I'm turning a concrete walled room in my barn into a tiny home. I need to insulate the walls. Since I probably won't have help, I've decided that the easiest thing to do is to use the foam panels that are available at Lowes and put it all together with construction adhesive. Can I put the foam right up against the concrete, or do I need to create a space?
I don't really know what I'm doing with this project, so any tips or tricks would be appreciated!
We're trying to reclaim a section of poor, overgrazed pasture. The dog fennel (Eupatorium capillifolium) is taking over the world! For one brief second, the Roundup looked pretty good ... no, I'm not actually going to do that, but I'm getting desperate. Any ideas?
Walter lives in Vermont, so his climate is different, but he is more than willing to answer questions. He has a LOT of blog posts on the basics of what he does, and he's very successful at it. He's a member here, but I don't know how often he gets on here anymore. He and his family are good people. Best dog I've ever had came from Sugar Mountain Farm.
For what this is worth ... I'm a Christian counselor, and I do something called temperament therapy. Most people have never heard of it. In my almost 10 years of experience, I've discovered that many of these types of conflicts are due to the fact that you and your spouse are wired differently.
I am GUESSING at your spouse's temperament based on what you've said ... but I'm guessing he's the type who does not feel comfortable doing something he isn't sure how to do, he doesn't like to feel controlled, he's a perfectionist, and he is not motivated by punishment or reward.
I am GUESSING that you are a git 'er done kind of girl, that you tend to just jump in and figure it out, that you are more interested in having it done than having it perfect, and that you also do not like to feel controlled.
The cool thing is that marriages between people with different temperaments can actually work really well ... as long as you can resist the urge to kill each other. That's because you each have strengths that the other doesn't have. The key is to learn to work with them rather than fighting them.
For the past 2 years, we've had a crazy population of red wasps that hung out at the entrance to our barn. They are aggressive little suckers that would dive bomb us and sting just for walking through the doorway. I will confess to using a few non-permie-friendly approaches to getting rid of them, none of which worked very well.
This year ... the carpenter bees have moved in, and all of a sudden we don't have a lot of wasps. Mind you, of the two, I'd rather have the carpenter bees. They don't bother people at all, and I enjoy having cute, fat little bees buzzing around.
However, I like my barn.
Do I trap the bees and risk the wasps coming back? Do y'all know of any beneficials I could buy and release that would discourage red wasps but not have my barn for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? Any other ideas?
I have my batteries. Waiting on the other things to arrive.
Mongo brings up a good question ... why don't I just stick with DC for the lights and laptop? The short answer is that I eventually want to be able to produce enough solar power to keep some food cold, heat up the coffee, and run the mixer. I can't buy everything I need for that all at once, but I already have the inverter, so I might as well set it up now and then just add to the system as I'm able.
Rabbits can easily be left for a night or two without problems.
The first common sense rule is to check the weather forecast. I don't know where you live, but if it's gonna be 110 in the shade on the days you want to be gone, it might be better to reschedule your trip. Same thing if it's going to be cold enough to freeze all the water.
Otherwise, we hang 2 or 3 water bottles per pen, depending on how many rabbits each one contains. Our rabbits are used to getting fresh food, so we throw in a lot of hard vegetables ... carrots, whole heads of cabbage, sweet potatoes ... that they can munch on while we're gone. They also get a bowl of pellets, which they most likely finish off the first day. Obviously, if your rabbits aren't used to fresh food, you'll want to introduce it gradually before you plan to go anywhere. If you object to feeding anything other than pellets, you'll need something that will hold a LOT of pellets, because rabbits offered free choice pellets will usually take advantage of it.
As for keeping them cool, we're in West Tennessee and it gets pretty hot here, but our rabbits are used to it. We just make sure they have shade at all times. We move the grower pens inside the barn. The outdoor pens have corner tarps and are surrounded by trees, so they do pretty well. We triple check the tarp ties so they won't come loose while we're gone.
When we come home after a weekend trip, the rabbits are generally out of food and are obviously ready to be fed, but they're not frantic. They're about as hungry as they usually are at feeding time. They always have water left in the bottles. We've never had anything happen while we've been gone.
My inverter is a pure sine wave ... I did figure out the difference there LOL ... and I have the space to put the batteries right next to the inverter.
