Bryant RedHawk

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since May 15, 2014
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Part Nakota, part Irish. The Nakota took over long ago but still lives in two worlds, the European world and the first people's world. He lives on a small (15 + acres) piece of mother earth deep in the woods. Was trained in the cooper's arts as a child, since the family owned a cooperage. He has been a carpenter, and timber wright but love all aspects of farming.He holds a BS in Chemistry and Biology and a MS in Horticulture. Worked for the USDA for 16 years. Currently working on his PHD in Microbiology, the thesis is plant communication through the micro-biosphere network. Redhawk and his wife Wolf are setting up to be fully self sustaining, growing all their own foods and collecting rain water. "Soon we will be self sustaining and closer to being off the grid" he said when asked about future plans. They continue their own research both in Agriculture and soils with the hope to make the world more like it used to be, before mankind began screwing up the Earth Mother. This is the only way humankind will survive, we must fix what we have broken.
Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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Recent posts by Bryant RedHawk

The only issue you would have with using a shipping container for a linen press would be moisture condensing on the interior.
That can be handled with good insulation with a moisture barrier.
The access door is pretty easy as you mentioned and either skylights or windows will give interior lighting.

I'd go for it. I would probably use a spray foam insulation product then a moisture barrier and an interior sheeting, wood studs fastened to the ribs would work for screwing or nailing the interior boarding (drywall, paneling, etc.) as well as something to attach shelving to.
2 days ago
DryWall is called that because it has to remain dry. There are some newer products that do have moisture barriers as a coating (instead of just paper) but they aren't going to stop all the moisture as a stand alone product.

For block walls you really need to use a water barrier coating (inside and outside if possible) to keep moisture from penetrating through the blocks, they are very much like water wicks.
Others have covered the ventilation issues quite well.

Stucco is not a water barrier, it is a finish coat, so unless you install a barrier prior to putting up the screen that holds the stucco up and perhaps added a cement water barrier coating to the scratch coat, moisture would still penetrate the stucco get into the blocks and end up on the interior of your home.

I do hope that you used a moisture barrier, rigid foam layer under your slab floor, otherwise that too will let moisture in by wicking action.
2 days ago
removing a bee hive from a block wall

removing bees from concrete wall

Those two should give you some ideas on how to get them out safe and sound.
2 days ago
good information there susan, thanks for posting this.

Note that even though plants have a minimum temperature for germination that does not mean they should be expected to germinate with vigor at those low temps.
Usually there is an optimum germination temperature where the seed will germinate and sprout in a shorter time span and the sprout will grow with best vigor, thus it will be on the road to maturity at a faster rate as well.
Some plants that germinate at their low temp threshold will do well, others might not, it is part of the natural selection process.

The bulbs probably do best at that low temp threshold when compared to actual seeds of the same plant.

Nice post Anne,

There is one issue that I have and that is that if you were to be limited to a single nutrient, you would be on the road to extinction because that scenario is a mono culture and we are creatures that are designed to thrive on diversity.
No matter which "nutrient" you choose, you are leaving out so much of the necessary for life compounds that death would be imminent, the only question is how long before you succumb.

While protein does help build bone and muscle, it is incapable of doing so without calcium being present, along with boron, magnesium, manganese and lots of other minerals, those protein built bones will be very brittle and there will be no marrow for production of blood cells.

Now if you are in a survival situation, where you have only one item to choose to get you to a better location where you can pickup at least some of the missing ingredients for a good diet, then yes protein is a key  element.
A body that feeds only on protein feeds upon it's self much quicker though. The body likes to metabolize proteins because they are easy food, once those are gone, you either get hungry or switch to fat stores in the body.
2 days ago
Very nice write up Amit.
I love to grow barley and for making malt there is no substitute in beverage making. :)

I plant wheat and next year I'll be planting sorghum but these are more for the deer to use as food than for the two legs on our land.
Corn is another I like to plant but I use the very old world varieties (most call these "indian corn").
Sunflower is truly awesome and the birds love the ones Wolf plants for them.

As you mention using plant protectors is a costly affair when talking about using thousands of them.

Jeanine Brought up the most permaculture idea and method, which is to invite natural predators to the area, let them take care of the rodents for you.
This also is a large step in getting the area back to the proper ecosystem, once the rodent population is under control, the excess predators will go else where for hunting,
If you are planting thousands of trees, some will die naturally anyway, so instead of wasting money on an item that will require extra time both to install and then again to remove, why not use those funds for even more trees.

