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Morgan Barker

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since Mar 26, 2014
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Recent posts by Morgan Barker

Never got the second email on my hotmail account.
Who is crazy to want more wild rabbits milling about in their garden? Me.
By garden, I mean the frozen patch under snow and ice that isn't exactly producing growies this time of year. A little while ago I was taking notice of how the snow really points out all the evidence of cottontails in the area: tracks,stripped apple tree prunings, urine spots, poo pellets...Poo pellets everywhere! They are ammending my garden for me! I also occasionally live trap them, because as some of us out there know, they are quite delicious. I harvest them and yet the poo continues to deposit itself on the garden.
Now, I also raise domestic rabbits for meat on a small scale, and I must admit, I am rather terrible at it. My animal husbandry skills are abysmal and the amount of energy that I have put into them is several orders of magnitude greater than anything I have ever gotten out of it. With a fraction of the feed I use on domestics, I believe I could "direct" the wild population to key areas to better harness all that wild manure, and draw them to my trap for more consistent meat harvesting. Perhaps, I could abandon my domestics altogether and repurpose the rabbitry for something more productive...a greenhouse perhaps.
Has anyone else successfully harnessed this resource that otherwise is considered a scourge by most other gardeners?
8 years ago
Voy, I do hope you have found a way around the rules against composting kitchen scraps! I vermicompost about 80% of my kitchen scraps in my basement, and the remainder gets vermicomposted outside in tumbler.
8 years ago
I think I am one of those folks that neither earns nor spends spoons. I wake up every day at 4am and go to work, because, it is just what I have always done, I would feel really out of place if I didn't go. I work eight or nine hours and come home, tend the garden, see the kids and wife and then get busy with whatever homestead project I am doing, until dinner, then work until there is no light. Shower and bed. Repeat daily until I die. This sits perfectly fine with me,and it costs no spoons thinking about it. Something breaks? Get to fixing. No amount of crying or moping ever turned a wrench. My wife says I am more like a machine than a person and that it must be miserable to not express much emotion. I say life is vastly easier when you spend less time worrying.
I will say that if I do have spoons, they are directly tied to my checking account.
8 years ago
I am firmly in the sickle crowd. I would only switch to a scythe if I had a big field. A good, irresponsibly sharp sickle is both productive and versatile. You can both swipe big swaths and you can grasp bunches and cut with a pull. I got this one at an Amish junk shop for only a few dollars.

That top "rivet" is a nail and an american penny for size reference.
9 years ago
This is sorta related as it is part of many "normal" folks dishwashing routine.
I saw this on the side of a garbage disposal unit on the construction site at work today. Talk about a load of greenwashed hooey. This triggered a lunchtime rant that my coworkers had to endure.
9 years ago
Well, I do believe that what you propose could be considered a type of mulch swale. Moisture wants to move from wet places to dry places, so having wet borders 'should' either moisten the garden or at least help retain their own moisture better. I have been doing my own pathways in a similar manner. Since they are walkways and won't be supporting growies, I figure having good soil underfoot is a waste of valuable resources. So I dig out the soil for use in the garden and replace it with woody stuff. I have tried to maintain a pitch so they also work like a French drain or irrigation channel. They seem to work so far. Nothing ever comes out the overflow basin and the pathways aren't boggy. If you are looking for a drastic or noticeable benefit, you may not be well served, but from my hasn't ended badly.
9 years ago
What if the meatless crazies is some sort of vestigial survival function? Is it possible that the human body needs or wants something that the average vegan diet fails to substitute, and when it goes missing, some aggressive behavior develops in an attempt to recapture that? Is that not a common trait among many food deprived animals...specifically omnivores and carnivores?
I am sure it is not that simple, many people get militant about their lifestyle change. I became a militant non-smoker after quitting tobacco. I have a difficult time tolerating even the smell of a smoker's belongings. It might be something I unconsciously do to keep from picking the habit back up. It may be some sort of way of self-reassurance that your lifestyle change was the right one. Some people speak bitterly about their ex relationships as a way of making themselves feel better over the separation.
I do agree that many vegans seem to get over this as time goes on. Perhaps their diet is just healthier, or veganism has gotten so easy that it is less of an "I conquered omnivoria" and just becomes a normal "this is just how I biggie" thing. My sister has been 90% vegan for almost a decade now. She makes vegan choices when she shops, cooks or orders meals, but she doesn't freak out if someone accidentally gets a fleck of cheese on her food. She won't be a jerk and turn down a sliver of my kids birthday cake because it doesn't fit her ideal food choices. Veganism seems healthier when it's just a description of the food you eat and not how you behave.
9 years ago
I am the worlds biggest fence sitter. Most of mine runs predominantly northwest to southeast, although both ends wander into a more north south orientation before they blend into the rest of the terrain. It may be another option for those who have trouble choosing in a false dichotomy. Remember, these are Hugel beds and are supposed to be organic things. They are not Lego bricks that snap down on only two axes. Orienting them along topographical lines IMHO is way more important than cardinal lines.
9 years ago
Well, refrigerators are simplified to a ridiculous degree BECAUSE their operating environment and cooling load is so predictable and unchanging. Air conditioners have to run in a much broader range of environments and have more complex components to deal with it. Could you hack a fridge to run in low ambient conditions? Sure. But it would take some trial and error and a lot of luck to get it to be happy.
I think the best we could do for improving efficiency is to change from an upright/front access unit to a bunker/chest configuration with top access to keep all that cold air from spilling out when you open it. Maybe clad the outside with a layer of foam board to slow external heat gains from all the non critical sides. And keep the fan and back/bottom coils clean! Those dust bunnies really hinder airflow which raises head pressure which makes the compressor draw more amps.
9 years ago