chip sanft wrote:I want to buy a machete to use around the land -- chopping out woody plants-out-of-place, cutting down saplings, clearing paths through thorns, and so on. The usual machete stuff.
The problem is, I can't decide what kind of machete to buy. My dad's is a plain South American one, probably cost $20 or so and works well enough. But looking at Amazon I find really good reviews of things like the Ka-Bar kukri machete (here: Kukri machete), which is $45. They also have a number in the $20+ range.
My inclination is to buy something a bit more expensive, with the idea that I'll buy this one and keep it for a good long time. And a good machete is something you can get a lot of use out of.
Does anybody have any experience with various machetes? I don't mind spending for worthwhile tools, but I also want to avoid wasting money.
I gave our Muscovy duck, Kate, 4 goose eggs, but she added a Muscovy egg and then it turned out that our geese are definitely not fertile. I tried to swipe the goose eggs thinking I'd give her something else, but could see a little "just hatched" Muscovy duckling. I swiped the 3 goose eggs I could reach, and left her be, figuring she'd bring her little one of the nest in a day or two. No such luck - she was bound and determined to hatch that last goose eggs. Sigh.... in the meantime, I took this picture.
As folks rightly noted, condensation and therefore mold could prove detrimental to your health unless you implemented an efficient moisture trap. I would be uncomfortable with this idea as even a well designed system would be hard to test for actual air quality. One other idea if you have a well and some spare energy to use from a solar system. Place your water storage tank in your root cellar, keep the water flowing through the tank perhaps draining out to a pond/irrigated crops. This would surely keep the tank well below air temperature and in a small cellar space could lower the temperature a few degrees. The addition of a fan could make this system more efficient. You may need to place a pan with a drain under the water tank to collect and redirect condensation. Just a thought.
Nick Kitchener wrote:I've been working with quackgrass for 5 years and there is no sign of it going away. I can dig the stuff out by deep turning the grow beds but that only triggers the germination of a gazillion wild buckwheat seeds dormant in the soil, followed next spring by a fresh crop of quackgrass. And it destroys the soil structure.
If I sheet mulch I get about 1 growing season in before the quackgrass punches through an entire newspaper. If I deep mulch with hay it just keeps on coming.
For annual beds I really am at a loss about what to do about it. I'm coming to the conclusion that I will simply have to pull the stuff until one of us dies.
Quack grass is hard to deal with. The way I have handled it is to smother it for as long as it takes to die with heavy sheets of rubber (pond liner) or cardboard or carpet or whatever wherever I want a garden to be, plus a foot or so extra all the way around. It can take a year or more, but I leave it until everything under it is completely dead. Then I fold in the sides of the smother-material about 6 inches and plant a border of comfrey all the way around, about 6 inches apart. Let the comfrey come up and get at least a few inches tall before you remove the smother-material. During that time, keep the quack grass pulled from between the comfrey. Once the comfrey is established, it should make an area of protection around the garden bed that will keep the quack from growing back in from the sides. After the comfrey is growing well, you can pull off the smother-material and plant the area immediately. If you used cardboard, you can just pile compost or soil on it and plant right in it. I try to keep everything covered with wood chips from then on, but if you don't have wood chips, just try to keep some kind of mulch or something growing in it all the time. It worked really well for me.
My bindweed went away as my soil got better, so I can't really comment more on that.
I found a pinch of A&H baking soda on a damp washcloth works well and is super cheap. Since I already have a bag of it for other uses, no additional purchases, no additional packaging to throw away afterwards either. I just keep a small amount in the bathroom to use each morning. When I wash the cloth with the rest of my laundry, well now I have some baking soda in the wash as well which I believe is an additional positive.
So you guys knew about Willie Smith and his project already seven years ago?
I heard Paul praising him on Paul Wheaton permaculture podcast 432 yesterday, and thought who is this guy then?
I find it so astounding that no-one has heard of him and his super project.
Rebuilding a rainforest, the guy should be getting a million nobel peace prices.
