Andrew Mayflower

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since Oct 13, 2017
Northern Puget Sound, Zone 8A
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Recent posts by Andrew Mayflower

Weight is the biggest problem with metal pipe that I can see.  Cost would be the other issue as it's likely to be more expensive than PVC or wood (especially if you have scraps of the latter, and/or need to buy tools to bend/form/join the metal).  But, if you have access to thin wall pipe and fittings/tooling for cheap go for it!
12 hours ago
Wife got 5 of the 72 cell seed starters planted tonight and on the grow mats  Lots of various peppers, plus broccoli.  Some of the slow tomatoes will also go in soon, plus cabbage and rhubarb.  Once those are out of the starter cells off the grow mats we'll start the remaining tomatoes plus herbs, cucumbers, and anything else not direct sown outside.
Thanks.  Grow lights arrived today, heat mat should be here Monday I think.  We're going to get the potting soil ready today and figure out how many more raised beds to build.
Got the seed order yesterday.  SWMBO got quite a few peppers.  At least some of the seeds are good for 3 years, so we won't plant them all this year.  Looking forward to seeing how it goes.

Marco Banks wrote:
We lost a couple of birds to coyotes last week (I know, in Los Angeles none-the-less) and one of them was badly injured.  I put her out of her misery, and then proceeded to clean and process it.  A couple of things surprised me.  1.  How small the actual dressed bird was when I got it all cleaned.  It was a Bar-Rock, and with feathers, she looked to be about 4 or 5 pounds.  But once processed, she was maybe half that.  She was all fluff.  

We lost 7 last week in coyote attacks.  4 were carried away, one (a French Black Copper Maran) was stiff when we found her, so I didn't think it was a good idea to try and salvage the meat even with as cold as it was that night.  One of the Barnevelders I had to put down due to a gaping wound in the neck.  She was about 11 months old.  I didn't weigh the cleaned carcass, but I'd be surprised if she was more than 3lbs dressed out, probably 2.5.  Like you said, mostly fluff.  I gave that to my neighbors though as I didn't think the kids would be OK with eating her.  The trauma of discovering the attack was still too fresh.  One of the old (almost 4 years old) Austrolorpes died several days after the attack from her injuries and/or shock.  We chose not to eat her, and will instead plant something over the spot we bury her.
1 week ago
Can't help much on sheep, goats or pigs as far as particular breeds.  But for chickens, I'd look to breeds that are sufficiently cold hardy to handle the occasional dip into negatives.  Most will probably be OK with that.  But also consider how hot your summers get, and make sure the chickens can also tolerate the heat.  NC can get toasty, and quite humid.  Most chickens will actually tolerate the cold better than the heat.

Here in the northern Puget Sound area of Washington (which, granted, doesn't as cold in winter, or as hot in summer) we've had good success with various Wyandotte breeds, Austrolorpes, Barnevelders, Welsummers, and Marans.  All have been good layers and have handled the weather just fine.  Only problems have involved a recent coyote attack that killed 7 of the 26 hens.

I think Justin Rhodes is in your general neck of the woods, and he seems to like Austrolorpes as a dual purpose breed for that area.

I don't know if chickens eat ticks as we just don't have a problem with them here, but guinea fowl are supposed to be the #1 farm animal for people with tick problems.  But they're also close to the #1 animal that people are glad when they're gone due to the noise they make.  If I had a tick problem I'd seriously consider getting some guineas, but probably would only get them occasionally and only long enough to reduce the local tick population enough to not be a problem for a couple years, then I'd slaughter or sell them.

For sheep, one thing I've learned on here is that they will clear brush.  Maybe not as preferentially as goats, but they will eat it when they run out of other things they prefer.  So, if you would prefer sheep over goats (sheep usually are easier to fence in, and less troublesome in general) that is something to consider.  With both goats and sheep though you need to do something to protect any trees you don't want them to damage.
1 week ago
Further to my location comment, you may well find that one 20 acre parcel is sufficient to your needs, while another immediately adjacent might be wholly inadequate.  So while macro environmental effects of locations matter a lot, extremely local variations can also make or break a given property, depending on your goals.
1 week ago
The land required will, as mentioned, depend a lot on your goals.  But it will also depend on the location.  20 acres outside Columbus, Ohio is very different from 20 acres outside of Phoenix.  That land in Ohio might be able to support an NFL team with food.  The land in Arizona probably wouldn't keep a family of 4 from starving without massive irrigation (which is not exactly permie friendly in that location).  

Also, think long and hard about how much time you really can afford to spend working on the land.  It takes more time and effort than you might think.  The ability to buy and/or rent machinery can dramatically affect this calculation.  Money is really tight for us right now, so when we put in a water line to the chicken coop we dug the trench by hand.  What would have taken about half an hour with a properly sized Ditch Witch took over a week (because with kids, homeschooling, job, weather issues, early sunset this far north, etc we could only work maybe an hour a day on it).  Cleaning up our side yard of blackberries, and debris from felling trees has been a herculean task to do by hand.  If I could afford a mini-excavator or similar piece of equipment I could easily accomplish on a Saturday what I struggle to accomplish in a month without any machinery.  
1 week ago

Colleen Oleary wrote:I like to put chicken in heavily salted water for a couple days. The salt preserves and tenderizes the meat and also gives beneficial probiotics.

I dry brine most of my meat.  Much easier and less consumption of fridge space vs wet brining.  And studies showed you get moister meat from dry brining.  Sometimes it's as little as tossing some salt on the meat moments before it goes in the oven/grill.  Sometimes I start the brining 2 days before cooking.  Smaller pieces of meat (e.g. chicken thighs, small steaks) don't need as much time as, say, a whole turkey.

If you want to tenderize meat long cooking at low-moderate temps will allow the connective tissues to break down resulting in tender meat.  Keeping it covered, and sometimes using liquid, can prevent excessive drying of the meat during the prolonged cook time.  Liquids also moderate temperatures as the boiling point is as hot as it will get.

I braised elk cheeks when my daughter shot her first elk.  Cheeks are some of the toughest muscles, short of shanks.  A few hours in some red wine and veggies and it melted in your mouth.
1 week ago
Well, we have a heat mat and grow light ordered, several seed trays, and some other stuff.  I know my wife included probably 3-4 peppers in the seed order.  Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.