Josiah Maughan

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since Apr 28, 2010
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Recent posts by Josiah Maughan

I see this question a lot in threads, and in discussions. I wanted to start a new thread to discuss it, and maybe create a baseline thread for people who wonder this.

first I'll define a term:

Animal Unit (AU): This is the equivalent of one, one thousand pound cow. (either dry or with calf up to 6 months of age) or the equivalent. (0.15 for sheep, 1.80 for a horse, .15 for deer etc. somewhere you can find information for chickens, ducks, and even grasshoppers)

The amount of dry feed for one au per month (varies a lot) is generally 6-800 pounds.

next you have to know how much food you're actually producing. one way of doing that, is just to make sure some representative square of your land (or several) are NOT grazed. after a month of growth you cut, dry, and weight it. You multiply that weight by how big your land is (4840 square yards in one acre). if your "representative plot" includes shrubs, only cut new growth.

so, if you have ten acres, which produces 600 pounds of dry matter per year, and you can allow according to your climate grazing for 7 months, You can calculate it like this:
600 pounds, multiplied by ten acres is 6 thousand pounds. 7 months (if there are 30 days in a month) has 210 days. so 6 thousand pounds divided by 210 days is 28ish. since one animal unit is about 20 pounds (generally) you can forage one animal unit on that land, without degrading.

I should point out, that these numbers are made up, and grass regeneration, and forage value/type matters here. this is a loosy goosy calculation that ignores supplemental feeding, terrain, and water features.
I should also point out that it doesn't ignore permaculture necessarily...
it's an ingredient in what should be a much larger picture over-all. like rotational systems, etc etc etc.

here is a more intense version

8 years ago
We seem to be talking about different things here.

there is a huge difference between non-native, and "invasive"

Invasive is like kudzu, or bromus tectorum. it changes the fire regime, changes the soil, and by extension the entire ecosystem of an area.

plants have evolved like crazy since the time of pangea, some plants that are native to the eastern US are considered NON native to the west.

so, should we plant non-natives?  sure sure. But we should draw the line at invasives. especially useless invasives (arguably nothing is useless... but arguably some things have so little or limited use that they're statistically useless)

Also, are we talking about private land? or public land? surely invasives on public land should be a no-go.... nobody is taking care of it. but private land can be groomed, and maintained... or not as the case may be.

we can reference anyone we want here. but what I haven't seen, are references to scientific journals. I see speculations and anecdotes here.      I would like everyone to be doing studies on this. even if it's never published  or anything.      pick a plot of land, that you can really experiment on. a couple acres, plot out trancepts,  record everything in it, and it's function, then plant invasives in some, and record it over the next couple years (the longer the better) revisiting it, and recording plant size, diversity, function, etc.

This is what gets published. five, or ten year studies done with the scientific method.

we can speculate, and that's fine, we can have experience with it, but talking about non-natives, and invasives, and talking like they're fine, without talking about, and refuting studies that are saying to the contrary, without showing scientific evidence yourself is silly.

I mean this:    There are well thought out speculations here. But without having read the journals, and doing research on the subject beyond a google search, and a book seems silly.

certainly bromus tectorum changing the fire regime within the grand canyon is nothing but negative. If there were an inner canyon fire, it would take hundreds of years for it to recover, and it wouldn't recover to the same thing even then!  plus the fact that cheat grass doesn't support the same micro-organisms as the native plants there, so it's changing the soil in a way that isn't beneficial to the area.

we can say it's good or bad, but the fact is, it's changing the area in a ways we can't even fathom. planting anything that wasn't there before is scary.  sure ecosystems can adapt to non-natives. but talking about invasives....    not always.  the effects can be devastating.
9 years ago
actually, the typical orchard mentality is a huge mono culture of fruit trees. or nuts i guess. the problem with the monoculture, is that the wild pollinators (if the monoculture is large enough) have no habitat, and wont' visit your orchard. the result is that you have to import pollinators, which can mean big bucks.

a huge diverse set of fruiting tree's isn't really called an orchard, it's called a forest.

but we should remember there are different layers in a forest, and a forest interacts with it's many parts.

there should be trees to support the other trees. an example, maybe you plant aspen, but the aspen it'sself is never let to grow very tall, it's always cut down and mulched, for it's aspirin. there might also be any number of legumous trees, like mesquite. the problem with mesquite is the bugs, but if you have enough diversity, the bugs will have predators. another benefit of something like a mesquite tree is it's taproot that will harvest water from the deep. it is also regularly cut for the benefit of the surrounding trees. not only does that mulch provide nutrients, but it helps keep the water around.