The solution to biodiversity loss, desertification, soil erosion, people moving to the cities in droves, poverty, crime etc,etc,etc.
Where are the political parties, the journalists, the writers of books, the documentary makers?
wayne stephen wrote: I like what Lewis Black has to say about Christians interpreting the Torah. "You never see a Rabbi on TV interpreting the New Testament , do you ! ".
However, it occurs to me that a New Testament parable may shed some light. In the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares, the landowner was surprised when tares came up in his wheat field. "Didn't you plant good seed?" was the question asked. In the parable, an enemy came in the night and sowed the tares. If this parable accurately reflects the culture of the day, we have to ask, why were the weeds (tares) so surprising, and why did they come up only because an enemy sowed them? This seems very strange to me given the ubiquity of weeds that sow themselves. I wonder if something about the farming practices of the day made for "pure" fields without weeds, sown with "pure" seeds?
Myrth Montana wrote:We have 2 rescue cats, both female, both avid hunters, who are indoor only. They don’t eat what they kill. They kill for fun.
I love them dearly. They are family. One is sitting on my lap at the moment. But in my opinion, based on my reading of various scientific studies, it would not be environmentally responsible to have them outside. I love cats. I love nature. The best solution that I can see is to keep the girls indoors.
I just popped over to your site Myrth and your girls are gorgeous! I completely agree with you, it's not fair to unleash our killer kitties on the local wildlife. It's been a long time since I've had an outdoor cat. He was a true killer, catching humming birds out of the sky and throwing snakes around like sad ropes. Never again. Only indoor babies for me from now on.
Matt Bearup wrote:
My nesting holes are horizontally oriented but I think the wasps are accepting of whatever opportunities present themselves. Drill the holes as deep as you can without going all the way through leaving a solid back to them. Drill into dry wood with a sharp bit at high rpm to ensure a smooth splinterless hole. Drill various hole diameters small and large, if competition for holes is high the smaller bees and wasps will be evicted from the larger holes and move to a hole size they can defend. My aphid wasps have been very happy using holes 3 inches deep. This year I picked up some specialty small diameter long drill bits so now I can drill 1/8 inch holes 5&5/8 inches deep I will see if this makes a difference. They will use hollow stems as well or even excavate their own chambers from pithy stems. So mix it up and see what works best for you.
Great, thank you so much for the tips. I will start with hollow stem bundle as it is quick and easy, and then look into wooden version.
OK, I bought the $25 MagTorch (on Amazon). And did have the apparently-common trouble starting, but called customer service and Laurie was enthusiastically helpful, with detailed instructions and explanations, and insisted call back if needed. (BTW.. NEVER look up the tube ; ) Her instructions were spot on, and it now works fine. I only expected it to work on the early 'thread stage' annual weeds, and it seems to do that (although spring came in December here... Seattle area, so they're bigger than I'd like for flame weeding) It will never 'get rid of' quack grass, bindweed, or any other perennial weeds (but I find it gratifying to manually remove them - it's sit-down work, on my stool :) (I have suburban lot)
And agree with Dale, pulled annual weeds leave perfect tiny beds for more weeds to sprout (plus the annuals will keep growing in our moist springs... so have to be gathered & removed). (Digging out perennials does, too, but those areas are more easily 'spot mulched', for me.)
Bryant RedHawk wrote:..... the only thing I miss is being able to send my writing to my agent as a file, now I have to burn a CD and mail it, just takes longer.
Redhawk, I'm curious as to why you can't just EMail your writing to him as an attachment instead of burning a CD?.....
Also, a related topic as I'm re-reading some chapters of Leonard Shlain's "The Alphabet versus the Goddess: The Conflict between Word and Image" about how literacy engages the mind in a different way than imagery. There has been discussion here and elsewhere before about turning off the digital for extended periods of time,......but my question is whether or not anyone has tried to go for extended periods without reading/writing.....without engaging with the written word. Clearly that is a more difficult undertaking as this is how we've mostly come about storing information and communicating it for several hundreds of years now (although to varying degrees and not true for all cultures). It's one thing to come back from a vacation where you deliberately turned away from all digital/cellular communication for that period, but has anyone taken a break from reading as well an noted any interesting changes.....possibly better attunement to the natural surroundings or an (re)awakening of senses that you maybe did not know that you had?
