Thomas Dean

pollinator
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since Mar 26, 2019
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Biography
Teaching pays the bills.
Farming keeps me busy.
Family gives me meaning.
God gives me life.

Full time high school science teacher that has a small farm in West Michigan.  We have a large garden, some hay fields, and some livestock. 
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Recent posts by Thomas Dean

Thomas Dean wrote:

Rebecca Norman wrote:The talk of diving on behalf of chickens reminded me I wanted to ask this question. I get a bag of coffee grounds often from a cafe. It has a few pastries and cake in it. If I had chickens, would it be good to dump the sacks in the run and let them pick at the pastries among the coffee grounds? Or would chocolate cake and coffee grounds be bad for them?



I'd give it to the chickens.  Cake is empty calories, but so is cracked corn... As for the coffee grounds, I doubt they will eat enough to matter.  I used to get coffee grounds and add them to my compost, which the chickens have access to.  That was pre-covid and pre-job change, both of which stalled collection of coffee grounds for me.  I even saw that TSC offered a bedding made of used coffee grounds.  I saw it once, then never again.   Reasonable idea.  Also, here's some info about coffee bedding, have not read it, but I think it's the same stuff I saw at TSC  https://blog.meyerhatchery.com/2022/06/using-coffee-grounds-bedding/



Just read that blog I shared...

You don’t want to make your own coffee grounds bedding. Keep this to the professionals.


Yeah... LOL.
4 days ago

Rebecca Norman wrote:The talk of diving on behalf of chickens reminded me I wanted to ask this question. I get a bag of coffee grounds often from a cafe. It has a few pastries and cake in it. If I had chickens, would it be good to dump the sacks in the run and let them pick at the pastries among the coffee grounds? Or would chocolate cake and coffee grounds be bad for them?



I'd give it to the chickens.  Cake is empty calories, but so is cracked corn... As for the coffee grounds, I doubt they will eat enough to matter.  I used to get coffee grounds and add them to my compost, which the chickens have access to.  That was pre-covid and pre-job change, both of which stalled collection of coffee grounds for me.  I even saw that TSC offered a bedding made of used coffee grounds.  I saw it once, then never again.   Reasonable idea.  Also, here's some info about coffee bedding, have not read it, but I think it's the same stuff I saw at TSC  https://blog.meyerhatchery.com/2022/06/using-coffee-grounds-bedding/
4 days ago

John C Daley wrote:I can just imagine the scene William, belly balanced on the dumpster edge.
Body see- sawing as your centre of balance changes.
Ever shot down into a bin?


I'm youngish and relatively spry.  I often go all the way in, but I've done the "belly-balance" and almost went in that way, unintentionally.
Better to just go all the way in feet first, if safe to do so.  
I remember meeting an older diver who was panicked because she had dropped her phone in when leaning over the edge.  I dove in to find it for her.  I think she was also chemically impaired... but she needed help, so I helped.  Back in that city, there were quite a few divers - some frugal people, some extreme eco-nuts, some hippies, and some homeless who were often drunk/high.  There was MORE than enough to go around. Now I'm the only "local" I see, and since getting my new job in the community, I have to be very aware that there is a good chance one of my students will see me.  It limits me a bit.  Not that I care too much, but just in case someone decides to seek legal recourse for my "trespassing" or something, now they know who I am.

4 days ago

William Bronson wrote: My sister teaches at a place called La Soupe.(https://www.lasoupe.org/)
It exists to divert food waste away from landfills and into the mouths of the needy.
Vollenteers prep ingredients for the chefs, then they make a communal meal.  
It's a good time for anyone who likes cooking and community.
They get  good stuff from local grocery stores, and the meals are delicious.
They compost or recycle almost every scrap ,  right down to the food handling gloves.



I don't currently dive for food or feed, since I only have 3 chickens, but I do stop and grab the best bits out of construction dumpsters.
When I do dive for edibles, Aldi is my go to.
Since they've raised their produce standards, the pickings are better than ever, but they are still too cheap to pay for a compacting dumpster.
Trader Joe's is also good, but too far away from me.
I've noticed my birds don't care for whitehead, but I don't think it's them being smart, since they love themselves some styrofoam...

I've been tempted to dive a KFC dumpster, just for the bones.
Make bone char with them and grow a bunch of melons or squash
Even the paper would be useful for making fire, and the cups for starting plants.
Only plastic would be hard to use, and that could be returned to the dumpster!



