Wiley Fry

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since Jan 26, 2019
Wiley likes ...
forest garden fish fiber arts
Overeducated house-spouse stuck in high desert suburbia but doing my best to fix it.
Colorado Springs, CO
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Recent posts by Wiley Fry

Judith Browning wrote:All personal opinions about 'conditions' and 'rules' and such aside, does anyone have ideas for where to post Deb's offer for a wider audience?

Ooh, that's a good idea. A few possible avenues that come to mind:

1. If there are any vegan/permie-friendly professors at a local ag college, they might be able to send some likely students your way.

2. If there are any local permie groups/PDCs/etc happening in St. Louis or other Missouri cities they might be able to get the word out.

3. Progressive religious congregations (Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Christ, Reform Judaism, etc.) in local cities might be willing to list it in their newsletter.

4. Student environmental groups at local colleges and universities might be able to distribute it to their members or put fliers up around campus for you.

Most of these options are going to result in candidates who need more training than an out-of-the-box permie, but personally, I'd rather have to teach people about the permaculture principles than have to teach them to value the lives around them. And I'd guess that it's easier to convince someone living in St. Louis to move to rural Missouri than someone living in Vermont.

Trace Oswald wrote:I bought this Gorilla cart for my lady, and we both really like it.  Much more stable than a wheelbarrow, holds more, and it is much easier to pull a load for a longer distance than to push it.  We use it for everything, including moving heavy loads of rocks.  With a heavy load of rock, if you are going uphill, you may have to use one person to push and one to pull, but short of that, we find it much easier to use than a wheelbarrow, and it fits through smaller spaces.  The sides come off easily for flat loads
that won't fit in the cart with the sides on.
Gorilla cart on Amazon

How's it's turning radius? I always worry about agility with four-wheeled carts.
1 year ago

Michael Cox wrote:Sounds like what you need is actually a bike trailer.

Unfortunately, the good people of Colorado Springs seem to have decided that it's really fun to try to run me over with their cars. Being on foot gives me a lot more flexibility in terms of dodging when I need to.
1 year ago
I get coffee grounds from several nearby gas stations, and do about 8 miles a week with a standard $40 wheelbarrow from Lowes. The sidewalks around here leave a lot to be desired and I love the maneuverability of the single wheel. But the sloping shape makes it hard to fit much in there with any real stability. Plus, I've already had to replace a couple of parts. I tried building a Chinese-style one from scratch, but I tried to do it entirely out of wood and kind of gave up once it hit 75lb unloaded.

Anyone have a wheelbarrow/cart that they really like? I'm looking for a flat bottom, high maneuverability, and capacity to hold a decent amount of weight comfortably. I like pushing better than pulling so I can see that I'm not running over stuff, but I can be flexible for a cart that meets the other criteria.
1 year ago
As far as natural fibers go, I prefer linen in the summer and wool in the winter. They both have decent moisture wicking and breathability.

That being said, if I'm outside and the temp is over 80, I'm probably wearing my favorite Royal Robbins "TempraTech" shirt. I got several of them on clearance at REI and they are freaking magic. It's like having a personal air conditioner.
1 year ago
I pulled up everything I could find and put some clover seed down. I doubt it'll be the end of it, but at least it's easier to pull than Canada thistle. Thanks for the nearly-unanimous advice ^_^

As far as your wood chips go it's going to take them absolute ages to decompose. I know, I live close to you. Straw would be a better mulch alternative in my opinion.  I mean I do love wood chips. I have them in my flower garden for aesthetics and weed suppression but they do nothing for my soil.

We've been having very different results in the front yard and the back, and I definitely see what you mean. In the back, they get watered regularly with fish tank water, we have a decent amount of shade, and most of the woodchips are already nicely spongy and myceliated (mostly wild mushrooms so far but we did get a nice big Lion's Mane where we buried an exhausted indoor kit). In the front, where they get more direct sun and I don't get around to watering as often, they look basically the same as the day they came out of the chipper. It's definitely not a "set it and forget it" soil solution, but I love the forestyness (definitely a word) of being surrounded by growing mycelium.
We're on a tenth of an acre in suburbia with no topsoil. We've sheet mulched nearly the whole thing with arborists' wood chips. I've been adding in coffee grounds as I can get them from local gas stations, and watering with nitrogen-rich fish tank water, but growth has been pretty slow for the cover crops and wildflowers we've broadcast seeds for.

The one thing that really seems to love our yard right now is bindweed. What started out as a small patch behind our dog's sandbox is enthusiastically spreading in a roughly 30-square-foot area. My instinct is to leave it, because it's green and it shades the mulch. We're at 6500ft, and direct sunlight around here dries soil/mulch to a crisp in hours.

But I don't want to let it get such a foothold that my future garden is just one big bindweed patch. I've heard a lot of bindweed horror stories. Is a tenth of an acre small enough that I'll be able to manually remove it even if I let it spread, or should I pull it now before it gains sentience and takes over the state of Colorado?
Background: my husband and I live in an 1100-square-foot, 3 story (2 + a basement) completely conventional house in a subdivision. We are working towards doing the early retirement thing and plan to sell this house in 9-10 years. We hope to leave the next owners with a producing food forest and a house that is as green as possible without being so "weird" or high-maintenance that they rip it all out and put conventional stuff back. And obviously, everything needs to be up to code before we can sell.

So with that in mind, our furnace has started acting up over the last few weeks. It goes out, the vents blow cold air, we turn it off and on again a few times until it starts up properly, it works for a week or so, and then the whole cycle repeats. Luckily it had the courtesy to start doing this at the start of summer, so we have some time to either find and fix the problem or figure out what we want to replace it with.

As much as I'd love an excuse to try out a rocket mass heater, it doesn't seem like a good fit with our situation. But I'd love to find something less stupid than natural gas/forced air. Any suggestions?
1 year ago
Definitely planning to do hugelkultur, I was just wondering if there were any techniques that were particularly well suited to large quantities of fresh branches. What we've been doing so far is building piles of branches (chopped up a bit so it's not mostly air) and then covering them in the woodchip/coffee grounds mixture that we're using for general sheet mulching. The branches are mostly aspen, maple, and willow with a bit of pine and one 7' perfectly conical fir that I strongly suspect was someone's old Christmas tree. The deciduous branches are mostly in leaf (I'm assuming the trees didn't expect a late May snowstorm any more than the humans did) so I've been trying to get those buried first before the leaves fully dry out.
1 year ago
The weather in Colorado being what it is, we got about six inches of wet heavy snow on Tuesday, and nearly all of our neighbors lost branches or trees. I offered to let people drop branches off at our house so that they wouldn't end up in landfills. Long story short, our entire backyard is now a brush pile. My basic plan is to chop things up enough that they lay reasonably flat, and incorporate them into the sheet mulching we were working on before the storm. But I wanted to check and see whether there were any better uses of them, or potentially faster-to-process ones. (My husband is leery of accepting more branches until the pile looks less daunting). For reference, we're in year one of trying to build topsoil on our 1/10th of an acre of scalped clay, and suburban code enforcement basically prevents us from leaving whole branches anywhere that people can see them. We're planning to save any reasonably straight sturdy poles to build a shade structure of some sort.
1 year ago