Dana Awen

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since Dec 02, 2015
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Recent posts by Dana Awen

Hi permies!

I'm starting on my earth oven build.  I'm on a slightly sloped area on the edge of a little forested area in Western PA, USDA zone 6b.  Our subsoil at the homestead is just...extremely difficult to get through (solid clay and tons of stone, making each shovelful a real battle).   Just wondering if anyone has experimented with alternative foundations to getting below the frost line.

While I'm obviously concerned about frost heaving, it may take me all summer to dig down to get below the frost line  Would it be possible to do a slightly thinner foundation (rubble trench, perhaps) and then raise up the cob oven base on about 6" more gravel for drainage?  Would I still deal with frost heaving or would that be enough?

Thanks!
1 month ago
cob
Hi all,
We have a number of small black cherry trees here on the homestead---most are 5-8' tall.  This winter, I'm thinking about grafting them with some sour cherry varieties. However, some of the things I've read in other places seem to suggest P. Serotina is not compatible with the domesticated cherries.

Does anyone have experience doing this and can share insight?

Also, like other grafts, I assume I can do this in Pennsylvania (Zone 6, USDA) till the buds start popping in April.  I was thinking of doing this in early February.

Thanks!
6 months ago
Thanks all.  It's raining here today but I'll take photos soon.  Its basically four acres of mostly downed trees, open canopy, etc.  So probably almost an acre of brush and debris itself.  I think its largely too wet to chip up (thought about that already) and we don't have any heavy equipment (try to avoid too much fossil fuel inputs as we can).  I like the biochar idea; if we have a dry summer, that could work well in August, etc.  We do have a lot of wet areas on the property as well.
1 year ago
Hi all,

Two years ago, we bought and moved into our five-acre homestead in Western PA (Allegheny Mountains, USDA zone 6).  The house and land were perfect--except that there had been selective logging done just before they put the property on the market.  This led to a huge amount of brush piles, downed wood, etc, all over 4 of our acres--its really an overwhelming amount.  We've cut what we can for firewood, made as many hugels as we can in our garden, but there's still a lot left.  We've worked to replant a good bit of the forest with chestnut and pawpaw and are slowly clearing the brush, making paths, and planting good things.  The good news is that the overstory that's left is oak, hickory, sugar maple, and cherry, primarily, which gives us lots of potential and harvests moving forward.

Most of my PDC was focused on garden and garden design, and so I've been looking for knowledge/resources on forest regeneration and management.  There are a lot of decisions to make, and I'm not always sure what ones are best.  Most of the books I've found on managing woodlots are really focusing on them for timbering and they are starting with the assumption that you don't have a mess everywhere.  Our goal is very different: its a food forest, habitat, and health of the forest.  Maybe occasionally some firewood or logs for natural building projects, but only those that are ready to come down.

I'm wondering if anyone has specific resources for how to regenerate the land from such a situation from an explicitly regenerative/permaculture framework.

Thanks!
1 year ago
Hi all,
We've been tapping our maples for years, and I have the timing down for when they run.  I'm wondering if anyone has experience tapping hickories (we have mostly bitternut and pignut, along with a few shagbarks).  Are the specifications the same for maple? (e.g. they run when the temp is above freezing during the day and below freezing at night; tap them once they are 12" round or bigger, etc).

All of my searching on the web for hickory sap/syrup leads to people doing bark infusions rather than producing syrup from the sap, so I'm hoping someone here will know.

Thanks!
Dana
1 year ago
Madison, did you end up getting your mill?  I'm looking at this one now, and have a question into them about what I should be using:

https://unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=25_35

For $100, it seems like it would save me so many hours of grinding pigments and being exposed to the rock dust (which I am very concerned about).  I'll keep you and others on this thread updated if I decide to go this route.  
2 years ago
art