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7 acres in Maine looking for helpers

 
steward
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That's sounds great Jessica.

All the warm weather and rain has finally melted most of the snow and our chickens are happily clearing things up while they still have their freedom. As soon as the ground is thawed enough, they'll be going back into the paddock shift system. We had some crazy wind patterns early this morning that actually flipped over my rabbit enclosure. Everyone seems to be ok, though a little wet. It's been a crazy spring.

My kids went out to one of the local parks and brought me back a half dozen sprouting chestnuts. I was so excited. We planted them in some soil last night. we'll see what comes of that. I've got a lot of acorns that are sprouting as well. If tomorrow turns out to be a decent day I'm going to take a walk and dig up as many small tree seedlings as I can. I clearly need to reinforce some windbreaks. LOL

All of the swales that I dug last year are performing as well as I could expect. They are full and overflowing at the appropriate places so...

I've been shoveling piles of semi-frozen chicken and rabbit poo into a big compost pile. That's tons of fun.

We have a hen that's gone broody and so I'll be looking to set her up with a safe place to nest soon. For now I'm taking the eggs and then when I've got a good place for her I'll give her a dozen pre-selected eggs to hatch for us. That ought to be fun.

I did come up with an interesting way to combat a muddy driveway. HAY and CHICKENS. I spread about 5 bales of hay all over the dirt driveway. This makes it about 4 inches think or so. The chickens continually scratch it up looking for seeds and actually eating a fair amount of the fine grass from it. In the process they mix in the wet mud and manure which can then be composted or allowed to dry. It takes about one full breezy day with sun to completely dry the hay so that it's easy to move. The surface area of the hay helps to wick moisture off of the driveway to keep it from getting to rutted when water flows or cars drive over it. The chickens actions cause the clay to stick to the hay leaving behind the courser sand and gravel which will hopefully result in a cleaner driveway in the future. Who knows.


So... that's what going on here. Animal Craziness OHHH! and the new batch of piglets are likely to arrive sometime next month.

 
Posts: 15
Location: Lowell, MA Zone 6a
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:I'm on the "Midcoast". The closest town is Belfast (20 minutes away).



Craig, the swales are looking great! Glad to see some "Maniacs" doing some permaculture!

I am an aspiring permie who has to live in MA for now to pay the bills, but I have 13 wild acres in the Cherryfield area that was once a organic homestead in my youth, but has gone wild for the past 20 years. I am now in my early thirties and absolutely itching to kick-start this sleepy little piece of land and make something beautiful out of it. I am observing, planning, reading, and researching until the opportunity to return home to the "Downeast" becomes a possibility once again..

How does the Permaculture scene look up there? My girlfriend and I are tiring of the urban cityscape, but the biggest obstacle to taking the plunge into starting the homestead back up is the fear of isolation.

So, how much of a community of like-minded people are you feeling up your way?
 
Craig Dobbson
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There are quite a few permie people here. There's a lot of young families that are all in the process of getting started. We're all spread out all over the place.
 
Four Nichols
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Location: Lowell, MA Zone 6a
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:There are quite a few permie people here. There's a lot of young families that are all in the process of getting started. We're all spread out all over the place.



You all got any sort of a meet-up schedule? I know that this is where I want to be in the near future, but my better half is a bit of a city-girl. She is understandably nervous about moving out to the "woods" and being cut off from humanity as we know it.. ;P

Cherryfield is a pretty sleepy little town, so I don't blame her for the apprehension.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Four: Sorry I didn't respond. I just found out that I've stopped receiving updates from a lot of my watched forums.
I've always been a country-at-heart person even when living in the city. When I moved here with my family, it took some getting used to, even though we're like 12 miles from a good sized town. My wife recently made a comment to the affect of " It's not easy but it's better." You make some sacrifices at first but that's usually what motivates people to do more for themselves (or move back to town). You can't really live a suburb life in the rural setting effectively. I would say that it takes a few seasons before you find out the best ways to do things. In my five years here I've found satisfaction in growing food that lasts me through the winter. Providing my own fuels and building materials from trees that grow here gives me security. The changing choruses of birds, frogs and insects in the morning, day and evening change as the seasons progress and the silence of winter can bring peace or depression depending on how you use it. Either way... it's different.


