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Michael Fundaro

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since Jan 01, 2021
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chicken building homestead
5300' elevation,
zone 7A,
We have chickens, turkeys, ducks, and a goose, and a herd of guppies.
Trying to grow stuff and learned the sandy soil has no nutrients and a PH of about 7.5 or 8.
Soil building is in progress.
Southern Utah
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Recent posts by Michael Fundaro

Eric Hanson wrote:Hi Shauna,

Compost?  Wood chips?  It sounds like you have basics right there.

Don’t worry about the nitrogen.  The chips will break down on their own just fine.  But having them on the ground can only improve the soil.  I would say get those trees in the ground right away and spread compost on top, covered by a thick (I like 6 inches to 1 foot) layer of wood chips spread about 3x the diameter of the root ball.

So I say go for it!  I really think you have all you need.  Let us know how things work out.


Based on my experience planting trees in the high desert of southern Utah I think Eric's advice is spot on.  I would add to NOT use the rocks or gravel as they do not hold moisture and in the summer the absorb heat, even underground, and will dry out and burn the roots.
When you plant the trees if you can place a 2" or 3" piece of pipe (PVC is fine) vertically in the hole a couple feet away from the center of the tree it will be helpful for deep irrigation.  The pipe should be 2 or 3 feet long and drill a couple holes in the pipe every few inches.  When needed place the hose in the pipe and let it slowly soak into the ground, just a trickle of water.  The pipe allows the water to reach the lower area of the roots and the holes in the side of the pipe let the water seep into the upper areas as the lower areas get soaked with water.  When the water starts bubbling out the top the ground is well soaked.
1 week ago
If your pets will eat garlic feed them fresh garlic every day.  Dogs will usually eat garlic if it is mixed into their food, this may not be as easy with some cats.
The garlic oil scent will excrete through their pores and the fleas and ticks and other pests will tend to stay away.  We never had flea problems with any of our dogs.  The garlic scent is so mild you probably wont even notice it.
3 weeks ago

Dirk Dorme wrote:I would like to install a 'natural' pond, using clay and gleying it with ducks. Aka, let them 'seal' the pond by letting the ducks drop their manure to block the water from leaking. Now, that is the theory. I would not like to install a pump, simply dig a whole, add some clay, gley it and move along.

I will install the pond in a section where it would not bother too much that it is not a clear pond,  however I do wonder whether the quality of the water will not be very very bad due to the manure of my ducks. Aka, will the nitrate and the rest not build up massively and thusly poison my ducks? And suppose that I add plants, will they not perforate the 'seal' as such?

Does anyone have some experience with a natural ponds, leakage and gleying ponds? Or should I  best dump the whole idea and use an epdm or the  like? Should i use banks to allow certain plants to  grow, should I make it large enough (aka how much m2 per duck)...? I realize it ain't an exact science, but any advise is more than welcome.

I don't have the property or location to dig a pond and gley it so unfortunately I can't help you there, but I know some people use pigs to wallow around in a new pond to gley it so I believe allowing ducks to waddle around in the mud should have the same effects of filling in the natural leaks in the ground to help it hold water but they would need to get all the areas on the sides as well to get everything sealed to prevent leaks.  I have been planning to set up a pond made out of an 8' round dog pool, completely different from your idea except that the concern for the ducks pooping up the water and making it filthy and possibly unhealthy is the same for both pond types.  I cut a hole in the center of the bottom of the pool and installed a drain pipe (shower pan drain that will seal against the flexible floor of the dog pool and I have that plumbed into 2" PVC pipe with a ball valve so I can flush the poop and dirt out the bottom and use it to water trees and plants downhill from the pond and then top it off with fresh water.  Being a desert I would have to add water every day anyways, and I will probably use a float valve to maintain the full water level, but to flush out the crud two or three times a week, based on my research so far, draining off the bottom to water trees and topping off with fresh water hopefully will keep the pond relatively clean.  The trees need to be watered anyways so I am not using any more water, I am just adding an extra use for the water between the faucet and the ground.
1 month ago

paul wheaton wrote:

Stephen Joel wrote:Will hard DVD copies be available?

I hadn't even thought of that!

Don't know yet.  Maybe.

A DVD would be helpful for those of us less into digital formats.  
1 month ago

Alex Freedman wrote:

Michael Fundaro wrote:I posted a Thumbs Up but it may be a year or so before I have any extra cash.  Still struggling to complete the house just to get through with final inspection and just got a $14k bill from the hospital for the appendectomy.  

Michael, i'd be glad to donate/gift you this movie.

