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Lori Ziemba

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since Jan 19, 2015
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Recent posts by Lori Ziemba

Purity Lopez wrote:I am 75 now and have lived in extremely rural areas since I was 19.  I have always lived alone.  I have lived in wilderness in a tent, and now live in a cabin I built myself in the High Desert of California.  I have never had help, everything I have always done myself....and I am 5'4", 120 pounds.  I still do everything myself.  I have electricity and solar.  I can live entirely without it if I needed to...I use electricity as the back up source.  I grow a good deal of my own food.

Hi Purity,
I'm in N. Calif.  I've been thinking about moving to the desert for a while, but I've been worried about the water situation down there.  How do you irrigate a large garden?
2 weeks ago

There are certain pieces of equipment that I think of as enough of a unique entity, that I actually give them names. Like the modular scaffolding (which, to be honest, I'm still collecting parts for) that can be assembled into all kinds of configurations. It's name is Steve.

I wonder if saying the name out loud might help get people to back off? "Thanks for the offer, but no. Steve and I can handle it ourselves."

(I must be tired. My brain is stuck in Silliness mode.)

And I thought I was the only one who named my furniture!  The entertainment center is named Lars, and the wooden cabinet is Stan, LOL!
2 weeks ago
This is something I've thought about a lot.  It took me years to realize that it was stupid to grow things I don't like, just because I could.  So I started to concentrate on things I DO like.  I live in a difficult climate---it's Mediterranean, but cool and foggy and rainless all summer.  A lot of the things that grow well here I don't actually like: kale, collards, etc.  I finally settled on a plan (still tweaking it, after 25 years) of a 2 garden year.  Winter and summer.  In the winter, I grow lots of scallions, mustard and cabbages.  I eat the mustard until I get sick of it, which is right around when the cabbage comes in.  I like raw cabbage, sauerkraut and coleslaw.  Don't really like it cooked except for cabbage rolls.  My winter garden is incredibly productive, much more so than the summer garden.

In late winter/early spring, as the last of the cabbage gets used (just pulled up my last scallions a week ago), I spread a few bags of manure on top, and fork it in lightly.  Last 2 years I grew a lot of corn.  First year I got over 100 ears from my tiny (4'x10') plot.  Last year, the rats found it and ate all the ears right on the stalks.  Very frustrating.  So I'm not growing corn this year.  

Instead, I'm growing black oil sunflowers for my quail.  I got quail last summer, and have been giving a lot of thought as to how to supplement their crumble diet.  I buy organic feed, and it's expensive.  I also like to give them fresh things.  In addition to the BOSS, I'm growing Lady Godiva squash.  The quail love squash, and Lady Godiva has naked seeds!  They eat a lot of the peelings and outer leaves of things, too.  Then they lay eggs, and feed me, since I am not such a big vegetable eater.

I have tried for 25 years to grow tomatoes, and had very little success because of the cool, dark climate.  This year, I bought one of those little vinyl greenhouses.  4'x4'x3' high.  I put it over part of my plot, and planted tomatoes, basil and one cuke.  I also planted the same seedlings out in the main part of the plot.  The difference is phenomenal: the plants in the GH are already flowering.  The outside ones are just sitting there.  

Instead of using the space for green beans, which I don't like all that much, I started growing cukes 2 years ago, because I love pickles.  They don't grow that great, but I do get something out of them.  It's been an awfully cold and windy spring, so everything is just sitting there, huddled up against the miserable weather.  Except the Lady Godivas!  I'm amazed at how well they're doing!  I'm growing some wax beans instead of green beans, which I find I actually like.

Sorry for being so long-winded.  I really don't have anyone to talk about this stuff with, and I'm sort of bursting with it, LOL.  Anyway, my point is, life is too short to grow stuff you don't like, and if you don't like it, you won't eat it.  I love to grow, but I'm not a big veggie eater, so I get around it by growing a lot of stuff for my birds!  Saves money, and we all benefit.  

