Walter Jeffries wrote:The mycotoxins can kill small pigs and cause miscarriages + dead piglets in gestating sows.
Ah, okay, so it's fine for larger pigs but can upset the smaller ones?
Also, I'm curious about how spent brewer's grain would go for Guinea Hogs. I've heard they tend to do best on pasture and poorly on anything else; would supplementing their diet with SBG just tend to make them obese then?
Well first off, Bradford pears are a cultivar (or subspecies) of the Callery pear. If that's what you think they are, you're probably not wrong; the Callery pear has been very popular as a landscape tree for a number of years because of its environmental tolerance.
And yes, if it has a star-shaped (or 5-pointed or 5-merus) seed cavity that is an almost 100% accurate indicator that it's in the Roseacea family that includes apples, pears, roses, and a number of other plants as well.
Very strange. If you were a bit farther south I could see this happening, especially in humid areas. One of the big issues for bee hives in warm climates is humidity building up and causing fungal or bacterial growth inside the hive. Building a nice open comb like that would allow much more circulation and prevent that sort of thing from happening for the most part. In an area with few to no bee-predators, that might work well.
But in Michigan and Pennsylvania? Plenty of bears and robber flies in those areas, I'm sure, and generally not the warmest places either. Mark me down as stumped.
John Elliott wrote:Garbage. Ideally, whatever they throw in the dumpster at your local supermarket.
This is actually a great idea. I think it was Geoff Lawton who incorporated half-decayed compost into his chicken tractor. Gives them a nice pile to rake through and pick at, and aerates the pile nicely, to say nothing of the manure being added. If you could convince your neighbors to "donate" some of their food waste I'm sure that would help their diet as well. If all else fails, see if the supermarket will let you pick out some of the choicest rotten veggies "for composting" or something like that.
I have to say, I laughed when I realized I'd thought of people eating out of supermarket dumpsters more often than chickens doing the same.
Ah, I misunderstood your question, my fault entirely. There have been some good suggestions by the others in this thread (blackbelly, jacobs, icelandic, shetland) that I think would be worth looking into. That said, I do have another suggestion depending on how much land you're moving onto. Silvopasture!
If you did some selective clearing of trees to open up the forest and let more light get to the understory and ground, then cleared a bit of the leaf litter and planted grasses, you might be able to set up a very nice combination forest and pasture that the sheep would no doubt enjoy an awful lot. Plenty of browsing but a good amount of pasture too. I'm not sure how dense your forests are or how heavily you'd have to clear, but in the long run selective clearing would be a heck of a lot cheaper than trying to clearcut it and you'd have plenty of food for goats and heavy-browsing-light-grazing sheep as well!
I wonder...why do you want sheep? If you're looking at hair sheep, then it's not for fiber, which is why a lot of people prefer sheep over other livestock.
If you just want an animal that can provide meat and milk from just browsing and little-to-no pasture, why not raise goats? They're generally smaller than sheep, but not by much, and they'll provide meat and milk pretty happily with nothing but browsing.
Would it even be an issue feeding the pigs moldy or "sour" spent grains? I've seen them gobble down rotten/moldy fruits and veggies and come back for more on a few of the farms I've visited. Is there a fundamental difference between the molds on grains and the molds on fruits/veggies? Or have the farms I've been to been doing it wrong and just been lucky so far because of antibiotics fed to the pigs?
As you said, carbon dioxide only occurs when there's insufficient oxygen for full combustion. This is most common with larger hydrocarbons like gasoline or wood-stoves that produce sooty yellow/orange flames. Alcohol, particularly methanol (aka wood alcohol), tends to burn with a hot blue flame that produces little to no soot. Since there's only one carbon per molecule of methanol, it's much easier to achieve full combustion and avoid carbon monoxide production. Generally speaking, a small alcohol burner like that should be fine, but as was suggested before, a CO alarm couldn't hurt and it could definitely save your life. Carbon monoxide poisoning isn't noticeable. You don't feel anything but tired, and by the time you finally drift off, it's probably too late. Don't take chances, even if the odds of anything bad happening are pretty slim it's best to be careful.
Andreas Poleo wrote:
Can I just go for it and use some pasture with some animals and rotate them? What I'm asking is, can I rely simply on grass and no supplemental feed?
