Jan White wrote:I just got a broadfork and really like it, too. Mine's an all metal one from lee valley. The only thing I don't like about it is when you attach the handles when you first get it, they slide down inside the upturned ends of the U-shaped part that the tines are on. If you leave it outside in a heavy rain, you're going to get water down inside the U-shaped part. Seems like a poor design to me.
Get that fork of yours welded where it attaches. End of story.
If you live in warm humid country then preserving is not as necessary as it is, say, in Minnesota. Because of the longer growing season the need to preserve is greatly reduced; so, if you live in the deep south maybe this type of food preservation is a moot point anyway. Warmer longer growing season = less food preservation.
Most folks aren't real when it comes to prepping or surviving. Prepping is practice. Just like shooting or setting snares. You have to practice. Here are some examples:
1) Go to your main breaker and kill the electric power to your house for 24 hours, (simulating grid down.) Now, what do you do?
Get out your paper and pencil, not your stupid phone, and write down the problems you encounter and what you would do about them. What about the food in your fridge or freezer?
2) Go out to the street and turn off the water for 24 hours. Same drill here, get out the pencil and paper and begin writing down the problems you encounter and your solutions. Are you ready to not flush your toilets? What about water for cooking and personal hygiene? Do you have adequate water stored up? With regard to 1) above, what if you have an electric pump on your well? What then? Hmm....
3) Park your cars miles from your house then get a ride home. What are you going to do now? (simulating no gas for the car)
Break out that pencil and paper and begin writing it all down.
I'm sure there are many out there that can think of a ton more
Leave them on the stalk as long as possible. Keep an eye on them because in the humid south they will probably mold if you try this. You can also cut them with enough stalk to tie several heads together then hang them in the barn out of the weather and let them dry that way. However you choose to dry them, remember that mold is not your friend at this point. Once dry put on some leather gloves then begin rubbing the seeds off the head. I do this into a wheelbarrow. Then I set up a fan blow away the chaff. You WILL definitely have to defend against the thieves, both the winged and four-footed.
Erika Bailey wrote:@Marco
I figured I'd see if 2 were too much work, and if I had to do 5 times as much work to get any--definitely not worth it. I have 3 huge hazelnut bushes and have not gotten any hazelnuts since the first year they produced--about 7 years ago. I think the desire to eat of the small wildlife on my in-town plot grows with the increase in food production. They don't stop at sharing levels!
This is true! They operate on instinct and their instinct tells them to work, work, work,...and get ready for the winter and spring mating season. They are like my chickens in this regard, they do not have an off switch; it's go, go, go or eat, eat, eat all the time.
Maybe you can grow mushrooms inside a coop-like structure essentially fencing the critters out. That would take some doing and you would have to have room for that. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.
Erika Bailey wrote:I have tried shitake mushroom logs in my backyard (started with just two to try it out) only to find that I grow really complicated and expensive squirrel food. The freakin' grey squirrels in my yard eat all my mushrooms. It seemed to produce fairly quickly if I soaked the logs...but just to watch them be whisked off by the squirrels up a tree. They sometimes will go only partway up to have me watch them as they eat my mushrooms. I may be a bit bitter. Of course, I might be in a better mood about it if they didn't all eat every last hazelnut too!
You didn't grow enough. The Hopi Indians have a saying when planting corn. "Plant two for the rabbit, two for the rat, two for the crow, two for the deer, and two for you." What is that, ten logs. We always had too much when we were growing up; too much corn, apples, tomatoes, peas, chilies, strawberries, gooseberries,....you get the drift, and we are 11 siblings. Really what we had too much of was too much work. It takes a lot of work to produce that much food. Speaking of work, those squirrels will out-work you every day of the week, so work smarter. Grow some mushrooms for them too. Here in New Mexico 6a/6b we water the rodents all the time. Its because if we don't, they find and chew through the drip irrigation lines looking for a water. Co-incidentally, the snakes take advantage of this water too and do quite a good job at controlling the rodents.
