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Lindsey Jane

pollinator
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since Jun 16, 2016
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duck books chicken food preservation cooking wood heat
Kitsap Penninsula, WA
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Recent posts by Lindsey Jane

I know what you mean. Just in the last couple of days, our sunlight has changed. It's small, and no one else around me seems to notice it, but the sunlight changes from golden to more white looking and feeling. I can't really describe it, but I always notice it and looking back in my farm journal, it's always around the end of August that I start to see it. Coupled with cooler mornings with that hint of sharpness, and that means we are turning the corner to fall. We still have crickets galore and some warm afternoons, and I have a feeling it's going to get hotter again in September, but the initial corner has been rounded into fall. Here we go!
1 month ago
This intrepid group is still available! For anyone who wants good hatching mamas who set routine nests of 11 chicks that are all healthy! Thanks for looking!


8 months ago
Hello, everyone,
If I have posted this in the wrong place, please let me know!
I have a bonded set of 3 muscovies - one male and 2 females. The females are 1 and 2 years old and the male is a year old. The girls are champion layers (as evidenced by my constant nest disruption to keep them from hatching out babies again!) and the male is the sweetest boy imaginable.
We are just taking our farm in another direction and the muscovies are not going to fit into the farm plan, anymore. In fact, they have been a bit more of a hassle than a help with how our land and growing area is laid out. I'd like to find a good permie home for them where they can be integrated into the landscape and used in a way that is holistic, kind and caring (read: not eaten). I don't want any money for them. I just want them to go to a good home. I am willing to meet someone halfway if you are coming from Oregon or Eastern Wa.
You can send me a message if you think they would work out well in your area.
Thanks for reading - hope you are all staying safe!
8 months ago
Hello, everyone!
Based on the inspired ideas and resources you have thrown my way, I have changed my mind....again...and decided to go with my original idea to build our cellar out of earthbags.
I did get the Oehler book and read it and it was great! Lot's of good ideas.
I also have been very careful to watch the storm activity and rainfall this fall and winter and the area we have excavated for the cellar has stayed nice and dry - no accumulated water and excellent drainage. Thank you for encouraging me to use that basic permaculture tenet of watching nature over time to see what's what. Totally paid off.
Our little cellar is only going to be about 10 feet in diameter and round with a gently sloping roof. We will be putting drainage pipe under the gravel layer on the bottom and then covering it all with a moisture barrier and then backfilling with debris and fill dirt.
I was all ready to go and then got a nasty case of tennis elbow from splitting several cords of wood, so construction will be starting after the new year. I will post photos as I go.
The only piece I don't have yet is the mathematical information about how to calculate the change in radius as I move up the walls. There's a book I want to get but the library doesn't have it and neither does Amazon or Thrift books. Earthbag Building, by Kaki Hunter and Donald Kiffmeyer.
I did find one from Mother Earth news that looks promising. https://www.amazon.com/Earthbag-Building-Tricks-Techniques-Natural/dp/0865715076/ref=sr_1_2?dchild=1&keywords=earthbag+building&qid=1608757244&sr=8-2
Anyhow - pics to follow as we progress. I've lost half my potato harvest this year to improper storage so it has lit a fire under my keister to get this done!

9 months ago
I'm a soap maker and use lard rendered from my friends pigs. It's amazingly white and sweet smelling. Makes the frothiest cold processed soap (mixed with olive, castor and coconut oil). It's similar in fat properties to Palm Oil which is not super sustainable and real gnarly on the environment to grow/harvest/sell. It's not a perfect switch for palm, but has a lot of the beneficial properties of it (skin protectant, silky soap feel, explosive suds, etc).

9 months ago
I agree with the idea that trapping and killing is good. Mostly because I've had rats chew through insulation, wiring, drywall, the duct that connects the dryer to the outside world and other household things. In our old house, they got up in the walls and then eventually into the attic. We finally got a hold of the problem, but it did a ton of damage to our house that was not cheap to fix (ie- electrical wiring).

Plus, and grossly, one died in the wall of our kitchen and the stink that it created stays with me to this day.

I'm a fan of everyone in their place so rats on the property can stay on the property. Want to eat left over chicken feed in the run at midnight? Go for it. Want to nest under the rabbit hutch to come out when I'm not around? Knock yourself out. But come under my house to potentially part me with my hard earned money? Nope. That's a no-go.

The nice part is that between the owls, the other birds of prey and one particularly murderous cat, the outside population stays in balance, so we just make sure no entrances exist to the bottom part of the house and no trees overhang the house and no bushes rub up against the house and we haven't had a problem in 4 years. (But that was...involved. Because every little place bigger than a dime in diameter had to be sealed up. It was epic, but worth it.)

Oh my gosh, good luck to you!
9 months ago
I love this concept. I'm on board! Let's do it!

This is the first year that I have managed to save ALL the seed we need for the farm for the next couple of years. After last springs blitz by casual food growers depleted seed supplies, I realized I needed to step up my game for seed saving and allowing things to cross breed and then saving from the most delicious and best suited. I'm in the tiny, infant stages of landrace food growing, but it's excited to think about where it's going.

I guess I've already done this with squash (the "gateway" food for landrace perpetuation) but I'm excited to try it this year with corn. And we've been doing that with garlic and potatoes for years now, I just never put a term to it. I just keep the best performers for seed and go from there.

I've also brought in some white Tepary beans from Ramona Farms (https://www.ramonafarms.com/) down in AZ to boost up my drought tolerant seed game. They aren't a seed house - they sell beans and corn for food, but considering the long shelf life of the Tepary beans, I figure I can get a harvest out of them. These do not need a ton of water, and thrive in the desert, so I wanted to start introducing them to our summers here in the PNW - which can range from hot and dry to lukewarm and dry (such as summer 2020 - or as I call it - "the summer that never was"). I'd like to really center our food growing on drought and cold tolerant crops. And then select for the best cultivars out of the already specialized group.

