John Hutter

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since Oct 11, 2016
Central Oregon Coast Range, valley side
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Recent posts by John Hutter

Well it is pretty darn repulsive to the average westerner, but really it's mostly a cultural thing a person can get over.  Or for me, it took about 5 bites, despite the very real nauseous knot in my stomach near Iquitos for the first time I ate a locust.  Wait this is like, some kind of extra savory potato chip? Where's the goo and cartilage crunch I was so grossed out by in my head?  Turns out it was just in my head...although I'm sure preparing and cooking them correctly has a lot to do with it, and there's probably some types that don't taste very good.  However, if they are grazed on desirable fruit and nut tree foliage, it seems they'd be pretty choice.  

Turning bugs into duck eggs would best to my palate, but the swarm event seems likely to overwhelm any available bird grazing.  So if a locust swarm ever encroaches in my area, I'm going to get some processing facilities ready and go jellyfishing

Sorry about the losses!  But your well established perennials will be back
1 week ago
A report from the central Oregon coast range;  

Here in the sunny spots I currently get about 7 hours of full sunlight on the summer solstice, which dwindles to about 3 by mid September.  And maybe 40 minutes come mid December if there is any blue sky.

Tomatoes and squash plants which have been selected for success in lower light conditions will do pretty well here.   But if you take a tomato seed that has been growing in 8+ hours of full sun for most of the growing season its past dozen generations, I suspect it will struggle in this light.

What I have totally failed with for years here is peppers and eggplant.  OH GEE, maybe don't buy seeds from Kitazawa (Oakland CA sunshine.)  On the other hand, many of their other plants do great here and are staple vegetables.  Next, Territorial Seed which is located about 25 miles away, was a similar bust with the peppers and eggplant seed.  I suspect every pepper and eggplant seed I have tried thus far needs more late summer and early fall sun to be vigorous.  So I pretty much gave up on cultivating them, though I'm still on the lookout for someone out here with a plant that is producing vigorously under similar conditions.
1 month ago
It's a dead hedge, or it's an early stage living hedge, or it's a barbed wire fence (at this stage.)   Pick a word, any word.

What it is, is a low dollar cost deer-stopper.  It's significantly more labor than putting up purchased woven steel fence, unless the line you want to fence is mostly already a thicket you'd have to clear anyways in order to put up a fence there.

The live part of this one is currently cherry laurel, which is not ideal as the deer like to eat its shoots and it does not have thorns.  The cherry laurel thicket was about 15' wide and as tall in some places, most the way down the line in the photo (and was mostly passable to deer.)

This barrier protects the blackberries, which also need deer protection to start if you are going to grow them into a living fence.  These blackberries are going into their second year and are hardly visible in the photo but they are planted ever 2-3' at the base of this deer-stopper...the soil and water conditions are so poor at this location that even the "aggressive and invasive" erect blackberry needs 5+ years to grow into a barrier a deer won't want to mess with (and that's if you fork and fertilize and it is not grazed.)

The dead hedge part of this one is blackberry canes, oak limbs, and witch hazel limbs.   They make for a nasty tangled mesh a deer won't much try to wade through, and you don't have to do any weaving.  Just kinda prop them up mostly erect if you can, with the thick end of the limb on the ground.

A big buck all jacked up on April growth will out of curiosity jump a 6 foot barrier 3 feet in width here, if it can see it's landing zone.  This hedge is mostly 4.5' to 5' tall.  But it stops the big buck because it's mostly 4 ft or more wide, and there is a single line of barbed wire run through the area they would have to pass through on the way down, if they attempted to jump it.

1320 foot of barbed wire is $75, it lasts 15+ years if not buried (even in this climate) and it can be used repeatedly to establish a living fence.  Only problem is, it's slow and thorny AF to thread a line of barbed wire out of a blackberry hedge that has grown around it.  But it can be done and it's a 1 time thing, and then living fence for life with a bit of maintenance, and barbed wire can be used to establish a new hedge elsewhere.  Even though a 6' barrier is only 133% the height of a 4.5' barrier, making a brush hedge 6' tall needs something like 50% more brush and labor than a 4.5' one, and it tends to collapse faster.  $75 per 1320 feet of barrier at -50% labor investment that can be used 15+ years?  SOLD

Deer do get through the "just enough" fencing method a few times in its preliminary stages, except they only have to land on the barbed wire 1 time, and they will not attempt it again.   Now and then, there will be a hole blasted through such a dead hedge where a deer misjudged and wiped out trying to clear it.  Also, you can use a little observation to know the weak spot they use to jump through if they are, and (I imagine) pretty easily snare a deer.   A person can definately set a scrap ~7ft section of 4' woven fence horizontally and suspended 3 feet off the ground in the landing zone.  One time I was chasing the deer out of one paddock and I saw it jump into the horizontal suspended section of woven fence.  It looked like it might have broken its neck on the botched landing, but it rolled over and got up and ran for its life, with the fence section still hooked on its hind leg.  I had to go like 100 yards into the next property to retrieve my trap  (that deer was never seen again.)