planting a lot of tree's, like you are is ok to do in rows. (imo) the real key is diversity. another key to look at though, is the water harvesting. if it's on a slope, you might want the legumous tree's at the top, this way the nitrogen that it puts off can eventually leech to your fruiting trees.

did this answer your question?    i think that you're planting a wide variety already squelches your concern. after that it's just preference. 

a wind block, privacy, having the fruit tree's on the side that receives the most wind will collect airborne nutrients being blown in a storm.

there are many things like that to consider, but the biggest and most important thing is diversity. (also, diversity on the ground, so that there is a habitat for wild pollinators)

look up the study participated in by Dr. Claire Kremens of berkely. she asked the question "when honey bee's die, can we be saved by the wild pollinators" her answer was "yes. but not if we keep planning fields as monocultures"
10 years ago
apparently ( 8 ) is a smiley face?

10 years ago
oh, i've read that article before for sure.     I've been mowing my lawn with a push-non-motorized mower for years.   I like it, I'm too poor for an electric probably (though i've never really looked into it...)  so what happens is... my lawn grows very very long by the end of the summer.

but there are a couple goats of the neighbors that love it, and my chickens do too.  last year we lost a chicken, then one day found her under the grass. the next day she emerged with two little chicks!

so i'm torn on really mowing it,  i find if i just rake it without mowing it, i can get a lot of bedding for the chickens to store in the winter.

then in the spring if i rake it, i have a lot more bedding for the chickens (which lasts all summer) and it reveals fresh spring bugs for them to eat..

it's hard for me to really want to mow after the last two years of that type of success.... long grass doesn't look bad either because it lays down. it's just...... long!

my kids like it more because it doesn't make them itch.

so maybe if i can find a cheap electric mower, or if i can find a way to get rid of the sticks.... i'll start mowing again.
10 years ago
do you feel like you fit into the show? i'm about to listen to it, but i would like to know your opinion...

also, it said the last posting from this ip was less than a minute ago, i imagine it's just counting the login process... but... just fyi

uh... actually, it's still not letting me, i'll wait five minutes or so, then we'll see.

i'll comment as i listen..

you don't like beer! shame Paul...

manual over gas mowers... there are too many branches, and sticks on my lawn for that, suggestions? raking really takes so much time, that there's a lot of work!
it's easy as long as you're mowing high, and also if you have nothing on your lawn!

10 years ago
i have a suggestion on your videos.

the one way to help a youtube video is to watch it all the way through.... but the end, when you sign off with the situation, it lingers much longer than i want to watch.  in any video but yours i would've clicked away by then....

i'm not saying don't say "if you like..."    but i'm saying it might boost the "all the way throught" views if it were shorter.

then... i don't really know how that works with youtube, if 5 or 10 seconds counts...
Make an extrodinary video, and reddit could bring in hundreds of thousands of views.... (because of the resulting AMA, and interest in other videos)
It seems what the stalker is looking for, is this:  when you post something that has been posted before on reddit, it shows up that there are more discussions on the topic.

redditors don't like that.

so i suggest we simply wait a week or so, until almost everyone on r/permaculture has seen it, Then whoever put it up, take it down, and someone else post it in another subreddit. or perhaps that will happen when a new video comes out, so that it's a cycle sort of situation? whadaya think?

also, from a money making point of view, if you can make it more profitable for it to be seen, perhaps you can pay to have it advertised on a website like reddit. 

that is... IF you can make it profitable to do so....
I don't mean to be insulting here at all.

I've been getting the impression lately that Your'e tired, Paul.

well, how do i say this?  I've been getting a hostile feeling from you lately.
I know you don't mean to (or maybe you do i guess) and i assume you're a pretty decent guy, let me give some examples though.

"This forum is more about the economy etc. NOT a place to discuss etc. if you want to then you better be very respectful of etc."
you know this line? I didn't quote it exactly...
But I'm a little concerned that it might alienate people.
Can i suggest a new category for that then? for people to discuss an alternate economy (or whatever it was) it seem right up permie's ally.  I dont' know the ins and outs of your website (from an admin point of view i mean) and i know your'e a very very busy man, I... I don't knwo what i'm trying to say i guess.
well, i guess thats my only example at this hour...
I know, this website is not a democracy. I know that you have a specific way of running it, but it seems you respond to any criticism very harshly.

i suppose if I were to come to your house and say "Paul is wrong, and an ass" you should throw me out. If i say "Paul is wrong" ...

I don't know Paul, what i'm trying to say i guess. I mean, as far as Tinkering with the site is concerned... i might make a suggestion which is...

Lighten up a bit.

Not to be an ass, but just to let you know i guess, that at least one person feels a bit of hostility.

Just a heads up i guess...

a separate note, i'm excited for the podcast situation.