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Mariette Kruit

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since Apr 09, 2014
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Recent posts by Mariette Kruit

So about 2 months ago my husband bought us 3 grown Mangalitsa pigs to tend to our 1/4 acre backyard, keeping the grass and thereby hopefully the mosquito's at bay. Now the past few days we've been noticing these large wasps hanging about our piggies and our barn. They're really huge and after googling pictures, I think they might be European Hornets. Today as I was giving the pigs another fresh paddock to roam (as I'm slowly dividing their large free range paddock into smaller paddocks and setting up a shift system, don't ask why we didn't start with that to begin with like I wanted to, hint), I noticed one of the buggers stalking my boar all the way to the back of the field, trying to grab a free ride. They seem very keen to land on the pigs for some reason. I'm a novice when it comes to pigs, so any thoughts on why these giant bugs are bugging my pigs? Could it be they're picking dirt/mud from my pigs to use as building materials for their nest? They seem to like the pigs' muddy pond a lot too...
4 years ago
Okay, so I've been digging a bit about in the garden and pretty much located a trash dump site. Besides the leaking battery, which of these would you consider harmful and which harmless aka re-usable: old red bricks (some whole, others crumbling), red roof tiles, old grey roof tiles, clear glass (like lots of it), little glass bottles (cute, but probably had some yucky stuff in them), tin cans, old plastic and the few remains of an almost fully rusted away barrel. I'm thinking only the red bricks and red roof tiles are okay to be re-used (and please don't tell me I'm wrong on the bricks, because I've already used a bunch for bordering a garden bed and made my herb spiral with it). I want to use the broken bricks, tiles and other rocks I come across to create a nice large rock pile as habitat for garter snakes and beneficial bugs, as we have lots of slugs during the summer. That would be on top of the place where I found huge amounts of glass I simply couldn't dig through, let alone get out and the battery was there too. Instead of building a hugelbed there, it got covered back up.
Another question regarding the grey roof tiles, which I guess probably contain asbestos. My neighbor's barn is tiled with similar tiles and being on the property border all run-off water comes into the garden. Downhill from there I plan on having trees, bushes, veggies and chickens. I have started digging a swale to catch this water and guessing I should stick to trees, bushes and green mulch (chop and drop) for the berm and grow the veggies and keep the chickens further "down hill" (though really this is no hill, only a slight slope, ground is awesome in this part of the garden and absorbs all rainfall, no run off here). Any thoughts?
Another idea I had was to use the less degraded red bricks as a bottom for boxed-in, raised beds to place on the dump sites (there's two right on the most obvious spot for a veggie garden). I was thinking bricks on the bottom as a barrier, then logs and branches and topped off with healthy soil. Yes, I'm aiming for tall raised beds. I really want to use this space, because even though our true backyard has far better soil, it does not have any shade (once I have some trees established that problem should be solved). Any other ideas? Would hugelbeds work if I got the topsoil from somewhere else?
5 years ago
I know this topic is old, but I'm new in the game and have just realized that those little critters my cats having been bringing back/eating aren't field mice, but voles. And I think I may have been feeding them the past two winters with my compost pile conveniently located in an old shed. Food and shelter over winter plus all my sweet potatoes over summer (plants were there, tubers weren't). My husband taking out the old apple trees where the local owl's liked to sit probably doesn't help either. Cats and dog can't seem to be keeping up as more and more deep rooters seem to be missing their roots. But on the plus side I now know what I'm dealing with and know not to yell at my dog next time she decides to go digging. And my husband did (jokingly) mention getting a pig or two, so I might just be able to talk him into that, thanks! What about ducks and chickens? I would really like to implement them into my garden. I've heard that chickens will eat mice, any truth to that (have those too)?
Also I've noticed that voles can't seem to or want to dig through heavy clay. Our yard is like one long, continuous piece, the house being on the side. So our "front" yard (next to the house) is heavy clay and there used to be another smaller building on it too. It's very compact, tried to dig a hole to build a sandbox in for my daughter and I couldn't get further than a shovel deep. I've sheet mulched some places and only the places with minimal amounts of clay soil around them have been visited by moles, but no voles at all. So there might be a plan in that for me, since I have to leave some clay in place anyway as a driveway to the back. And I'll just have to either get or borrow a couple of pigs for a while and let them run loose in the backyard.
