Tony Jennings

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since Oct 04, 2018
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homeschooling kids forest garden trees books solar woodworking homestead
Western Washington
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Recent posts by Tony Jennings

I know that everything I've seen says not to use cedar for garden building due to the chemicals it exudes to stomp out the competition.

That being said, I live in the pacific north west and can get a virtually unlimited supply of western red cedar.

I understand that the living trees exude this chemical.. but I'm wondering if they actually exude them... OR if the wood itself contains said chemicals.

It seems to me, just looking in the forests where I live, that the wood/bark/leaves probably don't contain said chemicals as mushrooms, moss, and a variety of plants grow right on dead cedar trees.

So.. my question is if anyone here has actually tried using red cedar bark/wood/chips/sawdust in composting or soil building and if they have seen any adverse results?

I'm trying it on a small piece of the property currently just to see for myself but am hoping someone else here has tried it and could share their own experience.

1 year ago
I wish I had more to offer... but the only composting that I've done is sheet mulching (gathering all the leaves on our property and other peoples property and covering them with a bit of soil in late fall then planting shallow rooted plants come spring and deeper rooted plants come summer... this worked very well) and what you call cold composting (my piles were hot... but I tended to layer garden scraps (weeds and end of season plants with kitchen scraps and pee) and that produced very nice compost for me as well. If you live in a dry area be sure to water the compost pile once in a while and/or leave it uncovered... and if you can't mix green/brown and get plenty of moisture no turn composting takes a lot longer than you would think.

After learning about hugelkultur and simply using arborist "waste" as per a video called something like edens garden I'm trying both of those... I wish I had chickens! (I'll get there...).

From what you are doing you might want to consider using a service such as getchipdrop to have arborists come and dump off a mass of chips/leaves/etc that you can throw down on the soil before moving your chickens onto them. I'd expect that to help build your soil significantly faster and be less relative work (though moving 10 to 20 yards of chips/leaves is work... it's not that bad).

Hopefully someone will have had experience with everything you list and be more helpful than I could be.
1 year ago
We are too far out in the county (and live down a long twisty road with trees hanging overhead) for trick or treaters.

I couldn't justify giving out candy... but might consider handing out sticks, plants, and subversive literature... or maybe kittens!
1 year ago
If you get enough candy and have a still you could turn the candy into drinking vodka or ethanol fuel.
1 year ago
Any chance you could provide a link? I searched for a variety of things and could not find it.

That being said, lots of information on Permaculture there.
1 year ago
I cannot really speak to burying it directly into a garden, but when I still ate meat on a regular basis I put meat, bones, etc. into the compost pile without any issues.

If you worry about drugs pumped into animal meat then I'd recommend a second compost pile that sits for a longer period. This is what I do for humanure compost (an excellent book for a solid alternative to modern plumbing and/or compost toilets).

If you think about it, animals die in the forest all the time and they simply either get eaten by other animals or disolve into the soil... and forest soil tends to be excellent due to the layers of leaves, animal droppings, dead plants, and decomposed fruit and animals.

Hopefully someone further along this path will have some knowledge of using meat directly in a garden... but if not hopefully this helps at least somewhat. To prevent smells in my compost pile I simply used a container with a foot pedal in the house for food scraps and layered sawdust on top of things to kill odors and keep fruit flies away.
1 year ago

Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote:... I think that "more money and more luxury for you" speaks to the average person much better than "it's good for the planet. Do it please." ...

That's actually what got me into permaculture... or rather "spending less money and having more free time to enjoy life with my family". After outlining my cash flow, cutting unnecessary costs, and reducing necessary costs I was left with food, energy, and taxes as remaining costs... so I started focusing on reducing food and energy costs and eventually found myself growing more of my own food and finding ways to reduce energy needs.

Showing people how to cut their food and/or energy costs in a way that doesn't require huge changes does speak to people... and once you get them interested they might consider more off the beaten path methods. A local group (meetup, craigslist, farmers market, etc.) based on such ideas could work quite well depending on the area.
1 year ago

Rufus Laggren wrote:I think people are fairly willing to lend help, whereas, they're really not much willing to get talked at.

Definitely agreed. Personally I think this is in good part because those willing to hear what you have to say are the very ones willing to help out.

Rufus Laggren wrote:I guess whether those stories mean anything depends on where each of us are at the moment. I myself have seen how speaking what one loves and truly believes w/out any (or a minimum) self serving strings attached can really affect people. The story ends with an adjuration "Those who have ears, let them hear!" I always liked that last when I was a kid, though I wasn't sure why anybody with ears needed that advice. Now I think, yes, we _do_ need a prod sometimes. <g>  And it's probably better to step out in front of anybody and everybody because I don't think we really know ahead of time who the good listeners are. Besides, it's a journey, anyway, right?

I may be an athiest... but all of the books of the organized religions have a ton of amazingly good information within them.

As people, I believe that our ability to perceive new information depends very much on where we are currently. Some people will have ears to hear you now. Some might not have ears that can hear you until far in the future... and some may have ears that do not hear you because they are way past where you are... but you might have ears to hear them.

I love striking up random conversations when I'm actually out in public. Sometimes I learn a lot. Sometimes I find people that can learn from me. And sometimes I find people that can teach me some new things while learning from me themselves. Knowledge isn't a static thing on any particular subject. With our limited life spans it is almost always true that if you keep an open mind and actually listen you can learn from almost anyone if you have "ears that hear". A single accurate observation that you haven't yet to experience can open new doorways.
1 year ago
My mom has the same problem with them... "It would make it look like I live in a cave!"

I finally got her past that hurdle by noting that you can do the outside however you want. Fortunately, she and dad were contractors and after I explained that we could finish the outside however she wants she finally got on board. Of course, we won't be putting it in until next year as I have to tear out a wall and a section of floor... and we just started the rainy season so that isn't the best idea right now.

Cob is like earth... once you have it set up you can frame it in with wood, make it look like tile, or make it look just about however you want. With the right finishes you could probably make a RMH look like a stone gargoyle standing on a parapet with a bit of artistic skill...
1 year ago
Being on a few very non normal paths (permaculture, common law, voluntaryism), I've found that trying to convert the unwashed masses, especially if you approach people you don't know, is typically like beating ones head on the wall.

The Wheaton Eco Scale thread has some good information on this.

If you want to approach people you don't know your best results will likely come if you have a good idea of where they are now and what kinds of things you could talk to them about that wouldn't make them immediately write you off as crazy.

When I was younger I used to talk to people about various things outside of the norm... and my success rate with people that knew me very well, liked me, and thought I was fairly intelligent was pretty much zero. Not because I didn't know what I was talking about, not because I couldn't explain the ideas clearly, but because they were not in a place where my ideas could be comprehended.

I'd agree with those that have said to show by example. Start doing visible things and people who are within a few levels of you (ready to potentially be exposed to what you are doing) will find you and start asking questions.

Of course, follow your heart... but you will probably find more success if you can figure out how to reach people who are ready to hear what you have to say or see what you have to show them. That is one of the very nice things about the internet... if you know what you are talking about and write about it people who are ready to hear it will find you.
1 year ago