I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

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Cj Sloane
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Location: Vermont.

Land:
Many acres, mostly ledge & brambles, forested (maples, beach, ash, a few oaks)
Nice east-facing slop.
Mostly open to the South.
Big pond near house, creek through pasture.
Not much pasture.
Zone 4-5

Animals:
5 Cows (mini Belted Galloways)
7 Sheep (Black Welsh Mountain)
4 Turkeys (Royal Palm)
2 Pigs seasonally (Tamworth)
Chickens (Chantecler)
Tilapia (overwintering inside)
Catfish (hiding in the pond)
Bees (I'm just the landlord)
3 Livestock Guard Dogs (Great Pyrenees, Maremma, Pyr x Kuvatz
1 Australian Shepherd

Flora/mushroom:
Garden
Blueberries, Blackberries, Raspberries
A few fruit trees
Shiitake
Morels (wild only)

Goals for 2012:
Reduce feed costs by 10%.
More storage to take advantage of hay buying opportunities
Plant productive trees (Honey locust, nuts, apples)
Start a few different living fences (Honey locust, Hawthorn).
Open more land.
Further divide pasture
Broaden varieties of berries.
More swales
Hugelkulture/terrace in sheep paddock

Solve cow muck problem
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Cj Sloane
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So here's my cow muck problem:
I have 2 paddocks and a stationary hay feeder in each on. After several weeks of standing and eating the ground is pretty soupy. I tried to slope the ground so that the muck would run down hill but it's not quite that soupy. I feel like there is some permaculture answer but I don't know what it is (other than moving the cows everyday which I can't do right now).

My non-permaculture answer is to pour some concrete down and then while the cows are at the other paddock shovel it off. I would definitely have the pad sloping away from the feeder and towards the field.

Thoughts?
 
Peter Fishlock
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Hi Cjin I have heard of a few things that might help you,

Firstly Here in england cattle farmers have problems with cows churning up the soft ground during wet and winter months, but a pioneering type farmer up north, spent years experimenting with multiple grass types.
In england most farmers use 4 different types of grass easily bought and reccomended by the agriculture department. HOwever this farmer has over 20 different species in his fields. Some grow fast others slow, some have deep roots and some shallow. This forms a very thick mat or gras and root and As a result his cows are out on his field all year round.

This mean only in really hard winters with prolonged weeks of snow does he have to take cattle in, so he not only saves on winter feed but doesnt need as much space to store it.
Infact In england this mean he doesnt have to set a side acres of land to grow food for the cattle, with all the running cost of machinery that he has to use to collect the hay, he just uses a squad bike to move them around easily.

Also with Permaculture from what I have read and watched things grow in massive abundance on edges, from where woods meet fields etc, and there are a number of things that cows that will eat that that grow in hedges that you could use for them to feed on that is not ground pasture, one I know of is ash which you have on your land already, you are also able to coppice ash to make it grow thicker much lower down, low enough for the cows to eat, this can also be harvested manually and given to the cows.

this info I got from a documentary on you tube called a farm for the future it follows the story of a lady that is taking her fathers cattle farm over and is looking into permaculture to help her as a more sustainable method.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xShCEKL-mQ8.


Also to cover another of you goals which could do a few, you said you have brambles. is this in the cow field? I watched a talk Bill Mollison done, a guy was having problems with blackberries, bramble in your case which is a pioneer species, ie a species that grows on the edge of woods and makes its way into the open. You plant an apple tree in amongnst the brambles, this protects the young tree. The apple tree will actually grow faster and higher than normal and give a much larger canopy. The apple tree benefits from all the animals that come to eat the fruits from the brambles and to a certain extent organic matter which gets caught up in the brambles adding the the micro climate created.
As time goes on the apples will fruit and drop in amongst the brambles, they in turn warm up in the sun and start to ferment which the cows can smell from quite a distance and find quite tastey, they come up and eat the apples trampling all over the brambles, the apple tree gets the benefits of of the cows pats, and cows get to eat the apples and also you get rid of the brambles at the same time, Bill did go on to say these apple trees normally yield a much higher amount of apples than normal. Actually Bill said a few tonne LOL, so take which ever ones you can reach for yourself and leave the rest for the cows.