I'm knee deep in the Geoff Lawton online PDC. We're expecting a clutch of chicks to be hatching on the 5th. One of our rabbits is also due to have another litter on that night. We are also gearing up for the new piglets that will be arriving soon as well. (sows be willing). I've got a kitchen full of oak and chestnut seedlings as well as tomatoes and peppers. Everything else is going to be direct seeded. I'll be planting some cold weather early crops tomorrow. Peas, Carrots, radishes, greens, brassicas, parsnips...

I spent last week setting up the paddocks for the chickens and making a mountain of a compost pile from the winter litter from the coop and the wood chips that kept the driveway dry and mud free. I'm using the Berkley Method and that pile is steaming hot and cooking well. After the chickens finished clearing the garden of pests, they went back to the paddocks and I raked all the mulch back onto the raised beds. Looks like all of the trees I planted last year have survived and the strawberries, raspberries, blackberries are all looking good too. I'm feeling pretty good about the asparagus that is coming into it's first full harvest year. It's 3 years old and I'm expecting spears about the thickness of a thumb for a few solid weeks. I've mulched them with a lot of rabbit manure so that'll help things along.
So yeah... it get's busy, but after a long cold, quiet winter it's nice to be outside sweating and soaking up some sun.

 
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Hey Craig,

What's your email address. The staff informed me that I've used all of my purple mooseages.

Thanks,
Luke
 
Four Nichols
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Craig,

Thanks for the great reply, and no worries on the delay. That whole description is music to my ears.

Just curious, do you guys have any happenings going on this summer? Which is to say, any opportunities for visitors to come experience your farm for a day trip or so? We are planning to make a few weekend visits to Maine this year, so traveling options are welcome.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Four: Yeah we're just kicking off the season. As things get going I'll have a good idea about when would be a good day for a gathering. When are you planning your visits for? There's always something going on here so even if you just wanted to stop in for an afternoon while you're in the area, cool.
I'd like to do a fall pig roast and invite all the permies who'd be interested. During July we usually have a pretty good wild blueberry harvest. That's always a good time for kids. They pick a lot but very few make it into the bucket. Wild Blueberries are really hard resist.

 
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Location: Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
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I was just thinking it was time to start planning a meetup! I just got back from the Fedco Tree Sale - didn't buy trees this year, but picked up some black cohosh roots, arnica roots, and a sage plant (and said hello to all the awesome people who work there ). Next year, I hope to be prepared to bring home at least 3 or 4 trees for a start on my new food forest spot...

Craig, I was thinking of your place originally for a first workday/meetup, but if you'd rather do it later this summer, we could do it here at my place. I'd love just to get some visioning done, and have some extra sets of eyes to help me plan my next 20 years or so (though I'm sure I can think of some digging or planting I need done ).
 
Craig Dobbson
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Jessica: I totally blanked on the Fedco thing this year. There were a few things I could have added but I usually can't "just buy a few things", I tend to go crazy in there. Last year I pre ordered something like 30 bushes and trees plus 75 strawberry plants, comfrey and who knows what else. When I went to pick it up I had to stop myself from filling up another box. When I checked my order at home I realized they forgot my chestnut trees. I went back the next weekend and got them, plus a buncha other stuff. I couldn't help it. I didn't even have places to plant them. Oh... but I found places to plant them. Everything except one cherry tree survived this winter. Not bad.

The whole family was out in the back yard digging new gardens yesterday. I was able to get some carrots and beets planted in the front garden with the raspberries. All sorts of other things are popping up as well. Many of the kale plants from last year are putting on some new leaves. These are plants that were cut for animal feed a couple of times per week in the summer and them mobbed by chickens down to the ground in the fall. Not many survive the severe abuse they get but I save the seeds from the ones that do. Garlic, chives, hyssop and comfrey are busting through and the apples are budding along with the maples trees.

I woke up this morning and it appears that one of our chicks hatched last night. The only evidence is a half of an egg shell sitting in front of the hen. Today (or tomorrow) is supposed to be the day so I figure there's a little birdie under that hen some place. With any luck there will be a few more as the day goes on. Of course any time something is born here the weather is terrible. It's cool and rainy but I'm sure it's nice and warm under that hen.

