George Yacus

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since Sep 27, 2018
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I'm a Navy Veteran and beginning hobby farmer who is passionate about developing truly sustainable systems.
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Recent posts by George Yacus

I'm not yet a beekeeper (I still have hundreds of pages to read through in the book, "The Beekeeper's Bible" before I attempt anything), but I recall reading elsewhere that bees take a sort of "bath" in Mentha spp. (mint).  That the oils somehow help bees clean the mites off.

And my gut says that, like humans, diet probably affects the immunoresponse of our fuzzy insect friends, too, so I would think having a broad range of forage plant types would best help bees be healthy in general and fight off the viruses carried by Varroa.
1 month ago
Those flowering charts on the Balkan Ecology website are a fantastic resource for permaculture design!

I like how the trees are also separated by Fruit and Nut, Nitrogen fixing, and Ornamentals.

It just reminded me of Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier's book, "Edible Forest Gardens, Volume two"

Appendix 3 of that book has several lists of species-by-function.

One of the functional tables is a Nectary Calendar (pages 545-549), so designers can ensure bees, birds, and beneficials can have food from April through October.  More food for them is more honey for us!

1 month ago
The thing about wildflowers in pasture, I would think, is considering the timing of it all.  

In other words, taking into account exactly when ones' herbivores are going to be added to the paddock to mow it down.  And that, of course, depends on the types of existing pasture grasses: cool season vs warm season, as well as frequency of paddock rotation.

So what some folks might want to avoid is paying big $$$ for a mix of annuals, only to have them grazed right as they are about to flower and generate maximum pollen or nectar for the bees; since then they would neither produce bee fodder, nor go to seed, and you'd have to start from scratch every year.

That being said, for a general idea of which flowering plants are great to consider, check out the non-profit Seed Savers Exchange:

You could then examine which flowers are in the mix, and determine which would beeee best for your pasture.

My family planted 5lbs of this seed last in various places with hopes of long term self-sowing and spreading, and the summer flowers were very brilliant.  It includes both annuals and perennials.

Take note, however, that it's meant to be in a managed meadow or border setting, and not mixed into ones' pasture as the original poster desires.  So clover remains most appropriate for pasture systems.
1 month ago
You're very welcome.

If you find pests, simply knock them off with a spray bottle or crush them.

One more thing I just learned watching this video:

Leaves can curl the way that yours are due to photosynthesizing faster than their roots are able to take up water.  The curling apparently is a way that the plants attempt to block light.
1 month ago
I'm excited for you!  I absolutely love thornless blackberries!  

Fun fact: Did you know you can propagate a new plant using that long shoot shown on the right of your picture?  If you cover him up in the middle with some soil, he'll grow new roots and then you can divide it. Research  Serpentine or Tip Layering for more info.  

Yay more plants for everyone!

I'm not (yet) a plant whisperer, but to address your concern:

1) It's normal for plants to experience stress after transplanting, as the roots regrow into their new soil and the plant adjusts to its new conditions.  Your little guy also has fruit on it, so energy is split going to both develop the roots and develop the fruits. Fortunately, blackberries are pretty hardy plants, and it looks like most of the leaves on your plant have a nice deep green color.  

2) Sometimes leaves curl because of pests.  Take a close look at the leaves and stems and nooks and crannies and verify there are no abnormal crawlies.

3) Sometimes leaves can curl due to overwatering or underwatering.  Just a guess, but that soil looks mighty damp and dark, which makes me think the former.  Try watering in the morning (it helps prevent fungus), but before you do so, dig a little away from the plant first to see how damp the soil is a couple inches down.  A healthy mulch can help with retaining moisture more evenly.

Lastly, can you tell us more about how you transplanted it:
a)The hole size and depth in comparison to the plant's original pot?
b)The soil used?
c)Which side of the house it is on?
d)Any soil amendments or fertilizers applied?

1 month ago

Carolyn Miller wrote:

It's now getting ridiculous, I have to pull out their new construction every 2 days. If I don't the pond will dry up as the exit dam has a few leaks at the base, plus evaporation takes its toll.  I can see the water level drop about a foot in a day when the beavers block the inlet.  So does anyone have a good method of keeping the inlet open?

Maybe this is a mixed blessing, and you can use Principle 12 to "creatively use and respond to change"?

More water stored uphill is generally a great thing from a permie perspective.  Especially if it is created with free labor!  I have beavers and I am hoping they'll work just a little higher each year in my own landscape in order to assist in future gravity irrigation possibilities, by building new ponds in the landscape for instance.

