Eric Hanson wrote:Lisa, there is a different approach to spray paint that gives the same look.
The device is an electrostatic paint sprayer. Short version: an electrical charge is imparted to the paint in the sprayer and the opposite charge is imparted to the object. Paint droplets literally leap from the sprayer to the object. My father once had a metal file cabinet painted in this manner while he was working (strange company policy). He was afraid that his office would stink of paint, but the job was quick, effortless and had no odor.
I don’t know if this is in the cards for you but it can be done.
Eric - Thank you! I have actually come across this method in my research but just don't have the resources to obtain the sprayer. The other issue I saw is that while it eliminates particle spread during the painting process, you're still using the paint itself, and it will still off-gas, right? Your dad's example is great, though. I've considered taking the item to an autobody shop and having them paint it, too, but I figured the expense wouldn't justify it.
Our most precious commodity is time. It is finite. Energy, water, money, emotions, soap, all are infinite by comparison.
If you enjoy washing dishes by hand and considering it time well spent? That is fantastic and I appreciate the mindfulness it brings you.
I choose not to do 1/16th of my waking lifetime doing dishes. Or even 1/32nd. Or 1/64th. The cost is too high. Maybe if I could adequately handwash all of my dishes in less than 10 minutes I'd switch lanes.
Over at Cat in the Flock we're offering a nice discount on a fantastic video series covering food medicine the Traditional Chinese way, from eating in tune with the seasons to learning to diagnose your own health according to the quality of your poop. It's an incredibly insightful series by a practicing acupuncturist and includes cooking demos and recipes. I just tried the congee, and it was delicious and just right for transitioning from late summer to fall.
Thank you for doing this terrific research! What a lovely list. Really. We have extremely blueberry friendly soil, like, we're semi-overgrown with wild blueberries. Knowing that these plants, which have a nice list of other benefits besides attracting predators for blueberry pests, will perform well in such acidic soil is great news.
I just started reading Growing Good Food." I'm loving it! It's enlightening, empowering, and fun to read. I really enjoy your literary style. Thank you for writing it : ) Your Perennial Foods is next on my reading list.
It took us 2 years, but we sheet-mulched most of a 1/4-acre suburban plot, and this spring (year 3) we planted herbs, vegetables, and annual flowers from seed for the first time, with zero additional soil amendments.
I wanted to have a baseline for the "least amount of outside inputs and work possible." We used cardboard to smother the grass, with a layer of organic mulch over the top, in some areas leaf litter, and in other areas tree bark chips.
Hi! I'm experimenting with growing asparagus in a mound set into a rain garden. At year 1 here, it seems to be flourishing. Anyone else try anything similar? I'm in Zone 6, which with climate change is slowly morphing to zone 7. I haven't had to water the asparagus even once myself. We get 40 inches of rain annually, and my rain garden is an outlet from two sources: 1) rain barrel overflow and 2) outlet for a French drain meant to relieve water seepage into our basement between our home and a neighboring building, only a few feet away.
Lisa Brunette wrote:Hello! I've read this thread with great interest. I didn't realize we could save money by purchasing stove pellets in place of Feline Pine or other brands of pine cat litter pellets. Question: Are the stove pellets larger? Do they contain more sawdust particulates than the kitty pine litter? I don't want to get something that isn't formulated for cats and might cause respiratory problems.
The reason I came to this discussion was actually because I was looking for information on using spent pine pellet sawdust as mulch. We remove the feces each day, but the urinated-upon, broken-down pine sawdust seemed like a great source of acidic matter for our blueberries. The blueberries - and everything around them - are inclined to agree. I don't compost this. Instead, my husband and I dump the pine sawdust into an empty flower pot, along with his coffee grounds, and when the flower pot is full, we spread the pine sawdust/coffee ground mixture around the garden.
I just want to make sure we're not causing ourselves or the water supply any problems by doing this. The cat is healthy, the pine sawdust is free of feces, and there isn't even a smell once it's distributed. It rains here frequently, and that helps break it down. Any insights? Searching around on this topic seems to bring up a lot of alarm about toxoplasmosis from cat poop, but I don't think that's a serious issue here since the feces is removed.
