Alice Lynn

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since Feb 11, 2013
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Recent posts by Alice Lynn

I'm floored by the "fences are rude" concept as well! It really is startling how different cultural expectations can be. I forgot that tag are required in some places. Honestly, they probably are here too, but no one ever enforces anything. Here there is little standards for the appearance of fences or houses in the county. If its made out of anything purchased its getting fancy; our neighborhoods are full of fences made from scrap parts and scavenged lumber. I used to think it looked horribly tacky, but I've come to see it as just a form of frugality and re-use/recycling. Still, I wanted something more aesthetically appealing, and due to time constraints (college, kids, building a house) I'm settling for a cheap metal livestock fence. I also kind of want deer to be able to roam on the property (although I plan on keeping them out of the immediate food growing area.

I'm sort of between two properties at the moment. We own a house in a small town, and then bought 10.5 acres in the county. The standards are definitely more relaxed out of the city. So far the new property hasn't given us any issues, other than a small (like 15lbs) black dogs that visits us when we are prepping the site for building. It's so little and meek it just seems doomed.

When my dad was growing up in Kansas, supposedly dogs were expected to feed themselves, although somehow the dogs were supposed to be able to tell the difference between livestock and wild animals. I can't even fathom how that was supposed to work. I have 3 dogs: a Thai Ridgeback (rescued from negligent neighbor) with zero prey drive but a strong guard instinct against other dogs and certain human behaviors, a 30lb mutt (rescued from a house I made a delivery to when I witnessed her being abused) with a small prey drive and is very skittish, and a very old dingo/german shepherd hybrid who does nothing but try to hunt and kill other animals. After working with the last one over the years, I agree that a dog that regularly hunts and eats its meals (she won't touch her dog food in spring because of all the birds and small animals she catches) cannot be stopped without fairly extreme measures. The fencing I had to build to keep her from going on hunting trips was insane. She never got neighbors animals though, just local wildlife (she always brought the bodies back, and the area she got out in was free of farm land) but even with the fencing animals would get in her yard and fall prey to her. When dealing with a dog like that it would be impossible to work with without the owner stepping up and keeping the dog confined. I was so excited the first time a bird landed next to my Thai Ridgeback and he just looked at it with bored indifference!

Regardless of the temperament of the dog, I 100% agree that they should be kept from roaming. I grew up in New Mexico where there were a lot of starving coyotes and any pet under 40lbs left outside was dead by nightfall. In TN people tend to be more lax because it takes longer for pets to meet bad ends, but it still happens with cars, other animals, and such.

Ack, my kids are climbing all over me while I try to type this. I apologize for incoherency and poor editing. I've been trying to type this off and on for what feels like days now, and I think I'm going to quit before it gets deleted by stray fingers ;p

6 years ago
I think there's nothing wrong with not being able to do it yourself, but I do agree with Jay in that it is likely kinder to have it done in a familiar environment. Having someone come to your farm would be less stressful that sending the animals somewhere else.

I know I would never be able to slaughter an animal, I'm hopeless and soft-hearted about that kind of thing. So I just quit eating meat. but for medical reasons I could only eat fish anyway (since I was very young), so it wasn't exactly a big sacrifice. It might have been different if I'd had more options.

I hope you find a balance that works for you. I think it's great that you are moving away from store bought meat. Your chickens really have lived a much better life than those found in the supermarkets.
6 years ago
I've had a lot of issues with this too. I have a thai ridgeback that can be dog aggressive and has a guard dog type disposition. It's frustrating to me when other people let there tiny little dogs roam on our property so that mine can try to eat them. Grr. I spend so much time saving other people's dogs. I even went to one neighbor and explained the situation to him, but he just told me to shoot at his dog or hit it with a "few good rocks." Another neighbor refused to keep her dog in (this one in a small town), and the mail carrier stopped delivering to my house because he didn't want to pass the dog. I told her he wasn't going to bring her mail anymore either (a lie) and she finally started closing her gate. I can understand why people become upset enough shoot dogs, especially when they kill their animals, but I have a wonderful 30lb mutt that's gotten out twice (in seven years). She was severely abused before I got her and so she is very skittish around strangers. She's never killed animals, but she wouldn't come when called to a stranger. She also doesn't have a collar because she gets them stuck on the fence, but she is microchipped, not that anyone could tell from a distance of course. I guess my point here is that not all dogs that are skittish are habitually let out, I kind of felt like I should say that out of respect for my dog, kind of like I'm sticking up for her, if that makes sense? Probably not, lol.