Other thoughts to help prevent worrying:
If the watershed's water source (input) is fairly constant, then all the water that the beavers are impounding upstream has to go somewhere, right?  I would think that it must eventually saturate into the landscape and then run down the watershed into your pretty pond, and/or evaporate or transpire off.  So I would think that, eventually, after the beavers have sufficiently started their new pond, your current pond will naturally rehydrate again.  They may also make natural fish passes if you are lucky.

But from a system perspective, focusing on fixing the outflow (the leak) and resiliency may be more beneficial in the long run than focusing on the inflow side.

1) Keeping the fish alive.
2) Fixing the leak in the pretty pond.
3) Mitigating inlet flow to ensure 1 and 2, to get a pretty pond.

For Goal 1, perhaps now is a good time to assess whether there are sufficient (long term) deep water kettles and temperature havens in case of drought?  

The PaDM shows examples in Chapter 13, Figures 13.5&13.6

Perhaps a small backhoe could dig fish refuges and disturb and distribute the clay closer to where the leaks are?

An aeration plan could also mitigate and give you more time for a long term fix if the water level gets dangerously low.

For Goal 2, Geoff Lawton had a video or two on using ducks' manure to fix a leaky dam.  I think pigs and cows have been used in other videos to help with the gley.

So perhaps if you have animals, you could let them manure the pond and increase compaction at the dam as the water level drops.  

Maybe now would be a good opportunity to focus on the downhill side of the dam to see if it needs some vegetation maintenance?

Perhaps there is a sector with evaporative warm winds and sun, which may be better blocked with trees to reduce evaporation?

For Goal 3, to buy you time, and depending on the height of the impounded uphill water, rather than destroying their work, consider jamming some long metal conduit or piping through the lower half of the beavers work to get a slow leak going.   As other permies have noted, extending piping (plus exclusion devices) further from the dam is best, and expect the beavers to put sticks and mud into and around any piping.  Make it hard for them to do so using wire netting or hardware cloth cage.  You could also consider getting a super long flexible pipe and go way further up the creek to help bypass their system.  When you are ready to get the water flowing after making fixes downstream, then just lower the uphill pipe.
1 month ago
Forgot to list Dave Ramsey's Baby Step 7...

7) Build wealth and give.

Essentially: 3rd Principle + 3rd Ethic
1 month ago
I personally would research and follow Dave Ramsey's advice regarding financial peace, but without paying for custom services...I'd just listen to free audio, YouTube, read the website, etc.

Baby Steps website:

Financial Peace Video:

Baby Steps summarized/reinterpreted:
1) $1000 Emergency fund
2) Pay off all debt
3) 3-6 months of fully funded emergency fund
4) Investing at 15% of income into retirement
5) College fund for kids--(I'd skip this since no kids)
6) Pay off home early--(For a permie mindset, it's at this point I would find land and build up a homestead in a state with no income tax)

My guess is, with $5000 saved, I'm probably still on step 2 or 3.  So I'd keep on working, budgeting, and saving.  Each day I'd keep my budget in check.

Until step 3 is complete, I personally must try to eliminate as many monthly expenses and vices as possible to save up.  

I'd read Appleseed Permaculture's article on the 8 forms of capital, and figure out which areas of capital I am lacking in, and which I have a surplus in, to see if there is a way I can trade for higher value:

For hobbies and freetime and the occasional celebratory gift to myself, I would look to spend my time/money only on stuff that can help me with both the 3rd Principle and the 3rd Ethic of Permaculture: Obtaining a yield, limiting consumption, and eventually being able to return any surpluses:

 -Gardening: buying seeds, long-lasting tools which are useful to my situation, practicing guerilla gardening/community gardening.

 -Cooking: Raw or bulk dry goods for food for a couple months for "just in case" scenarios, simple kitchen tools, Dutch oven, learning how to do crockpot recipes and preserve food.

 -Permie-hobbies: I'd buy books, or if space is limited, I'd download an eReader app for digital copies.  I'd practice composting.  Maybe I'd try my hand at raising rabbits, guinea pigs,  or laying chickens.

 -Charity to others: especially if it develops my skill sets or any of the 8 forms of capital.

 -Spiritual development: being prepared to meet my maker.

For step 4, there may be dependable companies which have lost significant market capital value as stocks over the past months due to COVID-19, so if all my ducks are in a line, I would buy the dip on stocks which I trust and deem as undervalued and likely to pay good long term dividends....assuming trades are free.
1 month ago
Since they seem to really like the jetty, perhaps suspend a tarp or float a tray underneath the dock.

Or perhaps note where they tend to spend the most time, and construct a comfortable slatted wooden platform over the water's edge with a tray or bucket underneath it so manure can be hosed down into the bucket. Floating platforms are always fun, too.

Or maybe collect the manure inderectly via aquatic plants soaking up the nutrients, and used them as mulch or fodder.
1 month ago