Christopher Nickelson-Mann

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since Apr 02, 2018
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chicken food preservation homestead
South Shore, Massachusetts, USA (Zone 6b)
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Recent posts by Christopher Nickelson-Mann

Hi Jas,

Just looked at your picture and it looks like a newly forming SCOBY, not mold. Hope that helps!
1 year ago
I'm growing Sparkle (June Bearing) and Mara de Bois (Everbearing), both purchased from www.fedcoseeds.com. Most are in beds with a generous mulching of woodchips. This spring my husband and I interplanted strawberries in a plum tree guild, along with asparagus. They're not producing yet this season, but the plants look happy so far!

1 year ago
My biggest motivation is the fresh (tasty) eggs that are produced by hens that live and eat well. We occasionally cull chickens for meat, but since we only keep a small flock, it is infrequent.

Second, chickens do a great job helping provide high-quality compost for the garden. They turn the compost pile looking for scraps and bugs, saving me the effort of turning the pile myself. And their manure is another significant source of fertilizer for the garden! It's win-win.

Third, I like knowing that I've taken one more step away from a food system that is broken. I have control over how my hens are treated, housed, fed, cared for, etc. I don't want to support farms/companies producing eggs as cheaply as possible for as much profit as possible.

Fourth is the enjoyment! Chickens are fun to raise and watch. They have definitely changed the way I think about my food.
1 year ago
I doubt that you would have any significant smell to worry about, at least regarding the chicken poop between the cracks of the patio. If managed well, the deep litter method usually does a good job handling the smells. I agree with William Bronson above: "Ultimately I don't think it matters."

The big bonus about building on pavers is the security, particularly from digging predators. I say go for it!
1 year ago
I also have been utilizing wood chips over the past 4 or 5 years to help rebuild the soil, though not nearly on the scale that you have! We go through about 8 yards per year on our quarter acre lot. One thing that I've noticed is how quickly chickens can turn wood chips into compost if they are confined to an area where they scratch and turn over the wood chips regularly -- my chickens LOVE scratching around in it! Prior to having chickens, waiting for the wood chips to turn into usable compost was an exercise in patience. And having chickens for one season made me realize how fast they work their magic. Plus, you get eggs and meat, if you wish.

I'm not saying that chickens are the end-all-be-all solution, but perhaps part of the bigger picture. They have definitely made things easier for me.

I will be planting some squash into wood chip wells, filled with some compost. Glad to know that something similar worked for you!

Best wishes!
1 year ago
My guess is Elecampane... but I'm definitely not sure about it. The early growth looks very similar to the elecampane I have growing. If it is elecampane, the root can be used medicinally. https://www.thespruce.com/grow-and-use-elecampane-1762291

Good luck and hope that helps!

I too am always struggling between organization and clutter. I also have the tendency in seeing the use (or perhaps potential use) in many items that end up staying in my possession longer than necessary.

One book that I found very helpful in the way that I THINK about my mess is Unf*ck Your Habitat. https://www.unfuckyourhabitat.com/get-the-book/

It has not only helped me become a tidier person, but has reframed the way I think about my mess. The author talks about the psychology of cleaning in a very approachable way! Definitely worth a read!
1 year ago

Kamaar Taliaferro wrote:

And Christopher, if you want to resist holler and I'll send you research and reports done by a local journalist against mosquito spraying. He was pretty comprehensive. Your place may use different chemicals, but it may be a decent start?



Yes, I'd love to see the research! Send me a mooseage if you want. Thanks!
1 year ago


I have similar concerns where I live. They do aerial applications with helicopters. Their website publishes information that makes me raise my eyebrows: http://www.norfolkcountymosquito.org/
1 year ago
Hoping to revive this discussion a bit:

I'd also be interested to hear if anyone has successfully grown muscadines or scuppernogs in anything colder than zone 7. I grew up in Georgia and would always go pick and eat the wild muscadines growing here and there. Wonderful memory and I can still smell the strong fragrance in my mind!

I haven't tried growing any here in zone 6, but maybe it's worth a try!
2 years ago