Gilbert Fritz

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since Sep 13, 2013
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Recent posts by Gilbert Fritz

In dryland areas, summer fallows are used to store precipitation in the soil for later crops. Traditionally, this involved frequent tilling over the course of the summer to keep down weeds and create a "dust mulch" as a capillary break; this led to problems with erosion. Today, no-till farmers leave crop residue on the soil surface, and use herbicides to suppress growth; this trades erosion for a different set of problems.

Could a chicken tractor be used to maintain a fallow, keeping down weed growth while leaving a light mulch layer on the surface?
3 months ago
Burra, that's interesting. After a hiatus of a few years, I replanted seeds I harvested from the ones you sent me, and planted a diverse range of broccoli and kale next to them. I will be selecting plants that have the overwintering ability and large, flat leaves of your kale plants, but with the clustered seed heads and succulent stems of broccoli.
5 months ago
I've got some various mustard greens that I'm saving for seed. They are nearing maturity; the pods are starting to dry and all the plants' leaves have dried up. As fast as the pods dry, however, the birds eat all the seeds. Can I cut the plants now and store them under cover to finish drying?
8 months ago
Thanks for the suggestion, Douglas!

The branches alongside the stump curve out in such a way as to make cutting a slanting cut difficult, but I will see what I can do.
9 months ago
Some of the pictures didn't come through…
9 months ago
A few weeks ago, I had to cut off a branch of this pear tree because it had a narrow join to the trunk. Because of other branches, I wasn't able to cut it flush. What should I do with this branch stub?
9 months ago
I'm getting conflicting information on this. Some sources say to prune peaches in February (now) while they are completely dormant. Others say to prune later, when the buds turn pink, so that the wounds will callus over better. Any thoughts from folks along the Front Range?
1 year ago
Hello Angela

The first picture is the third pair of shoes I made. You can see that there are quite a few mistakes, and that I still need to sand off the sole edges.

The second picture is my fourth pair; they are glued together but not yet stitched or shaped, and still need laces and an outsole.

1 year ago
I've been getting into shoemaking, currently working on my fourth pair. I really enjoy it, and I like making shoes that are not as environmentally, socially, or physically damaging as the average shoe sold in the USA today.

To keep costs down, I bought a batch of off-cut leather remnants. Of course, they were of lower quality than better sections of the hide, and I had to work around blemishes and avoid weak areas.

Eventually, I'd like to start using salvaged leather from old leather furniture and clothing.

So my question is: how to use inferior leather successfully? Can thin leather be glued together to create a thicker layer? Can unblemished, thin leather from clothing be glued onto more robust but flawed pieces of leather? Can backing up leather with cloth strengthen it? What about putting in extra (and decorative) stitching around the edges and other potential failure points? Can the seams used to join smaller pieces of leather together become a decorative design feature? How to discern when a piece of leather is too weak or will stretch in a weird way?

As I see it, if "junk" leather can be used to make workable shoes, everyone comes out ahead. Even if they wear out twice as fast, they'd still have less environmental impact compared to using brand-new, premium leather. And I'm making my shoes so that they can be easily repaired, trying to use water-based adhesives and stitching to hold them together rather than solvent-based adhesives.

1 year ago