Kathleen Sanderson

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since Feb 28, 2009
Green County, Kentucky
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Recent posts by Kathleen Sanderson

I thought this might be a good topic for this part of the forum.  I've been working hard at decluttering my house for the last year or so, and it has helped a lot with making the house easier to clean and more comfortable to live in.  There are a number of good books on minimalism -- I'm not going overboard in that direction, because in order to live the 'homesteading/permaculture' lifestyle, there are things we need to own that someone living in a city apartment might not need -- like milking equipment, and canning equipment, and so on.  And we need work clothes as well as going to town and going to special occasions clothing.  But I still read the books on minimalism for inspiration and to keep me going.

There's also a book called How to Manage Your Home Without Losing Your Mind by Dana White of A Slob Comes Clean.  That's been very helpful to me; I plan to get copies for my granddaughters and my nieces (and maybe my grandson, too, LOL!).

Knowing how to clean things is important, but it is very helpful to reduce the cleaning to an irreducible minimum, and only have things that you really need or want to keep.

2 weeks ago

Nicole Alderman wrote:Today I had a bit of a revelation. Chickens eat bindweed/morning glory, right? I've got a nasty patch of the stuff that I've been trying to keep from reaching my garden. I've tried pulling it, out compeating it with blackberries (it's no longer in the blackberry patch, but is in my) grass, and planting buckwheat to inhibit it. Each thing has made a dent, and kept it from spreading. But, it's still there in my grass, mocking me.

The area is pretty large. It's the area below my wellhouse. I'll try to get a better picture later, but here's two that I already have (the first is a close-up from when I planted buckwheat in attempts to inhibit the bindweed):

I'm wondering if I could just put their existing house there, and fence in Bindweed Land (which is probably 500-800 sqft) and let them do their chickeny thing there for a while, eating the bindweed and tearing up the roots. And then, after they've done their merry destruction for a year or two, I could think about a tractor system or something else and replant the area with buckwheat, oats and other feed?

Would this kill the bindweed for me? Or, would it just kill the grass and then the little bitty roots that the chickens left would re sprout into a bigger, worse mess?

In my experience, it will weaken the bindweed, but not eradicate it.  Bindweed has huge roots hiding underground and can regrow from them for several years.  Other than chemicals, about the only thing that works -- and chickens can definitely do part of it -- is to keep it chopped out/eaten down to nothing for several years, until it stops trying to come back up.  It will probably try to escape out the sides, so keep a close eye on it.  A really heavy mulch will help, too -- maybe have the chickens eat it down into the ground, then put three or four layers of cardboard over it, topped by a foot or so of heavy mulch.  If you see any vines trying to come up through that pull them out and re-mulch that area.  In about three years or so, you should be able to plant that spot with other things.

3 weeks ago

Amanda Launchbury-Rainey wrote:I intend to go through the caravan decluttering. We have 12 cupbiards so that is 1 a day leading up to the fiesta of the 3 kings which is a big thing here. I will also be cleaning as I go.  I am fed up of camping in tents and caravans for 6 years but  I think part of that is because if the disorderly mess we gave allowed to spread through the van. A clean and tidy home may give me a boost as we enter yet another winter waiting for our home to be habitable!
Holiday best wishes to you all!

We've lived in what you call a caravan -- a fifth-wheel travel trailer -- and in several quite small houses, and decluttering is such a huge help!  Living the life-style we do, it's hard to pare things down, but if you can find or make places to put the things that you really need to keep, so they aren't on the floor or cluttering your living spaces, it will really make a big difference!

One thing I've learned to do is to containerize.  That is, I designate one container (a drawer, a basket, a box....) for certain things, and they aren't allowed to overflow anywhere else.  For instance, I have one drawer for tea; one basket for yarn; several boxes full of fabric (and working on using some of that up so I can use the boxes for other things).  

It feels good when you are done!
3 weeks ago
Travis, I'm really sorry to hear about your health problems.  My step-father spent about three years in Vietnam, in the Marines, and also has health problems from that time.  A lot of thoughtless, ill-conceived things were done during that war, and you are one of many still suffering as a result.

Do keep posting.  I've enjoyed reading your thoughts on a lot of things.

3 weeks ago

Judith Browning wrote:I forgot to mention that the 'plumbers helper' I mentioned above is also a carpenter/builder with a great reputation...her work with her ex was to try to keep him from losing his plumbers license.

No reason at all that women can't do the job's that are typically 'men's work' if that's what they want to do.  

My cousin was a diesel mechanic for many years...she loved big trucks

One of my sisters was an electrician -- she was one of the first two licensed journeywomen electricians in Oregon.  She stopped when she got married, so she could raise and homeschool their daughters, but still has the skills.

