On combining tax parcels, something to think about. If you keep them separate, the orchard should be taxed a much lover rate (ag value). If you combine them you will pay the maximum assessment (residential) for all the square footage. In my neck of the woods, that gets very expensive on acreage. It also helps the resale of both properties should you ever choose to sell one or the other. Check with the assesor's office on tax rates before you file to combine.
Forgot to add, the quote from the only place that rented forestry mulcher equipment was $10k per week, 1 week minimum, and a 4 month waiting list to get it. Pick up and delivery was extra and no. I could not pick it up using my own equipment trailer. Needless to say, business must have been very good for them. Hopefully, prices have come down in the past few years. But I decided I would pass and that I was in the wrong business.
Here is my experience. Take it for the free advise as offered.
Forestry mulchers are expensive to rent. Contrcators are also not cheap, but you will find it cheaper in the long run to pay them to run their equipment. A cheaper, DIY option is to rent a walk behind brush cutter and a good sized chipper. Sunbelt and other equipment rental places will have both items. A billy goat or DR brush mower will take out the underbrush and vines allowing you to get to the larger trunks. A good chipper will do either a 6 inch or 12 inche tree trunk depending on the horsepower. Anything larger than 12 inches should be firewood anyway.
Paying a contractor with a forestry attachment on a skid steer: I had a quote about 4 years ago for $3k for about an acre and half. This was Texas gulf coast area with mostly yaupon underbrush with a few stands of 3 inch pines. It was worth it to me at the time to pay him. I had already sunk a grand and a week's vacation fighting with rental equipment; and family commitments.
It sounds like you are starting over with no older mature trees to save. If you can get a good quote, I think you will be happy paying someone with a mulcher to come through and be done with it.
Sonja Draven wrote:Flour doesn't freeze solid because it's dry.
Freezing is actually the preferred method for long term storage, even if it will not stay in the freezer. Hard freezing for a few week (sub 0) or light freezing for 6 weeks will kill any potential infestation at a later date; and increase shelf life significantly. It will bake the same as normal and does not need to be 'defrosted'. It will come up to room temp fairly quickly after you measure out your need. Then cook/bake as normal.
What are the natural predators for Cobras? Is it possible to keep geese or other large fowl on your property?
We have a problem with Rattlesnakes. We encourage Kingsnakes to live in the area, since they eat pit vipers. What eats cobras that you could live with having on the property, especially as another layer of production in the permiculture pyramid?
Welcome to Permies. Glad to see you starting a garden. (Please be aware the file you posted has your personal information at top of the report.)
The short answer is yes, of course. The more complicated answer is how quickly and what are you wanting to improve? Having a lab soil sample your compost is great idea, but largely unnecessary in my humble opinion. Give the soil what it needs to promote microbial and bacteria life; and they will take care of your plants.
Year ago, I worked my way through college with my own "landscape" company, meaning I did whatever work in the hot Texas sun that other people would pay me to do; because they did not want to do it. I had a customer that was an amateur horticulturalist. He was the best gardener I have seen. His 'secret'? I manicured his lawn weekly but was forbidden to remove the clippings. Everything was dumped on his raised beds, hot composting in the process. Last weeks clippings were mulch underneath and held the moisture in the Texas heat. The the clippings from weeks prior had had time to break down and become food for the living biome under in the upper layer of soil. This weeks clippings made fast heat and kept the weeds from germinating.
Grass clippings have just about a perfect nitrogen to carbon ratio on their own. They break down quickly when piled up. they will simply ignite your colonies of 'good stuff' in the soil. And the great thing is: everyweek you can pick up as many bags of the stuff as you want from your neighborhood. Few resources required. Try adding grass clippings to your compost or directly to your garden. You will be amazed at the results. It may take a season or two to convert the soil (SA is not known for great soil.); but as for amendments to your soil, I would recommend composted grass clippings as a number 1 place to start.
A few thoughts: First, just because you have to have a well does not mean you have to plumb or use it. You can still build to your plans and have a water tank system. Just tell the driller to cap the well. Although it is really advisable to have a water source if you plan to keep animals.