To take this ones step further, you could do this all over your paddocks even in places the brambles are not, fruit tree or various kinds that cows will eat the fruit from, they can also benefits from the shade of the tress in the hot weather.

Also you seem to have alot of wood around you there I have another idea. Using the idea that you can grow in abundance using hedges, you could created hedges system the cross your paddocks so instead of one big paddock divide it into 3 or 4 but research this and make those hedges with plants that the cows will eat, obviously use permaculturul methods so you can get a yield out of this too even if it is a hell loads of plants that attract insects and bees for your hive to to help pollunante with your other fields. This does a number of things firstly you created a natural feeding systems that the cows can get to even if there is snow on the ground, and it also creates a milder envorinment for the cows protecting them from cold winds and weather. If you use ash you can coppice it and after a while the cows will eat it when it sprouts, the european ash is called fraxinus exselsior because it grows so fast.
You could also use some wood cut to make natural cattle shelters that sepp holzer does, they really are great. you could then put the hay in the shelters in the dry so the cows are not churning up your fields.

Also this is not in your goals but might help you, get a but load of ground foraging birds, chicken, ducks quails etc that you can just let in amonghts your cows and sheep. These birds will forage in the poo and eat worms and parasites that will make your sheep and cows sick they also scratch aroung in the cow pats spreading it around more evenly. IF you dont want have them running loose I have seen a guys make like a big chicken run wuth wheels on one side and handles the other and he has his chickens inside, and just wheel it over the cows pats so they do the rest emselves, but thats micro intensive.

Ok mate I hope this helps you If I think of anything else Ill be back.
 
Cj Sloane
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Thanks Peter. There's lots there so let me tackle one at a time.

Peter Fishlock wrote:This mean only in really hard winters with prolonged weeks of snow does he have to take cattle in, so he not only saves on winter feed but doesnt need as much space to store it.


Vermont is all about really hard winters. They say there are 2 seasons here - 8 months of winter and 4 months of poor sledding.

That said, I never bring in my cows - no barn. They have access to a 3 sided shed which they tend to sleep in, or go in to get out of the rain ... or sun. Belted Galloways were bred to endure the Scottish Highlands.
 
Peter Fishlock
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I just took a look at your piccies,

Where does the pond get its water from? what feeds into it and keeps it wet? Also how wet is the creak? could you use the water from that better? Ie move swales across your current pasture that have small dams at either end that wil over flow into the next one down on contour, you have a gentle slope going from the pigs to the cows that could work, If you get a lot of baking sun dont have the dams just have one swale over flow into the next and put your fruit trees in the swale mounds to keep them watered.

You need to keep that water on your land as much as possible before redirecting it back into itself before the creak leaves your property.make sure you do redirect it back into itself or it could hav consequences for habitats and ecosystems further down the creek below your land. Also double check out the shelters that Sepp makes for cattle, because made right they provide massive shade during summer because they have a vent with a draw, and in the winter the temperature change is massive from inside and out, you can use em for pigs or cows, get the wood from the bit of woods you have to the left of the pond which you marked future pasture. it wont hurt to thin that bit of wood out to give you more an an idea of what you want to do with it,* let the dog see the hare, we say in england. but pick your timber wood carefully and mindfully that you might want them mature trees in there at a later date.

Any tree that are fast growing that will coppice you can use for fire wood every 3-4 years, so if say 10 mature well coppiced trees will give you fire wood for a year you need 40 that way it allows each set of ten trees 4 years to grow you new fire wood, this actually extends the life and vigure of certain trees, again do your research I know Ash is one. This mean you can use all the wood originally cut set aside from 10 trees worth whilst coppicing for your animal shelters, because that is the main material needed.

