Vladimir Horowitz

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since Feb 19, 2012
N. Idaho, zone 5
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Recent posts by Vladimir Horowitz

I'm in moose country too and my research for moose proofing gardens led me to believe that anything besides stout posts with horizontal boards between them wouldn't stand up to them. Way to material/$ intensive for anything but small spaces or rich people. I'm just putting up a woven wire 8' fence around my ag zone. I Know the moose could go right through it but from what I've seen they aren't too interested in going through fences. If ey do bust through ill just fix it and move on....
5 years ago
Yes the stumps will work just fine in the hugel. Last spring I created two hugels with stumps. The first utilized about 10 stumps in a slightly curved 30 ft long bed. I just hand trenched around them as best as possible, I filled with wood, threw some cow manure over the stumps and continued on the standard hugel construction. The second was a small volcanic cone looking bed that I made on top of a large stump ny trenching a donut around it, filling with wood, a bit of manure and then dirt. Both performed well last season and are looking even better this year.

My theory with using the stumps is that leaving them intact will create a wicking effect and hold/draw up moisture better. Also it saved me the work of stump excavation.......only downside I found was increased difficulty of excavating the trench due to roots which wouldn't be a big deal if you were machine digging.
5 years ago
There are some pesticide concerns with moopoo. Actually I believe it is an herbicide called Malathion, malthion or something close to that. If it was sprayed on the cows pasture or hay it can remain persistent for years in their poo. Apparently it is commonly used in these parts(ID, MT) so ask your supplier. I guess you can test for funky stuff in the poo by planting a tomato straight in the manure and observing its health. Tis is the technique my,local nursery uses when they get new manure in......
5 years ago
Bowdrilling is a great skill to have, once you have some practice under your belt and an understanding of what materials work well together it really works well and quickly. They say that bow drilling is 90% preparation(dialing in your materials) and 10% perspiration. Hand drilling is the purer form of this fire starting technique, but it is alot harder skill to acquire...
5 years ago
Hi Alex, just wanted to toss my 2 cents in as we were in a similar land hunt situation 2 yrs ago. We were living in Bend, OR and at first wanting to relocate to land in W Oregon or big island of Hawaii(where I lived for a couple years). I read that HI is off your list and I understand. I love it there but not sure if I could settle there full time. If anyone is looking to move there though, Check out Puna on the big I, land is semi affordable there, it's beautiful and it's own wacky world. Also you could be self sufficient on an acre there, pretty easy to create abundance there.

We also looked at a lot of properties in SW Oregon(which I also love). Downsides there are: expensive!, most available land is steeply sloped, and regulations. We did a lot of research, talked to a lot of realtors and basically decided it wasn't feasible. Anywhere in Oregon you will have to face the department of environmental quality. If you buy bare land(we found a beautiful 15 acres by grants pass) first you must develop a building site, put in a road that a water pumper truck can turn around on, install a pond for said truck, apply with the forest service to get permission, then try and get a building permit. We were told all of this could take years and there is no guarantee that you will ever get approved. Much wiser is buying land that already has a permitted dwelling and then covertly doing what you want to. So after all that we crossed OR off our list and expanded the search.....

....we ended up in N Idaho, close to Canada. Property is waaaay cheaper, it is just as beautiful, and the county I live in has no building codes, no one gonna inspect anything at your place. For the price of 10 semi usable acres undeveloped acres in W Oregon, we got a level 10 acres of forest land, with a beautiful 3 yr old cabin, well drilled, access road put in, off grid solar system already setup and a small garden and greenhouse.

Anyways, hope something in here might be useful for someone, good luck on the property hunt! Don't forget to thoroughly study the codes/restrictions in the area you are looking at....
5 years ago
Hello everyone, finally decided that it was time to put out this request. We purchased 10 acres of forestland in N Idaho(~30 miles from Canada) and are in the process of developing it into a self sustaining homestead/farm. Currently it is just myself, my partner and 3 yr old daughter. There are an abundance of projects, possibilities, and dreams that we have. However, time and labor are limited and that is why a volunteer would be helpful. Right now most of our focus is on developing our food systems. Projects underway are land clearing, fencing, orchard planting, greenhouse construction, garden development, and developing infrastructure for more animals. We already have a couple of smaller garden areas, small greenhouse for starts(new one will be 20'x60'), and a flock of ducks. Our property already had a well, cabin, and solar system setup on it already, we are totally of the grid. Our location is at 2300', in the mountains but on a level piece of land.

