Thank you all for the replies. I have spent the last 2 days on the property. The scope of the change is daunting, but I am getting a better feel for what needs to be done. I will be doing some more research on the specifics of the tools, as I shop for specific equipment. Wish me luck.
I have an acreage that I want to install swales. I have been considering purchasing a used Case Contruction King (480D) with a bucket and a gannon blade. I have clay loam soil. My concern is will the gannon/box blade be sturdy enough to move the soil or do I really need something heavier like a Cat5 or Cat6? This is 103 acres, so we are talking miles of swales before it is all over.
The upside is I can get a good Case CK for less than $10k. I don't think I could even get a small dozer for twice that. Also I can use the bucket around the farm, where I don't think I will have use for a dozer once the swales are in. Thoughts? Anyone have experience with a gannon box blade for swales?
This season I started a new bed. (Clay 'gumbo' soil under lawn previously.) Removed grass last fall and covered with leaves and grass clippings. This spring I put down 2 layers of cardboard and about 4 inches of shredded leaves; and saturated the ground. 12/12 plants came up but some were sickly and need fertilizer to make it. When you plant, punch a hole in the cardboard and pull back a marble sized area of the mulch where the seed goes in. The plants will come up fine.
Maine is a sunny state. I would suggest a simple DC solar panel collector, and a computer fan. You can find (cheaply) cooling fans that move 5 cfm that run off straight DC current. Wire directly to the collector. No charger or controller needed. Sun up? Fans on. Sun down, fan off. Cloudy day, slower fan. How many cubic feet is your root cellar? Simple math will tell you how many times you will turn over the airspace.
What variety of cedar (eastern, western, salt) and what region of the country? Conventional wisdom holds that some cedars are allelophatic.
Blueberries like acidic soil. What is the ph measurement of the soil? Can you do a soil test? Most States have an Extension Service that will do the test for a small fee. There are many companies that offer the service as well.
Anything housed with Hogs will starve and/or be eaten. They are master foragers. They will out compete their pen mates, unless there is lots of space for all. However, the hogs will find the high value forage first; "and...its gone." They also tend to destroy what they don't eat getting to the stuff they do eat. They should probably get their own space.
Sheep and goats don't compete much and should be compatible. Sheep prefer grass and goats forbs.
Have you listened to Mark Shepard's system of rotational grazing in an orchard? That may be a better approach. Same space. Different time frames. Short duration/cycle each animal type. It works much better than constant exposure.
I have never had one that did not have gas. Some foods are more likely to be a problem than others. It will be trial and error; but keep in mind that switching foods frequently (or before they normalize) will aggrevate the problem. Ease them into a new food and give it a few weeks. If results are not there, try again.
"people food" (typically richer foods) has usually given my dogs more gas than there dry dog foods. However, I think the dry foods are less healthy. Also some breeds are more problematic than others. My Chow/Golden seldom had an issue. My Catahoulas could clear a room. All fed the same diet.
That is a nice homestead you have built over the past 9 years. Sounds live a very reasonable prices, as well. So I am clear, the lease is a one time payment for 99 years duration? Also the community requirement of 6 months of residency before being able to become a member (and take a lease), how will that work? Will you allow a potential buyer to postpone the transaction until the membership is secured? What happens if the buyer is not a good fit for the community, a membership/lease is not offered?
I think this could be a very attractive deal for someone. (MO is too cold for this TX Gulf Coast boy.) The price is reasonable for the amount of infrastructure you are selling. I don't have any experience with community owned land; but am curious. It sounds like your community and the ones nearby are a great asset for a homesteader. How did you get started with this group? It sounds like you were in from the beginning. Are you the first to resell? Has the community dealt with other transfers of ownership? Is this their first?
Good luck to you back east. It must be hard to change courses after so long and so much effort. Will you look at coming back to the community in the future?
Berns Fernand wrote: Are you saying if I keep with the same degree and direction of travel, that I should be able to establish a straight line walking in the DOG and flagging off every so often?
Yes, exactly. Find the angle of 59 degrees on the dial of the compass. With the D.O.G. arrow pointing straight ahead (pointed at the far end post of the fence), walk a straight line towards the post. Place a flag at whatever spacing your fence posts will be at. Technically, you don't even need the compass, since you have line of sight. You could have someone walk the L50 line and place a flag, as you stood behind the corner post and lined him up visually. But just walking along the 59 degree compass bearing is easier.
