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Keith Murphy

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since Jun 28, 2012
NE Tennessee
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Recent posts by Keith Murphy

I bought some land in East Tennessee back in August. As we have been exploring it we found out it had a spring. Last weekend we found the spring and took a look at it. The overflow from spring runs down a valley and then goes into the ground about 100 feet or so down the valley as it isn't a huge volume of water and there is lots of limestone in the area. The spring is a muddy / damp area with a pipe that the water comes out of... it looks like the pipe was driven pretty much horizontally into the ground. You can't really see it in the attached picture as it had a big clump of grasses growing in the pipe. I pulled out the grass and it seemed to increase the water flow a tiny bit. I didn't calculate the water flow this trip but it's a good trickle.

I have never seen a spring like this. I'm curious if anyone has any experience with one like this. It really looks like a pvc pipe driven horizontally into the ground. How was it put in? How far do you think it goes back? I'm wondering as it is all wet in the area if we could drive another pipe in the ground in a different direction to get more water as what is coming out probably won't be enough for livestock and watering of gardens, etc. Any help would be appreciated.

thanks,

Keith Murphy

http://www.permaculturefreedom.com
4 years ago
I would echo the comments about Sepp. His ponds are completely self-sustaining. He has trout, pike and carp if I recall correctly. I know the first two where correct, not sure about the third. He has a lot of wetlands area between ponds that serve as nursery areas for tadpoles. Then the grown frogs naturally move into the ponds and provide meals for the fish. He has a huge number of amphibians on his property. Sells the fish to local restaurants and such. It's a nice system.

The mosquito attractant is a great idea as well.

Keith
4 years ago
In a permaculture setting I would hope you would be raising your pigs in some type of non-confinement setting. I have never worked with pigs in a confinement setting, but we do keep a small number (currently fifteen) pigs in about 2.5 acres of divided up paddocks. I have never docked tails, cut pin teeth or tusks. If you have a real issue with a pig fighting with other pigs or being just mean you eat him (or her). It's a beautiful system as you get tasty pork and improve the pig gene pool at the same time. I promise you that there are pigs who are well behaved. I had a Berkshire boar who was a big pushover even with his two inch tusks. I have a 350 pound sow who loves to have her belly rubbed. Of course there is some pushing and shoving between the pigs as pigs operate under a pecking order but there is no need to do extra work and cause extra pain to the pig. If I have issues with a pig and the way they act with me or another pig they do take a short trip to the stock trailer and that goes to the processor.

And while you are eliminating common confinement issues, there is no need to confine your sows when farrowing. Pigs in the wild build "nests" of grass, branches, whatever and that is where they farrow. With access to the proper material in a pasture they will do the same thing in a pastoral setting. In extreme conditions you might want to have a three sided lean-to or underground dugout structure (Sep Holtzer uses dugouts in the Alps). I currently live in NW Florida and had a sow successfully farrow in a paddock on January the 29th. It was 25 degrees and we had an ice storm that night. We had built a three sided hay-bale structure with a tarp roof and spread some hay under it. She had one piglet stillborn and a dozen live births if I recall correctly. One died the next night because he was the biggest and so he dug down to the bottom of the piglet pile for warmth and suffocated. He would have probably lived if I had an actual lean-to or dugout but we are planning on moving in the next year or so and this hasn't been done. Our land where we are moving to has the perfect layout to build a few dugouts into the hillside for sows to farrow in. Looking forward to that.

You do not have to do things the same as confinement operations. Pigs are pigs and I try and have them be in situations where their natural piginess can be allowed to be "on display". I also try and make use of that pigginess when at all possible. Have them clean up your kitchen garden and root up the earth a bit. Rotate them through the pastures and fertilize things as they go. If you have an oak forest with a good acorn crop consider fattening them up in the fall on the acorns.

And always enjoy the bacon!

Keith
4 years ago
shhhhhhh...

Don't tell my rooster he shouldn't be living with fifteen pigs. He might get upset and run off.....

Pigs and chickens are very complementary and you should have very little issues with chickens eating pig, oh wait that's pigs eating chickens. Actually chickens can, and will, eat pigs. Pig fat makes a great high-calorie food source for chickens in the winter. Pigs can develope a taste for chicken but it would almost always happen when they aren't being fed enough. If they aren't being fed enough then you as the owner are the problem not the pigs.


