Mick Cressman

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since Jan 02, 2011
Upstate NY, zone 5
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Scavenger Hunt
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Recent posts by Mick Cressman

Ha! An Onion article that brings together two of the more interesting threads in MD, IMO.

http://www.theonion.com/articles/report-poor-people-pretty-much-fucked%2C1025/
3 years ago
I'm no expert, but the best luck I've had with windbreaks is piling up tree tops and limbs to make a sort of 'brush berm,' and planting trees behind those to protect them from the wind. The brush berm shrinks with time (and birds nest in them), and the trees grow to take their place with a sort of hugel-bermish thing decomposing right there to feed them.
6 years ago
Amazing, but that's gotta be the aurora australis, right?
6 years ago
I've have good luck using a dilute solution of my own pee and spraying it on the trees after every rain. Lots of time, but the materials are free and it gives me a chance to inspect all my trees. Now that I've read "The Holistic Orchard" I'm wondering if Michael's sprays of spring could be used to both deter deer and support tree health.
6 years ago
I haven't had any luck washing the lids either. I wonder if baking soda would help? But I've just decided to label little cardboard boxes and keep like lids together...sauerkraut and pickles seems okay, but sauerkraut lids with tomato sauce is a stretch. So long as I keep the kraut, pickle, and tomato sauce lids away from the applesauce, I'll survive.
6 years ago
Not necessarily backwards. There is a lot of research that shows that a moderate amount of shade covering pasture can increase production significantly. I haven't seen any studies with apples, just honey locust and black walnut.

Here's a few to get started.
http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/theses/available/etd-05192004-122234/unrestricted/buergler.pdf
http://ddr.nal.usda.gov/bitstream/10113/3703/1/IND43739662.pdf

The black walnut largely outperformed the honey locust, however honey locust also provides mast and fodder itself. My guess as to why the walnut allowed more productive pasture below was root competition and possibly a latter leaf-out time?
6 years ago
My wife and I started raising ducks last year, so we are still learning, but we have found that yes, ducks are easier on the garden...depending on your gardening and management style. Ducks will destroy anything leafy and succulent, and they can destroy alliums merely by trampling. We had a tremendous slug problem in 2010, so in 2011 we ran ducks through the garden area from the time they could be outside until planting. We had almost zero slug damage all year! Then, we waited until the end of the season to run them in the garden again. They ate low hanging fruit (mostly gooseberries) and cleaned up lots of vegetation...vegetable and weed alike, but the only damage they really did was to our beds of garlic and onions, and that entirely from trampling. The breeds we have are khaki campbells and Welsh Harlequin. The Welsh Harlequins are marginally larger than the khakis, but both are active foragers and excellent egg layers. The WH are beautiful though, please look into them as they are a critically rare breed in this country as well.

I would argue than both khakis and WH are too small to effectively use for meat, I got tired of killing, dressing, and plucking or skinning for the amount of meat I got. So we have geese for meat now, and they are a beautiful and comical addition to our flock, and do a great job of keeping weeds down (just make sure you give the comfrey a chance to recover! They are only animals I have ever seen capable of killing comfrey!)

Ponds: we used masonry/mortar mixing tubs. Super cheap, not tacky colors like a kiddie pool, and sometimes I borrow them from our birds to use it to mix thinset or mortar. I also dug a pond and lined it with that rubber pond liner stuff. I made a gravity drain for it so I can drain it for the winter, and to take off the incredibly nutrient rich water...Geoff Lawton has a similar system, gravity fed and all that, except he uses an old bathtub. Smart. The ducks do not NEED water, but without it they will not preen the same way and I can't imagine they will be nearly as happy. They splash more than a bunch of children! At one week old they were swimming underwater and making a mess. Also, whenever a puddle shows up they enjoy it until it is drilled with holes and a mucky mess.

Lighter breeds of ducks do not NEED to breed in water, however I have always given water, and I have never seen them mate on dry land, however I gave my mother a trio of khakis, and they will occasionally mate out of water, even given the choice.




6 years ago
I have a Grainmaker and am extremely happy with it, the cost, and the function. I have a cheap #32 hand grinder for meat, and extremely happy with that. I need to find a way to deal with worn tinning, but I think I can work that issue. One thing I do advise is to buy the larger meat grinder (if it is a manual grinder)...a small grinder is more trouble than it is worth if you process all your own meats, and I don't like to use electricity for anything my arms can do easily. Also, in my experience collagen casings aren't worth the price, natural casings are easier and tastier, and grinding your own sausage is fun, rewarding, money saving and wholesome. I use a horizontal stuffer, though I've used a vertical and see no great difference between the two. Good luck, be free.
6 years ago
Ivan is 100% correct. Also, from the few books I've read, the nitrates and nitrites is sausage are at lower levels than many vegetables. Something about beet greens having 1000 times the level as summer sausage has assuaged my fears. I forget the vegetables and the numbers, but in another book I read something about nitrates and nitrites being useful in the intestine, naturally, to prevent botulism in the moist, oxygen excluded environment that the bacteria likes to grow in. not every toxin is unnatural, and many toxins are necessary for our survival.
6 years ago
I don't have any, but I second the dexters. My folks own some highland cattle, and while good browsers are also enormous. There is a place with dexters not far from Syracuse, a creamery that makes kefir cheese from dexter milk in Lansing. The woman who owns it gives tours, my wife and I would like to check them out, maybe you can too. http://www.kefircheese.com/Index1.html
6 years ago