Timothy hay is good. We grow it in the mountain meadows of New Mexico between 8500 and 9000 feet. It has all sorts of other goodies in it like clover, forbs, other grasses, legumes, etc... Alfalfa is good too. If you can, avoid the pellets, like you said toooooo expensive. Making them into pellets is value added by the manufacturers for convenience sake. Besides all that its more of a gimmick than anything else Rabbits also browse in the winter. Here is an excerpt from Iowa State: "In the home landscape, rabbits feed on herbaceous plants (annuals, perennials, vegetables, and grasses) during the growing season. Trees and shrubs become food sources in late fall and winter (December through March). Damage to trees and shrubs is most severe in winters with extended periods of snow cover." I would conclude that if you have trees and shrubs around that need pruning, then prune them and feed the bunnies. I would give them everything except walnut. For sure, give them the trimmings from your fruit trees. I would imagine up to 1 inch in diameter because they are after the bark. Any bigger would probably be a little rough for them. In the late spring and early summer there are tons of clover along the black top highways free for the taking. Cut and dry this stuff for the winter and feed it to them fresh too.
I just stocked my first chicken tractor. I'm feeding 32 pullets, with plans for lots more in the works. Still feeding them growing chick feed, but not much since we got this fantastic rain this summer and the weeds, plants, grasses, insects, etc., have exploded, not to mention apricots, peaches, plums, melon rinds, and so on and so forth. It's a little work but I have automated their water, they have hanging roosts which move with the tractor, their waterer is hanging too, they have a hanging table they can get on or underneath and they are hell on bugs. I'm loving it!
More than likely high protein like turkeys, so lots of bugs, mice, reptiles, etc. Similar in size to turkeys. We had them when growing up and let them roam. Never ate the birds or the eggs, they were too much fun just to have them around. They really wipe out insects from grasshoppers to beetles and they like to roam in "packs" hunting. The mothers are very protective of the young and you cannot believe how well the young can hide, probably as good at hiding as baby quail.
Great answers, one and all. It looks like a pretty solid stream of insight given by all who have replied; here's my two bits:
I moved to where I currently live 3 years ago. Soil is dry, sandy, rocky, and probably fungal dominant with pinon/juniper middle story, pine overstory, and scrub oak understory with lots of duff on the ground. This kind of dry is so dry if a fire goes through, the duff will burn.
Did I mention hilly? Well then, hilly it is as well, so much so that my veggie garden is on contour. I had to do this to catch all the rain when it rained. This year it finally really rained and I caught it all. The swales were filled and covered with 8 inches of wood chips, and, as always, the worms showed up; along with all the beetles and bugs and micro-biota that live in the wood chips.
I used the Gabe Brown method, (keeping living roots in the ground at all times,) and covered the soil and constantly planted my garden mixed in with cover crops. My goal was to get as many different plant roots into the ground as possible to interact with the soil micro-biota. The first two years were barely marginal, production of anything was really tough, but this year perseverance paid off! The beds are popping and I'm feeding all the local critters to boot. They love showing up and feasting on the earth worms and grubs that have moved into the wood chips.
ALL of this was a lot of work. I think that's what I am getting at. All the solutions mentioned in this post so far work, but the bottom line is that you still have to put your equity, your labor, your blood, sweat, and tears into this. The blessing of all of this is that we can do this, and because we can, we should. Love and peace to all.
Cows de-barking trees is a mineral deficiency issue. We finally resolved this by putting mineral licks in with the cows. I was amazed. Even though they do browse, they quit because of the mineral licks. They browse and de-bark because they are looking for minerals the trees provide because the tree roots are bringing it up from a different location in the soil profile. I suspect also because trees tend to grow in fugally dominant soil. Greg Judy at green pastures farm has info. on this. We used the half barrel licks you get at tractor supply or big R. In conjunction with the mineral licks I would plant way, way, way, more trees than you think. Kind of like the Mark Sheppard approach he calls STUN, Sheer Total Utter Neglect. That way what lives, lives, and what survives, survives, and what dies, dies. Goats will totally browse new trees down to sticks and kill them, not such a good idea with little trees; sheep not so much. Cows will eat them by chance more than with intent like goats.