Keith
4 years ago
The feed conversion is, as stated, 3 to 4 pounds of feed to one pound of weight gain. Other than rabbits its one of the best conversion ratios in animals. However, that is with high quality feed of around 12% protein or more. Commerical starter/grower feed is 16% protein for example. With the kind of food you all are discussing you aren't going to have that kind of growth rate. I snagged a small trailer load of pumpkins last year after halloween. The pigs loved them. I had a 400 pound sow who would eat a 30 pound pumpkin and be looking around for more. While good for her (the seeds for example are a natural dewormer) it wasn't causing her to gain 7 pounds of weight. I believe a pumpkin is essentially carbs but regardless of its actual composition it's very little protein which is what drives the growth factor.


Anyways, I would be hesitant about getting food for my pigs from a place where I don't know much about the food. I don't like feeding my hogs. Even apples from trees I don't own (or know about). Pesticides and herbicides on the fruit is no more good for them than it would be for you.

Just my two cents!

Keith
4 years ago
Some of the best hams in the world come from pigs that are raised on acorns in the Pyrenees. One thing to keep in mind is that if you are finishing a hog on something for flavor it will take at least a month to have any affect. Another words, don't feed them Advocados a week before slaughter and expect them to change the flavor of the pork at all. If a pig is kept on pasture, given clean water and not fed garbage it will taste great. Anything else, in my opinion, is just window dressing (although it can be very nice window dressing).

keith
4 years ago
Chad,

Nice looking paddock! I would recommend that you nail a piece of plywood to the top of the pallet. Otherwise the pigs will catch their legs between the slats and wrench their legs or worse. Especially when they are smaller. I use a barrel with two water nipples on top of a pallet. That way the piglets can get on the platform and reach one side while the adults side is higher (relatively speaking anyways). Everyone's happy.

Keith
4 years ago
That's interesting Dan. I have a large "belt" of Eastern Red Cedar on my property as well. You probably already know this, but it's not actually a cedar its a juniper. Either way, it's pretty rot and insect resistant. Makes great fenceposts etc if you need to thin them out.

keith
4 years ago
While its not likely to just re-invade if I do eradicate it from the property, I really don't want to be using Roundup. For now I am laying out a 2- 3 inch layer of hay mulch over it to try and and keep it down and improve the soil fertility at the same time (at least a little bit). I think I am going to pick up a mattock and see if I can dig the roots up enough that I can control it that way. Its a small enough area that over the course of a week or two I can work it over an hour at a time. I suspect between the hay and the digging up of the roots it might be enough if I am thorough enough.

I'll update in a few weeks with progress.

thanks!

km



7 years ago
So, please be gentle. I'm fairly new to permaculture. My learning so far has come through Paul's podcast and a few others.

We are developing five acres in NW Florida. I am currently looking at opening up a new section which is about a quarter-acre. The problem is that before planting we have something called Cogon grass. If you have never run across Cogon grass its a very invasive grass that is native to somewhere in Asia. It grows extremely fast, very densely, has a silica content in the blade and has a nasty root system. It actually propagates through rizomes. It's extremely difficult to get rid of.

Standard methodology for eradication is through RoundUp or one other pesticide. Obviously something I don't want to do. I can burn it, then till it under (several times) and then deal with what comes up. Not excited about that either.

So...what are your thoughts on getting rid of it? My understanding of the permaculture principles is that we should try and replace it, crowd it out. Fair enough. My thoughts are to do something to get rid of it initally (burining or tilling). I don't have much choice in this. It grows so thickly if I were to plant anything else it would have no chance of growing. However, if I get it cut back I could probably get something like buckwheat to grow up before the Cogon grass grows back and crowd it out. Grow a crop of buckwheat once or twice until it gets cool in October. Then do a cover crop of some type ofthings that would break up the soil. Radishes, turnips etcs.

I figure I might have something to work with by next spring. Right now you can take a sharp bladed shovel where its been cut back and punch it down into the soil and just pull up a mass of roots. Each one is just another strand of Cogon that will end up coming up.

What I am doing in the back area were we are doing another garden area is heavily mulching with pine bark where the grass is trying to encroach on the garden area. It is semi-successful. It probably would have worked completely if I had put down a layer of newspaper under the mulch. The problem with mulch is that it doesn't do anything about the roots under the ground so I don't think it will really work in the new section I was describing.

thoughts?

rotten tomatoes ? (great for the compost!!)

thanks,

Keith



7 years ago