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steward
Posts: 2034
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
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My heart goes out to you Cj. Losing livestock is hard, especially when you've worked so hard to raise them up in an environment as nice as yours. On top of that, to lose a good LGD... there are no words. I'm truly sorry for your losses.

 
pollinator
Posts: 9744
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
189
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I'm so sorry CJ.
 
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
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I had a seemingly great lead on a new Maremma but it totally did not work out because I got bit! So just a warning, be careful! I've rescued 4 LGDs successfully but a certain percentage are just too aggressive!

I'm still looking for a rescue or maybe a puppy next year.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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On a more upbeat note, my 3 hives made it thru the some what mild Vermont winter! I started with a nuc, and split 2x. The weather was pretty darn good, too.

The number one thing that probably got them thru the winter was splitting, which allows the bees to get ahead of the varroa. A Walk Away Split is pretty darn simple. Start with 1 hive that has at least 2 boxes, split and then walk away! Works like 80% of the time.

So here's my list for success, in order of importance (IMO):

Make splits which help the bees get ahead of varroa
Breeding local Survivors
Natural Food
Natural Comb
No treatments
Top entrances
Only feed granulated sugar in winter, if needed
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Started dabbling in making hard cider, cyser, and mead from my bees. Next year I'll try making some cider with found apples and using the pomice to feed the livestock.
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Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
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Did a 2 part interview with Nick Ferguson of Homegrown Liberty on Tree Hay.

http://www.homegrownliberty.com/e0031-fodder-trees-carolyn-sloane-part-1/
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
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I haven't been posting much but my experiments are continuing, and slowing improving the weak links in processes.

Like most people, one of my goals is to get off store bought feed. I'm convinced that the easiest way to accomplish this is to substitute apples and pumpkins for sweet feed. Properly dried apples can last as long as dried corn, up to 25 years.

So my first major goal is to be able to process and dry 100 lbs of apples/day.

One of the first problems was how to speed up processing. I've settled on this french fry cutter. I can process about 2 lbs/minute, and there's room for improvement. In this video I'm using my non-dominant arm which was slightly compromised with "frozen shoulder."

100 lbs a day? No problem.

 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
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Once the apples are cut and dried they take up much less space. To really save space, I've ground them into a powder.

Next I need to play around with out to feed it out. Theoretically I could reconstitute it, add cooked beans and then use a grinder to make something very similar to sweet feed in looks and nutrition. Probably not worth the time tho to use the grinder.

Anyway, here the dried and powdered apples side by side. The dried apples are a year old and look fine.
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Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
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I made a video tour of my mushroom set up.


 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Here's an update on my shiitake set up. I doubled last years harvest and wound up with 64 lbs! Every year I add about 50 new logs and it's really kicking in to high gear. I have 2 separate laying yards, one for proven logs that have fruited and one for logs that have never fruited. I find this very helpful.

I keep trying different varieties from http://www.fieldforest.net/ I think they are the only ones who sell named varieties. The most beautiful, by far is Miss Happiness.
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Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
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Great results feeding out Wild Grapeleaf hay. Particularly encouraging since it is all over my property. I guess I'll need to tame it (train it?), to make harvesting easier.



 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
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In the never ending quest to get of purchased feed, I'm getting out of cows and replacing them with rabbits. A no brainer because although I have no wild cows on my property, I do have wild rabbits, totally able to fend for themselves. From what I understand, a female rabbit can ultimately provide 150 lbs of meat.

This is a great example of the problem is the solution. Rabbits love all the invasive species on my property. At the moment I'm foraging for them but at some point a rabbit tractor is in the works. Honeysuckle, Japanese Barberry, Brambles, Willows, Red Maple, Striped Maple.

Here's a quick vid of a rabbit chowing down on Honeysuckle, one of most invasive species on the property.

 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
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It never occured to me to try drying honeysuckle. But given the way the sheep, cows, and rabbits are going for it, it seems like a good idea.



 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
87
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
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The birds told us the cherries were ready! This tree was planted 5 years ago and although the form seems a little weird it has finally started bearing. I didn't see any honey bees this spring but the other pollinators got the job done!
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You didn't tell me he was so big. Unlike this tiny ad:
Video of all the permaculture design course and appropriate technology course (about 177 hours)
https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
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