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Dan Mcpherrow

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since May 29, 2011
Idaho Falls, Idaho
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Recent posts by Dan Mcpherrow

We have 10 acres and currently it is in alfalfa. 10 inches of rain a year. Totally flat. Zone 4. I would like to turn 2 acres into a woodlot. I want to eventually get firewood, lumber for building, food for animals and a place for the kids to play. I am not sure what species to plant or how to plant it with spacing etc. Here are some thoughts so far:

Black Locust - Lumber, firewood, bees, N fixer
Honey Locust - Fodder for goats. Thornless variety so the kids can play in the area
?? - For firewood
?? - For additional fodder production for animals and humans
Osage Orange -for additional firewood and fodder

I am not sure if I should be copicing etc these trees, or planting an understory of something else. Are there bushes I should plant under the trees for additional animal/human food etc.

I am starting completely from scratch so please help me out.
4 years ago
Should only vodka be used or can other kinds be used such as Rum, Brandy etc as long as it is the proper proof?
4 years ago
I have read that they are beneficial insects to have. However, we get anywhere between 5-20 hornets nests built on our house and barn each year and the kids end up getting stung. What is good about hornets? Is there a way to get them to build there nests in desirable areas? Is there an imbalance on my property that is leading to such a large amount of hornets?
4 years ago
We have 10 acres. 1 acre is pasture for goats and chickens. One acre is an orchard that I am going to spend my efforts this summer turning into a permaculture system.

The rest is planted in alfalfa that a neighbor turns to hay and sells. He rents the land from us. At some point I would like to have the entire thing in productive pasture. The idea of that nutrients in the soil getting turned to hay then hauled off is bothering me.

I am really busy right now with the other projects but would like to start building the soil in the alfalfa field and moving towards my goals for the field.

If I ask the farmer to no longer raise the hay is there an easy, low labor way to start building the soil etc on this land?
4 years ago
Our climate sounds very similar. We have 115 frost free days. Hot dry summers and cold winters. It has snowed in every month of the year here in Idaho Falls at one point in time or another.
4 years ago
We thought a pond added bio diversity. We were going to make it small and deep. Our geo thermal outputs hundreds of gallons a day of water.

Can you expand a little more on your thoughts about the pond? Thanks for all the help.
4 years ago
We are zone 4. We are so excited to do this. Bring on the successes and failures (so we can learn)

We have a well and we are thinking we will install a windmill to feed a pond.
4 years ago
I live in Idaho. Cold climate, 10 inches of rain a year. I have 10 acres that is old farm ground that is completely flat with nothing on it. I want to get going on permaculture but it seems like everything I see is for a warmer wetter climate.

What sources are there for cold dry climates so I can learn how to build a cold dry system on flat ground? Any Idaho permaculture folks? What about northern Utah?

4 years ago
Totally flat.  12-15 inches a year of precip.  We will line the pond with clay.  It is in full sun.  We were thinking of a 60 foot by 80 foot. 
7 years ago
I am thinking of using a pond as the area that we will dispose of the water used in our geothermal system instead of using an injection well.  There won't be any other water entering the pond and I don't think we will have an outlet and will rely on evaporation to keep the water level from getting too high.

Does this sound like it will work?  Does anyone know how to calculate how big a pond we will need to do this?  Will I need a fountain etc to aerate the pond?

What else do I need to know?
7 years ago