I go.
|[+] fungi » managing powdery mildew (Go to)||Keith Chaloux|
I don't have a solution for you. Powdery mildew is a big problem for me and I've tried a number of things with no great success yet.
1- remove leaves as they show signs of infection. Boost the plant growth with compost teas or lightly dug in composted manure. The idea is to reduce the infective spores by removing leaves before the fungus on them releases fresh spores while at the same time promoting rapid regrowth of fresh leaves. I've tried this with squashes, kale, and tomatoes. It helped with the winter squashes so that the plant lived long enough to produce fruits. Some of my gourds actually kept growing for a full year using this method. Failed with summer squashes. Partial failure with kale. Partial failure with tomatoes (depended upon the variety). I concluded that this wasn't working for me.
2- spray milk or diluted milk solution onto the leaves. I've tried all sorts of dilution rates, sprayed the entire plants top & bottom. Unless sprayed daily, it didn't seem to do anything. Sprayed daily it helped keep it in check long enough for the tomatoes and squashes to produce fruits.
3- baking soda sprays. Worked just about as well as milk solutions, but still not a good solution for me. Required daily full plant spraying.
4- diluted urine sprays. Same as milk solutions. I had to spray daily.
So far I haven't found a cure for it once mildew show up. So this year I'm trying a few new strategies.
1- grow varieties that have some resistance to powdery mildew
2- try compost tea sprays as a preventative and treatment
3- harvest kale as young plants (before mildew traditionally shows up) and plan on succession plantings
Controlling powdery mildew looks to be a daily job for me. I'd like to find a solution that is less time consuming.
|[+] small farm » Practical 1-Acre Staple Foods? (Go to)||John Duda|
Marcus, how many people are you attempting to feed? A well grown acre can produce a devil of lot of food, making the need to grow chufa questionable.
Personally, I wouldn't discount growing the veggies you've rejected. Variety can make a world of difference in mental health and physical health. Besides, tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans can be grown vertically, taking up very little space compared to the amount of food they produce. Radishes and turnips can be grown for roots and greens, plus can be tucked into spaces between other young growing plants. For fast return, it's hard to beat radishes and Asian greens.
With 12 hens, you should be getting 8-10 eggs a day between January and June. That's a lot of eggs for just 1 or 2 people. Producing all the food for 12 penned hens will be challenging -- not so much from April to November, but storing a winter supply with enough variety to still initiate egg laying may be the challenge without resorting to commercial feed.
Personally, I wouldn't want to try living on just the variety you intend to produce. Besides being incredibly boring, I'm not so sure I'd stay in good health. I've always felt better when I ate a highly varied diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Perhaps you intend to buy those veggies and fruits that you're not growing?
From your choice of crops, it looks like you don't plan to spend much time actually working a garden. That's ok, but I get the impression that you are looking for one long season crop a year out of the land rather than succession planting of any sort. With this requirement, it would make a big difference in suggestions of what to grow.
|[+] small farm » Practical 1-Acre Staple Foods? (Go to)||John Duda|
Still not knowing your specifics, I'll give it a go on suggestions.
What I'd grow......
...peas. Shelling, snap, and snows. Can be easily preserved by freezing, canning, and in the case of shelling, by drying. I'd plant them on a 2" grid for productivity.
...dry beans. Not a big yielder, but individual plants and be stashed here and there in empty spaces, along fences, in an empty spot vacated by a dead or failed plant. I don't plant a bed of dry beans but can produce quite a lot by simply using them as individual fill in plants. I grow varieties that are good in the shell stage or can be preserved by drying. That gives me flexibility.
...snap beans. I'd choose a heavy producing, early, concentrated set variety. That way I could follow it up with another crop before winter.
...greens. Lots of variety to choose from. Kale. Collards. Asian greens. Cabbage. Lettuces. Spinach. Chard. Plus others depending upon your taste preferences. Excess can be preserved by drying and ground into "green powder" for soups, stews, wtc, Drying cabbage was once a popular storage method.
...radishes and daikon. Can be preserved as pickles, frozen for soups, and leaves dried for "green powder".
...potatoes. Easy to store. Flexible to cultivate. Pretty reliable.
...sweet potatoes. I'd be highly selective on the variety I'd grow. I'd pick a bush bunching type for such as small garden space. I'd also harvest the leaves.
...cowpeas. Some varieties are very productive and beans are easy to dry for preservation.
...corn, a little just for variety in the diet. It's not a high yielded per square foot, but it's really enjoyable to eat.
