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11 Acres (almost) and a dream  RSS feed

 
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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We have just purchased 10.85 acres about 20 minutes drive outside Kirkland lake Ontario.  The main house is stickframe and electrically heated (AAGGGHHHH!), but RMH to the rescue (I hope).  The outbuilding, itself the size of a small house, has 2 rooms.  One will be my workshop and the other is scheduled to be turned into a kennel for my wife to run a doggy daycare.  About an acre has been cleared as yard and will be turned into dog runs and food gardens.  I am planning on having bees at the back of the property but would like help/idea's for the rest of the property which is bush.  There are mature poplar, jack pine and birch (syrup?) as well as tag alder, pin cherry and other shrubs in the understory.  I am currently unsure of the makeup further back as haven't had the opportunity to explore.  Raspberry cane is common along edges and the area has abundant blueberries, unknown if any are on the property.  No known surface water on the property.  The house faces mostly east and a little south having an unheated solarium on the west side.  The hardiness zone is on the boundary of 2a & 2b.  The house is right on Highway 11, the major hwy in the region, set back about 75' and having a screen of spruce between the house and highway which has relatively low traffic.  On our present property in town we've succeeded in growing black current bushes but at 4 years old have only had a very few currents off them.  With only 2 bedrooms, though 1300 sq ft, B&B idea's will have minor applicability.  I am retaining my employment as a teacher as we unfortunately won't be mortgage free.  All suggestions welcome.
 
                              
Posts: 32
Location: Zone 6a/b - London Ontario
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Take in my boyfriend and I. 
He's an awesome cook and I'm a strong worker.
Just kidding(but not completely).

I'd clear out the bush and get a mini cow and a pig or two. The cow gives you milk and veal to sell to the butcher each year, the pig "precycle"s all the scraps and any extra milk into lovely manure for your garden.
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Willow NyteEyes wrote:
I'd clear out the bush ...



Ummm, part of the charm of living in the bush is, well.... the bush.  If your talking about the underbrush, that is, at least in part, in the cards.  The wife is an animal nut so raising something to be slaughtered isn't really do-able, though I could probably get away with fowl.  Some goats for milk and fibre might also be a consideration, perhaps rabbit as well.  Would want to be able to keep anything on what's available from the land, not buying hay etc from others.  Thanks for the thoughts though.  Will be looking into manure composting, both human and animal.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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We have a similar situation here, although we are a few zones warmer than you are, I would get some information from the locals on what grows well there. Check out my blog and you can see what we did with our property. I agree I love our woodlands and wouldn't want to "clean it up" too much, but we did make trails through the woods to access the available fruit and trees..any areas that were cleared we have been reforesting on our property too.

Food forest gardens would be a good direction to go for you (read Gaia's Garden by toby hemenway)
 
Posts: 32
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We moved onto our dream property a year ago, and though there is just no similarities between our climates, vegetation or even hemisphere  , I can highly recommend moving onto your property and biding your time at first!!  If you have the patience it is wonderful to live on the property for four seasons before making any major changes and deciding what you want to do.  There is some things about your property that you simply won't know before you have lived there for a year.  I promise you, once you are on the property, the "what to do" will come to you...  and you will find the "how to's" as you go along!!  Enjoy it!!
 
                              
Posts: 32
Location: Zone 6a/b - London Ontario
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I was just referring to dangerous or pesky plants... not actual bushes. 

And who says you have to buy hay for cows & pigs? Check out these links.

http://www.minicattlepros.com/dairy.html
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxTfQpv8xGA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYWYU5V8JOo&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfw2ybbRTYs&feature=channel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FrxmgR-vYms&feature=channel
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Any suggestions to cement as flooring for a dog kennel?  Cement is good but with the cold weather now not the easiest to install at this time.
 
pollinator
Posts: 401
Location: South West France
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chicken food preservation forest garden fungi hunting solar
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mekennedy1313,

Do you mean a kennel or a compound ? If you mean a kennel then to be honest, I think it's a terrible idea.

For a kennel, look around for a material like corn cobs, egg boxes, branches of wood or anything that will keep its shape with a weight on it. Put that in as a base then cover with smaller branches of wood, or straw or something softer until you put your final layer of something like an old hessian sack or an old blanket.