Our oldest doe rabbit is all set up to deliver another litter in the next day or so. I gave her a nest box and some dried grass from the field. She's made a nest hole but hasn't pulled fur to line it yet. Usually she makes the nest late in the day on the 30th day of gestation and delivers that night. The last litter of TEN are in grow-out cages now. I'll be selecting a buck and a few does from this litter to keep on for breeding. The other six are probably going to be butchered in the next few days. I'm going to try Rabbit Parmesan this time around. mmmmmmm

That's the news for now.

 
Craig Dobbson
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The broody hen hatched seven of the eight eggs I gave her. All of them are doing well and the hen seems to be protecting them. They will be moving up to a larger shelter within our electric netting system later today. They will be able to hear the rest of the flock but not see them. In time they will be reintegrated to the flock. Right now I just want them to be on some fresh ground in a safe place.

The doe rabbit gave birth yesterday afternoon at some point. She made her nest at around 10am and by 4pm the fur pile was jumping with babies. I'll be checking in on them this afternoon. I like them to get settled for 24 hours before I go messing with the nest to count heads and remove any dead kits.

So yeah... Babies everywhere!


Update: 9 baby bunnies. All alive and well. 7 white, 2 black.
 
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:If there's anyone interested in learning, teaching, hanging out and actually DOING some permaculture stuff, I'm offering the space to do it. I've got about 7 acres of south facing hillside with lot's of little nuances that's waiting to be grand. I've reached a point where I'm limited in my time and ability and simply would like to gather some like minded folks to share in a design. Right now I'm just taking the pulse to see if there's any interest and who might be able to help with what.

I've spent quite a while getting to know the land and I have a good Idea as to what I want to do with it. I'm hoping to put together a core group of designers (I use the term very loosely) to get the ball rolling and hope to be bringing on more folks as we implement designs along the way. Ultimately I'd like this land to be a free-to-all teaching ground, but it's so far from that now it's hard to know how to get started on that path.
I'm by no means an expert on any one aspect of permaculture, though I do feel that I have a good enough grasp on most things to say that I "know" some permaculture stuff.

I'd like to say that I have any clue as to organize such a project but I really don't. I'm a thinker and a doer but not really an organizer. I know what I want but right now I can't do it all by myself. Time and money and all that.
Im looking for folks in every aspect of interest from building structures and ponds to designing wildlife spaces.

I don't have any prerequisites, only that you be serious about permaculture and like to have a good time doing it. Obviously, conventional agriculture folk need not apply.

Again, this is only just to get a feel if there's interest. I can't commit to anything yet as I have a family that comes first but it would be really great to try to make something of this place.

Interested?
Got a skill?
Want to learn a skill?
Just wanna drink a beer with other permie people?

Reply here or with a PM to me. Let's see what happens.

To be clear, this is not a blank slate. There are gardens, swales, wild spaces, lots of wild edibles and fruit trees. We have chickens (120) and pigs (2) and hope to be adding other animals as things go on. There are raised garden beds on contour as well as hugelbeds, polyculture spaces, fodder spaces for animals and a paddock shift system as well.

Anyway... hoping this goes over well.










I have a friend who is into gardening and lived in Maine. We're both in Arizona now living in an ecovillage founded by Gabriel of Urantia (http://gccalliance.org/resume/) in the 90s. I mention this because we do very similar things and we're known for our efforts in sustainability. Do check us out and maybe you can make a trip to a farm in the desert!

http://avalongardens.org/


 
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Hey Craig!

I just bought a house in Waldo, and would love to swing by and check your place out sometime. I'm a local landscaper - mowing, primarily - but really appreciate the permie way. We've got 2 acres here and I'd love to look over what you've done and steal your ideas.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Thanks Tim and welcome to Permies!

Do you have any specific plans for your new property?
A few of us are starting to plan some work parties to help each other out with bigger projects and plans. If you're interested, let me know and we'll see how the schedules work out. It's nice to see so many permaculture minded people in the area.
 
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hello my name is Jason Horton my wife and I and our daughter are looking 4 a farm or permaculture opportunity or opportunity to work and farm our own food in return for room and board or if longer term the ability and space to build a small structure but we would both be interested in helping on your farm email me back if you're interested in this help my email is Brksamson84@gmail.com
thank you kindly to all and any who take this into consideration
 
Tim Arbo
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Craig,

We've got mostly wooded slopes, and I would like to eventually get some of that reclaimed.
It's a mix of old pines, some oaks, cedars, birches and newer stuff.
Here's my rough plans:
Chickens>Goats>Pigs, in that order, to clear some of the areas. Of course, this is over some time.