Thanks for the info!
5 years ago
Hi, quick question I've been pondering. We live in my husband's grandfather's old place, where he used to have a photo studio. Back in the day they used these lovely asbestos discs, which I now keep finding all over the garden. There's one site that's clearly been used as a dumping site, but I keep finding the odd one where ever I dig. So my question is, should I be concerned about this if I want to grow food? I know burning or inhaling is pretty bad, but what about plants, perennials in particular, will they break it down, can they absorb it over time?
The obvious dump site was on this seemingly random placed foundation built for a tiny shed (yet never finished). They put it on there and either left it and dirt accumulated by itself over time or it just got covered by a little dirt. I dug most of it out (unaware of what it was at the time) and now covered the rest with some plastic cover material, which has now filled up with rainwater. So I'm thinking to go along with this idea of covering it up with a lot more dirt, heightening, possibly hugelkulturing the sides and creating a larger pond. Possibly pond liner plus rocks in the bottom. Thing is this is in the area where we wanted the chickens and/or ducks to go, but we don't want them to be dust bathing in asbestos or scratching the stuff up. Any thoughts, suggestions?
5 years ago
Hi, I know this is an old thread gone cold, but I'm new here and found it by accident. It seems to me that one point hasn't been made in this matter (though it is late here and I haven't read all the posts thoroughly). And that is the fact that dams and big companies pumping huge amounts of water out of springs have not been taken into account as far as damage goes to natural waterways. Not saying that (over)grazing in riparian areas isn't problematic, but it seems to me that any government is always willing to "try" to improve nature by setting strict limits for farmers and get the focus on what a great thing they've done in doing so. The farmer always ends up looking like the bad guy who needs to be controlled by law. Granted for some where I come from this is true, I'll come back to this later. But what about the hydro dams that are just masters of destruction for nature and millions of people, or the big drink companies, who are pumping up water like there's no tomorrow and leaving streams to dry out and in extreme cases left people to suddenly live in drought and thereby hunger, while still pumping water. Watch the documentary "Flow" on this, though a few years old I think it is still very valid.
Yes, most often grazing in riparian areas is problematic, maybe it is better to leave it alone, or if already destroyed to help nature in speeding things along somewhat and then to let it be, and look to other alternatives. There are so many ways of water harvesting, why not let these areas be? But why is there no real significant spotlight on the big companies? I guess big companies make big money and have lots of lawyers...
On a side track, I'm European, we have some big farmers, but not as big as in the US. Here what I'm seeing is either the farmer is driven by money and is more of a CEO type than a farmer (and still struggling), or a farmer wanting to turn a profit or just break even, having a huge loan, prices going up and being forced by banks to go bigger in order to survive. Education is based on consumer's wishes, which is low prices on "traditional" food, as in dairy, meat, grain products. Diversity is what is missing from the culinary aspect, so education is based on mono culture cropping. My point here: don't just blame the farmer, most people are not educated at all or misinformed at best as for what is really going on and what is good for your body as far as that goes (don't even get me started on the food pyramid, whether or not fat is good, the power of advertisements and the media). With the things we do and the way we think, we won't see a change in general society in our lifetime, however we might be part of a foundation that will lead to a change in a future society. History always leaves an impact on society, whether good or bad. It's up to us which one we choose.
Also I think discussion is often a source of education, as it reminds us that there are all sorts of points of view. On a train of thoughts here, maybe that's what's missing in society and perhaps our education system specifically. Discussion. I once had a geography teacher who at the beginning of the school year told us that he would like to run through the curriculum a bit faster, so we would have time for practicing discussion, because he thought that was equally important if not more. I guess I am just now starting to truly see where he was coming from, coincidentally (or perhaps not) I am truly starting to understand permaculture and how it works or could work on so many levels.
6 years ago