Peter Ingot

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since Sep 06, 2011
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Recent posts by Peter Ingot

I fed my goats on a cup of grain a day, but they could manage without it. It reduced the milk yield a little. It really depended how much time you spent herding them on fresh graze/browse every day. The cup of grain reduced the workload.
Good hay worked well, in winter, especially if full of broadleaf plants. If it had had a drop of rain on it, they would throw the grass on the floor and eat the broadleaves. Cut oak branches made good winter feed, but were bulky to store. Most other tree leaves dropped off the branches or crumbled into powder when dried and stored. I'm sure there is an invention waiting to be made which dries large quantities of leafy tree branches, and turns the leaf, bark and small twigs into powdered feed. They loved acorns. I think they are happy to eat most poisonous plants in small quantities occasionally, just not every day.

It's a question of breeding. If you are happy with a smaller yield of excellent milk and have time to herd them or large areas securely fenced, you can do it.

One of my elderly neighbours kept goats and I discovered he didn't know how to open a sack of feed.
From hard experience, I would say keep working animals, not pets.

If a dog can work, that is protect your home and livestock, great. Training them from an early age is the most surefire way to do this.

If they endanger your animals or your neighbours' animals, or especially children, get rid of them. Either find a new home for them with understanding people, keep them securely chained up/penned or end their life in the most humane way possible. If you don't do it, there is a good chance that someone else will. I haven't always followed this advice myself, and frankly I regret it. I have lost livestock to other people's dogs running around unleashed ("good dogs" which have "never done anything like this before" etc.), and my own dogs have harmed animals too.

Dogs CAN be man's best friend. In this situation they can be your worst enemy. I once had to euthanise a goat which had its udders ripped off, and was terrified and bleeding with three broken legs after being chased off the side of a gulley. It was not my dog, but even if it had been I would not say that my love for that dog outweighed my love for the goat.

They are not the most important animals around, and there are far too many of them in the world, to the point that they are a burden on the environment.

6 months ago

Bryant RedHawk wrote:
Lay Lines were rediscovered during this period as well and many people tried to imagine the magic of that period, there was even a surge of witchcraft practices. ......

Given the times it should not surprise anyone that he would bring up "energies of the earth" or "electric flow through the earth and those organisms that live in the soil", in his time, these would have been acceptable to most people as wonders of the world.
Today we live in a different reality, one that stresses self over all else. We read about lay lines, conjunctions of energy flow of the earth, and most of us shake our heads and dismiss these ideas as either myth or out right fiction.



Alfred Watkins published his books on LEY* lines in this period, but he believed that the straight lines of monuments he found indicated prehistoric roads (I believe an author in Germany had the same idea at the same time). The idea of ley lines as "earth energies" didn't appear until the 1960's (apparently reaching popular consciousness when an actress in the British soap opera "coronation Street" complained about negative ley lines passing through her dressing room!).

I am interested in this subject. The idea of ley lines as earth energies has been fairly comprehensively debunked. For instance, when psychics claiming the power to sense or dowse "ley lines" were blindfolded, taken to random locations, and asked where the ley lines were, they were unable to give consistent answers. Some magnetic rocks and electromagnetic anomalies have been found in some ancient monuments, but no actual lines of energy. Much of this debunking was done by ley line enthusiasts like Paul Devereux. Some new agey types have since claimed that the entirely subjective earth energies can be curves, circles, spirals etc. not just straight lines, thus moving the entire topic to a castle in the sky. I doubt very much that this "earth energy" will ever power a lightbulb. I really like visiting obscure ancient monuments, and have experienced some weird phenomena at the places where multiple lines intersect. Cows seem to be drawn to these places and very protective of them (a place where thousands of people gathered in the past to feast, party bury their dead and maybe make some sacrifices might well today have tastier than average grass, rich in trace elements).

Since Watkins published "The Old Straight Track", people have been drawing lines all over maps, often with very little accuracy (a felt tip pen line drawn on a road atlas might be several miles wide for instance), and most of these lines can be ascribed to chance.
Statisticians found that some ley lines, such as the two passing through the Thornborough henges and devils arrows monoliths in the vale of York could be deliberate, because the chances of these seven prehistoric monuments (unusually for Britain, the only ones in the area) being arranged on 2 straight lines by chance was very small, but then again, with so many thousand barrows, standing stones etc. in the British isles, the odd fluke is to be expected.