If you mean a compound then I'm sorry - I misunderstood but make it as big and as interesting as possible and you won't need concrete.
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Irene Kightley wrote:
mekennedy1313,

Do you mean a kennel or a compound ? If you mean a kennel then to be honest, I think it's a terrible idea.



I might have been unclear, the kennel is a business.  It is for the smaller area each dog will have for sleeping at night.  The idea is to have a base floor that is easily cleaned yet durable and I am interested in alternatives to cement.  This is the base floor, not the surface the dogs are expected to lie on.  There will be beds, blankets etc on this base.  For the most part we are setting up for social dogs to be in a common play area for most of the day and outdoor runs for when weather permits.  The organics you mention, though a great idea in my mind, don't meet requirements for sanitation with respect to liability insurance.  We are great lovers of animals but there are constraints when the care is done as a business.  Hope that clears things up.  For our own dogs I get about 12 inches at the edge of the bed to sleep on, the wife a full body width and the rest of a queen sized bed is taken up by Sunny, our rough collie, and Lassie, our sheltie.
 
Irene Kightley
pollinator
Posts: 401
Location: South West France
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I might have been unclear, the kennel is a business.



I understand better now mekennedy, thanks.

I'm sorry to have doubted your good sense.

Irene
 
                        
Posts: 508
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You might consider the flooring used for horse stalls and trailers..in this area usually called rubber matting.  It will likely last as long as cement does (both will be affected by urine etc after a while) but is much easier on the animals. (And much easier and quicker to install!)  I would check around re prices, sometimes there is a wide variation, though I would get the best quality you can manage. Seems as though a 15 year warranty for horse matting is normally recommended.

Many stables are going out of business these days, you might even be able to find some used stuff for sale to get you going. Usually it is installed over concrete (if in a barn and not a trailer) but if the floor is relatively flat and firm I don't see why that would be necessary, the biggest dog is unlikely to stress the floor as much as the smallest horse. I don't know where you are but these people might be worth checking out if you are in the States http://www.rbrubber.com/ or http://oregonrubbermat.net/livestock-and-pets-mats.nxg  If you are in Canada you will have to do a little more digging..the one place I knew of is pretty pricey.  Good luck
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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ok not sure if this would work for dog kennels or not..but let me suggest this anyway for an alternative.

you have aspen and alders etc..you might want to invest that money into a wood chipper instead of into cement..and chip some of the wood scrap from your forest to use as bedding for the dogs..it would be better insulated, esp if it was under cover from the rain, easy to rake out and replace with fresh regularly, would absorb the urine and probably a lot of the feces..could be composted in a corner of the forest and later used to build up the soil where food crops were not going to be grown, would have the nitrogen from the urine and manure to help replace nitrogen lost while the chips rot..and would be more comfortable for the animals..but might be a bit more work.
 
Posts: 167
Location: MAINE
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buy a round roll of insulation at home depot
and "never"  unwrap it....

better to re-bag it in a couple of large thick lawn and leaf bags.

this will reflect all "body heat"  in "winter"  back to the dogs
...use two side by side for larger dogs and scrunch them together with
some good cotton rope. then cover with a blanket.

My dog taught me this.... 
and i'd always find her curled up on an un opened roll
" warm as toast "
-Rav
 
Posts: 120
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just a idea if yeah need some money you could sell the wood on the land and not pay somone to clear cut it. goats will eat anything if you get a few of them thay could help ya clean it up a bit. chickens help keep the ticks down a garden might be nice. auto waters and auto feeders are good for all animals

the cheap guy
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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I found the area further back has been treed about 10-15 years ago so that is not an option.  I want to keep a good amount of forest.  The goats and chickens are already under consideration.  Does anyone know of nut trees hardy to zone 2?
 
                        
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The only ones I know of for sure are  hazelnuts, and the ones that will survive here are not quite the same size or quality of those you can grow in warmer climates, but they ARE edible and they grow in Sask so they should grow for you.

