Brad D'Amico

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since Apr 22, 2013
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Recent posts by Brad D'Amico

It was an absolute pleasure to have taken an incredibly small part in this. Hats off to Marianne for getting this done.

It is important to note just how solidified the "conventional" frame of thinking is ingrained in this locale. People here, generally speaking, do not embrace change or new ideas with open arms. The fact that Marianne was able to get this in the dirt is commendable beyond words.

I took a few pics, too. Hope you don't mind Marianne

5 years ago
Hope your travels went smoothly out to the west coast. Can't wait to see what the week brings!
6 years ago
Re: Wyn

Respectfully, a neighbors livestock escaping and simply walking on a neighbors property is in no way a similar comparison to another neighbor's dogs escaping and killing livestock.

In that situation, the most neighborly thing to do is report the escape to your neighbor and see if there's a way to take the animal back under control.

At worst, the escaped livestock may drop a few fertility packages for your soil microbes during their visit

On topic, I think the situation of whether you shoot a dog at large is completely dependent upon the circumstances. What is the relationship with the neighbors? What damage has the dog done? What are your local laws regarding this?

Some places, you may need to document the damage and report to local authorities. Other places, the shoot shovel and shut up method is completely customary.

Some of the pacifists here would rather accept the losses and take measures to prevent future ones. That's fine too. For me personally, by keeping livestock I am accepting responsibility for their well being and that includes defending them from outside threats if need be. If additional defensive measures are not feasible or effective, it is your responsibility to take more direct action. The obligation you have to your own livestock should trump your moral objections to harming a predator.

Just my .02
6 years ago
Justin, Dude, your morning routine in the video is eerily similar to mine, down to bacon and eggs in the cast iron, the north face jacket and ditching the rubber boots at the door.

My wife saw that video and just started laughing, "that's so you..."

I've had a small flock for about a year and am about to receive a shipment of pullets for a couple tractors I plan on running this year. I'm learning as I go but this video is very timely for my personal situation.

Pledged. You have a beautiful family and best of luck with the Kickstarter.

Jobe Shores wrote:michael- as far as i know, i've never seen comfrey growing around here. i had never heard of comfrey until a few months ago, though, so i'm hoping i can locate some local plants once spring breaks. but JUST IN CASE, i'm still looking for an alternate source. if there are no local comfrey plants to dig, maybe it just doesn't do well here, or maybe the conventional farming sprays have eradicated it from this area. but i'm gonna try it anyway

My understanding of comfrey is that it is native to Russia/East Europe. Not sure I've ever heard of any areas in the CONUS where it's "naturalized" and could be foraged, but I guess it's possible.

Its a cool-ish climate plant but is hardy enough to thrive in most places with decent soils. If you live in zones 7-8 and above, you'd probably want to give it some shade at some point in the day. I'm in zone 7 with clay soils and the plants I have really started to rock around May/June, before the really hot part of the summer kicked in. Then, they slowed a bit, and came back a little in September/October. Then I harvested the leaves for mulch, and they've been slowly putting leaves back up ever since, even through the fall and winter. Should be monsters next season.

A very good source for comfrey is Coe's Comfrey. Just a quick google search away. I got the $20 package from him and ended up with much more than the item description. Plus, like I said earlier, you can further divide the root sections to get a lot of plants out of 6-8" root sections. Cut them down to 3-4" each, plant horizontally about 4-6" down depending on your soil (shallower if heavier, deeper if lighter). I have clay so I went about 4" down. Then mulch on top. Keep watered, lightly so the cuttings don't rot, and you'll see small green leaves peeking up in few weeks.
6 years ago
If you are only looking to end up with 10-15 comfrey plants, you probably don't need seeds. Comfrey propogates very very easily from root cuttings. Someone with one or two established plants to spare could easily provide you with enough root material to establish that many plants.

(The crowns sprout a lot faster than root cuttings, but you can cut a comfrey root into 3-4" sections and plant horizontally into a starter pot, then transplant once they've sprouted up. You can get A LOT of plants from a little root material)

I'd gladly dig up one of my plants depending upon what seeds you have to offer.

Hope that helps.
6 years ago
Hey, I'm also in VA (southern VA that is, the real virginia, since NOVA is NOT VA )

Considering the abundance that a small, urban/suburban lot can produce with good design, there are MAJOR advantages to being on the edge between RURAL/SUBURBAN.

That's a huge market that could be tapped into and being close to the population center is a huge advantage.

Don't feel like you need to flee for the hills. I have ~30 rural acres to manage, and right now I'm literally only focusing on about 1.5 of it. The resources required to go beyond that right now is beyond my current ability.

Check out Geoff's most recent video on the food forest in the small urban lot in Canada. Big inspiration there.
6 years ago
Why in the world I didn't start feeding fodder sooner, I can't say.

Sprouted rye doesn't stand a chance with my hens.

I also started growing PVFS Chicken Omega 3 forage blend in seed tray holders to about 30 days of growth and they LOVE it. It makes me feel better about giving them fresh, live, high quality forage while trapped in the much-crapped-on fixed coop n' run setup that I have to have due to time/lifestyle constraints. (I will be setting up a tractor for them to go out on days that I'm home and can deal with them in the future)

Anyways, fodder rocks, its stupid easy, and cuts down quite a bit on feed. Also knowing the feed is there to fill in any gaps in their nutrition requirements is additional peace of mind.

They also get quite a bit of forage (that I forage) from around the property. Buckwheat, cowpea, dandelion greens, chickory, alfalfa, whatever else seems to be getting a little crazy gets chopped, brought to the coop, and then recycled back to the forest garden area as manure that I pull from the coop and run.
6 years ago
I think for where the OP is at in terms of their property development, until a design is complete and the plan for earthworks put into place - sheet mulching the areas to be planted is definitely the answer here.

A layer of cardboard, topped with layers of compost, topsoil, straw, and topped with a thick layer of hardwood wood mulch will put the OP off to a great start in the area(s) to start with.
6 years ago
Well, I'm also very new to this but have enough of an understanding to relay the following points:

1) Always plant the berm of a swale. There are tons of cover crops you can select for your area if you aren't ready to plant your permanent residents. FWIW, I planted PVFS Summer Soil builder on mine. It will grow all summer, I can chop and drop a few times during the season, and has helped resist erosion. Come fall, I'll plant a cool weather crop, chop and drop that, and things should be primed for more permanent plantings next year.

I suppose you could just mulch it, but live plants with roots are going to do a better job in that application. Green mulch, right?

2) Your property design should include not just the system of swales but also where they will overflow and how you will direct the overflow water. They can overflow into a pond, or through a sill (a level break) in the swale and run into the next layer of swales. It's like when Geoff Lawton says to design a desert space - you in fact design for a flood because the rain events they do get are massive and the runoff is huge. You need to design ways to capture that in your property.

I wouldn't break out the excavator until you have a comprehensive design for your property.

Hope that helps.
6 years ago