A stretch of former dead hedge, 6 years later.

Best of luck dealing with the deer.

1 month ago
mm bb jj

Marc Maron
Bill Burr
Jim Jefferies

are all kinds of messed up.  But gosh darnit, I am unfortunately so amused

3 months ago
I think giving compacted clay room to horizontally melt/expand can rapidly increase the rate at which it can be made more loamy and useful to plants.  

As a shear or steep clay wall slumps out horizontally over the course of a few years, it creates a lot of porosity in the way of cracks filled with air (rather than only displacing lost height. I think)

A person could take flat pasture land and make it corrugated, with like shear 4 foot box trenches, piling the dug up/tilled earth on the level ground between each trench.   Massive project, but I think in a few years you will have quickly created massive amount root space in otherwise compacted ground that a person can't really get from a till or planting alone (2 or more meters in depth).   A person would also need to plant perennial deep rooters and be sure not to compress the clay while wet or till it again...

Also the amount of rainfall could be linearly related to how much useful melting/crack action is had in steep clay embankments.  Also rock content.  If it's mostly rock, it might not melt much at all.

Best of luck with your clay!

3 months ago
I was so stoked with my water catchments that I made a video for a friend, whose also a Fleck/Thile fan haha

apologies for the mud and muddy waters. Those cuts were still fresh when the paddyponds flooded for the first time in early march of this year. All the ugly mud slopes were healed and green 3 months later (I sow weed seed!) but there was no standing water in the big paddy 4 days after that downpour. Lots of sealing to do on that one yet, whereas I cheated and brushed 25 lbs of sodium bentonite dust into the deep cracks of the dry dry summer clay in the upper paddy and it seems to hardly seep at all now

Also, if a person is going to do the somewhat illegal/dreamy thing and have 2 or more sizable water surfaces within about 10 horizontal feet of eachother and with about 10 feet of elevation difference between them on nothing but earthworks, they should probably be sure to make paddies and not ponds (or maximum water depth of like 3 feet I think?)

I observed the catchment wasn't big enough to flood anything more than the neighbor's yard for like a minute or 2 with a 1 or 2 inches of water in the event of a failure, so fu@% it let's experiment. Upon becoming thoroughly wet and holding back its full capacity of water, the embankment didn't melt. Hurray  

I fastened a madrone log to the end of a 6 foot beaked hazel stick and exhausted myself repeatedly mauling the clay when it was properly damp after rains.  Also bunny hops on the catwalk.  The thing's you'll do in the absence of heavy equipment.

Now I just need to make $$$ for an excavator to do a natural swimming pool, not gonna dig that by hand...and to make the tiny paddies as big as the big paddies (and add like 10 more, after removing more stumps by hand derp) and then seal them so well they hold water all summer and get that upper spillway to feed into a big piece of bamboo, which keeps its elevation and extends into the middle of the larger lower paddy.  Waterfalls! Then when things fill up again its gonna get real dreamy
8 months ago

hioooooooo this makes me happy, because boycotts/Purchasing/Choosing which services to use is like the primary point of contact at which human masses effect the world at large.  

Somebody scheme some ambitiously massive boycott, in which quite a number of bad organizations employing bad people doing bad things would financially implode.  That'd be great!
8 months ago
The ivy didn't seem to spread successfully into areas that were already dominated by Himalayan Blackberry or Quackgrass.  Problem solved lol

So yea, for well established English Ivy, in early summer cut it at the ground and roll it up, prop the ivy mats up off the ground and leave it to dry out and die.  From there you go out and dig up and pull roots that didn't come up with the mat.  Wait until they grow new leaves so you can actually spot remaining roots.  I probably went looking for ivy leaves and digging up attached roots once every 6 months.  2 years later and the former English ivy is eliminated. I still see small plants popping up in mostly shaded places, because there are massive English Ivy plants on nearby properties and the berries travel.

