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Annie Hope

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since Mar 05, 2012
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Recent posts by Annie Hope

I am wanting to resurrect a raspberry patch that was planting 5 years ago and neglected due to various crises.

One thing is that it will need both wind and bird shelter.  I would also like a semi movable system to rotate  wind / bird / frost protection.

Hardwood is not available here in New Zealand - it is all chemical treated radiata pine or untreated can rot within a year.

Make arches with 1.95m x 4,5m cement reinforcing mesh (similar to cattle panels) and put netting or plastic on top.  This  sounds the easiest, esp something I could set up alone.

The two main options I am looking at are firstly metal T-posts / star-pickets / Y-posts / Waratahs.  2.7m high hammered into 1.8m high (6ft).  Then put caps on top, and wire in the top rung, and pull netting over them.  For a larger garden this would be more cost effective than multiple arches in terms of netting required, but not so easy to put up / move.

I am also thinking of moving the rasperries to an existing  "post and batton" fence line away from animals, and stretching netting over the fence.  The wood was treated, but is now at least 30 years old, and judging by how many are rotten, I think most preserving chemicals have gone.

As an option in a few years, I am also looking at the 6m+  high poplars that grew through the holes in the plastic planter bags and weedmat below in our tree nursery before they could be planted out.  What if I was to plant poles in a 3m x 3m grid, and when the trunk got to 5cm / 2" diamater, I cut them at 2m high,  and then kept the side branches well trimmed for goat food, do you think I could successfully use them as living poles to support netting?  My uncle had a wire fence line were many of the fence posts had grown into huge poplar trees with the wire grown into them.  
1 day ago
A friend that is going to Fiji and is looking at owning a goat or cow or milking made the comment that cows in cool climates can give 24L of milk where in hot countries they can only give 2L.  I presume this is meant to be based on per milking and twice a day milking.

I raised the issue that the cows that can give 24L of milk are also fed a lot more food to get the 24L of milk.

This made me thinking - how do the two compare when these are considered...

- How much feed is required per litre of milk in a 50 and 4L per day cow?

- IF you also value the calf and plan to breed them for meat, how does this affect the equation?  (E.g. What is the total food value of 1 dairy cow and one calf, or 3 dual purpose cows and 3 calves and what is the feed required to produce them).

- Could 50L per day be obtained from a fully grass-grazed cow or do intensive supplements need to be given as well?  If they do, what is the environmental cost of the extra milk?

- Does temperature really affect milk production that much?
2 days ago
Hi,  This is taking this post in a slight tangent.  I already have 8 acres divided into 10 paddocks.   We have just reaching the longest day in New Zealand, and I have a few months of pasture in well fenced back paddocks even if a sudden draught was to start, and so far we have had enough summer rain to make the water table flood.    At the front paddock where a car went through the front fence and a tree fell on the side fence (so not about to put the animals in there in a hurry) is heaps of long grass in seed.  

I can understand using rotational grazing to avoid buying hay, but if there is excess grass standing there from Spring excess, does it not make sense to hand cut it and get regrowth for winter, plus a store of hay, rather than to leave it till winter?   Our winters go to -3 overnight, so we have frost that melts by mid-morning at times, but never enough to kill the grass totally.
8 months ago
Most of the food truck is on electricity, and I could turn of the gas bottle each night.  I was more worried about outgassing from the greenhouse film,but planned to install a small wall based HRV unit that vents outside the greenhouse.
1 year ago
I am desparate for a bit of living space to put a couple of beds and table in until I can rebuild my sleepout garage after it burnt in a fire.  The following lean-to greenhouse is already attached to our house to put a leaky food trailer under cover, and allow my son to be next to me while I cook commercial food in it.

The section on the left is 3m wide and 7m long including the garden on the left. It was intended to be a car port but I thought I could build a temporary box house out of 7mm ply, but  a 2.4 x 3.6m x 1.8m high hut is working out at least $500 uninsulated, and $1000 insulated.  (New Zealand prices).  I am wondering if I could just buy some second hand quilts and hang them from the horizontal rafters to make a flat roof and walls.  Otherwise, buy some old sheets and sew rockwool insulation onto it.  My main goal is privacy and insulation if it gets cold enough to need to turn on a fan heater.

