Joanna Sheldon

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since Feb 02, 2016
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Recent posts by Joanna Sheldon

Chris Sargent wrote: <...>
I think I'd also do rabbits.  A handful of does and a buck will keep you in baby bunnies pretty much year round.  I've not raised meat rabbits personally but know several people that do and know that they can produce quite a bit of meat.   An advantage of rabbits is you can keep them breeding year round and so could keep them live until its time to feed rather than raising and butchering something like ducks or chickens in a batch or a larger animal that has to be butchered and process in one go and then meat has to be frozen or canned.  If you're feeding them to the dogs fresh you wouldn't need to do much for processing, just kill and skin.




Hi. Latecomer to this conversation, but in case anyone's interested -- please don't skin the rabbit! Wolves don't remove the skin before eating their prey, and they'd be ill advised to do so: the skin contains valuable nutrients. In the case of rabbits it carries almost every bit of fat that is on the carcass. Some dogs may need a bit of introducing: cut the rabbit in half and peel the skin away toward the extremities, but leave it on. They'll get the idea in no time. Not surprisingly, they LOVE rabbit. If your dog is initially put off by the smell of the guts, then "paunch" the rabbit, but leave the lungs, heart, liver, and kidneys in place. If you paunch the rabbit make sure the dog gets some fruit and greens in their diet as well -- which they would have gotten from eating the stomach contents. I add eggs (another complete food) and occasionally milk, yoghurt or kefir as well as fruit and veg.
8 months ago
Shane, I hope you saw my (overlengthy) response to the unfounded claim that wire cages were banned in England.
8 months ago

Franco Rios wrote:



Here is a picture of a Continental Giant. This rabbit lives in England where wire floors are banned. The solid of this hutch is covered with a smooth rubberized fabric to make it waterproof. The floor is spread with straw which is changed out every other day. This type of solid floor works all over England were rabbit is still respected as a meat animal.

More pictures of Continental Giants at http://www.rabbitgeek.com/giantcont2.html

Have a good day!



Hi. I'm an American living in England. I know of no UK or other European ban on wire floors. The UK Gov page on rabbit rearing is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/rabbits-on-farm-welfare/caring-for-rabbits. Pet owners in this country tend to use wooden outdoor hutches or plastic-bottomed indoor cages with all their attendant problems (rabbits sitting in and/or eating soiled bedding, etc.). I read negative comments on UK rabbit sites about wire floors written by people who've never used them or seen them used. I have to say, it is also absolutely impossible to find 14 ga GAW 1/2" x 1" wire mesh, either here or on the Continent. I do think I've finally located some 16 ga, though. People who raise meat rabbits commercially in the UK (I've found only two online thus far, neither of whom responded to emails) tend to pasture them, and I guess they sell only to restaurants, because in butcher shops -- they still have them, here -- the only rabbit I can get is either wild or, on special order, brought over from France. In France the family meat/show rabbits generally live in tiny cement hutches, though some people buy wire cages with plastic slats over the wire flooring. I've stopped buying commercially raised French rabbit because I've become aware of the fact that the commercial producers pack them like sardines into very tiny cages (don't know how they get away with it). I am intending to raise meat rabbits for home consumption in the UK in wire cages --  and you would not believe the negative image I'm building up because of planning to eat bunnies -- but I will try out the plastic slats. From places in France or Germany I can order the slat material by the meter (2 to 3 euros/meter) and cut it to size. I'm not convinced it's a good idea because I think too many bunny berries will get squashed on the slats, but we'll see. Another point I would make is that giant breeds like the ones in the photo probably do need a firm surface or, far better, to be raised on the ground. I don't know of anyone anywhere who raises giant breeds to sell for meat commercially, so what people do for their Flemish Giants doesn't really apply to folks who are raising the average meat rabbit. In an old book on rabbit raising published in the UK in 1918 they recommend a 5' x 3' compartment for each rabbit in a wooden hutch with a slightly sloping floor, so the urine can flow away. If I were limited to wood, that's how I'd build the hutch.
8 months ago
Glenn, I recently discovered that those 55 gallon barrels are called 45 gallon barrels here. Whew! Was wondering why I couldn't find any of the right size. I could fit one in the corner where I now have an equivalent sized water barrel. I'm now thinking about building a mud batch box, as produced by the experimenters over here:http://donkey32.proboards.com/thread/850/mud-batch-box). Small, cheap, and powerful. I hope! As for steel, I don't leave any tools in the greenhouse. The climate is just too damp. Stove paint would protect the barrel somewhat, if it can resist the temperatures. I'm not sure how I can resolve the problem of needing 90% of the heat in the ground. Thanks for your help. It's much appreciated.
3 years ago
Thanks, ronald, for the note on manifold temps, and to both you and Glenn for suggesting the half barrels. I do remember seeing photos of them somwhere. Not sure have the space for them though. One of the beds is going to be 60cm (2ft) wide, and the other 80 cm (31 inches), and just about 60cm/2ft deep. Hmmm. Spreading the heat out would be a good idea, though. Perhaps small barrels? ... I do wonder about all that metal in that damp environment, though. I should think it would rust out in one season, and leave me with a lot of iron flakes in the soil. The barrel over the heat riser, too. Surprised not to have read anywhere that others have had the problem.

