Rachel Gooker

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since May 13, 2017
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Recent posts by Rachel Gooker

Nobody has mentioned sage? Juliette De Bairacli Levy mentioned in one of her herbals. My family has always had terrible black "stain" that develops on our teeth. Dental hygienists always spend a long time scraping at it when we get our teeth cleaned. It doesn't come off with brushing and toothpaste. I rubbed it with a sage leaf though and got rid of most of it. I got my brother to try it. It didn't work for him, but my mom's sage plant that he used was kinda pathetic. Last time I went to the dentist They made me wait 45 minutes past my scheduled appointment time and charged me $40 for the dentist to spend 5 seconds viewing my x-rays (for which they also charged an arm and a leg). That's probably been two years now. It's comforting to know I'm not the only person taking matters into her own hands. I get some sensitivity in one tooth from time to time, but if I take High vitamin butter oil and fermented cod liver oil it normally goes away.
1 year ago
So I read the mother earth news article, bought and read Kiko's book, found some very helpful material online from Sigi Koko, bought these plans... and am still unsure about a few things. I grew up in suburbia and don't have the first idea about wood stoves. I plan to put a roof over my outdoor kitchen (including the oven) at some later date. For now I'll cover the oven with a tarp when it rains. What do I need to get the stove pipe through the roof? Let's assume it's a tin roof on a wooden support structure. I might have access to an old billboard vinyl, but expect that would be even more difficult to reconcile with the stove pipe. Can I buy an inexpensive 6" single-wall pipe to build in for now and cut it off and splice on something else later if I need to? Why are the double and triple wall stove pipes so expensive? would it be less expensive to use metal supports under the tin roofing? Would I still need to use special pipe through the roof?
If you actually see this and actually reply... can you also direct me to where I can learn about the critical components/dimentions of a rocket *STOVE*? Not a mass heater, just a stove. Google... youtube... Permies... doesn't matter where I search for rocket *stove* I always end up with information on mass heaters instead. I just want to be able to can tomatoes outside, not heat a house!
1 year ago
There are some folks who do consulting and mentoring... if you really want in-person that's something you could search for. A dude named Justin Rhodes has been doing a tour of permaculture-related farms/homesteads and posting everything to his youtube channel. He has been in Florida. Some of the folks he has interviewed might be in your area and people to whom you could reach out.
2 years ago
I'm almost done building my chickshaw now. WARNING!: The cut list is full of errors! I had originally planned to rewrite it for you but the quantities of lumber to buy aren't even right and it just got really complicated... And then I remembered reading Pastured Poultry Profits and Salatin refusing to create plans for his broiler tractors. He's a wise dude. It would really be better in a lot of ways if I had just figured out the cut list and supplies list myself. The pictures are very helpful though. And I'm still very excited about the design concept.