So if I'm looking at 6V golf cart batteries, I gather I need 2 of them to equal 12V? And going with Frank's suggestion to stick to a minimum of 100ah, is that 100 for each battery or for both batteries combined? I'm finding 12V golf cart batteries, too ... is that a better option?
Seriously, I'd rather intubate and hang an epi drip ... :/
I think my brain is fried. :/ I can calculate how much dopamine to put in a bag to keep the blood pressure of a 1200 gram baby at an acceptable level, but for some reason all of this electricity stuff is just not computing. Good thing I didn't want to be an engineer.
Anyway, I'm attempting to put together a small solar system just to run some lights and keep the laptop charged ... for now. I plan to expand it as finances permit. I currently own two 100 watt panels and a 2000 watt inverter. I know I need some sort of a regulator and a battery or two or six, but I'm plowing through all of the info online and just not making heads nor tails of it. My current budget is about $500, give or take. I totally understand that I will not get all of my power needs met at that price point, and I do have a generator. I just want to get the ball rolling and be able to use solar power for at least some of my plug ins.
Somebody tell me what to buy. Links would be cool. If you ever come through southwest TN, I'll pay you in brownies.
Thanks, Glenn. That's probably what I'll end up doing.
Todd, I have looked at those. With the lack of used wood stoves in my area, that's probably the route I'll go if I do end up replacing my stove. I just wanted to be able to use what I already have if possible.
Good idea, Jeremy ... thank you! I'll back the stove up against the wall when I get back home and see what happens.
One way I was thinking of building around it was to take the legs off the stove and set it right on the fire brick. That would take out the air gap and make the whole thing a bit more stable, at least in the picture in my head. I also wouldn't mind having the door up a bit higher.
Is there a huge advantage to mortaring the brick vs. dry stacking it? We won't be living in that room forever, so at some point I'll probably want to move this thing.
Good point, Chris ... I don't have any experience in any of those things, so if I needed to have something welded, etc., I'd have to pay to have it done.
I have been scouring Craigslist and anywhere else near me that sells this kind of stuff used. The pickings are slim. So far the only used stoves I've come across are way bigger than what I need and still cost $400. I can't seem to find any small stoves for sale. Maybe once the heating season dies down there will be some available.
I am currently living with my daughter in a 7'x20' room in our barn while we work on building something else. The walls are concrete block. When we moved down here, I found myself with very little cash and winter fast approaching, so I bought that stove. All in all, it's been a good little stove, and once I figured out its quirks it's worked well. It's just too small to keep up with heating that room once the temps get much below 35* or so.
I've got a bit of cash now, and I want to do something so that we can be more comfortable in cold weather. I could just buy a bigger stove, but that would pretty much take all of what I currently have available, and I'm sure y'all can understand that I'd like to stretch the money as far as possible. So I'm wondering if I might be able to do something with this little stove to oomph it up a bit.
I've heard of people building a fire brick box around their wood stove to hold and disperse more heat. Would that work here? How big could I make it before I'd lose any heat advantage?
If it's a stupid idea, just say so ... I don't dwell in The Land of the Perpetually Offended, and I'd rather have people tell me straight up.
(And yes, I do want a RMH heater eventually, but I have more urgent projects, so I just want to do something quickly for now.)
We're about 2 years into developing our 13.5 acres in TN. Like you, we don't have any heavy equipment and are doing most of the work by hand. A couple of ideas, based on our experiences ...
Build your gardens up, rather than trying to dig down. You can make raised beds right on top of your current soil without removing anything. A layer of cardboard or newspaper helps, and then just start piling organic matter on top of that. Find out if someone around you can set you up with some loads of manure. Root crops will be iffy the first year (plant them anyway!) if you can't get the bed really deep, but the soil will start to break down and things will improve year after year. We've never used a tiller, and our beds produce pretty well.
Don't take out a tree unless it's in your way. Those young fruit and nut trees will often do better the first year or two with a little shade, and you can take the unwanted tree out as the more desirable one takes hold. Mature trees, even if they are a "junk" species, add a lot of value to your land in terms of water management, temp control, etc. Certainly don't take out trees faster than you can replace them unless you really need to open an area up.
