John Rickenbacker

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since May 18, 2014
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Recent posts by John Rickenbacker

Ducks are unlikely ever to like being held or touched and khakis are especially skittish. What is important is to thoroughly train them about where home is and make that home permanent. So keep them somewhat hungry leading up to bedtime and entice them home with ample food. This will build up their trust on n you. Get to understand their different sounds and what happiness is for them.
9 months ago
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has launched a new app they are calling "all in" to connect motivated individuals - with focus on United States, don't know if they solicit or accept from rest of the world.  (These are early days for the app and website )
Some areas:  Communities, Food, Climate Change, Energy, Health, Oceans, The Wild, Water & Air

Because they connect people by geographic proximity it may bring new friends & allies.

To find app search "NRDC all in"

David Livingston wrote:It's a pity you could not build a deer park and just cull the deer when it's full or when you need


The deer ranches breeding for impressive antlers were responsible for the introduction of Chronic Wasting Disease (WWD) in deer in this area.  Not even breeding/raising in the numbers required for food production.  Like salmon farms, they show us that Nature  imposes a limit for certain populations, exceeding which will trigger a catastrophic disease.  The particular fear here is that the disease is Zoonotic.  Sociologically, the human population is prepared to ignore the menace by deer of increasing the incidence of Lyme Disease    .  

Perhaps in Norway reindeer herds, possibly in les cerfs in France, where deer propagation is practices with scrutiny and regulation this can be a domestic herd.  Some ideas face a cold reality, especially in regulation-resistant, anti-intellectual rural Pennsylvania.
1 year ago

Here in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania I've been trying to lease my land.  Following please find benefits of my experience pontificated with my numerous crotchety opinions.

The going rates seem to be one hunter per ten acres and $350 per hunter.  Cost seems to reflect vigor of salesmanship.

I've listed with websites dedicated to deer hunting leasing and it's been a pain.  Phone calls come at all times of year and delisting has proven impossible.  I think there is real money in the deer hunting traffic and very difficult to recruit landowners so even when you delete your account it gets resurrected.  Doubtless there are good places to list but again in my meager experience Craigslist seems to be as good as it gets.  As questions come in you can revise your ad to deter queries that are not a match.  Do not delete your Craigslist ad until the check has cleared because otherwise your Google SER will be wrecked.  

By far the biggest downside of deer hunting leasing is the volume of inquiries that are casual and want the landowner to tap dance while pitching, negotiate tough and then just drop contact.  Even guard against allowing your schedule to be disrupted when a party says they are getting in the car right now to visit.  Never seen such cheap talk in all my days.

Leasing to local people is a pain because they will want to use your property for year round recreation.  These people will tend to undervalue your land because they see so much open spaces every day.  Being a few hours from a metropolitan area is advantageous.  Some hunting parties will have their act together with an RV they want to park onyour property but others will be hoping to mooch accommodations as part of the package.

Whereas ATVs and bonfires are a pain, you want to offer your hunters the chance to set up blinds (in trees usually) and maybe trail cams; at a minimum learn the boundaries and see the deer trails and other sign.

Here in the Pennsylvania T the hunters (and everybody else) tend to be of the coal-burning political persuasion, whereas I reckon many of the posters/readers here gravitate to the opposite extreme.  So the social potential of making new friends while nourishing the homesteading budget is low.  On the other hand you can sell your corn whiskey.

Quick due diligence with any contact information you get is advised.  One prospect of mine got into a public row over the sale of an AR-15 found just with the email address he supplied.  He also had some difficulty deciding what his name was.

It's an advantage to lease to a single party so you don't get in the middle of assigning hunting posts/blinds.  Sometimes families are hunting together.

Interest grows exponentially the closer you get to the beginning of gun season.  In one week that season begins in Pennsylvania so they're pretty frantic and actually might write a check.  

Deer hunting lease contracts are available online and it's a good idea to have one of these boilerplates at least to use as a checklist to prevent misunderstandings.

Obviously reducing your deer population will help the good growies be they veggies or young trees.  Here in Pennsylvania they are way overpopulated and we now have Chronic Wasting Disease in the wild.  This is a disease similar in mechanism to mad cow disease - you can't cook it to death and it does at least theoretically affect humans.  Deer hunters will leave the carcasses helter skelter.  Coyotes have a heyday but come January they will be extra hungry.  If overpopulated deer are left alone there is suffering that's less visible; some predator pressure is necessary.  It is worth mentioning to hunters that you frown on casually wounding deer that then get away.

