Michael Heywood

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since Nov 29, 2018
Hi to all.  Mike here, I am Southern born but Northern raised, I have worked a number of jobs including videography, and film making, professional musician, graphic design and manual labor. I am a gay man, an athiest, an occasional vegitarian, an amatuer naturalist and I have made several attempts in my lifetime to get back to the land but they were in a phrase, not sustainable.  I will am presently planning for some sort of homesteading-type alliance or partnership again in about 27 months when i qualify for retirement income.  I am still hopeful there is a place for me somewhere, living and working a lot closer to nature that I currently am...I lived in Texas, Virginia and Florida..be well...M
New York City, USA
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Recent posts by Michael Heywood

Chokecherries are toxic to most mammals..the pit contains arsenic although the flesh is very tasty. They even sell pints of chokecherry juice now in my neighborhood..but I'm wondering about a passive feeding arrangement for geese and ducks..anybody have any experience feeding geese and ducks chokecherries? Toxic or no? BTW anybody have other suggestions for shrub sized quick growers for such an arrangement? Hackberries? MulberriesĀ¢? Shredded honey locust pods? How about acorns? Many thanks...
6 months ago
Ducks love sunfish..particularly immature ones so if you have a fishing friend trade them some eggs for a bucket of sunfish pumpkinseed's or crappies whatever you have locally. Release them in a kiddie pool...your ducks will go crazy...remember they are also hunters...sunfish treats might be a great way to behaviorally condition your ducks too. Too much fish will change the flavor other meat and eggs but they need the calcium and fish hunting is a natural behavior for ducks..happy ducks happy farm. Enjoy. Mike
6 months ago
Great stuff on this thread. My little 2 cents is that I recall a Massachusettes based project that was raising tilapia in nothing more than a pool covered with a plastic dome in the 70s and the thermal mass of the water alone was keeping the habitat in the high 60s farenheight even in the dead of Winter with no other imputs..and Massachusettes can or used to get pretty cold. I hope the details are enough for you to research some articles. Best of luck.Mike
6 months ago
Hi Dillon..no you are not coming across negatively at all. I perhaps didn't elaborate on all my thoughts..sometimes people just get stuck in the details and miss the larger theme..I certainly have no intention of handing over expensive exotics to a person with absolutely no conversation and screening in advance..this is a business plan I'm trying to develop  ...if you raised guppies I'm not going to propose you keep gemsbok..and if you once had beagle we won't be discussing you getting a blesbok. But if you ever showed a heifer at 4h...maybe we can talk about Zebus and if you're a sheep or goat person..perhaps you would find some White Texas Dall sheep up your alley. For more pricey animals there would have to be discussions on appropriate fencing..habitat enrichment and a feeding plan to name a few topics..and then it has to get done..and I'd really like to see somebody woo me with their knowledge of the species discussed...and not with impulsivity that it would be cool to have a bison in the back yard and I'm broke so let's go for it... . Id be looking for candidates with skills knowlege and experience ..somebody in that group would be well to have a biology background..or something like Vet Assistant or AI certification or.lab technician and with at least prior experience handling cattle sheep or horses. Its about being a good risk that you can handle what comes up... And articulate problems when things do go off keel. Someone made mention of my comment about "going on vacation"... What I was getting at is a security plan which is also vital to protect that mutual investment....because sadly I don't know anywhere in the USA where you can leave your gate  open in this day and age and expect to find your tools chickens pigs tractor and exotics to be there waiting for you when you get back. A pair of breeders worth $3,000 to $7000 just won't survive your 6 hour fun day out and to my mind its a team that is best suited for this ....particularly because its a joint business venture..and not an individual one..... I think that's a marvelous idea Dillon.....a buy back of the animals as a safety feature..or an option to buy might instill confidence.....but I feel strongly that if I had a simple lease on the pasture or property it  does not give that landowner a feeling of ownership of that little hoofed outcome when it arrives... ...there's more I might say...but again the idea is still a lump of clay needing features...but the discussion is helpful..so thanks to everyone participating...I've already had a couple inquiries....
6 months ago
Thanks for that Dillon...I'll do some research in that direction and I appreciate the positivity of your response.Mike
6 months ago
Hi Travis. Thanks for the reply and I think you have identified some of the slippery stones in such an arrangement but I think that that a lot of people on this board are intentionally working in a way that pushes the envelope of convention so why not get a little  experimental is my way of thinking...people who already have an established home and ag based business do not feel the imperative as keenly but this will I believe appeal to others.   I think that my first step in this is throwing the idea our to this forum as multiple heads are better than one and i appreciate tour perspectice. And fear not..i already have plenty of experience getting burned in finabcial dealings even when there was a clear contract... But I don't think I'd enter into anything without some legal oversight..and it comes to mind that I would also not put my eggs in one basket either.   Looking aacross this board i see lots of people trying to bridge she gap between landless and landowners...I might be able to remove one obstacle..but I am not talking anything like "welfare". Regarding pricing I actually have been tracking the prices on exotics for more than 40 years and I can attest to the fact that theyve not only held their value but g increased in multiples.while animals bred for the table can be had still very reasonably if today's Craigslist ads are to be believed. I'm slowly warming I feel to do a demonstration project to test the feasabikity of the idea. Something that would be a distant cousin to the ethical bank concept. But we can agree on one thing..sheep are prolific if nothing else..and where you have big ones you soon have little ones. I think they should be definitely the cornerstone of such a plan based on their reproductive rate alone. Be well.  Mike
6 months ago
Hey Dave,