...peppers. I'd go for a high yielding frying type. The frying types are easy to dry and easier to grow,
...tomatoes. Paste and grape types are very productive. They can be canned, frozen, or dried.
...onions, or onion greens of some sort.
...basic herbs. While most herbs can be dried, I find that frozen as icecubes retains flavor better. They can also be preserved via extracts, infusions, and vinegars for winter use.
...strawberries, Easy. Productive. Can be tucked into empty corners.
...turnips. Pretty reliable and easy.
...cucumbers. Always jazz up a salad, plus they can be stored as pickles. I'd go with a bush type or plan on growing them vertically to save space.
...Squashes. I'd opt for bush types or short vines.
Even though I'd emphasize the productive veggies & fruits, I'd also include a little of the less productive items simply for variety. One or two eggplants (oriental types), a couple of broccoli plants, a couple of kohlrabi can make dinners less boring. Many of these sort of plants can be used to fill in a row or bed that ended up with an empty spot.
I'd also plan on succession gardening, for example growing spring greens and following it with a short season summer crop or a fall harvested crop.
|[+] small farm » Practical 1-Acre Staple Foods? (Go to)||John Duda|
Marcus, more detailed information is needed for me to make suggestions. What is your climate like? Saying zone 6 says nothing about precipitation, wind, sun vs shade, soil fertility, gardening experience, gardening method, etc. How many people do you hope to feed? Adults? Children? Do you plan to preserve your production and by what methods? (for example, growing lots of pumpkins but having no proper storage space = lost effort and food). What are your diet requirements? Vegan? Vegetarian? Raw? Omnivore? Fruit? etc.
An acre, if successfully intensely cultivated, can produce a heck of a lot of food with good variety. But unless you plan to significantly change your diet to just what you can produce, you will need to supplement it with some store bought items, such as butter, milk, fats, etc. That's important to consider especially if family members are not willing to give up their hamburgers, grapes, ice cream, etc.
Zone 6 gives you lots of opportunity to grow a wide selection of veggies and fruits. Plus it should be able to support 3-4 rabbits for meat production. With rabbits, one can always gather food elsewhere to bring to the rabbits, including drying cut grasses for winter fodder. But most rabbit raisers find that feeding pellets and supplementing them with greenery and waste veggies/fruits is easier.
Preserving what you produce will be just as important as growing it. Preserving takes time, effort, initial start up expense, and storage space. Things to consider.
|[+] composting » How to Protect Heat Treated Pallets from developing Mold in PNW Compost Bin? (Go to)||Maxwell Myers|
In my environment, which is tropical, warm year around, and fairly moist, the HT pallets that I pick up last me at least 2 years, sometimes as long as 4-5 years. Of course they are not new when I get them, so I don't know brand new ones would last.
I have 24 compost bins made from these pallets. On the inside of the bin I line the pallet side with plastic (black trash bags stapled in place), mainly to help keep the moisture in the compost. But the plastic surely helps the pallet last longer. The first spot to rot away is the bottom of the pallet that is in contact with the ground. Because of this I've taken to using brick "feet" under the pallets to keep them up off the ground by an inch or so. So far this seems to be helping.
I construct my bins so that it's easy to replace a rotted pallet.
|[+] tiny house » Is it time for an Off grid Property Owners Association? (Go to)||John Pollard|
Me thinks the message has been sent........in general, already established off gridders tend to be independent people who don't like being told what they can and can't do. And oversight association setting rules surely won't be popular with them. So such an association will need to target newbies who know virtually nothing about living independently.
Personally I'd never flock toward a regulating group of any sort. The regulations already in place ruffle my feathers plenty. As Paul puts it, there are already too many "departments to make you sad".
|[+] solar » Happy Solstice and return of the sun. (Go to)||Roberto pokachinni|
Daylight hours will be getting longer now....more sunlight! My veggies will love it. But it changes slowly, just a minute or so a day here. Because Hawaii is close to the equator, I don't notice dramatic change. In fact, sunrise won't change much in January but sunset will be enough of a change to notice it by the end of the month. We only gain 16 minutes of sunlight in January. Enough that the plants and chickens notice, but not enough to make me shout hurrah. January still seems dark.
