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T Melville

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since Nov 16, 2015
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Recent posts by T Melville

wayne fajkus wrote:I use whatever deer foodplot mix is available in spring and fall. I was surprised last fall that my sheep did not eat the turnip greens.

Not bad! My local farm store had Imperial No Plow a couple seasons ago. I think I'll check in with them again. That would make a great base to add a few things to. It'd save me tracking down so many kinds of seeds.
19 hours ago
Just now, when I shut them in the barn, I closed the gate to the west pasture. I might flip-flop them again after doing bad things to the thistles, but either way, there will be about an acre they can't access. I'll try to remember to get some before and after pics.
19 hours ago
I'd like to improve my pasture. Zone 6, SW Missouri. A lot of clay and rock. Most of my soil is decently dark / fertile, but very compacted. I have five sheep and a goat on it now. In the future I may add chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys or rabbits. (Or some combination.) My grass is primarily fescue. The flock has eliminated most weeds. Used to be ragweed and another similar looking, but unidentified weed, so thick I couldn't see across my ~one acre pasture. Now that's gone. I find that once they eat the grass down low, it has a hard time catching back up. It gets super low in the winter, and during the drought we usually have mid to late summer. During very active growth, it gets ahead.

I know sheep and goats are better off eating at least 6" above the ground. I also know they have no intention of eliminating my thistles. I'm tired of spraying. I don't want the poison, it's not very effective, and it costs too much.

I'm hoping I can improve all of this by broadcasting a cover crop mix into the pasture. I have no experience with diverse cover crops. At, I came up with a potential mix:
Mung Beans (1.75), Red Clover (3.5), White Clover (3.5), Hairy Vetch (1), Lentil (1), Orchard Grass (3.5), Pearl Millet (1), Browntop Millet (1), Turnip (.5), Rapeseed (.5), African Cabbage (1), Plantain (.5), Buckwheat (3), Sunflower (.75)
Numbers in parentheses represent pounds of seed per acre.

The smartmix calculator did not take into account that I already have a fescue pasture. Nor did it tell me if I could broadcast this into the pasture as they graze it, or if it needs time to establish before they graze.

I have two pastures, each about an acre. I do rotate during active growth. I'll probably close off one pasture tomorrow. I also have a third pasture, about an acre to an acre and a half, which includes a semi-wooded lot. (The tree lot is around the size of a football field, maybe a bit larger.) I'm afraid to start them on that pasture though, because of the rampant poison hemlock. Some sources say it's fine, some say my whole flock will be dead in about three hours.

Specifically, I'm looking for feedback on my covercrop mix, how to adjust it, how to use it to best advantage. Can a mix like this smother thistle and / or poison hemlock? Maybe in combination with chicken tractoring? But any other advice is welcome. I hope this was the right place to post. I'll understand, though, if this gets moved to the pasture forum.
22 hours ago
Last year, I let my Beauregard sweet potatoes sprawl all over for weed suppression. The garlic was already taller than the sweet potatoes would get, so it wasn't bothered. Once the sweet potato filled in, it worked great.
23 hours ago
Sorry, I get ahead of myself sometimes. I tried to put the troubleshooting ahead of the building and testing. The "problem" is only a potential problem. You don't have a problem to solve, at least not yet. I think your design looks pretty solid, pending a good match of volume to insulation to heating potential. Also note, a hotplate like yours is the heat source Alton Brown used to hot-smoke a salmon in a cardboard box. I think you have the right ideas, so long as you're careful with decisions about size and materials. Let us know how it turns out, I like ptojects like this one.

Sorry for the quality of this. Whoever uploaded it botched the resolution and didn't capture the whole screen.Only copy I could find.

1 day ago
What kind of temps are you hoping to maintain? How much deviation is tolerable? At 1,100 watts, I think it could heat too fast and overshoot the setpoint. Any idea how many watts it uses at very low setting? My seed dryer is only 60 watts, but easily maintains ~90° F. (Mind you: it's an old lab incubator with a muffin fan added on top. It's well insulated, and only has ~ a cubic foot of volume.)

Maybe you could mitigate (If it IS an issue.) by lowering to minimum wattage, and / or installing a mass between the heat and the rest of the space.

Where would you put the thermostat? Near the top would probably cycle on and off less often, but increase risk of overshooting the setpoint. Closer to the heat source would reduce the risk, but probably cycle often.

I wonder how putting the heat at the top with a fan would work? Looks like you were hoping for simple convection, with no fan, so maybe scratch that idea.
2 days ago

Pearl Sutton wrote:
Thinking on it, after I wrote the post, the input line is also dryer vent, if it runs backwards, due to chimney effect, I'll swap which pipe it's on. Still hope it pushes hot down, but a good pull works too.

What if you were to:
1) Seperate the two cans, put one of the "lids" back in place, hung by a single wire, top dead center. (Red arrow)
2) Install a horizontal wire through the can on the right, very close to the "lid" so that it can't swing in that direction. (Blue line) This could be done with a few screws instead.
3) Reassemble the cans.

If I'm right, (Hey, it could happen!) you'll have built yourself a hillbilly check valve. Since it wouldn't be airtight, air could flow slowly in the wrong direction, but any significant airflow toward the crawlspace would move the flap and be unhindered. Any significant airflow toward the heater would close the flap and meet resistance.

Do you think your heater pumps enough air for this to help?
4 days ago
I didn't know you were all spammers! All of Sweden too? For shame!
1 week ago
Both successes are in the U.S. The Captcha requests are outside the U.S. Think that's relevant? Anyone have a way to check? Maybe a VPN?
1 week ago