BTW are you the same Dave Burton who wrote the article on impaction in livestock overutilizing low quality forages? If so, nice article. Anyway thanks for that, my reasoning is this, that "exotics" though indigenous animals such as bison bison are also considered "exotic" apparrently, often have healthier immune systems than domesticated species, often birth easier with less intervention, can often utilize marginal land (Gemsbok are amazing animals in that respect) and have generally higher tollerances for climatic stresses especially drought and heat.  Who can say what the next couple of generations will bring climactically, if planet Earth goes a few degrees hotter, exotics may come to our rescue. But yes its also a business tactic, I think very akin to a small producer producing a high value commodity instead of trying to grow corn and soy on a few acres and expecting to survive at that. Also, as I am not a spring chicken myself anymore, I like my money to be more fluid. I cant see buying real estate at my age, an expensive business, messy, taxes and so on, difficult to get out of when you need....who knows maybe I can "Johnny Appleseed" my idea, partner with some aspring back-to-the-landers, and use the next generation of animals to help others get started.  I am in a unique position to do it, (or at least I will be in 27 months and counting.) Be well, thanks for the response. Mike
6 months ago
Hi to all. Im here in NYC at the moment, a Gay man age 59.  I just checked the calendar and I'm 27 months from being able to qualify for the modest end (age 62) of Social Security. What to do, what to do?  I've tried several time s in my life to leave the rat race, I've bought junk land (my fault--my due diligence was weak), battled with ultra conservative neighbors, the "good ole boy" establishment who obstructed any attempts to engage in alternative home building and pesticide free agriculture.  Ive looked at and tried community living twice and found it lacking, due to too much internal politics and too much drama.  I've been back in the city 10 years now, working the usual cruddy soul-sucking job, but now beginning to strategise for the time when I have that social security check coming in. In short, I have an idea that I would like to kick around with anyone regardless of their current situation.    I therefore would like to propose a partnership idea, a joint business venture, with somebody who has (or is willing to buy) land,  but would not necessarily have income for livestock. That is where I would come in. I am particularly interested in raising livestock that many people would consider "exotics", American Bison, White Mouflon Sheep, Blackbuck antelope to name the three primary ones that come to my mind. What about an arrangement where i buy breeders and we split offspring for resale? I have some experience in farming biodynamically but Im not interested in being tied to a property----you want to travel occasionally and so do I, and the more people to provide security (reliable people) the better. Id like a micro house to live in, my needs are very modest.  I like warm weather, trees and bush country will do. I have a biology background and have some small livestock-keeping experience.  I could go on, but in short, I am proposing a solution to help prime the pump---some seed money to help with livestock while you build your infrastructure---Let me know if this is of interest to anyone. Peace!



6 months ago