Maybe you should do some really high stock density grazing with the cows first. By high stock density I mean 100k pounds per acre or more; you can do this by putting 25 cows on a quarter acre per day, to really get a boost going on the soil regeneration first, then come in with your bzillions of trees and sheep. I'm sure you will not have any trouble finding someone with cows that needs a little grazing room.
The fish are a high nitrogen source, so mixing them with carbon is your ticket, lots of carbon like your old hay, or wood chips, cardboard, etc., You get the drift. I once heard Joel Salatin say they bury their dead farm animals in wood chips and not even the bones survive the microbes, and they even get compost to boot. You are on the right track.
Number one, quit going to the store. Permies is about self-reliance and doing things in ways one reduces their reliance on stuff from the store.
Number two, take and use your own bags; but make sure you wash them often.
Number three, observe your surroundings. There is nothing in nature that is wasted, nothing; and everything is recycled.
Number four, only buy things that have multiple uses. This is the age of disposability. Everything is thrown away, even people.
Number five, get rid of your storage unit if you have one. My rule is, if I haven't touched it or used it in two years, then I don't need it. If you have a storage unit, it is more than likely full of junk you don't even know that you don't need anymore.
Number six, is kinda the opposite of five, or inversely related; you can't take it with you so why do you even have it around?
Number seven, opposites do not attract. That may only be true in the magnetic and electrical theory worlds. Again, observe the world around you; like congregates with like. Trash attracts trash.
This thread is really about shifting paradigms: You have to analyze and change your thinking. Remember, talk is cheap.
Ara Murray wrote:Depending on what I am doing, I wear different clothes. As I live on a smallholding, my day to day wear is leggings, wellies and whatever jumpers/t-shirts and coats my husband and/or children have handed down to me. These probably cost more than my favourite weddings/celebrations dress which I picked up in a charity shop for £6.99 10 years ago. I find that it isn't just the clothes you wear that make people treat you differently but the colour of your hair. Now I am grey haired, I get treated like a stupid old lady. My equally grey haired husband gets treated with respect. At hospital appointments, he gets treated as if he were an intelligent human being whereas I am treated as though I know nothing. In fact, I am far more clued up than he is and I often have to spend some time explaining what the doctor has just told him. People will always judge us so nowadays I have come to accept this and just carry on regardless and laugh about ridiculousness later.
Good for you Ara. This mellow calmness comes with living.
thomas rubino wrote:So Marco;
Did you stop doing outdoor manual labor (guy things)? Note) Girls can do all those things outdoors as well...
Are you still wearing your "working clothes" during the day and getting "cleaned up" for the evening?
I hope your not wearing pressed jeans and polished boots to do the landscaping are you?
I have to wonder what brought about this change???
Could it be that a new " friend" has entered your life?
If so that is a wonderful thing for both of you.
Amazing how a suggestion from a beautiful person can alter your thinking.
As long as you are pleased with your new look and not doing it to impress then good for you!
For me, I'll stick with my earlier post about, take me as I am or take a hike!
Short answer is no, I do not wear the neat and clean stuff while working. I get too dirty, usually before noon.
What brought about the change was that I just noticed one day I didn't have anything nice to wear around any more, so I remedied that. Just that simple; nothing as complicated as a new friend.
Interesting that you answered, because I was just on the dragon tech site looking over your stuff.
Deb Rebel wrote:At home we did a lot of square bales, natural twine, and ALWAYS when you cut a twine you had to pocket it or burlap bag it and take it with you. If nothing else a cow would always seem to get wrapped up in one or trip over it.
Thank you so much for this. I've developed a bad habit of leaving baling twine where I opened the bale until it piles up and then collected it in one go. Thus far it's been fine with my sheep and pigs, but I am looking to get into cattle when I get on larger land and- during the establishment phase when I'm likely to be supplementing with hay periodically- this could have been a disaster.
So much better learning my lesson BEFORE screwing something up.
The other issue was gophers. Not prairie dogs, those are bigger and protected in some areas. We had a continual war with gophers and filling in their burrow holes. A cow could run through and drop a foot in there and break a leg (which equaled 'burger' and an emergency butchering). Our way of thinning them was sit in the back of a pickup in the pasture and shoot them with a .22 rifle. Bait caused issues so we did it the direct route. It was important in early spring to spend a few afternoons out there thinning them out to keep the population down. Then go out with the tractor and fill things in. If anyone knows how to deal with prairie dogs, without killing, let me know. Where I live now we have those.
