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Corey Schmidt

pollinator
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since Jun 29, 2015
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Kachemak Bay, Alaska (usda zone 6, ahs heat zone 1, lat 59 N, coastal, koppen Dfc)
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Recent posts by Corey Schmidt

I would highly recommend not limiting yourself to the beaked hazel.  Try some of the commercial corylus avellana varieties, as well as hazelberts, even turkish tree hazel.   I'm in zone 6 in AK, (although its 6b- slightly warmer than yours) and the european hazelnuts grow quite well here, and have a lot of frost tolerance in flowers and leaves- the flowers naturally grow in the late winter, oddly.   I've had flowers but still no nuts.  The European hazelnut seems like a very tough plant that will grow in a big range of climates.  We get around 26 inches of rain/ year here, but we frequently have a 2 month spell in summer with less than an inch, and the hazelnuts have been troopers through the droughts.   I've definitely had some surprises trying out different plants here, some things i thought would thrive didn't, (like manchurian apricots) and others I thought wouldn't thrive did. (like butternut- still waiting on nuts though).  I think it may be worth your while researching the huge variety of nut bearing pine species as well, some may bear more regularly and pines tend to be tough and widely adapted beyond their native range, though taking a  long time to mature.   (I've been tending about 20 korean nut pine trees for 5 or 6 years now  from little plugs and some have just reached waist high, though with your intense sun they should grow faster- your main limitation i would think is moisture).
1 month ago
I use CANOLA OIL for bar and chain oil in my greenworks digipro 16" 40V chainsaw with 4 ah battery.  I have 2 batteries and 2 of these saws.  On one charge I can fell, limb and buck an 8 or 10 inch spruce tree with battery to spare.  Probably the largest I felled with it was about 12-14" and it was no problem at all.  I have bucked some larger stuff with it too, and the saw does great.  All summer, and lots of spring and fall I can charge the batteries with my solar array.  I think in your situation, Edward, battery chainsaws would be a great fit.   Sometimes I think about getting a more powerful gas saw, but then I think I would rather just get a more powerful battery saw.  Maintenance on the battery saws is nearly nonexistent.  The downside is they depend on internal electronics.  I actually had an issue with one greenworks saw after 2 years of hard use on my property and on my jobsites(I'm a builder).  I thought I knew which electronic part it was and sent an email to customer service and they told me the saw was still under warranty and just sent me a new one.  I do some topping on my property from time to time- roped up and climbing, and the battery saw is awesome for that high in a tree work due to being lightweight, easy to start, quiet, no toxic fumes, and built in safety features.
1 year ago
A tight house with source and volume/rate controlled ventilation is in my opinion much better than old style where the air making the way into the house through all the cracks brings in construction dust and fiberglass.  A super tight house with no ventilation is a recipe for moisture  and other air quality problems.  I think the best we can do is all natural building built air tight but vapor open, like plastered strawbale, with source controlled passive ventilation. Heat recovery ventilation (HRV) systems for cold climates and energy recovery ventilation (ERV) systems for warm climates are a good modern high tech way to achieve fresh air in the house  while losing less energy to heating or cooling that air.
I put vents in the walls of my house for 12 v bilge blowers to be installed in the basement as extractor fans, and one vent that is impossible to close to let make up air in.  I plan to arrange it as a 'poor man's HRV' by running the exhaust air out through a 25' long plenum with the pipe for makeup air inside the plenum, so there will be some heat exchange between the outgoing air and incoming air without any mixing of them, and the materials for this are cheap- basically a pipe in a long box made of plywood scraps and air sealed with sheetrock mud.  