In my opinion, if ley line enthusiasts restricted their attention to single types of monuments from a single era (I suggest bronze age), rather than playing dot to dot with barrows, churches, natural rock formations, iron age hillforts, medieval castles etc., the statistical evidence might start to look better. Also many seem to think that ley lines thousands of miles long, passing through 4 or 5 ancient monuments are impressive. Statistically speaking they aren't, a line that long is bound to hit something of interest (assuming you have considered curvature of the earth etc.). Seven bronze age barrows in a dead straight line 200m long (visible near Stonehenge) is far more impressive from a statistical point of view.  Some archaeologists have been caught in unguarded moments suggesting that sometimes ancient monuments may have been deliberately arranged in straight lines, but they are rarely willing to say anything definite on the subject for fear of association with a lot of New Age mumbo jumbo.

Summary: I think bronze age people probably did deliberately arrange barrows, standing stones etc. in straight lines and other precise geometrical patterns, but probably not because of any (hypothetical) earth energies. I also don't think their culture was particularly nice (patriarchal, warlike, environmentally destructive etc.). There is clear evidence of something similar going on in mesoamerica.

Back to topic, yes I agree that Steiner was a product of his time. And thank you very much for the cow horn manure experiment. Isn't the resultant manure also supposed to be really heavily diluted, more like a homeopathic remedy than fertiliser?

Biodynamics enthusiasts do seem to produce what seems to be pretty impressive scientific evidence in support of many of their claims, but with the caveat that they claim many effects are only visible on biodynamic farms, which makes it hard for anyone to independently repeat them.

I also know people involved in Steiner education, some are positive about it, others less so. I suspect Steiner schools may vary enormously, there seems to be a lot of room for manouver in the teaching methods. The one I know best seems to have quite a strongly Christian ethos. Some people I know who worked on biodynamic farms have told me the movement felt like a religious cult.

Generally, the biggest problem I have with Biodynamics/Waldorf, is that so much of the ideas seem to originate from one person, who didn't explain how he developed his ideas or test them in any logical or rational manner. It's kind of like saying "I have a new idea and I know it's going to work" rather than "here's a new idea, let's see if it works, and if not let's try something else". The former statement is one which I would associate with a new religion, the latter with science.

*According to "The bluffer's guide to the Occult" a lay line is the queue for a neo-pagan orgy :-)
7 months ago

Francis Mallet wrote:

I sowed chickpeas way too early. They didn't seem to mind the cold in the
garage and they grew at least 12" tall  before I could transplant them outside.
By that time they were cramped in those 2" soil blocks. Of the 20 I sowed 12
made it to the garden. After a few days outside they all turned coppery brown.
Eventually they recovered but I can't imagine they enjoyed being burned by
the sun like that. Next year I will do better I hope.



Generally, legumes don't like being transplanted. Any shock makes them shed
their nitrogen fixing root nodules.  I've known some people
who start off runner beans in cardboard tubes, or fava beans in half drainpipes,
but in my opinion, it's better to plant legumes where they are going to grow, and choose ones which are
suited to your climate. Cloches/plastic can allow you to start them early. Some people
soak them before planting to speed up germination, but this works better for some
legumes than others.


Love the garden. How are the fences lasting? Any repairs or maintenance needed yet?




7 months ago

Francis Mallet wrote:

I sowed chickpeas way too early. They didn't seem to mind the cold in the
garage and they grew at least 12" tall  before I could transplant them outside.
By that time they were cramped in those 2" soil blocks. Of the 20 I sowed 12
made it to the garden. After a few days outside they all turned coppery brown.
Eventually they recovered but I can't imagine they enjoyed being burned by
the sun like that. Next year I will do better I hope.



Generally, legumes don't like being transplanted. Any shock makes them shed
their nitrogen fixing root nodules.  I've known some people
who start off runner beans in cardboard tubes, or fava beans in half drainpipes,
but in my opinion, it's better to plant legumes where they are going to grow, and choose ones which are
suited to your climate. Cloches/plastic can allow you to start them early. Some people
soak them before planting to speed up germination, but this works better for some
legumes than others.


Love the garden. How are the fences lasting? Any repairs or maintenance needed yet?




8 months ago

Travis Johnson wrote:I have made a few observations for the last 42 years I have been here on this farm:


Interestingly enough, my birthday is on May 8th, and over the last 42 years I have noted that while many years it seemed like we would get an early Spring, not once has the area farmers been able to start tillage before my birthday...something always came up. A cold snap, heavy rains, a late season snowstorm. It is this sort of observation that I believe can really make or break a farm because it is all about planning. As the saying goes, "no one plans to fail, but people fail to plan." The better the farm plan, the better the chances of success.