Berns Fernand wrote: I also forgot to tell you, technically the L50 line is my side of the property, but Im not sure that makes it any different...
L49 and L50 are identical. But if you start at the other end of the fence line, use the reading of 239 degrees and walk south. (180 + 59 degress = 239.)
Looks like yaupon to me. The spread by the roots, so as you cut them out, you need to keep the area mowed. If not they will sprout up, get large diameter stems; and you are back to square zero...only they have multiplied. In the spirit of permiculture: You don't have a yaupon infestation. You have a biochar/woodchip production plant. 8?>
Okay. The map is perfect. It has all you need on it.
From the chart in the left margin you know the fence line, L49, runs from South to East at an angle of 59 degrees on your compass dial. Depending on how precise your instrument is, it further breaks the degrees down to minutes and seconds (fractions of a degree.) 31 minutes 44 seconds. Your compass will not be that accurate, but perhaps a gps would be? Survey's equipment is obviously very precise.
So standing by the country road 479, look North towards the gravel drive and the other end of the fence line. (the two ponds should be on your left.) Looking down at the flat compass in front of you, point the d.o.g. or direction of go from the video, at the far end of your line. Rotate the dial until the floating needle is inside the red 'dog house' on the base plate. The dial or bezel on the compass should read 59 degrees (+/- 2 degrees.) The compass will get you close, but even a small rate of error over 1000 feet will put you off your line. I would place flags along a line you establish with the compass.
Using your scope (safety first - open the bolt/breach/chamber) sight in the far post. Have your friend move the first flag left/right until the flag is inline with the scope and the far post as you look through the view finder. Simple hand signals will tell him which way you want him to move. Move to the next flag and repeat. Quickly the ragged line of flags will come into a very narrow line in the scope as he works further out.
Clearing those trees so you have line of sight will be worth the extra work. You will be able to get an accurate fence line with line of sight and magnification.
Berns Fernand wrote:... and being that it is a rotational, could I still use it to set a straight line?
You could; but it is making it more complicated than it needs to be. I looked at some videos of the particular level you have. Being rotational, its strength is not a setting a straight line to a fixed distant point; although you could use it for that, I suppose. Your simplest solution is to do find the direction of travel of the property line on a map. Using that angle between the property line and magnetic north, use a compass to duplicate that angle from an end post. Then use the compass to sight along that angle as far as line of sight allows. For that you could use a standard laser pointer of fixed laser. Then move to the last point and take a line of sight along that angle, repeating until you hit your far end post.
As far as how to use a compass for this. Here is a very simple 60 instruction. There are more complicated videos, but it does not need to be any harder than this. The big trick will be to find the angle of the property line to magnetic north. Do you have a platt map or survey of the property? Does you County have GIS data on their website? Can you post a link to a google map image, so we can help?
Aaron makes a good point. a heavy root crop would do a lot of deep tillage for you while you wait. Clover, hemp, brassicas, alfalfa, and comfrey would all be good choices depending on the season and zone.
Yes, you are on the right track. Pile the organic matter on top. Keep the 'mulch' wet. Let time and nature do their work. Will breaking up the soil first help? Maybe a little. It is a lot of work for a small increase in progress. Nature will do far more than you will achieve with the labor. Your choice. However, if you do break up the soil, cover it immediately. It will return to hard pan quickly without a cover on it. Keep it moist at all times for fastest results.
I am looking forward to going through your plans to learn what I can.
I would encourage you to also consider, beyond the ice blocks, investigating geothermal cooling. Ground temperature is fairly stable below 4 feet from the surface. In VT, I bet that is a stable temp between 40 to 45 degrees year round. Digging a pit or trench down below the 4 foot mark, place HDPE pipe between 4 and 6 inch diameter and cover with soil. With both ends above ground, one is the output pipe which is mounted to a DC (computer) fan, powered by a small solar panel draws air the length of pipe with the input end in a cool shaded place (north side of the root cellar?) The air is cooled to near ground temp (below 45 degrees) as it passes through the coils. This will help keep your entire cellar cooler after the ice has melted.
