Stefan James

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since Oct 15, 2014
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Recent posts by Stefan James

I use Paperbackswap, you have to pay postage and there are 'credits' to make sure you share as many books as you get but its pretty easy- the hardest part is waiting for the books you want but they will come along.
6 years ago
This looks really cool, thank you for sharing! I couldn't help myself, I contributed! It's worth checking out if you haven't already.
6 years ago
Thanks for the links, I'm still working on putting together my perfect backyard chicken solution! Of course I probably don't need to remind anyone here that Paul has written a great article about chick raising options at:http://www.richsoil.com/raising-chickens.jsp

I'm really trying to work it out so I can give them full range of my little 1/4 acre (rotationally if possible) while keeping them out of my garden and freshly made hugekultur at least some of the time. Of course they would go on clean up duty every now and then for bugs and once the growing season was over. The other consideration of course is making it all look 'acceptable' enough to prevent my neighbors from recommending my commitment to an asylum

Either way I figure I'll dive in next spring with a few chicks and try to make it work, I'm in the lucky position of being able to give the chickens a happy home at my parents if it doesn't work out.

I'd love to see any additional examples of folks who have had success with micro scale chickens- I realize its not always possible and that not everyone wants to do it this way but i'm really trying to keep my inputs to a minimum, hopefully with the right balance and plenty of polyculture it is possible to raise them on free forage with exception for the winter in my case I think.

Keep doing great things!
6 years ago
Does anyone have any earthships in temperate zone resources (or maybe there is a thread?) I'd love the math on how much mass to solar gain is needed.

Thanks!
6 years ago
Thank you!

Here is the post I found to get started: lemon trees in montana
Looks like there is a related podcast I haven't got to yet I don't think:
201

There is also a hugelkultur documentary that might be helpful link

I did just start my first hugelkultur...I foresee a devious plot developing

I know what i'll be listening to on the way home!
6 years ago
I am so jealous of the English walnuts! Of course you must think I'm crazy talking about a hammer and vise but the black walnuts have much thicker shells!

I do find black walnuts with no hulls fairly often, I think it is more common if they are someplace lots of people walk on a relatively hard surface (like a path) and/or if it has rained a lot.
6 years ago
Does anyone know of a good resource or have any ideas on how far and how effect a given body of water is? For example I am slowly building a pond to slow runoff water from my neighbor's property and it is probably around 500 gallons, I assume this has a pretty minor impact on anything that’s not right next to it. I was hoping to find figure out if it’s worth trying to extend out the season for some woody perennials or if it would even make a difference- maybe a serviceberry, siberian pea shrub and hazel stand. Any thoughts or suggestions?
6 years ago
I recently found a similar looking fruit that I thinnnnk some sort of pear, looking into the Pyrus genus there are lots of species with wildly different fruit, unfortunately there's not enough foliage left on my tree to really help with the ID. However I don't think your leaves could come from a pear tree (but I'm a total newbie) so the cross idea seems reasonable.

Maybe this is one Anni Kelsey can help with (or maybe I am inappropriately granting her super powers)

I'll circle back to my mystery tree in the spring and see if that solves my question, hopefully yours gets solved as well!
6 years ago
I think you guys have called out everything well, thanks for the discussion! If it is at all helpful, here is what I've been doing and my observations:

- find black walnut trees I have been incredibly lucky here. My neighbor has one, there is one down the street and several on paths at work, in my experience if you look for them you will have no shortage!
- get the hulls off This is the messy part, if you have any reason to wish your hands to appear clean then be careful! The dye will soak through leather and even rubber (maybe defective?) gloves if you have any extended exposure. The ways I did this: 1) use a knife to cut the hull in half or quarters and pull it off the nut; 2) use my foot/shoe to squash/roll the walnut until the hull comes off. I actually prefer 2 at this point, it is somewhat cleaner and you can carry a lot more nuts in a given container without the hulls. I do not worry about any worms I find, as far as i've seen they only eat the hull, not the nut. If the nut has a whole, then I’d get rid of it.
- wash the nuts nothing fancy here, just try to get most of the 'juice' and bits off by soaking/spraying/draining
- dry the nuts There is certainly an opportunity to be more efficient here but i have been putting them in a shallow pan in the oven, let it heat to 350 and shut off, just letting it cool down in there
- cure the nuts I'm mostly in this stage now, I batch all my nuts in an old onion sack (any 'airy' container would work) next to an air filter so they get plenty of air flow to dry.
- crack the nuts This is the hard part! Some folks use hammers, I have done mine with a vise with the most success. In either case I'd recommend wrapping the nut in some sort of rag first to keep everything together. Then picking out the nutmeats take some work, wire cutters seem to be the best tool to cut them out but it’s not impossible.

Other thoughts: the problem is the solution! I've been thinking about ways to use the dye- maybe press the walnuts in an apple press or something and bottle the juice to use as a stain or dye? Second the pulpy leftover mess ought to still be scary for other plants so maybe it could be used to suppress plants where you don't want them (i have a rocky drain area i try to keep clear although there may be better solutions).

Anyway hope that helps, thanks.
6 years ago