Philip Hyndman

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since Mar 19, 2012
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Recent posts by Philip Hyndman

Give it a whirl Merl. Id dig it in a bit though, to speed up the rot. That's not very long for it to be sitting there really.
2 years ago
haha. Nice one. The internet's number one purpose, cat pics.
2 years ago
you wont get rats in those. if they dig holes underneath youll know where they are and do battle with them. easily managed. Ive never had problems with mine.

One thing you might want to consider is putting smaller diameter wood on top of that so youll get breaking down goodness quicker. If you top that up with soil from there to the top that's a lot of soil and the roots wont get anywhere near the rotting wood. To get maximum benefit you need that rotting wood to be incorporated in the root zone. You only need about 5-8 inches of soil on top as most vegies have pretty shallow roots. Then time it so when the upper wood is rotting down quite well, dig it to incorporate it with the soil. Otherwise, you'll still get many benefits, but the wood will rot away and go downwards with gravity and your plants wont be able to get to it - all the goodies will leach out, eventually.

If you keep putting compost on, youll be surprised how little the beds will subside as wood rots, I noticed none at all on mine after 5 years, and not a sign of wood remains, but i used much thinner wood than you have used.
2 years ago
Weeds. they're free and often deep rooted. Weeds are the ultimate cover crop.
2 years ago
Yes you can use it but probably not yet, it will need to rot down a lot more most likely. When it gets to a loose fibrous more dirt like substance, you can use. This may take a few years yet.

The reason why is wood will cause a nitrogen deficiency until it breaks down, from which point it will swing back the other way. If you want to use it more quickly, spread it about as a mulch on perennial territory and nature will do the job.

If you want to speed up the rotting mix it with dirt, but that's a lot of work.

You did good not throwing it away, the worst thing you could do. Never throw out plant matter, its the gardens fuel, in any form.
2 years ago

R Ranson wrote:Okay guys, before we advocate killing cats and risk upsetting more people, I've asked our Mother Tree to have a look at this thread. We seem to have gotten away from the original topic which was...


ANy in general comments about the northern fence lizard and gardening? How about dealing with dense growth, snakes and 2 year olds?



Is there a way we can help the original poster with her problem without picking on felix?




Yes there is. Ive addressed lizards enough but here is a list of tricks:
- Have a mulched lawn, lizards love to shelter and lay eggs in it,
- always try and have soft soil as they lay eggs in it,
- have lots of debirs about for them to hide or raised walkways about the garden
- No need to build a lizard park, they are super resilient, generally.

Snakes and lizards like similar environments so you have challenges as you want to encourage one and deter the other? Therefore, keep your lizard shelters small. If you have snakes Id avoid raised walkways or anything large for snakes to hide under. No wood piles lifted slightly off the ground or up against walls.

If you’re concerned about snakes, you basically need to make the environment less suitable for them or ….kill them, your choice. Mind you, kill and don’t fix the environment, they’ll come back. To alter environment get rid of extensive thickets and get plants up off the ground. That area you fenced off might be the worst thing for you.

Snakes hide under any flat sheets on the ground. You have chickens, and snakes love chickens and eggs. Have nothing in chicken pen snakes can hide under, eg broken slabs of cement, but theyre coming for those eggs I guarantee you. I had a chicken pen and ended up lifting it up well off the ground and had barbed wire over everything that went vertical to stop them crawling up. It worked well.

Sometimes, snakes are just endemic and numerous and you won’t get rid of them. There are snake repellent in ground solar thumping devices if you want to repel them, theoretically. They make them in Australia where we have real snakes and people swear by them. Put them about lawned areas where your kid plays and you don’t want snakes, as snakes like to sun on a lawn.

If you’ve seen snakes, they aren’t going anywhere, and you have to address the fact if you don’t want them, otherwise do nothing and learn to love them – not my thang, but where I live snakes are so potent they will and do kill, and I don’t tolerate them. Many permies do, but I won’t. I had a tiger snake in my yard and I simply killed it and cleaned things up a bit. My yard had got way too feral. No snakes since, but hey werent comon to start with

Better still, have faith in your cat. Cats are good snake deterrents. If yours is too soft get a tough one. Mine was so good I’d put him up against anyone or anything. Less rats, less snakes, as snakes love rats as we know. I felt safe when he was around and had no rats in my roof. But the lizards are so resilient they will be fine, don’t worry about them Get rid of your snakes.
2 years ago

Dale Hodgins wrote:

.....humans have made sitting ducks out of creatures that evade predators in their wild state. Thus, it is the human who must protect them. In the second, humans support an unnaturally high predator load that captures wild prey. In this case, it's our job to control the cat.