I'd like to swale it up some and perhaps make a little farm pond.

Any suggestions?

Also! MOFGA has this: http://mofga.org/Default.aspx?tabid=302

Sounds like a rootin' tootin' good time.
 
Tim Arbo
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The entire summer has elapsed and I thought I'd resurrect this thread to check in with all y'all.
How'd your summer go? How's your landscapes treating you? All done harvesting?

 
Craig Dobbson
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Things have been going pretty well here. As usual, there have been ups and downs. Mostly ups. I had awesome crops of berries. Strawberry, blackberry, raspberries, juneberry, serviceberry, grapes and elderberry went really really well. Blueberries didn't do so well.

I'm still harvesting carrots, beets, broccoli, greens, beans, raspberries, grapes, parsnips, pumpkins, squash, fennel and some other odds and ends. Cabbages got hit hard by cabbage moths and I got nowhere with onions again. Oh well.
The apples did very well this year too. I'll be out there this weekend filling buckets for making pies and preserves.

I'm up to 6 good breeding female rabbits. Average litter size is 9. High-12 low-4. The freezer is remaining stocked with rabbit, to say the least. I'll be processing furs later next month- probably after this next batch of 20 fryers are butchered in a few weeks.
The hens are finishing up their moult and eggs will be back in full swing soon. For some reason my hens like to take summer off of laying.
Just as the last roasts are coming out of the freezer from last year's pigs, I'm making selections for which pigs I'll be keeping through winter this year. Butchering will likely take place in late November and December for the others. Based on this years calculations I need at least 3 pigs per year to keep my family in pork consistently.
And... the ducks. They are awesome. At just about 4 months old and nearly 8 pounds I'm really impressed with their growth. They have great attitudes and they chow slugs and bugs like crazy. I'm expecting an egg or two within the next couple months.

It's been pretty intense around here as I'm making plans for some serious home renovations including an attached greenhouse for spring construction. I just got my PDC certificate in the mail from Geoff Lawton last week. I'll be lookng to put that to good use here in the community as soon as possible.


Hope all is going well for everyone.

 
Tim Arbo
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Hey Craig!
Thought I'd check in to see how you're doing. I hope you're all dug out.
What plans do you have for the winter?
Got a little busy with starting a new job and having a baby and all.
Didn't get to clearing out some trees before snowfall, but hey, winter's when all the pros do it, right?
I acquired a tiny jotul I get to install in the house.
Been shopping around for a generator too.
That was quite the harvest you pulled in!

What have you been up to as of late?

Cordially,
Tim
 
Craig Dobbson
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I'm still working on optimizing my rabbit production. The numbers are good but I'm still working out the little things that can make it easier. I've also got about a hundred hides to tan at some point.
In the next week or so I'll be bringing the pigs down from the field to the winter paddocks. Selection will begin to see who's the first to win an all expense paid trip to freezer camp. That will likely be happening in early January.

I might be doing a bit of tree trimming. I've got a few trees that are one big ice storm away from crushing my house.
Of course this is usually the time when things get kinda quiet and I begin focusing on inside house projects. I had some foundation work done a few months ago and now it's time to do all the little things that were dependent on that task being accomplished. Paint, trim, plaster... blah blah blah.

I'll also be trying to schedule in some time to do some consulting work. I finished my PDC in the summer and now it's time to start spreading the love.

The long shot for this spring is to get some larger earthworks done at the higher altitudes of my land. I need more paddock space if I want a dairy cow and I certainly need to get those larger swale systems in before making that jump.
So much to do... so little time. LOL

 
pollinator
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How about an update? Did you accomplish your 2014 goals? Pics!
 
Craig Dobbson
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For some reason or another I have digital troubles that are preventing me from uploading pictures here at the moment. I also fail to get notifications when certain watched threads are updated. That's usually how it goes for me.

I'm working on organizing pictures and videos from the last four years so that I can eventually start a "project" thread of my own in the new year.


I got this pretty AWESOME puppy recently. he's taking up a good deal of my free time.
 
Cj Sloane
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:I also fail to get notifications when certain watched threads are updated.



This happens to me to. Randomly enough that it's hard to even know it's happening unless I look at the Recent Topics thread and see posts that should've shown up in my email.

Our puppy follows me while I do my animal chores. He's chewing & getting into everything!

