Unfortunately, I didn't find much else useful, and decided the courses were too expensive for what they claimed to give - even at the periodic 50% off rate they offer now and again.
I do still watch everything they put out on Youtube, and I think Dr. Ingham's methods are valid. I'm just not convinced that the incremental knowledge or certification you get at the end are worth the money you have to pay to get them.
So, I've been thinking about getting cattle for 5+ years. We have a family history of Dexters.
Life events have put that on the backburner the last few years, but I'd really like to get going next year. Having only about 3.25 acres of grazing available, my plan would be to start with a cow, calf and steer in a rotational system. Basically, I want a steer a year in the freezer, so add a Dexter steer in the years that the cow gives me a heifer calf. That should work with the amount of pasture growth we have here.
The one issue I need to figure out is how best to do water out in the pasture. Our primary well water is at the house. We have a second drilled well up at the barn, but it hasn't been working in 20+ years. Would need to get all the electrical sorted out, new pump and plumbing, and deal with the fact that it's in an unheated barn during the winter and still a long way from the pasture. Our third option is a dug well in the old turnaround circle in front of the old barn's milkhouse.
Fix the barn well
Probably the best long-term solution. Would require new electrical, pump and plumbing. In addition, would need to rebuild the pump room to be insulated and relatively airtight as it would need to be heated all winter. and probably my best option for winter water anyways. However, this is probably the most time, effort and funds-intensive options I can think of, and requires me to invest in a barn that I may someday be tearing down (don't want to, but probably need to invest $30k-$50k to get it weather-tight again, possibly a $50k roof on top of that, not to mention fixing all the rot that's set in from 30-40 years of low / no maintenance - for a building that I don't use most of due to it's awkward configuration.
My next idea is to purchase an IBC tote or other water tank with an opaque cover and put it on a trailer where it sits up high. I can pull it to the house with my tractor to fill it, then park it in the field, attach field lines and use it to gravity-feed a hose out to wherever I have the pasture water that day.
Here's the problems with that idea:
1. Still have to invest a lot of time and money into building / buying a trailer for this.
2. This plan breaks down when the ground is too wet to pull a heavily loaded water trailer.
3. Doesn't really provide a good winter solution.
A second option - I have an old dug well nearby with the water down between 6 and 12 feet, depending on the time of year. I don't have power to the well, and bringing power would require breaking a bunch of old concrete. I could potentially add a windmill pump and a tank, and gravity feed the pasture, but I'd need a big tank up fairly high to have enough of a pressure head to feed out to the pasture. Option B would be to run the outfeed from the wind pump directly to the trough in the pasture, but that may not be too dependable. I think I need a tank buffer to carry through those periodic no-wind summer days.
1. The well is in the middle of the turnaround circle of our driveway, under a nice mature Red Maple that would have to come down if I built a windmill.
2. Not sure how much tank buffer capacity I would need to reasonably have.
3. I'm not sure my wife would be a big fan of having all the water infrastructure front and center on our property
4. Still doesn't give me a good winter solution.
Does anyone have any other thoughts or ideas about how to reasonably and cheaply develop a water solution?
For years, I've had an interest in soil science. I've read all Dr. Redhawk's soil threads. I've listened to Dr. Ingham's lectures on Youtube. I've read a bunch of different papers over the years. All very good information... sometimes it conflicts, but all very interesting.
For the last year or so, I've been considering taking the Soil Foodweb School course with an eye to opening a second business doing soil consulting. The value I see is having a certification (yes, that means something to clients) and to be attached to a somewhat reputably 'brand'. Plus getting some hand-on training in microscopy and recognition, along with resources to aid in that.
However, the course is $5k USD for the Foundation's courses, and you are approaching $10k USD by the time you have everything done for the Consultant Training Program. That's a lot to shell out! And because it's not from a government-accredited institution, I can't even claim it on my income taxes on it as job training / professional education. If I am convinced I want to start a business following, I could open the business and charge the course as a capital expense. However, the tax class only allows me to deduct 5% per year, so it would take 20 years to write it all off...
