Mark Dominesey

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since Nov 30, 2020
East flank of the South Mountain, Maryland Blue Ridge
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Recent posts by Mark Dominesey

Hi, I want to trench some electricity up to the top of my hill.  It is probably altogether 300 feet that I want to lay to get it to where I want it.

I've heard that one needs really big gauge, like -0- or -00-, and if that is the case, that is very expensive.

Has any one ran cable of this stretch? is there general rule for the length with the gauge?  I am wanting to send up a 100 amp circuit and split that into one or more 240v and 120v circuits.

Thanks for your thoughts!


1 month ago

Lorinne Anderson wrote:
We use the tractor bucket or hand sledge to pound 8 ft, metal (think chain link posts) down two feet (six foot solid, metal panel fence).

I purchased a T-post pounder off of Ebay and it pounds the T=post very effectively.  I've also used it for the sharpened round wood that fit into the driving hole.  I think it takes close to a 2" diameter.  

The next post pounder I am going to buy will be a hydraulic t-post pounder that can run off of the Little Beaver's hydraulics. The HP-12 can drive a post at almost 2" diameter, the next size the HP-16 may go to a chain link pole

1 month ago
Hi, I primarily use a 6" auger bit on my little beaver. I like to put a post in and drive sharp rocks between the post and the ground alternating with soil. So I kind of prefer a 4" to 5" locust post when I am fencing (especially for hinge side of a metal gate). The tamping end is super effective at tamping the dirt and rocks down along the post.
1 month ago
A true "digging iron" or "Digging bar" has both a digging end and the other end is round and flat and is the tamping in.  When I dig with the auger, I still use the tamping end to pack the dirt and rocks and gravel back around the pole.  Its exhausting, but makes for a sturdy pole set.

The one at Lowes is nearly the same price as HF, I have both, the HF will bend whereas the Lowes one will not.

1 month ago
I have a chipper running with a 12hp Honda clone - it can adequately and quickly chip a 4" diameter limb. And be truthful, y'all - anything bigger than 4" should go into your woodstove or into an IBC cage to sell as part of a 1/3 cord (the volume of a 300L IBC cage. - mine is yellow and I bought it used for $500

Its a great chipper, but I no longer need it as a big chipper came with the big 11hp Grillo walk-behind tractor I bought recently.

Seriously, if its bigger than 4", there's likely a better use for the branch (like warmth).

1 month ago
Hi Marty, My twin brother lives just north of EC and I am from Chesapeake (IR and Grassfield).  I couldn't wait to get out of the sticky humid SE VA/NE NC summers.  25 years after moving from 8a to 6b (Christiansburg, VA) and now 7a (Maryland Blue Ridge) I do find myself envying the longer growing season you have and your ability to start tomatoes outside.  

Anyways, my recommendation is to try and find a variety that is uniquely adapted for your local environs - like in my case the Shenandoah Pear (originated 20  miles south and west - Kearneysville WV) and the Antietam apple (originated 6 miles west - Keedysville, MD) .  For NE NC, you might find some great graft stock from the big nurseries on the Northern Neck of Virginia that is similar in climate to where you are.  

We are crazy susceptible to fire blight - I too am starting a brand new fire blight resistant orchard this year with about 20 trees.

Good luck to you!
2 months ago
We hatch and brood enough chicks that I built outdoor brooder houses - right now, one for "wet birds" and another for "dry birds". We are having to build another "dry bird" brooder house because of the need to separate different species - this last year we had guineas that harmed the beaks of pea babies and chicks that pecked off the helmet of guinea keets.

The houses are 3' x 5', raised on 2x4 legs, floor just lower than waist level, peaked like a shed with both sides hinged to lift.  The short sides are about 18" tall and they too hinge up to rake out and clean.  A flap is cut and hinged at each peak on  the sides for ventilation.  Wire it for both a LED bulb on one side and a heat bulb on the other, and a plug for a hover box (I also built some of those fairly cheaply).  Painted white on the inside, red on the outside, metal ribbed roof.  I think they are very attractive.

They work very well and people coming to the homestead to buy chicks of all types really like them.

Pics attached are of the first one - I improved the design for the second one, but I cannot find pics.  Everything is under snow right now or I would take some more.  The framing and dimensions are the same between version 1 and version 2

2 months ago
I echo all of the concerns about landslides and mud flows.  I would think that best use for unterraced steep land would be to plant perennial crops and fruits like orchard fruits and bramble fruits.  Maybe other types of plants that you would minimally disturb the soil - i.e., plant corn singly without disturbing more than needed to get the seed in, then do not pull out the stalk when harvested, cut it off and leave the root in the ground, plant next for the next crop. But I still believe you'd better served using such land for perennial fruits production where you would actually improve the ground with the tree roots.
2 months ago

DuWayne Layton wrote: How does everyone save their table scraps? Do you just have a bucket you scrape it in and is there a way to prepare it or do you just dump the scraps from the bucket into the pig bowl?

We just put all scraps of all types into a small rectangular bucket with a handle and lid (from Ikea). It works great and we take it out every day.  No bones or coffee grounds, but everything else extra goes out.  We used to give all to the chickens, but decided that converting to pork is better than converting to eggs. We have a couple of folks who reserved a farm share pig that also drop by their scraps a few times a week.
2 months ago
We raise two separate breeds of geese, Sebastopol (farm "pet" and guardian), and Cotton Patch Goose (historic breed from Southeastern Virginia, great for orchard and pumpkin and corn patch and strawberry weed control).  Both gaggles have their own personalities.  The most aggressive is a young Sebastopol gander who will sneak up on anyone to nip them and push them away from his gaggle.  He is particularly aggressive towards our little children and I teach them repeatedly to chase at him and kick at him and he will stop charging them.  Geese are not dumb, they will learn who they can get away with doing this to.  It  is a teaching process for the children and how to navigate around the birds.
2 months ago