Second, talk to your lender and ask them if the well needs to be 'active' (pump down hole, wired to electricity, plumbed to the house.) Explain your desire. Mostly the lender does not care what you use for water. They just want to ensure their investment has re-sale value if the loan is not collected. It is hard to re-sell a property without a water source and the bank is not in the land development/project business. However, if a well is on site and can be hooked up, that may be all that matters to them to qualify.
Lastly, look at "green building" lenders. There are precious few whom work with non traditional loans, but they are out there. I think Green Mountain out of Colorado is still around, but it has been years since I looked at that area of finance.
Most of the Upper Texas Gulf Coast has "gumbo soil" which is expansive by nature. There are pockets of soil that are not predominantly expansive. I know that NW of Houston as you get up to Hempstead (out 290 past the flood plain) that area is a high sand content and not expansive. I have posted this link before, but I find it helpful for a bunch of reasons. The University of California Davis has an interactive map of the US that shows soil type. Pick a location on the map, click on the location, and a soil profile will appear on the left margin. Click on the primary soil type and click on the box for linear extension. The 'question mark' will give a technical definition of linear extension and show the categories. Basically it is the measure of shrink-swell of soil as it hydrates/dehydrates. The more expansion and contraction the more foundation problems you will encounter.
It is helpful to see the different soils in an area. It will also answer your question more specifically. It will also show the percentage of clay, sand, and organic matter in a local soil type, which helps to see if there is enough clay to do cob with on site material or if it will have to be brought in.
Welcome to Permies! Houston does not have a lot of natural building. A lot or reasons for that, but in regards to Cob, keep in mind that the soil in that area is mostly 'expansive soil'. A cob house is going to move a lot, even on a good perimeter foundation.
Austin has some cob projects. There was/is even a venue (weddings/parties, etc...) with a cob hall to rent, although that has been a few years back. I don't know if they are still in business.
Marco Banks wrote:If you want to seal that rust from further corroding the steel and give the chain a nice dark "oiled" look, you could give it a quick coat of Penetrol. It's manufactured by Flood and it's available at better home stores or on Amazon. It's a paint additive
You have it right. Ditch on contour with berm (excavation) on the downhill side of the trench. As pointed out, have a spill way for water to release before finding its own way over through or under the berm.
Could you elaborate more on how you did your maps with self designated contours, please? I am familar with GIS maps and such but have never figured out how to specify the contour interval of my choosing and impose it on an image. I would very much appreciate knowing how you did this.
No kidding, so much of the available (left over) land that is available at a reasonable price is in an area that geologically or politically has water constraints. Before buying any property research where there is water and whom owns it. I got some real shocks when I was at the searching stage of property acquisition. The best location in the world; or the nicest property you can find, is no value if you can't get water to it legally or practically.
After you establish you can get life giving water, the next lesson learned is to research the soil type. Here is a tip that is much easier (preliminary investigation) than sending soil sample to the lab for every piece of property you become interested. UC Davis soil web. Find the location on the map and check the soil report.
Never thought about how to make a cow a pet, since they more often are pests.
Thoughts, they have to have water at least once a day. Where do they water? Can you close it off to them, except when you are present? Cows will typically graze, drink, then lay down to chew cud. If you are at the tank when they are ready to drink they will get used to you being around. Have some treats on hand and they will get the idea that you are part of the landscape and have tasty things like grain, apples, alfalfa squares, etc...
My solution would be to train your dog to gently round them up. If a dog has any sense at all, they can be trained. If you can get the idea to them that you want them to push cows, they don't have to be stock dogs or have training to understand. The cows will instinctually react to the presence of a canine. If you walk out to the cows with the dog on the leash the cows and dogs will learn that means go the other way. If you can keep the pressure light, until the dog figures out the routine, then the cows can be directed in the direction you want them to go. Of course, one could always get a good stock breed like a catahoula. Good family dogs with a strong work drive.
