Mountain Krauss

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since Sep 03, 2014
Northern California
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Recent posts by Mountain Krauss

We have over 100 chickens on oak woodland. The trees are spread out enough for grass (and deeper rooted plants like mustard, wild artichoke, etc) between them, so they have access to pasture, but there's always a tree nearby for shade and protection from aerial predators. We used to have issues with coyotes, but we added 7 goats and 2 donkeys, and the coyotes haven't bothered us since.

Land looks something like this:

http://www.laspilitas.com/images/grid24_24/4554/comhabit/pictures/COW.jpg
3 years ago
"Every ounce of material that is taken off of that land came from somewhere"

And every ounce of material on a farm came from somewhere. So, it isn't a mistake to sell nutrients (in the form of food), it's a mistake to fail to replace them. Many of them will replace themselves with little effort on your part-- plants will fix carbon and nitrogen from the atmosphere, animals will synthesize vitamin D from sunlight, weather will bring water-- but others take more effort.

Many permaculturalists don't like to import materials, and there are many reasons for this-- disease, cost, labor. But I like to import material. So many nutrients are sent to landfills, where they can be of no use. So many nutrients are washed into the ocean, where they create dead zones miles wide. So many nutrients are burned into the atmosphere, where they contribute to breathing problems and climate change. So I like to capture some of this whenever possible.
3 years ago
I'll have look into that.
3 years ago
Matt, what do you give to students who read Tadeusz Borowski in your class?
3 years ago
It's my favorite book. After getting my law degree, I moved to Santa Cruz for the summer and tried to figure out what I actually wanted to do with my life. I stumbled onto Infinite Jest, and spent 2 weeks doing nothing but eating, sleeping, and reading. It does take a while to get your bearings, but don't worry about it. Just keep reading-- it'll make more sense the deeper you get into it.

Don Gately was my favorite character, but there so many great ones-- Pemulis, Orin, PGOAT. Year of the Perdue Wonder Chicken, Millenial Fizzies, wheelchair assassins. It's an amazing world to immerse yourself in.
3 years ago
Sounds good. Use the hay & leaves to smother the grasses that are growing around your trees, innoculate the smother piles, then cover crop them.
3 years ago
Is there any reason not to just cover crop the pile? Beans, clovers, and vetch should do fine in the low-nitrogen environment, and you could use brassicas (turnips/mustards) instead of grasses to trellis them. I'm not aware of brassicas inhibiting trees the way grasses can. Mustards have a nice deep taproot to loosen the soil, and help to limit nematodes in the soil.

If it works, it speeds the process, saves you the work of turning, and gets more nutrients into the ground instead of into the atmosphere.
3 years ago
Chop & drop should work fine with the chervil. In my experience, thistle gets spiky well before chervil goes to seed, so how to handle it depends on your willingness to get scratched up. Our chickens manage them for us, but if I didn't have chickens, I'd chop & drop both whenever the thistle got too spiky for my tastes. When ready to plant, I'd do a final chop & drop, cover with compost, then plant into the compost.
3 years ago
I'm terrible at identifying plants, but no one wiser has chimed in, so I'll try. The top one looks like thistle, though I couldn't tell you which one-- maybe sow thistle. We have plenty of that on our property, though a lot less than we used to. Chickens love it when it's young, but leave it be when it gets older and spiky.

We have lots of the other one-- the one that looks like carrot greens-- too. It's a lovely plant until it dries up and leaves its bur seeds. In my head I call it wild carrot, but it's probably chervil.
3 years ago
1)"the coyotes walk around us"

That would explain the mice and rabbit problem. You might need to add a few terriers to keep the mice away. Snakes are good for keeping mice in check, too, though I find dogs far more likeable.

2) I think Joshua is right about bringing more dead wood (chips, leaves, logs) onto your property. Sounds like you're on board.

3) I'm surprised that your alfalfa isn't doing more to break up your clay. I'd try hitting it with a heavy dose of alfalfa, daikon, and mustards. If that doesn't work, try alder-- it's roots should bust through your clay, fix nitrogen for your trees, and withstand being foraged by animals.
3 years ago