Phil Stevens

pollinator
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since Aug 07, 2015
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Ashhurst New Zealand
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Recent posts by Phil Stevens

Apart from the quack, which is usually a giveaway, look for a little curl at the end of the tail feathers. Only drakes will have that.

The noises in the video are definitely drake sounds, so my take is that he's a non-curly tail drake.

We have a female Pekin who usually just makes a quiet sort of squeaking sound and only quacks when she's either excited or lonely and wants attention (her mate died last month so that happens a lot more than it used to).
1 week ago
Not to mention the implications for foreplay.
2 weeks ago
Edible and also a handy poultice for cuts, abrasions and stings. Chew a few leaves into a pulp and apply directly. Plantain is also a really good fodder. Stock will eat it and chickens like the seeds.
2 weeks ago
AKA Chichicoyotl, "Trickster Gourd." O'odham mothers would put the juice on their breasts when they wanted to wean a toddler. Bet it worked the first time...that has got to be the bitterest stuff in existence.

Great fun for batting practice either green or dry.
2 weeks ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:

Marco Banks wrote:  But in your case, zone 5 would be a prairie ecosystem.



It would only be prairie if the elements of prairie were restored - fire and bison.  Otherwise it will naturally become forest.  Our land, once Tallgrass Prairie, is now almost entirely covered with forest.  The management needed to return the land to prairie would eliminate the possibility of it being actual Zone 5.  There are people who believe that the grazing behavior of domestic cattle is sufficiently different from that of bison for the two species to not be considered interchangeable.

Example reference:  http://www.bioone.org/doi/10.2111/REM-D-12-00113.1

The presence of domestic grazing animals on land would make it by definition not Zone 5 in Mollisonian permaculture.



Tyler, you raise a couple of great points. However, west of the 100th meridian, undisturbed prairie would turn more into scrubland/savanna than forest, and from Kansas southward there would be a lot of cactus and yucca in that scrub. Especially as the climate warms and that region dries out to become the Great American Desert after all.

Also. you point out that massive herds of grazing animals were an integral part of the prairie in its precolonial state. I'd say that qualifies a mob (even a domestic one) as part of zone 5 by function if managed in a way that produces similar effects. I guess we have to admit that we're only working with certain features and we probably won't teach cattle to make wallows. Maybe run some hogs around as well?
3 weeks ago
A lot of really good points have been raised so far in this conversation. I'd like to toss a couple more into the mix (points anyway...whether they are good is a matter of interpretation): How we treat zone 5 in design, and the building or restoration of prairie soils.

Zone 5, since it's the last one in the list and often the furthest out topologically, tends to occupy less of our collective head space when we do a site survey and design. The role of humans in a landscape has always been to alter it: ever since we became demonstrably "human" with the exploitation of tools and fire, we have actively modified every ecosystem we spread to. Although this has nearly always been done with agency, it wasn't always with regard to longer term consequences. That was learned the hard way and if the end results were too destructive the humans in an over-exploited region would die out or be forced to move on, and the stories would become part of the cultural fabric as cautionary tales and lessons to live by.

Over time, ecosystems and humans have shaped one another and resulted in resilient and productive systems. The Great Plains is (was) perhaps the most dramatic example, both in the speed of its development and the massive biodiversity and underlying fertility it contained. Listen to any of the stories of the people who created and were in turn created by this ecosystem, and you will appreciate how deeply they understood the roles of water, wind, fire, bison, and themselves as inseparable parts of the balance and bounty of the prairie.

This was all prior to the advent of large scale disturbances caused by irrigation of drylands, where large and complex cultures developed comparatively quickly in places like Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Mesoamerica. For the first time, huge surpluses of high-value embodied energy could be stored in the form of grains, and used as tools of power. But in every case except one, the best soils were destroyed by salinisation from irrigation and the cultures either had to conquer others to maintain a productive base, or die off as their crops failed. The exception was Egypt, where the cyclical floods of the Nile not only deposited a fresh dressing of nutrients every time but also carried away the excess salts which built up in the root zone of the fertile lands (and this era came to a close in 1963 when the Aswan High Dam was completed...now Egypt can no longer feed its own people).

The conquering armies and rulers spread grain farming into regions where irrigation was not a requirement, and this led to a period of massive population growth: first in temperate parts of the Old World, and then spreading into the Western Hemisphere. By the time white settlers reached the tallgrass prairie, they ran into an almost unbelievable treasure in the form of biological outputs all resting on -- and at the same time creating -- the fertility of the soil. But that soil was a creation of all the parts of the prairie, and from the first moldboard that sliced into the sod, the first bison shot for sport, and the first band of people hunted off their own lands, that creation was cut off and from then on the soil was mined. In less than a century most of the plains were turned to farmland, and we all know what happened when the western reaches got converted and then a drought came along.

All this is by way of saying that if you're in the Great Plains and you are doing permaculture, you'll probably want to think about how zone 5 relates to what you're doing and put soil creation at the forefront of what you plan to do. Fire just might be off the table unless you've got huge swaths of land and neighbours whose heads are in the same place as yours. Mob grazing is probably one of the best tools in the kit. Perennial grasses are certainly foundational, and there is really interesting work in this area with folks like Wes Jackson. Trees have their part to play, too, and lots of times when we are creating or recreating soil fertility we bring these into the picture even though they aren't dominant in the wild landscape...let's face it, there is almost no virgin prairie left so anything you do at this point is succession planting and not preservation of a climax ecosystem.
3 weeks ago
Sorry, I didn't mean to imply that the cider press is a sin bin. I like keeping things in the original context. I also like consensus methods as a tool for dialogue and wanted to engage the OP in a manner that took the discussion away from his sticking point (the scam) in into an area where we're more likely to find agreement (seafood).

I also get the volunteer hours that go into mucking out threads like that one. I'm a volunteer too.
OK, so I replied to a rather inflammatory post in a manner which I thought was respectful, non-demeaning, and constructive...while at the same time not mincing words about what is actually at issue. I pointed out that someone who denies climate science could still find cause to reduce carbon emissions in an effort to keep ocean acidification from getting out of control.

The OP made a raft of rambling and loaded comments which could have been grounds for landing in the probation bin from the get-go. Starting a conversation by labeling a well-supported and evidence-based theory a "scam" is not a very productive way to have a discussion on the merits of a fuel source, and it would have been easy to flag it for the mods. But instead of going there, I thought it may be more productive to use consensus principles and see if there was a common point on which we could engage. Judging by the five upvotes and two apples, it looks like some other readers may have seen the value of this approach.

In short, I know that my responses pushed the buttons of a handful of climate deniers. I don't doubt that there are more. I would just point out that the OP met probationary criteria as well. My guess is that some folk who cling to ideological positions are a little too easily threatened when confronted with evidence. In particular, I am disappointed that one of the individuals who piled on after the fact labeled my comments as naysaying when I was genuinely attempting to engage someone who had no qualms about being negative and demeaning in the first instance.

So yes, by all means, chuck what I said (and this as well, since it amounts to meta discussion) into the cider press. But please consider the provocation to which I responded, not to mention the tone.
Thanks for all the helpful replies to date. The remaining duck, apart from being a little distressed now that she's a solo act, is in good health. Just to be on the safe side, I've given her apple cider vinegar soaked bread crumbs. Those were gobbled up, so we know how to get that into her. We need to get some food grade DE to deal with fleas on the cat, so that will be the next supplement in small doses, and I like the idea of having various herbs at the ready in case we notice signs of droopiness.
1 month ago