Swales is the most common answer to your problem. However, unless the property has a lot of slope, swales might not be the key feature to combat dry soil. As you pointed out, stripping the land to bare earth is the issue. My property was bulldozed to bare earth, then overgrazed about 4 years before it came to me. I have been repairing it ever since. If you have large rain events, swales might be appropriate. If you have smaller events, keyline may be the best solution for you. With either approach, keep in mind that getting life back into the soil after it has been abused is the single most important act you can take to combat abused earth.
(If I have done my conversions right) Every 1 mm of rain over a hectare, will deliver 10,000 liters of water. Approach the question from this perspective: "Am I getting enough water annually; or am I not keeping enough of it in my soil?" If you get adequate rain fall, then I would focus on de-compacting, hydrating with keyline, and raising the organic matter percentage of the soil with fine rooted cover crops. before investing in the expense of earthworks. Raising the organic matter of your soil by 1% (in the top 30cm) will allow the soil to hold an additional 200,000 liters per hectare. That is a lot of water to put back into the soil and be available for trees. This can be achieved without terraces, swales or earthworks. Putting life, fine roots, and plants back in the soil is your biggest tool to recover soil, if you have adequate rainfall to start.
Agreed. I am a big fan of Mark Shepard's work with silvopasture, especially his approach to integrated management with multiple balanced revenue streams. My place is being set up with the same concepts, including beef and poultry rotations. There is a lot of support in my state for pecan, beef, and poultry production. It is just not integrated. Also there seems to be a missing piece (in my mind) for understory and mid canopy occupation in the seven layer permeculture models. I am working on finding the right combination in the shrub and mid canopy layers. I am working on developing the microbial colony and mychrorizal colonies. The herb and vine layers will be sunn hemp and velvet bean, both nitrogen fixers and good forage crops. The over story will be pecans. J am just trying to nail down the shrub and mid canopy. Hazelnuts seem to be comfortable in both/either.
I did not know truffles and hazelnuts were associated. Thank you. I need to watch that. We have a wild hog population and they can be destructive enough without growing treats in the ground. Last thing I need is for them to uproot up my trees. Thank you for the lead on Forest Ag. I will add them to my source list. How is Rutgers distributing plants? Are they in a trial program? Have they turned over their varieties to a commercial producer? I think next spring will be my time line for getting a few varieties started in place.
I am very interested to hear any success stories or experiences with commercial production of Hazelnuts, please. I know that outside of Oregon, the US does not produce much of a crop; but perhaps someone has done it on a small scale and can share their experiences.
I know the current varieties we have are susceptible to hazelnut blight; although there is some talk of a resistant variety being tested in New Jersey (?). What is the 'blight'? Is it fungal or bacterial? How is it spread? What conditions suppress it?
Marketing will be an issue, or course; but that is true of all non industrial ag. Does anyone have any experience with establishing a small market (or large)? Are there aggregators outside the Pacific Northwest?
My interest in this topic is to co-orchard hazelnuts as an under story tree in a pecan grove. Pecan take a long time to establish and reach production yields. Hazelnuts reach production much faster and seem to have evolved as in the under story or mid canopy zone. Looking for varieties to take their roles in the different zones of a food forest that will be beneficial and perhaps productive. My research shows hazelnuts might do well in the mid level zone; and have good commercial value.
I am told that human waste. known as night soil, is still used (at least as recently as the '60's) in Korea and is an important commodity. However, Humnaure is unique. It is composted and sterile before being applied to fields. Due to the smells reported with the processes currently practiced in Asia, I don't believe it is being therompyllicly processed.
I don't know of any current or ancient practice that adapted the 'humanure process' to treat waste before using it as fertilizer. However, those efforts may have just been lost to history.
At my place we brown recluse, black widows, scorpions, rattlesnakes, cottonmouths, and copperheads. In the rivers we have alligators, and several species of sharks on the coast. All can make for a nasty day. I have a few fun stories that I share with people when they ask "why does everything here want to kill you?" But the reality is I have more risk of death statistically from being gored by livestock than taken out by a venomous pest. I have an irrational fear of snakes (having one bite into my gloved hand, narrowly missing breaking the skin did not help.), so it can be tough to keep it all in perspective.