Is there anything you can do to improved the ponds, can you create any more micro climates by putting rocks in and around the edge? if you havent already done so watch Sepp's video in Aquaculture because you can use the pod for many advantages, one is growing plants and fruits that wouldnt normally grow by putting them at an agle with the sun. so the suns rays hits them from the water surface too. Rocks around the pound will help stabalise the ponds temperature and rocks around the fruit plants or trees will increase te temperature there aswell. These could also be more plants and trees that you can feed to animals, thus saving on your animal feed bill, to be honest with you hugelckultur aswell, you shouldnt really need to buy food for that many animals once you reach climax.

could you introduce some more types of fish say ones that you like to eat? if you manged to get a healthy ballance in that pond it could be an abosolute gold mine.

Take a look at all the contants you have on the land, the way the sun is at different times of year and the way the water moves of and around your land look at all the resourches that come by, and your job is to keep them on your land aslong as possible before letting them go. Make use of it all. Ah man I envy you, IM going back to my allotment now, LOL

Have fun
 
Peter Fishlock
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CJin VT wrote:Thanks Peter. There's lots there so let me tackle one at a time.

Peter Fishlock wrote:This mean only in really hard winters with prolonged weeks of snow does he have to take cattle in, so he not only saves on winter feed but doesnt need as much space to store it.


Vermont is all about really hard winters. They say there are 2 seasons here - 8 months of winter and 4 months of poor sledding.

That said, I never bring in my cows - no barn. They have access to a 3 sided shed which they tend to sleep in, or go in to get out of the rain ... or sun. Belted Galloways were bred to endure the Scottish Highlands.


Yo, I did wonder about you climate, that hedges and coppicing ash might work there then, and the different grass types. I bet with all the water you get you could make some killer swales and dams that could water everythin and give you alot of abundance.

See if you could get your hands on a copy of the permaculture design course by Bill Mollison and geoff lawton, its like 13 or so dvd all about designing a system specific to your land, wether you live in humid, arid or desert landscape, IM only on disk 4 a mate of mine lent me it, but its so full of awesome stuff, it would really help you.

anyways I really hope some the things I said spark you up, IM no expert, well a noob actually but because I only have an allotment, that I got yesterday, I have been reading and watching vids till my head explodes.

I am merely regurgitating things I have watched and read. Use them though for a reference point for your own research. : )

Please keep us updated on your progress though it will be interesting.
 
Cj Sloane
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Peter Fishlock wrote:Also with Permaculture from what I have read and watched things grow in massive abundance on edges, from where woods meet fields etc, and there are a number of things that cows that will eat that that grow in hedges that you could use for them to feed on that is not ground pasture, one I know of is ash which you have on your land already, you are also able to coppice ash to make it grow thicker much lower down, low enough for the cows to eat, this can also be harvested manually and given to the cows.


One of my plans this summer is to start some living fences and plant trees very near the existing fence. Cows like willow and they grow fast. I did not know that cows ate ash and I would have to coppice because they are huge. I have given them small branches from birch trees I've cut down.
 
Cj Sloane
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Peter Fishlock wrote:Also to cover another of you goals which could do a few, you said you have brambles. is this in the cow field? I watched a talk Bill Mollison done, a guy was having problems with blackberries, bramble in your case which is a pioneer species, ie a species that grows on the edge of woods and makes its way into the open. You plant an apple tree in amongnst the brambles, this protects the young tree.


I have read that bit about the apple trees and brambles. I will do that outside the paddock because the cows have cleared the brambles out for me. Belted Galloways are good foragers. This means they have a tendency towards escaping (to forage outside the paddock).
 
Cj Sloane
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Peter Fishlock wrote:Also you seem to have alot of wood around you there I have another idea. Using the idea that you can grow in abundance using hedges, you could created hedges system the cross your paddocks so instead of one big paddock divide it into 3 or 4 but research this and make those hedges with plants that the cows will eat...


Yes, my plan is to divide up the paddocks with hedges. The problem will be protecting the hedges from the cows till they can withstand browsing.
 
Cj Sloane
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Peter Fishlock wrote:Also this is not in your goals but might help you, get a but load of ground foraging birds, chicken, ducks quails etc that you can just let in amonghts your cows and sheep. These birds will forage in the poo and eat worms and parasites that will make your sheep and cows sick they also scratch aroung in the cow pats spreading it around more evenly.


I do have quite a free range chickens and and they do scratch around. I've even seen them jump up to get flies on the cows. Unfortunately, they often hide their eggs in the hay.
 
