Kacy Wallace

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since Jun 20, 2013
Chicago, Il
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Recent posts by Kacy Wallace

Wow! Thanks Catie! Tons of good info.

I'm living in Chicago now, but lived in Ontario for a decade before. I can definitely appreciate your advice on the bugs.

From what i understand, my part of the trail mainly sees snowmobilers. I'm at the northern terminus so that may cut down on some traffic.

Were you in the madawaska river valley?

One thing that has given me some hope on apples specifically is that there are several existing trees on the property.
1 month ago
William - yes, rising waters is definitely something I'm keeping an eye on. Although, the property is pretty high up in the north western end. I've heard from the previous owner that the spring thaw doesn't affect the creek level too much and he had never seen water get near the old rd bed.

It gets much lower towards the south eastern end. I'm thinking that could be harnessed, just not sure how yet. The permaculture designer's manual shows two tree patterns along a creek. One fans out along the flow of the creek and causes flood waters and sediment to be deposited on the floodplain. The other narrows in along the flow of the creek and speeds up the flow resulting in scour holes.

I think the former would be good for trees that can handle periodic flooding (shagbark hickory?) and the latter would be good for fish habitat.

Tyler - i like that strategy a lot. Had any success with it?
1 month ago
Thanks Benji, Tyler and Eric!

Tyler - what's your process for planting seeds? Do you geminate before planting?

I collected a ton of seeds this past summer on backpacking trips and at the local arboretum.  I have shagbark hickory, black walnut, hackberry, Chinese Chestnut, Manchurian walnut and butternut. I also contacted the Geneva Agricultural Experiment Station in NY and  they sent me 100 free seeds from the wild Kazakhstan apples they planted.
1 month ago
Hi Eric,

Thanks for the reply. I'm not looking for anything specific, just a fresh perspective. Has anybody done something similar?

However, if i had to pick a primary concern/issue, it would be with the viableness of my plant establishment plan. Have others planted on sites they don't reside on and don't visit frequently?

I will be there for chunks of time. Like maybe 2 weeks for the initial planting and then a week every other month in the growing season.

For woody plants, I think Edible Forest Gardens mentions something like watering everyday for two weeks, once a week for a month, once a month for a year.

I've also got moose, deer, black bear and wild turkey to deal with. I'm thinking of using some of the slash to make rough fencing around plantings. I've heard deer don't like to walk across horizontal branches.
1 month ago
Hello all,

This past September I purchased 15 acres near Algonquin Park in Ontario (initial site analysis attached).  I would like to plan a food forest on the property that can be passively managed as we will not likely reside their on a permanent basis. Ideally, the food forest could support some homestead type hobbies that could be accomplished without tons of active management (e.g. wild fruit/nut trees, berries, food for wildlife to support hunting, stream restoration to support healthy fish populations, wood for crafts/construction projects, etc...).

The property is just south of a cold water lake (90+ft deep in parts) and has frontage along the creek that exits the lake.  The property is on the southeast corner of the Algonquin Dome, which is a large dome situated in between the Georgian Bay to the West and the Ottawa Valley to the East.  My understanding is that this is a somewhat unique geographical feature that results in warm moist air being blown from the Georgian Bay by the prevailing westerlies.  This warm air condenses over the dome and the resulting precipitation forms the headwaters of five major waterways.  Having said that, the property is actually quite dry due to it's relative elevation and a sandy podzolic soil.

The property is actually comprised of two separate parcels that are divided by a 4-season recreational trail for hikers, cyclists, horses and ATVs.  The property fronting the highway is 4.5 acres and the property fronting the creek is 10.25 acres.  The 4 season trail was formerly a railroad that I believe was abandoned in between 1950-1980.  If you look closely at the aerial photos, in between the creek and the 4-season trail is a small path.  This was formerly the highway, which was later moved to the southwestern edge of the 4.5 acre parcel.

The property has a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees.  It is more or less on the edge of two distinct forest ecosystems, northern boreal and southern hardwood.  The dominant tree species appear to be sugar maple, birch, balsam fir, white pine and speckled alder. There are smaller numbers of oak, cedar and black cherry.

At this point, my plans are to take full advantage of the old road bed as it accesses the entire 10.25 acre property.  This spring I intend to have a shipping container delivered to be used as canoe storage and a small bunkie.  I will likely set it up along the creek, which can be easily accessed via the old rd bed.  I have also placed orders for the following growies to be planted this spring: stone pine, beech, mulberry, chesnut, hazlenut, highbush blueberry, sour cherry, apple, arctic kiwi, pawpaw and raspberry.  The idea is to get a wide variety of things in the ground ASAP to see what does well.  I plan on making small clearings around the old road bed for the plantings. I will burn the slash in shallow pits to make biochar and ash, which will be used to amend the planting sites for the more alkaline loving plants.  I'm thinking to dig the pits on contour at the planting site to create mini swales.  