Paintballs do seem to work. My mom uses them on vultures and foxes when they come after her cats. I also put a collar on a guy's dog once, just for the heck of it when it was roaming, and he stopped letting it out after that. Possibly because he thought someone was trying to keep it. Something weird like painting bullseyes as mentioned, or tyedyeing them with food coloring, would probably get the message home as well. My mom takes all repeatedly roaming cats and dogs and gets them spayed or neutered (which is only $15-30 here). She mainly does this because they kept having puppies/kittens in her yard, but it has the added bonus of encouraging people to keep their pets indoors.

The problem where I live is that there seems to be this cultural norm to impose on all neighbors all the time. Like if someone isn't home people park in front of their driveway, even though there is a space right next to it because "they ain't usin' it." I come home constantly to cars blocking my driveway, or occasionally I get blocked in so I can't leave. Random people on the street just park in the middle of the road as well, right next to a parking space as if it's just too much effort to move over that single car space, lol. Drives me batty.

People do shoot dogs a lot around here, and it's seen as the dogs fault and not the owner's. One lady get's a new dog a couple times a month but she just let's them roam and they are killed or taken to the pound. One of my dogs actually used to be hers.

I'm kind of reclusive and a touch paranoid, so fencing in my 10.5 acres has always been a top priority. I've used horse fence for large areas before, but it rusts. I recently found some livestock fencing that is supposed to last longer that costs about $120 for 300 feet, so that's relatively affordable for me. One day I dream of having some massive, fort-style, log post perimeter ;p I do think it's the other party's responsibility to fence in their own pets, but dealing with people is just far, far too frustrating for me. I get tired of border disputes, neighbor's cutting down my trees, and so on. I'd rather just have a visible, physical boundary to end the discussion. but that's just me. Other people seem to do better with the whole diplomat/social aspect of this kind of thing.

Anyway, I hope everyone finds a solution that works for them =]
6 years ago
I went ahead and ordered your book as well as Richard Flatau's. I fell in love with the look of cordwood a long time ago, but I never looked into it due to prior misconceptions, so I'm glad I posted my questions here. Thanks!
6 years ago
I can relate to this. I called the state department for water and sewage, and the guy actually told me it was impossible to have a toilet that doesn't use water, composting toilets are useless (and all secretly use water to flush), and that I had to use a septic tank for grey water or the whole universe state of Tennessee would be contaminated from diseases from human skin. On the plus side though, rain water collection is apparently legal.

I've debated even bothering to get permits, simply because I can't imagine very many people do so here. At least not out in the county, it may be different in the city. I called to ask what type of foundation the previous house had on my land, since it's weird (shaped like a bar with a bunch of other bars crossing it, like a spine and rib cage), and I was told they don't keep permits after 5 years. But even in the city, when I built a shed a few years back the inspector just drove by and did a "from the street" check. Considering it was in back of the house there is no way he could have seen it, but I didn't feel like arguing. Mostly permits seem to be a way to collect fees.

Besides, there are a lot of homes made from scrap parts of cars, fences, pallets, sheds, etc. all over the place (two on my street even) and no one appears to be doing anything about it. Also the code officials haven't been that pleasant to talk to. They brush me off and try to get me to have my husband call back =[

Since it's so lenient I think what I plan on doing is having an initial inspection with traditional plumbing, and then switching over after they leave. I lucked out and all of that is already installed, so I won't lose much money on it. They don't actually check to see if the septic system works (I was told that's "my husband's responsibility" ah, good ole sexism). Wording seems to be everything here. Like as long as the owner is confident then they are too, and they don't want a bunch of extra details to stress out about. The county where I plan on building doesn't even require a detailed plan if the house is under 2,500 square feet. Which seems reckless, to be honest. I mean, how awful would it be to build the house and then have it fail inspection? I think they give a couple of years (and more fees of course) to fix it though.

Still, it's nice when there is a way to do it "responsibly." Congrats on finding a better place out of this crazy state =D I've got too much family, and heritage here so I'm stuck. (Plus land is so incredibly cheap here.)
6 years ago

Chris Kott wrote:Anyone who is offended by your posts is looking to be. I, too, like to hear differing points of view when having a discussion. It makes for more dialogue and less preachy back-patting. I hadn't considered a duck flock for eggs as a way around culling roosters. That's really clever if it will work. Would it work with geese, I wonder (I have heard that geese are herbivorous, whereas ducks eat everything)?


