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Posts: 4
Location: Under the Gum Trees, Dandenong Ranges, Australia
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Hi CJ

I just read your thread with interest and love what you're trying to achieve - like others I also love the pond!

With regards to the problem of soil pugging caused by the hooves of your cattle, I can make some suggestions that may help, but they're not specifically permaculture solutions. I'm still very much a beginner when it comes to permaculture!

Perhaps someone can let us know their thoughts on my suggestions?

The pugging is a common problem with cattle herds being allowed to graze land that is wet (like along streams and pond banks), or where they're allowed on pasture too soon after rain. If you have a static hay feeder, so they always go to one spot, pugging will be a problem.

What is actually happening is that the hooves are sinking about 15cm into the soft, wet soil, causing compaction where the hooves go. This destroys the structure of the soil, breaking down the pores and prevent air, water and root penetration. If the soil is clay or silt, it's likely to also set in hard, crusted, pugs when it dries. The compaction and hard setting can significantly reduce pasture coverage in the affected areas.

If you have a higher paddock that doesn't get as wet, you can graze the cattle there more often during the wetter periods. Having more than one feeding, watering and shelter point in a paddock is also a good idea, as it breaks the herd into smaller groups and reduces the impact of the pugging in any one place.

Peter mentioned using several different pasture grasses and that's a really good method. Some grasses can form dense mats and this can also reduce the impact. From memory (you may wish to check this and see what's more suitable for Vermont), kikuyu and paspalam are good at growing in and remediated compacted pasture as their roots are pretty penetrative and deep growing. Kikuyu will die back over your winter months though.

Preventing over-grazing wherever possible and allowing the pasture to grow long before returning that cattle to that paddock, will encourage good root growth. Once that paddock is grazed again, the root growth dies back and adds organic matter to the soil. Moving the cattle around every few days if possible, whilst skipping one paddock to allow recovery is a good idea. Obviously that depends on how many paddocks etc you have

You can also consider the positioning the fences so that, if possible, all the wetter areas are in one paddock and you exclude the cattle from any drainage lines, your swale areas, pond or streams etc. This also means the water is of better quality as it doesn't as easily become polluted by excess nitrates etc from manure.

Sometimes smaller paddocks with faster rotations are better, than larger paddocks with longer rotations. In larger paddocks, especially where a static feeder is placed, you effectively create a "cattle camp" where they all hang out in the one area. Roasting marshmallows, playing loud music, drinking beer... oh wait, that's teenagers! Sorry.

If none of those suggestions are an option, you're own thoughts on creating a hard concrete area are not so far off what many farmers do over wet periods. Concrete feed pads are regularly used in cattle farming. If you're cattle are going to damage the soil structure and prevent pasture growth in a particular area, then you might as well concrete over it. Also, in Scotland cattle are often kept indoors in large concrete floored barns over winter with a straw bedding. They're generally fed on silage and the wastes hosed out, which is pretty unpleasant for the neighbours and can contaminate ground water. Of course, in a sustainable situation you'd collect and compost the waste and use it as an input in the following year. If the winter barn was equipped with drainage, the liquid could also be collected and used as a liquid manure spray on the pastures in spring.

Sorry for the long reply, but I hope I've managed to give you some ideas - you've certainly given me some!
 
Posts: 1075
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
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have you considered maybe inducing meander into the stream that feeds the pond in order to help it flow more reliably and full throughout the year?
rather than a normal link...
http://lmgtfy.com/?q=inducing+meander

digging silt traps and making "beaver" ponds can also help the flow of the stream to be more full and continuous through drought ( according to my observations of how long water will continue to fill a collection point after turning off the water source - a hose)
 
pollinator
Posts: 3737
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Kerry Furnell wrote:
Sorry for the long reply, but I hope I've managed to give you some ideas - you've certainly given me some!


Thanks Kerry.

I'm working towards many of those solutions, a little at a time.
 
Cj Sloane
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Devon Olsen wrote:have you considered maybe inducing meander into the stream that feeds the pond


That was helpful for a different reason. I had heard a podcast with Paul and someone had introduced this topic but I could remember who. So based on one of the google links I think it's neil bertrando.