I have experience diving in other communities, but now I live and work in my little home town, so I have less opportunity.
I will look up La Soupe later, just out of curiosity.
I am familiar with ALDI.  I echo your sentiments.  A decade or so ago I lived within biking distance of one.  I visited often.  Daily.  My job the past 6 years was right near an ALDI in another community & state.  I'd visit nearly daily.  Now I only go to ALDI about 1x a month, but one just opened in a nearby community.  I need to visit sometime.
Trader Joes' was my first experience diving for food.  I was on bicycle (had racks and baskets), almost could not carry all I gathered.  MANY, MANY eggs that day.  I have not been to a TJ's in about a decade, there are none convenient for me.
There is a local place that does a lot of meat cutting (not a true butcher shop, but they process deboned deer meat, as well as selling steaks, making jerky, etc).  I have permission to look for cardboard in their dumpster, but I pull out meat and bones too.  The dogs get most of that.  The leftover (chewed on) bones get thrown into the fireplace when I have  a hot fire, little crumbly bits of bone end up in the garden when the ashes go out, same idea.  
Plastic waste is a pain.  We don't pay for curbside trash removal.  I'm guilty of burning much of it in a burn barrel.  I don't want to get caught putting trash INTO the dumpsters that I get cardboard, etc out of, as it might jeopardize my ability to continue to remove materials, even if what I am putting in came from that same place the day before.  
1 week ago

Ted Abbey wrote:

Thomas Dean wrote:

Ted Abbey wrote:I dumpster dive every day.. for pig food. All of the restaurants and schools in my nearby town save all food waste for me, except for two “corporate” restaurants who shall remain nameless.. let’s just call them Benny’s and Rubway. The amount of perfectly good food they prefer to send to the landfill is shocking. Perhaps even more puzzling is the patrons. It appears that most eat very little of what they order, yet they seem fatter than ever? This is strange to me, as I never leave a scrap on the occasions that I eat out, and I can’t seem to gain weight. By the way, I did this all through the “pandemic”, and never got sick once, despite sorting through used straws and napkins. Bonus.. I have a HUGE collection of silverware and dishes that the waitstaff saw fit to include in the garbage.. Thanks!



I stopped at "rubway" and a local pizza place last week, both told me that company policy did not allow them to give me food waste.
However, I've made a good and legitimate connection with the produce manager at a local store, and a couple times a week, I get boxes of produce for the livestock.

1 week ago

Ted Abbey wrote:I dumpster dive every day.. for pig food. All of the restaurants and schools in my nearby town save all food waste for me, except for two “corporate” restaurants who shall remain nameless.. let’s just call them Benny’s and Rubway. The amount of perfectly good food they prefer to send to the landfill is shocking. Perhaps even more puzzling is the patrons. It appears that most eat very little of what they order, yet they seem fatter than ever? This is strange to me, as I never leave a scrap on the occasions that I eat out, and I can’t seem to gain weight. By the way, I did this all through the “pandemic”, and never got sick once, despite sorting through used straws and napkins. Bonus.. I have a HUGE collection of silverware and dishes that the waitstaff saw fit to include in the garbage.. Thanks!



Ted,
The school that I work at allows me to put buckets out for the students to discard their food scraps into.  I am shocked by how many students will walk right past my bin to throw food away!  I dig it out in front of the students, little shame.  I tell them that I do it for the environment and for my pocketbook (chicken food).  A lot of the food is subsidized through gov programs... so it's my tax dollars being spent to fill the landfill - so irritating! I have several stops that I frequent when out and about, several have given me permission, a few I've not asked.  Recently a student caught me on video jumping out of a local dumpster.  I laughed when they showed me.  My wife knows my habits, but would be horrified to know that the students have me on film.
As for silverware... one of my sources supplies those for me as well.  I wish I had a good home for it.  It goes in the bin for scrap.  I don't need a million spoons, and they are not high quality anyway.  
2 weeks ago

Phil Swindler wrote:I made this from a piece of wood I pulled from the trash at work.
I made several and gave most of them away.


What is it?  
2 weeks ago

Ian Kleiman wrote:I'm just north of Grand Rapids with about 5 mostly wooded acres and lots of ambition, looking for others nearby with permaculture ambitions and or experience. Lately cutting down some trees to make room for sun and future beds and guilds. I'd like to be able to trade info and seeds/starts and maybe get people in the area thinking about a sustainable future. There must be more permie types around here. Where are you?


You're in my neck of the woods.  I'm about halfway between Big Rapids and Grand Rapids.  I'm not interested in meeting IRL, but don't mind chatting online.  I'm not full permie, but my family does have a farm, and I try to do things that have less impact.   I'm a school teacher by day, pretend to farm on evenings and weekends.
3 weeks ago

C. Letellier wrote:Mostly the answer is no.  You will get some limited reseed.  The reason it doesn't work is alfalfa releases alleopathic chemicals into the ground.  This prevents the germination of most of the alfalfa seed you put down around the plant.



When we were planting our hay field after more than a decade of being pasture, then another decade of being left to itself, my father-in-law (who was a "conventional" dairy farmer until the 1980's) seemed to me to be a bit paranoid about any remaining alfalfa plants in the field the season before we seeded it.  He said that they absolutely had to be gone so that the new alfalfa seed would germinate.  
3 weeks ago