Here's my concerns:
1. It seems like every few years, the course gets rebranded and the price goes up. Yes, free market etc.... but this raises some red flags. They've developed a good marketing machine, but I can find relatively little information from folks who have taken it regarding the content and value. Especially in the last few years - most feedback is at least 3-4 years old and from before the more recent and more expensive iteration.
2. I feel like I have a fairly strong knowledge on soil science basics from years of research and reading on my own. What's the incremental value I'm getting for all that money? To commit to this level financially requires me to *know* what I will be able to do at the end. If I spend the money, but receive only moderate incremental value... that would hurt.
3. Ultimately, there's no way to dip your toe in the water and see what you are going to get. At this price point, it's a big risk with an unclear reward.
So... I'm looking for feedback and personal experience with the course. How did it go? What did you get from it?
This past year, I ordered and planted Lofthouse Dry Bush Beans - they are growing well, and I'm looking forward to harvesting (and saving) them this year!
However, I also have planted several varieties of beans that are intended as green beans in close proximity, and I was considering doing more. I have 5-6 varieties of green beans in various left over packets from previous years, and I was just going to plant them all. My hope is to never buy bean seed again.
However, I'd love to maintain both a dry bean population and a green bean population, so this leads me to a few questions:
1. I've never grown dry beans before. Will cross polination between green and dry beans 'ruin' both varieties?
2. How common is inter-plant polination? Looking at Josephs dry bean cultivar, it appears that there are a consistent 5-10 separate phenotypes of bean from year to year. Does this mean that most polination is self-polination?
3. How would you select within these two populations to help keep my green beans crunch and edible in their stage, and the dry beans consistent with their properties for storage and cooking?
With better planning, I would have at least grown them on separate ends of the garden to open up some space in between, but... I didn't.
Thanks for the responses all! Sounds like I don't have to worry, and if it does happen, I'll call it a good thing and something new to play with! The odd cross would be exciting and interesting - I was just concerned about finding both varieties intermixing with eachother after a generation or two, which sounds unlikely.
Joseph - actually, the pepo in this case is your Winter Pepo, ordered from EFN! The Maximas are the Nanticoke squash, also from EFN. I've been reading your squash, tomato and other threads for the last few years, and have been itching to get my hands on some of your varieties to experiment with. I also have your dry bush beans and the Chariot tomato coming. Don't hesitate to follow up if there's anything I can do up here to help advance your breeding work. I find it tremendously interesting.
This should be a simple question, but Google has given me both 'yes' and 'no' answers, depending where I look.
I'm looking to plant both a C.pepo and C.maxima in my garden this year, with an eye to saving seed. However, I'd like to know if they are going to cross polinate and give me unpredictable results. If not, I may restrict myself to only the C.pepo this year.
Andrea Locke wrote:Curious to know whether anyone followed through on tapping red alder for sap, and how that went?
We have lots of red alder at our new place and according to one of my herb books the sap is rich in vitamins and is consumed as a tonic. So I am starting to think seriously about tapping.
I'm not sure about alder, but birches (which are relatives) have between 0.5%-2% sugars in their sap, while maples run 1-5%, and sugar maples in optimal conditions can possibly even hit 6%. My silver maples here calculate out to about 3-3.5% sugar content, but they are in good soil, planted in a single row along a field edge, so they get full sunlight.
With respect to syrup production, the amount of syrup yielded by a given amount of sap will be less. It will taste different, but I've heard it's good. It's not something I've ever tried myself.
I have been gardening with arborist's wood chips for 3 years now.
Although they are a great source for garden amendment, wood chips alone are not always enough.
When I made my beds in the late summer/ early fall, I first used several types of compost and several types of manures. I then put down about a foot of chips.
