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Jay Angler

gardener
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since Sep 12, 2012
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I live on a small acreage near the ocean and amidst tall cedars, fir and other trees.
I'm a female "Jay" - just to avoid confusion.
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Recent posts by Jay Angler

Joshua Bertram wrote:

This seems like it's just a rant, so no problem if it gets deleted.

Sometimes the first step to solving a problem is to find a safe place to rant. You aren't the first and you won't be the last - the trick is to rant politely and nicely!

Tereza's suggestion about turning the tables is excellent - if the neighbor feels you're helping to make his life better, that's always a good thing. Maybe he'd even let you plant some stuff on his side of the property line?

The important thing here is really identifying how the neighbor's behavior is impacting you as this will help to make sure that the changes you make will actually solve the important issues.

Have you considered suggesting to the guy that if he separated the metal out, he might actually get money for it if he can fill a whole metal recycle bin with it? To some degree, I agree with Pearl that it would be nice to actually get useful reuse ideas going. I've heard of people using the washing machine tops with the doors as chicken pop doors for example. (I've got one in storage and I already know where it will go if I can get the run built, although I admit will be a "duck pop-door".) Maybe put  the idea over in the Ungarbage Forum https://permies.com/c/ungarbage and see if we can generate a bunch of ideas that will help move some of the problem? (laundry tubs can make great planters?) That said, if his tendency is to collect until there's no more room for his collection, finding useful things to block the view or planting stuff "for him" that blocks the space you have to look at, might be a better long term solution!

Hang in there!
23 minutes ago
Joshua Bertram wrote:

What are the thoughts on using elemental sulfur?  For the last two years I've bought 50lb bags of it to help lower the high ph soil we have here.  I know it's considered organic, but I never heard anyone mention it was a no/no like peat moss.  Obviously you didn't mention using it for the blueberry, and I'm sure you know it's available.

No, I have never used elemental sulfur. Generally, my soil is acid enough (low pH) that my growies are happy, particularly as I've tried to improve the soil enough that I only have to water them once or twice deeply during our summer drought. Our well water is high pH, and I don't yet have an efficient system for storing the amount of winter rain that I'd love to be able to hang on to. My limiting factor is sunlight due to tall trees. Thus my blueberries are in half barrels on top of a graveled parking area - so I *totally* get what you're dealing with! The blueberries have to be watered during the drought, and they would be much happier being watered with rain water, but giving them some extra peat is enough that they haven't died, although they certainly haven't thrived either.

As a general guiding rule, permies try to avoid any commercially produced input due to its high embodied energy, risk of environmental damage during the production of it, risk of it having contaminants we don't want, and the fact that buying it often supports a "world level" system that we're trying to shrink to "community level". But we'd also prefer that someone grow their own veggies using as organic as possible methods, than be buying all their food. So it all comes down to compromise. You are already trying to "grow your own inputs" by raising chickens and making compost. If the only way, this year, you can get your soil pH low enough to grow some veggies, I will certainly support any organic compromise you try, but I will also support you asking and educating yourself about finding alternatives that you know are produced locally, safely, organically and sustainably.

I think the point Eric Hanson was trying to make is that rather than mixing your wood chips with all your compost, you might do better to fill your beds with just the wood chips, then dig holes exactly where you want to plant something, and fill just that part of the bed with the best soil/compost mix you can. In other words, concentrate the good stuff, rather than dispersing it. The plant roots will reach out into the wood chips, but they'll start from a position of strength. One way I've done that in a new bed is to stick a "tube" (usually a used plant pot) in the spots I want plants, and filled the bed around them. Then I fill the tube with good soil, slide the tube out, and stick the plant in. That way all the wood chips don't just collapse into the space.

Have you met ola pots (sometimes olla)? I use a faked up home-made version to help with my drought, but there are some ecosystems where they seem to be very effective. https://permies.com/t/127998/Desert-market-garden#1009245
Actually, a really quick scan of that thread suggests other parts of the thread might be useful to you.
Either way, keep doing the best you can do! Keep learning and observing and building soil and hopefully things will only get better as the microbes and fungal strands multiply and do their thing.
1 hour ago
We had 1 week to find and buy a house when my husband was transferred from Ontario to Vancouver Island, BC 20+ years ago when our son's were 2 and 4 1/2. Hubby absolutely didn't want suburbia, but I also knew that he'd be working long hours and not have a lot of time for managing a property. Under the circumstances, we did quite well.
We have 2 deep wells, but electricity is mostly hydro-electric in this area of the province and reasonably priced.
Too many huge cedar and fir trees that block a lot of light in the places I'd like to garden. There are days I wish I wasn't too small/light to be comfortable using a chainsaw!
The house was a compromise, but every time I try to suggest certain changes, hubby gets bogged down in - "should we just renovate with a bulldozer". Houses of this one's era tend to have asbestos hidden in them, particularly the stipple ceiling, so testing has to be done first.
The property came with a chicken coop that totally doesn't meet "permaculture principles" but we made portable shelters and use the building for our brooder and gardening tools. What started out as "a few free chickens for our eggs" turned into my hubby's retirement business. Being on a moderately busy road in a community that appreciates farm fresh eggs and is 5 km to the business area of the local small city (and the public library's even closer), are major assets. What we've given up in "isolation" we've more made up for in time/money/gas saved by having important things close at hand.
So sometimes I think it's all about working with what you've got, making do, fixing up, and not chasing a dream that could change in an instant. I try to celebrate the things that work and be thankful that I can try new trees/shrubs/veggies/animals and see things grow.