As long as you are providing the right conditions for prey, the predators will come, all they need is an environment that allows them easy hunting. Mulching with leaves, like a natural forest floor has, and a water source nearby, is probably all the environment snakes need to thrive.

3 days ago

Lucrecia Anderson wrote:

My problem with beets is that they just don't seem to grow here (greens get big but roots stay miniscule). The soil is a loose combo of sand and red clay. Its not just me,  other far more experienced gardeners around here also say they just can't get beets (or spinach) to grow well.

In the south  we have to grow beets early and late in the season, once it gets hot beets are doomed. (same goes for all the brassicas like Broccoli, Brussel sprouts etc.)
We plant our spring beets in mid February and is harvested just before June gets going, (we use row covers until the rainy season is petering out), our fall beet crop goes in about mid September and we harvest just before the first killing frost.
We harvest the outer beet greens and use them like you would kale, turnip or mustard greens all throughout the growing season.
The real trick is keeping the soil moist and using a mulch between the rows does help in the fall more than in the spring.

Clay soil is not good beet soil, you would need to add compost and then add sand, in that order so the clay doesn't turn into brick making material.

One of our beet beds was mostly red clay (topsoil was only about 6 inches deep at the outset), we added in 150 lbs. of good compost and then we added 275 lbs. of 8 mesh sandblasting sand (sharp sand).
We still don't have this bed in great beet growing shape but we can grow beets in it and get a fair crop.
What I've been doing is adding the experimental drums after the spring season is over to this beet bed, it is getting better as I go along with the testing (this was the 4th year of testing soil mixes).

I would recommend picking one bed (ours is 36" wide and 18 feet long for two planted rows) and growing some winter peas, clovers, buckwheat and then turning those into the soil or chop and drop then turn the soil.
Don't go deeper than 8 inches when turning and once you have that done, come back with some mushroom slurries to get the fungal part of the soil built up.
When you have the soil starting to get nice and crumbly then add sand to open up the structure of the soil (just spread it and use a garden fork in a twisting pattern (straight up and down then twist once in each direction) to work the sand down into your newly structured soil).
Beets love to have lots of fungi in their soil, it allows the bacteria to move all the needed nutrients to the plants root system and that seems to be a key factor for growing good tasting beets and other root crops.

Never eat the skin, it is where all the bitter likes to settle in. The easy way to slip the skins off is to steam the beets for 10 to 15 minutes and use nitrile gloves and an old "tea towel" to rub the skins off and keep your hands from being dyed by the beets.
Beet juice is one of the nicest reds (maroon) you can natural dye with, I've done cotton and wool yarns in the past.

3 days ago
There are other trees that will do what you are looking for Chris.
Ponderosa Pine, Sitka Spruce, Douglas Fir, Port Orford Cedar, Alaska Yellow Cedar, all are faster growing, longer living and these have deeper root systems as a bonus.

If these can be established either as a mix or in groves (the way nature plants them is small to large groves mixing another species around the fringes).
I think you would have a very good base for a new ecosystem that was quite similar to the ancient ecosystem.

3 days ago
All root vegetables will pick up some of the flavonoids of the soil they are grown in, the amount of fungi mycelium in the soil is what will reduce those flavonoids which translates into less "soil" flavor in the vegetable.
This is true for carrots, beets, rutabagas, turnips, horseradish, parsnip, etc.

We have experimented with soils for beets in particular since wolf and I love them pickled and fresh cooked.
So far we have not found the magic formula but we are getting closer and below is what we will be using this next year in our test containers (50 gal. drums laid on their side with a 12 inch slit cut out for planting in).
My test drums have drainage holes covered with copper wire screening.
I mix up a batch by weights, more for ease of record keeping than anything.

25 lbs. sand (sharp is better than playground sand since the particles are smaller and uniform)
15 lbs. composted manure (ours is donkey, hog and chicken manures mixed with straw, spoiled hay and leaves)
10 lbs. compost (no manure just grass cuttings and straw, leaves, shredded paper)
10 lbs. sandy loam (our soil dug up and added after passing through 1/4" sieve)
Mix together well (I use a cement mixer)
Pour into container and plant and water.

If you want to make sure all the minerals are present 1/4 cup of Sea-90 would be a good way to take care of that.
currently we are not adding minerals, once we find the nearly perfect mix we will do a second trial of that mix with the Sea-90.

3 days ago