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Neal Foley

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since May 22, 2014
union Maine
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Recent posts by Neal Foley

I really like the idea of the Japanese shower/bath combo. I think I will incorporate it into the design of my new tiny house.....
I have lived in the UK and Ireland before and built a couple of houses that used sliding doors to separate the bathtub from the toilet and both from the sink area. It works really well in a small house full of people because some one can use the toilet while another bathes and someone else....if necessary...does their hair/brushes teeth, etc.... Wish I had the room in the first house I built to do all of that because with 7 of us and two bathrooms it always seemed like only one ever got used.... Then in the last place I owned two bathrooms and still not enough toilet/shower space..... So glad to not be in that situation anymore, and looking forward to having the luxury to do it right this time!
4 years ago
Mike, this has been very true of every one of my jobs.....

As a carpenter, there was always wood and scraps to bring home. On remodel jobs, quite often I could upgrade my dishwasher or bathroom sink....And Nails... I knew guys who would load..and I mean load...their tool belts up on Friday at lunch..... guess what, they were pretty empty on Monday morning.

As a Chef, I rarely bought food. And When I ran a bakery and commercial kitchen and cooking school, my grocery bill for home was next to zero. And that extended to having lots of company and giving extra food and grocery items to friends...so they "wouldn't spoil".....

Being a farmer, I could use a cash waterfall. At my old farm it rained apples. And quite often enough, tomatoes, herbs and pork.... right now it's a bit of a dry spell. It's all relative.

I think the waterfall we need to stand under is LOVE. More of that and all the rest will fall into place. (And this is not a Purple statement at all....) Abundance is all around and if we cultivate love in our lives then everyone we know will bring their waterfalls of abundance to the party and we can share.

I have a great job.... I work for myself, get paid in cash, have the opportunity to work on cool & challenging building projects with no budget. But..... I spend 3hrs a day commuting. So, I'm looking for another job. One that offers an abundance of time....or at least more than I have now. 12hrs a week--I only work 4 days, with 3 for farmers markets, farming and life--commuting is leaving me burnt out and disconnected from my passion of helping people and working the land.

Even if I get paid a bit less and have to work for someone else.... I won't have the fuel bill for the commute. I won't have the responsibility of everything on my shoulders, and I will have more time. More time for developing my projects and my strategy for buying a new piece of land to work and develop and for building a new, tiny house so I can quite paying too much to rent someone else's ruin. Money would help...but not much. Time is better. Love even more so. A cash hose will wash away a great many problems, but without an abundance of love its all going to be pretty empty.
4 years ago
Talking with a local contractor would certainly be a place to start. They might know who would have more specific info. Sometimes it's not about finding some one who knows as much as finding someone who knows who knows.....
4 years ago

edwin lake wrote:
This is all just background for the problem. Ok, here it is. What are your opinions on what we should do with the hybrid roosters?

1. Should we sell them on craigslist; or
2. Eat them.



Roosters are a hard commodity to shift.... if they were purebred then you would have a chance at selling them. But usually mutt roosters are a dime a dozen if that. Since you've put the effort into them, I'd eat them. Nothing wrong with that....
I've raised chickens for 25 years and have eaten a lot of rooster.... They're better if you can get them before they really start being active and crowing, etc....or they can taste strong--hence the Coq au Vin recipe's ingredients.
Keep at least your main rooster and one other....it's helpful for both roosters and the flock in general. Depending on how many chickens you have you might keep another....I think the rule is one Cock to every 10 hens. When I lost my Cuckoo Marin rooster--the junior male--this spring, my main rooster backed off on his efforts with the ladies....so now I am not getting as many fertile eggs. Something about competition, helping nature along I think.....
If you ever end up with more than two or three roosters, don't keep the boys for too long or there'll be gang rape of the youngest, weakest males by the others....It isn't pretty... and it ruins the quality of the meat.
4 years ago
Talk to a local building contractor or excavator...... They know soils as far as stability for foundations and ponds and such. Experience pays more than book learning in this case I think......
Another approach is to visit with your local county extension agent and see what information they can provide for soils in your area.
Finally, do a Soil Web Survey Soil Survey of your property to see what the ground looks like. Perhaps there is a soil type that is unsuitable for what you intend, but in another place on your property there is one that is better for something..... It is a very helpful tool for determining where to grow and where to build.
4 years ago

Cj Verde wrote:Thanks.
So should I chop & drop now or wait till the seeds are ripe? It's not in the garden. It's in a former paddock that I'm converting to a food forest.



