M.H. Hilliard

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since Nov 19, 2016
I grew up on a cotton farm north of Lubbock, TX. I teach art at the local college and manage the family farm. I grow a farmer's market garden every summer and tend the university's community garden.
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Recent posts by M.H. Hilliard

I've never, ever, had a thing to do with a rocket stove so my comment may be irrelevant. I'm a potter who fires kilns fueled by wood and natural gas and I always have to consider my 'thermal mass' and how that influences the draft of the kiln. So when I saw all of this horizontal flue ( and I know a rocket stove uses a horizontal flame) I immediately thought that the earth is cooling the flame and as a result you get no draft. The earth is sucking up all the heat and you'd have to have an enormous flame. So...that's my 2 cents worth and it's based solely on my experience with fuel burning kilns but the basic principle is similar. I'd run a straight flue right out under the greenhouse wall and shorten it, a lot.
2 years ago
A couple of years ago I made a raised bed out of an old cattle watering tank. It's 6' in diameter. I made the bed by layering sunflower stalks, manure, wood chip mulch, old hay, and a few bags of so-called organic topsoil from the nursery. Each year I would top off the bed with a half dozen new bags of soil from the nursery until the settling stopped. I built the bed in 2011. It's been 2 years since I added soil and everything is stabile right now. I have nice, dark, crumbly soil! In this image you see peas and jalapenos planted among the 'ollas' that I use for irrigation. The rail around the stock tank was to keep the cows from stepping in to cool their feet! I've found that it takes several years to build the soil in a new bed so be patient with your first few crops.
2 years ago
art
I just finished Donald Worster's book on the 1930s American Dust Bowl. Man, in fact, plays a major role in the making of deserts. Maybe not all  deserts but man does play a role. Check out 'Pan's Travail' by Donald (?) Hughes and see how man's pursuit of wood for classical temple building helped deforest the Mediterranean Basin.
2 years ago
Here's the community garden at the college. Raised beds with drip irrigation and my 'ollas'.
2 years ago
art
Look at similar fruit walls in the Mediterranean area. They look like stone silos with no roof. I guess they protect olive and pistachio trees??
2 years ago
I've had a severe grasshopper infestation in my farmer's market gardens for the past 3 years. What can I do to control them without spraying some chemical pesticide? I've done the Neem oil thing and you might as well spray the critters with fertilizer. Have not tried soaps, yet? Any validity to them in general? The county agent says we're coming out of a drought and there's been no natural biological soil activity to kill the eggs so we're in a plague situation. I have pasture on 3 sides and a grove of trees on the 4th side of the garden. Excellent grasshopper habitat. They start as leaf hoppers and end up as adults so I'm getting all stages.

Mark on the Texas South Plains
2 years ago
And then there's the question of the tattoo....
2 years ago
My name is Mark. I teach art at the local college, specializing in ceramics (pottery) and metal casting. I'm a 53 year old SWM looking for a similar age single female with similar interests and values. I own 76 acres of native short grass prairie and another 20 acres are what's left of my childhood homestead. I'm an ex-cotton farmer with loads of country skills who would like to return home and grow gardens, build greenhouses and make pottery! I need a good woman who would like to help or even contribute her own skills. I don't smoke. I rarely drink (need someone to drink something with I suppose), and no drugs!! I have no tattoos or piercings and I never, ever, ever, ever will! I love to read and study art history. I'm a builder. I make things and I like to make things grow. I'd like to share my life with a good woman. I've attached a few images of my pottery. I make ollas for irrigation in the garden. I also make regular pots for use on the dining table and in the kitchen. So, I have a photo of an olla, a 'lotus' bowl and a freshly made chip/salsa server. I guess I ought to put my own picture on here, too. There's an 'ugly mug' joke in there, somewhere, but it escapes me at the moment. Ha ha!
2 years ago