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Wanting to do everything in the northern lower pennisula of Michigan  RSS feed

 
Steven Richards
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Moved here a little over a year ago. Wanting to raise chicken, pigs and cows. Wanting to build a beehive or two, a moveable chicken coop or two like the "chicken tractor on steroids", and possibly a box for soldier flys, if I'm not in too cold of a climate. Wanting to slow down the water using rain barrels and swales to establish a food forest. Wanting to eventually build a wofati with a rocket mass heater. Wanting a rocket mass heater for the chicken coop during the winter.

Lots of wants and not a lot of progress, yet. Guess I could blame the child we're raising... but it's probably just cause I tend to be more of a thinker than a "doer". Maybe I'll change that soon. I hope so.

What do you all think should be the top priority? Catching the rain from the roof in barrels with overflows directed to (currently nonexistent) swales? The movable chicken coop, cause we have a few chickens freeranging, but sleeping in a nasty coop that hasn't been cleaned well all winter? I do already have electric chicken fence with a solar panel and battery, so I just have to build the coop itself. Is this just something I have to figure out myself, based on what I want most?

It really bothers me that the chickens I'm raising aren't in ideal conditions. If I had a moveable chicken coop, the winter coop could at least get some "rest" to reduce the nasty. I guess my big problem is I hate to do something not as good as possible. Really regret not waiting to get the chickens. I helped fund the permaculture chickens kickstarter (and the recent RMH one), and don't want to wait until I get the movie and ebook. Here's something to creator posted recently: http://abundantpermaculture.com/chicken-housing-that-works-5-brilliant-ways/

Love this idea of building something like this:



Just don't want to wait til he releases the plans. Anyone know of plans out there for something similar? No old trailer to work with like geoff lawton (plus no welder or welding experience). No wood working experience either, but I want to learn wood more than welding.

Wanting to start some good permaculture plants. Thinking nitrogen fixing plants good for sandy soil. Sea Buckthorn trees and shrubs seem well suited. Maybe Russian and Autumn Olives? Jerusalem Artichoke? Indian Breadroot? Comfrey?

Where do you all recommend buying cuttings for the plants from, considering where I'm located? Maybe even some place I could get all the above from, to reduce shipping costs?
 
Curt Regentin
Posts: 17
Location: Northern Mich. Zone 5
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Good to see another premie in the Northern Lower Peninsula! I'm afraid I can't be any help with your chickens other than tell you that my parents keep chickens all winter without changing the litter. We just kept adding straw until the snow melted and we could spring clean the chicken house. A very smelly job!

As far as plant nurseries, here are two Michigan nurseries that have served me well: Okios Tree Crops and Cold Stream Farm. Oikos has a wide range of perennials & trees and Cold Stream Farms has many varieties at quite reasonable prices.
 
Mike Cantrell
Posts: 555
Location: Mid-Michigan
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bee books duck food preservation forest garden hunting solar trees
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Welcome! Glad to have you! I'm in Jackson, so not SO far away. Where'd you come from? I've lived a few different places, and there are some real specific great things about Michigan that you might already know about if you're from near here, or you might overlook if you're not.

Steven Richards wrote:Wanting to build a beehive or two,

It's a good place for it! A lot of folks see the short growing season and figure that will be tough on the bees, but it's not that bad. Plenty of rain means plenty of flowers straight through from beginning to end, no overly dry time in the middle where your bees can't forage (ahem, Arkansas). They're sustained the whole time.

Steven Richards wrote: Wanting to slow down the water using rain barrels and swales to establish a food forest.

Ugh. Don't do like I did and skip the volume calculation. Size your catchment right the first time. How much rain? How much roof? Build it big enough.

Steven Richards wrote:Lots of wants and not a lot of progress, yet. Guess I could blame the child we're raising... but it's probably just cause I tend to be more of a thinker than a "doer". Maybe I'll change that soon. I hope so.

Slow and steady wins the race, nothing to worry about. My tendency is the same.

Steven Richards wrote:(plus no welder or welding experience). No wood working experience either, but I want to learn wood more than welding.

For what it's worth, I've found even a lousy welder to be vastly better than no welder at all. I bought this little guy: http://www.harborfreight.com/80-amp-inverter-arc-welder-91110.html for about $80 or so. You can to, if you patiently do the coupon dance. Eight pounds and the size of a loaf of bread, runs on 110, but welds 1/8" sheet easily, maybe 1/4" if you do it right. I've been pleased with mine. Again, not fabulous- you probably can't build a roadworthy trailer with it... but I built a satisfactory firewood cart, for example.
On the other hand, if I had 220v service in my garage, I'd have haunted Craigslist till I found a Lincoln buzzbox for $125 and then lived happily ever after. I suppose that's the deciding factor- whether you've got 220v service in your work area. And then, of course, the money.


Anyhow, where ya from?
Welcome to Permies!

Mike

 
Steven Richards
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Curt Regentin wrote:
We just kept adding straw until the snow melted and we could spring clean the chicken house. A very smelly job!

As far as plant nurseries, here are two Michigan nurseries that have served me well: Okios Tree Crops and Cold Stream Farm. Oikos has a wide range of perennials & trees and Cold Stream Farms has many varieties at quite reasonable prices.


I did the same with the chickens. Thank you for the nursery recommendations. They seem to have some cool stuff. I didn't think I could grow persimmons here, but maybe I can. That would be awesome.

Mike Cantrell wrote:
It's a good place for it! A lot of folks see the short growing season and figure that will be tough on the bees, but it's not that bad. Plenty of rain means plenty of flowers straight through from beginning to end, no overly dry time in the middle where your bees can't forage (ahem, Arkansas). They're sustained the whole time.


Good to know. I see lots of people around here doing them with the Langstroth boxes or whatever they're called. I want to build a topbar beehive. I know someone that's good at woodworking, and I think he'll be willing to help.

Mike Cantrell wrote:
Ugh. Don't do like I did and skip the volume calculation. Size your catchment right the first time. How much rain? How much roof? Build it big enough.


Thanks for the advice. Will do. Looking into acquiring some food-grade IBCs at the moment.

Mike Cantrell wrote:
Anyhow, where ya from?


My brother and I were born in Grand Rapids. My parents moved us to a little town an hour from Dayton, OH when I was 12 and we lived there until moving to Lansing a few years ago. We were living in Lansing when I met the girlfriend, Nicole, from Jackson. We all decided to buy a place up here because property is cheap. The upstairs, which used to be a separate apartment, is where the girlfriend, son and I live. There's 35 acres, and a lot is woods/forest/thicket/marsh... not really sure what to call it LOL. I think there's enough grass that I could graze a cow or two for most of the warm season without supplementing, but I have no experience, so...
 
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