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Terry Bytes

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since Jun 06, 2013
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forest garden hunting chicken
Finally found 4.7 acres to live on & develop.
My biggest garden so far was 220 tomato plants, which included 25 varieties. And they all overproduced! Busy year!
I have 16 laying chickens, 2 dogs, and a great mousing cat. 2 kids, great wife.
Projects for 2018:
1) Create a mealworm farm to feed my chickens
2) First attempt to grow & harvest 30 meat birds.
3) Let my kids "dig a big hole" like they requested, to start our pond.
4) Connect my barn roof water spout to said pond
NE Iowa
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Recent posts by Terry Bytes

I attended the first online version of Geoff Lawton's course, and at the Spirko discount, found it well worth the money (around $700-800). It included an Earthworks course, and the hard copy DVD's afterwards. If you kept up, your Q&A's were answered in video followup.
Graduates had access to the 2nd season, which I noticed even more Q&A's added to the course.
My friend joined the 3rd season and I was able to see that -some- video updates were added (the animation everyone likes) and even more Q&A videos.

Then some more seasons (2.0?) that I did not have access to and have not comment.

For this year's course, I did hear an interview "recently"  from Geoff Lawton (not sure which podcast I heard it from) but according to Geoff, they have apparently overhauled ALL the videos. Animations galore, drone footage, etc. He said they wanted every concept visually & clearly described.  The Q&A videos number in the 100's now. (To editorialize, it sounds like they finally got it to the vision he has for it.)  

Is it worth the cost? That's really up to each person, and not really the point. Buy Bill Mollison's book for $90 and study each page for a couple years, and apply & observe these principles in projects around the world for 10 years and be awesome. Or speed up the process and pay someone who took the time and effort to create a learning scenario.

One thing I would point out from previous comments, though, is that there is a difference between going to a hands-on course vs. going for a certificate.  The first will probably be catered to your climate and you can apply to your property right away. And the latter is going to cover more abstract concepts that seem pointless at first but in the end will make you more adaptable to any possibility that might come up because you actually studied design science.
I don't know the exact cost of this new 3.0? version of Geoff's is. $2k?  It seems to be professional & exhaustive enough now that it is catered to those that want to take that certificate and make it their business. A business that makes money.  And that's why it's priced that way. No different than the theory behind paying tuition at college (the idea is that the degree will make your future income higher) or why sales conferences can cost $10k , 50k, or even more (if it raises you yearly sales by > $1 mil then it's worth it)

I highly suggest whatever you choose is in-person & costs money. You are going to be more alert, pay attention, finish everything, and of course meet great people.
Free stuff or online courses are rife with quitting. The number of people that never finish their designs online is staggering (and sad)

5 months ago

Caleb Mayfield wrote:Last year I had a possum get in the coop and it ate the head off a chicken and was trying to eat the head off the rooster when I got to it. If you have one, or know where you can borrow one, I would put up a trail camera for the next week or so. Odds are whatever did this will be back to see if they can do it again.

We have possums eating the eggs before, but I never thought these slow creatures were our head-eaters.
Everyone around here thinks its a weasel/mink, despite me never seeing one around. I thought it was an owl (which as a kid only we had proof that they'd eat our cats' heads)

When I laid out traps, I'd only ever catch possums and skunks, both of which I've only caught in the egg laying bin.

Thanks for this info. I won't feel sorry any more for getting rid of these gentle looking creatures. There's not a lot of meat on them, but they do taste like chicken when fried up right.
1 year ago
In the end, the consumer still needs to believe you do all these things.
So just say you do and post lots of pics.
People are buying into your story when they choose where to get their real food instead of the non-walmart-low-priced-cardboard-and-gristle.
1 year ago

Thomas Dean wrote:Reading this thread got me motivated.  I stopped last evening at a shop that makes juices by juicing veggies.  I know from dumpster diving that they throw everything out.  So, I stopped, made a few inquiries, and emailed the manager.  He's on-board with me picking up compostable materials on a daily basis to use as feed supplement and soil improvement.  
I think the volume is going to be more than I can handle, but I'm going to give it a shot!  It's also not really what I need for the chickens and goats - mostly fiber and vitamins, not so much carbs and protein, but it's something.  
Now I have to determine how to best feed it out, what quantity to feed (rest will be spread over garden areas), etc.  Anyone have any advice on using fruit and veggie pulp?  

You can still turn that into carbs & protein for your chickens. Set up a 2 -pile compost system, and add it to one of the piles, mixed with whatever green/brown you think you need to balance it. Once it starts rotting and you have bacteria, bugs, flies & larva doing their job, start adding to the 2nd pile only, and open this first pile to your chickens to scratch & discover the fruit-pulp-fed bugs.
1 year ago

Ashley Cottonwood wrote:I love the idea of mixing my old feed. I just need to start tracking down where I can buy stuff in bulk that is good quality. Any resources on sprouting for chickens? Is it just the same as sprouting for people?
I've played around with fermenting feed before. All my feeders are designed for dry feed. I guess I could just make a big tub for wet feed.

It's the same, but you don't have to worry about the results so much. And chickens of course will eat both ends!
Here are two examples, one is making almost fodder, while the other is only sprouting:

1 year ago
What a fantastic story.

Here's a few more ideas I'd want to 'stack' into your process.