To tie it into permaculture: Poultry, fun sized dinosaurs, will keep the insect population, as well as the smaller reptile population at bay; and give one a much lower chance of an encounter. Good farm hygiene and some common sense will further reduce your risk to a very low level. Just try to look at the big picture and realize every environment has something that can kill you unexpectedly. Embrace one's mortality and enjoy the journey.
For anyone living in Croc country, you have my deepest respect and sympathy. And you can keep your prehistoric beasts. We're full here.
Organic material will decompose, eventually. When it does, it will leave voids in your walls. Voids are bad. Will it cause a wall failure? No one can tell. Too many variables, but they will be there; and over time may need to be repaired. Know the risk and use best judgement. My OPINION is some would be fine, but minimize where you can.
In those conditions in the Pacific NW, I would try willow. Willow will cling to very steep banks and anchor in sand. It can stand shade and will soak up moisture moderating the chances of mud slides common in the area. If you had more time for something to establish bamboo would be a better choice, but needs a few years to establish a root net to be effective.
Chris Kott wrote:To be clear, the goal is to leave the soil in the same orientation as it started out, yes?
From his observations with moving water, I am going to assume Schauberger wish to 'energize' the soil by vortexing the path the soil would take over a plow, comparative to the tendencies he observed in streams. Whether one agrees or not with his observations, I believe his theory would fall short of his expectations on the basis of limited movement alone. Fluid dynamics allows for multiple iterations of helical motion over a longer distance than the soil would travel through a single fixed point of a plow. One is only going to flip the dirt once with a plow.
The results he achieved with water can be debated endlessly; but either way would not translate to a non fluid medium, in my opinion. Mechanically, I agree. The design might work in some soils under some conditions.; but certainly not a practical implement.
I think there is less contradiction than one might imagine; but more of a definition of systems. Swales, as you know, are tree building systems where water is an issue; either too much (erosion) or too little (dry land.) I think your second author may have had a piece of land that did not need the swales (obviously.) The question is:
What type of land do you have? What is needed? Silvopasture (Shepard's method) does not need swales. (If I recall, Shepard is more about Keyline; but does use some swales) What is your soil? How much rain and how well dispersed over the growing season? What will swale achieve for your piece of property?
It all about finding the right tools for the job and applying them correctly. Tell us more about your project piece.
What USDA zone is the property and when is the first freeze normally? There was a thread recently with a similar situation. Someone asking what should be planted in a newly cleared field. Travis suggested rye grass seed, which is cheap and grows quickly. Other options are winter wheat, oats, winter clover, or a mix of brassicas.
I would not rake up the chips at this stage. I would throw cheap seed out before a hard rain and let the seed settle through the chips to the soil. I always like the idea of biochar, as I think it last longer in the soil, but it will require gathering it, charring it, and rebroadcasting it. That is a lot of work when the chips will do a lot of the same, with no work; but are consumable over a period of years. Biochar works best when one has large format waste they need to break down or dispose; not when needs a lot of handling.
Use a small seed. broadcast it before a good rain. Hope for the best; and get a green cover in for the winter. If winters are short or mild, you might try a larger format seed and disking it into the soil, but I have not had a lot of experience with disking. Not sure how it would work with heavy shred on the ground. Either way, something is better than nothing, but I would not put a ton of money into seed for now.
Shrinkage does not seem to be a factor with deadman anchors for doors and windows. In fact they are required to give enough surface area for the cob to hold the weigh of a door. If deadman blocks of this volume can be used, rebar will not be a problem.
They are building up the wall in sections, which helps the wall stabilize as they go up, so that may be something that would help you with shrinkage issues. I can see using rebar anchors on in your concrete columns used in the same fashion, helping tie it all together. I am understanding your concept correctly?
Paul Wheaton, the owner of Permies, produced a video series that is available to purchase, that is the most in depth resource available. There is a ton of free information here as well.