Cj Sloane
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Peter Fishlock wrote:Where does the pond get its water from? what feeds into it and keeps it wet? Also how wet is the creak? could you use the water from that better? Ie move swales across your current pasture that have small dams at either end that wil over flow into the next one down on contour, you have a gentle slope going from the pigs to the cows that could work, If you get a lot of baking sun dont have the dams just have one swale over flow into the next and put your fruit trees in the swale mounds to keep them watered.

You need to keep that water on your land as much as possible before redirecting it back into itself before the creak leaves your property.


The water comes from higher up the mountain (which is still my property). Some water is diverted from the creek to the pond. The pond is totally full in spring, can get fairly low around August if there is a drought, and a few days of steady rain in the fall will fill it up again.

Generally the creek will last all year.

I did a successful swale experiment this summer. I had a hose from the creek running all the time for the pigs who were higher up than the cows. This fertilized water did wonders for the pasture. I dug a very narrow swale (6") about 10 feet past the pigs. I had to use a pick axe to dig but the pasture had never been so lush after the swale was filled up!

I then widened the swale. I'll be curious to see what it looks like in the spring.
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Cj Sloane
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Peter Fishlock wrote:Also double check out the shelters that Sepp makes for cattle...


I love those but we do not have a tractor so it's not possible. The tractor is a sore point with my husband, who of course wants one. In the mean time, he is my tractor. He moves those huge 4 foot round bales of hay for me as long as they aren't frozen to the ground (just have to supply him with beer).

I have been thinking about making a much simpler version of those shelters, sort of like a 3 sided log cabin.
 
Cj Sloane
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Peter Fishlock wrote:could you introduce some more types of fish say ones that you like to eat? if you manged to get a healthy ballance in that pond it could be an abosolute gold mine.


Technically, it's a vernal pond. The water stops flowing into it in the summer so the temp is too warm for most fish that can survive our winters. We have eaten catfish from the pond but they are hard to catch. I'd like to catch some babies and put them in my aquaponics set up. In the future I could see a small pond with trout if I can keep the water cool enough during the summer.
 
Peter Fishlock
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I see you predicament there, Hey you know until we have a wider volume of things available to us like green tracotrs and the like its really hard to get around just on muscle power, and If you hubby pulls his back ten your in really deep trouble.

How about the middle ground? Why not get a quad bike the heavy ATV sort with a trailer, or even just a small tractor although some sort or digger would probably be more handy with the work you have in from of you.
Most Permaculture designers use them in the beginning to get there design in place, because normally theres so much work to do at the beginning.

How much water does the creek have passing through it? and for how long>

Water stays cooler if its moving, especially if its in the ground, perhaps you could move it into your pond and then have an over flow in your pound running to another pond, have the ponds nice and deep as the deeper parts will stay cooler, you could even have an overflow controlling the depth of the second pond and all the overflow go off into some swales before running it back into the creek, that would keep your ponds cooler and more oxygenated.

And above all else keep the energy from the water on your property for much longer.

 
Cj Sloane
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Peter Fishlock wrote:Water stays cooler if its moving, especially if its in the ground, perhaps you could move it into your pond and then have an over flow in your pound running to another pond, have the ponds nice and deep as the deeper parts will stay cooler...


The pond(s) were dug 30 years ago and they are way too big to change now. The creek slows down to a trickle during the summer, just when I'd want it to cool the pond.

When the pond is filled up it's about 15' deep at the deepest, the narrow spot between the willows. It never dries up there but during a drought there will be no water on the right side of the photo.
Here is about 1/10th of the pond:
willows-far.jpg
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Peter Fishlock
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Wow your farm is amazing!! I love that pond, it looks really lovely.

You done a real nice job with those swales when I lost posted i only read your lost post and didnt see the pics above.

I think a three sided shelter should work as long as you follow the design principles with the pipes for the air flow. wow I cant get over your pond, im transfixed.