I removed 3 patches of Ivy from this location...the smallest patch was about 200ft^2.   I cut the ivy at the base of three 70-year old Coast Doug Firs like 8 years ago, and all 3 trees still have ugly dead ivy vines hanging from them 30 feet up in the air.  In the former ivy patches I did not plant or manage (save pulling Ivy and Himalayan blackberry) it was first replaced by a tangled mat of Oregon blackberry.   Sword ferns, snowberry, and baldhip rose started after 2 years.   Now it's turning into a thicket of these plants.  So maybe a total-darkness-thicket of these plants established along the desired border will MOSTLY stop English Ivy. haha.
9 months ago
Funny I was terrified of these things my whole life, because they can be like an inch and a half long, they can move around all twitchy like, and look at that giant stabby stinger!........ Turns out, this solitary wasp doesn't bite or sting people, and the scary looking lance is only for laying eggs in wood.  

Dragon fly was having some kind of spaz attack on the porch, so I picked it up and I set it on a Rhododendron leaf for a photo.

Apparently lady bugs like spelt (might just be a safe place to relax and not get eaten by birds.)   Like every other seed head had a lady bug on it.

Spidy Web + Winter Mist + Mushroom = Nature's crystal chandelier.  Granted water is the star of the shot, but the bug element is the foundation it hangs on.  

11 months ago
Maybe I didn't read it here because it is not considered an option, but when it's really bad, go hang out inside a closed room with an operating air filter. Haha.  And don't touch your eyes despite the itch, close them completely and gently massage with a clean cold moist piece of cloth.  I'd get a washcloth just about sopping wet with ice water and just lay it across my face when I was young.  

Allergies and memory lane....

When I was 4, I'd wake up in early June and not be able to open eyes.  Crusted shut, like it would rip off my eyelashes if you didn't rub water on them a few times and wait a few minutes.  Wow, disgusting, poor kid.  Take your pills, and be mostly better in like an hour.  Lucky me, I had pills and the inflammation was concentrated in my eyes and sinuses.  My lungs were good.

I went in as a subject at age 8 for some official pharmaceutical study.  They paid me like a hundred dollars an hour like 25 years ago, to lay on my stomach and not react to itches.  They pricked my back like two dozen times, and then rubbed all kinds of wonderful allergens into the spots.  Turns out I was severely allergic to grasses and cats.  Pine pollen and dog dander were apparently not a problem.  I got some experimental drug and never found out whether I was on the placebo or not.  It didn't seem to work as well as the green and clear pill I had taken during allergy season for as long as I could remember.

I was otherwise healthy, it was just the grass pollen season in the Willamette valley. And cats, and a few trees which were not conifers.

Starting around age 6, most my allergic reactions started to slowly become less severe.  My eyes would become horribly itchy and inflamed at age six, but at least the grass pollen wouldn't cause them to swell shut.  By age 12, I could be outside for like 15 minutes during pollen season before symptoms appeared.  I was still eating Taco bell and all the same old garbage until like age 19.  By Age 19, my grass allergy was gone if I remembered to pop a Clariton.  Next thing I knew, I had lost my cat allergy completely, and had become somewhat severely allergic to dogs, with or without a pill.  Now, if I scratch a dog behind the ears and then touch my eye, it makes for an insanely itchy and grossly bloodshot/inflamed eye, whereas when I was young, I could wrestle with a dirty Labrador and mindlessly rub an eye afterwards and have no allergic reaction.....weird.

I still have a grass allergy at age 34, without a pill it mostly only acts up after like an hour of banging around outside when I can see the clouds of pollen coming off the grass when they are disturbed.  This allergic reaction is today limited to sneezing and snot, it no longer affects my eyes.  Sneezing isn't so bad, but snot is ewwwww, like nobody likes blowing noses in public haha.

While I'd guess most allergies are the result of a health 'problem,' my experience with dogs and cats makes me think many allergies are something else.  Like instead of a "haywire" immune system or otherwise malfunction health, it is a necessary reaction for the body to maintain itself in the moment.  Say the reaction to one animal oil/dander and not another, or one plant pollen and not another, one nut and not another etc is a result of some energy deep in the mind, and not a physiological issue to be physiologically corrected (Ha, that opinion might as well be homeopathy.)   Also, blowing out so much snot that it makes you thirsty a few times per year might be good for a exercise for the excretory system, getting that channel flowing now and then may be dumping some shit other than the pollen which triggered it.

This is not to take away from all the great advice here as to how a person may reduce the severity of the allergies.  
11 months ago