That winter, I planted my brassicas in trenches of good soil. They grew spectacularly, however they needed more water than I was used to using. I use Korean organic farming inputs, and I had to water with fertilizer once per week.
By that next spring, I was able to grow anything that was not a root vegetable with ease!
Now, starting year 3, root crops are growing great because the texture of the soil is perfect.
I constantly mulch with leaves, grass clippings, and more chips; as needed and constantly, being sure to keep at least 4 inches of mulch across the garden at all times.
I hope you can glean from this experience to help with your vegetable problems.
Onto the subject of the evil grasses; I have bermuda grass, Devil grass. I was able to conquer this nuisance by first laying down layers of cardboard and newspaper, but I have been plenty successful with just plain wood chips.
The key is to really load down the mulch, over 16 inches, after being packed down with rain and foot traffic.
You will still get a few survivors that you need to pull up.
You then need a fairly wide and deep trench around the perimeter of the garden.
Finally you have to maintain the trench and the mulch in your garden, constantly add mulch.
My garden is approximately 2000 square feet, and I can maintain the weeds and trenches alone with less than 15 minutes of work per week, as long as I stay on top of it.
Thank you for the thoughts. I suspect you are on the right track in that I need to supplement the fertility. My hope was that the woodchips alone would provide that fertility, but so far no dice. My intention for next year is to strongly supplement the garden with (imported) compost, as well as bringing in some mushroom spawn and red wrigglers to increase the activity and decomposition rate.
I have a good relationship with the local electric utility's forestry crew, so I have a near-unlimited supply of ramial woodchips cur from power lines along the rural roads here, so as fast as the woodchips decompose, I can replace them.
Nick Neufeld wrote:Sounds like you have two problems and some really awesome cabbage.
Your first problem about the veggies, I don't have an answer for. Could it be a timing issue? Either starting too late or growing veg that aren't suited to your climate? I hope you get good advice on this site, but the best advice might come from growers in your neighborhood.
Your second problem about the grass, I think Ruth Stout would tell you to trench a border then dig up every morsel of rhizome all at ounce. Operation eradicate.
I'm not growing anything too out of the ordinary for this area of Ontario.
Thanks for the video, it more or less summed up the issues I'm encountering and offered a few solutions. Unfortunately, sounds like there's no way around it being quite labour intensive all summer, but repeated smothering seems much more practical than constant rooting out and pulling.I *may* need to trench around my garden however... in the video they create a 2' mulched barrier, but I suspect that will be crossed by invading rhizomes within a few weeks.
Not sure whether this is a mulch topic or a gardening topic, so feel free to move it to a better home if needed.
I've had a few years of gardening under mulches on this property. Year 1 was a load of old straw and hay. Year two and this past year were woodchips.
The original straw and hay can no longer be found, having broken down it's entirety. Despite depositing 12" of woodchips between fall of Year 1 and Year two, the woodchips were very thin by this past spring, and I had to add another ~4-6" to the garden. In other words, they've been breaking down fast. However, I am not getting tremendous production from my garden - my root vegetabls (beets, turnips, carrots, potatoes) didn't do great - the plants just didn't seem to want to grow until later in the season, despite me being very careful to ensure everything was planted in soil. The broccolli didn't really form heads, yet the cabbage I grew was show-worthy, and the brussels sprouts grew huge plants / leaves, though didn't actually develop useful heads on the stalk like I would hope. I feel like something must be missing from my soil profile - I *should* have strong organic matter and microbiology now. I see huge amounts of worms, the soil (a clay loam) under the chips has great tilth. The moisture levels were consistent - the mulch did a great job of keeping the soil moist despite 6 weeks with no rain. Everything about the soil suggests great fertility except the results...