Our puppy's favorite spot is in front of the sliding glass door and he drags all his "things" there:
Sheet and towel formerly in his crate
A muck boot
A mop
A glove
A piece of kindling
His stuffed koala bear...

Makes getting in and out of the house challenging!
 
Craig Dobbson
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Cj Verde wrote:
Makes getting in and out of the house challenging!



I used to have his crate in my living room so that I could keep an eye on him but he moved all of his stuff out of it and plopped it all near the front door in the kitchen. He figured out that all the people come and go from that door so he stays there to keep track of all of us.
 
Cj Sloane
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Craig Dobbelyu wrote:He figured out that all the people come and go from that door so he stays there to keep track of all of us.



He did the same thing? Wow, must be hardwired.
 
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Just wanted to say this thread is awesome!
I have been looking at properties in the Fairfield area for almost 2 years now. Financially just haven't been in the right place yet, living in Central America for a while didn't help that! I don't recall seeing any posts on cold frames and winter greenhouses. Do you use either of those things?
I am new to the Permies website and look forward to following this thread and seeing how things develop. It sounds like a dream to me!
Stay warm Craig!
 
Craig Dobbson
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Looks Like we're getting a couple feet of snow tonight into Wednesday. Should be a good time. The snow isn't the trouble here... it's the wind. Two feet of snow means that in some places I'll have 8 foot drifts and bare ground in other places. One of the biggest goals is to find a way to manage the winds during blizzards so that I can direct the snow to the places where it's out of the way AND in a good place to melt in the spring for water capture/flood mitigation.

I have managed to get all of the animal shelters oriented so that the wind keeps the doors clear of snow and a minimal amount of snow builds up against the south side. Basically the shelters are covered in snow on three sides for insulation and the south side is clear so that the sun can warm that wall. Chickens use the sunny walls to sunbathe so it's nice if that area is clear of snow.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Freddie Orcut wrote:Just wanted to say this thread is awesome!
I don't recall seeing any posts on cold frames and winter greenhouses. Do you use either of those things?




In the past few years I've been experimenting with row covers for some crops. Not really for season extension but rather to help with pest control. I have built a few hoop houses for covering cold frames but as usual, I get so busy that something gets left out and I failed to make the best use of them. This year though...

I have a 10x40 ft farmer's porch attached to my house (south side) which I would like to dismantle and re-do as an attached greenhouse for winter growing, seed starting and otherwise relaxing in during buggy times. It would also function to help move air in and out of the main house. Right now I guess moisture is the major concern so I'm still researching things a bit to make sure I don't rot out my old house with a new greenhouse.

Thanks for the question. Sorry it took me so long to answer it.
 
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Craig and friends! Hello and thanks for keeping this thread alive, I've greatly enjoyed reading it. I am a wandering permaculturalist looking for my next project and i have decided to settle in your area of maine! yay midcoast!
I am particularly interested in greenhouses and attached solariums and utilizing my engineering background devising a system of temperature humidity and air flow control systems. I would like to interface this with an easy to use user smart micro grid interface. I am also into goats, and tree propagation.
If you are looking for interny type people to cross pollinate your land with ideas and a bit of elbow grease i would enjoy meeting some new friends in the area!
I am travel in a van full of tools and camp gear. I am arriving later this week and will be around for...a while...(i hope).
Would love to hear back from you or others in the area, can pm email or mobile# for casual meetup, chat, work projects for barter or van overnight parking.
Cheers, love you all!
gregor
 
Freddie Orcut
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Any good updates?
I personally got into rabbitry and when they say brown gold they weren't kidding! My garden is looking great. I even had a bag of poo that started growing grass in it. No idea how that happened?!?!

Hope all is well!
 
Craig Dobbson
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This year's main focus has been on consolidating operations into concise, reasonable systems. The last four years were a lot of experimentation, observation and learning. In that time I've gotten to know the habits of my climate, animals, plants and people. Now I kind of know where I want things to be and how I can expect things to go on from there. So I would say that I now have a Master plan coming together.

As of right now I'm placing most of my efforts into saving seeds and marking plants for taking fall cuttings. I really need to expand my food forest and having those items on hand in the spring will make a huge difference. I'm also working on infrastructure placements for future systems. I'll be needing more greenhouse space, growing space and more pasture space.