I've seen pigs dig up moles for chow, I imagine the same goes for Prairie Dogs and Gophers. That's part of the reason I intend to rotate pigs in pasture behind Cattle [with scratching poultry- either Turkeys or Chickens- coming in behind to clean up the mess the pigs left behind.]
It's doubtful pigs would eliminate the population without being left in there far too long for the pasture's health, but in many cases population control is all you need [and desire? considering the soil building work done by burrowing mammals.]
I know it's been 6 years since you have posted this but I just came across it so here goes...The best way to move the prairie pooches is with bubbles. You get a machine going that produces boat loads of bubbles then pump the bubbles down the hole. Since they are airy and light the bubbles, ie., foam can be blown in. The prairie dogs think it is water and they freak out and exit the holes. Your second job is to catch them...lol and good luck with that. This method has been successfully used in NM to move them out of football and soccer fields, prime prairie pooch digs because of all the grass.
I work, all the time, always outside. Things like landscaping, firewood, trenching, hauling, etc., you know, all that guy stuff. It is interesting that I noticed that I no longer had a nice outfit, including footwear. I was down to work clothes and logging boots, you know those boots with the aggressive soles and sexy heels. It came to me that very gradually, over time, the "I don't give a rat's a_ _ attitude had come over me; that is, I didn't care what people thought. Hm, so recently that has changed. Whereas, before it was suits, ties, and wingtip shoes, now it is clean pressed jeans, button-down shirts, and clean, neat belts with polished boots. I just wanted to look a little nicer and cleaner than the gruff persona that had snuck up on me. In that "other world" I mistakenly had thought that how I looked would impress those opposite of me to my benefit because that is what I had been told. Maybe true for some, but not for me. That always rang hollow for me, so maybe that's why I shifted away from that line of thought. I sure was a relief to move away from all that pretending into the natural world where the only camouflage one needs is enough to get a shot off, or fish on the line. The critters don't pretend, if they see or sense you, they are "outta here"!
That is what we use in Texas to use yucca flower stalks and branches from the Ocotillo plant.
Ocotillos are one of the easiest plants to identify because they look barren until it rains then the ocotillos bloom. So pretty with those red blooms.
Hi Anne, a latilla does not have to be peeled. The extra work of peeling them is done for two reasons: bugs and looks.
Taking the bark off eliminates all the munching critters that like to eat dying cambium of trees, so when they are used in construction you don't have bug droppings and bark falling off onto the floor. Outdoors, no problem. A latilla is simply a pole, usually never more than 6 inches in diameter. Teepee poles are latillas, fence poles are latillas, take these same poles and split them for construction and they are latillas as in the google definition above.
Don't forget, ants belong and they do what they do. In my world the only place they don't belong is inside my house, so that's where I draw the line.
In the garden, however, that is a different story. Whenever you encounter the ant, you are looking at nature staring you in the face. They ARE the solution of whatever imbalance there is, mostly the unknown and unseen imbalances that we people are unaware of.
For the most part, I think ants are hugely beneficial. They are so industrious we should be ashamed of how much work they do compared to our piddly efforts. They are one of the earth's recyclers and they have been at it a lot longer than all of us.
Most of us westerners have grown up in the false agricultural world of spray and kill to protect our precious commodity, therefore, we tend to view the ant as a pest instead of the clean-up crew they really are and that's the real reason they come into the home. They have found a food source and are exploiting it. Ants make us live cleaner lives in order to keep them out of our houses.
Outdoors, they are another story. This is their environment. I cannot recall the times I have seen a dried up animal carcass being picked clean to the bone by the ant like a dead bird, or a fish head left behind by another critter, or even dead cows or deer. So, I think the ant and the aphid do a perfectly choreographed dance, one of those perfectly balanced relationships we find in nature if we are paying attention. In this respect, you need to control the aphid if you want to control the ant. Ants are harvesting the waste the aphid exudes from it's body. The only reason the aphid appears is because they have found weak plants that need to be eliminated, so the issue is not even the aphid. The root of the problem, (pun intended,) is probably the soil conditions that lead to weak plants that are screaming for help in a frequency, only the aphid can detect; so then the aphid shows up, then the ant...Hmm, what to do? I think you get the picture.