Anyways, I'm making plans for next year, and one of my goals is to be more relaxed with weed contol - just focusing on preventing flowering / seed production, and only cutting them down if they start impacting plants. My thoughts after reading some threads is that additional root mass in the soil is only beneficial from a microbiology perspecitve, and roots that decompose in place aren't a bad thing. My main weeks are thistles, plantains, and grasses with small amounts of other plants in small quanitites..
While the thistles and plantains are manageable, I see trouble with is the grasses I've been fighting. I have a fairly aggressive rhizomatic grass in my garden. Every spring at planting time, I spend hours and root out as many rhizomes / plants as I can. However, I rarely have time to put in several hours per week into the grass battle over the summer, and by the end of the season, the grass has reestablished itself across the garden.
Has anyone succesfully conquered a grass like this? The rhizomes spread as deep as 6-8" below the surface - even in the soil under the woodchips. They *do* seem to be responding to increased soil fertility. The rhizomes will grow 4-5' in length in a few months. Rooting them out is a large job, and almost impossible once a bed is planted, which is part of the reason why the garden is half overrun by harvest. I do think I need to put in a hard edging around the outside of the garden, going down 6" at least... but that will be a big job.
I've tried smothering the plants, but that hasn't been effective. They still seem to survive and find a place to emerge even with cardboard and 6" of additional woodships on top. I eventually have to clear places to plant and put my veggies, and they come up there, and work their way through gaps and seams in the cardboard layer and colonize the chips above it...
Nature is putting up a great fight to reclaim this garden space. I'd love to work with nature... but if I let it go to sod, I won't be growing a garden anymore. The best option I can think of is to grow plants that close canopy and shade out the grass, but this gets back to my initial issue - my plants stay fairly thin, and don't grow anywhere near full potential.
Oh, and we don't have many allelopathic trees here, so I don't think the poor plant performance can be traced back to that.
I'd appreaciate any thoughts and suggestions. I'm already itching to go for next season!
Cristo Balete wrote:It takes a lot of milk to make cheese, with a lot of leftover whey. Is there a cheesemaker near you who might buy your extra raw milk?
Not legally, here in Canada. Distribution of milk produced without quota ($24k per kilo of butterfat per day and not currently available) or raw milk (with or without quota) has lead to jailtime here. While I am sure I could find people who would buy it illegally from me, I'd rather find ways to convert it into product I *can* legally sell (or distribute).
I've been thinking about Dexter cattle and how they are supposed to be dual-purpose animals. However, some experience with the breed and owners really suggests to me that by and large, most owners and homesteads are primarily using them as small beef cattle, and the dairy aspect in the breed as a whole (outside of some selected breeders) has been massively deemphasived to the point that many of the Dexters out there would not make good house cows. Personal experience has shown me many cows in the breed with bad to terrible udders, and questionable milk production - the owner unable to get much milk, and the calf eating signifigant grain or hay much earlier than would normally be expected.
So, I've been debating the merits of starting a breeding program to re-emphasize the dairy aspects of the breed.
My baseline expectations would be:
1. The cow should produce enough milk to sustain her calf's growth rate (~1.5 lbs daily) until an 8-month weaning, without limiting the calf or forcing it to more solids than is in the best interests of the calf's long term development.
2. The cow should produce a minimum of 3/4 to 1 gallon of milk per day for the family.
3. The cow's beef aspects should not be signifigantly deemphasized - merely balanced.
4. None of the other core aspects of Dexters should be compromised - easy keeping, feed efficiency, temperament, size etc.
I don't know if I will actually pursue this, as I am not keen to tie myself to a milking schedule, but I am still working through it mentally. A few thoughts:
1. I would need to split calves more or less immediately post-colostrum, so that I can harvest and track the cow's complete milk production, then feed an appropriate portion back to the calf. I need objective measurements to have objective results.
2. I would need at least a few cows in the herd under this regime, so I would (hopefully) harvest several gallons of milk per day.
3. This is more than my family can drink, and we only have so much time and resources for 'extra' enterprises like cheese making.
