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Dado Scooter

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since Mar 13, 2017
Living the life in San Martin, escaping from life in Silicon Valley. 
San Martin, CA
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Recent posts by Dado Scooter

Squirrel control may be a losing battle.  You take some out and others willl come in their place.  My dog chases the squirrels, but they just go up the tree and laugh at him.  They only visibly hang out in the pecan trees in the front yard, and haven't been hanging out in my backyard where I planted a fruit miniorchard a couple of years ago that's beginning to fruit.  I've been culling fruit babies because there were too many fruit on them, but the peaches get stink bugs if I don't spray them with Sierra Naturals.  And of course I didnt and lost a lot peaches/

I'm deliberalely keeping my fruit trees trimmed short and planted them close together.  If I lose to many fruit to squirrels, I guess I could build a cage around them.  Something is eating my ripening figs right now, but I don't care because I can't keep up with them anyway.   I have a grape vine that decided to permaculture itself and started growing up the lone pecan tree in the back.  It's growing good grapes now, but I can't reach them!

My climate is so different than yours, so I would first work with the county extension agent to identify your trouble areas. Then extrapolate that knowledge and apply permaculture solutions to mitigate those problemms where you can.  Develop a relationship with a nursery in your area that produces cultivars that are good in your area.

I haven't been active but we have the California Rare Fruit Growers organization whose knowledge base is staggering.  Maybe there's an organization in your area.

Yeah, sorry to make you think too much, but yanking things out and replanting things without knowing what's going on may not be a good idea.
2 months ago
Wow what a long thread!  I want to add to the greenhouse suck factor.... I spent my whole childhood summers in a commercial greenhouse, so I have to add my experience.

Greenhouses are great for climate control for seasonal crops if you have unlimited water and energy sources.  So there's the total suck factor because no one has unlimited water and energy sources.  My dad had a wholesale cut chrysanthemum nursery business and air shipped all over.  It was an industry that was developed by the Japanese Americans in the SF Bay Area in the early 1900's and sent me and my siblings to college.

The summers were hot and we grew a crop that bloomed in fall.  So during the day, we had a whole side of the greenhouse with a matting that had continuous water dripping out, and huge fans on the other side of the greenhouse to suck outside air through the pads through the greenhouse for evaporative cooling.  We had automatic vents to vent hot air out.  We had to draw black cloth over the rows every night to trick the flowers into blooming by reducing daylight hours.

The winters were mild, but we had to heat the greenhouses.  My dad had an old boiler that he sent steam through pipes along side each bed to heat the greenhouse.  After the mums were cut and beds cleaned out, the beds would be covered with heavy tarps with the sides held down with heavy chains and he would pipe steam into the beds to sterilize the soil.  Above the beds were incandescent light bulbs, again to trick the flowers into blooming by increasing the daylight!

So the 1970's came with an energy crisis and drought years.  Silicon Valley was starting to roar, and my not so sad dad succumbed to development pressure.  He spent his retirement years playing golf and traveling the world because of the windfall while we were all going to college and leaving the nest.

I see a possible greenhouse in the future, but it would be seasonal and passive heated.  The concept of passive heating and cooling was lost on my chemical farming parents, but I believe there's a way to keep my citrus from frost and grow tomatoes in the winter easily in my mild climate.
2 months ago
Where I live in California we have fiveish seasons which seems to have wandered all over the calendar recently....

Winter.... rainy season... Good time to plant trees and grow cool weather crops like lettuce, peas and cole crops.  Use Reemay during frosty times which vary each year, this last winter we hardly had any frost.  Five winters ago we had citrus killing frosts.  Everything is green with grass.  A lot of citrus fruit ripen in winter.

Spring .....rampant weed season, wildflowers blooming... Good time to plant a lot of other stuff.  We had a lot of rain through the spring... usually it stops around April, but we had big rain through June this year.  Just added to the weed load.  Best time for strawberries.

summer.... Where I live it's foggy cool mornings and hot afternoons with lots of wind... Not good for planting anything because of aridity.  Rain is extremely rare here during the summer.   Or if you live in San Francisco, it's the coldest winter you ever had is summer in San Francisco (Mark Twain).  Rampant harvests of berries, stonefruit, corn, beans, tomatoes and tons of zuchini.  Time to do some summer pruning of fruit trees.  Grasslands go brown, wild mustard blooms.