So basically we are looking for a wwoof type arrangement, you help out some and we provide organic meals, a place to stay and an opportunity to learn and create with us. We believe in food as our medicine and eat really well. The current lodging situation is camping(tent or bring your own home on wheels). Our cabin is very open and affords no privacy so that's why we aren't offering a room in the cabin(there aren't any available!). I am considering getting a nice full-sized canvas wall tent with a stove and floor for volunteers, but I am not sure if I can financially swing it at this moment in time. Of course you would have access to the kitchen, hot showers, and Internet in the cabin. What are we looking for in a volunteer? You don't have to have any specific skills, but if you do that is a definite bonus. The ability to be self directed and want to pitch in on the workload is what I desire in a volunteer. We are openminded people and we value freedom. That being said, I believe that a volunteer situation should be totally free will. We don't need a time commitment, although it would be nice to have someone stay for a stretch. We are also open to couples or a small family. If you are interested or just want more info, send me a PM or post here and I will get back to you. Thanks for looking!

5 years ago
Hey Becky, nice work on the hand dig hugel, I did a good sized one last year and it is indeed a lot of work! Anyways, I just wanted to point out to you that attempting to grow mushrooms on logs that have been cut for more then a few weeks will really lower your success rate. It doesn't take long for the spores in the air to start colonizing fresh cut surfaces, so you will have more competition. It might still work, but plugs aren't cheap and you could be wasting them, so best to store the plugs in the fridge until you can acquire some fresh logs to use....
5 years ago
Hey Chris, good idea of harvesting nurse logs, I hadn't considered that possibility. While this isn't something that I would practice in the areas of my forest that I am keeping natural, I do have about an acre of forest land that is being converted to gardens/orchards/greenhouse. I think I will avoid the duff though, as I am working with already pretty acidic soil in a coniferous forest, I figure the duff wouldn't help that. Well now I have another project to work on, combing the forest for well rotted logs, seems like at the right stage it would make a great mulch.
5 years ago
Hey Chris, I did already read your post on ramial wood chips above and found it informative. However, it seems like it would be difficult for me to acquire them as I don't know any arborists up here and really couldn't be sure of what I was getting from any local arborists. They do seem like a good idea though and I would try them out if the opportunity presented itself...
5 years ago
Mulch has been on my mind lately since I've been trying to figure out the best material for my situation,so here are my thoughts..... First off, I have had great success with "living mulch" in the past. Mainly I've used this technique in my greens beds, just planting everything a bit closer. At first a bit more hand weeding is necessary as your plants come up, but once they shade out the soil nicely only a tiny bit of weed plucking is needed for the rest of the season. Of course not all garden plants are suited for this system.

STRAW......I love it and hate it as mulch. It gets big points for convenience, being fluffy and airy, and is fast and easy to apply/remove. The big downside is the seeds! Some straw is very seedy and has created more work for me weeding the mini hayfield I accidentally planted then if I was to not mulch at all. But I have also had not so seedy straw that worked well. Chickens can be used to eat the seeds out of it first, but that requires spreading it out for them which is an extra step and the fresh poop could be a concern in close quarters with salad greens and such. This last fall for the garlic beds I used a combo system of dead ferns(way more labor as I gathered them from the forest) as the bottom inch or so of mulch and then topped with a lot of straw. Basically just trying to insure that the straw seed didn't contact the soil and sprout, it's worked well so far....

TALL GREEN GRASS......my favorite mulch, but has only been available to me when living in the tropics and is labor intensive. Basically I would go into a grassy field with the machete and wack down as much as I needed and then mulch immediately. Had to be careful not to cut grasses with seed heads. Of course using a living green mulch like this has the added benefit of dripping nutrients into the soil as they decompose.

LEAVES.......have used em but don't like them, tendency to mat up and block oxygen.

So now I live in N idaho and am trying to find my mulch of choice in this forest environment. Anyone have any creative mulch suggestions that I haven't tried yet?
5 years ago