Sunny Baba

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since Mar 08, 2014
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chicken goat hugelkultur
SW New Mexico, 5300'elevation, 18" precip
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Recent posts by Sunny Baba

These are two kale varieties that have grown tall for me. They have overwintered in New Mexico and grown 6 foot tall at least. Thousand headed gets a lot of side shoots and I have a few plants that have gone through their second winter, unprotected outside with the lowest temp down to 5 degrees.

Thousandhead Kale
Ancient variety from the UK was mentioned in Vilmorin’s The Vegetable Garden in 1885 as a productive, multi-branching type that also goes by the name “branching borecole”. Vilmorin also mentions that the variety originally hailed from western France. Peter Miller of Kings Seed mentioned that Thousandhead kale was long appreciated in the UK as a fodder crop, but it has been re-discovered as a tasty culinary variety. Leaves are smooth with lightly curled edges for easier pest management. Those who have struggled with cabbage worms understand how caterpillars love to hide in the folds of curly kale leaves. This variety is just lightly curled at the edges, making caterpillars easier to spot and treat! This seed was sourced from Kings Seed of England; the King family has been in the seed business for centuries. John Kemp King began selling seeds in 1793; his grandson Ernest William began Kings Seeds, and it has been in business for 130 years! Kings Seed is the last remaining horticultural wholesale seed house left in England and still a family affair. Miller has worked for the company 55 years, and his grandfather also worked for Kings since 1913( from Baker Creek Heirlooms)

Groniger Kale

Brassica napas Open Pollinated  Heirloom 50 days. Grows 6" to 6'
Dutch heirloom grown and eaten for centuries in central Holland. Young leaves are flat with tender, juicy red stems. These may be harvested in spring when about 6" and continue harvesting through the spring and on into winter. Grow as you would other kales.
Use in salads, stir-frys, soups etc. and enjoy the fine taste of this winter hardy variety that bears a resemblance to Red Russian but more tender and juicier  leaves. When we grow this plant it is a sampling of medieval food. Thank you to Carol Deppe for introducing it to us. ( from Nichols Nursery)
3 weeks ago
I had a crown fall off years ago and did not want to get it replaced. I have read that 90% or so of crowned teeth eventually die.
I did a lot of research and found a guy( can't remember his name) who talked about how teeth are meant to remineralize given the proper oral environment. Saliva has minerals in it. However, most toothpaste has glycerin as an ingredient and glycerin coats the teeth and keeps the remineralization from occurring in cavities. So they just get bigger and bigger.
I thought to myself, wouldn't it be ironic if the very thing all dentists recommend us to use every day was keeping the natural process of remineralization from happening as it is supposed to? So I made up my own tooth powder and swore off toothpaste there and then.

Over time, the exposed raw tooth stub, started to "grow' a tough leathery coating. And no decay ever happened, even though it had no enamel on it from being ground down to place the crown years before. I had it checked out by a dentist who confirmed that it was protected by the remineralization. This stub did not "grow" back the tooth structure, but it does not seem to need another crown.

My teeth have been way healthier with no new cavities since quitting toothpaste 10 years ago! I used baking soda and salt for awhile but now I use a mineral powder that is not so salty. You can find a clay based toothpaste- glycerin -free- in the health food stores these days.
1 month ago
Thank you Kate. That makes sense. Do you find that the goats exude a Sulphur smell? And does it effect the taste of the milk at all?

Someone recommended feeding it for external parasites like fleas and ticks. I have started giving it to our LGD for fleas. So far the goats don't seem to have any fleas. But I did wonder if it would taint the milk if I did feed them some Sulphur. I've heard it is also great for hooves and skin.
Interesting about Sulphur helping with Selenium absorption. Good to know.
Hi Kate!
How wonderful to spread your love for goats far and wide with your book! I'm excited for you and wish you much success with your venture.

We've been raising dairy goats for 12 years now and are in love with the lifestyle as well as with the wonderful dairy products they produce. Fresh Squeezed raw goat milk and scrumptious cheeses and creamy yogurt> Mmmmmm!

I have a question for you: What is the purpose for supplementing with sulphur? Do you use yellow sulphur powder?
If you are in the Las Tusas that is near Sapello, NM( Mora County) then the Soil and Water Conservation office in Mora rents farm equipment for a good cost. They even have a person come and run the equipment for you depending on what it is. We have rented fence post augers, tractor 3pt hitch tillers, seeders, chippers, etc. It is a great resource!