This is a good point and what most of us environmentalists think. My experience in all matters environmental management is, you're better to work with nature, not against it.

Using that philosophy, best not to fight cats but improve the environment so it is able to accommodate a predator, and nature is extremely good at doing this. To fight the cat, you have more chance fighting ISIS, i.e a very difficult path, non pragmatic and likely to fail and cause great frustration.

To solve the cat problem we could kill all cats. This is what I once wanted to do, have them outlawed, de sexed and slowly wipe them out. Firstly, how evil and authoritarian is that? Its appalling. How impractical is that? Very. How incendiary is that? Very. My aim of course was to sustain wildlife, but I found working with nature, increasing the productivity of the ecosystem, as a far more workable management program to reach my goal, and hey presto, it works.

If one thinks killing a persons pet cat is a viable form of control - and no im not saying you do but environmentalists like to do it - one has a problematical moral dilemma there. Cats are loved by people, like children are, and thus killing loved pet cats is basically the same as human murder from a moral perspective.
2 years ago

chip sanft wrote:

R Ranson wrote:
There are some great ideas in this thread already about design options for protecting pray. I'm sure we could move this discussion back to that kind of topic.



I agree completely. I'd love to hear some more permaculture ways people have protected local prey from predators including but not limited to cats.



Its very easy, you just need a garden, and a house generally provides great shelter too. Being a permie, your garden will of course have lots of undergrowth, leaf, stick and wood debris. Lizards are extremely good at seeing these as shelter and hide everywhere. Therefore, there is no need for complicated structures and such. Nature does it all. In a garden that replicates a more natural environment, loads of shelter is provided already. To be more specific, lizards need a place small enough that the big lumbering cat cant get under. Any low lying wood of any structure or form will do the trick. I have wooden walk ways that they hide under for example.

The other question is, why do you want to starve the predators? You're a predator, and predators have just as much right to food as the prey do, when they are in fact a predator. Provide shelter for the prey, and the predators will appreciate it as prey numbers will increase, the prey will appreciate it as it gives them a fighting chance and ability to prolfierate. If predator gets a prey, so what? Everyone wins, and its so easy to do, just have a multi layered garden, and animals will hide within that.

Remember folks, the buddhists make the promise "not to kill a living being" as an on purpose impossible conundrum to find oneself in. Find the answer to that and you will achieve enlightenment

Now, I have to go and kill some rats, as since the cats have gone the rats returned immediately. I am going to kill for FUN. I will NOT be eating the rats. If cats were so effective at killing wildlife, there would be no rats in suburbia, but there are.
2 years ago
Without getting deeper into the pro versus anti cat debate, the original topic is how to maintain lizards etc with cats. The answer is just provide them shelter.

To provide shelter you just need a garden and your house. Lizards will find many things to hide under that you can’t even see. The more complex your garden infrastructure (layers) the more wildlife you’ll have. Simple. Let nature do the rest.

Cats love to catch lizards, and they will, but lizards are also usually in large enough numbers to survive the predators habit, and they also adapt their behaviour and start hiding quite well. Lizards are far less visible when a cat is about. Take the cat away and the next day, yes literally, lizards were out having sex on the steps – right in front of the children. They know what’s going on and adjust behaviour accordingly.

Here's how I judge environmental impact - on this and most topics.

When I came to my place 15 years ago, the block was grass, 100%, very little suburban wildlife. After 10 years it was a complex garden ecosystem with lots of suburban wildlife. I then introduced two key predators. Now this is the important bit: the wildlife equation was far in the positive as compared to when it was 100% grass, so despite introducing predators into that, nature is still way ahead from the human suburban wasteland it was before. Crying about a caught bird and lizard is pointless.

So the equation is thus: as long as you have added to the environment, it’s cool to keep cats, as nature still wins.

So chill out and leave the cats alone. Cats are super cool beings, so cool that if you’re into meditation or a path to enlightenment, you need to study and learn from our feline brothers, they’ve got it down pat baby, zen style - apart from the little inherent overwhelming anxiety problem.
2 years ago