I'm looking forward to the spring equinox. That's when my garden starts getting really productive and the pasture grasses start growing strongly again.
|[+] tiny house » Is it time for an Off grid Property Owners Association? (Go to)||John Pollard|
Tod, you're obviously much, much younger than I am. Do you truly believe.......or is it that you have a mis-idea of the abilities of the rough, back to nature oldster.....that in a few years when I become 80 I will no longer be able to live on my homestead? While my own system is rather small (but I can run everything but a spa -- I have no need for electric hot water, air conditioning, electric heat, electric dryer, electric cook range) and self installed/maintained, I have seen systems here that are quite large, electrical engineer installed, and specialist maintained. Many of the off grid people are young, but a good percentage are elderly retirees in their 70s, 80s, and even 90s. From what I've personally observed, us oldsters maintain our systems far more effectively than the younger less experienced crowd. So I'd suggest that in order to market your idea you may wish to be more careful, and less insulting, about the capabilities of the older off-gridder. Not all of us are frail and standing in our coffins!
That said.......having a group may benefit lots of people, especially those starting out off-gridding.
|[+] financial strategy » Questions on Budgeting for the Ideal Life (Go to)||David Singer|
Wj, great advice. Having achieved achieved successful homesteading status after years of work, I can look back and say there were certain factors that turned out to be important for us......
...eliminate all debts before quitting a job and taking the leap
...learn to live on a whole lot less cash. In my area, local people can live on $12,000 a year. But that means a totally different set of values compared to a lot of people, especially urbanites and suburbanites.
...figure out where your money is being spent and change those habits. We cut out the extra landline phone, the cellphone contracts, the new vehicle, the insurances that we sucking us dry, the weekly dinner & movie out, the vacations that cost money, the new clothes, hairdresser & nails, etc.
Like Wj, I've learned to do just about any job if I need cash. Pick coffee or macnuts. Create a garden for someone else. Pick up trash and haul it to the dump. Remove trees or brush. Mow a lawn. Paint a garage. Repair a window. Quite honestly, I haven't turned down a job unless it was beyond me.
|[+] homestead » Self Sufficiency (Go to)||Ray Henry|
Yes, it is still possible to return to self sufficiency, and in my own case, it took commitment to working within my community network. I trade and barter within my community. I also sell produce and services. Plus I give freely some of my surplus, at no charge, to those in need but who cannot afford to pay. I normally ask for something in return when it's more than a one time exchange, such as having that person save me their kitchen garbage, give me the weeds that they've pulled out from around their house, give me the rocks they've removed from their garden.....that sort of thing. I take just about anything and everything in exchange. Over time this system has developed beyond rocks and weeds. I get hunters dropping off not only their waste, but a shoulder, loin, or rump off of their catch. I have fishermen giving me waste but also whole fish. I get gifts of baked goods, assorted hardware and hand tools, blankets, coolers, buckets, chickens, ...you name it.
I try to keep most of my money in my communithey....both for services and goods. But too often I have to buy items via the Internet simply because they are not available within my community. But mostly the people I know can fix my truck, bring a truckload of gravel and spread it on my driveway, dig a cesspool, mill my logs into table top slabs, help put up fencing, excavate for a new pond, etc.
I've come to believe that self sufficiency doesn'thave to mean that one person going it alone. I think that's a fairly severe interpretation. In the old days, people considered themselves to be pretty self sufficient, but they of course interacted within their community. I like that definition of self sufficiency better, living independently but as an active, participating member of a community.
|[+] projects » ASF Farm - Western Kenya (Go to)||Maureen Atsali|
Do you use the sweet potato leaves for food for your family? If so, do you find that the different varieties taste differently, with some being better than others? I'm curious because my next experiment in the kitchen will be to learn how to prepare and eat sweet potato leaves. Other than simply dropping them into boiling broth, I need some ideas and recipes on how to use sweet potato leaves. Any suggestions?
|[+] home care » Cordless blower home cleaning (Go to)||Alan Bowen|
I just had to laugh out loud when I read the subject title. Super! My two favorite housecleaning tools are a leaf blower and a shopvac.
|[+] homestead » Product swaps? (Go to)||Nicole Alderman|
Thinking "per hour wage" simply doesn't work for my current lifestyle. I'm a homestead farmer focusing upon self reliance and sustainability. If getting "proper value for my labor" was my focus, I'd have a 9-5 job in the city. In fact, when I was working a job I was earning 5 times more than I am now, but financially was a lot worse off.
Trading and barter help me survive and move my products. By business standards, I do it all wrong. I don't assign a per hour value to the things I produce. Instead, trades are settled upon where it benefits both parties in some fashion.
|[+] critter care » fence made from pallets (Go to)||Mike Jay|
I've used pallet fences on my farm and they were fine for a quick, ultra cheap, temporary barrier. They lasted exactly 3 years in my climate before the bottoms rotted and the fence started to collapse upon itself. But in a drier area located 10 miles from me, a friend has the same pallet fence and it has lasted five years so far with only dry rot crumbling some of the slats. Different climates, different results. But we both discovered that zigzag configuration doesn't work with strong winds. Our tradewinds eventually skewed or blew down sections of fence. So we both went with the -|-|-|- style (one pallet one direction, the next perpendicular to it). This was stable even in our heaviest wind.