I wouldn't call them "junk poles". They are too useful. In my book, if its useful then it ain't junk. This coming from a guy whose parents were born in the depression; therefore, whose grandparents never threw anything away especially old wire, nails, boards, screws, etc. Back in the day, things were so well made they could be used over and over. That's much easier than saying repurposed and repurposed.....just saying. The grand master is definitely onto something here with this thread.
Alder Burns wrote:In climates amenable to it, bamboo comes to mind as another excellent material for such a fence. It grows in large invasive patches in much of the South and other warm moist climates and is often to be had for the asking.....
This is what I'm wanting to do and started collecting bamboo I can obtain but keep finding alternative uses for it...and folks love trading bamboo trellis for seed.
We discovered it while watching Liziqi. Her videos are peaceful and inspiring and kids and I have watched them all a few times now over the years. This is her video over bamboo fencing.
Who is this girl?!?! Amazing, just amazing. I haven't seen any woman do this much work since my grandmother and mother.
paul wheaton wrote:
People were tempted to put the junkpoles in where the fat end alternates every other pole, but I think it is important to always keep the fat end down. This makes a strong barrier along the bottom to keep the chickens contained, and a "good enough" barrier at the top to keep flying chickens in and jumping deer out. Plus, it allows more light to pass down to the growies.
I'm a bit curious about this. When I was building a section of junkpole fence at WL during the SKIP event, we were told to alternate the poles so that the large end is facing down every other pole. I think it required a few more junkpoles than putting just the large ends down, but it did make a tighter fence. Does anyone have opinions on the pros/cons for this? Considering Paul wrote this 6 years ago and they've built many junkpole fences since then, the meta may have changed.
Alternate them, always alternate them. Aesthetically and practically it is better to alternate them. It does not require any extra poles, or latillas. Always count 4 poles per foot and you can come up with a pretty tight estimate of how many you may need. Check out my other post on this subject that I just posted and good luck and have lots of fun.
In NM it is called a coyote fence. We literally have 100s of 1000s of miles of this stuff. The fence poles are called latillas, pronounced like tortillas, with the double ll silent. We use the same poles, only bigger in diameter, as posts. We never use screws or nails, except occasionally. We rarely bury the ends in trenches. Posts are juniper or cedar and set in the ground. Beware if you are tempted to use treated timbers, they succumb rather quickly to dry rot. We use Juniperus monosperma, a species of juniper native to western North America, in the United States in Arizona, New Mexico, southern Colorado, western Oklahoma, and western Texas, and in Mexico in the extreme north of Chihuahua. This is a high rot resistant juniper that is practically an invasive species, but not all the time. We also use doug fir and white fir as latillas. It is so dry out here that things rot really, really, really slowly. We alternate fat and skinny ends when installing them. They are all tied with twisted pair bailing wire, (waaaay cheaper than screws). Put a steel concrete pin in the ground, use a new roll of tying wire, (300 feet long), unroll the tying wire, go once around the pin to double the wire, put an hook into a drill, attach the loose ends of the wire to the drill and spin away. You now have a twisted pair for tying the fence a bit shy of 150 ft. long. Two people, one on either side of the fence can tie up a lot of fence in a couple of hours. 6 ft. is the typical height. 8 ft. starts becoming a mite cumbersome. It keeps the chooks in and the coyotes out, hence the name, coyote fence, so no surprise it works on a pig. It is a fantastic privacy fence and is pretty good at keeping the 2 legged coyote types out as well. It has been used historically for 100s of years in NM and Mexico as corral material for ALL manner of critters, from horses to chickens, sheep and goats, moo moos, dogs and cats. Yup, that's right, cats. Although a cat can get up on the fence, they would rather walk around it. The only time I've seen them on the fence is to get away from a stupid dog.