Some deer by-products will be good for Fido.  My border collie really enjoys roasted lungs (!).  Hooves are premium, but I worry about any bones and the chronic wasting disease.  Brain and spinal cord are considered the most dangerous.

Multi-year leases are possible so if you do have a positive experience with a hunter or group of hunters, by all means jump at the chance to have a long term arrangement, as long as long as they also commit to bringing home corn whiskey for their friends.  (Hey, it's our local heritage.)

A final note - I've been talking with a nice guy from New Jersey forever and he and his children have discovered that I'm too far to drive.  If there are homesteaders located in Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey please direct message me for his contact info.

This is the time to put out an ad on Craigslist if you want to try this pot-boiler and if you succeed please tell me how.

1 year ago

Olga Booker wrote:

Olga is right. Parafilm works. Not sure how much they are selling for 9 pounds there, but you can also check ebay.  Parafilm is a major staple in biochemistry laboratories.  I suspect the technicians are liberating surplus from the boffins.
1 year ago
Your philosophical points resonate a lot with me as I'm sure they do with the majority of members of this community.  

Mindfulness describes three things to avoid: greed, hate, and delusion.  The second one, hate, is in fact broader than that word, and includes anger and fear.  Delusion is my favorite of these - if a person is successful in avoiding delusion, well, we are funneled into truth.  

Jon Kabat-Zinn is a leader in this area, having developed mindfulness in a clinical setting to treat people with chronic pain not well managed with drugs in Boston hospitals.  That reduces the BS component.  Meditation - lots of it - is at the core of the method, so it is more about doing and not that much about talking.   The reason for meditation is to gain control of our thought processes, to discipline emotional processes.  For instance, one may be frustrated and angered by the raping of the planet (and other things) but that anger is pointless.  A calm mind helps in accepting the reality and acting effectively to oppose the trend and build something sheltered from the madnesses.  Drawing heavily from Buddhism, mindfulness is not a religion.  

The book Full Catastrophe Living is a great introduction, but his voice communicates better and the practice of meditation with CD feels like driving the car rather than just looking at it (the book), recommend CD entitled "Mindfulness for beginners".  He is very entertaining, does not ask you to 'believe' anything, and admires Zorba the Greek.  Listen to sample:

I've lived on my ridge in the Alleghenies for a decade now and I look for someone who would appreciate the fruits of my labor and protect and nurture the homestead into the future.  For instance, I have planted / am planting walnut, paw-paw, Cornelian cherry, Siberian pine (nuts), pagoda and scarlet oak, kiwis, persimmon, chokecherry, plums, woodbine, beach plums, sequoias, etc., so many different nitrogen fixers, most of which will not yield fruit in my lifetime, and my adult children have no interest.  It would make a great 'pick your own' operation to be comfortably self-sustaining.  My nightmare is that some nut will buy the place and raze it for pulp.  Natural Resources Defense Council has a program for succession.  Ambivalent about NRDC as opposed to a personal connection, my point is that probably a lot of us homesteaders face the challenge of succession.  

So I think your post is right on target.
Sweet clover along with buckwheat and mustard are support crops offered to bees fighting colony collapse disorder. Unlikely therefore for sweet clover to be toxic.  
Bees are used as sentinels for air pollution according to Wikipedia.
1 year ago
What a great article! Thanks for recommending it.  

Soil food web would be a great topic for a topic - a long long thread!  You should start one.   I'm working to compare different nitrogen fixers in the configuration discussed.  

I'd be interested to hear more about the flora of New Zealand, especially beach flora - kind of chronically pioneer plants.  I doubt they have many zone 5 plants.
1 year ago
Very interesting observation

I believe you have a sweet clover plant, Melilotus officinalis, not indigenous to USA.

This guy makes a toxin, coumarin, that people use as an anticoagulant medicine.  Bees have a coumarin derivative, p-coumarin, that is important in regulating their immune function.  There's a plethora of other possibilities of course.

If you rip out the clover (maybe replace it with a nice white or red clover) and the bees still die, I'll be happy to send you a replacement.  I'm testing sweet clover here. My hope has been that our overplentiful deer will graze on it, nick themselves on a thorn, bleed profusely and drop dead.  (Not really, I'm in it for the nitrogen.)

Good luck and please let us know.
1 year ago