Marty Mitchell

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since Dec 08, 2013
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I have now upgraded to my final Permie homestead... a multi-generational property on 8AC in coastal Chesapeake, VA. Surrounded by open fields and forests.
In the works... endless fruit and veggies, planting for nature's critters, ruminants (cattle and horses), chickens, bees, many structures for a more resilient lifestyle, developing new skills, etc.
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Coastal Chesapeake, VA - Zone 7b/8a - Humid
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Recent posts by Marty Mitchell

Hope you are doing well at the new place!

I keep dreaming of moving... or at least visiting the Azores, Portugal.

I was looking at a home in a neighborhood on .5AC a few weeks ago there (online). It has a massive brick/cob looking garden wall that surrounded the place with the Entire Interior set-in fruit trees (even citrus!) and garden (landscaped in design). The home had a detached garage apartment as well. Both came fully furnished for $205k U.S. asking. The whole neighborhood was on a plateau several hundred feet above a blue ocean that you could see down below from the yard... and in front of some very large and beautiful mountains. That particular island is known for its dairy and cheese from all of the cows.

I just got some smooth-skinned type of Jerusalem artichokes for planting into the garden this year. I will be digging up the tubers this Fall/Winter and planting into the corners of the cow pasture... and making a hedgerow edge with them along the front road.
1 day ago
Update 19 Feb 2024:

This update is a good bit past due!

So, the AI from last Thanksgiving morning did indeed take on Rose the dark red one. It did not take on Ginger, but was almost certain not to since we were so late on it with her.

Anyways, missed the next 3 week interval. Did AI again a second time 3 weeks after that... a little less late but still late that time since the wife didn't let me know she was in standing heat even though she saw it. This was when we had him ultrasound the other girl and there was a floating blob in her uterus.

AI still didn't take on Ginger again on session #2. Missed the next 3 week interval due to being gone on a ski trip. Then did AI again yesterday morning. Pretty sure we got her this time... as it was perfect timing. We shall see.

The vet had an assistant with him this time. She apparently grew up on a dairy in Pennsylvania (I believe). She said our cows were extremely well taken care of and looked like they had just had a bath. Then, she went on about how tiny they are. Kept mentioning it when she was checking her "condition" for the vet. Said they are about the height of Holstein calves! lol

The vet took one look at Rose again and said she was too fat... and that I had better keep an eye on her so the calf does not get big and cause problems. I may move her to a hay only diet a month before the due date since that is when the calves put on most of their weight.

Anyways, I am probably going to just order the urine test strips for pregnancy testing now. I am pretty sure I can catch some of their urine to test... and am tired of paying the vet already.

Roses calf is due 01 Sept 2024. So, grass will be not really growing, and the cows won't really be eating a lot at that time due to the heat.

If Ginger's AI took... it will be due around November 26, 2024

Link to urine test strips. They also have treatments for semen to make it all be either male or female... but I am not doing that.

5 days ago
I have taken to doing the old-fashioned rooting cuttings for most things since I was able to systematize it and perform it en-masse much faster.

HOWEVER, some cultivars always kick my butt using that method. That is when air-layering shines for me.

If I were only doing a handful of trees every year to gift away to expand the trees I already have, then air-layering is where it is at.

I just microwave some moistened soil until it is super steamy, then add more water after it cools and let the excess drain. Then take a Ziplock and pack it full. Cut a slit down the middle. Wrap it around a branch that is going to get pruned anyways... trying to place the slit on the bottom so rainwater can seep in possibly. Zip tie or tie that on there. Then wrap in aluminum foil (to cancel light and heat out) and tie that shut with either string or Zip ties or tape... as I will be opening it every now and again to see if it is ready or not.
1 month ago
15 January 2024:

Got the first really cold week coming up to where temps will be well below 20F.

I never did winterize the colonies again. This weekend I added something new to see if they get more active/if they are able to heat their space sooner.

Just bought a roll of insulation bubble wrap. It turned out to be the perfect width for my frames without having to cut at all for width. No smoke and no suit used for install. Bees were cold.

The next day, all bees were active. It may have made a little difference. I will be leaving it for the rest of Winter, though I wonder if it would help during the heat of summer as well. Just leaving it in there but without the taped edges.

1 month ago

Rachel Elijah wrote:Born today!  (I think.)

I came out around noon and found this little one sitting comfortably. Judging from the looks of his mama, it was probably some time this morning.

We're separating mama and baby from dad, since he is too friendly with new baby.

It's a bull calf!

1 month ago
@ Rachel Elijah


Congrats! He is a very cute little guy.
1 month ago
Christmas Eve 2023 update:

We had a warm spell last weekend. Turns out that there is forage here even during the dead of Winter so long as there are some warm days in the mix. Saw three colors of pollen going into the entrances. Light yellow, deep yellow/orange, and red again. Mostly red this time.

I totally skipped setting the hives up for Winter again. Still, with the coldest months coming up, I want to go get some of that metallic bubble wrap and tape a layer of it down to the top of the frames they are on. Simple and fast. I just need to go get some. It is going to be cold for the next several weeks at least.

1 month ago
I recently made my first purchase from this place a few months ago. It was 364 one pound honey bottles.

I will soon be purchasing labels for said bottles. I aim to work with them to have a custom label made with a picture I took of some wildflowers from one of my pastures. Though, they have a MASSIVE selection of labels already designed up that are perfectly fine. Even lots of those are also customizable via wording on said labels.

The bottles I ordered were all pre-washed and the bottle caps already had sticker seals installed inside them... so all I have to do is screw on the caps and boom... I have a sealed bottle for sale. They were their upside-down squeeze bottle types with a built-in diaphragm, so honey stops pouring the moment you stop squeezing. Extremely easy to use... which should help my new customers use their honey.

I already got a sale catalog from them yesterday actually. Hoping to get me to be a return customer I am sure.

~ Marty M.
2 months ago

Judson Carroll wrote:This is great info and I really appreciate the comprehensiveness of the post.  I have been considering a jon boat for a while.  I have access to five rivers, the largest being the Great Pee Dee, that has all kinds of ever changing ox bows.  They are a real challenge to fish and hunt because there is a lot of submerged brush.  THe main river can be pretty swift in places, especially after a storm.  SO, I'm trying to balance stability int he river with getting into all the pokey shallow areas where the fishing is best.  I've been using an aluminum canoe, but it is no fun trying to paddle that beast up stream!

I am glad it may have helped in some way!

My biggest suggestion is to nerd out on these on YouTube for a little while to figure out what best suits you. Also, looking up ways to make sure you can stay safe out there.

I am definitely adding in a bilge pump for instance. I don't have rapids to deal with here though. Just cypress knees, oyster bars, logs, and occasional patches of open/shallow water that can start spitting whitecaps pretty quick if the wind picks up enough. So, with most places, I could in theory just pull the boat up onto a bank, pull my 35lb motor and other gear off, flip her over (she is 130 lbs empty), then put everything back together again and be on my way. My kayak was the same weight!

I bet some rear float pods and a jet-drive would be excellent for shooting up a rocky stream.

I am still thinking of adding some float pods to mine actually. Mainly because the rear end won't dig in at all when taking off. I will gain some top-end speed. PLUS, it will sit higher in the water the rest of the time. Add in a manual jack plate ($400)... and my engine will barely be in the water. I have a regular prop engine and will be keeping that... just bringing a spare prop. They are SUPER cheap on this size of motor. A spare prop can be had off of Amazon for $35.
2 months ago