Alex Hamond

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since Aug 08, 2013
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Recent posts by Alex Hamond

In my location it would be illegal to capture and keep wildlife for the purpose of breading it for meat rabbits.

Our local wild rabbits are the eastern cottontail and the swamp rabbit. I can take trap, shoot, or hunt them with dogs , but we are supposed to kill them right away. From November 17- February 28 I can legally go out and harvest 12 a day. So if one had enough space to establish some sort of food plot designed for rabbits, provided them with a bunch of brush piles, and basically design place where the rabbits would have plenty to eat, and plenty of places to hide. When season rolls around, harvest the free range meat rabbits by trapping them in rabbit boxes.

I feel that this route is a lot more ethical. They still get to be wild rabbits and if I do my part to establish a place where the rabbits have just about everything they could want, it will naturally populate with them.

I suggest you check your local laws concerning the trapping and keeping of your native wildlife.
10 years ago
For what it's worth Fukuoka probably would have been against this. You mentioned something about him supporting the idea of tweaking nature, I think you have the wrong idea about him. If anything he felt that nature was perfect as it is, and anything we do to try and make it better results in unforeseen negative consequences. He would have understood that this sort of thing would have the potential to disrupt a natural ecosystem.

Think of it as anything that wasn't there to begin with is now an invasive plant, and what will this do to the local ecology?

Doing this the most ecologically friendly way possible you would obtain a complete knowledge of all the edible plants that grow their naturally. Collect seeds of those plants. Make seedballs, and hurl them out somewhere that has recently burn to the ground. In a few years there is a food forest of native plants, probably full of all kind of animals enjoying eating it. A forest is rebuilt on a fallen forest. I would see less wrong with helping that process along using the natural flora.

The main thing I suggest is that you consider and respect the local ecology and the impact your actions will have on it. So many invasive species have run rampant because someone thought it would be a good thing to plant at the time and might grow well here.

10 years ago
Is he pretty good about staying with the animals? How close are your neighbors? How does your dog act towards strangers/mail man?

Some dogs perceive it differently. We had a medium sized dog that kept digging under the fence and playing in the street so we tried an invisible fence. It did nothing, she would go beyond the line, collar would begin to shock, could see her neck twitching, not a bit of reaction out of her. Our room mate gave the ok to try it on his pit bull, she did a back flip when she reached the boundary.

A great Pyrenees will grow to be a very large dog. If it is a smart dog that won't leave its flock to chase a threat a long way off, and you have no close neighbors, might work. It kind of depends on how its pain tolerance compares to its prey drive. Also unless your worried about people harming your chickens and goats, socialize this dog with as many strangers as you can from a young age. You don't want him attacking the mail man or random other person that shows up to say hello. He should be aloof to strangers unless they are trying to attack your animals and you need to be able to trust that this will be the case if your not going to have a fence.

10 years ago
If your in an area with populations of feral hogs, go out and shoot one, five, or ten. It's cheap, lean, free range pork for little more than the cost of the bullet, any travel, and processing if you have someone else do it for you. The younger the better really, a couple 50-75lb pigs on a hunting trip is a good bit of meat. In most places they can be hunted year round as as an invasive species. Any farmer that has feral hogs on their property would probably gladly let you shoot as many as you want because they tear things up in a bad way and breed like rabbits. Some people capture them live with dogs or traps, and fatten them on grain for until ready to slaughter just because the meat is much leaner on a feral pig, gives it a bit more of a domestic flavor. It's a pretty good deal, you get all the lean pork you desire without having to take care or feed them. Be prepared for it to taste a bit different than pork from the grocery or farm, a wild natural diet is responsible for this. Aim for the sows and young pigs. Adult males are not worth anything as far as taste unless castrated young and released to be caught/shot later.

Figured I would throw that out there, otherwise if you are raising pigs. If they have a lower fat content breed mostly free range diet with an active lifestyle, maybe supplement with a little bit of grain if you want them to tear up a certain area, they will plow a plot of dirt rooting for stuff to eat. Given enough space and a warm enough climate, they can survive without people it's why feral pigs are such a problem in some areas.
10 years ago
Read Masanobu Fukuoka's One Straw Revolution, it will change how you think about growing grains.

I would plant in blocks that were rotated between grain and crops that add organic matter and all the nitrogen and nutrients it holds, and I wouldn't till the ground.

The main thing is that you care for the soil. Return the straw back to the plots. Some chicken manure on top will speed up its decomposition. With just those two things the soil will get better over time. Working on a crop rotating system where you plant it with radish that will be killed by winter will put a lot of organic matter into and break up dense soil as it develops, dies, and decomposes. When it warms back up, plant a warm season crop, all the better if it fixes nitrogen. When it comes time to plant the grain, toss it out and then mulch it with whatever was growing in the field before that, more chicken manure. Harvest grain, throw out seed for next crop, mulch with the straw. Doing all of this you are going to be adding what amounts to tons of organic matter back to the soil.

I would do this for each field i used for grain. For most everything except grain, I think polyculture is the way to go. I don't understand not having annuals. I think annuals are an important part of permaculture design. Sometimes winter killing off the plants is a good thing, like radish. It's just more organic matter going back to the soil. And if you are of the "no tilling" mindset and you are continually improving the soil, annuals that end up on the ground or under mulch germinate and grow if the necessary conditions are met. Eventually your annual plants come back annually instead of having to plant them annually.
10 years ago
Jay, not sure about fish meal. I have a feeling that it wouldn't decay in the same manner a raw fish would. It takes a good bit of time for everything in the soil to break down the remains of a 5lb catfish after filet, certainly longer than it would take fish meal to break down.