4. I live in Canada, so we can't sell any sort of dairy product, or even technically serve it to visitors.
5. I will need to find a use for excess milk.
Does anyone have any thoughts on the best uses for excess milk? So far, I have:
1. Raise a few extra bottle calves.
2. Perhaps feed it to the chickens or a hog?
3. Spread it on the pasture as an amendment?
I'm done with the lists, but would love to hear people's thoughts on all the above.
Steve Thorn wrote:Very neat Brian! What type of apple is it?
I air layered an apple last year and removed it after about two months, and no roots had formed yet unfortunately.
Maybe if you could open it up and peek without fully removing it? I know that might be hard though depending on how the air layer is set up.
I removed mine right near our first frost, maybe even a little after it, and it was fine. We don't get very hard freezes here though, only down to about 15 degrees F, I bet winter damage may be more of a concern where you are.
Well, I can look, but I put it together with potting soil, and it... wasn't easy to get it all together in a way that it works.
It gets down to about -30 Fahrenheit here during winter, so cold enough that winter damage is a pretty large concern. Hence my desire to take the air layered cutting earlier to give the wound some time to harden off and heal before it starts freezing overnight in a couple of weeks.
I guess the worst case scenario, I could plant my air layered cutting into a bucket of damp sand in the short term to give it more of a chance for roots to develop.
I've been doing some looking into Scythe options up here in Canada, and just wanted to post my research here for the benefit of others.
All these options are for scythes that would arrive in 'Ready to use' condition along with the sharpening equipment required to maintain them (Peening sets and stones for Euro scythes, grinding point and sharpening stone for the American style). I want the blade to come sharpened, so I have a good reference points as to how a sharp scythe is supposed to cut. These quotes are all for 'general purpose'-type blades that can be used for trimming and rougher ground / vegetation, so 'Ditch', 'Garden' or 'Weed' blades depending on the vendor.
Note that these are not 'Apples to Apples' comparisons - these vendors sell different Snaths, blades and even styles of scythe. So, your mileage may vary, but since I had it all written down, I figured I may as well post it in case it's useful to someone else.
USD/CAD conversion was done at 1 USD = 1.33242 CAD
ScytheWorks #01A “All-Purpose Outfit” with #126Z/65cm
$392.11 CAD after HST and shipping
Scythe Supply (coming from the USA) Custom outfit with 26" Ditch Blade and Sharpening
'Under $75 shipping to Canada'
$376.53 CAD after HST and Shipping. Not sure about duty as the blade is not US made.
Baryonx (US supplier, American-style Scythes) Longfellow Snath
'Grab Bag Vintage Blade' weed blade with a 'Deluxe Fine' grind and Tang Adjustment
Polymer Whetstone Holder
Lansky Canoe Stone
$445.13 CAD after HST and Shipping. Possibly some duty.
One Scythe Revolution - from the USA 160cm FUX Adjustable Snath with 65cm "Gartensense" Scythe Blade Outfit
$598.05 CAD after HST and Shipping
The Marugg Company - from the USA Straight Hickory Outfit w/ 26” Grass blade
$75 Shipping (estimate, will adjust once owner responds)
$393.03 including HST and Shipping
After all this, I'm not sure which way I'm going to go.
I was thinking hard about the American scythes from Baryonyx... I'm convinced they can do the job as well as European-style scythes once properly fitted and set up, plus, with the grinding points, I have the option of picking up and 'restoring' local blades if desired. I also prefer the maintenance requirements somewhat more. However, I'd be paying a premium to go that way.
All the above companies offer custom sizing, and I suspect I would be quite happy with any of them.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:The one thing I would do at this point in the year would be to decide which leader you want to keep and I would get rid of the other and use Elmer's glue to seal that one wound.
Leaving a double leader can lead to deformation of both leaders and that ends up weakening the tree.
notching this late in the season does not allow for enough time for new growth to fully harden before winter, that can lead to death of the new branches.