Learning works so much better when we're exposed to ideas other than our own! It took me forever to come up with the plan for ducks instead of chickens. If a large number of eggs are wanted I believe khaki campbell ducks can almost match a chicken. I'm probably either going to go for a breed that's in danger of extinction, or try to rescue some local ducks from a fate in a stew pot. I wonder if duck breeds can be mixed together? I never thought to look that up.

As far as ducks being omnivores, I was under the impression that they could feed themselves here in TN, and I'm ok with that. I don't want to purchase feed, or at least not on a regular basis. Insects are a huge problem here. Most of the year they make going outside miserable, and then they attract frogs which attract copperheads (we are overrun with these!) and timber rattles snakes. So I'm trying to get animals that make the land less attractive to venomous snakes. Guinea Fowl are supposed to help as well, but I've heard they can have some aggression issues. I need to do more research. I dislike killing insects, but it's like a war zone here.

One other solution for the chicken rooster issue is to keep the male and females separate all the time. I've met people that do this. One coop for females, one out of sight for males, and then separate times outside. The roosters won't fight if there are never any females, but I will add that the people that did this were keeping non aggressive breeds. Silkies for one, and the other had Brahmins. I'm afraid to try this because I'm afraid all the roosters will crow all the time anyway (the silky owner says they don't, but I have horrible luck). Turning the roosters into capons when young is another fix, but I have yet to here of a way to do this while safely putting the rooster under anesthesia to avoid suffering.

Geese are awesome though! I want a few of these: Supposedly they are extremely friendly, and not like most geese at all. Which might help my near-five year old get over his fear of them =D Their eggs have a ton of b12, but also a ton of cholesterol. I mainly want a few because they are almost extinct, and they remind me of dinosaurs when they walk (not that I've ever seen a dinosaur, of course, lol).

Anyway, I'm trying to have a plan for a small number of animal species that can live in harmony (possibly with the aid of a few fences), and not destroy me economically.

Wyll Greenewood wrote:
Although I am a recent addition to the 'flock' i wish to welcome you here. I really liked your intro and overview of your life style and proposed near-future, really kind of echoes my own (probably the REASON I liked it methinks).

It's nice to meet you too! It's not often that I find people that have similar view as mine with animals and ethics. I'm almost always the odd one out. Every animal I've ever had as "pets" growing up (mostly cats, and dogs) were always considered full family members. My parents were not vegetarians, but they did treat animals respectfully, taking their feelings into account and such. I have memories of having to apologize to the cat for upsetting her until she scratched me, versus in some households where the cat would have been blamed. I want to have the same kind of relationship with farm animals.

Paul: I missed the deleted comment. I just wanted to point out that I mentioned not trying to upset anyone not because of that, but because I accidentally put my foot in my mouth all the time. I'm awful about talking too much and accidentally stepping on toes! I just wanted to post a disclaimer so that people would know that I mean well, and if I offend it wasn't on purpose =]
6 years ago

rob roy wrote:Dear Alice -Lynn:
You say," I'm a little concerned about thermal bridging. If extra insulation is added on the outside, then it loses it's charm, but if it's added on the inside then there goes the thermal mass... Unless I'm missing something. I probably need to just buy the book. =] Also the bulk of the trees on the land are oak, birch, and white pine, and I vaguely remember reading somewhere that those are bad for cordwood building."
The log-ends themselves have characteristic of both insulation and thermal mass. There is very little thermal bridging. In the north, we like to use northern white cedar because of its high R-value of about R1 per inch of thickness on end grain. But other woods work well, too, such as white pine, spruce and quaking aspen. The mortared portion of the wall does not ahve any thermal bridging because of the insulated mortar space between the inner and outer mortar joints. Of the woods you list, the white pine is your best choice. And, Yes, that is a fine cordwood home that you give the URL for.

Thank you so much for answering my questions =] It was the mortar portion that I was concerned about, but I wasn't aware that their was an insulated space in the middle in cordwood building. That's great news about the white pine as well. I think I'm going to do more reading, make a practice cordwood play house for my kids, and if all goes well this is looking like the building material of choice. I also like the idea of not having to buy a separate form of insulation for the walls =D

6 years ago