Vern Faulkner

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since Jan 01, 2013
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Recent posts by Vern Faulkner

David Williams wrote:I cant say i have seen this due to the nature of the way our hives have been manipulated , any queen after mating doesn't leave the nest , as all queen cells are squashed and hives expanded to keep her in , if hive numbers start to drop off because the queen gets "old" she's usually removed and replaced by a fresh "emergency queen",

I may be in way over my head here, but this speaks, to me, of the kind of manipulations that have really led to a shift away from the nurturing relationship that we might well want to have with one of our primary pollinators. Maybe we're playing around, too much, with the natural forces of selection?

Which leads back to my questions, which are really more about philosophy than protocol.
4 years ago

tel jetson wrote: ... a broodless period helps with mite loads....

That statement, right there, carries some weight, methinks.
4 years ago
I've long wanted to keep bees, know a fair bit for one who hasn't, and am sucking back new bits of data as I prepare to build some top bar hives in the next few months, and go searching for ways to obtain a hive.
My intent is to be completely organic, and as "natural" as possible.

Some questions

a) I can see the merits of things such as a split when there are signs of queen cells being produced, but I am curious to find out the thoughts behind that practice - which essentially circumvents a swarm before it happens. To me, it seems a reasonable trade-off, given that it prevents the potential loss of a viable strain (who knows what site they will select and if it will be sufficient for the bees' long-term survival); plus, there is a bit of a risk in some situations of being the source of a swarm that ends up finding a place to settle down in a neighbour's chicken coop, barn, or plow truck.

I am having a bit of a challenge wrapping my brain around other such common practices.

b) What are the general thoughts of using a nuc - basically yanking comb from a perfectly good hive and shocking the bees into producing a queen?

c) What is the logic, if any, of capturing and caging a queen, save for introducing into a queenless hive - and in such cases, why not find young brood comb from a viable hive and simply remove that to trigger a queen cell construction/creation, then in turn using that to rescue the queenless hive and, furthermore

d) in such cases as a hive has lost a queen, might it be better to let the hive die, assuming that it has demonstrated it isn't of sufficiently robust/diverse stock for the threats/environment at hand?

4 years ago

Jay Peters wrote:
I own property in Southern NB and believe me, it can come quite cheap here.

I'd agree.

Community is important to me, which is a big part of the reason I bought where I did despite slightly higher prices generally speaking ...I have seen lots of large-ish parcels go for good prices as well if you wait if out though. NB isn't very desirable at this point - most young people move away and much farm and pasture is going unused and growing up... even lots of very fertile land along the saint john river valley...this makes for good deals to be had.

There are some good plots to be had, and areas in southwestern NB that are emerging as a bit of a permaculture/local food movement, myself quietly included.
4 years ago
The area where The Lady hangs clothes looks rather like a shrapnel field of shattered clothepins. DOn't even get me going on those cheap plastic things, yes I know, I know. The wood ones, however, are quite capable of triggering a string of language that really need not be repeated in this venue, when they either snap, or let go.

Is there such a thing as a sure-fire, darn-near indestructible clothespin? Ideally something that's not going to fail when the wind comes through with a bit of a frenzy?
5 years ago

Rick Roman wrote:Vern, I'm very interested in your grey water system that feeds the toilet. Please keep posting your progress. Thanks

Will do. I figure that the system needs/should only involve bath/shower water (on the lighter side of grey/gray), involve a system that drives water to the toilets through something as simple as an RV pump.

My backup plan will be to have a switchable input - well or rainwater - in case inspectors have a conniption fit. I suspect nobody is gonna complain about using rainwater to flush with.
5 years ago
I'm in the process of trying to design a grey-water recycling system whereby bath and (maybe) shower water is returned to flush toilets. I am also looking at a system to collect rainwater to supplement that system. This is a good half-gap measure, as the grey water (non-particulate matter, note: no veggie bits from kitchen) is used twice, and ultimately does go into the septic system....
5 years ago
You could dice the heck out of 'em and then sit them in a sealed jar, steeping in vinegar. When you're done in a few weeks, you'll have lemony all-purpose cleaner.
5 years ago

Brian Knight wrote:The beauty of Permaculture is that there are so many ways of doing things! I dont see anything incorrect about using steel. Its often the only choice in necessary components with heavy green roofs. A better permies practice would involve sourcing some pre-used beams.

I think it also matters how one obtains the steel, were one to use it. We plan on building a root cellar, using concrete. It will be earth-bermed, and an attached accessory building to our main structure. A couple of weeks ago, I found several panels of thick aluminum rooing material. It was being thrown away in a dumpster, remnants from a major local construction project. I also obtained a thick, 11'-long 3x3" L-beam, 3/8" thick. It is now sitting around, awaiting its eventual use as a roofing structure (poured concrete roof) ... totally free, plus removing crap from the landfill.

TO me, that's within the spirit of the whole permaculture thing. The end result will be a root cellar that should last way long after I'm worm food.
5 years ago
The Lady and I looked, extensively, at straw bale as a building technique, and may still build some small outbuilding with such things - but not our main structure. Living in New Brunswick (the province, not the New England jurisdiction), we face some relatively humid conditions... too humid, in our mind (and others, such as Jim Merkel) to be a viable technique. Also, we're far away from any straw, meaning costs would increase.

For that reason, we've abandoned straw and opted instead for slip-form masonry (a la Nearing), and XPS foam... (recycled, I should note.)
5 years ago