Milo Stuart

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since Jun 23, 2012
Mendocino Coast, CA
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Recent posts by Milo Stuart

Has the garden giant mushroom.. King Stropharia been mentioned? Rockin feed and extremely forgiving/gratifying to grow.

As it ages past prime eating fly larvae move in.. creating a perfect meal for our little dinosaurs



4 years ago
Hello ya'll! Seeing how crucial legumes are in our systems.. would be great to pool our practical methods of germination and propagation of legume tree/shrubs. Maybe get a list going of experiences with each species across climates?

Scarification techniques? (hot water soak, scratch and soak?)
Potting soil mix? (Low fertility mix?)
Keeping seedlings under partial shade?
Inoculum? (species that share same or similar nitrofixing bacteria?) Example. Black Locust and Scotch/French Broom share same associated bacteria.


Here are some species of special interest to get us started.
Carob
Black Locust
French Broom (you can ferment, dry and smoke its flowers!)
Siberian Pea Shrub
Albizzia spp. (Mimosa)
Acacia spp. (Wattle)
Astragalus

Onward!




4 years ago
Yeah! Here are some shots of the inside.. Well they land/perch in the hole before hopping up to roost.. Pretty entertaining to watch them all lined up on the ramp at dusk...

Improvement suggestions..

- The face wall of the coop (with the hole) probably doesn't need to be slanted out.. We just did that as an extra defense against scramblers.. We'll probably make it square next time round so that poop doesn't build up on the wall.. hmm

- Smaller size. It's on wheels but its pretty bulky to move around.. Maybe a removable stand? So that two people could just carry the top portion to a new spot.

- The floor of the coup could be a small gauge metal grate.. It could be covered with cardboard and straw/sawdust in the winter..

- Build it so that you can bring a wheelbarrow up the door and rake out your poop covered carbon..

Fun stuff.
4 years ago
Right on ya'll! Here is an our fly-in coop update. Year two and no predator issues.. except for a mama black bear and her hungry cubs.. but that was wilderness tax and we've got a dogger now.. Anyway.. here it is.

The hole is about 5 feet off the ground and the ramp is about 4 feet away.. Their landing is just a thin piece of plywood (the bottom of the hole is their landing)... A predator would have to jump through blind for a meal.. Not likely.

We train the chickens by setting the ramp right up to the hole for the first week. Take the ramp down before nightfall so they have to fly out in the mornin.

A bit of feed on the ramp help to coax them up. For the first few night about half the chickens probably wont figure it out... Just help them in. But they'll all get it eventually. Chicken see chicken do.

The design takes advantage of the chickens ability to fly.. (we clip some flight feathers on one of their wings and they make due just fine). We have just about every chicken predator here.. racoons, skunks, foxes, bobcats, lions and bears but none of them can fly! Except the red tailed hawks and eagles ..but.. they're pretty awesome quite frankly and probably deserve a chicken every once in a while. (we've only lost one chook to raptors)

Best part is zero anxiety about closing them in at night and letting them out in the morn.. No no need. The chickens can fly in and out at their leisure to lay and roost. Wheww!

4 years ago
A couple of sheep might be the ticket.. We have Icelandic/Shetlands. Awesome breeds, small, hardy and will eat most things but do better on pasture than goats.. Yeah 2 or 3 sheep per acre in a cool temperate climate is about the most you'd want to handle until you have food forest forage available.. (alder, willow, hazel, elder, comfrey etc.)
4 years ago
Ah yeah right on Soni I'm really hoping to track this plant down as well.. we would love to grow some here on the California coast. If anyone has crowns for sale or trade let us know!

I have a few Andean perennial plants for trade.. Mashua, Achira, Cape Gooseberry (Goldenberry), Yacon, Chufa.. As well as a delicious Horseradish and plenty of medicinal herbs.. Valarien, Skullcap, Vervain. Oh and berries.. Gooseberries, Currants & a Nearly Thornless Everbearing Rasberry.. ok

Thanks
5 years ago

Karen Walk wrote:Hi Milo - I love your fly-in-coop! Can you provide more details about it? How high does the entrance need to be? What kind of take-off and landing platform is needed? How do you accustom the birds to it?

I googled "fly-in-coop" but the only results I found were about "flies" in the coop, so any outside links or resources are appreciated!

