Con Elder

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since Mar 26, 2013
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Recent posts by Con Elder

Looked up Willie Smits, the only guy i had no clue about. Hugely impressed how he manages to get it right for people planet and profit, as he puts it himself. The latter not corrupting but used as it should be to keep a good thing going. Know videos tend to oversimplify the kind of difficulty and complexity, which are obvious in creating a closed system, but still seems incredible.

4 years ago
A question for someone who has played around a bit with ground irrigation.

Obviously no evaporation if ground irrigation pipes are buried; nor will the plastic pipes degrade as much. When i tried this, moisture seemed to be uniform thoughout the hoop house, though i did use a substantial amount of harvested rainwater. With my setup i do have unlimited amount of water at my disposal from roofs and mains.

Maybe it's a stupid question, but is there any advantage to burying irrigation lines some inches below surface and relying on capillary to bring up the moisture. There's the obvious risk of someone cutting into pipe with a garden tool, and that raises question how deep to bury them. Only the top mm of soil seems to get a bit crusty, and that's possibly more noticeable cause the beds were amended with a rather peaty soil (though i'm yet to top off with clay). Perhaps a ground mulching of chopped straw would take care of that. Another advantage might be far less slugs if the surface is pretty dry. Maybe i'm a little guilty of overthinking about it, but would value some extra opinions. In a few days, i'll be ready to start planting in it.
4 years ago
It looks great. There's an unused old phone post on my farm that is completely covered in ivy. Ivy would surely cover everything if humans leavt the planet.
It's native here, so i always defend it when people are expressing their distaste with its invasiveness - supposedly it can equally damage a tree if you cut it off around the trunk all at once, and it's what birds cling to in stormy weather not the tree itself, as well as supporting the irish mots and other native fauna. Apologies for passionate rant about ivy. I try to balance diversity with food plants on my homestead, so i would keep it for that reason, though guess it might'nt be indigenous where you are?

5 years ago
I'll share my feeling. I first of all like Allan Savory based on the few videos i've seen of him speaking. Do i believe what is now agricultural or barren land can be turned into locking up carbon and providing solutions to the greatest problems we face? I would hope so. I view Allan's work as a process. It's like any course you take whether it be in uni or in a more humble environment, you will only succeed if you trust the people who are teaching you. You can argue this last point to death, but what good? I've given up on competition at least consciously. I consider my mind like the cross section of a tree. I got to watch the woody part as of course there could be destructive habits in there, but we'll say if the living part or cambium is my consciousness, there i'm looking for non-parasitic ways to exist in this world. If someone wants to beat me, go ahead and waste your energy.

It's a process we can all take, adapting our habitats to give both ourselves and the rest of the living planet a future. It's got to be set as a goal, whether you call it holistic management, permaculture or something else, and figured out along the way (this was pretty much what he said in one of his talks). Maybe you should check out more of his videos, as he's by no means an arrogant man. Why don't you actually focus on particular aspects of his holistic management? Not everything he says can be wrong. Every piece of land will be different, but looking at it continuously in a multi-faceted way is surely better than commiting to an optimal monoculture approach in the most extreme case, a static one trick pony that's bound to lead to too much waste and not enough opportunitty to get an evolving natural system of recycling energy harmlessly or beneficially going. I don't fully dig holisic management, or how it can work for an exponentially growing population, but i'm all ears to hear more from the likes of Savory, Shepherd and other guys that have been mentioned a lot on this website. What would happen if every community had this goal? Perhaps we'd be too busy overpopulating the planet with beneficial ecoystems than overpopulating ourselves till there's nothing leavt.

As regards grazing if that's your main point, it certainly is innovative to use animals on barren lands, and makes sense that there's some kind of non-linear curve whereby different levels of grazing or none are applicable to create the right overall outcomes. I need to read more of your points before i comment any further.
5 years ago
Two of mine occasionally fly out, so i let them fly back in as they like. One has stopped flying out herself, so it's actually just the one now. She follows me into house, around the yard and all. The dog does'nt mind her either, if anything he protects her as they both stay around the house, so it's fine. Spose if i lost one, i'd consider clipping wings, but i quite like them having that bit of freedom. Most of time they stay in their enclosure anyway.
5 years ago
I use that portable electrified netting as well. There's already an electric fence in field so i just put the crocodile clips on it. I use cardboard that surprisingly stays in place to keep grass from earthing wire; plastic pegs to hold down netting to keep hens in (any bit of a looping plastic peg will do); timber posts to support the frail plastic posts, tied together with some bicycle tubes.

My hen house can be hitched onto and moved around with tractor. It's a metal frame with metal sheeting mounted on the frame of an old trailer that was lying in the yard. When there was a builder here doing some other job he put it together for us. It has a small door in the back for them to go in and out, and a large door in the front for me to go in and out, about once a day to collect eggs and give them some fresh bedding material. Pretty low maintenance. Soil is so rich that i'm thinking of planting fruit in existing site after i move them.

I agree it's a bit of work setting it up somewhere else, but in fairness i suppose not too bad if you've a little help. Going to let them into areas i've planted with young trees next. Don't know if they're destructive with young trees? Might put up wire netting around them.

Not sure if my setup is any different to yours.
5 years ago
Guessin the least harmless way of getting rid of this stuff is incineration whereby at the super high temps the harmful stuff would drop out as dust rather than get airborne. After that i don't know what is second best - a hugelbed with trees cleaning it up maybe. Are landfills really the answer? Of course it depends on quantity as well. Could be dangerous to bury a lot of it. Pity that backyard burning at low temps is so hazardous to our health. Another option might be just leave it where it is until you can repurpose or recycle it some way you're happy with. This last option has worked for me. Never burnt any toxic stuff like plastic, and was lucky farm recycling got more sophisticated. If you don't have room, then i guess craiglisting, freecycling or of course your rental service.
5 years ago
Really liked that guy's work when i stumbled on Jocelyn's post before. Got me wondering if there were more eco-friendly glues, filling and plastering products, and must continue my research when i've time for some creative diy. Structures within structures sounds cool as well. Foresee a good bit of retrofitting on my site; makes no sense to start from scratch if there's lots of structures, however inefficient or not so symbiotic, already in place.
5 years ago
If it was a home birth i would consider eating it. If birth was in a hospital, not given germs etc. in that environment. Maybe i'm exagerating but that's my feeling on it. Wildlife sweep them up pretty fast when it comes to cows placentas, but guess a few heavy rocks on top in a site close to dwelling house should deter them from digging the soil.

Often cows eat them as well. I remember thinking it might be unhealthy for them; quite the opposite going by what i've read here, and of course they know best what's good for them. My sisters get a little offended if i relate my experience with animals to humans, but just too many similarities in their nature and the remedies used on both. I trust that we're not so alienated from the animal kingdom here.
5 years ago
There is a gap or drop at edge of garden which can be filled about a metre high and sloped off. In other words, it could be half or one side of a typical hugelkulture bed and will only be about 5 foot wide and 7 metres along the warmer south facing side of garden.

I know beds are meant to drop and flatten out, so is inside going to drift out and leave a sink, or might face of it just cave in and justabout turn out okay? Spose it depends in large part on how i do it.

*Decided to make a proper hugelkultur elsewhere after sleeping on it.
5 years ago