I have been reading about "sainfoin" - a leguminous hay crop that produces copious nectar over and extended season. I have heard anecdotes of beekeepers who couldn't work out why their bees were packing away a super each week of honey, week after week. Then they discovered a farmer had established a few acres of this just down the road. As a leguminous, perennial, nitrogen fixer this is an ideal crop. The name literally means "healthy hay" and does not cause the issues with bloating that other legumes like clover can.
I wasn't aware this weed caused problems... It grows in my yard (6b in PA) but only in gaps between the rocks in my rock walls. The only natural predator I have noticed is myself and my kids. When they get big enough to bother with we rip them out and eat the top half.
It sounds like manual labor is doomed to fail. Move on to chemical warfare. No, not poisoning the stuff.... What you want is a tailored repellent. Many thingsgs (like poison ivy) won't grow in one or more specific soil profiles. Maybe change the pH a good bit one direction in a small area and change it the other way in another area. Add an irrigation system to a third area and so on. Change your soul to a fungal foundation elsewhere. Nothing grows well everywhere. Make a list of what you can change in your soil. Then change it. Take careful notes. If you find something that the weed hates, fine tune variations of that. When you get something the weeds can't be competitive in, find the vegetables that can be competitive, and run with it.
They really don't like the poultry electronet. They can't climb the posts without getting zapped. But you have to have a cleared space with the net going through it, so they can't jump from branch to branch. Fortunately that can be on either side. That is my plan to get some nuts. Other thing is that if they do get inside the net they can't get out and then the stew is in order.
I must say I don't eat them, because I have a neighbor who will happily spend hours helping me do stuff for a few skinned squirrels. Some people LOVE them! But definitely they are rodents, and you won't make a dent in the destruction just from shooting them. Trapping maybe...
Squirrels have become a huge problem for us too, but they don't seen interested in the fruit on our pear or apple trees. Instead they have made it very difficult to attract birds. They completely destroyed one of my squirrel proof bird feeders by eating an entire hole through it. The other big problem for me is that the cat is constantly chasing them. I would hate for her to get a hold of one of them.
One solution might be to attract a family of hawks to your yard. We have had some very large hawks that have arrived later in July and I have noticed very few squirrels!
Kirk Hutchison wrote: Squirrels have been eating the unripe peaches on my peach tree lately. How do I stop them? (without poison, of course)
It's important to know what kind of wasp nest you're dealing with. Keep in mind that DIY methods like spraying with water and soap or setting the nest on fire (really dangerous!) rarely work. Not to mention, that there is a big risk of stinging no matter what you try. Professional help is usually the safest option and staying well-informed about dos and don'ts will prevent further complications. Description, prevention methods and other important information on wasp nests is collected here https://fantasticpestscontrol.com.au/blog/fantastic-guide-to-wasp-nests/ Hope it helps!
Hi everyone! I'm hoping to reinvigorate this old thread for selfish ends.
We live off-grid in the desert where it's arid and the soils are generally quite alkaline. We separate urine from the solids going into the composting toilet mostly so it's not so heavy to take out to the compost. We use soil and/or wood ash (probably about half and half, dependent on the supply of wood ash) in the toilet-bucket because we don't have a ready supply of sawdust, etc., so it's probably all pretty alkaline.
I've been emptying the urine from the chamber pot into the compost pile separately to moisten the pile and get it composting, but also because I was thinking it's acidic. Now, however, I'm realizing that it alkalizes with age (urea converting to ammonia), right? Emptying it every day or so, the urine definitely always looks at least cloudy, sometimes more amber in color, and smells ammoniac, so I would guess the urea is being converted or has been converted into ammonia and thereby made more alkaline. So I guess that isn't really helping the pile's -- or eventually the soil's -- pH balance, huh?