14 hours ago

Gerry Parent wrote:Jay,  I remember at our cottage we had propane grill which at the back middle was an oblong drain hole where all the bacon grease or whatever 'shlop' you wanted to get rid of got pushed to which then was channeled into a pan below for removal. All the sides were slightly raised so it was kind of like a really shallow tub where things had to go down the drain instead of over the sides. Perhaps something like this could be incorporated into the design?

Yes, I can picture something like that. You'd have to push it to the hole or else have the cook top on a very slight slope which is not ideal if cooking things like omelet in a fry pan, but would be fine for many other dishes, so again, decisions and compromises!
15 hours ago

Joshua Bertram wrote:
From here on out I won't use it anymore.  I was even hesitant to say that I used any, because I am aware that it's not something that's popular to use on this site due to it's non sustainability.  I was just being honest.

Honesty is a good policy and we're all on a road to more sustainable living. I bought a bale of peat moss about 20 years ago. Then I learned all the downsides so it sat there. Then I planted blueberries bushes. They *really* like peat moss. I soak a little every spring for them and I figure my bag will last at least another 5 years. After that I'll have to learn some other technique to help maintain the acid level they like. I've heard pine needles are good, but I'd have to plant a pine tree (or find someone local who has one.) If I struggle with an alternative when the time comes, I know exactly where to come to get help!
23 hours ago
Gerry Parent wrote:

Looking at the design of the cooktop in Allerton Abbey, it looks like there is a rounded wall around the entire perimeter of the glass top. I'm assuming a boil over would then stay contained like a swimming pool. It would not be good to have liquids dripping onto the hot bricks inside the stove which could crack from the thermal shock.
If the glass was made removable without a silicone seal, this could happen. Always a catch to consider isn't there?

True story time: Years ago we bought a glass-topped convection oven from a reputable brand. I specifically wanted the element dials on the front like a gas stove so I don't have to reach over hot pots to turn them off. The only one we found that fit the bill had the new electronic system for oven control, and this was also mounted on the front. It had a lock on it, and no small kids here, so I figured I could live with that (the element knobs just pull off to make it safe for young children). We were asked to host a couple of Japanese school girls for a week, and they were instructed by their teachers to "cook us a Japanese meal". They managed to boil over the pasta, and the manufacturer had failed to put a proper seal between the front of the glass and the front of the stove, so the pasta water dribble down all over the electronic module. Luckily, hubby is a consummate fixer and electronics engineer, so he took the front of the stove apart, cleaned the electronics as best possible, and got things working. I insisted we call the company because there's no way I was going to put up with a stove-top that couldn't tolerated spills! Now that some sort of gasket has been installed, we've not had any more problems and the stove is now about 10 years old.
The moral of the story is: cooking messes will occur, so you might want to plan from the outset where the mess will land, and how it will get cleaned up!
23 hours ago
Dan Boone wrote:

This thread has already revealed some of the semi-schizophrenic tensions between my preferred plants-based diet and my compulsion to turn to cookery and preservation to avoid food waste.

I hear your frustration, but whereas you are describing it as "semi-schizophrenic", I interpret it as acknowledging that sometimes your body needs something that your diet isn't providing enough of for whatever special/specific reason, and despite your "preferences" I see you respecting what your body is telling you. To me that is honoring your body, and your mind's ability to listen to it and respect it. You needed something special or different to cope with an illness and you cooked it and ate however much of it your body suggested you need - good on you and hope you get well soon!
1 day ago
Can you give us any idea what those companies do? That would suggest what chemicals, dust, biohazards you might be encountering. Is there any indication of whether industrially the area is expanding or contracting?

Is there room near the road to do a high hugel-berm? The mass of soil would do a lot to redirect and absorb the noise.

Certain plants are also known to absorb nasty stuff (sunflowers for example) to keep the dust from floating or flowing to places you don't want it. There are whole books about successful rehabilitation of "brown sites" as they're called in England.

There are many areas where people get old and communities decline, but then young people see the potential and the cheap price of land and the trend reverses. If you do buy and do a lot to manage the land with permaculture, you may find like-minded people following your example - it may just take time. Alternatively, if things go well for you, you may decide to purchase more land, or at least gorilla garden the empty land when you have more plants survive than you planned on. I just started trying to root multiples of two types of apples. If I'm lucky, one or two will survive. But if I'm *really* lucky and they *all* survive, I'll be looking to re-home extras. I have an aversion to killing baby plants... sigh... I just want them to grow up in a happy home.
1 day ago
Leigh Tate wrote:

You can also feel them out what they think about living near livestock, for example. Our neighbors were delighted with the prospect of us adding goats. Others may take issue, so it's good to know before buying.

I had the opportunity to adopt a pair of geese. I thought they'd be a layer of protection against day-time predators. I checked with both neighbors who would hear them, and they were OK with the plan. Marguerite and Heinrich have been good, although not perfect protection for the ducks from spring eagle predation, but they really are loud at times! When one neighbor was hosting a wedding, they asked us not to be running any machinery at the key time. I asked if they wanted me to move the geese for the day, and they said, "natural noise is fine, just please no chain saws," so clearly the geese can stay!

I think it's possible to get to know and help develop "community" even without knowing or socializing with immediate neighbors.
1 day ago