We had some really lovely flood irrigated grass/alfalfa pastures in Cleveland, just past Mora. Saw lots of improvement rotating a small herd of dairy goats, free range chickens and adding minerals and more diversity of forbes. The pastures had been over grazed by horses before we moved there but they came back nicely in just a couple of years. It is very good pasture country if you can deal with the  pocket gophers. We grew some beautiful alfalfa, but the gophers love to eat on the roots.

There is a guy down the Sapello river from you who is an expert in beavers. He has permission to relocate them from ranches where people are trying to get rid of them. He has an experimental place where he re introduced beaver, planted willows and cottonwood for them and then tests water quality. water was much cleaner after bringing in beavers and his riparian area is improving dramatically from when the previous owners were over grazing cattle that eroded the stream banks.
4 months ago
I have read that the neodymium magnets are the most effective at reducing scale buildup. Somehow keeps the minerals from precipitating out.
5 months ago
Hi Tony..... we have been heating well water with high calcium water in our wood stove for our outdoor hot tub bathes and showers..... using magnets DOES work... it somehow aligns the water molecules..... so that it does NOT build up as scale on your hot water pipes..... look up... (google),  magnets to remove calcium scale..... there are several companies selling them.... they work throughout your whole system, for many years if placed where the water enters your house.... it is easy... don't make it anymore complicated than necessary....   Sunny
5 months ago
Hi everyone..... Johnmark is using a BROAD AX for squaring those timbers...… it is the proper hand ax for flattening or squaring logs …(on one side for floor rafters, or two sides for log cabin walls or all four sides for a squared timber log cabin)…..   I have a hand forged BROAD AX, made in Sweden.... (brand new)….. that I am no longer needing.... since I moved from the pacific northwest forest land.... to the high desert of southern New Mexico...…. it is a great tool for building tight log cabins.... I will pass it on to someone that can use it for $100..... plus $20 for U.P.S. or Fedex shipping...….. contact me at     Johnmark,  you are doing such fine and rewarding work.... such a pleasure using hand tools to create functional beauty....  Sunny
5 months ago
Hay folks...… there is a much easier way to make a very similar fence..... we have made many of them to keep goats in and deer out...………  buy a 150 ft roll of 48" high,  woven wire field fence.... (sold at most feed stores and building supply stores)  $146 for a roll...………….. then weave in sticks, branches, grape stakes, or any type of long thin piece of wood...… weave it into each section of the woven wire fence AFTER you have put it up on fence posts (wood or steel)….. about 4"to 6" apart...…. looks just the same as your photos there... but you let the fence company do all the wire twisting.... you just install the sticks.... they don't need to touch the ground.... it also keeps rabbit and chickens in.... hope this helps.... it has worked well for us for many years on several homesteads....  
6 months ago
I raised rabbits for many years in a colony situation and have to disagree with Jay in that we collected and used their droppings very effectively this way.
We enclosed an approximately 12x 20 foot space with 7 'welded wire fencing. It was not fastened tightly and it angled outwards slightly so that it was wobbly enough to deter any raccoon or cat trying to climb in. Since the welded wire has 2x4" holes- big enough for bunny kits to escape through- we added 3 feet of poultry fencing to the bottom , all the way around. 6 inches of it was bent to run along the ground, so they could not dig underneath. Then.....all the way around the inside, we overlapped another 3 feet of poultry fencing that lay  on top of the ground all the way around the "coop". This kept them from tunneling out close to the fence. This was secured with earth staples.
But, in the middle of the pen was an area without anything on the ground. This was where they would dig their burrows. Eventually there was a network of underground tunnels and burrows where they would go to keep cool in summer, warm in winter and to have their kits. Heat is a big killer of rabbits and we never lost any to heat with this system. If you get a lot of rain, it can be helpful to have some kind of roofing over an area to keep the tunnels from flooding.  
When the kits were about 10 days old, they would emerge from the burrows and start eating with the others. We had 20 to 80 bunnies in a colony like this, including the bucks. When they became mature they would start fighting, so we would have to cull to make sure there weren't too many at one time.
Rabbits tend to self-regulate their numbers based on available space in a colony, so if the population became too large , they would have smaller litters.
We really enjoyed giving them a chance to live a somewhat "natural " life, running and hopping and digging and interacting with one anther. I could never have my bunnies in cages again after seeing how well they thrived in this kind of environment.
And twice per year, we would go in and harvest already-composted manure. Gold for the garden!

Joel Salatin's son has raised rabbits for many years and they put Basic-H in the water to keep them from getting parasites. We did have pinworms in the rabbits before we did this. But other than that the rabbits were extremely healthy. Joel's son did a lot of "linebreeding" , as did we, and we never had problems with the close breedings even after 8 years of not introducing any new genetics. If you start with healthy genetics, it makes all the difference.
9 months ago