OTOH apparently Morden research station in Manitoba had black and Manchurian walnuts as well as some butternuts which grew well there. I would think if you were careful as to where you got your seedstock from all of these might work for you. Apparently they got the original seed from Nebraska.
 
These guys are in your neck of the woods and sell  them:
http://www.cornhillnursery.com/retail/deciduous/deciduous.html
I have never dealt with them so you would need to check them out.

Bur oak at least, should grow there, not sure about any other sorts of oaks or if acorns were on your list as of interest.
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Thanks Pam,  Have contacted them.  As for the oak, none is found naturally around here but it might survive.  Some young sugar maples are starting to enter the area with the relatively milder winters we have been getting over the last 10 or so years so it's a possibility.

Max
 
marty reed
Posts: 120
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you have started on the journey that i want to do my self their is alot of information and plans on how to build and do many thing at this link i hope you like it  http://bioengr.ag.utk.edu/extension/ExtPubs/PlanList97.htm#Poultry Plans

good luck im hoping to buy my land in 2012 when i get back from over seas

the cheap guy
 
                        
Posts: 508
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Bur oaks grow here so they should grow there, but they can be pretty slow growers. Something I didn't know until recently, is that Manitoba maple can be tapped for syrup. They are almost a weed tree here they volunteer all over the place.
Something else you might think about are the edible seeded pine trees, there are quite a few of them and there is a supplier/enthusiast in Ontario who has collected trees from all over the world for this.
http://www.nuttrees.com/edible.htm ; It's been a while since I looked at this site and not sure if anything there would work for you..they seemed a little pricey when I last saw it but bookmarked the site anyway.Maybe it's worth it if you find something of interest.
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Am aware of the "Manitoba Maple", also commonly called box elder.  It can indeed be tapped for syrup, it lighter in colour and taste but is very good.  Had it when we lived in Portage la Prairie Manitoba for a couple of years.  Thanks for the Pine nut site, looks interesting.
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Been a while since I was able to do anything on the homesteading front but have gotten a small start. Here are some photo's. I'm reusing discarded jute backed carpet to suppress weeds, make walking paths and hold in moisture. Soil condition under the carpets, which have been in place for about a year and a half, is excellent. The soil that wasn't under carpet in the upper right, where the shovels are, wasn't anywhere near as moist and had a lot more tree roots. That area I'm using for some heritage melons hoping the foliage will shade out weeds and grasses. The rear yard I'll plant sunflower in a trench along the edge of the tag alders and interplant with peas. As the sunflowers grow they will support the peas and I'll backfill the 6" deep trench to support the sunflowers. The rear side yard won't be developed this year but I'm thinking strawberries and haskap. TOO much lawn, which the wife likes but I have to mow it. A waste of effort. Next step, geese! They're grazers and we prefer them to turkey. Thinking of the self sexing pilgrim breed and a chicken tractor type of movable hutch. Kill 2 birds with 1 stone (bad pun intended) lawn mowed for free and meat for the table. In the rear yard photo you can see a bale of straw. That is at the beginning of a path into our bush. about 50 yards in is an opening and an old slash pile I'll be working on to convert into hugelculture.

20-May-12-20x40-Garden-started.JPG
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Garden started. 2 x 40 ft rows planted, jute backed carpet used as sheet mulch,soil nice and moist underneath
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Rear yard, planning a row of sunflowers mixed with peas along the edge of the tag alders
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rear side yard, strawberries and haskap maybe
 
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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Hey Max, good to hear your progress. That's a nice looking place you have there.

Geese - I love them, though ours are just for grass maintenance. They are quite respectful of a line or two of electric fencing which would give them a good sized area and be easy to move. A nice little house for them to go into at night to keep Mr Fox (or other predator) at bay and you're sorted. Just as the final glints of daylight leave the sky we go up to our geese, gently say "Time for bed" and they calmly go off into their house and we can shut the door knowing that they are safe for the night. They have taught me a lot about calmness and tranquillity!
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Sounds good, a smaller mobile hut with fencing that can roll up easily. On a day to day basis how much pasture would a goose need and how much space in the goose shed for the night? The back yard totals about 2.5 acres cleared. Got another row partly done in the garden before the promised thunderstorms arrived. Boy do we need the rain. 4 forest fires burning nearby, one has the town of Kirkland Lake where I teach in a state of emergency. Wonder if I'm going in tomorrow? Good thing I got a rain barrel set up this morning! One step at a time. Almost forgot to ask, do wings need clipping to prevent flight?
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Pictures looking towards the house instead of the back yard.
20-May-12-heating-trench-to-house-b.JPG
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shows the heating trench
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a cold winters night but pretty much the same view.
 
pollinator
Posts: 10119
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Is there a fence or are you able to just have a garden out there in the open without it being mowed down by critters?