Can you see one end from the other end? In other words you have undulation, but both end points have line of sight? Or is on not visible from the other? If both are visible, then it is much easier. Mark a post at both ends. Starting at one end move a flag out 100 feet from the point of origin. Walk back to the end post and ensure, visually, that the flag is inline with the two end points. Set laser behind first flag and shoot the same angle at a flag 100 feet further. Ensure visually alignment with the end points and flags. Repeat 7 more times. Now you have a 2 end posts with 9 flags spaced 100 feet apart.
If you can not see both ends from one another, this will be a longer process. Instead of lining up the two end points, take a compass bearing. Then follow the same process to make a straight line out 100 feet along that compass bearing. Repeat until the second end point comes into sight. If the tangent angle of your fence is off the mark (but a straight line), then adjust the flags to match the angle of error. Repeat the process to confirm. Continue refining the error (angle of declination), until you are satified the fence is straight and runs post to post.
Having never used a laser level, I can not give you exact instructions, but do have something to add. The legs of your tripod has 3 points. Using a compus shoot an azimuth (compass bearing) from each leg through the other 2 legs. Much easier if you set up two leg in a line that follows magnetic north (or east, west, south.) Make sure everytime you move the laser level, the feet align to these same 6 angles. That will give you continuity. Now make sure your laser head does not move from the angle in relationship to the legs (should have a 360 degree dial for reference under the laser). This way the line created by the laser will consistently align with the legs. The legs will be the same each time. This is triangulation. But instead of triangulating on a fixed point to determine exact location, you will triangulate the 3 consistent angles between the legs as your position changes. The more accurate your compass, the straighter your line will be.
Don't be afraid to do this as many times as it takes, making small adjustments, until you are perfectly happy with the fence plot. Once you are comfortable with the 100' flags, shoot a line between each flag and mark your post locations. Take your time. You will have to look at that fence for a long time.
Just for fun, here is a little ditty to add some humor to your task:
What zone/climate are you planting? Did the tree receive plenty of water during its time out of the ground? When you re-planted, did you ensure no air pockets were around the roots?
That is a lot of time to be out of a growing situation. The tree is likely very stressed, rather than infected. You may find it loses all it leaves and appears dead; only to make a weak come back later. (don't pull it up until you are sure it is dead.)
From the pictures it looks like a big mess with the stumps under plastic. Yikes. I am going to assume whatever you want to do runs the risk of violating the surface integrity of the landscape fabric. That might make someone very upset.
I would suggest laying a 2x12 plank vertically up the slope. It would need to be pressure treated and varnished to slow down decay; or find a recycled plastic decking material like Trex that will not rot. Every 10-12 inches nail or acrew 1x 1 strips for traction. Basically like a gang plank onto a boat. Then you can lay the board on the ground without puncturing the fabric. Fill in under and around the board to give even support and keep it from moving about. Cheap and easy; and no one upset that the erosion barrier is torn up. Also easy to pull up if the situation changes.
I am looking for a seed supplier that carries bulk seeds for cover crop and soil conditioning that thrive in Eastern Washington. I have found a lot of good seed companies online. However, I would like to support Northwest growers where possible; and buy varieties that do well in the NW. Where have you had good luck finding seeds? Do you order from out of state? I see farm co-ops in Yakima, Seattle, and Skagit County, as well the more urban farm oriented Seattle Tilth and Seattle Co-op. Do you have experience with bulk seeds from anyone there.
Irish Eyes in Ellensburg is an option; but they seem to be more retail oriented and their bulk prices seem high, although they have good selection. Any feedback welcome. Thank you.
If you are truly interested in this as a business plan, look into the research that Washington State has done on turning cardboard bales into biochar: https://fortress.wa.gov/ecy/publications/documents/1207033.pdf pg 16. I think it warrants further study. With global shipping traffic coming to a virtual standstill now, there will soon be a back log of OCC or recycled cardboard as it is called in the industry piling up on the docks. Formerly, this was a big backhaul export to China. I know when I was running a business the ebb and flow of the price I received for my bales were directly tied to inbound traffic at the port. (The more goods coming into the country, the more empty containers that need to be filled to make it worth sending them back.) Right now, ship traffic, coming and going is dead. Recyclers will start charging business to haul away their recycle because they will have to drop it in a landfill with that market gone.