I was hoping to use that concept to use water to create a ditch near where the cows eat so the goo would run off but it didn't work. The hay absorbs enough that the water doesn't want to flow despite how soupy it looks.

The pond fills up from water diverted from a stream right now. The problem is that for 2 weeks/year the stream dries up - just when the pond would need a good shot of cold water.
 
Cj Sloane
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Here's the new calf, Salvador and new hay feeder and some post peak foliage:


The hay feeder is a cattle panel cut in half and attached to the fence so it's sort of an ellipse. It's place at the highest point of my pasture. Its been 2 weeks and it's not soupy yet...
 
Kerry Furnell
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Location: Under the Gum Trees, Dandenong Ranges, Australia
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Brilliant - I'm sure you'll work it out

Love the calf and the foliage. It's been a few years since I enjoyed a visit to Vermont. My in-laws lost their second home when the Rock River flooded last year, so it's not looking like we'll be back anytime soon. Shame, as it's such a beautiful state.
 
Posts: 95
Location: NW Montana
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Wow. Beautiful farm.

Have you thought about trying to cross the mini belted galloways with an irish dexter to get a $30,000 panda?

Seriously, how do you like those cows? I'm going to get some mini-cattle and can't decide on a breed yet. Lowlines are (relatively) popular here but I've heard mini-jersyes would taste better.

And do you have any sugar maple? Although you can make maple syrup out of trees that aren't sugar maple, I've done it. Still tastes good.
 
Cj Sloane
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The minis are good for me as a consumer/farmer but not great for selling in terms of profit. My 2 bulls had hanging weights of 350ish (at 2 yrs old) and I got back 250lbs of meat which last us (2 adults & 2 teenagers) 9 months. It's not hard to convince someone to split a cow that's only gives you a 125lbs of meat. A full sized steer is too much. The belties are primo for grass-fed beef.

You can fit 3 minis instead of 1 cow/acre which is good because I have hardly any pasture. The Belties are hardy and good foragers which is unfortunately a euphemism for good escape artists.

I've seen those "panda" but didn't think they cost that much! My original goal was to breed but I'm not good enough handling the animals to deal with transporting & all that.

We have tons of sugar maples, too many really. We used to sugar every other year but we didn't use the syrup that much. It was good for gifts and I used to put it in my coffee but I'm low carb now so that's out (for me). Even the kids prefer nutella on crepes. By the time my newly planted hazelnuts yield I wonder if I'll have grandkids!
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
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A new season, a new pic:


The main problem with this set up is that the dog has decided the most comfortable place to sleep is in the hay feeder. I have to feed her at the other end of the paddock so the sheep can have access to their hay.


The January thaw has begun and we'll supposed hit 53 in 2 days.
 
Devon Olsen
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another option for helping that stream to flow longer, capture more snow in the catchment area for that stream in the winter via texturing the land with deep swales and depressions, and steep, tall hugelkultur beds, ive noticed that by simply taking advantage of the fact that snow is basically, lightweight wind blown water in the winter time, one can create lush greenery in spots where there was previously dry nothingness
and though im sure you have anything but nothing-ness on your property, perhaps just capturing a few thousand more gallons of water in the streams catchment area could result in the soil having more water to give over the course of the year, and PERHAPS it would solve your two weeks of dry creekbed with even just a small trickle to help you out
also, creating "pillars" of stacked rock/gravel in a tomato cage/chicken wire "cage" could contribute to adding some moisture by creating condensate during the warm, dry months
not sure if it would be enough to jump start your creek but it certainly couldn't hurt
also, have you considered using burlap spawn and making a mycofiltration project out of it?

in case you cant tell im just stuck on trying to help you "fix" this creek deal
not only does it seem a monumental accomplishment in my mind to make it flow longer but there is this property in new mexico that i may have a part in rehabilitating, and during the dry season there is a tiny trickle of water that springs from the ground and then dissapears into mud within 50 yards or so, during the wet season its like monumental floods and it would please me to no end to make this tiny stream flow larger throughout the year, so lets just say your stream being "fixed" would validate my ideas on what to do with this other stream and would make me feel smarter and stuff :p
 
Cj Sloane
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Devon Olsen wrote:...perhaps just capturing a few thousand more gallons of water in the streams catchment area could result in the soil having more water to give over the course of the year, and PERHAPS it would solve your two weeks of dry creekbed with even just a small trickle to help you out...