 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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No fence , YET! am planting now but will surround with chicken wire to keep the rabbits out. don't have deer so don't need something bigger.
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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Max Kennedy wrote:Sounds good, a smaller mobile hut with fencing that can roll up easily. On a day to day basis how much pasture would a goose need and how much space in the goose shed for the night? The back yard totals about 2.5 acres cleared. Got another row partly done in the garden before the promised thunderstorms arrived. Boy do we need the rain. 4 forest fires burning nearby, one has the town of Kirkland Lake where I teach in a state of emergency. Wonder if I'm going in tomorrow? Good thing I got a rain barrel set up this morning! One step at a time. Almost forgot to ask, do wings need clipping to prevent flight?



Hope that all is well with you - having forest fires so close must be worrying.

The hut doesn't have to be mobile - ours isn't. If you start with young goslings and let them be around you, they will trust you and know you so that you'll be able to guide them wherever you want them to go. So they could be guided back to their house at night with very little effort. We have 6 geese and they have a house that's 2m x 2m.

Our geese don't have their wings clipped. Yes they can fly but someone told me that a happy goose will stay where her bread is buttered so to speak - guess ours are happy

Our orchard, the official home of the geese (though they come out and range over 2.5 acres when our grass gets too long or the dandelions are too prolific), is about 0.5 of an acre. However on very hot days they stay in the more established part of the orchard with the bigger trees and that area amounts to about a sixth of an acre so I guess that sort of area would be a minimum daily requirement for 6. We haven't had to cut the grass in this area for 4 years and it's like a bowling green.

Incidentally, when they are grazing the large area, the 2.5 acres, they go back to their house to lay their eggs. Egg laying for our girls is between January and June, sometimes an odd surprise later in the year. Once they start their moult at the end of June the egg line dries up - guess they need their energy to grow new feathers.
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Thanks for the info on geese. Our home sits right next to the highway so I am concerned with them wandering out onto the road. As you can see there is a small copse of trees in back to provide shade, The fires have closed the schools in KL so I have a day off to work more on the garden. How are they at wandering off into thick bush? one side of the yard borders on a ravine with an intermittent and very small water flow (have an idea to create a pond there eventually) the back and other side have thick raspberry cane and tag alder brush respectively. Just wondering how much is necessary to house them safely. Had rabbits and ruffed grouse on the lawn this morning so I will have to make sure that I get a fence up around garden when everything is planted.
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Will geese feed on insects? I have some solar night lamps that attract a lot of bugs and can easily modify into bug traps and start collecting supplemental feed.
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Got a row of carrots in today and planted some Coyote white cherry tomatoes from Tatiana's Tomatoes. Hopefully these do well and will have plenty for salads and some for seed saving/sharing. Nice surprise when I opened that envelope. Thought I had only ordered tomatoes from her, cherry and Anna Russian Heritage plum tomatoes but had also ordered Chervena Chuska and Vanity Yellow peppers, Amish Deer Tongue and De Morges Braun lettuce and she sent a gift pack of Mountain Princess tomatoes. BONUS! More to add to the garden. Hopefully will have lots of seeds to share.
 
Alison Thomas
pollinator
Posts: 933
Location: France
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Our geese don't wander off into thick brush/bush - they like grass/weeds and not so many yummy things grow in thick brush. Sorry to keep saying 'our geese' but maybe someone else's experience is different.

Geese do eat a small amount of insects that are actaully on the grass they eat but it's just incidental not an active search (unlike ducks or chickens) so the bug trap idea wouldn't be much use to them.