The litter is about the size of jelly bellys. They have no sawdust particulates until they get wet, which also binds the particulates.
The parasite is not only in the feces itself but anything touching the feces (ie, the litter.) When that litter touches something it too may get toxoplasma. For example, your blueberries. I think of it the same way as defending against giardia when backpacking. You can drink right from the stream and probably be ok. But if you get infested with giardia out in the backcountry you're going to have a real hard week and in rare cases die from dehydration from the vomiting. Is it going to happen? Probably not. Can you easily prevent it with a filter? yes you can.
Most people have no issue with toxoplasma. But babies and immunocompromised people have huge problems with toxoplasma. So the question is, do you want to gamble that no one will ever eat those blueberries then handle a baby?
My understanding is that there is no obvious sign to detect whether a cat is infected with toxoplasma. There is no smell or detectable visual cues. If they get toxoplasmosis, you can tell that, but it's a different thing.
That is why I compost my kitty litter, poop and all. It's not because I need it to break down, because the dust is already pretty fine. It's so that the parasite has no host and either dies off or moves away. That takes about 18 months. Now I admit I'm in something of a quandry there because every time I add more litter, aren't I starting the 18 month clock over, which means the compost will never be usable? I dunno. It's a puzzle.
You could sift out the poop and compost it for 6 months or so then add it to ornamental beds. Anything you aren't going to eat.
Also I want to throw my support behind stove pellets rather than sawdust. Stove pellets are compressed, which means they expand into a fluffy ball when peed on. That makes it really obvious where to scoop out. The hardwood pellets don't easily adhere to the cat or get tracked out, and if they do they're very obvious and easy to sweep up. So everything is generally cleaner.
Howdy, permies! I never got any response at all to the below, and for all I know, 'Cloudpiler Hatfield' has moved on from Permies since his original post, but I just want to give a total shout-out thanks to him for the plumber's tape idea and to Permies.com in general for being so awesomely useful. The plumber's tape solution for cedar-apple rust appears to have worked, and if so, it will save me the trouble and eaten cost of having to rip out a row of perfectly good cedar trees.
You can also see in the attached photo how the cedar rust appears on the leaves below the tape (those came in before I applied it) but none on the leaves above the tape.
Lisa Brunette wrote:
Cloudpiler Hatfield wrote:Our Eastern Red Cedar (Missouri) is just about hated by everybody in my neighborhood because of the Cedar/Apple Fungus. If you grow apple trees in the conventional way (factory orchard) you cannot have cedars around because of this fungus. If, however, you grow with a diversity of species (food forest) intermediary trees buffer the apples and the fungus doesn't affect them so much. The spore zone is important and buffer trees like cherry and mulberry really help.
I have also found that if I attach a piece of plumber's tape (about four inches worth) to the top of the tree, the tree does not develop the fungus. Plumber's tape is made primarily of lead, zinc and aluminum. The rain causes the tape to slowly, ever so slowly, rust and the oxidized compound is slowly distributed over the central trunk and the top branches. Because of the nature and shape of the tree, this same "rust" gets dusted all over the rest of the tree. Result - just enough anti-fungal action to stop the Cedar/Apple fungus.
By the way, this also accounts for why this particular fungus is never found infesting cedar house siding, even though it ought to be a suitable substrate. I have put this to the test. I've made thin sheets of cedar siding with our local red cedar and inoculated it with the fungus. It grew very vigorously on the siding. Then I added a window frame (aluminum, zinc, titanium, trace lead) and voila! The fungus died and I could not get it to come back with further inoculation. Just enough of the element rust finds its way into the wood to prevent fungal growth.
I have not been able to detect any heavy metal depositing in the soil around the trees (or the house for that matter). This is a good thing, because I don't want to contaminate my soil.