I was looking recently and starting to see places outside the US advertising their bales "free to pick up", so that trend has begun. A person could get all the feedstock they want for little to nothing, except the transport. There are several large kiln type that could adapt to the standard 60" bale. The limiting factor is the distribution. If you go down that road, put a sales presentation together on the "green" of recycle into char, and sell the idea to existing dirt yards. They could sell a premium value added product to their existing market base much easier than you could develop a market.
Another option would be to approach lumber mills. They generate a lot of waste, but do a good job of converting their waste stream to a cash stream; but it is still cheap stock. The other thing is pulp. With construction in this country and in China also down in the extreme, the pulp product they once loaded into containers and shipped to the Pacific Rim is not moving, so pulp prices have tanked. At the price level they are at, it might be cost effective to burn pulp from the mills or buy the pulp stock from the foresters at even lower prices. Of course that depends on your geographic location. I don't know how many mills are near the Chicago area.
The mobile option could work, but remember, transportation costs will add up quick, unless they provide the feedstock.
I believe the machine you are referring to is in a presentation by Geoff Lawton; Re-Greening a Mountain. (a teaser is available on youtube, but one has to see the full version on his website.) It was in a botanical garden in Hong Kong. Yes, they are available. If I have some time I will try to find the one's I have seen for sale. However, they are ridiculously expensive ($5 grand and up) to make charcoal. I will say this. Before you invest in a machine like that, try a pit method. My brother and I made about a cubic meter of char in an afternoon in a metal above ground fire pit that had far too many holes for airflow. I should not have worked. However, I kept dropping green branches on the fire as fast as it would catch. This kept the fire up top and heated the lower stock hot enough to gasify without burning. Worked far better than I though it could. I think you will be surprised with the results of simpler systems, although you won't be able to collect the byproducts. But the capital expenditure is far less.
I have been experimenting (casually) with biochar and have become a believer. So now I am hooked. I am wondering if there is a consensus on how much biochar is optimal for agriculture. Is it 100%, 50%, 5% in the top 12 inches? I have read a few things, but seems to be personal opinion rather than demonstrable results. Assuming that the char is in small particles, is there an optimal amount; or a point of diminishing return?
Check out 43 Tuffree Rd in Humptilips WA. MLS # 748000. 5 acres of good soil. Plenty of rainfall. High organic matter in the upper 2 feet of soil. Good neutral PH. Not too remote but well outside of towns. Asking price is $27,000 - no structures.
Regardless of scale, kitchen scraps are best dealt with using verimiculter, worm bins. There are many commercial and diy bin plans on the next and youtube. They can be sized to scale for your space. Admittedly, I don't know much about fermented compost; but the little I have read seems to be way over complicated compared to a simple worm bin.
They seem to work well in the arid climates that earthships were developed; but I don't know how well the humidity in a cold and/or wet climate would translate. If I lived in the NW, I would prefer to run my grey water outside for filtration and pipe in what I needed for growing in the solarium what and when I needed. But as a primary support system, I would hesitate to keep it indoors in all climates.
Great and imaginative idea. Love the idea of a deep cut table saw. Mulling it over in my mind the biggest challenge would seem to be mounting/bar stability. One idea is to give up a bit of throat depth (and open top) by utilizing an upper arm bolted through the hole at the bar end. That would lock the upper end of the bar down, with a second point of contact, reducing the lever effect of large saw pieces. The lower connection could be u-bolts clamping the handle with counter sunk bolts in the table face. However you attach, be mindful of the vents, so the electric motor can cool.
My google-fu is no better than yours, though. Wish I could share some visuals; but this is the first time I have ever heard of the idea. Well done.
Not sure where best to post this discussion, so will start in plants. Now that some states are reversing criminalization of the plants deemed "anti social", I think it is time to revisit the history and usage of Hemp. The Chinese have been growing hemp for fiber and medicinal usage for all of recorded history. It grew naturally in North America before eradication efforts in the 50's and 60's. But now that it is losing its devil weed reputation, how can this prolific and useful plant benefit permiculure. Again, this is not about growing a controlled substance. Not the place for those conversations.
I am researching as this goes on, but am curious to tap the collective wisdom of the folks here. Can it be useful as a green manure? How many tons per acre of organic matter might it produce? Do the roots go deep to break soil and mine minerals? Does it have its place as a companion species in a guild? Could it be a pioneer species or early cycle regenerative plant in pasture improvement? What are the permiculture/regenerative agricultural uses of Hemp?