To everyone:
Maybe we can somehow set up a general fund or such, to cover movie costs for folks who have smaller budgets. I'll put in the first $60 to help spread the bliss of sharing this Wheatonia Wisdom.

Alex, you are a great person.  This is not what I was looking for when I posted my reply.  Just trying to get through a bunch of hurdles in life financially, hopefully before the end of the year.  I am willing to purchase my own.  Maybe someone else might be more in need.
1 month ago
I posted a Thumbs Up but it may be a year or so before I have any extra cash.  Still struggling to complete the house just to get through with final inspection and just got a $14k bill from the hospital for the appendectomy.  
1 month ago
I understand your point where minimal rain may not soak through the wood chips, but would minimal rain be enough to grow your plants without wood chips if the ground dried out the next day?  The wood chips will help retain the moisture in the ground but as you found there needs to be enough moisture to begin with or you will never overcome the dry times.
You might consider some type of water catchment, similar to what they use for guzzlers in the desert.  A sloped roof or a waterproof tarp on the ground sloped so the runoff is directed where you need it.  If you make something 4'x8' you will be collecting water from 32 square feet and directing it towards your plants.  Make a larger catchment if possible and you can greatly multiply the amount of water to each plant.  If you can direct the water into some sort of holding tank you can run drip irrigation to all your plants and the water will slowly soak into the ground over several days after a rain and the wood chips will help to retain the water longer.
1 month ago
They have a plastic film you can apply to the inside of the windows for the winter, but that would make it difficult to open them if needed. My bedroom window as a kid was aluminum and the condensation on the inside would freeze during the winter.  Dad made a 1x4 wood frame and covered it with clear (clearish) plastic film and screwed it to the outside of the house.  This stopped the frost inside the window.
2 months ago

denise ra wrote:I could do this roof instead and save myself all the framing cuts, and the grief about how to attach the 2x8 and the 2x10. I'm more comfortable with this as far as sealing the insulation is concerned. But I'm not really sure what attaches this roof to the container so it doesn't blow away?

Just a guess, but it looks like that roof in this example is mostly secured to the top of the container by gravity.  How are you planning to attach the exterior walls/sheathing to the outside of the container?  Will you drill through the metal wall and use screws or lag bolts to secure the studs to the outside?  IF so, place the vertical studs on top of the corrugated sides and on the high side have them  extend 16" above the metal roof of the container, that will give you your 2/12 pitch.  2" per foot for 8 feet wide container is 16" rise on the high side.  You can then run a crossmember, maybe a 2x6 or 2x8 across the top of the studs to secure the roof beams.  On the low side attach the crossmember at the top of the studs even with the roof of the container
I think if I were doing this, and I will eventually when I can start turning my storage container into a 2 room casita, I would glue a layer or two of foam board insulation on top of the roof then use blown in insulation on top of the foam board to get me the extra R-value.  The foam board should be a vapor barrier to reduce condensation on the metal roof.  I think placing fiberglass batting or blown in insulation on the metal will attract and retain moisture.
2 months ago

Glenn Herbert wrote:I see a typo that was confusing me and probably others: where it says "2x10/2x FRAMING", it should be "2x10/2x8 FRAMING", meaning a 2x10 and a 2x8 side by side. The 2x8 sits on the steel tube and the 2x10 sits down beside the steel.

EDIT: I miss understood and after looking over the plans my mind was confused so I deleted this incorrect information.

Sorry the architect screwed things up, but as i suggested before, finding someone knowledgeable, and also polite and helpful, to look over your plans and offer advice on how to adjust them and add ties and clips to make each connection stronger to handle high winds would be a wise idea.  Bring your plans to your local store and ask if they have someone who can look them over and give you advice.  Lead them on, let them think you want to buy from them but you may need more materials than the plan is calling for and you want to place one big order instead of buying one or two items at a time.  Tell them you want to make notes so you can go home and update your building materials list so you can come back and order the best materials for your project.  You don't have to buy from them, but they may earn your business, but at least hopefully they can walk you through the plans and help make improvements to make it stronger and maybe save your money.  Also, Home Depot, and probably Lowes and other lumber stores, will submit large orders/purchases through their Bid Room where they may take off 5% or maybe 10% or more off the retail price if you make one big purchase.  You do not need to be a professional builder or contractor, they will do this for anyone with an order of about $1500 or more, but sometimes they may do it on orders of about $1200 or maybe less.  Also, even though the Pro Desk is mainly for building materials like lumber and nails and roofing, etc. if you know you need other things you can add on lighting and plumbing windows and doors and other items to pad the price for possibly a better discount.  No guarantees, prices and discounts change week to week and month to month, but it is definitely worth asking.
2 months ago