James Freyr

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since Mar 06, 2017
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books cat chicken food preservation homestead cooking purity trees
Married, no children, and 6 cats. I'm a bit of a jack of all trades having always done my own auto and home repair and have been working in the skilled trades since 2004, currently doing hardwood floors and setting tile. My wife and I love homesteading and pursue it more each year and I love growing my own food. I enjoy books, tea and hiking in the woods.
Middle Tennessee
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Recent posts by James Freyr

Hi Carson!

Can you tell us your approximate location on the globe? Knowing that may help us offer the best advice. I’ll offer my thoughts on your grasses and land. I’m in a somewhat similar situation as my wife and I just bought some land last year that had cows on it for 20 years, but the cows had free reign over the land and no rotational grazing was done, so the cows eat their favorite things and what they find less palatable grows unchecked. My neighbor who owned the cows did mow once or twice a year to keep things like saplings and wild blackberries and other briars from getting a foothold. There are now no grazing animals on my new farm, but I want to put cows back on in two or three years. After I did a soil test and limed the land I’m letting everything there grow and I’m making observations on what’s growing. I have some different cool season grasses, some desirable forbs like clovers and vetch, and also some undesirable weeds like thistle. Come August I'll be making notes of how the pastures have changes and what kinds of warm season grasses are growing and what kinds of weeds are present during that time.

My plan right now this spring is I’m letting all the cool season grasses and clovers go to seed, which they have already done, and then mow the place in the next few weeks or up to mid June. I’ve been manually knocking back the thistles, to keep them from going to flower. It a slight chore, but there are only a few hundred thistles scattered about, not thousands, so it’s manageable but just takes time. If those go unchecked I will have thousands of thistles, and that’s exactly what I don’t want.

I think the trick to mowing is timing. Letting everything go to seed may mean some undesirable weeds keep proliferating. Try to identify what sort of other plants are growing besides grasses/fescues, and find out if some of those are invasive and will make problems worse if they’re allowed to go to seed, or if some are undesireable as forage for grazing livestock.

If your land were mine, I would err on the side of caution and mow to keep things in check. Mowing is not going to hurt the grasses, they’re prolific and relentless. And one more note, if you haven’t done a soil test, I recommend sending some soil samples to a lab for analysis. Something as simple as adjusting the soils pH with lime can really help encourage grasses and a lot of weeds that love acidic soils can find the less acidic conditions undesirable.
35 minutes ago
Your rose bush looks like what they call a cabbage rose or centifolia rose (hundred petaled) and with the white splotches on some of the petals it seems you have a variegated variety. Here's a wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosa_×_centifolia
Hope this helps!
21 hours ago
Here's an update:

Since I'm in the south I did not mulch my strawberry bed this past winter. All the foliage turned brown and died off when winter set in, but come some mild days in February, new green growth started to emerge from the crowns. Now in May, there are strawberries galore out there in the raised bed. The berries are kinda small, certainly nothing as big as grocery store varieties, but the flavor is great.

Yes, I would prune all the branches that have peeling bark, even if they have some green leaf further down the branch past the damage. It's often only a matter of time before that branch succumbs to the damage. To me, one of your photos looks like this branch damage started as a canker that has spread. The tree will respond to the pruning with new growth, and in a few short years be looking real good.

Think of tree bark like our skin. If it gets wounded, infection can set in. Bark is one of a trees first lines of defense from bacterial and viral pathogens that can cause illness and even eventually death in very bad cases.
2 days ago

Chris Kott wrote:

I just had a great idea: what if, instead of carrying around our phones, we tethered them to fixed points at home and at work?


I miss landlines. I kinda want to ditch my cell phone and just have a landline, but my wife wants me to keep my cell phone in case my truck breaks down on the side of the road, or she breaks down on the side of the road and I'm outside of the house. I get it, both valid points, but I remember the 80's where if we were out of the house, we were unavailable. And we all survived.
2 days ago
I'm building a log cabin. The materials kit is being delivered next week, and I have some concern over providing a buffet for the healthy carpenter bee population that I have observed on my farm. The outhouse I built and put on the land six weeks ago already has half a dozen holes in it from carpenter bee drilling. We will be treating the timbers with a borax solution after the house is assembled which will take about 3 weeks or a month, but I need some advice on what I can do in the meantime. I thought about placing some scrap lumber in various places away from the homesite in hope to attract them and lure them away from where I'm building, but it got me thinking that maybe I'll just be baiting more carpenter bees from neighboring land to come over for the abundant nesting habitat.

Interestingly, there are two old dilapidated cabins on the land, one about 100-120 years old made from sawmill lumber, and the other approximately 150-200 years old made from hand hewn timbers with dovetail corners, that don't have any carpenter bee holes in them. It's got me wondering what carpenter bees prefer and why they choose some wood over others. The old cabins are made of oak and poplar, and there was some beadboard in one room that appears to be pine.

Any ideas?
2 days ago
Hey Susan, definitely prune off that branch with the peeling bark like Michael recommended. That branch is sick, and may be already dead. If you look closely at the bark where that branch (or any branch for that matter) where it meets the trunk you'll see the bark texture/appearance change, and this is what's called the collar. I've attached a few photo's & images below to help explain. Prune directly in front of the collar on the branch, and the bark will grow around the wound and over the years the tree will heal.

2 days ago
Redhawk! Congrats on your Ph.D.! I know that was a long time coming, you've earned it and I'm so happy for you! I think that's so cool.
2 days ago
Sprinkling some ground eggshells around can really help deter them. I think it can be more effective when ground into teeny bits (think ground pepper from a pepper mill size pieces) rather than just crushing eggshells into small pieces that are sunflower seed and larger size. Some methods are making a ring of eggshell around the base of the plant. If you raise chickens and eat eggs regularly like I do, it doesn't take long to amass pint and quart mason jars full of eggshell for use in the garden.

Another technique I've read about is using sawdust as it seems to work based on the principle of acting like a desiccant and drying them out similar to salt. The downside is, especially in the pacific northwest, is it soaks up rain and dew therefore becoming useless as a slug deterrent.
3 days ago
Hi Mark, welcome to Permies!

It's possible the canes may be freezing. After reading a little about that variety, the prime ark freedom appears to have low chill requirements for fruiting, and it seems that in some cases a warm spell during winter can cause the canes to wake up just to then be nipped by the return of freezing weather. I don't believe this will ruin the canes, it may just mean no fruit for that following season.