Any and all feedback would be much appreciated! Let me know if you need additional info.
1 month ago
Not sure if anyone is still interested in this idea, but I have had some success doing it. I have two galvanized steel watering troughs full of soaked and shredded cardboard, newspaper strips, organic food wastes and pretty much anything else you might try to vermicompost. On top of each trough is a rabbit cage with a wire bottom. We feed the rabbits all of our garden weeds (some of which fall through the cage into the worm troughs). The cages are about 1/4 the size of the trough. I gradually move the cage down the length of the trough over time to evenly incorporate rabbit poo, urine and fallen food. I occasionally add some calcium carbonate to mitigate any chance of having too much green matter and rabbit urine, but I'm not sure this is necessary. I think filling the bottom of the worm trough with soaked and shredded cardboard provides a safe retreat for the worms.

I'm sure the process would be much more complicated if you were breeding rabbits commercially. It works perfectly for my application though. I spend significantly less time cleaning the rabbit cages and feeding the worms. Closing the loop!
5 years ago
So the tank will be in our greenhouse, which, unless I'm completely off-base will offer some UV protection. I know from experience that I don't get a sunburn in the greenhouse, if that counts

Jeremiah, you raise a very valid point about the water being hot. We used to have a nutrient tank for compost tea set up in the greenhouse. The pipes the water traveled trough were dark grey and the water would scorch the plants it was so hot. I think I'll need a combination of black plastic (to stop algae growth) and an awning (to keep the tank from getting too hot). I'm wondering If I can use some type of reflective material similar to the shades people put in the windows of their cars...

I'm not sure how long the tank will last as I've gotten mixed information regarding their durability. I do know that the tank is much much thicker than a milk jug. It's 3/8 " thick.
5 years ago
Thanks for the suggestions! I spoke with a stone mason and I would need a concrete pad in order to safely build a CMU tower. He also suggested something similar to your "metal stake" idea Alder. The only difference was that he suggested filling in with concrete around the metal stake. From what I gather, once the tower starts leaning, the metal stake won't do much against that force. So your best bet is to fill in the cavities around the metal stakes with concrete so it never gets momentum.

Regardless, I'm thinking the 4x4 frame idea seems like a better bet. I like your idea too Miles, however, the tanks are not super cheap and it's hard to justify re-purposing one for a rabbit hutch. I was thinking I could potentially remove the galvanized steel frame and then set the tank on top of that? I'm not sure of it's strength, but I have an engineering buddy I can get some advice from. I don't think I would compromise the steel frame too much by removing a few cross bars to create an access point to the rabbits/worms.

I'm not completely giving up on the CMUs for another application though. I may get another tank for outside the greenhouse to sit right under the downspout of one of the gutters. I could easily lay a concrete pad there. I'd like to build a small gravity fed shower/wash station. Our greenhouse is 8,000 sq ft, which means I get about 10,000 gallons of rain water a month (in Westport, On). At 14 ft high, I should be getting 5-7 PSI of water pressure.
5 years ago
I recently procured a 275-gallon food grade plastic tank. It's 40” W x 48” L x 48” Tall. http://www.repurposedmaterialsinc.com/used-275-gallon-totes-ibc.php

The tank is going inside of our greenhouse for watering purposes. In order to be able to move the water around the greenhouse, I'd like to elevate the tank 6-10ft off of the ground. The tank will be fed from a downspout inside the greenhouse. The gutters are approximately 14 ft off the ground.

I'm trying to figure out a way to do this safely and without creating a giant single-use tower in the greenhouse. My idea so far is to use concrete masonry units (CMUs) to create a frame. I'd like to mount two rabbit cages directly under the water tank with worm bins below the rabbits to catch the poop (both of which we currently have). The greenhouse is hot as he** (obviously) and the rabbits and worms could use the shade. I was thinking I could further shade the rabbits and worms by putting trellises on 3 sides of the tower.

I'm nervous about the integrity of the tower as the rain tank will weigh over 2,500 pounds when full. Are CMUs my best bet? Any other ideas, suggestions or cautions?
5 years ago

Jeremiah wales wrote:Pressure for what use?
I have a 500 gallon Storage tank on a "Water Tower". It is only 6 ft in the air from the ground and even with the bottom of my roof eves. But water flows fine out of my faucets, toilet and into the Tub. Now a Shower is another thing. I had to hook up a 12 volt pump to get my shower to spray out. But then I used a low volume shower head there.
I saw an appliction once where someone made a shower. They took a five gallon bucket with aprox 30 holes in it at the 7 ft mark and filled it with hot water. Took a shower under it.

Hi Jeremiah. I have a 275 gallon rain tank encased in a galvanized steel cage. I'm researching ideas on how to elevate it. I was considering using concrete masonry units (CMUs), but would be curious to know how you elevated your tank safely, which is much larger. By my calculations, my tank will weigh over 2,500 pounds when it's full.

5 years ago