My pallet fence was to protect the garden area from my sheep. So I replaced the pallets with a Premeir brand electric net fence. A local goat rancher has been using their Premeir fence for 10 years now, taking it down and moving it to a new location daily. Yes, daily. And they told me the netting was still in good shape. 10 + years is really impressive in my corrosive environment. I've just started using the Premier fencing, so I can't say much about it year.
|[+] cooking » Learning to love cheap cuts of meat... (Go to)||pusang halaw|
I forgot about tripe. Tripe soup and tripe stew are excellent. Gee, I haven't had them for ages and ages.
|[+] soil » Too much compost in the soil? Steve Solomon Intelligent gardener (Go to)||Chris Kott|
In general I'd say "yes", soil can have too much compost. BUT, I'd have to add that it depends upon the situation.
On my main farm I add a couple of inches of compost between crops and flip it in. But I have to be careful. During wet years this can make my soil retain too much moisture. But on drought years I find myself wishing I had added more, and indeed I do add extra between crops when it's a dry year. That excess compost is the only thing that saves me when there's little rain.
5 miles away I have my seed farm. It's very warm, dry, and windy there. Lots of sun. As a result the soil.....what exists......dries out quickly. The compost degrades quickly. Rains tend to be infrequent but heavy, resulting in leaching. Thus I'm more aggressive on adding compost. In fact, I use pallet grow boxes there that contain 100% young compost and I grow 2 crops of seed (bean, pea, etc) before emptying the box and starting over. The old compost goes to help improve the ground soil on that little farm. I really don't think there is such a thing as using too much compost at that location.
10 miles away is a community built on fractured lava. No soil except the degraded organic dust between the lava chunks. I know of successful gardeners who haul in county compost by the truckload, often adding 1-4 pickup truckloads a month. I recently was visiting one place where the compost layer is now 20" deep after about 10 years of hauling. I'd guess they have about 1/4 acre covered in mulch. They grow in that compost all sorts of veggies and fruit trees. The area is in a dry zone with sporadic rain. I noticed that the compost layer was retaining moisture while the rest of their land was bone dry. In this situation, the excessive compost works for them.
|[+] personal care » Shark week cramping/pain discussion (Go to)||Nicole Alderman|
None of the suggestions I heard helped control my cramps. Diet. Heat. Posture. Changing to tampons. Changing back to pads. Birth control pills. Exercise. Sleep habits. Homeopathic medicines. Nothing. Except.......... Aleve. It was the only thing that made my cramps bearable.
I was unfortunate to be one of those women who had pain that radiated well past the abdomen, into my back and inner thighs. The pain interfered with my ability to function and think. When I discovered that Aleve worked for me, my life returned to normal. Back in those days it was a prescription medication, but thankfully it's over the counter now. As like Burra, menopause solved the problem.
|[+] meaningless drivel » Apple Poll - Best end of the world movie ever! (Go to)||r ranson|
I can't find any entertainment in doom & gloom movies. Don't like violent movies either. Real life is horrifying enough without watching it in movies too. So I'm not voting since I haven't seen any of them. But I like the idea of surveys. What other ones can we come up with?
Perchance there could be a forum for polls? Like....
.....which vegetables do you grow?
.....which are your favorite permit projects?
....which livestock are your favorites ?
.....etc. there's lots of possibilities.
|[+] plants » Ideas about growing all your own food (Go to)||Nicole Alderman|
Wren has hit upon one of the aspects of how my farm provides almost all our food. I say almost because we eat a few meals out with friends every month, eating foods we didn't produce ourselves. But if we had to, we could provide 100%....and still have variety.
My location can grow some things really well, but zero when it comes to others. But I don't see that as a problem. No need to eat the same boring things over and over again. No need to deprive ourselves of variety from off the farm. I take some of our excess eggs, veggies, fruits, and meat and trade them for beef, fish, mouflon, milk, cheese, mangos, lychee, and other things that I can't or don't produce. I also trade for homemade prepared foods, such as soups, pies, jams, sauces, cheese.
I also sell not only my excess, but I've expanded to the point that I can grow a little to sell locally. I sell direct to individual homes, at the local farmers market, and to a local restaurant.
