Dan Boone

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since Jan 24, 2014
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Dan Boone gardens, plants fruit trees, and tends wild fruit and nut trees and vines in Central Oklahoma.
Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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Recent posts by Dan Boone

Pearl Sutton wrote:Somewhere in this thread there was talk of feed bag reuse, my feed comes in the heavy paper bags, great for weed suppression!



This spring when I was building and rejuvenating soil for my container garden (by screening together old soil, semi-fresh stallion poop, composted wood chips, and various amendments) there was no perlite to be had at any of the usual outlets within the radius of about 1.5 hours of driving time (one way).  So I ordered a 4 cubic foot bag on Amazon.  To my surprise, it came in a huge multi-layered feed-type paper bag instead of the plastic sack all the big box stores use.   Had to transfer it right away into a half-barrel because I didn't have rain-secure storage for it.

Ended up opening up that empty bag, laying it right down on the weedy sod in the side yard with a bit of stallion poop underneath it (for the worms) and another thicker layer of the poop on top of it. Opened up a tiny hole in the middle, filled that hole with about a quart of new potting soil, and planted summer squash in that. Then covered the whole area, lasagna style, with about six inches of "fresh" (a year old, but not heavily composted yet) wood chips.  A couple of passes with a borrowed mower covered the whole pile with grass clippings, but that was more-or-less accidental.   That hill of squash is presently by FAR the most robust of my half-dozen.
1 month ago
Of course when I typed the phrase "prodigious nut production" in the original post back in 2019, it guaranteed that I would not see another black walnut tree with fruit on it for three years.  

Worse yet, this does not look like a mast year for the local black walnuts that I have easy access to, either.  But I was able to scrounge a literal handful (five green nuts) off one of my neighbor's trees.  It's enough for a test batch.

The green nuts had a strong spicy odor, just sitting in the palm of my hand.  I know that June 24th is the traditional time for picking European walnuts for nocino, but I couldn't find any solid nocino harvest date recommendations for the American black walnuts.  The nuts I found seemed very hard in my hand, so it was an enormous relief when they quartered easily using my best chef knife.  Crunchy and solid, yes, but easily sliced without whacking or chopping.   It was not deliberate that I picked these on an easily-remembered date like June 21, but it seems like a fine date for this species where I am.

Somewhat to my surprise, the chambers in my nuts had a green translucent liquid in them that dripped out onto the parchment paper I used to protect my cutting board.  I wonder if next time I should capture and incorporate that fluid?  

Anyway, five nuts loosely fills about a quarter of a quart mason jar.  So, rough "five nuts to the cup" ratio if you're picking to make a gallon batch.  

I am going with the alcohol-soak first, add spices later approach.  So I topped the nuts to the 400ml line on my jar.  I used Everclear, due to still having a liter bottle around from when I bought it at the start of the pandemic, when it looked like we might need to make our own hand sanitizer.  Some recipes for nocino speak of vodka or other 40% spirits, but all the more serious ones seem to recommend "pure" 95% stuff like the Everclear.  

Experiment finally underway!  I'll keep y'all posted.
1 month ago

Kim Goodwin wrote:A method I've used from Feedipedia is to blend up citrus rinds from after jucing them or eating them, use that "pomace". It works great! And I needed a use for the leftover citrus rinds, as we eat a fair amount of lemons and limes weekly.



OMG, this is why I read Permies.  I have bounced repeatedly off the problem of acidifying soil in a sustainable way -- for blueberries and such -- without having to buy industrial/mined inputs from far away, or really, spend money on any products.  I am a bit too far north to grow citrus freely outdoors, and we don't buy that much of it, but...

I can and do grow hardy orange trees, poncirus trifoliata, and they thrive here.  The culinary uses for those fruit are, well, "marginal" is about the nicest word, although I do hope to make some unique local tonics/bitters when my trees really start fruiting.  But if I can use the fruit as an acidifying soil/compost amendment, that alone will be a good reason for all my lovely poncirus trees!
2 months ago
I am in 7b and for me, turmeric "just grows" -- plants are happy outdoors in summer, and will perhaps quadruple their rhizomes in a summer season.  It's not a ton but a little turmeric goes a long way.  They are stupidly frost-sensitive but I've had OK luck just bringing them plants indoors over winter.  They don't grow much and the leaves are spindly and weak, but come summer they put up new shoots and get back to work.

