James Stark

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since Apr 21, 2011
Unconventional Manitoba Farmer
Manitoba Canada
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Recent posts by James Stark

Are black soldier flies native to the Canadian praries though? Can't seem to find any local info on them.
7 years ago
Thanks everyone for your input. I took all the advice and kind of combined it. I built a sturdy wooden composter, and I'll bury the guts in the middle, surrounded by spent wood shavings from the rat barn. The high carbon will hopefully contain the moisture and keep it from smelling, since it will have about a foot and a half of matereal on all sides of the guts. I'm also planning to save some to go fishing on the river for channel cats!
7 years ago

Ken Peavey wrote:
I keep the gizzard, heart and liver.  The rest goes into the compost.   Never had a problem with critters getting into the heap.

Between my dogs and the resident foxes (whom I still haven't managed to get rid of) my compost heap would end up being spread out over an acre or two. Otherwise, I would most definitely keep trying to compost it, and work on the smell factor. I do compost the blood though.
7 years ago
I love the idea of using a post hole digger! I've buried them before, but wanted to avoid the digging. This would let me make a hole deep enough, without breaking my back. AND, I think I'll add a rock on top for good measure.
7 years ago
Yep, I know. Not the most pleasant topic, but I gotta do it.

What do you guys do with the guts after you slaughter your chickens? I don't like dumping them in the bush to let nature take care of it because it attracts foxes and the like. Same goes for composting it (plus I haven't mastered the art of keeping it from smelling). I hate taking the guts to the dump, just because I hate taking ANYTHING to the dump and knowing it will be buried instead of used in a productive way.

So is there anything else I can do with the mess that you guys can think of that won't attract other critters, but that doesn't do more harm than good?
7 years ago
I have a fair sized lawn. To be honest, I'd prefer no lawn at all, but my daughters play soccer, and so I keep a field for them to play on. It's around 40% grass, 45% clover, and 15% whatever can survive the mower. I love it, but I'd rather not have to take care of it, or grow food on it. I do refuse to plant it though, and of course never fertilize or water. That is, with the exception of once or twice a year. Here's why:

After soccer season ends, and the girls take a few weeks of no soccer, I let the lawn go. And I mean really go. When it's almost too high to mow (my mower can mow a hayfield!) I go in and chop it all down. I work my way up and down towards an area that has poor soil. This basically blows all the overgrown lawn onto the area with poor soil. So twice a year my poor soil has gotten a thick mulch of "lawn clippings". What's left behind is a dismal, brown lawn.....for about two days. I water it after two days (the only time I EVER water it, and I still feel like it's a waste of water), and the next morning you can already see signs of recovery, and by day 5 it looks like nothing ever happened.

Here's how I see it: The Lawn area is super healthy, with a nice deep root system and lots of clover to fix nitrogen. All those nutrients are drawn from the ground into the grass and clover to make vegetation. So twice a year, I take an hour out of my busy schedule (ok, ok, out of nap time) and help the healthy part share some nutrients with the not so healthy part.

The result? The poor soil (after two years) is becoming rich, loose, and healthy. It retains moisture, and supports some very healthy weeds. Before, not even thistle would grow very well, now I chop the thistle once in a while, and all the leafy weeds that I leave alone are starting to keep it from coming back.

It's super easy, (the small amount of extra work it takes to mow down the overgrown lawn is made up for by not having to mow at all for three weeks), and really shares the wealth when one part of your land needs a little something extra.

Lawns aren't the greatest things to have, but if ya gotta have em, why not make them work for you?
7 years ago
Mr Pierce,

Just wanted to let you know I tried your method of skinning, and cutting up the breast bone. It butterflied beautifully, and was great on the BBQ. Thanks a ton for the advice!!
When I do a bunch at once, I'll still pluck and leave whole, but that is a GREAT method if you just want to put one or two in the fridge (or if you're butchering them down). I owe ya one.
7 years ago
That's a shitty position to be in man. I'm really sorry I can't be of more help. 
7 years ago
With that many, maybe taking  one to the vet would be in order for a proper diagnosis. If you don't catch one while it's sick but before it dies, I'd call the vet and ask if you can bring one that died in so you can get some idea of what's going on. Just make sure it's a vet that knows chickens. and isn't going to want to charge you an arm and a leg just to give his/her opinion.
7 years ago
I found tons of 2x6 and 2x8, and even some 2x12 scraps at an RTM builder close by. They scrap anything less than 5 feet in length!!! So I just built raised beds that are 4 feet long. I like to double up the 2x6 to get a 12 inch (well 11 inch) high bed. They are strong enough that they'll hold together for a while, but I put a scrap peice of 4x4 post in each inside corner, and nail the boards to that for streingth.
As for chicken wire, landscape cloth, and all the other stuff, I don't bother. I dig nice and deep, make sure I get all the weeds out, then put a layer of stones in the hole. Then I put a good helping of loose soil on the stones and water it into the spaces (It will eventually settle if you don't and leave you wondering if the neighbors have been stealing your soil a shovel full at a time). If the stones are big enough (I go for 5 to 8 inch) the gophers wont get past them. Plus the roots of any deep rooting plant (deeper than about 13 inches, which is pretty rare for veg) will just grow in the soil between the stones.
7 years ago