As much as I hate to say it, probably not just due to Norway's climate. Unless I'm much mistaken, you're likely to have at least 4-6 months under significant snowcover, making it very difficult for cows to provide their own feed by grazing. I could be wrong, but unless the Norwegian Reds are willing to sniffle around under the snow like sheep, you'd have to make some hay. The issue here is that you need a hay baler, which can either be a very expensive large-scale machine or a hand-powered wooden box.
Robert Jordan wrote: If memory serves he had a counter intuitive approach.
Did he ever! Rather than advocating for absolutely no pruning of any kind, as you might assume from knowing about the rest of his work, he took a different path after losing several acres worth of fruit trees by not pruning them at all. My understanding is that he prunes them to preserve their natural shape, as the more "unnatural" cultivars of citruses he had required. Any branch that twists around or takes on a shape that is not the natural shape for that tree, he prunes. This is all from his Philosophy of Green Farming, by the way. He might advocate something different in One-Straw Revolution or his Trees in the Desert book, as I haven't had a chance to read them yet.
Todd Nease wrote: My farming of them has gone wild, yet it only takes up a 4x4x3 foot area. The cost of inputs is minimal, and can possibly be reduced to nothing.
Do you mind sharing your process? Where did you source them from, what do you feed them on, habitat, other expenses, etc? I'm definitely interested in insects as a highly nutritious food that requires so little space to create. I think most people would want to put them through a trophic level or two first, haha, but hopefully that changes as time goes on.
I have to say, I agree 100% with you there! I've been reading up on them a bit and it's fascinating. That, and I have an idea as to how an enterprising permie might make one in their very own backyard, assuming they had some knowledge of chemistry.
Sodium silicate (aka waterglass), when combined with fly ash and water, seems to create a relatively strong geopolymer. A quick search of "fly ash and sodium silicate geopolymer" brings up a great number of papers measuring compressive strength and plenty of other important factors meant for people much smarter than me.
The great thing here is that fly ash is a waste product of coal (and some electric-fired) powerplants, and is a pretty big component of most land fills. A cheap waste product that would end up in a landfill or dump if I didn't use it? How could it get any better?? Reminds me of people using shabby old tires for rammed earth thermal mass.
Another big plus is that just about anybody could make sodium silicate in their backyard, if they were careful and (again) had some knowledge of chemistry. Just take lye, aka sodium hydroxide, (easy enough to buy or make by filtering water through wood ash) and dissolve it in water. Then add silicates, and you've got waterglass! On a small scale people suggest using those little "do not eat" packets of silica gel, but you can actually use a different source of silicates...sand! It is, of course, more complicated and a little more dangerous than that if you're trying to use just clean sand rather than lab-grade silicate, and I wouldn't suggest anyone try it unless they know more about it than I do. That said, I think it's a pretty cool little bit of information.
I don't think your trees will suffer from the hugels, honestly. Rule of thumb on tree roots is 2-3 times farther out than the branches, so they'll go far enough beyond the hugels that they won't have a problem getting nutrients or oxygen. The only issue I could see is that over time as the apple trees get larger and their canopy gets denser, they could shade out too much of the veggie garden/bean frame to let you grow enough in there. That depends as much on your area and the orientation of the whole shebang as anything else though.
If you're looking for more area to do year-round gardening, try looking into small-scale passive solar greenhouses. Dig into the ground a bit, throw up some thermal mass (generally water in dark containers) and build a greenhouse that's earth-sheltered on the north side. A little more complicated than that, but not by much. Good luck on extending your season!
Bryant RedHawk wrote:If you need to add nitrogen, pick any of the N fixing legumes or a blend of them to add to the Daikon and Rape, when everything is chopped and dropped you will get a nice N return to go along with the soil loosening.
I'd suggest alfalfa as a good legume; it's got nice deep roots to help break up that soil while building the fertility as a chop and drop legume. Really, any perennial legume will probably do you some good, since they do tend to keep more of their nutrients belowground in the form of impressive root systems. I'd also lean away from pulling up any dandelions you see, they're famous for helping to reverse compaction.
Jennifer suggested stone bunds, and then mentioned that it could be done with logs and that it would become more effective as soil piled up on top of it...why not go straight to hugels on contour? Rotting wood holds water pretty darn well, so it sounds like a match made in heaven. Any thoughts on how well this would work, if at all?