Big equipment ... and even smaller equipment ... is usually available for rent. There's a place in our town that rents things like weed whackers, chainsaws, tillers, chippers, etc. for about $20 a day. A place farther out rents dozers, etc. If you plan the project well, you may be able to make a significant amount of progress with a one day rental.
Good neighbors are worth their weight in gold. Mine will let me borrow anything he has ... this is how I'm avoiding spending money on a chainsaw ... and we often collaborate on projects. Cultivate relationships with the same care you cultivate your land.
Congrats on getting your place, and welcome to the adventure!
Nope. She should've been able to deal with a once a day check. Not a doe you want to keep breeding.
Remember that temperament is inherited just like everything else, and we select for that as much as for size, etc. We can easily hold all of our rabbits, flip them over on their backs, check their ears, and probably hang them upside down by their back legs (haven't tried that one LOL). We don't keep the ones that go nuts with that kind of handling. We flat out refuse to get torn up because we have to treat the odd case of ear mites or whatever.
Of course the downside of that is that you go in the pen and they all run over and sit on your feet. Makes feeding kinda challenging.
We've been raising both meat and pet rabbits for about 15 years.
The short answer is that, if the doe were mine, she would never have another litter.
It can actually be fairly common for a doe to lose her first litter, either by neglecting them or killing them. Rabbits are kinda weird, and I think some just need a litter to figure it out. The common wisdom is that you get the first litter out of the way, because you're probably going to lose it, and then you get on with raising rabbits. However, our experience is that losing the first litter seems to be a genetic trait. Our current line of does have all successfully raised their first and subsequent litters.
When a doe has lost her first litter, our response is to give her more space and free choice food when she has her second litter. If she cannot/will not raise her second litter, we cull the doe.
We handle all of our litters from day one. When it's obvious the doe has kindled, we check to make sure all of the babies are alive and seem warm. We do that every day from there on out. Despite popular belief, a doe will not reject her litter just because you have handled them, especially if you are the one who brings food and water. She is already used to your scent, and if you are providing for her, she doesn't see you as a predator. We take whole nests apart when necessary, clean them out, and pile fresh hay, the pulled fur, and the babies all back in again with absolutely no issues. We have never lost babies because we have handled them. I totally agree with Guerric ... farm animals need care, and we refuse to have livestock that we can't handle.
James ... I'm not Joseph , but in our experience, some does will kick dead kits out of the nest, and some won't. That's the main reason we check them daily.
I am NOT a vet or a vet tech ... I am a human RN with a fair amount of experience in doing her own vet work on her own animals, and I can calculate drug doses for a dog. Please take this for what it's worth.
Unless you are willing to use a firearm (and you said nonviolent, so I'm guessing you're not), you are unlikely to be able to legally get anything that would end her life without suffering. Some people have thought that the leftover painkillers they had lying about from one procedure or another would do it, but it takes a fairly high oral dose of a narcotic to cause respiratory arrest in a dog, especially if she is a large dog, and what if she throws it up? In order to put her to sleep painlessly, you need an IV injection of a barbituate. Most vets use pentobarbitol, and again, you're not going to be able to get that. Common toxins don't work quickly or painlessly.
My best recommendation would be to call your local humane society or animal shelter. A friend of mine recently faced the same situation, and they put his dog to sleep with an IV injection in his car for $50. The dog didn't have to go inside the building, and it was much more affordable than going to the vet.
When my dog had cancer, we put her down with a firearm ... but my son-in-law did it. He wasn't at all attached to her, so for him it was no different than any other livestock. I couldn't do it and I didn't watch. I said goodbye to her, and he took her out back.
My son has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, so I'm familiar with the ballpark of connective tissue disorders. I have fibromyalgia and degenerative joint disease, and I'm about your age. So I do feel your pain.
Any my theory is ... go for it. There is no reason to give up on your dream.
I think you do need to be realistic about what you're able to do. Unless you can find help, it's probably not wise to plan on developing a 20 acre food forest and raising large livestock. You probably won't have the strength or energy to do what needs to be done in that situation. But nobody said your place has to be that big.