Cost does seem to be a problem with it though. I've cut some corners (in a good way, I hope) and am still somewhere between $400 and $500 for this project. Plus $400+ for the Electric poultry net fence. Ufdah! I'm afraid it will be a long time before my "dinos" can recoup that.
A few ideas I've had along the way so far...
You could save a whole sheet of roofing if you reduced the side to side overhang of the roof and/or made the body of the coop even 2" narrower. You only need 18" of one of the sheets, so buy a 10' instead of one of the 8's and save yourself another $10. I'm SSSOOO glad I discovered this roofing stuff btw. Wish I had known about it when I built my broiler pens. I'm going to cover my roof with a $5 tarp and see how that goes though bc. it was getting too expensive.
I used the 1x1 fencing on the sides too and saved myself some $ on hardware cloth.
When I went to attach the wheel wells I realized the whole business would have fewer stress points if the bottom 2x4 on the back of the coop extended into the wheel well/took the place of the back-most 2"x4"x6" bit. Would save you buying two brackets too.
It's definitely worth hunting for the narrower screws! I did not have to drill pilot holes, which saved me a lot of time.
I bought my milk crates, mostly bc. I hate asking for stuff from people I don't know. "Farmplast" was a good place to get them. If you get them at target or something they are not "farm grade." very flimsy.
2 years ago
I was working on a cob oven with my daughter in the ergo thinking that would be a fun homeschool project. Kiko's book is good, but has some real gaps and people making one as a homeschool project might prefer something simpler, shorter, and more practical.
I'm realizing that I need a bunch of bird houses and perches and was thinking about how that would make a great kid's project. lots of designs out there for birdhouses I'm sure, but a permie is going to care about more details like how high and where to place it.
2 years ago
What are your experiences with design? Did you hire someone to do design for you or did you spend more time educating yourself and then do your own? Were mistakes costly, or did it work well to just try something and adjust if it didn't work out? I expect folks are unlikely to be on this forum if they just hired out the work, so feel free to include the experiences of others you might know, not just your own. Do you recommend hiring a consultant/mentor? What would you look for in him or her? Did you read a lot? (If so, what did you read that was most helpful?) Did you do an Internship/PDC? Did you do a design plan all at once up front? What did you implement first? Or did you focus on one project at a time and not worry about an up-front master plan?
I have 3.8 acres. My (modest) goal is to completely offset our grocery budget either by growing the food or selling/bartering excess to buy what we don't grow, while keeping up with all the property maintenance, housework, and providing a rich upbringing for my baby daughter. I've had little success selling or bartering my excess because the community/region is very hobby-ag and big-ag oriented.
2 years ago
I couldn't handle living next to my in-laws, so I really sympathize there. Can you identify some space hogging, low maintenance crop that you could grow on the extra land if you downsized your annual production? preferably a perennial? You could expand your food forest and sell/barter the extra perennial crops for more annuals... assuming you have some like-minded neighbors. Or plant an animal food forest and raise chickens... are eggs easy to sell/barter there? A chicken food forest could also help generate mulch for your annual garden.
A shortage of cardboard... wow. How is that possible?
I sympathize with the nasty grass too. I have similar here in East Texas. It really cuts down on what you can do with a hoe. I've gardened in three locations in the past four years and am REALLY looking forward to being able to benefit from this year's grass eradication efforts next year. I put down paper feed sacks and covered them in pine needles and planted squash in the area where the grass was best established.
BTW you sound like an incredibly industrious person. I have a 8mo. old baby and a 1/10th acre garden, do alterations, housework, etc. and people around here think I work crazy hard!
2 years ago
I'm about to build one of these! I love the concept. Just what I was looking for! No tractor required. Up to 36 bird capacity. Baby-in-Ergo compatible. I have a few points on which I'd value input from anyone here so inclined...
The 26" wheels (rated for 300lbs) are back-ordered, will the 24" ones (rated for 250lbs) work? I bought cedar lumber directly from a sawmill, so it's almost true to dimension and heavy.
This is designed to be used with electric poultry netting paddocks, right? So could I use chicken wire instead of hardware cloth? I wouldn't try to cut that corner except that someone gave me chicken wire and I'd have to buy hardware cloth. This thing is going to cost me $500 if I'm not careful. I'm also not an early riser. I've tried. I'm just not. So I'm hoping not to have to close them in every night bc. then I would have to get up early to let them out.
I've got four bourbon red turkeys I'm growing out for Thanksgiving... I'm hoping they will be comfortable sharing this with the chickens.
Why the white roofing stuff instead of tin? Is it lighter weight?
I do not want to have to buy a hole saw just at the moment, so I'm going to experiment with some other ways to attach the pipe handle. Maybe pipe straps. Maybe using a scroll saw to cut a hook into the 2x4s...
I want ducks somewhere down the road too, so I'm thinking about how the rickshaw design might be adapted to their needs too.
2 years ago
So This is where one would post a response to your article comparing various ways of raising chickens?
This is nit-picky... but you say that Salatin's broiler pens as described in his book (Presumably _Pastured Poultry Profits) are 10x20 and they are actually 10x12.
I don't think it's fair to say that Cornish cross aren't interested in bugs. They are less intelligent and have more trouble catching them, and they are also very interested in the feed trough, but they definitely catch bugs.
I got a 100% survival rate with a batch of 53 Cornish X one year. I *think* that what happened is this... I got the chicks from a different hatchery than I usually did and they were just listed as "cornish cross" not "jumbo cornish cross" which is what I normally get, so I think the genetics vary significantly from one hatchery to another. They took forever to gain weight though, and I was experimenting with using squash as part of their fermented feed. I used a third hatchery this spring and just slaughtered birds that dressed out in the 6-8lb range. No heart attacks or leg problems, but lots of chicks that just keeled over during the first 10 days or so.
The big birds appeal to me because you get a lot more meat per bird slaughtered, and slaughtering yourself is a lot of work and I'm doing it with an infant on my back now... so... BUT I've noticed that the big birds get really dirty, which is not what Salatin describes, and your article made me think I probably need to move them more often and/or not grow them out as big.
Which leads me to another point... You don't distinguish between vegetation eaten and vegetation killed. I'm not trying to clear ground with my Salatin-style broiler pens, but I do notice that the birds trample or burry what they don't eat, and I'm not sure why they would eat toxic plants if their feeders were kept full?
I hope this doesn't put me in the "bashing" category for feedback. I really appreciated your ability to weigh pros and cons, and thought it was over-all a great article. I'm working on establishing a paddock system for my pullets, and establishing lots of food plants for them
2 years ago