We hosted Ernie & Erica for a workshop in April 2015 (has it been almost 2 years already?) and our RMH is - of course - working perfectly! I love to show it off but if you'd like to come you do need to plan ahead because I'm not always online. We are at Sterling, New York. We discovered a great source for insulation blanket, fire brick and clay in Syracuse, New York, too!
Just wanted to point out that we seem to be talking about several different varieties here. We have staghorn sumac here in the northeast. It is abundant, deer love it since it holds it's fruit through the winter, but it is not particularly fragrant and I have not yet attempted to use it for spice, 'lemonade' or eating the shoots. Like I said earlier, I have cleared a bunch of it and it doesn't - to me - have any appeal as a food. Anyone else have any experience with staghorn sumac?
I love a good sale and have been waiting for a new scythe! How timely! However, I made a pledge not to buy anything on Black Friday so I am overjoyed you are extending this! (Maybe I'll just have to wait up until midnight...)
That is a pretty clear video. I would say you learn it just like you learn most skills -- from practicing. My first grafts were actually successful. I attribute that to a careful and patient instructor and slow and meticulous implementation of the instruction.
I go out every morning (I don't live there. Yet) now that the seed heads are ripening and cut them down so that the seeds can be collected and destroyed. Our local DEC dept. is assisting with this.
I saw 4 baby turkeys (yeah, I know - poults) the other day so they've successfully hatched! At least some of them did. They were with about 4 adults and one of them was a tom so they have their own little clan.
It occurred to me after I posted these photos it seems as if I am standing right in the middle of it. I didn't intend to give that impression. I avoid all contact with this plant in every case.
A little scene occurred while I was cutting some down the other day I thought I would share with you here --
The turkey came back to her nest. I know this because I startled her off her nest again this morning.
So I avoided the area and while driving away slowed down to see if I could spot her nest from the road. She was back! Again! And obliged me with a stirring so I could tell. I will avoid her now and eagerly await the hatching.
She had built her nest in the shelter of the huge plants. So, there, perhaps some will see some justification in allowing it to grow but I maintain that the turkeys would find some other sheltering area if the giant hogweed were not there.
Rubbing the sap on areas that don't get sunlight would probably not do anything. It's not like poison ivy. But it is way too easy to just brush against a leaf and be exposed. Ask me how I know. I have also learned to carry a bottle of water with me and if I get accidentally brushed, I can immediately rinse off the area and my skin will be fine. Also, working with it on a cloudy or rainy day gives you a measure of protection. It needs the sun to burn.
I wish you well in eradicating your giant hogweed. I have heard it has a "medicinal" value but I can't understand how one would process it since it is so toxic.
Sounds nice to be able to have the leisure to try & decipher why a plant would choose to live where it does but I have to disagree with Queenie. This is a dangerous plant. (That was one of the nastiest photos I've seen yet of the damage it can do.)
I have known it quite well for the past 9 years. I have about 4 acres of it and that field is totally useless to me. I can't even enter it once it starts growing and it is one of the first plants to show up in March, which was when we closed on our property. I think we're making some progress but it's slow. The DEC and local Soil and Water Conservation have been helping me battle it and this in spite of the fact that I have insisted that no herbicides be used on my property. They pay for a local farmer to come in and mow the field through the growing season to keep it from setting seed. It takes about 4 mowings then it gives up. Until next year. Every day once the flower stalks go up I go in with a long handled shovel where the tractor can't get to and cut them down to keep the seeds from forming. I wear protective clothing and even so still try not to touch any of it. I have tried digging it up, too, but I just have too much. I wouldn't call them tubers but taproots and the plant is so successful I wouldn't put it past it to grow from a small piece of a root. It is considered a long lived biennial.
There is one spot about 40 square feet where I was chopping some down and once I could see the ground discovered that I was standing in the center of a bunch of poison ivy. And it was on a hill side. That spot I am going to try burning in the early spring before any leaves form. And if that doesn't work...