There are people who are building a little permaculture homestead on a suburban lot, with a couple of fruit trees, some garden beds, and chickens or rabbits. There are people who have an acre or two, and there are people who have hundreds of acres. The smaller plots are no less satisfying to develop than the larger plots. You still get to plan and design and experiment, just on a smaller scale.
So find your little piece of land and start. You might only get a garden bed or two done this year. You might only plant one fruit tree, or put a little coop together and get a couple of hens. That's OK. It's not a race. And in the meantime, you can scout out places for cheap or free materials and find ways you might barter for help. Next year you might be able to add something else ... or not, depending on how much you are able to do. But it will be yours, and you'll learn to enjoy what you can do and stop worrying about what you can't do.
Umm, excuse me, but ... how on earth did you read my mind?
I was just sitting here wondering if there was a way to create a warmer microclimate in my zone 7a world so that I could successfully grow avocado. I came here to see if any of the helpful and knowledgeable people here had ever done that, and lo and behold, here is your post!
My squash landrace last summer was a dismal failure. I'm putting it down to the fact that it was my first year gardening in the South, and although the spot I picked would have been ideal in PA, it was too dry and sun baked here in TN. Nothing came up. So I've moved the whole garden, and I'm going to give it another whirl this year.
My goal this year is to plant as many varieties of everything that I can get my hands on.
The best piece of advice I can give you is ... start small.
It's so easy to want to jump into 16 projects right off the bat, because you're excited to be on your land and you want to get this thing going! And you see all of these people posting all of these cool things, and dang but those goats are CUTE, and of course you need chickens because everyone does, right?
But all of these things have a learning curve if you've never done them before. When you have multiple learning curves going on at the same time, it's easy to get frustrated and overwhelmed. You can learn it all, but you can't learn it all at once.
So pick one or two things that you'd like to start with. Get them going really well ... and by "really well" I mean that you've gotten through one or two disasters with them, corrected the problems, and learned something. You're comfortable with the day to day management and only occasionally need to ask advice or google something. Then go ahead and add something else.
If your new project involves animals, please do your research before you get them. I can't tell you how many posts I've seen along the lines of, "I just got a baby goat. Now what?" and the person has no idea what it needs and absolutely no concept of the fact that a single goat is a miserable goat, and it's now 8pm and everything's closed and someone is supposed to tell them what to do.
We're over here on the other side of the state, in Chester County. There are a lot of people living off grid out here. There is a company that sells land on a rent-to-own basis (that's how we're buying our place), and many of us don't have the income to put everything in right off the bat. There are no building codes unless you're in the city proper. We love it!
Hi! We've raised rabbits for close to 15 years now, and this has happened to us too.
The bottom line is that some rabbits can be raised together, and some can't. Just like people, they have their own temperaments, and some just prefer their own space. This is more common with does, who tend to be more territorial. We've successfully raised colonies of rabbits, but it seems like there's one in every bunch who wants her own apartment.
Andie has already given the advice I'd give ... first and foremost, more space. They might settle down if they have room to get away from each other. Make sure they don't feel like they have to compete for resources. Give them plenty of things to chew on so they're not tempted to chew on each other.
If that doesn't work, you will have to accept the fact that these girls just don't want to live together and either divide the hutch you have, or get separate housing for one of them.
We found several very large, well established black walnut trees on our property when we moved here. The trees look to be perfectly healthy without any major issues that I can see. So this past fall, we excitedly scooped up the nuts and cracked them ... only to find that the nuts hadn't really developed inside the shell. There was nothing more than a thin, oily membrane where the nut should be. In some cases, there was mold growing in the cavity.
Hey Rob! I lived in Geauga/Ashtabula counties for a lot of years, but spent quite a bit of time in Medina and LaGrange when my best friend lived there. I actually went to the WEST side. Ugh. I escaped the lake effect a couple of years ago.
Any advice on salt curing with smaller meats like poultry and rabbit?
We are just getting production up again after moving last year, and are looking at finally having some rabbits to butcher soon. We don't have refrigeration either (bought raw land, and the solar system we currently have can handle lights and laptops, but not a fridge or freezer ... yet). It's chilly here in West Tennessee at the moment, but it won't be long before the temps and humidity will be climbing.