I appreciate the help. The creek doesn't totally dry up. In August, there's no drinkable water for the cows in the upper paddocks but so far there has always been some in the lowest paddock.

1/4 mile up from the lowest paddock there is a small, 6" concrete dam with 2" pex in the middle that I use for irrigation or water for animals. It probably only holds 25 gallons but with water always trickling in it's good for all but 2 weeks out of the year. I think the only solutions are to increase it's water storage or make a similar dam higher up.

Your suggestions are valid for dry environments but I think wouldn't help here because we get so much condensation naturally. Sort of like planting trees helps in most spots but really I have too many trees! The only way to plant productive trees and have some pasture is to cut some down and chop & drop the saplings.
 
Cj Sloane
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My daughter took a hike on our property and snapped this pic which sums up January this year:

 
Devon Olsen
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very beautiful picture CJ
i went on a hike this last weekend and it was nearly the same sorta thing here, creek was mostly frozen over with a bit of water running here and there, yet the moss and most of the understory/groundcover plants seemed to be green still
 
Cj Sloane
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Check it out:

I have no idea which dog got the ermine but they are fast & nasty! There was a dead rabbit this summer but I couldn't figure out which dog killed it because they never seemed interested. Now I think it was an ermine that killed the rabbit.
 
Devon Olsen
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Cj Sloane
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One more ewe to lamb.
 
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Location: NW Pennsylvania Zone 5B bordering on Zone 6
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I started to read through the post the other day but didn't have a chance to get very far, so I finished reading it today. I must say, you had me laughing and laughing at your bad day description back in October. Must have been a full moon! Hopefully you were able to step back and just laugh at how ridiculous everything got to be.
 
Cj Sloane
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I love telling the story of that day! Plus, those pigs are in the freezer and are extra tasty.
 
master steward
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CJ, Once again a wonderful project thread for us all to learn from. Great work !
 
Cj Sloane
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Well, I'm all signed up for geoff lawton's online PDC! Can't wait to start!
Here's the mobile coop I designed based on that 1st video, Surviving the Crisis:


I'm 3/4 thru with a version for turkeys but it's on skis. I must get it done over the next few days as they are sitting on eggs and there are ravens/crows just waiting to snatch up the babies when they hatch.

Chickens are the bane of my existence right now. I'd kill 'em all except that I love those eggs! Half of them are contained but the other half are free ranging all over despite having clipped the wings on one-side. It's impossible to plant in the garden - or anywhere for that matter!
 
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Cj Verde wrote:Chickens are the bane of my existence right now. I'd kill 'em all except that I love those eggs! Half of them are contained but the other half are free ranging all over despite having clipped the wings on one-side. It's impossible to plant in the garden - or anywhere for that matter!


I know what you mean. I planted a hugelbeet with my son this weekend, and had to scurry to throw together some fencing to keep the chickens out before they were released for free-ranging that afternoon. The deer will at least wait until stuff has come up, but the chickens will go nuclear on anything within walking distance.

Have fun with the PDC!
 
Jen Shrock
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I am there with you on the PDC CJ. I am so looking forward to it.
 
Cj Sloane
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Guess what everyone? I'm the 7th Woman of Prepping on TSP today!
http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/episode-1163-women-of-prepping-episode-7
 
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It was nice getting to meet you in person last night at Geoff's lecture, CJ.

I'm pretty sure the trip was even worth the 5 hours of driving and the sleep deprivation it cost me lol.

