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Lauren Ritz

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since Aug 18, 2018
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Recent posts by Lauren Ritz

They were seedlings, from my sister's dead (seedgrown) tree. Come to think of it, maybe that's why they adapted to my soil so well. She also has heavy clay.

I have a bunch of seeds in the house that I was planning to put in the ground in the fall. I'll still do that.

Four of the six are showing signs of new growth, so survival is possible!
4 months ago
Thanks. I put down goat manure. The ground is still pretty wet from the recent rain. I'm not seeing regrowth yet, but I'm keeping an eye on them.
4 months ago
I certainly didn't intend to make anyone angry. He spent the next hour apologizing.

He's old, bored, and I suspect he's in the first stages of dementia. I need to get my own mower fixed so he doesn't see the need to "help."

At this point I'm more concerned about the trees.

A friend has goat poop. Foliar feeding is out because there's no remaining foliage. Fertilizer maybe, but I don't use chemicals for anything so I'm uncertain. Overdoing the feeding could be just as bad as doing nothing.
4 months ago
Well, technically not a saga. I suspect it could become one.

My drunk neighbor mowed part of my garden, took out my herbs, the watermelons, and a handful of my seedling fruit trees.

Six peaches, to be precise, six of the eight survivors from what I planted over the winter.

My concern is the trees. Watermelons are not even close to being a necessity. The herbs I have replacements for in the house.

What can I do to give the trees the best chance to come back from this? At this point in the season they should be sending all their energy to the roots to store for the winter, and instead they have to focus on new growth.

Any suggestions?
4 months ago
The first greenhouse is done, chickees are 7 months old. The Bielefelder turned out to be a pullet and I was given a Biel rooster. The hatchery/breeder was something else. That was nowhere close to the only problem with them.

I decided to start the water catchment after all, primarily because I discovered that in order to replace the siding all the decks will have to come off. Whoever did the decks decided to anchor them directly into the structure of the house, through the siding.

I have patched the existing siding, but I don't want to wait until I have enough money to replace the decks before getting water catchment in place.

I still don't know how the water runs. The rain we got this year all soaked right in, although I know my soil has a high clay content.

I saw the first bee in my pollinator garden the other day. I hope she brings all her friends.

I've had my first snake adventure, but so far the predators are leaving my chickens strictly alone. Except the neighbor's dog, but that's another story.
5 months ago
I have Mottled Java and Jersey Giant, with a Bielefelder rooster. All large dual purpose breeds which go broody and are good foragers. I am adding Rhode Island Reds and Black Australorp this year to introduce the early maturity and high egg production.

So I have cold hardy, heat hardy, mottled, black, large dual purpose breeds that so far hawks and owls seem to ignore.

I can't say much more than that--my girls just started laying this week. When one of them goes broody I'll make adjustments based on what hatches out.
7 months ago
My girls are almost up to laying age. I have one mottled Java, one Bielefelder (my roo turned out to be a pullet--how difficult is it to get that right on an auto-sexing breed?), and three Jersey Giants. The fourth JJ turned out to be a roo. I got a Bielefelder roo from a friend in the area, and I don't intend to hatch any if the Bielefelder pullet's eggs because of some medical problems that developed as a chick.

I am planning to add RIR and Black Australorp this year, if the BA's ever come in.

I don't want the JJ roo mating with his sisters (no pure JJ's in the next generation) so I am thinking of separating him and giving him the BA and RIR pullets. Not sure yet. At the moment he has a hard time mating, apparently because of the toes lost to frostbite, so it might not work anyway.

That would be 2 population groups that could trade roosters for the next generation, but that would mean building another coop and I don't want to think about that at the moment.
8 months ago
I just finished the basic structure of my greenhouse. It frames the south facing kitchen window, so I want to use the opportunity to experiment with gray water.

The current plan is three layers, each 9-12 inches deep. First stage filtering will be something that creates biomass and roots but not edible (currently using hens and chicks) since it will have wastewater poured over it on a regular basis. Water will filter down through roots, sand and charcoal, draining out the bottom.

2nd stage would be something aquatic or semi aquatic. Rice? That depends on how much water it ends up getting. Currently looks like a LOT. Water on this level would probably come in from underneath and drain through an overflow pipe at the expected water level.

3rd stage would be culinary herbs or some such, but I'm not concerned about that one yet. From there, hopefully drip line to water the greenhouse. Maybe switch 2 and 3?

I would be perfectly happy if I could let the plants do all the filtering, but I know that's probably impractical in such a small space.

Any ideas or suggestions?
8 months ago

John C Daley wrote:Lauren, you may need to look at the way you are fixing the clear sheets to the glass house.
Usually horizontal battens are fix the he joist.
And the joist are turned around for maximum strength.

That's the way I did it on my old greenhouse, and it was a fight getting my helpers to accept it. They "knew better."

This time I did it the other way, and yes I discovered that I would have to add more support for the panels.

This is a learning process. One baby step at a time.
8 months ago
I am getting frustrated with the slow progress, although I have actually accomplished a great deal.

The first greenhouse is nearly finished and the pollinator garden seeded over the septic. I am starting to free range the chickens when I can supervise them. Trimmed an apple tree and started on the cherry. Took out several other trees. I stopped waiting on the people who said they would help me with spreading the woodchips and I am doing it by hand.

Trees are starting to arrive but I am having a hard time sourcing a lot of what I need. So far, three apples, three pears, three chestnuts, an almond seedling, a peach seedling, and an apricot seedling are in the ground. The polycultures will have to wait until I can propagate the plants.

It's early for the seedlings, but I want to see how they do. The almond is struggling with the constant wind, so I'll plant those in another area.

Still trying to figure out a winter heatsource and water catchment. Doing the contouring, slowly. Trying to find a way to get fencing delivered, short of hiring someone.

Lots of etc. I need to remember that I have only been here six months, and cut myself some slack.
8 months ago