Most likely we'll just be butchering one animal at a time, but I'd really like to figure out a way to keep the meat from spoiling while allowing it to sit until the rigor's gone. I do prefer tender meat.
christoph Berger wrote:I feel that a lot of the supposed necessities of owning horses is just like the supposed necessities for human living conditions
I would tend to agree with you there.
Everyone raises their animals differently, and just because other horse owners don't do what I do doesn't mean they are wrong. However, it's my experience (20+ years owning horses) that the majority of horses don't need a lot of the things humans think they do. My general philosophy is that I raise my animals as naturally as possible, and then tweak it as necessary to keep the animal in good condition.
Horses were created to eat grass. In most situations, that translates to hay for at least part of the year. Their guts are not really designed to process grain, and the only reason to feed grain is if the horse is unable to maintain appropriate body condition on hay alone. That can happen for a variety of reasons, but the bottom line is that feeding grain really doesn't need to be an automatic thing. You're better off putting your money into providing free choice hay, and then add grain only if the horse needs it. Grain is expensive.
You can learn to do vaccinations, worming, and basic vet care yourself. You can also learn to trim hooves yourself. I'm not saying that these things don't take some training and skill, but any reasonably intelligent person can learn to do them if he or she wishes to. Depending on your personal situation and how often, if ever, your horse is exposed to other horses, you may be able to skip some vaccinations. I'm not recommending that for anyone else here, but that's been my experience.
You can also learn to read a horse's body language and train yourself. Again, not saying that it's just a matter of going out there and winging it. Just saying that you can learn to do it if you want to.
Horses don't do well alone, but they will usually be fine with goats or sheep as companions. They just need another herding animal to hang out with ... but it's a must. A lonely, depressed horse can be a nightmare to work with.
Obviously they need shelter, but it doesn't have to be a huge, expensive barn. A run in that keeps them out of the weather is fine. In VT, you might want to invest in a blanket. You'll also need to figure out how you're going to deal with frozen water buckets.
However, I do share a lot of the concerns that have already been mentioned in this thread. An inexperienced human needs an experienced horse. If the horse is inexperienced, then the human had better know what he's doing. Otherwise, you're looking at a recipe for disaster. A young horse needs to be despooked, have his instinct to get out of Dodge at the first sign of trouble controlled, and be taught manners, or he's going to seriously hurt someone. And that's all before he even learns his job. If you don't know how to do those things, you shouldn't get an untrained horse.
Keep in mind that if you get a young filly or colt, you'll be feeding it for anywhere from 2-3 years before you can really do anything with it. Obviously that varies with age, breed, and the type of work you want the horse to do, but keep in mind that horses are generally still growing until they're around 5 years old. I know there are a lot of people who would disagree with me, but I prefer to err on the side of caution, and I don't ask a horse under 4 years old to do any real work. If it's a colt, you'll also need to have him gelded, which will set you back a few hundred dollars.
But ... I get that you love horses, and you want one. I don't blame you. So go ahead and clear your pasture and start throwing some seed down. While you're waiting, find some way to get yourself around horses. If you're creative and determined, you can find someone in your area who can help you out. Learn as much as you can. Muck stalls and throw hay and turn the horse out and ride if you can. Be there when the vet and the farrier show up. Always ask WHY they are doing something ... as I said, everyone does it differently, and when you have your own horse you're going to have to decide how you want to care for and train it. IMHO, feeding 2 pounds of sweet feed per day because that's what so-and-so down the road said to do is not acceptable to me. I want to understand what's behind that practice and then decide if I want to do it or not.
If I can leave you with one strong recommendation, though, it's that a young horse is NOT a good idea for someone in your situation. You should be able to find a well broke, gentle, older horse for not a whole lot of money these days ... they are a dime a dozen down here. Find one between 15 and 20 and you'll still have a lot of good years with that horse.
I haven't tried keeping them in pots. Think I'll go buy another plant and give it a whirl.
I hear ya on the gully washer rains ... one of the first things that struck me when I moved was how differently it rains here. And there's this big, bright thing in the sky that seems to be out most of the time. You don't see it nearly as often on the shores of Lake Erie.
Bottom line is that I'm still learning how to garden down here. Not sure how many years I'll have to be here before I get over being amazed that I can actually eat from the garden in March!