We are in mid autumn on New Zealand, and it could be midwinter before I get the new sleepout built.  Frosts are frequent, but we are 8km from the sea, so our minimum temperature on record is -4c.  I also have plans to heat the whole greenhouse with passive heating and solar-heated hydronics and wood fire back-up, so I would rather keep this as cheap as possible.

Any suggestions on how well this should work?  

1 year ago
Thanks for your your replies.

There are five houses mentioned in the Children's versions of the books:  the first two are logs - a log cabin already standing, a log cabin they build in Indian Territory, the other three are built with "bought sawn" lumber.  In Plum creek it had a loft, (I think the film was based on this house) and in De Smit a town store and house with a second story, and the homestead claim / homestead that was all on one level, and built in three stages.  This last one is what I am trying to replicate.  I have found a bit more about these in the following places:

http://www.pioneergirl.com/blog/archives/6902  This gives the dimensions of the buildings, but has no contact.  

http://davidshome.com/SouthDakota/Travelers04.htm  This has lots of tantalising pictures including a replica of the half house shanty they built themselves.  Unfortunately they have not updated since 2015, and an email to them came back undeliverable.


https://www.sdstate.edu/south-dakota-agricultural-heritage-museum/south-dakota-claim-shanty  This is some information on shanty claims in general, and the one at the top looks like the first pictures of the "half house" shanty in the book.  

https://pottedfrog.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/laura-ingalls-wilder-homestead-desmet-sd-my-world-tuesday/  This has more pictures of the inside of the current building for tourists.

The current homestead people visit, and sketches in later of Wilders book of the homestead show horizontal weather board.   Pa talks about tar paper on the house being blown off the roof in a blizzard although well boarded on, and one old photo showed a shack wrapped in tar paper and held on with a mishmash of thin boards.  

These may give someone an idea of the name for the style of building I am trying to replicate.  Also maybe a tiny house plan I could take and adapt in this style.


I have also learnt that under new laws I can build up to 30m2 without consent provided it is "light" building material, one level, and of no  more than 20kg per Square metre wall or roof - e.g. not brick or cement etc. and no electricity, sewerage or potable water.  
1 year ago
I am building a sleepout that can be a maximum of 100 square ft (10 square metres) an under 3m high without building consent, and I am interested in it reflecting the building style of the sawn board houses in Dakota (with some hidden insulation batts).

There are many references to building, but in particular on p.64 of The Long Winter Pa says "Our store building in town is boarded and papered, sided on the outside and ceiled on the inside.  It's goodcand tight and warm"

Does anyone know how to translate this into modern building terms of where I would get a description of this building process.  I am in New Zealand where stud walls with horizontal weather board outside, steel roofs and plasterboard walls and ceiling inside is the norm.  The inside then used to usually have wall paper when I was growing up, but paint is now the norm.

I am guessing this is wide vertical planks outside with thin vertical planks on top along the crack.  What about on the inside walls and the roof?

I would make it a sloped half house like the first part of the shanty house in "By the shores of Silver lake", and make it 2 x5m with a loftbed on each side and the ladder rungs  on the wall like in "On the banks of plum Creek".

Any other ideas?  



1 year ago
I am not sure where this fits, so if someone want to cross post this - please do.

In the dry summer of the southern hemisphere I drove my rideon out of the shed to access a trailer, went to get something, and came back to this fire in the process.  It started in the rideon engine (moral of the story - when you use a ride-on, lift the engine lid to help it cool, and brush out any grass).  

There has been burnt to the ground two vehicles and a few extra tyres, two each 1000L IBC and 220L drums and a lot of household appliances and personal effects with plastic.  

Our sand trap bore for land and animals is 1-2 metres down and about 4 metres from the garage. (we use rainwater in the house, and have disconnected this from the house roof till after demolition, and cleaned the tank and trucked in a load of water)  Our house is about 10m away.

I know that burning plastics give off dangerous gas, but what about soil residue?  


The first thing I think I should do after demolition is to cover the area with woodchip, or gravel or an above ground concrete natural pool (when they demolish the garage I have a 6x6m cement slab already that could be the base) to stop the soil toxins being air born.

But would it be safe it eat plants that have grown though woodchip into this?

If I did test the sand trap water, what should I be testing for?

1 year ago