Next year, maybe for my winter garden, I want to see if I can source nettle seed.  Nettles are THE most nutritious green you can grow.  And the best tasting, IMHO.  They are delicious steamed, and easy to dry.  Once dry, they no longer sting, take up very little room (I have a tiny apartment) and you can add them to everything.  I may devote half my plot to them.
2 weeks ago

I removed most of the deep litter in the pen and put it in the compost bin.  I added about 2 quarts of biochar to the pen, and topped up with some very dry, old compost and palm & citrus bagged soil.  I added on an extension to the pen, and used the same mix in there.  I planted a few plants in the new part.  Every day, I pick up any big poops, and give the soil a little raking.  Takes about 5 minutes.

I also bought a much better tarp.  It's a tablecloth protector!  Fits perfectly, and it's thick, crystal clear vinyl.

It's been over a week, and no smell at all!  The birds love the extra room, and we're all happy!  

Thanks to everyone for all the advice.
3 months ago
So, I've been offered 200 pounds of pea gravel.  I'm wondering if I should take it and use it in the extension of the pen?  I could build a simple wood box under the extension to hold it.  The extension is roughly 12 sq. ft.  Does anyone know how deep 200# of pea gravel would cover that?
4 months ago

Trace Oswald wrote:Those chick feeders that are long red rectangles with a lot of holes in them with really well for it. If it's too runny, you can scoop the fed out with a slotted spoon to get some of the liquid out, but it still tends to spread out all over if it isn't contained in something. Those chick feeders work well to stop that too.

Yes, those are the kind I use!  Everyone complains that quail throw their food around and waste it, but I don't see that with these feeders.
4 months ago

Trace Oswald wrote:

Lori Ziemba wrote:
Do you ferment the crumble?  How?

This is very simple.  Take a bucket of any size you like (I use a 5 gal bucket, but you can make any amount you want) and fill it about 1/2 way with crumbles.  Add water until it's a couple inches above the feed.  It will soak up water for a couple days, so just add a little water as you need to in order to keep the water an inch or so above the feed.  Take some apple cider vinegar that has mother in it, I usually use Bragg's, and put a couple glugs of it in.  Stir is once a day or so.  Then wait a few days.  You'll know from the smell when it's ready.  It gets soft and smells really good.  It doesn't matter if you use it after one day or after two weeks, it doesn't get bad.  If you use it before it is all the way fermented, it doesn't hurt anything.  When you want to use it, just give it a stir and scoop some out.  You can just keep adding feed and water to keep it going.  It may take them a day or two to get used to it, but when they do, the birds (at least chickens) love it.

Thanks!  Do you put it on a plate?  Or in their regular feeders?  I use chick feeders.
4 months ago

Susan Wakeman wrote:I tried different deep litters in my quail setup and the best was the following:

I had big planters I grew tomatoes in during the summer. In the winter, I'd let them dry out, then sieve out the bits larger than 1 cm or so. This used soil I put in the quail pen. I'd take out the "pooped" soil when it got too full, back into the tomato planters for next year!

That's brilliant!  Did you remove the pieces bigger than 1cm, or is that the part you gave to the quail?

Fermenting the feed also helps.

I've heard of this.  I use crumbles, along with greens, sprouts and mealworms.  Do you ferment the crumble?  How?

If I get quail again though, I'd make a quail tractor that I can move around the lawn. They eat a lot of grass when they get the chance. I'd make a dry space part of the pen, with deep litter of compost.

I don't have a lawn, just a small back yard.  I did have a small, A-fram tractor for daytime use only (not predator proof) but I never saw them eat any grass.  Maybe they only eat new grass?
4 months ago
Thanks, everyone!

I just ordered a cubic foot of biochar, and I also ordered this pen .  I know, I know, I should make it myself.  But I'm an old lady with no tools and poor building skills and arthritic hands.  And besides, I priced out all the materials, and it would only come to about $20 less to do it myself.  That $20 is more than worth it to me in saved aggravation and pain and torn up hands from the hardware cloth.  

I'm pretty sure I'll be able to just remove the end panel from my setup and one panel from this new pen, and attach them together.  That will more than double the outside area for my funny little borbs (bird+orb=borb).

I'll take a pic when I get it done.  With the way the mail is these day, I won't get the stuff for almost 2 weeks.

In the meantime, I'd like suggestions on any better way to set up the addition.  I had originally dug down 12", removed the native soil, and replaced it with a mix of wood chips, shavings, leaves, charcoal, lime, and some of the soil.  Is there anything I should do differently, besides adding the biochar?
4 months ago