I think the handyman thing is a great idea.  We had a good, reliable handyman in Oregon, a friend from church who survives by working odd jobs mostly under the table.  Here in Kentucky we are still finding the people we need -- did find a good plumber, thankfully, as the house needed a bunch of work when we moved in.  I need an electrician soon, and there are all kinds of other jobs that need to be done.  I can do the small things, but won't touch electrical stuff.

3 weeks ago
I've built several kinds of chicken tractors over the years.  Some were too heavy for me to move by myself.  Some were so lightweight that high winds flipped them over.  Some (with chicken wire) were vulnerable to dog attacks.  

The ones that have worked the best for me were built out of rabbit wire -- the one by two inch wire used for building rabbit cages.  If you are going to have baby chicks, you would want to use a smaller mesh, but the one by two mesh works well for young chickens and grown ones.  I built them exactly as you would build rabbit cages, fastening the wire together with J-clips, using no framing.  Build them two feet tall unless you are only raising bantams (rabbit cages are usually only eighteen inches high).  I put the doors on the top -- one big door in the middle of a six foot long cage works pretty well as you can reach into both ends from there.  Thirty inches wide is about as wide as you would want to make it.  

And the one improvement I will incorporate next time I build some of these is to use some kind of light framing around the bottom.  Otherwise the wire gets bent out of shape when you drag the cage across the ground.  

I just laid scraps of plywood on top of the cages for shade for the birds -- it was easy to lay this aside while I moved the tractor down a bit, and then replace it.  For winter use, you might want to wrap the cage in a tarp, or maybe three sides of it, leaving one narrow end open and facing away from prevailing winds.  

It would be a good idea to attach a five-gallon bucket nest box to one end of the tractor, rather than letting the hens lay on the ground.  

It's best to keep their feed and water containers on the outside of the pen, with holes in the sides just big enough for them to reach out to eat and drink.  Cover the feed, though, or wild birds will eat most of it.

3 weeks ago
I had completely forgotten about this!  Re-reading the thread, it looks like we were still in the middle of dealing with a non-working well -- it turned out that the pipe had started to separate right above the well pump (submersible deep well pump); the pump did have to be replaced, and we were SO happy to have water again.  Then in late March we moved to Kentucky and were without water AGAIN!  Twice!!!  First because the house had been empty for a while, and all the pipes under the house were broken from freezing; got that repaired, and pretty soon we were having problems again -- the pipe between the well and the house was also broken and needed to be dug up and repaired.  So it was an interesting spring and summer.

I did do some planning for this place while we were still in Oregon, but for several reasons got very little accomplished here this year.  I've started mulching where I want to have the garden, and got a few things planted, but that's all.  My landscape planning has been finalized, though, after nearly a year here, and I hope to get things moving a little faster this coming season.  I'm choosing varieties suited for a couple of growing zones farther north, since we are in the beginnings of a Grand Solar Minimum and can expect colder and more unpredictable weather for the next two or three decades, at least (look up the weather from the Dalton minimum, or even the Maunder minimum, to see what we can expect).

This year's challenge will be mostly sewing projects.  I've got fabric, and an almost-new sewing machine that I've hardly used.  I'm finishing up a Faroese-style shawl (sewn, not knitted or crocheted, since I have lots of fabric) to use when the house is chilly.  Then my youngest daughter gets a plaid skirt, and then I need to make a couple of dresses for myself, since my wardrobe seems to be a bit shy in that department, and we often wear dresses for church.

There's also a writing project, but there's always a writing project.

3 weeks ago

S Bengi wrote:I would run a test, have two patches one with tall and another with short.
Landcaster Cultivar http://openpollinated.com/varieties.php

Even better yet create your own land race. Get alot of different cultivars plant them and track the cultivars that you like.
Then buy some more of those cultivars next season, then save the cross pollinated seeds.
Replant those seeds and save the corns that you like the most.

Yes, I was already planning on working on my own 'landrace' for here.  Joseph Lofthouse and Carol Deppe have provided a lot of inspiration in that regard.

1 month ago

Su Ba wrote:I don't have raccoons, but I do have tradewinds. So short corn is better for me, the shorter and sturdier the better.

Wind is why I was picking short varieties to start with.  I don't know how hard it was blowing, but we've had several storms in the less-than-a-year that we've lived here where it was raining horizontally, and the wind noise was so bad that I was watching for a tornado to come roaring over the hill (and they had tornado watches, and had some not too far from us).  That's why I thought short varieties might be best.  Maybe I should do a couple of test plots and see.

1 month ago

Ken W Wilson wrote:Taller is much better if you have raccoons.

I'm sure we do, although my livestock guardian dog seems to be doing a great job of keeping them away.

1 month ago