I just LOVE getting my seed deliveries each Spring but they are getting smaller as I'm now doing more seed-saving. Happy planting.
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Lots of fires nearby. Drove through the smoke of a new one on the way home less than 5 km (about 3 mi) from home. Wind is good for now but everything here is tinder dry and if the wind swings around it could be trouble!
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Well the garden is finally planted after a week. It's not as big as I thought, only 12'x30' but still a lot of digging. Only have the sunflower to get in and as I remember it inhibiting germination of some other plants decided I'd put some peas in the garden as well as try them with the sunflower. Once plants come up have some straw to mulch the young plants and hold moisture in. Getting rain for 3 days so that should help out with the fires and help things germinate then only the fence to get up. Think I'll change things for next year, double wide plantings with half the walkways. Here is a garden map for this year, Thinking of adding sweet potato next year and Daikon radish. Will also be looking for open pollenated heritage seeds to replace the hybrids bought for this year. Anything not saying hybrid is a heritage variety. Have to find the melon package for the proper variety. The map below is this years offering. Hopefully it is successful as the wife thinks it is too much and will be too much work. Am hoping to put in flower beds next year with herbs and some showy veggies interspersed. She loves flower gardens so hope some success this year and the "flower beds" next year bring her around. If there are suggestions for improvement good for NE Ontario I'm open to them.
garden-layout.jpg
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2012 garden layout
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Well 8 days and the cabbages are popping up. Everything is planted, even a short length of sunflowers and pea's. Just the fence left to build. Until I see how it works I'm only doing the small trial. Am also adding a couple of photo's of the slash pile I'm thinking of converting to hugelculture. The black muck proved far to difficult to get so am considering getting a load of cow manure, adding worms and let season for a year.
Fully-planted-garden.JPG
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Garden Fully Planted
Hooray-1st-cabbages.JPG
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Of Cabbages and Kings
Sunflower-Pea-Trial.JPG
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Short trial co-planting of peas and sunflower.
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Only 3 photo's per so here are the future hugelculture beds.
Future-Hugelculture-bed.JPG
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Future-Hugelculture-bed-2.JPG
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A closer view and my bestest girl
 
steward
Posts: 2524
Location: FL
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Keep it up!
I might be kinda quiet sometimes, but I'm following this...
 
Max Kennedy
Posts: 484
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Had a good amount of rain the last 2 days and it has brought the best out of the garden. Everything from the left up to the turnips has started to grow. Harvested some of my poplar saplings, they self thin anyway, for staves to hold up the garden fence. Peeled them, sharpened and pounded in. will put up the fence when weather allows. Spent some time at the scroll saw making shelf brackets. SWMBO wants my books tidied up and somewhere to put the TV. Keeping your spouse happy must be a part of permaculture, otherwise you're permanently in the doghouse, so will put a photo up of those. Need 3 more.
Shelf-brackets.JPG
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Shelf brackets to appease SWMBO
 
Posts: 537
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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> brackets

WhooEEE! Like those brackets. How long to cut each one? What is the pattern? Is it available somewhere?

Rufus
 
Max Kennedy
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It's from an old scroll saw pattern book I have but is modified as it was meant as a decorative bracket and I'm going to use it for heavier bookshelves, the curved wider section on the bottom is my addition. Not including the photocopying and gluing the patterns it took about an hour to drill 10 and the scrolling for these 2 took about 5 hours. I'm out of practice and the air blower on my Dremel 1800 is in need of repair making it difficult to see the line. As I get back in practice for the sharp turns I expect about 1.5 hours of scrolling each. I photocopied the pattern a couple of months ago so have to look for the book but could send you a scan of the original if you are interested.
 
Rufus Laggren
Posts: 537
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
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Yes, I'd be i interested whenever, if it's not too much trouble. Thanks Max. 2 hrs more or less each sounds w/in the realm of feasible. I have an old scroll saw but I haven't used it much so it'd be a learning experience. I like the idea of people doing their own "value added" but I'm more a structural type of guy (vs. artistic) so I tend to favor following a pattern for decorative stuff before I try to create something on my own.

Rufus
 
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