Mira Morse

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since Jul 25, 2014
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chicken greening the desert
Mariposa, California, USDA zone 7b
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Recent posts by Mira Morse

It is a wonderful idea to make a series of ponds in the dry creek bed.  Sepp Holzer's "Desert or Paradise" book has some detailed information about how to do it.  I am making a series of ponds in a valley that has runoff water from my roof.  I made the first one last year.  I rented an excavator for 2 days to make it.  The biggest lesson that I learned was not to make the sides of the deep spot too steep.  The clay dam held well through some hard rains.  I have two pigs working it now to make it water tight.  Here are a few pictures.
1 year ago
I think it is possible to breed a quiet rooster.  Here's a quick video with my quiet rooster Black Leg in it:

He has a black spot on his leg.  I think niceness goes along with quietness.  He is incredibly nice to the hens, baby chicks, and to me.  His dad was loud and mean.  He had 4 brothers that were all loud and mean.  His brothers had to die.  Since then, two of his baby roosters have turned out nice and quiet and we kept them.  They are more quiet than he is.
2 years ago
If you eat a lot of nuts, then it helps to soak them in salt water and then dehydrated them before eating them.  This neutralizes the growth inhibitors in the nuts.  Sally Fallon recounts an interesting story in her "Nourishing Traditions" cookbook... A person decided to stop eating meat and only ate raw nuts for protein.  This lasted for about 2 months and then the person "began experiencing an unpleasant heavy sensation in the abdomen and a feeling of extreme fullness and some nausea.  The symptoms were pronounced enough to force the person to give up this tasty diet."  The enzyme inhibitors in seeds explain the mystery.  The basic recipe is: 4 cups nuts, 1 tbsp sea salt, water.  Fill a quart mason jar with nuts.  Add the salt.  Fill the jar with water and shake it.  Let sit at least 7 hours or overnight.  Then drain the water and dehydrate the nuts at a temperature at or below 150 degrees Farenheit until thoroughly dry and crisp.  Store in an airtight container.  I have been eating a lot of nuts over the past couple years and always prepare them this way.  I feel fine and it seems like a good diet.
2 years ago
I am using Actinovate (beneficial Streptomyces Lydicus bacteria are in it) to help combat fireblight in my apple and pear trees, as well as peach leaf curl. There are a whole host of things that it helps combat. It is helpful even if there are no diseases on a plant. It has a symbiotic relationship with the plant roots and makes the plant stronger. It becomes active when the temperature is between 40F and 90F. I am going to drench my tree roots with it right before and after each heavy rain in the fall. That might help your pear trees too. It was isolated from the roots of flax seed. I am going to broadcast a bunch of flax seed wherever I put the Actinovate.
2 years ago
I like the idea of copying nature.

Since chickens are from the jungle, it makes great sense to give them deep litter. I've had chickens in deep litter for a few years and it works wonderfully.

Since goats are from rocky mountains, I chose not to use deep litter for them. I think they prefer hard surfaces for their feet.
I like how Sepp Holzer does not prune his fruit trees. He has a great explanation about it in his "Sepp Holzer's Permaculture" book. I don't prune my fruit trees either.

Trees that I bought from nurseries are weak from being pruned already. I can expect a few branches to break during their first few years after being transplanted. That's okay. I let them break and leave the broken branches in place as props to help future branches not break. I have some fruit trees that have grown from seed. Since those trees have never been pruned, I would be very surprised if any of their branches break from heavy wind or loads of fruit. If their branches do break then that's okay too. The broken branches will make way for stronger ones.

I let the trees keep their suckers. I don't prune any low branches either. The suckers and low branches protect the tree from being sunburned on the trunk. Sometimes little critters like mice want to eat the bark from the trunk. If there are suckers around the trunk, then the little critters will eat the suckers instead. I always heard the advice that suckers steal energy from the tree. I have not found that to be the case. In fact, it is the opposite. I have found that trees with suckers are more healthy and vigorous than those without.

Some people prune the tops off the trees so they can reach all the fruit. I let my fruit trees grow as tall as they want. The birds feel safe up high and eat the top fruit. I eat the lower fruit. I need the birds to eat insects for me. I consider the top fruit in the tree as their payment for insect control.

I leave crisscrossed branches. If any branches die, then I will leave them too. I have not found any problems with air circulation. The extra branches can provide some protection from sunburn.

In the past I used to prune fruit trees at my old house. Now I do not prune. Overall, I have found that it is much less work to care for my fruit trees every year. They also look healthier and happier. I like the idea that I am respecting each fruit tree's choice on how to grow, instead of imposing my will on it.
2 years ago
I had a herniated disc in my spine. Specifically my L5 in my low back. It squished out and impinged my sciatic nerve, so that pain radiated down my thigh and my big toe was numb 24 hours a day. I also felt insane pain in my back from the smallest movements. It hurt so bad to drive to the store that I would put off getting groceries as long as possible.

Dr. Jolie Bookspan's methods are fixing my back. I did not need surgery or an inversion table. The numbness in my toe is almost completely gone now. Here is what she says... "Disc degeneration or slippage (herniation) can heal - if you let it, no differently than a sprained ankle. Stop damaging your discs with bad bending, standing, and sitting habits and the discs can heal. It takes years to herniate a disc, and only days to weeks to heal it by stopping bad habits."

She says to first try a Wall Test for diagnosis:
1. Stand near a wall, with your back close to, but not touching the wall.
2. Back up toward the wall. See what touches first, and how it feels most habitual for you to stand.

Do this wall test, described above,
to see if you have the healthy positioning needed to avoid neck and upper back pain.
This is a test to tell what is the problem, not an exercise to fix it.

Her "Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier" book shows you which exercises to do depending on your Wall Test results. Basically, you do stretches to help your body be flexible enough to do all your daily activities with good posture. The real work is learning good posture all day long. At first I did the wall test about 20 times a day. Now I am down to about 10 times a day as I am gradually learning what it feels like to correct my posture. It is simple but difficult, but it is actually doable. I started feeling better the first time I tried her recommendations. She has some free info and stretches on this web page about neck pain http://www.drbookspan.com/NeckPainArticle.html I would also recommend her "Fix Your Own Pain Without Drugs or Surgery" book.
2 years ago
Jolie Bookspan's "Fix Your Own Pain Without Drugs or Surgery" book can help. It has steps for fixing pain from bulging discs throughout the spine. Here is her website http://www.drbookspan.com

I had a bulging L5 disc in my low back from moving mulch for years with poor posture. It was so bad that I couldn't walk for days when it first happened. I saw different chiropractors for over a year and didn't get better. Then I found her website and tried bits of advice. Every time that I followed her advice I felt better. I am now able to move mulch again! Yay! I also feel that I am on the right track to not get a hunchback when I am old. I no longer have to go to a chiropractor either. All of her books are good. In particular, I like her "Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier" book.
2 years ago
In her "Nourishing Traditions" cookbook, Sally Fallon talks about how various ancient cultural groups skim the foam off the top of boiling food because the foam contains the poisons. I never really noticed the foam that is produced when I am making things like soup until after reading that. It is pretty easy to skim the foam off.
3 years ago