Alder Burns

pollinator
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since Feb 25, 2012
northern California
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Recent posts by Alder Burns

It is a most excellent book, but it's a bit short of detail.  It offers enough to excite about various ideas and practices, but doesn't really provide enough information to put many of them into practice.  I strongly suggest doing other research (which is now easy with the internet) on any particular practice that might be of interest before jumping in and trying it out.
2 weeks ago
I wonder if it might help if, whether from the inside or outside or both, you drove in some long stakes, whether of wood or metal, at a sharp angle up and down into the corner to try to pin the bales to one another every which way.  Having the roof in place will make this difficult to do straight vertical, which would be the best, but it might still help.
1 month ago
I had read about an idea like this long ago, involving the use of any sloping section of railroad, preferably a little-used one.  Using whatever alternative power source, a heavy railroad car, or several, would be pulled slowly to the top and staged there on a side track.  When power was needed they would be allowed to roll back to the bottom, with generators attached to the wheels to liberate the stored energy back into electricity.
1 month ago
On multiple sites I had some small cabins and sheds, both for dwellings and for storage, in which I used plastic for insulation!  I would attach pieces of cardboard to the interior of the frame, leaving an air space between this inner layer and the outer siding, and into this would stuff all manner of clean plastic and styrofoam!  When it would fill to the top of the piece of cardboard I would staple on another one above it, overlapping, and continue stuffing plastic.  When I needed the job done hastily I used paper as well. Perhaps not as effective as bought insulation but better than nothing, and a use for the stuff!  One warning is that this (just like commercial insulation as well) can become a habitat for mice if the building isn't rodent-proof.  Any food residue on the stuff with exacerbate this danger.
1 month ago
Another hint on tenderizing any meat is to age it properly.  This means to simply let the whole or partitioned animal sit, after killing, eviscerating, and skinning (or plucking in the case of a bird) at a cool to cold temperature for a period of time depending on the size of the animal in question.  This give a chance for enzymes and beneficial microbes to work on the meat to improve it's flavor and tenderize it.  Generally the timeframe is that the animal should go through rigor mortis and become supple in the joints again....this varies by size and by temperature....the smaller the critter and warmer temperature the quicker it happens.  Even in hot summer weather a dressed chicken can "hang" somewhere out of the reach of flies for a few hours, or a couple or three days in the refrigerator before cooking.  With a large animal such as a beef cow it can be several weeks "hanging" as a side of beef in a cooler. 
1 month ago
I grew them for a couple of years here in interior northern California.  They are a southwestern thing and want heat....I did not plant them till full summer, probably June 1.  Just average soil....heavy clay in fact.  They are a legume so they don't need particular fertility, especially not nitrogen if they are inoculated.  The beauty of them is that then needed only half, or less, of the water that other things, like "ordinary" beans.  But being a green thing in a dry landscape made them a magnet for deer!  And the yield per area planted was a bit disappointing, especially compared to the vigorous fava bean which can grow through our rainy winter and mature in early summer.
1 month ago
In my experience these multi-grafted trees rarely do well in the long term.  Inevitably one of the grafts proves more vigorous than the rest and starts to dominate.  The only way to maintain it is to continually be pruning this one back, perhaps multiple times a season, in order to give the others a chance. 
2 months ago
If I had such a score, I would probably can them, either whole, cut up, or perhaps as a stew.  Large shellfish can be tough, but the prolonged cooking involved with pressure canning should suffice to make them tender!
3 months ago
Never thought about the issue of flavor!  Being a lover of seafood myself I would probably love it.  Fish meal is in fact one of the protein supplements that I use when I can't get free sources.  But yes, anything fed in quantity might affect the flavor.  I wonder if this applies if the stuff is fed to BSF first and then these are given to the hens?
3 months ago
If by rodents you mean gophers, I can't imagine that garlic or daylilies would do much, except perhaps to serve a bait and distract them towards themselves and away from other plants.  In my situation, nearly anything that makes a large root or tuber will get eaten by gophers, including onions and garlic.  All my root crops have to go in raised beds with metal mesh underneath to exclude them completely.  Only plants in the amaryllis family (such as daffodils and narcissus) and some in the iris family, seem to be poisonous enough to be immune.  They reguarly destroy a certain percentage of other plants too, especially when they are young.  But all important plants, especially new trees that are quite valuable, get planted in wire baskets.  By the time the wire rusts in a few years they are big enough to tolerate some root damage... Traps can help too, but it takes a bit of skill to set them effectively.
4 months ago