Anne Pratt

master pollinator
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since Apr 10, 2020
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Retired last year, living in Vermont with partner, 3 chickens, 1 aged Chihuahua, and lots of gardens. A baby food forest underway. Perennial vegetables. Berries planted. Plenty of flowers!
Vermont, USA
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Recent posts by Anne Pratt

I said my butternuts climbed, but they also needed help. I wove them in and out on the trellis, and when ignored they proceeded horizontally, tendrils grabbing along the way.
Lorinne, thank you so much. My little Chihuahua, age 20, is declining. He is going blind and deaf and his sense of smell seems to be failing, as well. I have felt guilty for wanting to end it because of his incontinence - I clean up multiple times a day.

His sole joy is lying in the sun on the porch. I expect he may die peacefully at home soon, but your post (particularly about joy) makes me think I should consider euthanasia now regardless of his incontinence.

He can’t frolic outside any more because he can’t see well enough. Even last week he sometimes still did that. So little joy. It might be time.
I’ve seen people “train” summer squash to climb, sort of. But it’s not natural at all. I have butternut and turban (buttercup) both climbing on trellises this summer. I have saved some mesh bags (like onions and potatoes come in) to support them if they get big enough to need it.

I doubt they will. First frost expected this weekend, and they aren’t even close.
Any solar warmth you can add to the coop would be a plus, as would insulation. But don’t shut off the ventilation. They could be in danger from a buildup of ammonia inside the coop. Not that you were planning to make it airtight, just posting a general warning.

If you go the way of nipples, only use horizontal nipples. The vertical ones can freeze up.

I have a small (2 gallon?) heated waterer. It’s thermostatically controlled. It was a lifesaver from having to go break the ice repeatedly. They don’t love drinking from those nipples, but they do it. Mine also get mash made with warm water in the morning, and this is a big favorite. They also eat snow!
4 days ago
It’s hard to add anything to what Jay has advised!  It’s hard to raise your chickens from afar. There are several ways to get them all in before closing the door at night, but not if you are off site.

Having a light inside the coop that goes off after the door closes, as Jay advises, is a good method. They’re attracted to the light, can see their way in, and as long as it goes off before they go to sleep, it shouldn’t disrupt them.

Can you shut the barn doors and make it harder for them to go elsewhere?
4 days ago
Many people will tell you that landscape cloth does let the roots through!  I think it would work.  Just don't use it for its intended use.  It keeps weeds down for a year or so, then the falling leaves, mulch, and whatnot join with weed seeds to grow on top of it.  Pulling that whole mess up requires serious strength!  So at least for crabgrass, creeping Charlie, and dandelions the answer is yes, the roots will go through!

I don't know much about air pruning, but I'm sure someone will be along who has experience with it.
1 week ago
All good advice!

I think it's going to be essential to stay dry.  Wet and cold is a disaster.  And have a contact, someone who (when they don't hear from you when you are supposed to check in) will send the rescue folks. Cell phone service is likely to be quite hit-or-miss; you might want to consider a satellite phone.  

Getting around in the snow/ice of winter is so much harder.  Snowshoes and microspikes are important.  You're in for broken bones if you're traveling on ice without cleats.  Yaktrax are great for around town on ice, but in the woods you need to step it up a bit.  As others have mentioned, keeping warm will require more calories.  And hot food makes a huge difference.  

I'm jealous.  I wish I had done this, when I was younger.  Not so likely now.  
1 week ago
I would focus on plants that provide necessary nutrients, including protein.  Amaranth is not perennial, but it self-seeds prolifically, and the seeds (and I believe, the leaves) are high in protein.

2 weeks ago
Knowing nothing about the land in your part of the world, I can only suggest that you plant native species and give them an extra boost. Maybe amend a small patch, water it (not too much) and give your favorite natives a chance to catch hold. Maybe they will build a fertile or even a water-harboring spot and take hold and spread.

This post reminds me of the homestead
Featured in Gaia’s Garden, where the family carefully directed their water and created an amazing, lush, shady, beautiful homestead right in the middle of the desert!
2 weeks ago
Researchers have pondered this question, and looked into what is likely to happen in a major disaster.  They look to what people do in disasters of smaller scale.

People have a tendency to band together, help each other, and promote community in disasters.  Of course there will be outliers - there are always people who feel outside of their community.  The television, movies, and even "Lord of the Flies" teach us that it's every [wo]man for himself.  That's not how it tends to work out.
2 weeks ago