There are three options available in your situation.
1. do nothing till winter, your tree isn't old enough to not respond to good, judicial care of branching.
2. remove the unwanted leader and seal the wound to prevent insect/fungal damage.
3. turn the unwanted leader into another tree by air layering and waiting until a good mass of roots have formed on the scion then cut off seal wound and plant new tree.
you can, in the spring, encourage new branching where you want it to occur by inducing bud formation as per R. Steele's suggestion and method.
Thanks. I will probably take this advice.
As for air layering - I had never heard about that, but it seems amazing! On the flip side, I also see it as a potential avenue for disease on the parent tree, not necessarily something I want to experiment with the first time around.
That said, I've been thinking about trying an apple on it's own roots as an experiment. There's some 'wild' apples around here that produce prolifically, and are likely the result of seeds scattered into fence lines by birds. Ignoring the fact that the wild quality is all over the map, the trees are for the most part large, healthy and productive with no human intervention.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:Are you planning on creating a bonsai or other manipulated tree shape?
No, I just want to end up with a 'standard' central-leader tree. My main concern is that the existing branches are mostly too low, and as far as I understand, it gets harder to 'induce' branching on older wood. I believe the area where I want the scaffolding to grow is already 2-year old wood (this being it's third year), so already may be difficult to get it where I want.
I would wait until the tree is in dormancy, it needs this year and perhaps next year for the root system to establish so the tree will not be stressed when you do prune it.
Winter is the time for pruning, early spring is the time for notching most fruit trees.
If you were to prune or notch now, you would invite insect damage to occur as well as sending out the call to feed for fungi spores that are airborne.
I appreciate the advice. I am giving up on the idea of pruning, thinking only to notch to induce some scaffold branches where I want them... but even that, I am hesitant about this late in the year.
Working with trees purchased as 1-year olds is way simpler....
I just purchased and planted this 'Haralson' apple to fill a space that was left from another tree (an old, abused 'umbrella tree') that died out this spring.
As you may be able to see - it has a few problems:
1. The little apple on the central leader is at the 30" mark, roughly where I want my first set of scaffolding branches. The existing branches below that are way too low.
2. I have a competing leader growing. I debated just starting my scaffolding there, even through it's lower than desired, but that branch is too thick to bend for training.
So, to my mind, all the branches below the first apple on the central leader have to go. However, it's also well into July - not exactly an ideal time for pruning.
Also, I'm not sure how to encourage scaffolding branches at the height that I want them, because there are no lateral branches currently at that height. In a new tree, I would have cut the central leader there at the appropriate time to create the laterals, but obviously, this tree is well beyond that.
I'd appreciate any advice. This tree *should* be a semi-dwarf size, but there was no information about the rootstock other than a tag that said it gets to 5m tall and wide (about 16').
Wild Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is a big problem here. It's an invasive, and a relative of the feared Giant Hogweed. It grows up to 6' tall, and the sap of the plant will cause extreme photosensitivity in skin - if the sap is exposed to UV rays while on your skin, you get more or less immediate blisters. When they leave, you often have a dark spot on your skin in that area for a couple of years, and lifelong photosensitivity in that area. If the sap gets into your eyes, it can cause blindness - this has happened to both children and adults alike - a lot of people will use a string trimmer on them without knowing the danger of the spray that gets generated.
The root is edible apparently, but still has a low concentration of the irritant that is in the sap. For some people, it's fine, others get mouth blisters. I haven't tried it to see which group I fall into.
It will grow anywhere with adequate sun. It's in all the roadside ditches, field boundaries and wherever else around here. It's all over my property, and it means that I need to strictly control the areas my children go in the summer.
The frustrating thing is that the province has declared it a noxious weed, and landowners are technically required to control it on their property or face fines. But the municipalities don't do anything about it on all the roadside ditches and common areas, so the seeds just blow in every year thick and heavy.