I'd collect the seed! I try to save grain seed whenever I can if it's appropriate. You can keep expanding your patch each year and then either use it for cover croo or livestock feed... Best suited to chickens, though, because without combining it in some way the awns are bothersome to most critters. When I have space I quite often grow a patch of barley or rye, like in an orchard understory, and then harvest it with a scythe and shook it. When it's dry I store it in the chicken/brooding house rafters and in the winter I use it for bedding/feed--seed heads, straw and all. This works pretty good for piglet bedding in the spring too.
4 years ago
Rye whiskey, Rye whiskey, rye whiskey I cry
If I don't drink rye whiskey I'll live till I die..

That's it--rye. A pretty blue that fades to a tawny gold when it dries and is ready for harvest. It is allopathic to weeds and most annual seed for 3 or more weeks when cut for green mulch. I learned the hard way..... The following year I got my garden in later because of a rye cover crop which I couldn't get in to cut because it was too wet. When it was dry I could have planted the garden but had to wait for the rye effect to dwindle.
4 years ago
Several years ago I bought an old farm which was proclaimed a "Shangri-La of apples" by a local old-varieties expert. It had over 150 different type of seedling apples, some were spitters, but about 50 types were really excellent. Along the road there stood one old apple, which in a 1939 areal photo of the farm had a huge crown. I figured the tree must have been there since 1880.

Fast forward to 2010, the tree was hanging on by a thread..... It had some rot and just a few live branches way up high. I pruned it with an idea to getting some decent grafting whips the following year. It never happened. While clearing a fence line two years ago I dropped several trees on either side of the old apple.... it opened it up to the light.

This spring I was amazed to see the apple in a blaze of blooms. I had never seen so much growth on the old thing. I no longer live at the farm so I didn't check on it's progress that much.

https://www.dropbox.com/sc/54u8fibrbwbe54m/AADBPhBwDhBoP9bZRux3qsLAa
https://www.dropbox.com/sc/unw4mkgaxcgfrgc/AACliPRq7n3uz4x3AKwRdPLXa

Yesterday I drove by the farm and was horrified to see the old tree on the ground. I couldn't believe my eyes...... It must have come down in the last winds due to hurricane Arthur. It was LOADED with apples...... what a loss! Many trees this spring didn't pollinate due to a late frost, but this one had.

It seems my pruning and exposing to the light, and mulching and adding nutrients in the form of grazing animal deposits has boosted the old thing in to a fine shape..... all except the roots. When I looked at the roots I couldn't believe it.... There were hardly any. The tree had tipped up the root ball and it was tiny. Probably given the lack of broad-reaching branches. It just couldn't bear the weight of it's new crop and the sail-mass of all those leaves. The root zone didn't have time to catch up to the vitality the trunk wanted to provide.

In hind-sight I would have taken things a bit more slowly in order to preserve this ancient tree. Now I have to negotiate with the EX to see if I can harvest the massive trunk for lumber.......

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153282354851808&l=5033a6fe3c
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153282354736808&l=40ece50b15
4 years ago
Guarren, a picture of the grass in situ would be better for ID. It does look like winter rye or a wild variation of it. The awns can be quite sharp...a natural protective measure against being eaten as seed is setting. You should collect all the seed you can and grow a patch of it later in the autumn......
4 years ago
I'm assuming you've read Paul's article: http://www.richsoil.com/hugelkultur/ and it's Premies thread: http://www.permies.com/t/17/hugelkultur/Paul-Wheaton-hugelkultur-article-thread

and seen the his video:


There is also this excellent video:


Those form the basis of what to do..... Now....to answer some questions.... As you layer the wood, intermix it with soil and the manure. Cap the wood portion of the mound of with more manure and then soil. A mix of rotten and fresh wood is ok. Cap the whole thing off with the hay for mulch. If it is going to rain just after you build the bed, then mulch it and throw the seed into the mulch and leave it. You can also pull back the mulch and direct plant started plants, trees, shrubs, etc... Don't put the hay under the soil, use it as mulch..... IF it isn't going to rain any time after you want to seed the bed, then throw the seed out onto of the soil, mix it in and wet it down and then mulch it. If you are in a high wind area or if the bed is particularly steep, then it is worth adding the brush over the mulch and pinning it down with nails to hold it in place.

As for what to plant..... at this time of year, in your climate you could easily do potatoes, carrots, beets, any brassicas-esspecially kales--salad greens, etc. But you could also plant it in some cover crops--clover, buckwheat, winter barley, nasturtiums, garden peas, broad beans.... you have lots of options. If it is to be a huge bed with fruit trees, etc....then additionally you could plant apples and cherries later on, or throw some collected seed out into the mound...apples, hazels, damsons, roes, currants.....gooseberries... herbs.... The key is to experiment, observe and have fun! The bed won't thrive this year, but will improve. Good luck!
4 years ago