If you can weld, a simple square tube (over two inches x two inches) will work. The top leg of the L shape (chimney) should be at least twice the length of horizontal leg (firebox.) That is it in a nutshell. The firebox can be at an angle 35 to 60 degrees off the horizontal is you wish gravity assisted wood feed. A J tube design can also be used with a vertical firebox connected to the horizontal combustion chamber described above with the L shape design.
If you don't want to weld, the same design and dimensions can be made out of dry stacked or mortared fire brick. The dimensions are not critical, just make sure you have enough vertical chimney to combust the gases completely, as that is the main advantage of the RMS.
Of course there is an entire forum here on Permies regarding strawbale: strawbale forum
Straw bale is natural fiber that is slow to decompose, compressed to a very high density to form block used to infill a structural frame. Bales themselves can be made to be load bearing if compressed tight enough; but most builders just use it as a super insulation inside a timber frame (or concrete in your case.) The bales can be coated with cob, plaster, or any other material that will adhere to the bale to form attractive, well insulated natural material wall. The advantage in your case would be less clay needed to prepare to make a solid cob wall, a higher R value, and quicker build time.
I don't think you would have any issue with cracking of cob with rebar installed. As you know cob walls are thick. An additional 1/2 of rebar won't impact the material.
Are you planning to build in the Austin area or Texas in general? I think Austin is more alt. building friendly than most places for permits and inspection, but definitely check with code enforcement before you get too far into your project.
You will need to tie the cob into the column. Much of cobs 'strength' lies in it continuity. Disrupt that continuity and you lose its self reinforcement. Just as cob does not like right angles or rectilinear design, by interrupting or weakening the connection with itself, you will lose its stability. Since it won't be load bearing it would not be a structural issue, but I think you would have nothing more than cob panels supported by thin links to another cob panel. I would also think the top of the cob wall to the bond beam (ring) would need to be supported as well for lateral (in and out) stability.
As with any element, doors, windows, etc..., things in a cob wall need to be tied mechanically. Since it is not load bearing, have you considered strawbale infill and a cob plaster?
I don't think there is anything wrong with sanding a pan to make it smooth. The ultimate goal is to get a smooth even cooking surface.
However, when I first learned to season a new pan; I read a lot about the process. Then one day Emiril Lagasse (sp?), the New York Italian Cajun cook, (yeah, I never quite got that either) did a show on seasoning cast iron. The first thing he did with a new pan is dump 2 pounds of salt into the pan and put it in an over at 350 degrees. Now salt and metal, especially heated, pits metal. His first step was to make the pan MORE rough and uneven. Now he is, love him or hate him, a professional chef who has studied the art and does this for a living. Maybe he knows something I don't.
I have never intentionally pitted a pan, because I think they are rough enough 'out of the box'. However, there may be something to giving the oils lots of surface area to adhere. I have never tried to make a pan more pitted. I have however, followed the rest of his advice, which boils down to cooking with a lot of lard and other natural fats/oils (not veggie oil.) It has worked well. Nor have I ever sanded a pan, because I just don't know if it helps or hurts. Intuition says the smoother the better; but I don't know that for sure.
To season a pan, I wash it with Dawn soap or a degreaser. They do oil them, so they don't rust. After cleaning with cleanser and HOT water, I dry thoroughly with a cloth and then heat to drive out all moisture. I then cook bacon, at least a pound, and let it get hot. I am not above opening the windows and letting it smoke a little bit. Then let it cool completely, even overnight. Then wipe out anything that will come off with a rag. Do this a couple of times and the pan will be ready to use. The more animal fat you put on it the better/faster it will season and gain the smooth patina that makes it not stick. It is not a fast process, but how often do you have to start a new pan? Never wash it in a dishwasher (although I have from time to time.) Keep it dry and lightly oiled in the beginning. Other than that, just use it and often. It will get better with use.
Last tip that has worked well for me. Cleaning the pan: De-glaze it. What that means to me, is anytime I use the pan and it is full of grease, caramelized food, or residue; I don't wash it. I heat it up (or deglaze after cooking, but can be done the next day) to medium hot, pour in a quarter to half cup of water and/or a bit of wine and let it boil. With a metal spatula, I work it around, often with some onions, and mushrooms and make a sauce with the residue. It makes a wonderful gravy. If you don't care for that toss it out; or give it to the dogs. Either way, you will be amazed at how clean that pan will be after a quick rinse and reheat to remove the dampness.