Most drip irrigation systems are based on pressurized water delivery. You are looking at passive water delivery so there are a few things to consider.
Head pressure, simply stated, is the weight of the water in a line and in a reservoir, but, mostly in the line.
Most irrigation emitters are pressure compensating. This means they create turbulence in the emitters which slows the flow of water within the emitter to emit the amount of water specific to that emitter.
Distance from the water source to where the water is needed is also critical because the farther the distance the greater the friction in the lines. Even the 1/4 delivery lines have friction that needs to be taken into consideration. Passive flow systems will be impacted to a greater extent than pressurized systems.
Friction in the lines is probably the greatest single "bump" you will have to overcome. A solar powered pump as described above eliminates all the guesswork.
I will tell you from experience that you need not re-invent the wheel here. The passive approach is best served if you have a large volume of water delivered to where it is needed. In other words, deliver the water to your garden site in as big a pipe as you can, then deliver it to the plants via the drip system. Do not use a 5/8 garden hose to deliver the water; not enough volume and too much friction. Go instead with a 2" system. The ubiquitous irrigation system, or the acequia, in the desert southwest is the prime example of passive irrigation where huge volumes of water are delivered for the irrigation of fields. Lots of times we oppose ourselves, or outsmart ourselves when it comes to doing things. Try not to do this. Go with a little research instead, like the gal in the link above.
Cucurbits do not like to be transplanted. Direct seed them instead to avoid this pitfall. It seems their root system cannot take even the gentlest disturbance, and transplanting usually is not very gentle. The plants seem to do best if you wait until the soil is warm enough.
Maya Rapp wrote:I absolutely despise peat pots. I always end up having to peel them off the plant/soil. I've tried using them in my grow shelves, and they just get slimy and disgusting. It's been my experience that the plant roots just won't grow through the darned things. My husband bought a bunch, and I had to ask him never to buy them again. The ones I have used, I peel them off the plant, bust them up into little pieces, and put them in my potting soil. I have better luck with crappy potting soil with too much wood products in them than I have trying to start plants in peat pots.
I kind of agree and disagree. They do have a tendency to fall apart if they are too wet, especially when it comes time to handle them. If they are slimy, there is something else going on. Now a days, many peat pots are paper pots sold as peat pots, so you have to watch out for that. I'm 60 and have never encountered a slimy peat pot, wet and cool, yes, slimy, never. Letting the pots dry a little before you water again is helpful because the dried pot "air prunes" the roots and the roots will not penetrate most of the time due to the lack of water. Planting in peat pots a little bigger than you think is necessary is also a good idea because it allows for more root growth. I think the plastic potting trays are a lot easier to handle but they are not as plant friendly, especially if the plants are left in them too long before transplanting which results in root binding. Its all give and take, so don't despair.
I have a blast composting because it is always an ongoing experiment. After the "Back to Eden" phenomena is when I really began to pay attention to what the creepy crawlies, aka microbes, are capable of. They are responsible for and the perpetrators of all manner of goodness, even if you screw it all up. I remember picking up wood chips at my local tree service yard, and the wood chips were piled high on a paved parking lot. What was amazing is as I got to the bottom of the pile I began to encounter earth worms. Go figure, earthworms doing their thing, composting, in wood chips on an asphalt surface. So then I knew that putting the chips on my poor sandy clay would work wonders just because the creepy crawlies have a way of showing up. Kind of like Field of Dreams, "Build it and they will come." So my input is let the organisms do the work for you. I put the chips down on my sandy clay and went about my business on other things. When I checked underneath the chips, viola, worms. If these guys show up then you are on the right track.
Anaerobic is tough. My sister would do this and I thought she was out of her mind. Obviously she had information I didn't because I have come to believe this process can produce goodness as well. For example, my dad would gather loads of black smelly sediment from the irrigation ditch that ran through his farm and dump it in the veggie garden. This was definitely anaerobic because it was under the water the entire irrigation season, kind of like pond sludge. What was good about it was all the critters that had come and gone had accumulated in the bottom of the ditch. Here again is another example of letting nature do all the work. Of course our labor input was loading and spreading this stuff, but oh well, we were kids and were expected to work and have a share in the SUPER abundant harvests.