In Bulgaria, I was told never to plant out tomatoes before St. George's day, which in the Orthodox church is celebrated on May 6th https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_George%27s_Day#South_Slavic_tradition_and_Balkan_spring_festival on this day you could be sure there would be no more frost.

A scientist named Randal Cerveny showed that the earth is on average 1 degree warmer at full moon, but this effect is most noticeable at the poles
1 year ago

Angelika Maier wrote:Interesting info! As my whole land is on fill I do create soil, which makes it even more difficult. That means for me personally the geology only matters as much as the material I bring in. If you build up the soil you will end up with patchy  soils one different to the other. With the beets I know they need boron and I do 1/4 teaspoon on ten litres of water but it is a trace element and too much is dangerous.
I will make jkar tests I never did these.
I have some beds were chickweed grows like mad - is it too much nitrogen?



I've heard that chickweed generally likes well balanced, healthy soil. However, it also likes "poorly decomposed surface residues" which is what you or I call "mulch". Mother nature has an answer to everything we do! I've found that if you stop mulching with stuff like grass clippings and instead weed and carefully cover the soil surface with a thin, layer of really well composted manure, the chickweed becomes much less common.
1 year ago

Hans Quistorff wrote:

Location: Left Coast
[Post New]posted 3/2/2015 5:34:46 PM This post has earned 14 up votes 14   Quote  Report post to moderator
Many people seem inspired by Fukuoka's writings, but I've seen very few people growing grain using his philosophy or method. This year, I've set aside a little plot of land for growing grain using Fukuoka's philosophy of Mu farming. I'll start documenting it here, and if people are interested, I'll keep writing about it. 


I never had a chance to reed his writing only references to them so I have questions about what was actually done on the barley rice rotation.
was the field flooded or only flood irrigated or just seasonal rainfall?  How much water can the barley roots tolerate in the winter?  Is there a rice that will grow in a cooler temperature? All the references say it needs to be above 70F. That doesn't happen in my field until it starts to dry up.



Fukuoka only flooded his rice in the summer for about 3 weeks. The barley wuld have been winter barley so it would never get flooded
1 year ago

Libbie Hawker wrote:Much of the moon-phase planting stuff has to do with where the water table is sitting within the soil. Planting seeds or new seedlings when the water table is being pulled up higher simply makes the water more available to them, and gives them a better start.

The moon's gravitational pull is the reason why we have tides. Folks who don't live near salt water or other tidal waters (estuaries, etc.) might not be very aware of the dramatic difference in tides, but those of us who are near tides certainly are aware of just how much effect the moon has on water levels. It makes sense that if the moon can manipulate the level of sea water, then it can certainly manipulate ground water, too.



It's a good suggestion. A few years ago there was a paper in Nature  [Ernst Zurcher, Maria-Giulia Cantiani, Francesco Sorbetti-Guerri & Denis Michel (1998 ) Tree stem diameters fluctuate with tide Nature 392 16th April p.665] showing that tree trunks fluctuate with the phase of the moon.  It backs up what you are saying: more water flows through a tree at new moon, causing it to swell. It's also interesting how many times this claim had been made previously and dismissed because it sounded like astrology. It's not exactly difficult to repeat an experiment when the equipment is just a tape measure and a calendar
1 year ago

R Ranson wrote:Things are pretty unsettled for me right now.  There are a few things preventing me from moving forward.  There are more than I will mention here, but that's more external problems than ones with the experiment. 

Challenges:

1. most of the house has gone gluten free.
2. the area I did my initial experiment is still not recovered from the herbicide in the 'organic' straw.
3. processing grain with the tools and space I have is challenging
4. finding a crop rotation that will work in my climate.


Potential solutions to move forward with my experiment:

1. grow oats
2. repair the damage to that area (not sure how yet, but it isn't fixing itself, so I need to step in)
3. grow naked oats
4. keep experimenting. 

So that's where I'm at.  If it ever stops snowing, I'll be planting oats in the garden this spring and bulking up on seed.  I also hope to repair the damaged area, perhaps with a cover crop or green manuer.  I haven't figured if I have to till it under or if I can try a chop and drop system to get things going again.  BUT, if I can grow sunflowers, then that should get a lot of the nastiness out of the soil dirt.



You have my full sympathy.
1 year ago