Indian Summer.... about three weeks in September where it's hot hot hot....   Or if you live in San Francisco, it's the two weeks in October where the temps rise to the 80's and there's no bone chilling fog.
Fall.... can be lazy dreamy days.  Time to harvest apples and pears.
Tyler, I stand corrected.  However, most of prairie is now farmed or grazed intensively, and even in this article it states only 1% of original grasslands is still real prairie.  I think grasslands could only be returned to the long rooted grasses if it is rotationally grazed by hooved animals like the Savory Institute.  Agriculture actually destroys the root structure that stabilizes the soil and retains rainfall.  Therefore "grasslands" is now in a near monoculture of wheat, corn and soybeans and other crops, and grazed to death by commercial cattle operations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSPkcpGmflE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7pI7IYaJLI

If everyone could by like Alan Savory or David Bamberger these lands can be restored.  It will take a couple of years and some fencing to rotational graze on large enough acreage.  I couldn't do it with the 1/3 acre I devote to my horses, that's for sure!  

I guess you could call my home former grasslands because I live on the valley floor of the former Valley of the Hearts Delight where stone fruit used to rein before the advent of the computer chip.  Elk and deer were the dominant hooved species before the Spaniards built their missions and brought cattle, horses, goats, pigs and sheep with them.  The mountains to the west have ecotones with redwood forests and chapparal, the mountains to the east are mostly chapparal, the valley floor used to be meandering streams, grass and oaks.

4 months ago
Bottom line, if your goal is to grow apple trees, then you might think of going to a good apple growing region, like parts of Washington State and Oregon.  I have sisters in both states, and the soil there is good. There are tons of beautiful productive orchards and old orchards that have been pulled out by their huge trunks, out there. There is good community and probably a good market because you see a lot of Californians retiring with good money up there, like my sisters.  One of my sisters friends moved from San Jose to Flathead in Idaho....  I just googled Flathead and it seems like it may be a good microclimate for pomes and cherries.  And a lot of rich former Californians so I wonder what that is doing for the real estate prices up there.

If toxic chemicals is a concern, I just checked Toxmap, and North Carolina does not seem to be the worst state for toxic dump sites... there are a lot worse.  The northeast seems to be the worst for toxicity, and you might have arsenic problems there.

The Rockies and High Plains look to have very little in terms of toxicity.  There is also very little rainfall, and very little population.  The YouTube Channel "Our Wyoming Life" showed a lone neglected fruit tree that is failing to thrive and needs quite a bit of human watering to keep growing.  And these are "grasslands" where they are grazing cattle for market, so just focusing on grasslands is probably not the ideal criteria for what you want to do.  You could be driving for miles and miles on grassland and not see a single tree. Ecologically vibrant areas are those that have an interface between forests and meadows that have the highest biodiversity.  Personally, I vote for biodiversity!

4 months ago
The extension article you posted protrays a pretty bleak picture of gardening in Idaho.  Perhaps you could actually stay for a year to figure out if the climate is right for you.  I have never been to Moscow, but I see pictures of equine endurance rides from the area and all I see is a lot of rocks and brush.  Also, what is called grasslands may be overgrazed and would require a lot of remediation.   When you look at water patterns, you must realize that there are probably very few basins in the area.  Anywhere in the Rockies and nearby would be a very harsh environment to establish permaculture grounds, but I guess you are looking for a challenge.

I see a lot of happy homesteaders on YouTube who settled in North Carolina.  Lack of water isn't a problem, lush green rolling hills and a longer growing season...  and it's not California.
4 months ago
Follow up regarding California earthquakes.... 7.1 in Ridgecrest tonight has produced a a lot of drama and disruption... a few fires, road closures due to rupture, people sleeping out on the streets in fear of structures falling around them.  So far no deaths and only minor injuries reported.  Not in a populated area.

Earthquakes in Oregon and Washington has a longer periodicity... but when one rips it could be potentially larger and more disruptive... like the Anchorage or the one in Japan.

One thing to consider about Western Montana... short growing season, aridity....  You don't see much foodstuff growing there.  I spent time in western Wyoming in the 1970's and salad there was old iceberg lettuce with half a cherry tomato....  primarily a carnivorous diet prevails there.  They have terrible winters there.... being a Californian I wouldn't go anywhere near there in the winter.  Beautiful rugged scenary though, if all that makes you happy.  It hailed and snowed hard in the middle of July when I was there.

P.S.  As a northern Californian, I hate it when people call our state Cali!  It is SoCal that's sucking up everyone's water... our Norcal Sierra snowpack feeds southern California as well as the Colorado River.
4 months ago
P.S.2...  Jain, Hollister was a place much talked about in my lower division geology class as far as being the Earthquake capitol of the World!  Not far from the Garlic Capital, eh?  Hollister always had smaller earthquakes and is the "moving" part of the San Andreas complex, not a "locked" part.  It's moving and placing stress on the "locked" portions of the San Andreas Fault complex, which includes the Hayward and Calaveras Fault.  You probably saw a lot of USGS personnel around town all the time.  And you probably just laughed at all the earthquakes, as I did since I was a child in Mountain View.