I bought a little camp oven to use along with a co detector.  There was never a reading above 0 on the co detector while cooking until once when the propane canister was running low and the flame had a lot more orange in it.  The reading went up to as high as 39 ppm until I opened the windows, and it quickly went back to 0, but then back up to 35 after I closed the window again, even with the flame off, so I opened all the windows for a while. The moral of that story for me was to get my extractor fans hooked up asap and always use them while cooking!   I also bought a radon test kit, which is on the way.  I have plastic on the basement floor, but its not sealed at this point.   Would it be better to put the charcoal radon collector under the plastic, or just in the air in the basement?    
1 year ago
I had a garden bed that started out as grass several years ago, I mulched it and planted annuals and perennials, including some larger shrubs.   For a while when everything was small I thought the mint was invasive,  now it is in shade and I can hardly find enough to make a cup of tea.  
a similar story on the power of shade:
I remember walking one day in New Zealand through some kind of regenerating forest, probably an old pasture left alone.   The pines, and probably some native trees had shaded the gorse.  There were a few scraggly gorse shrubs hanging onto life, but mostly just grey gorse skeletons with a big diversity of other plants taking hold.  A long process for sure but often if succession is allowed to play out so called invasives are only super successful at a certain stage and fade away when conditions change.
Thanks, Steve.  No worries if you can't find it.   It looks like all of my aronia grafts this year dried out, some of them after appearing to take, but 3 of this year's pear grafts on mt. ash are growing, and the aronia from last year growing fast (for here).
1 year ago
Did anyone mention Rob Greenfield?  He grew or foraged literally ALL of his own food for a year in Orlando, in the city.

I was doing internet research on land in Florida myself a couple of winters ago, until I started researching codes and regulations and decided that many of the rules were meant to keep people like me away!  Yet there are people turning even urban lots there into food forests, there are lots of youtube videos and channels about this.

a couple of critical elements for being able to live the permie dream are time and money- both are needed.  In case you aren't aware of it, check out F.I.R.E. ideas as a strategy to' 'buy your freedom.'

If you have lots of money, but not quite enough to retire in USA, other countries in central and south america  as well as Mediterranean and Black Sea countries are worth looking into.   My non expert opinion is its possible to live a tropical or mediterranean/subtropical lifestyle for cheaper in several of those countries but there will be a lot of other challenges you don't have in USA.  

USA  is truly blessed with a huge vast area of Cfa humid subtropical climate zone from Kansas to New Jersey to Florida to Texas.  Living in maritime subarctic Alaska for many years has made me appreciate what I left behind!!!  Flat is great!!!

You mentioned multiple professional obligations.    You might be able to find a better balance in the short term by freeing yourself from the least lucrative/ most time demanding/ least rewarding of these and devoting your freed energies to gardening and foraging.   I agree David the Good would be a great one to study as well as Rob Greenfield.  watching all of their videos may be as good as doing a permaculture course.

A possible scenario depending on your income and savings is you scale your work down to part time remote only work, and use your savings to buy an rv and some rural land without anti budget homesteader restrictions  or even some rural land with a small house, and live from your part time work and work part time on building your permie paradise.    

Remember to take care of your health and happiness!  Why do we want to live the permie dream?  to be healthy and happy people on a healthy happy planet.

I wish you great success and happiness in all your endeavors!!!
1 year ago
Thanks for the info Steve!  And I'm happy to hear the pears are doing so well for you on mt. ash!  I actually bought 4 pear trees and a cherry tree from Fedco this year, along with 2 other european pear varieties in scion wood.   I attempted some more aronia on mt ash and european pear on mt. ash.    It looks like at least 2 of the 8 or so attempts of pear on mt ash took as well as several aronia on both european and our native mt ash.  Most of these were cleft grafts also and 1 chip bud of pear on mt ash looks to be growing. I had a European pear on mt ash last year but it didn't survive the winter.  The aronia did and is growing the 2nd season on the european mt ash.  Could you share the link of the russian website you referenced?
1 year ago
Congratulations to you as it seems you are living the permaculture dream!  12 acres and time to spend on it, how wonderful!   I'm not sure where you are but probably in a location where you can grow nelumbo lutea for the nuts, roots, and leaves.  https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Nelumbo+lutea
Some people might not like this idea as these plants can be very 'successful' so please do your own research before planting these.  To me, a pond with many of these growing sounds like an edible paradise.
Here is a great article about using them http://www.eattheweeds.com/american-lotus-worth-getting-wet-for-2/
1 year ago
Great news about your kiwis, Victor!   I ate about 20 little fruits off a vine last year.  The pot I mentioned above some years ago was planted by a west facing wall on a building I built for someone.  I think it has been in the ground 4 years, along with a male in the same location.   I have where I live now a male and no female, so I'm planning to attempt to graft a bit of female onto the male vine.
1 year ago
i have yet to harvest any nuts from my trees here.   I placed an order with Badgersett several years ago and paid them about $400, and never got any trees from them.  I tried to contact them over and over again and once got a response with excuses and promises, but never any trees.   I have read that this happened to other people also, so I'm glad you actually got plants from them.
1 year ago