Im wondering, you could build a check dam across the creek at a high point, so you in the summer you can still divert water into the pond even if its a trickle it will keep the pond topped up, I think if you have parts of the pond that are 15 ft deep that will be deep enough for the fish if you pick the right ones. have an overflow so any extra run off goes where you want it.

also have you got the guttering to your house linked up? that can feed into the pond and some swales etc. any roof to any building can be ran off to help swales, dams and the pond.

You can use some grey water from your house also for this, water from the bath and shower is really good for getting excess water especially in dry periods, there are lots of books about how you can do this, if you search hard enough you can download e-books. I wouldnt use it for the pond or animals but the plants love it so I read.

chickens in the paddocks, perhaps just use good meat birds and let them free range, you might not be able to get there eggs but they can breed and you can pop the off for food al throughout the year.

I dont know about the new hedges, the only thing I can think of is to make a swale line where you want your hedges, plant them up with some pioneer species and stack with legumes, and put your desired trees in, then put an elec fence around until the trees are bigg enough, the hump of the swale one side with dampness and water the other will be perfect onces its established, it shouldnt take too long to get there as long as you really stack it and keep mulching as soon as the dry period is over. maybe you could lay wood cut from trees to create a border but you would have to think about how to do that best.

I wonder with the pond, if you could wait until its the dryist time of year when the water is low, then dam it off at a thin part, then get a digger in for a day to dig it alot deeper, using the digger bucket to re compact the ground, then you can put some big tree trunks and rocks in the bottom for the small fish to hide in. once its complete take the dam out ad back flood the new part of the pond, whilst you have the digger there it can dig all the swales you want in on the rest of the property, you would only need it for a day, if trees were cut down ready it could even move them for you too.

I would really take a look at it right now and think big, with tree clearing and diggers in mind, because you will only have to do it once then, and it will be set for 100's of years once you have the geo surgery done its all gravy from there. The digger could dig out for other ponds if you want them, use it to catch ALL the water coming onto your property and utilise it for your ponds, swales and dams.





 
Lolly Knowles
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What a beautiful photo of your pond, Cj. By the time ours is in place for 30 years I hope it looks as beautiful.
 
Cj Sloane
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Thanks.
The willows were stuck in the ground as twigs.
Things are much gloomier today, in the dead of winter. The pond is frozen and the dogs are running all over it.
 
Cj Sloane
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Peter Fishlock wrote:I think a three sided shelter should work as long as you follow the design principles with the pipes for the air flow.


I don't think a 3 sided log cabin need venting.
 
Cj Sloane
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Peter Fishlock wrote:Im wondering, you could build a check dam across the creek at a high point,...

Now this gets into a tricky legal area. I can't build a check dam or divert any water unless the "source" is on my property. I think it does because my property extends to the top of the mountain but I'm not sure what the state would say. I will look into it when I renew my 10 year land use plan (required so the land isn't taxed at the same rate as land you could develop). The pond structure, as is, predates those types of laws.
 
Cj Sloane
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Peter Fishlock wrote:also have you got the guttering to your house linked up? that can feed into the pond and some swales etc. any roof to any building can be ran off to help swales, dams and the pond.


This may sound odd but the house has no gutters, the designer thought they were unnecessary and caused more trouble then they are worth (clogging with leaves or creating ice dams).

I may add a gutter to the cow shelter, or at least put a stock tank to catch the water that runs off the roof.
 
Peter Fishlock
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Ah I see, I spose with regard to that sort of thing, diverting water, its slow steps in the right direction.

I cant believe you guys dont have gutters but it makes sense with all the leaf litter etc. perhaps you can harness the water where it falls. does it errode the ground below where it comes off the roof?

Your pigs are so cool, im not allowed em on the allotment, perhaps a miniture pig lol, or i know about a guinea pig would be the right size lol.









 
Cj Sloane
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Peter Fishlock wrote:I cant believe you guys dont have gutters but it makes sense with all the leaf litter etc. perhaps you can harness the water where it falls. does it errode the ground below where it comes off the roof?


The water falls on the deck in front of the house, and on gravel behind the house so no erosion.
 
Cj Sloane
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My "pasture" used to be forested. We had some logging done about 6 years ago and asked the logger to clear out a space for pasture and perhaps a garage (never got built). I wasn't around when he did it and he took a bulldozer and pushed all the soil, including the topsoil, off. That's why pasture is in quotes.