On animals: After my senior buck died (old age, in his sleep), I made the decision to end rabbit production until I had better infrastructure. They are one of my favorite animals to raise and I'm hoping to have a decent rabbit barn built by next spring. I'll be using the time in between to source some high quality breeders. As my duck flock increases I'm allowing the chicken flock to wind down to some degree. Earlier this year I had about 40 chickens and 6 ducks. Two of my ducks are sitting on large clutches of eggs and with any luck I'll have some ducklings soon. Aerial predators were whacking my chicken flock for a few weeks in the spring, which brought the population down to about 25 chickens. Ideally I'll go into winter with about 15 chickens and hopefully as many ducks. Once I get my pasture set up right I'll be looking to get a good breeding pair of pigs. I've really enjoyed keeping pigs so taking a year off from them will be tough. But I am having to buy another freezer to hold the two that I kept over winter from last year, so I think I'll have enough bacon to get me through.
In short, I'm trying to eat my way though to a more relaxed winter so that I can spend time getting all the little stuff sorted out instead of constantly doing animal chores on ice in the dark. Not that that isn't fun when it -30.

I'd like to add a bee hive next year. My wildflower and cultivated perennials are at levels that are supporting tons of bees of all sorts, so I figured I should start taking advantage of that opportunity. I prefer honey to every other sweetener so it makes sense to make that investment. I'd also like to start a huge worm farm. This would mostly be used in concert with the rabbits but also for disposing of other manures during the winter months when composting isn't gonna really do it. At this point I've kinda had enough compost turning to last a life time. The less of it that I have to do, the better.

Besides that I'm just documenting as much of it as I can so that I can either write a book or start a small video series to help get the word out about permaculture and simpler living. In that same vein, I'm doing some consulting work and starting to build a legit business model for helping others get started.

That's the gist of it...



Please keep the questions coming. I'm far off the topic of looking for on-site helpers but this thread does help me see my progress and help me tweak my designs.
 
Freddie Orcut
Posts: 25
Location: New England
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Great stuff Craig! You can never, ever, ever have too much bacon!
I also want to get a bee hive eventually. My plan is to figure out how to build the new hive that can drain honey without disturbing the bee's. Once I do I will get a few of the towering sunflowers to put in each garden bed.
I will be excited to get into pigs as well some day. The composting/fertilizing factor alone is amazing if you can do a 4+ pen rotation.
I plan to build a small shed for my rabbits with an automatic watering system as well. Possibly hang a 55 gallon drum with small pvc piping and nipples to each cage. I want to experiment with a small solar panel to power a fish tank heater in the drum to maintain water above freezing for the winter months. A challenge to say the least.
I think doing a V-log would be a great idea for you. I would love to see your set up and thought process put into images and random babbling on youtube. For me it seems the best video's often veer off course when talking about homesteading and permaculture.

Do you do any special winterizing for the ducks and chickens? My plan is to just block the wind and have a bunch of hay for them to cuddle up into. I have 1 duck who lost his 2 girls this summer and he will be moving in with the chickens come winter.
 
Craig Dobbson
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
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Freddie Orcut wrote:
Do you do any special winterizing for the ducks and chickens? My plan is to just block the wind and have a bunch of hay for them to cuddle up into. I have 1 duck who lost his 2 girls this summer and he will be moving in with the chickens come winter.



I have a large coop that they all take shelter in during the winter months. Usually by mid winter the whole structure is buried in snow on three sides, which provides a lot of insulation from wind. I keep just enough fresh wood shavings on the floor to keep things dry and I just let that stuff build up all winter. I compost that with my pig manure and bedding in one MASSIVE Berkley pile once the spring weather hits.
I also give them a large bin to dust bathe in. Ashes, DE, clay and sand seems to do the trick. I leave a lot more straw in the nest boxes to help keep eggs from freezing too. For most of the winter there is a settling pond that fills with clean water that they have access too as long as I can keep it ice free otherwise I haul water out in the morning and evening. The ducks like to be able to clear out their nostrils in water so they need a few inches or so to get their heads submerged. I like to use a large heavy rubber bowl from the feed store. Once the bowl freezes up you can whack it with a sledge hammer to break out the ice and do no damage to the bowl.

I'll consider throwing together some videos from last winter to show you more of what I mean.




 
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Greetings. I am interested to know if you still seek collaboration and support.

IF so my advertisement is:

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keep in touch
 
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