Culinary ginger does less well for me.  It's very sensitive to drying out and the foliage is weak in the Oklahoma wind.  Plants don't die under the best care I can provide but they don't thrive or give me much rhizome increase.  
2 months ago
I think Jay's question about defining economic success is important to grapple with.  Is "raking in the dough" as a permaculturalist farmer/homesteader possible? I don't know. It does not seem to be common.  But Paul Wheaton's fable The Story Of Gert seems relevant here.  

In that story Ferd (who is the Goofus of the tale, where Gert is the Gallant) works his ass off with job and commute to rake in the dough.  Gert enjoys a better lifestyle with little income and even less cash.  Which of them is an example of economic success?  That's a question of values; some would say both, some would say neither, and some would pick out one or the other.  

If the challenge is to have Ferd's cash while living Gert's lifestyle, I think that's a hard one.

2 months ago
There's a person on Twitter who is a big Soay sheep enthusiast: @NeolithicSheep.  The Twitter account ranges over a wide range of topics from Soay sheep to Kerry cattle to ... well, let's just call it a bit of a carnival ride and leave it there.  There's also a Patreon that I think may have more sheep stuff on it.  You might find something useful perusing their links and media.



3 months ago
Thank you!  I simply could not visualize it, and the photos help enormously.  That's really clever and a huge attractiveness upgrade.
3 months ago

Kelly Craig wrote:
I wrap five gallon buckets with cedar strips I make with my bandsaw. If the buckets were left to the sun, they'd be brittle and dead in a couple years. Four years in, with the cedar as a shield, they're cute, going strong and not in a landfill somewhere.



I would really love to see photos of your cedar-armored buckets!  Or even more, shots of the strip-making and assembly process.

I use a lot of buckets, mostly upcycled from roadside litter.  (Oklahoma's litter laws aren't taken very seriously and people who let five gallon buckets blow out of the backs of their pickup trucks rarely stop and go back for them.)  So they come to me in various stages of pre-decomposition from UV exposure and they move on to the landfill when they start falling apart as I handle them.  Anything that extends their life and beautifies my container garden is of interest.
3 months ago
As y'all might imagine, using tires for planters is controversial in Permies circles. We've discussed it many times before.  I am something of a fan, myself.  I don't think there's any real clear science that examines the hazards of whole tires in the living environment (as opposed to ground up tire chunks, or tire dust, both of which are quite bad).  But I'm beyond the days when I was interested in rehashing old arguments.  Here's  a sort of roundup post I did more than five years ago, summarizing many of the previous threads and discussions here on the forum.  Notable is Paul Wheaton's opinion:

5 years ago: Big tires for "Keyhole-ish" design

Highlight:

paul wheaton wrote:
2)  My mission with these forums to gather knowledge about stuff far beyond organic.  I don't want to publish discussions on GMOs, herbicides or petroleum fertilizers - that's for other forums.  The use of tires is something that might be considered organic, therefore I will allow it.  but just barely.  And I do want the resulting discussion to strongly favor NOT using tires.  

3)  When I first started gardening, I really sucked at it.  But I quickly learned that I needed more soil.  And one of the things I did was use a big tractor tire and fill it with soil.  It worked awesome:  the rhubarb planted in it was HUGE!  It was about a year later that I started to feel uneasy about the tire and the potential toxins.  And a year after that that I started making plans to get rid of the tire.   And now I am adamantly against the idea of using tires in gardening.   Therefore, i cannot fault this path - I've done the same thing.  And I hope that folks coming to this site and reading this thread will come to the conclusion of not using tires in their stuff - thus avoided my past errors.



3 months ago
I saw a reference on Twitter today about thatching with "reeds" which made me wonder if you could make thatch bundles with Arundo Donax.  But I haven't had time to research that.

I do use Arundo Donax extensively for my garden stakes.  When stuck in the soil they are very much a single-season stick but they work great.  My rule of thumb on strength is that I break off the small end as low as the strength of my hands allows without going to an extraordinary effort, and then I use my electric pruning shears to remove one full "joint-to-joint" segment below that, leaving a clean end with no splinters/cracks and a strong reed.  However long or short I get is how long or short I get, but over time I've found it just isn't worth my time to continue messing with reeds that have a thin/weak end.  
3 months ago