It's coming back slowly and there are lots of pioneers. So the question I have is should I leave them alone or expedite the process somehow?

It's a particularly thorny question when it come to the bull thistle which has gone nuts. I'm tempted to leave it alone because it's a biennial so once I see the pretty purple thistles (that the bees love) the plant is near death anyway. I'm also thinking that it has a deep tap root so maybe I'm better off letting it be a dynamic accumulator and when the soil improves it'll move on. Thoughts? Here's a pic:
Thistle.jpg
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Cj Sloane
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First lamb of the season yesterday!
Here's a cute photo of the lamb snuggled up next to Mandy, a Pyr Kuvatz cross who lives them:
Mandy & Lamb></a>
 
Tyler Ludens
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Love all the pictures, especially the guard dog and lamb.

 
Cj Sloane
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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We got 3 little pigs last weekend:
3 little pigs & Mandy></a>

3 little pigs></a>
 
Cj Sloane
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Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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A late summer up date! The free shiitake workshop (thank you NOFA-VT) we took last year paid off:
Shiitakes></a>

My chickens have been hiding eggs on me. This explains the drop off in production:
Hen with chicks></a>

We've started getting cukes out of this aquaponics monster:
cukes></a>


And finally, here are the broilers at about 4 weeks:
Broilers @ 4 weeks></a>
I ordered them fairly late in the season so that I wouldn't have to spend much energy keeping them warm. It worked with only 1 death so far. I'm not ready to let them out due to some ravens who've been hanging around.

Later today my daughter and I are going to start an hugelkulture bed.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Those baby chicks with the hen are beautiful. It's so much fun to see all the different colors which appear by "magic" and try to figure out who the moms and dad(s) are.
 
Cj Sloane
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I'm in the middle of a podcast where Paul talks about one of the goals of permaculture being to let nature do the work for you. Here's a great example:
Pumpkin volunteers></a>
I put that fence in to divide a paddock and create more edge. To help get the edge going I moved some decomposing hay (from a failed attempt at a swale/HK) right up against it. Now I've got some huge pumpkins and blue hubbard squash growing that I didn't have to plant, fertilize, or water. The seeds may have come from slop fed to pigs.

For sure it helped that cows/sheep were uninterested in these plants. The sheep will be interested in them when ripe but I think they need me to split them open.

Here's more just going nuts!
Pumpkin volunteers></a>
 
Tyler Ludens
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Looks beautiful!

 
Cj Sloane
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We've been very lucky water-wise. I only had a few days worry that the stream might dry up entirely. The cows stayed in the lowest paddock which had enough water for them to drink, just barely.

I showed this to my husband who insisted that I did water the pumpkins. I disagree but will say that I put a hose coming from a stream into a swale 60 feet away, and slightly uphill from the pumpkins. Did I really water them? You decide.

Now, as to sheep not liking pumpkin leaves, apparently that is a conditional statement:
Sheep eating pumpkin leaves></a>

If they have overgrazed their area, they will eat pumpkin leaves. I've moved them in with the cows (creating a "flerd") because there are growies the sheep will eat that the cows wont.

I hadn't noticed how overgrazed the area was but it's pretty clear in this pic:
Overgrazed v not overgrazed></a>

I only have 3 paddocks so the overgrazing can't be helped but if I reach my goal of 2 or 3 more paddocks by this time next year I hope overgrazing will be a thing of the past.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Cj Verde wrote:I put a hose coming from a stream into a swale 60 feet away, and slightly uphill from the pumpkins. Did I really water them?


Yes.

 
Cj Sloane
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So in 5 days they've overgrazed the new spot but the old spot doesn't look so terrible:
Even more over grazed></a>

But now I've moved them to my failed garden:
2nd grazing></a>

This is their 2nd shot at grazing this.
Hubby tilled and I planted 4 strips of annuals for the chickens: corn/peas, wheat, millet, flax. Catastrophe! It looked OK for 2 weeks, then the crops disappeared in the weeds. I've got my "good" crops in the hoop house anyway.

