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Ben Martin Horst

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since Sep 25, 2011
Occupied Anhalpam Territory, Willamette Valley, Oregon
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Recent posts by Ben Martin Horst

A permaculture guild is now forming to pursue and promote all things permacultural in Salem, Oregon, and the surrounding area. We hope to have regular meetings and work parties, and are open to all interested parties. Please feel free to contact me for info, and if you use Facebook you can find us at www.facebook.com/SalemPermaculture. If you're in the area, we hope you'll join us!
7 years ago
I do know some folks who "hunt," but they never get anything. Their yearly elk-hunting ventures are enormously elaborate affairs of packing in tons of supplies on ATVs and mules. I'd like to move a little more lightly on the land, and learn from someone with a decent success rate and a demonstrated respect for the animals they are hunting. I'm wondering about classes. Or recommendations for book-learning, how to decide how to hunt (not having any experience, would I be okay trying to teach myself with a bow first, or would I be better off starting with a rifle and moving on to a bow if I got more comfortable and skilled), etc?
8 years ago
I grew up in the city, was raised by pacifists, and have never picked up a gun in my life. But I want to learn to hunt. What's a good way to learn? I don't have much cash, and I don't have any patience for the NRA. I live in Western Oregon. Any suggestions?
8 years ago
Sheesh. How long have I been using PFAF and never noticed the database search? Yeah, that's pretty much exactly what I was looking for. Thanks!
8 years ago
Looks useful. Maybe under the "moisture" dropdown you could add a "mediterranean" option (alternating wet and dry seasons)? Also in the moisture dropdown, "well-drained" could be a characteristic of any of the other moisture options ... perhaps that should be a different dropdown altogether (i.e. "drainage:" slow, medium, fast).

Along these lines, I've though before that a Guild Generator could be a useful tool. Imagine a database containing something akin to the data in the appendices to Jacke and Toensmeier's Edible Forest Gardens. A user could enter search criteria (climate zone, moisture, light, etc), and the tool could spit back all plants matching those criteria. The user can then sift through this list to find plants that might be appropriate for her guild. It wouldn't be a substitute for careful observation and experience, but it could help narrow down the number of plants that might be appropriate in a given situation, or offer suggestions that one might not otherwise have thought of.
8 years ago
What about using several layers of salvaged cardboard as the mycoboard, instead of a hunk of wood? Your choice of mycelia would be different, of course, and it would decompose faster, but it has the advantages of being semipermeable, more available and/or cheaper, and more sheets could be reapplied as older ones decompose. You could also make them in larger dimensions, which could be more useful in terms of weed suppression.

Or take the "lasagna garden" concept and add mycelia: inoculate alternating layers of straw, cardboard, newspaper, wood chips, etc, with appropriate mycelia and apply new inoculated materials as needed.  At first thought, it seems like these techniques might have most of the advantages of a piece of wood, but fewer drawbacks.
8 years ago
We have a small flock (~35 birds) of Ancona ducks, which are really great birds. They forage well, lay well, and the surplus drakes are a decent size for eating. The eggs are large and either white or light blue-green. The birds are medium-sized and colored in variable patterns, kind of like a pinto pony, in black, brown, tan, or "lavender," which makes individual birds highly recognizable. All Anconas (at least in the US) apparently go back to Holderread stock (two birds, actually, though their progeny is so generally healthy that you'd never guess they come from such a genetic bottleneck) and are a critically endangered breed. The Holderread birds have now all been passed on to Boondockers Farm ( http://boondockersnaturals.com/ ), so they are now the main source. We got our initial day-old ducklings from Carol Deppe (http://www.caroldeppe.com/), whose recent book The Resilient Gardener has some excellent permaculturish suggestions for raising ducks, and Anconas in particular. I'm not sure if she's still selling ducklings, but she's an excellent and congenial source for information.

My one quibble with Anconas is that they haven't tended to care for eggs and ducklings well, in my experience. We're not sure if this is a breed characteristic or whether it has to do with the fact that at least the past three generations have been incubator-hatched, and they're missing some critical early learning about what mothering entails. Our plan for the next hatching season is to sneak some Ancona eggs under our new Muscovies (reputedly great brooders), so we'll see if they pick up any mothering skills that way.

Different birds will perform differently in different locales, of course, but for western (maritime) Oregon, where I live, I can't recommend Anconas highly enough. They're awesome ducks, and deserve to have more people raising and breeding them.
8 years ago
Vulcanization doesn't necessarily require heat. Maya peoples of Central America and southern Mexico were apparently mixing the juice of an Ipomoea species with latex hundreds of years ago to produce rubber very similar in use to what is produced by modern vulcanization techniques. Varying the ratio of Ipomoea juice to latex changes the properties of the rubber. See, for example: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/may/31/science/la-sci-rubber-20100531
8 years ago