We live in a rural area, and if one of my kids was to have their bike go off the road into the ditch, they would be covered in the stuff.
There's few plants I would ever advocate spraying for, but this is one.
I'm just planning my garden, and the prevailing wisdom regarding beets seems to be that you can start them in the garden up to 4 weeks before last frost, but germination may be spotty and slow. Also, you shouldn't start them indoors as they don't transplant well.
However, there's also a few (not many) reports of people doing just that - starting a flat of beet seedlings, planting them out, and having great success.
Has anyone in the permies community attempted starting beets early indoors?
Sam Del Vecchio wrote:Hi Everybody, I'm installing a 4" Dragon Heater Barrel Build in my little wooden house. The standard clearances for the single-wall stovepipe seem excessive for a rocket heater; and I need to save space. I'm imagining the usual clearances are based on pipes running 500 degrees or more, and that mine will be closer to 200 or less. Can anyone point me toward some information to help me work this out?
I'd also really love to vent it out the back wall at a 45 degree angle; but I've been told that would be asking for trouble.
Thanks for your time,
In most cases, your home insurance would have the final word on this. If you don't have insurance, then I would personally consider sticking to the WETT standards.
The WETT standards call for 18" clearance to combustibles for single wall pipe, but this can be reduced significantly by installing a heat shields to protect combustibles that breach this clearance. An acceptable heat shield is a piece of 26ga sheet metal with a 1" space between it and combustibles. They are easiest installed by using 1" pieces of copper pipe as spacers and putting a screw through the sheet metal and copper pipe spacer install the wall behind. The heat shields have to be somewhat vertical so that air flow can happen behind (ie, warm air exits the top pulling cold air in from the bottom).
The whole reason for all this is to manage catastrophic events - for instance, if your stove isn't operating correctly, or there's a spot you can't clean out that catches fire in the pipe some day... perhaps all very unlikely with a rocket heater, but it would help me sleep at night.
Pamela Smith wrote:
Here in Canada if we get farm status, for us this is simply selling product from our land every year of 2500.00 gross.
Just to add - these limits are set provincially. I envy your $2500 limit - here in Ontario, we need $7000 in gross revenue to get a farm number. Of course, that would instantly save us ~$2k in property tax per year.
The problem I see with many of the designs I've looked at is that's is hard to find something that is truly 'portable'. For instance, this time of year, I would hope to still be able to have my cattle out on a daily rotation through stockpiled forage. However, we still have days and nights where we need wind protection, which means whatever I build will need to follow the cattle through the daily rotation.
Unforutnately, the land here is flat as a pancake and treeless, which means there is very little natural protection for the cattle.
The other option may be to stop backfencing after a certain point to allow the cattle to retreat to the leeward side of a building or to a run-in. However, I don't know if it would create a problem with their shelter being hundreds of feet from their daily grazing portion.
I am looking at getting beef cattle next summer, and winter grazing them as late in the season as I can.
However, in the winter we get a tremendous cold west wind that will rip your face off as most treelines have been ripped out for miles to the west of our property. I plan to plant a windbreak next year, but it will be a few years before it's even minimally effective.
What do other people do for temporary winter shelter?
Once it gets later in the year (and winter grazing is no longer feasible due to snow cover), I will make a sacrifice paddock near my barn with a run in area. However, I'd like to Winter graze as long as feasible, if I can shelter them from the wind.
I'm in the early stages of looking at the idea of opening a moderately-sized fibre mill in one of my farm buildings.
I'm not sure I like the business model most of the mills around here operate on - they provide processing services to small flocks whose owners want to use the yarn, usually ranging between $30 and $40 CAD per lb to process.
I have in mind something a little larger in scale where I provide a central sorting service where all the local small flock farmers can drop off or ship their fleeces, get them skirted / sorted / checked for quality, then get paid for the usable amounts. I would process the wool, and market it onward. The simple version is to provide a central facility to merge a bunch of small streams from small producers / hobbiests into one larger regional one that can feed downstream commercial wool consumers.