Now, my latest is worm towers. I made pockets in blue food grade 50 gallon barrels, installed 36" long by 6" in diameter perforated drain pipe in the center of the barrels, drilled drainage holes in the bottom of the barrels, fixed them atop some corrugated tin on top of cinder blocks with a pan underneath the tin to catch the drippings, filled the barrels with wood chips only, dropped a handful of worms down the tube/pipe and began dropping the kitchen scraps, (including bones, gristle, fat, chicken skins, fish skeletons, etc...you know, the stuff everyone says not to put in your compost); we don't eat that much meat, but all the waste and left-overs go to the worm barrels. The end result: I collect the worm tea compost in the pans, about 1 gallon a day from each barrel and pour it directly on everything. Again SUPER abundant results. Every spring I dump out the totally composted wood chips and add them as a top dressing to the garden. Reloading the barrels is simple, just follow the routine above. A couple of pics are attached that include one of the barrels and our resident deer, boing a boing, (because of how he takes off.)
I supply water to the barrels via the drip irrigation system, the crawlies need water, so its kind of like a fire and forget approach to making worm tea. Also, I have asparagus growing at the base of these barrels so there in never any lack of nutrient for them. In the barrel pockets I have found that annuals grow best; sun loving on the south facing side of the barrels and shade tolerant on the north side. Each barrel has 18 - 24 pockets. I used a 7 1/4" circular saw to cut slits, then a large weed burner propane torch to heat each slit prior to forming the pockets out of the slits with a 2" pvc pipe cut with a sharp angle in order to force the pipe into the slots. I used 2 pieces of sharpened pvc pipe so one sits in the slot until the plastic on the barrel cools and re-hardens while I am heating up the next slot. So far so good, it is a lot of initial work but now I am going on 5 years using this method, and guess what? No turning! BUILD IT AND THEY WILL COME
Fertility in wood chips comes after a couple of years from all the creepy crawlies that work it over. 8" to 12" thick is what I recommend. Even here in dry NM at 7000 ft. that 8" - 12" disappears in a season and becomes 1" - 2" covering all the work of the crawlies, So I add about 4" - 6" every year and I never till. That being said, since you have sandy clay, simply do the lasagna method and add in a layer of manure, placing the manure under the potatoes. The nitrogen deficiency is only at the soil/wood chip horizon or interface where the microbes need the nitrogen to break down all of the carbon in the chips, and the potatoes need that nitrogen boost when they first sprout. I would also recommend and organic trifecta fertilizer, especially if this is your first planting in poor soil. When I use wood chips I add in a mycorrhizal inoculant for the fungi that will be working over the wood chips. I only do this once and I quit digging. The only digging I do is moving material away from the spuds when I am hungry then I put it right back. I also like Paul Gaucci's method of planting the largest potatoes you find during harvest. Just put the biggest ones back in the soil and cover them up. So far, here where occasionally it hits -10 deg. F., the buried/left behind spuds have not frozen, granted I put them about 8" - 10" deep and cover them with another 4" of wood chips. Burying them that deep means it will be a little bit of a stretch before the soil warms enough for them to break through, but they do break through, all the time. Since I am on a well, I use drip irrigation and each spud is buried right beneath an emitter. Come spring time, I turn on the system and walk away except for the occasional fly-by to yank a weed or two. Those wood chips are quite good at suppressing the weedy competition.
20 years ago or so my oldest sister told me you could cook beans, (in my case, pinto beans,) in a Stanley thermos. I never forgot what she told me but I never tried it until today; and guess what? It's true! I did my first cup of beans today in a very high quality thermos that I have. I have the thermos to take to work to keep my food hot, which it does, because I hate cold hot food. Recently I was perusing various sites about thermal cooking so I decided to give it a whirl. Thinking about this it is really ideal. You don't have to keep an eye on a boiling pot and you don't have to worry about over cooking the food, I've done this a time or two; and you can do this with almost anything you want as long as there is lots of boiling hot water in your recipe. That's why I opted for beans on my first go around. This kind of cooking, I imagine, can work while camping too, or almost any outdoor activity. The secret is you have to bring the liquid to a boil then add it to the preheated thermos. Vacuum stainless steel is superb. I think plastic would not work at all. I think the biggest boon is probably that you don't have to have something cooking on the stove-top for hours. You just have to heat it up then pour it into the thermos. If it's not quite done, then just reheat in your pan and pour it back into the still hot thermos.