Ashley Cottonwood wrote:Are there different types of cast iron for the use of cookware I should know about? T
Two part answer: Yes there is different 'cast iron'. No, the difference won't make any difference in a pan.
Without getting into the metallurgy of iron, science of iron iron cookware is cast iron is cast iron. Everything posted above is correct. It basically comes down to how you have seasoned the pan. Unseasoned cast iron does not give the results one might expect. Use it enough, with grease, and it will become mirror smooth; returning the results it is famous.
There is a tremendous amount of mark up in the retail market for cast iron. Don't be afraid of a $20 pan. Purist will say there is a quality difference between the modern Lodge cookware and the older version from the same company. I have not seen it. There are also other company that are prized among collectors; but I am not convinced it makes a difference, once the pan is properly seasoned. That being said, I never pass up cheap cast iron at garage sales or 'gifts'.
Both my wife and I have cast iron that is passed down from our mothers and grandmothers. They are black mirrors. They cook the same as my modern Lodge cookware that I seasoned myself, after years of use. It is all in the seasoning.
I am not a biologist. I just know what I have read and what county extension agents have passed to me. Pecan trees can be tricky to transplant. The roots are sensitive to becoming dry. I am told the trees should be fully dormant before taking up the root; and should be in the ground before the sap starts to rise. By mid April here, I have buds on pecan trees. So that establishes my window.
In my area nurseries won't sell before January and are often sold out of popular cultivars by the end of February. Mid Atlantic conditions might be different. Fall may be okay to plant root stock. I have never tried. Check with some suppliers to see if they are available in the fall.
You will need to look at the Kanza variety which is a cold hardy. There may be other varieties that do well, but Kanza is the go to for the northern plains states for pecans. Cape Fear, Elliott and Desirable may also be varieties to research; but I don't know your climate.
You will definitely need a type I and type II variety in the same vicinity. Kanza is a type II. Pawnee is reported to be a good pollinator. The male and female parts of the pecan trees are present at different times of the season, so they won't self pollinate. One has to have another tree that will provide pollen at the same time the tree is receptive to pollen to produce fruit. Planting multiple varieties may increase your chances, but with wind pollination it is more about the correct timing and distance than diversity.
I have used these folks with good results: Texas Pecan Womack is a highly regarded supplier, but their prices when way up two season's ago. Womack's
You will need to plant bare root stock around the March time frame. I plant in late January or February, but I don't have hard freezes as you may. Tip: don't let the roots begin to dry. Keep them damp at all times. That means wet burlap even when you are in the field planting. This also means short shipping times are better. Depending on the orchard lay out you select, you will plant 12 to 24 trees per acre. 20 acres is a lot of trees. I find it more economical to go pick up my trees in a trailer, so I can ensure they are kept moist and protected. If you found a supplier on the East Coast, probably Georgia, it would be less expensive than shipping; and your trees would be less stressed in transit.
I don't have (yet) direct experiencing companion planting in a pecan orchard. However, from life experience I can tell you pecans (all hickory family) can be found interspersed with a variety of trees. They are not picky about their neighbors, unlike black walnuts. One finds native pecan stock volunteering in hedgerows quite willingly.
How deep is your trench going to be to get below the frost line? I am going to guess you are looking at 36 to 48 inches? What is your base soil type?
My concern with shale would be shifting. It could be contained with a wire gabbion. A more practical way would be to add gravel as you filled. Shale would take up a lot of volume and reduce the amount of material that would need to be brought in; but a deep layer of shale will shift and settle. With frost heaves and expansive soil, I think you will not be happy with shale alone. It would not take a lot of gravel but needs something to stabilize the lateral forces.
I don't have shale in my area, but have hiked in areas that was heavy shale. Uncontained and/or unstablized, I think you would have problems. I envy you though. I think it would be a good resource for natural building.