Feeding the chickens:
  • Buying a bulk mix from a feed grain. A friend of mine cuts their cost of their pasture raised pigs by buying an organic mix. Sure beats those $18 bags of organic feed.
  • Sprout or ferment some of those grains for your chickens.
  • Start a meal worm farm.
  • Start a cricket farm.
  • Put all the dead critters, roadkill, into a 'maggot bucket' (Super easy).

  • Rocket mass heater:
  • Start collecting those expensive fire bricks now.
  • If you're going to test one outside, think about making it permanent and create a space for a 'greenhouse' / hothouse to help extend your growing season.

  • Videos
  • If you're already doing presentations, start documenting & taking videos of everything.
  • Start putting it together and put on website.
  • Create a short ebook on 'How to start a composting business', and have that as the free leader on your site (to gather email addresses)
  • Start working towards making a video course for passive income (at Teachable, or similar site)
  • Use your following help advertise the sale of your meat birds at a premium price.
  • 1 year ago

    John C Daley wrote:With respect; I have had a beard for 51 years, never off.
    I have never seen the need for oil.
    I brush it regularly, daily, and wash it every 3 days or so.
    I need to be convinced of an alternative.
    But on the subject of beards, have you heard of the band " The beards"?

    That's because you're in the southern hemisphere.
    Everyone knows that the body's natural oil is flows in the opposite direction there, much like your toilets.

    I use beard oil to alleviate my itchy skin. I have other skin issues very occasionally. My assumption is that your body, diet, nutrition, skin, and hair type just works naturally for you. Perhaps climate (humidity).  You're like a lion & his mane.
    Or maybe your beard is so long, that it acts as a shady mulch. You need to only water occasionally, if at all.
    2 years ago
    I give this seed source 8 out of 10 acorns

    Mike Jay wrote:The other issue I have is that they use too much of their plant description space saying where the seed came from.  For instance I'll be buying Joe's Long Cayenne this year from them.  Here's their description:

    Originally from Calabria, Italy.  Circulated through the Italian-Canadian seed saving community in Toronto before being sent to Joe Sestito in Troy, NY.  Introduced to SSE in 1996 by long-time member Dr. Carolyn Male.  Heavy yields of finger width thin-walled red peppers up to 12" long.  Great for fresh eating or drying.  85 days from transplant.  Hot  +/- 4600 seeds/oz

    I do like the history but if they skipped half of the history they could fit in.....

    Hahah! Mike, you have nailed it.
    They really do care about the history & lineage of the seeds. And I believe it really does inspire others to 'seed save' as a hobby/way of living. People like stories now-a-days, too.
    I did not realize that it was squeezing out useful information, though. Definitely a valid point.

    These guys are in my back yard, so I am biased, and I enjoy being a member, and can just go to the place to pick up seeds and 'emergency' transplants any time I like.
    My biggest garden had been 220 tomato plants, 25 different varieties. All from this place.

    My favorite is some of the special packets they come out with. Rare varieties they finally propagated out enough of finally to reissue for 1 year. These aren't varieties I would normally plant, but it's just fun.
    They also participate in the Seed Vault project out in Norway.

    Here is a picture of their Seed Savers Exchange Yearbook. Great way to meet people I imagine. I haven't done it yet myself. For me, this makes my database-fingers twitch!

    2 years ago
    I give this seed source 8 out of 10 acorns

    I want to say that last year Stark's ran into flooding issues and lost or delayed a lot of their stock.

    My favorite part about Stark's is that they have the climate range numbers on all their products.
    Being in 4b, I need to quickly skip over any varieties that would freeze to death in the winter.
    And when online, they can filter what you see by climate #'s.

    They also have variety packs that you can get to save more money.  Usually it's 3 species for the price of 2. It's a boon for small homesteaders who want one of everything. I did this for my 6 blueberry bushes, and a few other things.

    They seem more expensive that other places, but it's because you get "free" shipping on anything over $99, and they advertise a lot, and put out slick catalogs & web site pictures & descriptions. And useful polinator helpers. Last year I redid my entire tree order with RainTree because I thought I was going to save a ton of money over my Stark's order. Then the shipping got tacked on at the end, and it was basically the same price.
    Stark's is a big company, so you are going to have a wider range of quality issues. The reviews on their site reflect this. Super happy customers, and then some disappointed customers.
    2 years ago
    I give this seed source 10 out of 10 acorns

    I highly recommend buying their big seed catalog. It's $10 (352 pages)
    Even though they have a free one that is worth getting (148 pages), the one you buy has great stories. Yes! I read it for the articles, not just the pictures!
    Unlike other catalogs, these have a permanent spot in my library shelves. I also buy these as gifts for other relatives/friends.

    The first article that ever grabbed me some years ago was the history of brassicas, and how they all probably came from one dinosaur-type brassica, and how humans selected very certain attributes in different parts of the world, to help evolve the selection we have today: kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc.

    This year my 12 year old son picked up a copy and got absolutely fascinated by this huge watermelon picture & description. He wanted to grow it this year.
    Not only did we buy some, but we bought extra and are now hosting a Watermelon Fest this fall at our homestead. A friendly competition with our like-minded community we're a part of. My invites include 3 different types of watermelon seeds, including this monster:
    2 years ago