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Erica Colmenares

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since Feb 11, 2018
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goat forest garden chicken
We're transitioning to a wooded Tennessee property (currently living in a Nashville apartment). We have a son (born in 1997, now out in the world) and a dog (standard poodle, SO not a rural animal). We're interested in food forests, chickens, goats, and, well, everything (we're total newbies to permaculture).
Charlotte, Tennessee
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Recent posts by Erica Colmenares

Heidi Schmidt wrote:There are lots of great thoughts in this thread!

I really love almost everything about our house, but mostly because it's ours and we've made it a cozy, peaceful place of happiness, and we see it as our forever place to do what we want, instead of thinking of painting things beige in case we sell. (ick)

This is such a good point, that one big element is making the house your own, to fit your needs and family, not the norms of how homes are usually used, decorated or built.

Another thing I learned from this thread is that even when you're starting from scratch, you probably have to compromise. We broke ground last week on our house. It has many things that we love, and is missing some things (the root cellar, the extra-awesome windows, the accessory dwelling unit) but we're hoping to leave it feet first and our son will have to worry about repainting the teal walls.
Thanks, simple sounds good.  I wonder if I'm cooking it too long (or too low heat?). Mine comes out slimy. Maybe it's just one of those mushrooms that tend that way.
2 weeks ago
Not sure this is the right place to post about cooking, but ...

We live in an apartment, and don't yet cultivate or forage mushrooms But I get mushrooms each week as part of our CSA. I have no trouble cooking with oyster mushrooms or shiitake, but the two times I've tried with the Lion's Mane, I get a slimy mess. Any favorite recipes?
2 weeks ago

Kc Simmons wrote:What will be naturally growing during Jan-March in the designated spots? I would think that would be the most relevant time period to deal with clearing prior to sowing.
If you have the budget to rent a tiller or disc-er, i would, in that situation, probably do a one-time soil disturbance and mix the organic matter into the soil (and probably spread a layer of manure or compost prior to tilling/disc-ing/plowing. Then sow the seeds in hopes of them getting a head start before the seed bank in the soil has a chance to get going.

I don't really know what would grow there naturally. The whole area is wooded. Disturbed edges typically get poison ivy, blackberry brambles and lots of mullein. The tilling sounds do-able. We could definitely rent a tiller. The soil is primarily clay, but it will have two cover crops worth of mulch prior to sowing the pollinator mix.
3 weeks ago
First, let me just vent that I wrote a long, eloquent post and then accidentally closed that window. Taking a big breath and starting anew. :-)

Second, good news, just got a call from our local NRCS agent that our cost-sharing grant for about an acre of pollinator meadow was approved. We have three areas, each around a 1/4 acre, that we started to prep last fall. It used to be woodland, and then served as three timber decks for logging operations a year ago (arranged prior to our purchase of the land). Our USDA agent and a biologist came out last summer, measured the land and came up with a plan to have three cover crops prior sowing perennial seeds. This is the perennial seed plan for Feb/Mar 2021.

The NRCS plan also called for herbicide application prior to the final seeding. I told both the agent and the biologist that I was going to try to avoid that. I have been doing a little research, and even organizations that you think wouldn't use herbicide for new meadows recommend herbicide use. Like the Southeastern Grassland Initiative, Quail Forever, Knepp Wildland ...

So far, we've done two rounds of cover crops. We got advice from y'all here last fall, and sowed winter wheat, rye, clover and buckwheat. We did a second cover crop seeding early this spring (which the turkeys primarily enjoyed - twice!). I've been spot-pulling small shrubs and trees that are sprouting up, and am waiting for my scythe from Scythe Supply to do a chop and drop.

Here's what one of the areas looked like in May (with dog!) and July (with mostly-hidden turkeys).

Would love suggestions for non-herbicide plans that would increase our chances of success. It's really just 56-yo me doing the work. I have lots of time, and a little money to throw at this. We don't have any big machines, no tractor or anything. We also don't have water on site, but Tennessee does have pretty regular rains, especially during the winter.

3 weeks ago
We're in an apartment in the Bellevue area of Nashville now, but our place is west of town. I'm camping out there now, but will message you when I am back home.

As for the tool, I mostly want something to help while I'm waiting for the scythe, but since the turkeys have eaten most of the cover crop seed, it's no longer emergent.  
1 month ago
I just ordered an outfit from Scythe Supply too - I'm pumped! The kit does come with The Scythe Book. I'm glad to know it's worth reading.

Any suggestions for a short-term non-gas tool to use on to cut dead winter wheat while I wait? I should have ordered months ago!
1 month ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:We buried our beloved dog Izzie in the family cemetery the day before yesterday. She was sixteen.  On the other side of the fence are large rocks under which is buried my sister's horse, who was in her early 30s.

What a beautiful dog, and the perfect resting spot. <3
1 month ago

Matt Todd wrote:I only have a couple tidbits from my experience and research:

This video is super detailed on how a collection system and attached cleanout works (automatically discards the first x-gallons of water from a rain shower since that's the water that cleaned the crap off your roof first.) .

Thank you so much for this video link. I love the guy's tone, and that he left in the mistakes and "oops" moments, as well as talked about his thought processes.
2 months ago

Josephine Howland wrote:My neighbors have four dogs, a great Pyrenees, a huge I don't know what and two Bassett hounds. They bark for hours on end. to the point that we've contacted the animal control officer and the sheriff The sheriff had to explain to them that after 1/2 hour they are breaking the law. They claim that they are guardian livestock dogs so the law does not apply. They have chickens, 3 fainting goats, and a horse. I say that if the dogs do not live with the flock then they don't qualify as LGD. They sleep in the house, not the barn. The one deputy agrees with me. What say you?

The barking is what I'm most worried about with LGDs. We'd really love to get one, but our nearest neighbor is 500 ft from our house. That's too close if we have a dog that barks all night. Supposedly the Colorado Mountain Dog, a new breed, is being selected for less of a bark instinct. Of course, maybe if the bark is gone, so is the protection?
2 months ago