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Craig Dobbson

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since Dec 22, 2011
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Craig is a permaculture designer and consultant with a focus on temperate climate, perennial food forests and homestead management. He has been testing and implementing his own designs while sharing knowledge and experience with others for the past seven years. In 2014 he completed his PDC and began a larger expansion of his homestead and business. The future is bright, as long as you're willing to face it.
Maine (zone 5)
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Recent posts by Craig Dobbson

It looks like the course and videos will be re-opening May 16th.  There will be a discounted pre-sale for a week ahead of the second release.  I'd like to hear from folks who've purchased the course.  What are your thoughts?
1 week ago
I can't remember where I read it, but i think rabbits make two different "poo pellets".  One is kinda wet and sticky, well digested and sorta gross, while the other is more dry, fiberous and light.  I think the latter is what the mothers will deposit for the kits to eat in preparation for weaning. 
2 weeks ago
Chickens are pretty hardy and they seem to recover quickly from small injuries.  It looked like it had a sore foot and was trying to keep the weight off of it.  Glad to hear it's doing better now.  Time seems to heal most wounds.  I've got a few birds with crooked toes and some that have lost toes due to frostbite.  They seem to get around just fine once things heal.  It's amazing how much damage they can handle and still go on with life.

Last year one of my older birds (6 years old) got attacked by a hawk and had her neck ripped open and an eye crushed in before our rooster rescued her.  I thought she was a goner, but her neck wound closed up fine and the feathers grew back in perfectly.  She still has the one bad eye, but she gets along just fine with the one good eye.  She only makes left hand turns now though.  She's still one of our best layers. 
2 weeks ago
That one looks like some kind of puffball to me.  I bet if you broke open the bulbous part of it, you'd find a powdery cloud of spores.  Before they mature the inside is sort of like marshmallow in texture, but as it gets mature, the spores loosen and are easily made airborne.  Probably best to mess with it outside. :)
2 weeks ago
They usually make the nest a day or two before kindleing.  The nest box ought to be in place and filled up with straw.  Really pack it in there, she's gonna chew it into a fine fluff for the center of the nest.  And she'll take out any of it that she doesn't need.

Remember that she'll only be in the nest during feeding time. So roughly twice a day for maybe ten to twenty minutes.  She won't go in there otherwise, so the nest and the litter of kits is what keeps them warm.  The mothers stay away from the nest so that they don't risk exposing them to predators. 

Once she gives birth, you'll be able to see nest of fur moving ever so slightly.  The day after that, you will want to open the nest up and inspect it for dead kits.  remove the dead ones and return the nest to the cage.  Try to be quick about it and give the doe a treat (small apple slice) to keep her busy while you check things out. 

I hope it all goes well.  
2 weeks ago
If they are young trees they may take a couple of years off of fruiting as they grow.  Some of my trees haven't put more than a couple of apples on in the 5 years I've had them, while other in the same area have fruited to the point of nearly breaking.  My honey crisp fruits so heavily each year that I've had to do some serious work to keep it somewhat vertical.  For the most part all of my older trees (50 years+) generally fruit heavily one year and then lightly the next.

I'm no apple expert, but I'd say that your trees are taking this year to do some rooting and vegetative growing.  With luck, next year will have a bumper crop of fruits.  Adding in some compost around the tree and planting some orchard companions like chives, comfrey, tansy, burdock, clover and other ground covers around the drip line of the tree can help mine minerals and nutrients for your apple trees to work with.

One other thing that may or may not apply is the concern about apple borers.  If they exist in your area, it's a good idea to keep an eye out for them between May and October when they are feeding on your trees' innards.  They can really do a lot of damage in a short time and rob the tree of it's fruiting ability.  Thankfully either compressed air or a thin wire is all you need to kill them.

You're trees look great to me.   Nice work.
3 weeks ago
  Sulawesi is an Indonesian island with steep topography, overpopulation and very special local cultures. Willie Smits will talk about the problems of deforestation and the resulting impacts for local people and Sulawesi’s very special endemic biodiversity. Then he will talk about how working with the local people has led to more environmentally friendly agricultural production systems being put in place and how reforestation through agroforestry approaches has created more and better jobs for the local people while at the same time helping local flora and fauna and providing environmental protection for local populations. The application of a joint planning module for environmentally friendly agricultural production can only work when there is trust and the work is based upon the local cultural approaches. Smits will present the results of working with a big farmers cooperative in North Sulawesi as a potential blueprint for other communities to implement permaculture principles.



3 weeks ago
  Sulawesi is an Indonesian island with steep topography, overpopulation and very special local cultures. Willie Smits will talk about the problems of deforestation and the resulting impacts for local people and Sulawesi’s very special endemic biodiversity. Then he will talk about how working with the local people has led to more environmentally friendly agricultural production systems being put in place and how reforestation through agroforestry approaches has created more and better jobs for the local people while at the same time helping local flora and fauna and providing environmental protection for local populations. The application of a joint planning module for environmentally friendly agricultural production can only work when there is trust and the work is based upon the local cultural approaches. Smits will present the results of working with a big farmers cooperative in North Sulawesi as a potential blueprint for other communities to implement permaculture principles.



3 weeks ago
That's quite impressive.  What are your plans for the field?  Are you going to graze animals on it?  Turn it into a food forest?  Maybe a little bit of both? 

Both chop and drop or rolling it are good ideas. Goats are also a pretty good animal for chewing down a high field, and the manure is spread out evenly in convenient pellets.  There's so many options, based on what your goals are for the field.