Sherwood Botsford

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since Oct 23, 2011
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Recent posts by Sherwood Botsford

Replying to a bunch:

Chestnuts are at best zone 4b.  While the original north american chestnut grew to zone 3, the  chinese chestnut broughtin for blight resistance also made it much more tender.

The tree form european hazelnut isn't hardy here.  

We have native beaked hazelnut, with a nut, including shell about the size of pencil eraser.  I'm experimenting with a north american bush form.

Interseted tht bison graze differently.  I will check this out.


I'm looking for NON-NICHE products Think in terms of "What if 10,000 farmers in this state/province did what I'm doing."  
11 months ago
That's one thing.

Bison + pasture isn't really different from cattle+pasture.

How much am I looking to farm?  say a section.  Let's have a goal of being able to make a living, even if meagre, off a section.

We'll use a smaller tractor, and a smaller combine to reduce machinery costs.

We want a diverse operation so to not be dependent on any one market, to get a decent rotation, and to get some of the benefits of guilds.

We want to minimize input chemicals, and minimize soil disturbance.

We want enough edges to provide habitat for beneficial bugs and bird.
11 months ago

Right now a farmer can make a reasonable living using a few thousand acres of land and a couple million dollars worth of equipment.

Problems abound with this:

* Erosion tilling
* Pesticide/herbicide use
* Monoculture.

Does anyone know of a permaculture system or something at least more permie than present practices that are productive enough to make a living ocmmercially in main-stream markets?

This rules out systems:

* Where one person working at it full time can create enough calories to feed their immediate family.
* Where a homestead produces a niche crop -- e.g. chocolate covered cherries, or christmas trees.

Shepherd's "Restoration Agriculture" is a step in this direction, although I question the ecomomics.  And it's not transplantable to Zone 3 northern Alberta.

11 months ago
I too build trails.

I have a tough as nails ZTR mower (grasshopper) and so blithely cut 5 foot wide trails in my bush.

This helps in removing firewood once snow is on the ground.

Having trails means I spend more time in my bush.  A win for both me, and athe bush.

1 year ago
Yes, this is an ancient thread.  But for the next guy searching...

Beaver made a bunch of different saws before being bought out by Rockwell, who then merged with delta.

Things to look for:

1.  Cast iron top.  Sheet metal tops bend, flex, dent, and are a PITA.  Tolerable for construction sites where 1/8" is good enough.

2.  extension wings on either side.  Allows you to handle wider work -- and to have a bigger table to accumlated junk.

3.  Body:  Heavy gauge sheet metal at least.  Some have a partial cast body.  

4.  Drive train:  Check for play in the whole saw support mechanism.  Bearings in the blade shaft are easy to replace.  Check the rack (tilt and rise) castings for cracks.  Those are show stoppers as very hard to replace.

5.  Fence.  Move easily?  Ok.  Slide it over to to one of the mitre slots.  Clamp it.  Is it perfectly parallel to the slot.  Try clamping while putting a bit of sideways pressure on the far end.  An inconsistent fence isn't a show stopper, but it will either require work or replacement.  Usually it's designed in so you need a replacement.


So, what is it worth:  Easiest way to find out the value is to look at ebay and search for closed listings.  This will tell you what others like it sold for.

Here, in Edmonton good beavers go for 100 to 200 bucks.
1 year ago

Michael Young wrote:Thanks for asking Jeremy.

I sometimes have a little problem with draft. When I'm first lighting it, and sometimes when I open the front to add more wood, I'll get some smoke inside the house. I was expecting, with good draw, there would be suction to pull smoke up and out. So not sure why I'm having the problem.


Remember that your whole house has a 'stack effect'  In our house, the wood stove is in the 1 story part.  If someone has a window cracked open in 2 story part, that draft wins. Try cracking a window open near the stove while you are starting it up.  
2 years ago
I've had and used several stoves over the last 30 years.  Serious use, too.  3-5 cords a year.  Two came with firebrick.  I removed it to get larger chunks of wood in.  While I can see the argument for firebrick on the floor where hot coals are in contact with the steel, most of the time there is a thick layer of ash in the bottom of the stove.  I noticed no difference in performance on any of them.

Sheet metal stoves -- the kind you use to heat a wall tent hunting -- often had a sacrificial liner pan you used in the stove.  Every couple of years you replaced it.  But generally these were fired up without ashes in them a lot more often than a stove that is permanently in place.

I had a barrel stove made from a kit.  They cautioned that you should keep a couple inches of ash in it for longer barrel life.
2 years ago

Eat Alberta Lamb.  10,000 coyotes can't be wrong.

I would have to fence the tree farm off from the rest of the land; I don't know sheep at all, and am concerned they would eat my seedlings, step on my seedlings, leave sheep crap where my customers would step in it.

OTOH it would give something for my dog to do.
2 years ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:Is there a particular reason you want to smooth it?  Dips help capture run-off during rains.  Smoothing could cause the field to become drier.

To mow it now is to rattle your teeth out.  Clients risk rolling an ankle.  
2 years ago

I have a tree farm.  The aisles between the trees are lumpy from the activities of pocket gophers, leaving their mounds everywhere, and from their tunnels collapsing.  Due to the narrowness of the aisles, ploughing and re-seeding is impractical.

What implements are there to flatten the bumps?  

This *isn't* like ruts.  A bump or a dip is typically 12 inches to 4 feet across and 1 to 4 inches tall or deep.

I have a  section of 16 inch I beam that I've tried dragging.  If I use this dry, it just bounces around.  If I wait until after a rain, I end up with a mess of mixed mud and grass.

I tried using a blade, but  when the tractors front wheels hit a bump, the blade bears down more heavily.  
2 years ago