The problem is, I am having trouble defining any sort of 'real' market for wool in Eastern Canada. Yes, there are hobbyist knitters and weavers who would happily purchase local materials, but the number of volume consumers is low from what I can tell. It's a chicken-and-egg scenario where there's little local clothing industry without local processors... but the processors can't survive without the consumers.
Option B would be to create a retail end as well, but that would require the purchase of additional tooling and expense, with a whole different level of market research and different business structure.
Probably my best bet would be to get in touch with my local Fibershed society and the CCWG (http://www.wool.ca/).
So, I have a (currently unused) pasture I am trying to improve for next year, though the only tool at my disposal is mowing.
I mowed it in twice in June for the first time in 5+ years - the first time to knock down the waist-high grass, and a second time to knock down the milkweed that sprung up instead.
It's now been three weeks since I last mowed and thanks to the amount of rain, it's back up to boot high. I have lots of poison parsnip and milkweed just starting to go into bloom, so I want to knock them down before they set seed. However, I'm probably about 2 weeks early for the thistles to bolt and go to flower.
Should I mow it now and knock back the poison parsnip and milkweed, and just accept that I'll miss the thistles this year? Or should I wait?
We bought the property in February, and by the beginning of June the pasture areas was waist-high grass and weeds, which lots of shrubs and small trees. I dragged a bushhog over it twice about 10 days apart, and it's now growing 'mostly' grass with an assortment of other species mixed in (including wild parsnip according to the blisters it's given me).
There's lots of thistle in the pasture after mowing, so I'll probably do another high pass once it bolts. There's also a fair amount of milkweed in some areas.
Hester Winterbourne wrote:You can fix nest boxes to trees using garden hose, which will stretch as the tree grows, and you can adjust it as necessary. So, hold a square of ply against the tree, take the hose round and nail it to the board, then fix the electric fence attachments to the board. But I'm not sure it would hold the tension of en electric fence evenly enough on a long run.
Ah, that's a good thought.
I don't think the fence would put a lot of tension on the trees. Mostly just aiming for something to keep it tight enough to avoid excess sag!
Mike Jay wrote:I'd think that there should be a good way but I'm not personally sure what it is. I just wanted to chime in to encourage you to try to find a way without screwing into the trees. They're a great maple syrup source and each hole you put in causes some damage.
Yep, that's more or less why I'm asking. I could always run fencing inside the treeline, but if I could somehow use the trees, it would save a few hundred dollars.
I'm wondering about some sort of board with I can screw insulators to, that I then strap to the tree. However, I'm wondering if the strap material will end up causing more damage to the tree than two screws.
I'm looking at putting up an electric fence around the pasture of a small farm we recently bought. The total run of fence would be around 2000 ft.
About 1400 ft of that length has mature maple trees on 40-ft centers. Is there a smart way to use these trees as living fence posts for my electric fence? Many are along the laneway and road, so I want it to look reasonably nice.
Thanks in advance for any tips!
Edit: Here's a farm layout I'm working in. I'm primarily looking at Dexter cattle.
Re-edit: There's an existing array of galvanized ground rods near where the yellow area meets the barn wall.
John Elliott wrote:Tell us where you are, Brian. If you are out west, a pH of 7.2 is on the acidic side, while that would be pretty alkaline compared to a clearing in the Georgia pine woods. If you have a lot of limestone under you (like in the Ozarks), that's not nearly as high as it could be. I'm with those that say don't worry about it, at least to the point of putting elemental sulfur on it.
There are lots of species that will grow at pH=7.2. You will probably end up making your decision less on pH, and more on rainfall needs of your pasture species.
I suppose that's quite vital info! I've updated my profile, but the land I'm looking at is about 30mins south of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. I'm kind of on a boundary between zone 5a / 5b.