You make a good point, too, Glenn, about the lack of temp difference potentially causing a problem with draft.

Thanks for the ideas!
3 years ago
Hello everyone. I'm new to permies, and glad to be here. Ex-NYer, living in the UK. Tried to send a post the other day, but seem to have failed. Since it's been three years since the last post, I'm wondering whether this is an active forum?

Anyway, here goes again. I have a 12' x 8' greenhouse in zone 9, and would like to put a 6" core system in one end of it, run pipe under the soil down the length of the north long bed, across to the south bed, back up that bed and out. One of the main uses for this heater will be to rescue my poor tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and melons in July when we often get a couple of weeks of rain and chill weather, just as everything's struggling to ripen. (I hear that happens on the west coast of the USA, as well).

I have a couple of questions. 1) Could I run 6"metal pipe under a greenhouse bed and expect it to last more than a season or two in the humid conditions? I'd love to use clay drain pipe, but I'm not sure I can find what I need for a reasonable cost. Can't use cob underground, so I was thinking I would lay metal pipe in sand and cover it with a little soft-brick tunnel, to better absorb and distribute the heat. 2) What temps should I expect in the pipe, closest to the manifold?

I've attached a picture of the greenhouse.
3 years ago
Okay, Jenny, sounds good. Thanks for the link, though there are apparently no rocket stove events happening at the moment.
3 years ago
Thanks, Jenny! I'll take a look. And would love to collaborate, if you're up for it. Are you anywhere in the vicinity (SE)?
3 years ago
Hello All,

I have a small urban greenhouse that I'd like to heat. It's l8' x 12' (long width runs east-west), made of very heavy-duty aluminum, sits on a dwarf wall, and is peaked, and built against a tall masonry wall (on its north side). It has a single door in the west wall under the peak. There is no concrete base: the floor is clay/subsoil. We don't get serious cold here, on the south-east coast of England. Min temp mid-winter -5C (23F), av. winter 5-15C (40-60F). The heater is needed at night, but more particularly during the long weeks of gloom and cool temps that we usually get in July, just when the heat-loving fruit is gearing up to ripen. Loads of blight and mold in this cool moist clime (very like NW USA). Funny, I'm from NY State where I never felt the absolute need for a greenhouse, because we had reliable HEAT in the summer...

Anyway, I can erect a small shelter on the leeward side (NE corner), against the 9' masonry wall. Here's where the fire box could be, along with a box full of dry tinder. I'd like to make as big a firebox as is possible since I won't be sitting next to it to stoke it every twenty minutes. If I stoked it twice, running it for an hour in the evening, that would probably be enough for this tiny space. (?) The burn chamber could run into the greenhouse through the wall (recently built, and the guy who built it is still around, can cut the hole for me). The riser would be just inside the NE corner. I'm thinking ceramic pipe, say from http://www.schiedel.co.uk, for the innermost flue of the riser? If it was ceramic would I still need to insulate it? As for the barrel, I'd like to try to avoid metal in that very damp environment. Maybe I could make it out of soft brick or fire brick? The pipe leading the warm exhaust gases away could be of clay sewer/drain pipe, available here with every possible join and and angle. The pipe could lead west through the center of the raised (2' high) bed on the north side, buried 2' deep or more in the soil. Before reaching the west wall it would make a left turn under the steps leading down from the doorway (currently just stacked bricks) into the raised bed along the south wall; then head back to the east wall of the greenhouse, through it and up to the roof. I'd need some sort of clean-out system, and maybe some form of insulation over the clay pipe, at least when it's running under the north bed, so it doesn't burn the tomatoes' and melons' toes, and also so there's some heat left for the south bed where the peppers and eggplants grow.

I've read the original Evans/Jackson book and have just ordered the third edition in case it can give me some new ideas. I'm considering the use of ceramic pipe for the burn chamber, but I guess fire brick would work as well. We have a small stack of it, left over from the masonry heater we had built inside the house four years ago.

Any thoughts? Is anyone aware of such a construction having been built anywhere near here, or the London area? No help from my English partner who thinks the whole project is a waste of time and money. Then again, she thought the same of the masonry heater, but the fact that we now use a single basket of wood per day to heat most of the converted sandstone barn we live in has gradually won her over. ; ) Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
3 years ago
Anyone out there from the SE, near Hastings? I'm an American in the UK, wanting to build a rocket mass stove for my small (8' x 12' / 2.5m x 3.5m) greenhouse. Would love to sit down at the kitchen table with someone with a similar interest and work out some drawings for it. Am thinking of using ceramic pipe for the burn chamber and clay pipe to send the gasses around (up one side and down the side of the central path.
3 years ago