Michael Cox

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since Jun 09, 2013
Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Recent posts by Michael Cox

Composting them together works very very well when you have plenty of dry organic matter to add to it, like sawdust or woodchips. The nitrogen in the urine and the carbon in the sawdust together make for a very hot compost mixture. The heat sterilizes the whole mix, including the poo.
2 days ago
Maybe split it first.
4 days ago
Those roots are HARD to kill.

Have you heard of Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) of trees in drylands? Particularly in the Sahel, Africa. From wikipedie

"Existing indigenous vegetation was generally dismissed as 'useless bush', and it was often cleared to make way for exotic species. Exotics were planted in fields containing living and sprouting stumps of indigenous vegetation, the presence of which was barely acknowledged, let alone seen as important.[15]

This was an enormous oversight. In fact, these living tree stumps are so numerous they constitute a vast 'underground forest' just waiting for some care to grow and provide multiple benefits at little or no cost –and each stump can produce between 10 and 30 stems each. During the process of traditional land preparation, farmers saw the stems as weeds and slashed and burnt them before sowing their food crops. The net result was a barren landscape for much of the year with few mature trees remaining. To the casual observer, the land was turning to desert. Most concluded that there were no trees present and that the only way to reverse the problem was through tree planting.[16]"

The key point is that after decades of regular cutting the roots were still there, and when the cutting stopped they regrew to full sized trees. And this too in an incredibly hostile arid environment.

Our place has an area of about an acre that grew up to dense saplings of willows within 2 years from when the farmer stopped caring for it. Short of digging the roots out they seem unkillable. I have a stump sprouting from beneath my bonfire spot! Rather than kill them, I have decided to work with them. Some have been left as posts to secure chicken fencing to. Others have been cut to ground level, and allowed to resprout. We beefed up the fencing in the area and now periodically let the sheep in for a week at a time. The browse back the regrowth and are encouraging the transition back to mostly grass, with some canopy.

It sounds like your primary aim with this land is to keep it unforested, for fire prevention purposes. I would, therefore, propose that you follow a similar approach. Get your fencing and water supply up to scratch and make a deal with a local farmer. Our arrangement is that they run their sheep on our land spring and autumn (resting in summer) and they keep our freezer stocked with lamb. Everyone wins. If the land is of a decent size consider making two separate subdivisions so that the sheep can graze one area intensively, before being switched back to the other. With sheep in place doing most of the hard work for you, all you will need to do is periodically come through and hand prune any that got too big for them to handle.
1 week ago
molten aluminium.

Pour it in, let it cool, then dig it up to reuse for next time.
Look at hedge laying, to make stock proof living fences.
2 weeks ago
The best kickstarters have videos that people want to share. People looks at them and go "damn, that's cool. I know just who needs that in their lives."
2 weeks ago
I notice you are using what looks like milled off cuts. Here in the UK, where these fences are used a lot, the wood is typically split chestnut. Splitting is quick and I believe is supposed to give longer lasting product because the fibers are left intact.

I do love your gearing mechanism though. Quite ingenious!
2 weeks ago
That sounds interesting if very smelly!

Unfortunately quite a lot of the stuff excreted in urine is volatile and would evaporate with the water, ending up in your "distilled" water.
2 weeks ago
I can't speak for your birds eating the mulberries, but for a mix containing trace minerals I would probably be looking for bags of rock dust. Many soils are improverished, but an addition of rock dust - made as a bi-product of quarrying volcanic stones (granite etc...) can be helpful. The dust weathers solwly, releasing trace minerals to the soil.

In our location we have chalk soils which are sedimentary in origin and even before weathering starts have low trace mineral content. We have applied rock dust to our garden, and while the impact isn't obvious our garden seems more healthy - but it is hard to tease apart from the benefits of good mulching, watering and general care.
2 weeks ago

In my time wasting on youtube I stumbled on this:

2 weeks ago