taylor burt

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since Apr 28, 2016
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Recent posts by taylor burt

Ditto on the fishing line. We have an orchard of ~20 trees and didn't want the aesthetic or cost of fences around individual trees, or a massive fence around the whole area.

I bought 3/4” metal conduit from the local electric supply store (only $3 or $4) each, used an angle grinder to cut one end into a point, and spent less than an hour by myself driving them in with a ladder and large hammer (spaced ~12-20 feet apart).

Next, drilled holes in each pole every 2 feet, starting about 18 inches off the ground. Into these holes I made little wire rings to run the fishing line through. String up some 20 lb fishing line (the stronger the better, so long as it's invisible), and you have yourself an 8 foot fence!

I know it's been working as I've seen deer tracks go up to the fence and turn around. The key is that they can't see it, bump into it, get scared, and run away.

I think the 400 feet of fence we put up cost less than $100 and took only a few hours to put up.  It's also invisible except for the 3/4 inch conduit, which has already weathered into the landscape.

Let me know if you want any pictures.
9 months ago
The bags will eventually dry out naturally, but up there it could take a couple years. I'm not personally experienced with earth bag construction - less than popular here in VT - do they have to dry before they are load bearing for the roof, especially with the heavy snow loads you'll see up there? That could be problematic.

Have you looked into strawbale construction? That's much more applicable to the northeast climate.  NE Maine is blessed with bountiful wood resources and no doubt you'd be able to find a local sawyer to get some rough sawn lumber.  Build yourself a nice timeframe, surround it with strawbales, plaster it inside and out and you have yourself the beginnings of a high performance building.

If timeframing is not appealing, stick-framing with rough sawn lumber and using strawbales for insulation is another option. Whatever you do I would consider other primary building materials rather than earth bags.
1 year ago
Gilbert, yes, it seems that the worst infestations are self-regulating, and in the grand scheme of things not that big a deal, but still a significant effect on forest ecology.

Jesus, it is good to hear that your forests are unaffected by non-native earthworms. The great majority of our forests here are unaffected as well, which is a huge relief. I am not advocating for controlling the invasive earthworm population, but I do advocate for monitoring it, as problems can quickly progress with changing climate.

Here is a link to a paper published about the effects of earthworms entering a previously unaffected forest: http://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/175603/Frelich%20et%20al%202006.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Here is an quote from the paper:

"Earthworms can contribute to a forest decline syndrome, and forest herbs in the genera Aralia, Botrychium, Osmorhiza, Trillium, Uvularia, and Viola are reduced in abundance during earthworm invasion. The degree of plant recovery after invasion varies greatly among sites and depends on complex interactions with soil processes and herbivores. These changes are likely to alter competitive relationships among plant species, possibly facilitating invasion of exotic plant species such as Rhamnus cathartica into North American forests, leading to as yet unknown changes in successional trajectory."
2 years ago
Gilbert, I am totally with you on these two. Living in the maple-producing region of the northeast, earthworms pose a particular threat to the self propagation of maple trees. In forests with earthworm infestations, they consume all the litter on the forest floor, making it impossible for the maple seeds to germinate. It is a remarkable sight to see...entire forest floors void of any leaf litter - a rare sight here in New England, but increasingly common due to the earthworm.

As for European honeybees, they are overrated pollinators that, as you mention, are not nearly as good at promoting diversity and pollinating in general. I think we should be promoting beneficial insect plantings and habitat, like "bug motels" and other such things, thereby promoting a diversity of pollinating insects.
2 years ago
So, if you truly are against using any water or electricity storage, you will need a pump that is explicitly designed for continuous duty. The Remco pump you linked to states that the "Motor is not equipped with thermal protection" and for this reason I would not choose it. In continuous operation, the pump could overheat (potentially) and blow itself out.

Is 2gpm the ideal flow rate for your application?

There are several ShurFlo pumps that are rated for continuous operation, probably other brands too. Most likely you will need a charge controller to go with your solar panel. As mentioned in another post, this is to control the variable voltage coming out of a "12V" solar panel, which can range up to 20+ V, and normalize it for the pump's use.

Some other questions....how much unobstructed sunshine will the solar panel get per day? This will directly dictate how much water you can transport up to your garden.

Also, what about when the sun is shining and you don't want any more water in the garden? If the pump has a pressure shutoff, then simply having a valve on the hose up by the garden should shut it down.

One thing to also consider, not knowing your climate and weather patterns, is that on cloudy days, the pump won't necessarily just run slower, there simply may not be enough sun to turn it on at all. Take that into consideration.

Finally, with regard to start-up wattage of some pumps, this is negligible on DC pumps, but a serious concern on AC pumps. If you go with direct solar DC you shouldn't have to worry about it.
2 years ago
eric has offered you a lot of very good advice. 125 acres is a lot of land to evaluate, design, plant, tend-to, manage & harvest. determining your fundamental short-term and long-term goals for the land, then performing a detailed site analysis, and developing a master plan are great first steps. as for recommendations, my wife is an ecological landscape designer based in southern VT, but she has at least one client over in the hudson valley - you should get in touch with her and chat: www.edavisdesign.com

she recently did a 200+ acre site analysis and master plan for a town-owned forest over in MA, and she also specializes in working with native species, so it seems like it could be a good fit.

best of luck and looking forward to hearing about your progress!
2 years ago
Kanulaf, outdoor kitchens are great, but I agree with alex that you should evaluate your ultimate functional goals that you would like the kitchen to fulfill. Here are some questions to consider:

-- Do you have an existing kitchen that serves your food-preparations needs? If so, what do you hope to gain from an outdoor kitchen that you don't already have?

-- How many people will you regularly cook for? (this has bearings on biogas generation)

-- How much land/area do you have to work with? A 20'x14' kitchen is pretty large, unless you are cooking & serving a lot of people. If you have enough land that is suitable to growing, then I would steer you away from a green roof. They are relatively labor and resource intensive (for structural support and waterproofing, though recycled materials can be used), and your efforts would be better spent on a ground-level garden.

-- What region do you live in? I am writing from the northeast US where our outdoor kitchen is limited to 4-5 months out of the year.

-- I have a chest freezer converted to a refrigerator and running on solar...it works great. The amount of power consumed will greatly depend on where you are living and the seasons. Ours doesn't have to click on from November through March! The rest of the time it is running as part of our 500W solar system that provides lights, charging & food prep for our home. If you are in a very warm place be sure to incorporate additional insulation.

If you answer some of these questions we can help you out a little more with your project.
2 years ago