Devon Olsen

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since Nov 28, 2011
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Cackleberry Farm and Garden
Casper, WY
Fresh-cut Microgreens, Specialty Pesto, Raw, Local Honey, Pasture Raised Duck and Grassfed Lamb
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Central Wyoming -zone 4
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Recent posts by Devon Olsen

I think it's an important thing to consider for one's context and biochar use

My personal context, production style and use:

I live on sandy soils with stones throughout, our climate gives brutal winters and hit dry growing seasons with most moisture on the shoulders when plants and microbes are less happy or active.

I produce in a "cone pit " that is really more of a trench, I break my material up with a shovel as it burns to facilitate better coal formation and no airflow in the core of the pit, then drench when finished.

I use the char in bedding, any stinky spots I have, to "thin out" seed mixes and make broadcasting cover more ground ahead of animal impact. and largely as a carbon source for my compost collection program, based on 5gal buckets

I don't crush for a couple of reasons:
I don't desire to risk breathing it in.
Dust would largely get blown away and collect unevenly where the wind distributes it, this still happens with chunks a bit.
I don't want to do the extra work.
My current method replaces need foe wood chipping equipment and I wouldn't want to bother with equipment for biochar.

And from my understanding, Crushed char increases surface area for microbes.
mathematically this seems factual.
though increase would not be linear as it would with non porous materials and I don't care to calculate it.
However I do believe that larger chunks of sponges is an accurate analogy, I have heard that chunky char holds moisture better and that is a large goal of mine because more consistent moisture will acc9mplish biological goals in my region more effectively than a simple increase in surface area would

I have screened fines for animal supplements, and would consider doing so as a means of acting as a carrier dust for mychorizal innoculants, crushed char would likely be a good option for these means also
2 weeks ago
What an amazing thread, great handiwork on that repair Judith, I would say VC did pretty well also, I'm a bit careless with my tools at times but I'd probably give it a test run and see how it cuts myself
1 month ago
By utilizing my most successful 0lant survival strategy(giving some away to people who care for their plants better) some the 25 ordered are still alive.
Most were planted on the "permaspring property" with bearing grease clay soils and 9-10in annual precipitation. Usda zone 4a
Most did survive the first year.
Some survived the first winter and showed some green leaves the second summer. Most of those di3d by late summer. None survived the second winter.

More hardy than most species on this property, not quite str9ng enough to gr9w and produce
1 month ago
This will be interesting to watch, would love to see water tests on collected water as well, just for data, have fun at the PTJ everyone!
1 month ago
Finally dug out the cone pit from a burn a couple mo ths back, 80 gal bagged and ready for use on the farm

So 340gal tallied total
1 month ago
How is the resistance when you drag it? Would it possibly be easier to move if you oriented the skids parallel? Less stable perhaps but stable enough if you still had skids a few feet apart the bracing may be enough to keep it upright in a stiff wind.

Maybe I'm overthinking a simple and elegant solution


Also I noticed that my geese have no trouble going through a cattle panel, do you do anything to reduce opening size or just don't have any issues?
3 months ago
Surprised this is still page 1 of the sub thread all these years later.
I never did make a Chinese barrow design.
I did make a chickshaw based on Rhodes design with a few changes.  Namely the fly in door.
After a few years use there are a few additional changes that I'll be making when I build another unit as well. The original unit was not properly designed for our winds here, and the handlebar and struts for it didn't hold up very well.

Future handle may be similar with additional reinforcements.
Roof will be permanent and not hinged, that roof would catapult large stones up to 20 feet away if the wind caught me away from the farm.
Access door or doors would be near back side of the coopnearnest boxes for three reasons
The walls were too tall when mounted on wheels  to bend over the top of
Manure and eggs would collect in hard to  reach places as a result.
Collecting or cleaning this area  would either result in broken eggs or a dangerous situation where the  wind would catch the roof and cause the prop to drop, and then the roof to subsequently drop... on me.
Hen turds are larger than expected and would build up, so I may also consider 1x2 mesh or something to facilitate cleaning.

I am also considering a  revisit of an a frame to increase square footage per lb, I'd really like to get 1-200 hens in one structure if I can manage it.
3 months ago
I must have missed it, but what is the purpose of the coping?
Why not just lay more flat stones as a cap?

Also, would your buttress be modified for a retaining wall?
Instead of an "A"shape, maybe a "/!" Shape instead?
3 months ago
While I'm sitting here on my phone I figured I'd upload a concept sketch I made another time I was stuck on my phone showing the tree plantings in the future

Trouble with this file is it was done in gallery app on my phone so deleting components was a PITA, therefore it is way too busy and somewhat complicated
3 months ago
I've been thinking along the same lines as far as not building vertical walls.
My thinking is thus:
When we build an earth sheltered wall, we are, in essence building a retaining wall into our structure.

Retaining walls have tamped crushed stone foundations built into the earth a certain depth based on wall height. The tamped stone is also extended up the wall some distance on the earth side to increase drainage in the event that water infiltrates near the wall.

The wall is not built vertically because if the ground causes even the slightest shift away from the retained earth, gravity immediately begins to work against the structure, thus the wall is built at an angle into the slope, approx 1-3 inch for every foot of rise. So a 12ft tall wall should slope 1 ft into the earth from the base of the post.

in a wofati, this both increases the shear strength of the walls, and if done right, i beleive it would work to increase the feeling of spaciousness in the structure.
3 months ago