Something else that may have played a part in keeping them off our garden in the fall, at least for a short while was that we butchered a deer about 20 feet from our garden, slightly up the hill a few days before thanksgiving. From what I understand they don't like the smell of blood. Spreading some blood/bone meal around the garden might make a difference.

For a more vegan repellant, I hear they stay away from rosemary. Some kind of spray could probably be made from it. There are some other herbs that they don't like.

I have heard that they have some kind of aversion to human hair. If you have a breed of dog that sheds a lot, they probably won't like its hair either.

10 years ago
Last season I used something that I was taught in elementary school. Basically the story of them burying fish in the soil under where crops were planted. The logic being that it provides additional nutrients. We did this by burying catfish carcases in the garden around the plants.

So the plants did great, and we didn't see a deer track in the garden the entire season. Our neighbors garden had a lot of problems with them. I think that the faint odor of decaying fish in their sensitive noses just makes them not want to be around. It looked like a raccoon or cat tried to dig a few inches one time, nothing else paid much attention to our garden.

This year we haven't buried any catfish out back and a deer has already topped off a couple of our pepper plants. Does it make a difference? Haven't tested enough to know, If someone has fish skin/guts/bones they would normally throw in their compost and has 2 gardens side by side try it out with one of them. Our initial use of fish remains in the garden provided some of the best tomatoes, peppers, and collards we have ever grown, and no deer in a garden surrounded by woods on all sides.
10 years ago
Apologies if this is not the most relevant forum for this. If it needs to be moved elsewhere I will have no problem with that.

I view a smoker as being right up there with cast iron in terms of cooking equipment and ours has finally begun to finally wear out. Rust is what killed it. 80% humidity is a normality here, and the metal just hasn't been able to take it.
So I am starting to think about cob, and how for the price of a brand new one, I can build a better one out of cob. Never built anything with cob in my life. But it seems like a fun project. Its ability to maintain heat is great for a smoker. The important thing is that it can be maintained around a couple hundred degrees for long periods of time.

Beyond that I need to figure out a design that is easily cleanable. Size would be relatively small for a smoker, we don't have large parties often, occasionally cooking something as large as a a butterflied turkey or pork butt, might decide on a slightly larger one.

Need to give serious thought into the design. So the WIP design idea is to create a base, cinder blocks are what we have laying around so they will be put to use. About knee high on the base construct what would the firebox in a manner one would make a small cob oven, create a chimney out of the top. Get this all filled in with cob, thick walls, construct a door. Cure cob out with fire. Start assembling a larger chamber that the chimney vents into on top. Construct another chimney and a door. Cure it out.

Some logistical concerns I am having. I would like to have a grate and some means of trapping the grease. Being round kind of makes that seem to be more difficult. I might go for more of a square internal shape, but still a dome. Door wide enough to get grates and drip pans out.

And then there is this thing. Basically it acts as a device that monitors the temperature of the cooking area and regulates the flow of air to into a charcoal grill or smoker, thus controlling the temperature. They claim it will maintain temperature to 5 degrees. I could live without it, but being able to control a wood fired cooker to within 5 degrees is awesome Could be added later depending on how final result cooks.

Any advice?

10 years ago
I think rocket mass stoves are interesting, and have been looking into them.

I started to wonder how would best way to heat water to pipe through a floor. So I got to thinking, what if a copper coil was wound around the exhaust within the thermal mass, or a coil was incorporated into the thermal mass. I am sure it varies from stove to stove, but how hot does the thermal mass get 5 or 10 feet from the barrel? The trick would be figuring out where the water could pass through that would be that would heat the water to a desirable temperature, a pump to circulate water through the system into an insulated reservoir.

It would work kind of like a radiator. The thermal mass takes in and heat, the water in the coil transfers heat in the thermal mass to a much larger thermal mass.

It seems like it would be a pretty low pressure system, the reservoir would probably need some kind of pop off valve or a small hole in the reservoir so that steam could vent, a copper coil could turn that steam back into distilled water. I don't really see much of a way that it could explode. My main concern would be building one and having the water get too hot and the floor being too hot to walk on. I guess after a certain point the pump could just be turned off and the water would stop circulating.

I am sure that a lot of things could vary greatly, but I wonder things like where the best place to put a coil would be, and the length of the coil exposed to the mass to avoid turning a lot of water into steam but still heat the water enough to warm the floor efficiently.
10 years ago
If I were going to embark on the challenge of hunting squirrel with a sling shot I would try to find a large area of oak trees. Camp nearby, be ready wherever your going to hunt pre dawn. Ideal situation would probably to be in full camo in a blind of some sort.

Unless you hit it in the head you are probably going to need to finish it off, which can be pretty tricky if you don't have something to inflict some blunt force trauma, or a .22. Squirrels have a thick skin, and a sling shot might break a skull, but anywhere else is going to be a wound, and the squirrel is going to run into the nearest hole it can find if its mortally injured. If not seriously injured its going to run farther than you will ever find it.

Squirrels are early morning creatures, they also like to come out after a hard rain. They like acorns, which is why you find a good stand of oaks to be at pre dawn, as the sun comes up the squirrels come out of the woodwork, rely more on your hearing. If you can't hear the squirrel, it is not close enough to sling shot the squirrel. They make noise climbing trees and searching for acorns.

If you like your slingshot and want a versatile hunting weapon, look at something called a slingbow. It is a slingshot modified to shoot arrows. Used for target, hunting game animals, and fishing. It has been used to successfully hunt deer and even an Alaskan grizzly. You get good enough to put an arrow through a squirrel with a slingbow, and the squirrel won't get away. If your good enough to take a squirrel with it, your good enough to take a deer with it.

10 years ago