Michael Grant

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since May 19, 2011
I feel like if I didn't work so much off the farm to pay for the farm, I might actually get to stay on the farm and do some farming...
Northwest Missouri
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Recent posts by Michael Grant

Went to an IPM seminar that the local Extension put on.  Showed some research that squash high in curcurbitacin (e.g. Blue Hubbard) were tastier for squash bugs.  Their recommendation was to use a bitter squash around ther perimeter, planted a few weeks in advance. Once they'd get good and infested, burn em/ Poison em/ nuke em from orbit.  That appeared to draw in the local squash bugs into the trap crop and take the load off of the real crop that matured a few weeks later.
2 years ago
John Ruckman, yes you can. See the KC Urban Farming Guys, for example:

They saturated the ground with a morel mycelium solution and are reporting good success with it.
2 years ago
I can't speak to the health benefits, but it did get my creative wheels turning.

ETA:can't figure out why my embed code is monkeyed up...
3 years ago
Found in my Interweb stumblings tonight.

Research from 2010 on the effect of migratory beekeeping on certain structures and hormone levels in the honeybee. Audio/video quality isn't the best, but seems like the study was well designed. The TL;DR is that the only structure that showed a statistically significant effect was the hypopharyngeal gland, which was "significantly smaller" in migrated bees. The researchers seemed to think that the damage wasn't reversible, and that it could have effects on future generations of bees (via suboptimal queen rearing).

Data here:

Same researchers published a paper correllating long distance transport stress to Nosema:

Seems to give some more scientific backing to Paul/Jacqueline's Colony Collapse video on bee stress.
3 years ago
Dr Tarpy from NC State did a video on diversity that also mentioned that the research on small cell, hygienic behavior, etc is not as conclusive as some would have us believe:
3 years ago
Trophy wife has decreed that when I wear overalls I look like Karlsson-on-the-Roof, and can no longer be taken seriously.
4 years ago
What about splits vs swarms? When I start seeing queen cells, I close some bees and queen cells and a few frames into a new box and reduce the swarm pressure that way. I confess it's selfish, but I've never had luck with swarm traps yet, and am one of those parents that never wants the kids to leave the nest.

At the same time, my splits do better than their parents overwintering despite their small size, so that "Sun on her face" idea may have truth to it.

I'm hoping for a trip to Michael Bush's "bee school" in Nebraska this summer if time and cash coincide. He's not as reverent as this, but is a big fan of the old ways and the ferals.
What about The Wurzels "Combine Harvester"? While combines aren't exactly permie, but the song is bad enough to make you want to turn the entire great plains back over to the buffalo.
4 years ago
Feel free to move this, as it may need its own thread, but this thread crystallized a few things that have been swimming around my head for a while... And please forgive the flights of thought; it's 2300 on a downer of a night at work.

n.b., I work in healthcare, the last decade at a University teaching hospital. I've done Atkins and now Paleo (even with non grass fed meat) and always lose weight and have improved cholesterol, etc numbers. When I get sloppy about eating and go from meat and veg to bread, my pants get tight again. Anecdote is not evidence of course, but those two facts suggest the philosophical questions to follow.

First, one objection is that high fat shortens your life. Every year here at our annual hospital wide rah-rah, we hear about out "mortality numbers". But no one has yet proven to me that mortality is necessarily a bad thing. To paraphrase Denis Leary (on smoking):

Well it's the ten worst years, isn't it folks? It's the ones at the end! It's the wheelchair, kidney dialysis, adult diaper f--king years. You can have those years! We don't want 'em, alright?

I have started a bit of black humor that the marketing department has yet to adopt: "More patients who come here, live... (They do it in a nursing home with a tracheostomy and a feeding tube and diminished mental capacity, but hey, that's a save!)

The Dartmouth study http://www.dartmouthatlas.org/downloads/reports/Cancer_brief_090413.pdf showed that 25% of folks with advanced stage cancers are dying with escalating, "go full tilt boogie" care. The Fenton study out of UC Davis http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22331982 suggests that in the push to make people "happy" (poor customer satisfaction being a metric Medicare will use to cut your reimbursements), healthcare spends more money and provides worse outcomes.

We're permies, who care for people and the planet, and when I look at the system and consider it as resources in/ resources out, and energy in/ energy out, I don't see that we can justify spending a trillion dollars a year (federal only, ~30% of which is borrowed money from our great grandchildrens' salaries. Similar numbers on private sector insurance.) and countless tons of waste, from plastic IV fluid wrappers and syringe boxes (and the fuel that ships them from the single use tray factories in Pakistan and Mexico), to the detergent for washing the sheets to keep granny going another day?

Before the anecdotes of spry grannies begin, I know them, I see them, and I don't advocate Logan's Run. But "Live well, fall over dead" sounds like the best possible, and frankly the most permie way to live.

Second, there is a lot of talk on the ethics of meat. Natural free range/ grass fed/ "let the pig express its pigness" is the goal. As such feedlots are decried. Instinctively, they repel me as well. But considering what I've detailed above, is a feedlot any worse? Might not a cow, if capable of a rational argument, be told, "We will keep you in this small cage and milk you every day. After a couple of years you will be painlessly put down and recycled into food. In return, you will have three square meals a day, a warm place protected from predators, quality veterinary care, and a prolific number of offspring from high quality males." I suspect a certain number of cows would sign themselves up, because we see rational humans signing themselves up for all manner of slavery, both "stuck in a nursing home drooling on myself" ("He'll come back. Grandpa's a fighter!") to soul crushing jobs, and the forced extractions by the government.

As such, enjoying a good steak may be the better way, even if it does mean you die early of a heart attack. Just plant me in the orchard and recycle me into apples.

4 years ago

paul wheaton wrote:
I shared a link to reddit where a permaculture enthusiast replied to a comment about winning a ticket to voices and said "I'm gonna win then I'm going to go a punch Paul Wheaton in the face." I wish to emphasize that this was a person who spends lots of time in the permaculture subreddit - so I think it is fair to say that this person is supposedly a permaculture enthusiast.

I understand about not feeding the trolls, and why you'd leave that regional enthusiast unnamed, but I still wish I knew so that I could avoid, and encourage my limited circle to avoid, such a toxic person. I do hope you went up and gave him a hug, and possibly a noogie.

Just remember the words of another Wheaton: "Don't be a dick."-Wil Wheaton

(See also MC Frontalot's take.)