Thanks!



Nice! Yeah it takes advantage of the chickens ability to fly.. (if you don't clip their wings). And none of their usual predators can fly! (Except the red tailed hawks and eagles ..but.. they're pretty awesome quite frankly and probably deserve a chicken every once in a while)

The smooth sloped face is key.. it prevents any predators from scrambling up to the fly hole.. We have our hole up about 5 feet. They fly straight up from the stand (see picture, we keep it about 3-4 feet from the coop) and rest themselves in the hole before jumping in.

Yeah they needed a little help at first.. We put up a board to the hole that they could climb up. (We removed it at night so they had to fly out in the morning) It only took a couple of days before we had a few of our ladies flying in and out. And chicken see chicken do..

I havn't able to find any other fly-in coops or online either.. an old timer round here gave us the idea.

But yeah no feed! We let them free range a couple times a week.. keep plenty of green biomass in their compost cage (list of plants above) and move them after they've cleared all the vegetation..

Experiment with it I'm sure it can be improved on.. Our coop is pretty heavy, even on wheels it's a tank.. ha.. The next one we build will be lighter

Have fun
5 years ago
Thanks ya'll turns out we have a queen! Our neighbor happens to be a beekeeper, he came over a spotted her..

In case anyone else runs into this scenario here are some solutions from some great bee keepers..

"This is the most difficult part of beekeeping. If there is a queen they will build worker size cells when the build comb, if not they build drone sized cells (larger). that only helps if you have enough experience to recognize the difference. there will be 1 egg in each cell and brood in some cells right away if there is a queen. If you could get a comb of brood with eggs from a nearby hive that could be somehow fit in they would start queen cells on some young larva if there is not a queen. I will be in Covelo, CA near Willits, CA off of 101 and will teach a topbar workshop there May 10-11 see details but am presently in Jamaica. If you can determine that there is no queen you might get a queen and I have no good recommendation. I would look on line for a close queen. i will have some but not soon enough."
- Les Crowder author of "Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health"

"It is quite likely you didn't catch the queen though the bees usually won't stay in the hive and will return to the swarm. There may have been two queens in the swarm. The only way to know for sure is to look for egg- if she is the original queen- she will lay eggs as soon as there are cells built to lay them in. If she is a virgin queen- she will need to be mated and it should be a week or two before you see eggs. You can always put in a frame with 1 or 2 day old egg and see if they build a queen cell around it - then you know for sure they don't have a queen. Ordering a new queen if you have one would be to requeen but you have to be sure there is no old queen or they will kill her." - A local beekeeper

Cheers
5 years ago
Hello all

I'm a beginner bee-keeper.. staaaarting now!

We're trying to figure out if we have a queen.. and if not, recommendations
on where to get one?.. here is the story!


A swarm formed in our plum tree two days ago... We caught them in a box but
a good amount of them kept returning to the tree and balling up.. I wasn't
here but it sounds like a ball from the tree took off and left.. (maybe
with the queen?)

The remaining bees are in a top-bar hive that we built yesterday..(we put a
good amount of honey in there with them) When we moved them into the
top-bar this morning we saw that they had already starting building comb...
(will they build comb w/o a queen present?)

My nerve is steadily growing and I've peaked into the top bar a few times
but haven't been able to spot a queen..

What's next? Does anyone have a good queen source? Should I go ahead and
order one to be safe? I would hate to loose em..

Thank you all!
5 years ago
Nice yeah our fly-in coop takes advantage of the chickens ability to fly.. (if you don't clip their wings). We have just about every chicken predator down here.. racoons, skunks, foxes, bobcats, lions and bears but none of them can fly! (Except the red tailed hawks and eagles ..but.. they're pretty awesome quite frankly and probably deserve a chicken every once in a while)

But yeah it's predator proof and we don't have to be around to close them in at night and let them out in the morn.. The chickens can fly in and out at their leisure to lay and roost.

As far as vandalism goes.. The only opening would be a chicken sized hole on one side.. Nobody is going to be able to crawl in but I spose they could throw something in if they were feeling angry.. But with some proper design I bet you could make it difficult to do much harm! Hopefully the only vandalism comes in the form of beautiful art.

I like the idea and I think your in the right place.. Seattle folks would dig it... Portland sure to follow!

Have fun with it
5 years ago