I have read that animals will graze it but pigs, since their skin is so like ours, can be burned by it, too. One of my neighbors had cows on a patch of it and it was gone. It was obvious because the plants were growing just outside the fence. I don't have fence or animals. I did have 3 alpacas for a summer and they would eat it when it first came up. They didn't seem to be bothered by it. I found them a new home since I can't afford fencing. (I chased them more times then I care to remember.)
I have black walnuts on my property, too, and while there isn't a lot of the giant hogweed under them, I cut down one flowering plant today right under the tree. Can't have them in there with my raspberries.
This topic naturally caught my eye. If anyone else has any success with this, I sure would be interested in hearing about it.
In this podcast they discuss using a hugelkultur as a burial place and Paul seems to not think this would be a particularly satisfactory way to dispose of a body. I know I have read of old timers composting a dead cow but I couldn't find any good articles however, I did find this on composting a dead horse. Said the process would be complete in 2 - 3 months. Sounds like it's not burying the body exactly but creating a compost pile on top of it.
Since I won't be living there this winter researching more about insurance is on hold until house construction is ready to start. I hope that will be this spring but I don't have all my ducks in a row yet. (We need a duck emoticon.)
Ernie got me considering solar hot water heat for the house so I'm trying to find more information on that. Anyone? Think I'll slide on over to that forum...
i am replying to let you know I am not much help with this. I count myself fortunate that I can find my email & navigate on this forums. I am using Chrome and the links worked like they're supposed to but for the rest...?
Called the agent who holds my home insurance and they won't insure a structure without anyone living on the property - which I don't yet. He said to call back once I move out there. I asked him about insuring a home with a rmh and he had never heard of them but was familiar with a masonry stove. Sounds like he would have to see it.
If I felt it was unsafe and I needed to be insured against something happening because of it, I don't think I would have built it in the first place.
When I applied for my building permit for my barn, I described the rocket mass heater I planned to install inside. I must have done a good job because they wrote "Rocket Mass Heater" right on the permit!
What are the most common to watch out for? Treatments? How about some good reference materials in caring for goats? I heard a horsewoman who started keeping goats quote her vet after asking what was wrong with her goats, saying, " Goats die." Didn't sound very hopeful to me.
Deer are more repelled by strong smelling plants. Think chives, thyme, rosemary, garlic... Not, however, roses. They are delicious! Daffodil blooms - and thus the scent - lasts for only a short time. The daffodil bulb is toxic to bulb chewers & is supposed to taste really bad. (Haven't tried it myself.) Deer would have to dig them up and don't think they wouldn't. They decimated my friend's carrot field one winter. Plants chives or marigolds in with your carrots and get the added benefit of repelling nasty root nematodes, too.
I have a lot of weedy staghorn sumac on my property and when Ernie was here I asked him about burning it since I felt it was pretty light weight and worthless. He replied certainly and works fine if you properly dry it first. On the basis of that, I think one might be able to safely say any wood, properly dried.
I have finally gathered all my receipts and figured out how much I spent on materials I had to purchase. $578.85 does not include a few tools I bought. I only used 1/9 of the sand delivered so I prorated that, although there was a minimum order to get the truck here. I think we only used half of the insulation (right, Erica?) so the other half will be saved for the next build (my house!) as will the fireclay, I cut both of those totals in half. Local (read that - free) materials we used included clay from the site, stone in all shapes and sizes. Lots of stone... Water. That cost doesn't include gas for the vehicle or our time to run around and find all these items. This was in the Syracuse, NY area. I think more planning ahead could have brought that cost down some and would definitely have saved on the scurrying, in fact, some items like the insulation and perlite could have been ordered and shipped to the site. When it's time for me to build my next one, that's what I'll do. The site is totally off grid and no generator was used for any of the work so that was another savings. It seemed at the time I was spending a lot of money (I for sure did!) but I don't think the total cost was all that bad considering everything and the heater came out really wonderful!