Are you still having issues keeping your hens in the pen (from your post 5/? I've been dealing with similar tendencies here but so far they are content to leave my plantings alone when they do get out. It seems I have more incidents of escape when I get lazy about giving them something to do. Right after a paddock shift (once a week) they are happy to explore and get the choicest morsels. After a day or so the troublemakers will start looking for forage and nesting spots in the forest edge around my yard. Tossing them a wheelbarrow of leaves to rake or several saplings/branches to pick over helps a lot.

The problem now is with me remembering to toss them something before they are going over the fence to go exploring.
 
Cj Sloane
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Same here Mike. It was cool to see Geoff in person and get my cert! I got home before midnight so that wasn't sooo bad. I was wracking my brain to think of one more good question to ask and I only thought of one when I got home. It's the problem of too many trees and how to deal with it. Something almost never mentioned but here in NE we do need to open up the canopy at times.

I am still having issues with the hens getting out but I've got 26 Cornish chicks ready to take their spot. At 8 lbs they should be too heavy to fly over a 4' fence with a wing clipped. They're only 6 weeks old so I may try to tractor the renegades. I was down to 1 egg/day from 11/day in the spring but I found 2 hidden nests. There are at least 2 or 3 chickens sitting on clutches though.

Should be a big cull in a few weeks. Especially the roosters.

Good luck with your design. Someone created this forum to hash out designs for the course which it kind of cool: http://permaculturedesigns.org/forum/
 
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C.J., here is muck solution I got from farmers in Texas:
When they build run-in sheds for horses and cows, they build the shed on top of an artificial "hill" or mound made out of eight-inch rock, then add a layer of straw.
My horse was kept on a boarding farm with Texas style run-in sheds and there was never any muck around the shed. Plus, they put it on top of a hill to start with. All the urine ran down through the rock.
I would say they spent a small fortune on rocks and gravel, but maybe you could find a free source of rocks. After awhile, the rocks get covered with a dry pad of straw and manure.
 
Cj Sloane
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Thanks Greta.
It looks as though I'm going to be forced into buying a tractor! Ugh. So many things seem to hing upon it. I think I'll need to work a crappy job for awhile to save up for one. Probably need 4WD, Bucket and a digger thingy (you can tell I'm big into tractor terms).

My latest issue wont get solved by a tractor though. Ravens are back stealing eggs! They'll even go into my mobile coop to steal 'em. A friend shot one last time in exchange for a pork dinner. Really he was supposed to give us a lesson but he left us his shot gun but we haven't seen them for months! They are so smart it's hard to sneak up on them!!!
 
Cj Sloane
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I just noticed I never posted the coop on skis:




It worked great and I've got 4 turkeys which are teenagers now. If I don't tag that mama soon, I'll never be able to tell them apart.

The coop is now in use for half of the Cornish chicks I got. I had to move half out because they got too big. Still haven't geared up for my big cull yet.
 
Posts: 1977
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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It's really fun reading about your projects and seeing your photos! I bet you're busy like me, but I look forward to seeing more when you get Atkins to it.

Someday I will post about my projects, I.wonder when...
 
Cj Sloane
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Thanks Matu.
Wow, I'm behind on my posts! All 4 baby turkeys have been harvested and all but 1 eaten! Today was crazy cold. The high was -3°F and we're supposed to get down to -13 tonight.

I had a calf born this October. I guess the pics are still on the camera - doh!
 
Cj Sloane
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Today is a good day to update this thread which I started 2 years ago.



We had 10" of snow and below 0°F temps the other day and now it's raining! Rain + ice = stuck at home. Even worse, the high today will be 46 and then plunging down to 6!

Bill Mollison said something very interesting in his 1983 PDC (the one Geoff Lawton took - available for $60 http://www.permacultureplants.net/Audio/pdc83.htm)

He said "climate is going in fairly broad oscillation. That is it is not getting drier or windier or colder or hotter - it's getting all of those at once." ... " "It isn't a trend, it's a wild set of oscillations."
"They would say it's getting colder or warmer but the actuality is that one day it's colder and the next day it's hotter." ...