I consider the items that I gain via trade, plus those that I buy with the money gained from selling to be part of my farm production for ourselves. For example, at the farmers market I will sell my green beans and potatoes then turn around and buy fish and breadfruit from other vendors with that money.
Luckily I don't have to do a lot of preservation. Most of what we eat can be grown or acquired year around. Somethings I need to store, such as turmeric, lilikoi, coffee, and other seasonal crops.
Two more things ......One - although the farm is now capable of providing for us 100%, it took years to get to that point. I started out slowly, making many mistakes, adjustments, and improvements along the way. So many people think that they can plant a garden and bingo, they're food independent immediately. It surely didn't work that way for me. Not only did the garden improve slowly, I gained the farming knowledge slowly, and it took years to get a trading system really functional. Two - we changed our diet to adjust to what was locally available.
|[+] cooking » Learning to love cheap cuts of meat... (Go to)||pusang halaw|
I'm with you, Travis. I grew up on all those cheap meats and actually love them to this day.
...chicken necks & gravy over rice
...chicken gizzards & hearts
...chicken back stew
...fish head chowder
...pig (or beef or lamb) head soup (the head was cut up in chunks)
...fried pork skin
...ox tail soup
...beef and lamb shanks
Mom would often take all the trimmings, skin, and leftover meats and cook them into a thick, extremely tasty gravy sort of concoction that we ate over bread. Extremely yummy comfort food. The only two cheap foods I never learned to like were kidney and liver, though I loved chicken livers. A steak, chops, or roast was reserved for a special holiday, like Christmas. We were allowed to make suggestions for our birthday supper as kids. I always chose chicken gizzards, obviously my number favorite.
Nowadays I raise my own meat so we use everything. Nothing gets wasted, ever!
|[+] rocket mass heaters » all of the rocket mass heaters and rocket stoves at wheaton labs (with pics!) (Go to)||paul wheaton|
Every turn in the chimney is like adding feet to the length. After a few turns the chimney is in danger of not drawing. Thus the stove develops an airlock and the fire goes out (or smokes into the room). I don't know the formula for determining the maximum amount of chimney the stove could support, but in my early years of heating my home with a wood stove I made the mistake of putting too many bends in the stove pipe.
|[+] meaningless drivel » Never Have I Ever... (DIY/Homestead Edition) (Go to)||Dan Boone|
Fun survey! My score is 2
Never had the opportunity to tap a maple tree. And I've never spun wool, though I did make felt with homegrown wool.
|[+] dogs and cats » barn/farm cats? What do folks think about them? (Go to)||bob day|
I don't collar my 14 cats ( yup, I'm up 2 more since that last time I posted to this thread). it's too dangerous around here for that....too much dense undergrowth. But to indicate that they are owned so that the neighboring macnut farmer doesn't kill them if they happen to get caught in one of his traps, they are all ear tipped. (Ear tipping indicates that they are neutered, but most folks in my neighborhood assume that they're also owned by one of the neighbors if they are ear tipped.) Happily my cats show very little interest in birds, being well fed and having a constant source of dry food available. But they are fixated on rodents. I encourage this by tossing them every rat I trap myself and letting them play with the carcass.
Permaculture necessitates rodent control. As people have pointed out, agriculture attracts rodents and provides them shelter and food, thus increasing their population. I don't see using poisoned baits as being sustainable permaculture. So I use cats and dogs, plus an assortment of traps. Most of my rats are roof rats, making dogs ineffective. But the cats are experts at patrolling the roof.
By the way, I'm a strong believer in neutering all cats around my place. No need for more kittens. Plus it's the kittens that pose the danger for toxo. Stop the production of kittens and one dramatically lowers the danger from toxo.
|[+] homestead » Future Farmer looking for advice (Go to)||Thomas Partridge|
Joseph is right! Follow your passion, otherwise you won't last.
I'm passionate about being self reliant/sufficient. Thus I produce most of our own food..,..or importantly, use my surplus to trade or buy the rest of my foods that I don't do for myself. I don't need to bake or can because I trade my surplus for those items. I trade for milk and cheese, fish and game meats. So some of my growing focuses on tradable products, like eggs, lamb, herbs. Around my area, those 3 are in demand and easy to trade/sell.
I started out 15 years ago hoping to just grow my fresh table fruits and veggies, then my goal changed to growing most of my own food. Then I naturally shifted to growing/trading/selling to meet all of our food needs. Now I'm on the next step -- growing extra for just enough income for basic living. Once I mastered one step, the next one seemed to naturally follow. I surely hadn't started out with the idea of a profitable farm, but it seems to be happening.