Does anyone know of good, cheap ways to reduce pH in the compost pile (and therefore eventually the soil) in situations like this? Perhaps just empty the piss pot more frequently? I read about urine fermentation, which I find fascinating, but in our current situation, any human food products like molasses we import to the homestead need to be used to feed humans, and since we don't currently plan to use the humanure compost on the food garden for various reasons, I don't find that use to be justifiable.
I used to live in Osaka. As densely populated as it is, you will find Gardens in the tiniest little squares imaginable, some of them with vegetables as high as your head. Old people can be very serious about these little gardens, and you can see them as you go by hours and hours everyday. In many of these Gardens, The Gardener's have built fake birds of prey, or flying organisms, out of thin bamboo and black trash bags. The plastic is strung Slack enough to billow with the slightest wind, and the creature dangles from a length of string. I honestly couldn't tell you how the birds felt about them, but I do know those gardeners produce a hell of a lot of fruit and vegetables that are eaten all throughout Japan. Japan is old. They pride themselves on this. If any flashy innovation stuck its head into their culture, it's had about two thousand years to flush out anything that doesn't bring home the bacon. So logic would suggest to me it must work, in the same way that all molars, regardless of the animal in whom they developed, look pretty much the same. In the way that hammers, regardless of the people or the country or the resources in question, developed pretty much the same.
It's definitely possible to grow enough feed for rabbits. Even the challenge of winter isn't too much, if you utilize an indoor fodder system. There are two systems that I really like. The first utilizes flat trays with some holes in the bottom. Each of the trays are on a slant, with a tray catching the drippings underneath. This saves a ton of water. The other system utilizes 5 gallon buckets, and is much less of an investment into building the system. One can then buy large 50 pound bags of barley for around 20 dollars from a local feed store. There are other grains that can be used as fodder, but barley is one of the cheapest and easiest from my research.
Here are those two fodder systems that I like:
This first one uses barley and field pea combination. They tilt the trays using pvc pipes. It's a very elegant solution, because the pipes also hold the trays in place.
This second one uses 5 gallon buckets. What I like about this method, is that you can take the buckets around your garden to rinse them out. This allows you to water your garden with water that might otherwise be wasted. This bucket system also takes very little to set up.
Hi all – if any of you are still tracking this thread, could you possibly let me know if you are still growing any of the named and/or numbered improved groundnut varieties from Dr. Blackmon's breeding program? Particularly from Oikos or Baker Creek, but any other named/numbered also- I will have several of the improved varieties available to trade later this Fall- Thanks, Trish
Ok guys, this isthe first time i make ACV and i'm not sure if it goes right.
At first i started with 2 masson jars on october 19th of apple peals and cores with water and sugar as i saw on this video.
None of them had mold, have the same apearance and smell but one is liquid and the other one is mucus like.
Then i make another recipe with apple and kept pulp and peals to start with to make another two masson jars on october 30th and both of the are already mucus like more than the one in the first batch.
I bought the Leveraxe on eBay for around $99. I think at that price, it is a bit more affordable than $250. The materials seem cheap. The paint leaves red marks where the head connects to the firewood. The splitting action has been excellent. There's a definite need for a tire or other holdfast to keep the wood from flinging off into outer space. Some of my wood is wet, it splits ok. Some of it is bone dry, splits great. The Leveraxe is lightweight so you can split all day, no problem. It doesn't take long to learn to loosen your grip and let the handle swivel. Overall, the Leveraxe represents the kind of creative innovation that is, to me, very welcome.
The Victoria Flax to Linen group has grown a lot since this thread started. We've learned a lot through doing. A lot more than any book could ever teach us.
For example, I've been spinning tow most of the winter and I discovered that tow makes a much softer yarn than line linen. Every book and website I've read say the opposite, but here I am, time and again, the tow yarn is softer and more flexible. This makes absolute sense when you think about it as tow fibres are often finer than line.