"All you can say is that it's gonna get hotter and colder and windier and stiller. And drier and wetter! And it's gonna get more so! [He laughs] So that's your future, your real prognosis."

 
Cj Sloane
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I still have 5 cows. I put 1 in the freezer every year.
Here's a nice view of Anna with her calf and all the others. You can just make out Frank(futer)'s head on the left.
 
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Every time I see pics of large farm animals I have a perverse desire to get some and run them in the alleys here in central Phoenix!

Thanks for sharing your wonderful project with us. I'm sitting here shivering and it's 62 outside. What a weather wimp I am! Enjoy all that moisture - I'm a bit envious....
 
Cj Sloane
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One more pic and then I must go out to check on the animals!

Here are the pigs from a few months ago:


They are much bigger now, except for the runt. They have two more weeks till the freezer. Not sure if the runt will be lonely then. I might move her in with the cows except that I have 2 ram lambs in with the cows and they will not be thrilled to share a paddock with a pig.
 
Cj Sloane
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I did not slaughter my own lambs this fall, but I did butcher one of them. Technology is a wonderful thing:
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1977
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Thanks for the update! We are having the same weather here in Rhode Island. Sooooggy right now, And tonight my husband will drive home from late meetings, let's hope it's not one sheet of black ice out there.

 
Cj Sloane
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Hey Matu, I lived in Providence for 5 years while attending RISD. While I majored in Industrial Design for a few years and we actually had a "random assembly" assignment (see below)

One last pic which I look forward to cross posting next week for the chapter 3 discussion of the PDM:
Design by Assessing the Results of Random Assemblies
shiitake log OVER a fishtank


It was not planned as a "random assembly" put I happened to mention to a friend that I put a shiitake log over a fish tank to see if I could extend my shiitake growing season/ protect from slugs. She said, "wow, those are 2 words I couldn't put together in a sentence - shiitake & fishtank.

So, did it work? Yes on protecting the mushrooms from slugs but the FT did not provide enough humidity so the shrooms were kind of hard. OK for drying. I will try again in the spring, shpritzing with a water bottle.

I am tempted to try putting a shiitake log IN the fishtank (fishless, all the tilapia are in the other FT). The logs need to be shocked with cold water before they will fruit.
I am also tempted to try putting a shiitake log UNDER a fishtank in the hoophouse where perhaps it will stay cool.
 
Cj Sloane
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I went out to feed my 3 pigs this morning and... they were gone! 48 hours till harvest day and poof! I had turned off the electric fence about a month ago due to heavy snow and I never turned it back on and it wasn't a problem till today!

Luckily, they came back running down the mountain when I called and shook their food! They actually came back under the fence they same way they had escaped. I thought for sure they'd gone feral on me!

I've got them in a pretty secure area now, the same space I put them when they were weeners back in July.

36 more hours till harvest and counting...
 
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Oh my! Yes, you definitely don't want to lose them now! I remember the one year my parents kept pigs. I was terrified of them when they escaped. My parents are now amused that I'm thinking about raising some. What can I say, I was only 3 or 4 years old at the time! I hope you make it through to harvest day without any more escapades!
 
Devon Olsen
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CJ you must have reasonably decent humidity in the air up there to have gotten fruits at all
i have not yet grown shiitake mushrooms but last year i set up an oyster log above our fish tank right where there was an airline hooked up underneath
the bubbling caused just enough humidity to get small stunted pins if i surrounded the area with plastic bags, but i could never develop enough humidity above it to get developed fruits
with a really cheap tote set up as a fruiting chamber i was finally able to get some small fruits out of some of my cultures
i am going to set up some more sophisticated fruiting chambers here soon and then start a new pink oyster culture and possibly try some cinnamon caps out (hypholoma sublateritium)

but please if you have time let us know how the pigs turn out (particularly if they taste rebellious lol)
 
That new kid is a freak. Show him this tiny ad:
Ernie and Erica Wisner's Rocket Mass Heater Everything Combo
https://permies.com/t/40993/digital-market/digital-market/Ernie-Erica-Wisner-Rocket-Mass
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