Tilling? Annuals? Well, we're not quite on the same page... And I'm not quite sure how to do this via permaculture (or even if I should). Especially in this spot which would get overrun with phragmites. The only thing I think will work would be to do 6" of wood chips in the whole area over winter. Then move the wood chips aside when I'm ready to transplant in the spring.

Anyway, in 3 days I should have a brand new spot for the sheep secured by brand new electric fencing.
 
leila hamaya
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beautiful!!!

love vermont, once upon a time i really thought that was the place....lived there through two winters and that was ENOUGH! then i came out west to the left coast =)

but really it is one of the best places (imo of course) in the country, except for the freezing cold ! love the people too, i still even keep in contact with some of my old friends who still live there. such a great place =)

re -annuals bed - to me this would mean to sheet mulch under the bed...i like the lasagana style gardening beds...and it works well. i gather some people dont like this method, or the cardboard, but since i started doing the sheet mulch with cardboard i am convinced it is THE WAY

then do the wood chips/other mulch/straw/whatnot on top of the cardboard- and perhaps compost (even unfinished) below, in the middle of, or on top of sheet of cardboard. i make these compost sandwiches, piece of cardboard above and below compost...then on the very top lots of mulch/soil/etc for where the plants start off.


just my two cents =)
you probably know that already, so....well just rambling =)

but yeah just wanted to say your place is really lovely....
 
Cj Sloane
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leila hamaya wrote:beautiful!!!


Thanks. The winters aren't as bad as they were 20 years ago when we moved here. The first frost date seems to have moved back a full month (though plenty still doubt GW). A little warmer is OK but everyone gets bummed if there's no snow.

Anyway, here's a good spot to include some pics that aren't so lovely, but interesting from a permaculture POV. How about this for early pioneers on disturbed soil:
Early pioneers></a>

Mullein></a>

Lots of mullein and bull thistle. Lots.

We've taken some trees out to expand our "pasture." I'm letting those settlers do their job of breaking up the compacted soil and bringing up nutrients. The only thing I'm really trying to get rid of is the Japanese barberry. A small seasonal stream runs behind the saplings I've stacked.

So far I've planted an oak tree with edible acorns, a persimmon and about 50 small black locust which I'm hoping will become a living fence.
 
Cj Sloane
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Just to the left of the above photo is my black locust fence:
At my husband's insistence of flagged them. I've also put some wire fence to stop dogs/other animals from taking out a bunch. Out of the 50 I planted this spring I lost about 5 which seem OK.
Future-Black-Locust-fence.jpg
[Thumbnail for Future-Black-Locust-fence.jpg]
 
Cj Sloane
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Here's a "monocrop" of stinging nettle.


I guess it's a heavy fertilized spot below where the sheep hang out during the winter and the pigs hang out now. Last year was a combo stinging nettle / bull thistle jungle. I prefer the nettle because the sheep will eat it, especially once it's dead.
 
Cj Sloane
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I checked googleEarth recently and the satellite photo for my property is much better!

I may zoom in closer for a more detailed layout for my more concentrated plantings.
 
Cj Sloane
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Totally crazy day on the farm!

Last night the 3 pigs were on the loose so my mission today was to get them back in a paddock. I did accomplish that and went to a parent teacher conference by 10:30 and then real work but...

At the height of the craziness:
It was pouring.
Anna was mooing and kept looking towards the woods and when she turned around her placenta what hanging out.
I got Hero the ram tied up and Leo, the female pig started humping him.
A different pig dove into the pond and then doggie paddled for a bit while the 3rd pig waited on land for his turn in the water.
One of the LGDs slipped her collar and disappeared for a while.

It was like some crazy surrealist movie. Maybe I'll name the new calf Salvador if male, and Dali if a girl! I was a little worried about the calf in the cold rain but they settled into the run in shelter with the calf in the corner and Anna keeping it warm.

The real trick was moving the sheep out of the paddock while keeping the pigs in. I bought a gallon of milk and gave it to the pigs at the far end of the paddock and was prepared to ring a bell the sheep are trained to but they saw me going out and were totally willing to follow to get away from those crazy pigs.
cj
 
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