Ben Zumeta

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since Oct 02, 2014
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dog duck hugelkultur
Redwood Country, Zone 9-10, 60" rain/yr,
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Recent posts by Ben Zumeta

Good thread all. I agree with Trace and Travis on their points.

My Pyrenees akbash especially needs to be fenced because he is unfixed (need a stud?). We are in the process of moving onto a new 25 acre property, and plan to fence off the acre around the house to keep him in and deer out of our zone 1-2 garden. He will also protect chickens and ducks that will mostly be in a deep bedding run in one corner of the fenced in area. He has jumped a 6ft wooden fence at our old place when our neighbor has baby goats bleating bloody murder on their first night away from home. He was born with goats and sheep, and was found laying placidly by their paddock, goats calmed. He’s older though now (5yrs) and hasn’t shown the desire to get out even when a husky we fostered dismantled the fence systematically. He is great with animals and people, and probably knows 100 words and dozens of people’s names that he will go to if directed, but he is a lover and is dumb as fuck with vehicles. One time when protecting his cat from the husky though, he amazingly came away from a 25mph collision with an f250 with just some bruises, going off after for a 9hr stroll as we frantically looked for him, only to return on his own. Not something we want to chance again, and we are also in shoot shovel shut up, and dog thieving country.

My plan is a 700ft run of 6ft field fence (.60$/ft), with salvaged old growth redwood and site sourced cedar corner posts (6”x9ft+) with Hbraces, and tee posts for straight runs. He does not dig to get out of our current place, only to den (7ft tunnels under our giant stumps await the mate he’s been waiting for). I plan to use rocks not concrete for post holes, as we did in Pinnacles National Monument when I was on the trail and fence (for Ferrell pigs) crew there. I will also likely have to do rock jack posts (circular caged rock piles) where we cannot dig in the posts deep enough. I am hoping to get this all done for less than 1500$, and since I found the old growth to salvage I am optimistic. I want the fence to double as a trellis, so I do not plan to electrify it.
3 days ago
I am also in NW CA. As I have observed tanoak support a lot of native mushrooms (chanterelle, and hedgehog), but a local expert said he had trouble with many cultivated varieties. I think he had moderate success with oyster, but I have just recently seen a nice flush of volunteer blue oysters on alder in a hugel bed.
6 days ago
If “meat is murder”, “tilling is killing” too. Vegans mostly have admirable ideals, but in my opinion often set a moral bar too high for animal to live up to. If beekeeping of any method is wrong because we take the honey from a “subjugated hive” (which I know not all vegans subscribe to), then wouldn’t vermicomposting, or any kind of soil building where we take the fruits of soil organisms’ labor (vegetables etc), also be wrong? We are animals, heterotrophs, that have to eat other living things to survive. I think it’s in our self interest to treat other animals how we would want to be treated if in their position, as best as we can understand that from our perspective. We can only expect to compel someone to do something if we convince them of their self interest to do so, and if it seems like avoiding animal products altogether is what will make a person feel better about what they eat, then I can’t imagine having a problem with that. However I will continue to eat my happy/free to leave birds’ eggs, the meat from excess males, and enjoy the fruits of  their work on my garden soil. I am managing food forest sites with and without animals, and the fertility and work to production ratio of the sites without is much lower.
1 week ago
Just finished updating my as-built site maps with Google Earth:
2 weeks ago
Welcome Jordan, your knowledge will be valuable to this forum.

I think using this wood in your garden  sounds like a good idea, and I agree with the good advice from those above. I don’t know anything about your setup (it can help those wanting to better answer questions to fill in a general location and description of your interests  in your profile), but this wood could also be used in:

-hugelkulture (nurselog mimicking) raised beds, and it would not have to be broken up

- in a chicken run, where the birds would peck and scratch at the insects in it, breaking it into mulch sized pieces and mixing it with manure and feathers for a pretty ideal fertilizer mix of carbon (from wood) and nutrients (from birds)

- inoculated with fungus as mentioned in a prior post, then after it’s spent, used for either of the above before going in the garden

- it is also providing benefit to the place it already is and could be utilized for a hedgerow or other planting
3 weeks ago
What is your climate? Do you have hot summers? If so, that oak is very much helping moderate it. It would also likely  be beneficial to grow something to shade your house from the afternoon sun, as that is the cause of a great deal of unnecessary air conditioning.
3 weeks ago
I use an old piece of luggage. It is a close to cube shaped duffel bag that has a flexible but solid plastic bottom. It can haul the equivalent of 2+ of firewood bundles they sell at campgrounds around here (though I cut my own or get it by the cord). That or I get a wheelbarrow at a time and stage it in an old travel trunk  a few feet from the wood stove to give it as much time to dry out inside as I can, as our winters here are so wet it’s hard to keep the wood dry enough even when well covered.
4 weeks ago
I am considering putting a small island of bamboo in the middle of an 18ft x 16ft pond to contain its spread. Anyone have experience doing so?
1 month ago

Todd Parr wrote:

Ben Zumeta wrote:I would question whether biochar actually increases the usable surface area for plants, as the rotting wood has a huge amount as does it's embedded fungus, which also seem to serve all the functions that buochar would (moisture and nutrient retention).

Not the surface area for plants, the surface area for microbes with the charcoal itself.  I have read that 1 tsp (tbps?) of charcoal has the surface area of a football field for soil life.

I do not have a study to back this up, but I would hypothesize the surface area of a piece of rotting wood and all its fungal inoculants would be equal or greater to that of biochar. The reason I assert this is that the surface area between all the endomycorrhizal fungi cells gets burned off in biochar production. I suppose surface area is dependent on the fineness of one's measurement though. However, recent observations of circles of green in otherwise dessicated fields in Ireland in last summer's drought showed woody debris from fortifications and buildings being the source of increased soil organic matter that led to greater soil moisture and drought resistance. Its possible this wood was burned in part or totality, but I would bet a diversity of uncharred and charred wood creates the greatest diversity of microbiomes and therefore biomass, as occurred in the redwoods where we find the greatest terrestrial biomass and soil biodiversity on Earth.
1 month ago