The group is taking a fallow year with just a few public demonstrations including Haritage Acres. There's a lot going on behind the scenes and we are gathering our energy and resources for some big projects starting next year. It's all very exciting!
The one thing I noticed most since joining the inner circle of the Flax to Linen group is that there is one heck of a lot of demand for locally produced linen yarn and flax spinning fibre. All the work the Flax to Linen group has done to educate our local public these last few years has been worth it! It really has.
I just dont have the patience to read all the messages in this thread, so sorry if this is told once already!
As far as I know, EM was developed by Japanese scientist with unique blend of microbes. And they are not genetically modified, but they just survived in conditions that they shouldnt: making them efficient in composting also.
As any other microbes, these can also be cultivated by yourself. As far as I know, they can be cultivated in molasses.
When you use them on compost, they will take the space of the compost microbes: but eventually, the compost microbes take over again so you need to add the EM every now and then, in big compost pile.
Also you dont want to use too much EM since then they will become too much populated in compost, and then all the normal compost microbes don't work.
I think EM is very good in certain situations.
Also you should read about kashimori, which is EM added into ceramics. So the information is stored, but the microbes arent alive. Quite like homeopathy works. Cant find anything about kashimori-ceramics in english, so maybe it has different name.
I am planning to do this on a larger scale and with more runs--basically a fan of runs emanating from the coop. I expect to have many more birds and to have several bins with worms that I will rotate out. I plan to have a rotation where the kitchen scraps will be incorporated while not under the coop. I expect to have probably 4 with 2 under the coop at any given time. Anyway, good luck with this.
And actually, Peter van den Berg's recent research has found that because of the extra drag in the corners of a square cross section, a 6" square is functionally equal to a 6" diameter duct. It doesn't hurt to make the core 5.5" square, but you can make it 6" square and get more power out of the system (because more wood can fit and burn at one time).
Here's a couple videos of the whole grain sprouted feed system we were using for our chickens last year. We've since sourced spent brewer's grains from the local microbrewery free of charge so we're using that as our base feed now (with various additions like raw milk whey and clabber, old ground apples, and some crushed walnuts....all mixed together and fermented. The fermenting seems to keep the grains from going "sour" and getting moldy), they also get all the kitchen scraps they can handle and the spent bedding from our cow shed.
I have made dandelion wine for many years I always pick them daily before noon and immediatrely put the petals with all green rem0ved in a gallon jar adding a cup or so of water with each addition . I usually make one or 2 gallons/year . It takes several gallons of petals to make one gallon of wine . The primary collection is gathered during the entire dandilion spring season. I then add sugar heated to dissolve, wine yeast for a bubbly white wine , thinly sliced lemon and orange (organic )a stick or 2 of cinnamin and a couple of star anise to the mix . and put it in a sterilized container with a fermentaton lock. After it has stoped I strain it and bottle it in gallon jugs and age 6 months before decanting it into bottles . Heavenly ...
Rabbits are caprophagic, which means they eat their poo the first time it comes out (looks glossy and a little too much like chocolate drops for my comfort), and then the finished little nugget is perfectly round. It is COOL poop, so it won't burn plants - but use sparingly on plantings - because too much of any good thing is a disaster. I've lost plants from using too much poo. Plus, if there is any extra urine in your mix with the bedding and such, it could scald plants a little.
The neat part about rabbit poop is that it breaks down slowly - like using osmocote. It will sit and break down for a long time on top of the soil.
I have used it to make:
1) Compost tea - Fill a 5lb bucket up about 2 inches with poo, add water, let sit, stir occasionally, use on beds as needed.
2) WORM BINS!! My worms love the rabbit poo. I've had amazing results with our outside bins adding worm poo, wood shavings, time and water. Killer awesome compost, for sure.
3) Hugelkulture beds - can't miss with a little poo added...
4) Of course regular compost piles - in all shapes and forms.
I have always wanted to till my entire garden (50X50 feet) one fall and just put down a layer of rabbit poo, till again, add clover and rye, and wait for the magic to happen. As of yet, I haven't gotten around to it... *sigh*