Pat Maas

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since May 08, 2008
McIntosh, NM
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Recent posts by Pat Maas

Not a knitter, but next spring will have plenty of raw fleeces, clean and free of vm. Staple should be minimum of 3". Finnsheep and a few Finn/Polypay cross fleeces. White, brown, black, piebald or variegated and badger in various permutations. Micron anywhere from low 20's to 36+.  These are from my flock.
2 weeks ago
That was a really cool Kick start video with Paul and Little Buddy! )
2 months ago
Did my last batch of digging chokes yesterday while it was "nice". Sent all my orders out today that had been paid for or had promised to community gardens. Here are some of my larger ones with tape measure for comparison. The biggest problem with the bigger ones is getting them out in one piece. These ones shown will be going back in the ground today into an area using as a benching location for quick pickup when its time to move.
Hi Kazron,
      These do well planted almost anytime the soil is workable. I like fall planting as it gives them a chance to get somewhat established before winter.
      I have a heavy red clay here, but what has been happening is with a straw or leaf mulch over winter the worm population has exploded. The soil is getting darker and the consistency is no longer that of the hard pack clay began with. Its a much finer loamy type now.
      You'll also find as you are adding a carbon mulch pill bugs will be attracted.  They dig around the choke tubers and create spaces around them. With the worms they'll actively harvest the tubers when stressed, but you will also find your soil becoming better. Usually worms just will go after the part of the plants that are the connecting stems attaching the tubers .
      Spring time and its winds dumps a lot of weed seed into my beds, so seed my "chokes" with oat hay in the spring. As its set down, just 3-6 inches works. The oat hay breaks down and the oats get established and provide a ground cover until the chokes start out growing them.
      Am finding my black peppermint is creeping more and more into the choke bed and that's not bad, just makes it tougher to harvest.

Hope this helps! )
I'll be digging tomorrow for a new order so will be able to take some pictures. Do get a fair amount of the marble sized, but don't ship many of them often. Just replant the bed with them. Not sure what the diameter is on any of the larger ones, just what it is straight across so will measure that tomorrow when digging.

Do you get a lot of your worms in your "choke" beds? I have loads and every chance given thin them out for people looking for red compost worms.  Donate many to local gardeners and community gardens. They love my chokes and by spring many larger tubers are making lots of new little chokes! Its one of the reasons my growing bed is so thick with tubers.
Thank you Brenda,
    The big ones can be in excess of 5" and be more than an inch across, but people don't seem to like to break them up, so try to stick with the smaller ones that are 2-3 inches long.  Think they are Fulsea, but may be wrong about that. I'll be back to harvesting in a few days so will be sure to take a picture of some of the bigger ones with a ruler for perspective.
    I do share with friends or community gardens, this just helps provide a little income while waiting on other  things.
Hi,
      The info you provided is correct, but if you have a strong worm population and little humus in the soil, you''ll end up with a lot of worm eaten pieces. Which does make a lot of new tubers.
      These plants like sun, the more they have the happier. Heat doesn't bother them as long as they aren't bone dry. They do need moisture in drier places.
    Mine are raised at 6250' and in both set downs and raised beds. The setdowns are used to harvest water off a barn roof and driveway and at the same time keep my j-chokes very happy. Also use those setdown locations for windbreaks for other crops. Windbreak and water harvesting are important here as we are pretty dry with 12" precip or less a year.
6 years ago
Many Thanks to those people who contacted me and bought " "chokes". Just about done for the season now and only have about 5 lbs available for sale now.
$4 per lb + Priority Mail on order for minimum 3  Lbs.

Paul Wheaton has a great podcast on sunchokes. If you are interested in these plants suggest you check out the video. These plants work well as a seasonal windbreak and they also coppice nicely if you are feeding goats.
Some of my "thing" about goats is that I love them but also it is because they can be raised on a tiny piece of earth more easily than a cow.  My all time favorite bovine is Highland.  Excellent dual purpose but even though they are on the small side and excellent foragers I am beginning to "feel" my years and need a smaller animal to milk.  I only need milk for my coffee and to make small quantities of cheese so a couple of Kinder Does and a weathers for company is plenty.  That way I can breed them 6 months a part so I will not have one dry and those times of over lap will be able to make a bigger chunk of cheese. smiley  I love Guinea Hogs too but want something even smaller. smiley 

I'm feeling my years also, so insist on having animals that can work with easily. Even my pacas are easy, after working with them for a while. My place started with small, but in this dry climate, needed additional acreage for rotation.  It's why I didn't head south for the winter. Needed  a few more acres.

Why don't we take this conversation over to your Heritage Breeds Topic?
7 years ago
I have breeders for my rabbits here in the east but still it is a very very long drive to pick them up.  I have always used hutches for my "girls" and they seem very happy and are exceptionally friendly.  Even my Buck likes having a belly rub.  Both Does are used to me handling the kits too.  They are my primary animal protein source so I can't afford to have them become ill.  Some places in the country don't have as much need for concern about coccidiosis but if the environment is moist it is much higher so I limit their contact with the ground especially in the Spring.  If I had an actual living arrangement so they didn't live in my house then they would have their exercise run back but even then I controlled how often they were out in the "yard" and they were still confined to their own separate "run."  If everything works out they will have much more room.  They do live in exceptionally large hutches though
(42wide x 24high x 30deep).  My "girls" are really huge.  A bit bigger than average.  One is 17lbs. and the other is 18lbs.  My love for huge rabbits but smaller breeds of goats (Kinder & San Clemente) and really tiny breeds of pigs (Kunekune) seems weird.  hahahahahahaha


Most my protein comes from plant sources. The rabbits are for use as manure makers for the worms. Have also found kid goat manure works well up to a certain age around 6 months before it gets consigned  to other uses. That's why some rabbits share space with them this time of year.

I'll likely get into the Giant Chins after things happen in the next little while. Just needed to remember some of the things had learned as a kid when raising and showing them enmasse. Won't cross them with the smaller breeds as trade these ones off for various needs.

Like you I'm mixed on size of livestock. Like my big goats, but also appreciate my smaller nigerian dwarf crosses that are polled. Had such a hard time finding a decent polled sable buck(from strong milking lines), am making my own with what is at hand. On these smaller does just use 1st year billies as it is easier on them. Am slowly breeding them up.

The few milk cows will have soon are just mixes for now. It's been a long time since I've milked moosers so am starting with experienced milkers, even though I've broken many, many young bovine ladies to milking. After getting that accomplished will look at a certain heritage breed saw back in the NE and is associated with a sustainable ag college. Triple use breed.

Like guinea hogs and the giant blacks. Both can be found in NM.

All my animals can be handled and loved on. And I really like diversity in my livestock and poultry.
7 years ago