Time, right? Time and patience and attention and then a bit more time.
10 months ago
This weekend has been...odd. Surreal. Whatever.
I'm reaching out to this community to see if anyone can help expand my thinking on what's happening on my farm. Because so far, all I can do is shrug and shake my head, while saying "I don't know what's going on."

Sunday, my daughter and I were leaving for a hike, and I noticed a small chicken in our run that was not our chicken. I kept looking at it and then got out and went over and sure enough, not our chicken. But here it was, running around with my chickens in our chicken run, trying desperately to get out. We hadn't noticed her that morning when we let the chickens out. She wasn't in there the day before (I'm in the flock run everyday).

So I picked her up and noticed that she was about 4-6 weeks old, still peeping and very tiny. Again. Not my chicken. My only thought was that someone dumped her there or she escaped from a neighbors and found the food? I don't know.

This is the weirdest chicken I've had. Came right to me and only wanted to ride on my shoulder. She actually fell asleep up there while I was finishing some chores. We put her in a special cage in the house to quarantine her. I never add new chickens unless we put them by themselves for 2 weeks.

The next morning (monday) 4 hens and one rooster were all dead on the floor of the coop. My first year babies, that I hatched out myself. Full feathered, plucky the day before. No one was sick. Nothing out of the ordinary.

This morning - one of my rabbits was dead in the rabbit run (which runs the full length of the chicken run). This rabbit is 6 years old. Spayed. Again, no health issues. Frisky and eating and doing all the regular rabbit things.

The only thing the same between the two strings of death is the straw that I got the day before and put in the chicken run (on Sunday Morning) and in the rabbit cages to insulate from the cold. Feed is the same, wood shavings are the same, water from the same source, no other additions.

The original small weird chicken is fine.

I am at a loss. I'm really upset about the chickens dying - I have a breeding program I'm implementing and they were bread special. The rooster was a bit of a wanker, but the hens were special. Good layers, too. The rabbit was a sweet girl and the amount of attention these animals get is a little embarrassing. Our animals are well cared for. I'm at a total loss.

Is there a virus that can kill livestock this quickly? This seems more like poisoning to me? But what would poison a chicken and also a rabbit? Can viruses jump species like that so quickly? (I would think so, but it was fast.)

Is it all coincidence? Is 2020 just messing with me now?

Any thoughts welcome and appreciated.
11 months ago
We have muscovies and this year I learned some valuable lessons about them in the garden.

1) They will eat young sprouts of things green - meaning snap peas, mustard, beans, etc. They pluck them right out of the ground. They especially loved my corn starts and I had to replant them 3 times before I just put a fence around them.
2) They stayed away from tomatoes, all squash, vining beans, nasturtiums and marigolds and didn't bother with my asparagus or rhubarb plants. I don't know why!
3) They went berserker for the kale.
4) We have 7 foot tall fences around the garden which didn't bother the females at all - they soared right over the top like it was nothing. The boy is too heavy and doesn't fly really at all. So he was just left looking forlorn.
5) The poop DOES splash and so all salad greens or things you would eat raw shouldn't be around them. Not only for the parasitic, potential illness, yuck factor. But because, as I said above, they eat the green tasties.
6) I did notice a decrease in the sow bug and earwig population, but a major increase in the aphid population, especially around the kale and brassicas. I have no idea if those 2 things are related. I'm inclined to think they are.

So overall? The hassle far outweighed the benefit. I will be clipping wings now and relegating them to their own section with their pond and not getting any more muscovies. I like them, and will dote on the babies we have, but won't be adding in the long run. In years past, I allowed my love for them to overshadow the real hardship of putting them in my garden. So I think the best place for them, at least on our farm, is AROUND the gardens and in the orchard - where they can eat all the crunchy bugs and slugs they want while leaving my low to the ground food crops alone.
1 year ago
Well. I feel a whole lot better.
We just harvested a pretty underwhelming potato crop this year. I tried one new method and one old method and the old method was...fine, I guess,  and the new method not so great, with the amount of small, hard potatoes dominating the boxes.
The old method is - add manure to the soil (horse, cow, rabbit) from late summer until Chrismas. Let is sit. Till it in. Plant potatoes. Cover with a foot of dry straw. Sit back and do nothing. This mostly worked in our established beds, but I got a bigger percentage of smaller, harder potatoes than previous years.
The new method was to spread about 6 inches of compost on a grassy area that I weed whacked down, plant potatoes, cover with a foot of straw and sit back and do nothing. This was even worse, with lot's of small, hard potatoes (like those little boutique bags at the grocery store). So color me fancy with all these eeny wheeny potatoes, but what a pain to harvest!!
We had a wet, long, cold spring followed by cooler and dryer summer culminating in somewhat warm but dry start to fall, so I don't know. Climate Change means every year is a new adventure - a box of chocolates, as it were. (Although recently it seems like all the chocolate are coconut filled and half eaten by some other family member and then put back in the box.)
Next year, because there is always a next year for us ever optimistic gardeners, I'm going to still use the new method for areas I want to clear for beds. Small potatoes are great in stew, and I get a new gardening bed out of it, so everyone wins. It still the easiest way I have found to clear big patches for new beds.
I also saw no noticeable difference using stored seed potatoes from my stash and store bought new seed. And my purple potatoes from saved seed did better than everyone else - which was delightful! They are my favorite.
1 year ago