I remember the series of 6 Magnitude earthquakes generated from Livermore.  I was at a stop sign for one, and watched the road roll, and figured out where the epicenter was approximately, and the magnitude.  I was working in Los Altos at the time, and experienced another one while working on the second floor of a concrete tiltup.  I watched the floor roll, and again... I figured out it was a 6 in Livermore again.  I remember being a college student at UCSC and experiencing a 3 while lying in bed.  I called my boyfriend at that time and he said I was just drunk and stoned.  Next morning I went to the seismograph in my classroom building, and sure enough... it was an earthquake on one of three little faults in the Monterey Bay... My Fault, Your Fault and McHenry's (the current college chancellor) Fault as my professors fondly called them.  All were just something we just laughed and talked about for a minute or two before we went back to work.  Probably how you experienced life in Hollister with all your earthquakes.

I live sandwiched between the San Andreas and Calaveras Fault.  I'm on flat ground in a wood framed house that survived the Loma Prieta just fine. Lot more damage in San Francisco many more miles to the north. I am a lot closer to the Loma Prieta epicenter... I think maybe I'm less than 10 miles from it, and I believe I'm even closer to the Calaveras Fault.  I could ride my horse and be at the fault line in 1/2 an hour from my house.  I wouldn't expect another rupture on the San Andreas at Loma Prieta, but the Calaveras Fault is highly suspect for a 7 event.   Still not scared of earthquakes.
4 months ago
P.S.  PG&E is a weak link as evidenced by the Camp Fire and several other power transmission line generated fires in California.  To mitigate that, California is very proactive about legislating increased solar power generation.  Plus we are probably the epicenter of Tesla Power Walls, so you have choices about to survive a grid outage if you're a homeowner.
4 months ago
Yes, Ralph, I have yet to experience a "big one".  My college major was Earth Sciences, so I may understand it better than most and I'm still not scared of earthquakes.  These events along the San Andreas Fault... the fault in the area that's capable of generating an earthquake this large has a 200-250 year periodicity along the locked segments of the fault. This means that we would have an event along  a particular locked segment of the San Andreas, not along the entire fault, so it is somewhat localized.  We do have a high probability of experiencing one at any time in the SF Bay Area. Our state has engineering standards that would mitigate a lot of structure losses.  Our weak link is our dependence on the electric grid, and our older structures.  The high number of deaths from other earthquakes across the world is due to lack of building codes and preparation for such events.  Believe me, California has the brainpower and tax base to enforce rigorous building codes and beef up public works to withstand such events.  We are propagandized with earthquake preparedness every October, ad nauseum.

Compare this to weather events.  Like the number of deadly hurricanes lining up in the Antlantic over the past years, the rampant flooding over this last year and the repeated tornado warnings in the tornado belt, you have to admit that the frequency of these events far exceed the number of deadly earthquakes we experience in California.

The largest earthquake in my lifetime, the Loma Prieta, resulted in 67 deaths in a very populated area.  Same area with less population, the great San Francisco 1906 earthquake, is estimated to claim 3,000 persons without the stringent seismic and fire codes we have today.  According to NOAA, each year 60 people die of tornadoes alone.  Hurricanes have claimed thousands at a time, and deadly hurricanes are increasing.

Disaster recovery is a lot quicker with earthquakes.  Structural damage was spotty in the Loma Prieta earthquake.  Yes, you saw on TV dramatic fires, freeway structures collapsing, and brick buildings turned to piles of rubble, but neighborhoods were still relatively intact.  Yes it took awhile to reconstruct the roadways and rebuilt all the collapsed buildings, again isolated cases among other intact buildings and freeway structures, but they only closed the financial district off in SF for a couple of days to clear rubble and repair services.  We were all back to work in the Financial District by the end of the week.  Most areas didn't even have to close businesses the day after because of minimal damage.  Most of the SF Bay Area returned to work the next morning with stories to tell their coworkers. Compare that to recovery from flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes where whole neighborhoods can be wiped out.  Plus you have to wait until waters recede before you can even think about recovering after a hurricane or extreme flooding.

Again, weather events are a lot more scary to me than any stinkin' event that happens every couple hundred years.   The Pacific Northwest has much deadlier thrust faults that can generate much larger earthquakes than the San Andreas Fault.  Like the 1964 Alaska earthquake and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami that left us with Fukushima radiation.   The periodicity of these earthquakes are centuries apart.  The oceanic Juan de Fuca plate is pushing the Pacific Northwest into the continent and that could cause a 9 Richter earthquake and effect the less populated parts of northern California.  The last event there was in 1700.
4 months ago