Giselle Burningham wrote:Hello from Tasmania Australia! I believe the canning first started because of Napoleon who needed to have consistent fresh food for his troops! Technique is known as sterilising in Europe. However most of these techniques have been lost. I purchased a canner from the US however I have absolutely no idea how to use it. I’ve watched a couple of videos but what I need is a step-by-step guide. I got a Canner as I live on a homestead property in the bush and a long way from the shops so this would really help me out.
I must admit I’m quite nervous because my only experience of pressure canners was from school science laboratory where one blew up and the lid ended up spinning in the ceiling! Lolol I know there is a difference between a pressure canner and a food Canner, but I don’t know why.
Thank you for being on this site this week it really helps. Giselle
The non-pressure canning known as water bath canning is easy peasy. You just have to remember mostly that acidic foods like fruits, tomatoes, pickles, (because of the vinegar,) don't need to be pressure canned. The idea behind the pressure canner is to increase the atmospheric pressure inside the canner, especially at elevation. Barometric pressure at sea level is ~14psi, or one bar. At altitude, like where I am, 7500 ft. in the Rockies, I need a pressure canner for non acidic food preservation like meats, potatoes, corn, green beans, etc..... This is because at elevation water boils at a lower temperature and does not reach the temps needed to kill off the bad guys, hence a pressure canner that can bring sea level atmospheric pressure to me. That's it in a nut shell. There are tons of sites in the US that have lots more details about canning, both water bath and pressure. I can boil, pun intended, it down to these bare bones 'cause I'm 60 and have been piddling around with canning all my born days. Much success to you in your new endeavors
I've seen this before and it makes a lot of sense. The barrel pole serves as the drum on a winch which is very short on most electric winches. What we are dealing with here is man power to turn that sucker. I think its that long in order to be out of the way while flipping the lever and long enough to flip the barrel without having to strain yourself during the flip. I put one together but haven't used it yet. I did tighten it between two trees and it operates as advertised, so now I know how to make and use one. I think a wire rope would serve well in this application so you can really crank on it without worrying about a synthetic or natural fiber rope breaking. It surprised me that it pulled his truck without breaking. You will also notice that the rope was piano string tight too.
[1. I want the added benefit of the box being black but the thought of paint is unappealing. Was thinking maybe a homemade concoction of black walnut stain?
2. Because I am using roughcut lumber I expect in time to develop small gaps as the wood dries. I could use food grade silicone but would rather not. Maybe cotton and wax chinking?
3. for optimal drying how hot shout it be?
I think air gaps are ok. Its the moving air that carries away the moisture as the food dries so I wouldn't worry about air gaps from your rough cut stuff. You can use mop head string to seal the gaps if you want installed as you put the boards together, but again its the moving air that carries away the moisture, and besides, who said the air has to follow yours or anyone else's prescribed path. We are talking about drying food here not super insulating and sealing a leeds certified greenie home.
Just char the interior with a propane torch. Build your box and char the thing. Keep some water handy in case you catch it on fire to douse the flames. The char, as we know, is non-toxic and absorbs odor, but mostly it absorbs heat. I would stay away from ALL the paints and the silicone; they cost too much in too many ways, but mainly by contamination.
We used to dry on tables made with 1x4s with hardware cloth to put the food on and covered with cheese cloth. No issues, stupid easy, and cheap. Apples dried in 2 days, squash in 2 days, roasted peeled green chilis in 2 days. I don't recall flies being an issue, but when you grow up on a farm they are just part of everyday life, like scraping cow dung off your boot. The only thing we didn't try drying are tomatoes. Some sites say that high acid foods like tomatoes are corrosive to the zinc coating, which is an elemental mineral we all need, so does it really matter if it does? Hmmm... then again maybe not.