The visual break that our young cedars provide is truly beautiful. Our oaks and hickories all lose their leaves in the fall and the scene become somewhat gloomy. We really don't see much by way of greeting card snow here and the landscape can look pretty gray. The cedars a bushy and green until they get about thirty feet tall. Then they thin out at the bottom branches and become a little more open. Before that time, however, if you trim and shear, an almost Christmas tree shape can be maintained for many years. Our zone 1 is bordered in lovely trees and that's a good thing here where evergreens are rare.
Also, and this is important to me also, the cedar is the center of several guilds I have set up involving vibrunum and vaccinium species. My blueberries languish everywhere else on the place except as part of a cedar guild. The same goes for my huckleberries, lingonberries and serviceberries. They'll all grow in other guilds, but not like they do in the cedar guilds.
I'm also in Missouri and read this post with great interest. We put in 9 juniper Taylors and 2 true native red cedars for the winter evergreen screen, color, and food for birds. We also have fruit trees. Our AK black apple is rust-resistant, but the Rome beauty is not, of course. I didn't realize rust could attack serviceberries, but apparently it can. I'm trying out your plumbing tape fix. So far it appears to be working! I think it even stopped the rust in its tracks, as it had already started in on the Rome beauty, but this year's new growth does not have rust, and the first fruit does not, either. I'll report back next year to see if the fix really fixed it. If the original poster quoted here is still around, I'd be interested to know if you ever have to update with new plumbing tape. Also, what is the quality of the soil where you have the cedar/blueberry guild? My cedars are in an old rock driveway, where they are doing great, but I'm not sure that will work for blueberries since they often edge wet areas in the wild.
That seems like a unique challenge and opportunity. Thanks for sharing. Are the feral apples edible right off the tree?
Julian Williams wrote:We've been discovering so many species on our property (especially in July as things ripen). So far I've found:
- dewberry (dwarf red raspberry)
- alpine strawberry
- blackberry (I think... we'll see when they ripen)
- feral apples
- sugar maple
- yellow birch
- beaked hazelnut!!!
We haven't decided on a percentage to dedicate to native plants, but our foremost question when deciding on a new plant is whether there is native, or localized, version. We're currently planning the makeover of our front "lawn" into a food forest. The edges of the front yard are where a lot of the above berries can be found (southern slope of a valley) although the hazelnut are so far concentrated at the opposite end of the property (on the north-facing side of our "mountain").
Because of the unique nature of our forest (the Acadian Forest) and the changing climate in our region, we have to make difficult decisions on what plants to support in our forest as it begins to lose some of the qualities the boreal forest prefers. It begs the question of what is "native", and how far do we go to protect plants that are not ideally suited to the changing climate (whether native or not). I expect our forest will look very different once we're gone, I just hope we make the right decisions for whomever occupies the land after us.
After weighing my own experience and the research out there on daylilies, I'm going to have to put them in the "only for compost" category. They're not a suitable food plant, they don't feed native pollinators, and I personally can't even use them as a cut flower because they're toxic to cats. So this is me putting out a cautionary note AGAINST daylilies as a permaculture plant. I know. Believe me, I'm as disappointed as you are.
^^^ What Greg said above. Also, we used the buds with the stem, outer bud leaf still attached in the pickled rose petals, and it was delicious. My husband has a very sweet-oriented palate, and he loved them. You pickle them with honey and vinegar.
Hi! I've been lurking on permies.com for about a year, consulting the forums for knowledge bombs on hot-button issues like 'to prune or not to prune' fruit trees (answer: no one really knows) and whether eastern red cedars can be compatible with apple trees (answer: yes, with caveats). My husband and I left Seattle back in 2017 and returned to the Midwest, where we could afford a house and 1/4-acre, which we're converting from lawn, ornamentals, and overgrown invasives to a productive food forest highly featuring native plants. We chronicle this process on a blog here: https://www.catintheflock.com/permaculture/ ; https://www.catintheflock.com/native-plants/ and, my favorite, https://www.catintheflock.com/mulch/. Just wanted to share in case anyone's interested (this is labor of love, so while we do have ads on our site, they haven't generated revenue, and we're mainly in this for the sharing and learning). We invite comments, constructive criticism, commiseration, company. Thanks for being a beacon in the smog, permies!