James Freyr

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since Mar 06, 2017
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James is in his forties, is an active homesteader who is married, and has no children aside from five cats. He is a graduate of The American Brewers Guild and while he no longer brews beer he does dabble in the fermentations of food and dairy. He resides in the state of Tennessee where he runs a small farm. An avid gardener for more than twenty years, he also raises chickens and cows, has a few fruit trees and hopes to add bee keeping, pigs and goats to the farm. When he has free time he enjoys hikes through the woods and reading books.
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Recent posts by James Freyr

We got our goats 5 days ago. They're adjusting well I think, and are settling into their new home. They came from a woodland farm where all goats are fed hay and goat pellets. They took to the forage and browse right away, nibbling on all the different flora growing in their 1 acre pen. One had the scours when we got her, and a few days of living plants to eat seems to have had an effect on balancing her guts and has scours no more.

Carla Burke wrote: be prepared to lose your hearts.

I have verified through my own direct experience that this is true. We think our goats are adorable, and the whether is really affectionate and clingy. When I kneel and am petting him, he does these full body rub-ups around me like a cat would do. The girls had a little trepidation about my wife and I, but with a few handfuls of goat treat that subsided after a few days and we can pet and handle them now. I have fallen in love with these goats, wondering why I we didn't get goats sooner. They haven't hardly been here a week and I'm totally attached to them.

8 months ago

George Yacus wrote:

1) With respect to electric netting, how easy is it to modify the length and make multiple smaller segments out of a few longer nets?  Is this common practice?

Pretty easy, I believe. I own and have in use lots of various electric net style portable fence, and I think it would be rather easy to cut the strands and then tie them together making shorter segments out of one long section.

My understanding is that netting usually comes in 100ft or 164ft lengths.

It also comes in 82ft and 50ft lengths, depending on the type.

 ... are there elegant temporary* lane systems/materials other than electric netting?  

Some rotational grazing supply companies also have non electric temporary netting, which I believe may work well for a chicken alley. Check out premier1 supplies, they have a good selection.

8 months ago
Plaster is really heavy, not only wet when applied but also after it's cured. I have doubts that burlap can support the weight.
8 months ago
I think there are a few potential variables in your bales of ryegrass hay. The first is how mature the ryegrass was when it was cut and baled. If it is full of mature seed heads, then the stem has grown to maturity and can be "stemmy". The ability to bend the stem and have it snap may be due to the moisture content in the hay. Really dry things snap, and stems with a minor moisture content will bend. Another potential variable is if it was a pure stand of ryegrass or if there were other things growing alongside the ryegrass that may be contributing to the stemmy appearance of the hay. Ryegrass can make really excellent hay if it is cut and baled just before or right when it goes to boot stage, which is the term for when the seed head begins to develop. Most often, farmers don't get to cut hay when they want to or when grasses are at their peak, but rather only  when the rain stops long enough to get everything cut, raked, baled and stored.

 Also is it true the bearded grass will hurt the animal's mouths and cause them to get infections or is that a myth?

It depends. And it depends on two things- the type of seed head and the animal. Horses can get hay blister from eating certain grasses that have awns, which are stiff bristly parts of seed heads, such as foxtail grass and barley for examples, and the same hay fed to cows or goats may not cause any problems in them. My cows really enjoy grazing foxtail grass in the late summer and the seed heads don't bother them but apparently do cause problems in horses. I have what my neighbor calls a wild barley which grows in the region in the spring and has awns on the seed heads and my cows won't touch it, and I don't blame them. The seeds get in my boots and are really pokey and I find myself stopping often to take off one or both boots to pull those bristly seeds out of my socks.

8 months ago
I'm curious if others here use just any oil when using mill end bits or drilling metals, or if you use cutting fluids. And, is cutting fluid really something special or is it just rebranded oil?
8 months ago
I know the thread title says 2021, but it's full of adorable pictures so why not keep adding to it?

We welcomed a bull calf onto the farm yesterday, born mid-afternoon. I was present, and it really could not have gone better. Momma calved unassisted, and at first sight of hooves emerging, the calf was on the ground in less than 5 minutes. 20 minutes later he was trying to stand up and about 15 minutes after that he was trying to figure out momma's teats. Picture was taken today, he's about 21 hours old or so.

9 months ago

Michael Cox wrote:Re: acidic water.

I’ve been using concentrated hydrochloric to reduce the alkalinity in our above ground swimming pool. It seems to take a huge amount to bring it down to “ok” range of around 100ppm.

The way I interpret what you wrote is that you're somehow measuring total dissolved solids (TDS) in the water before and after using HCl. It is my understanding that while TDS and pH are interrelated, one does not accurately reflect a measurement of the other. Acidic water can still have high ppm, as can alkaline water also. Distilled water with a ppm of 0 TDS can be very acidic, neutral or alkaline. Using ppm as a marker to determine pH of a solution won't yield accuracy. pH test strips or a pH meter are the better ways to accurately determine a liquids pH.

Any issues using appropriately diluted HCl to reduce the pH for a few heavy waterings? I suspect there is a lot of carbonate trapped in the soil from previous waterings, for any excess acid to react with

Appropriately diluted, no I don't see any. The only issues that may arise is if the solution becomes way to acidic and it begins to kill soil microbial life and damage or kill plant tissue like roots, otherwise it will work. Keep in mind the chlorine molecule that will be there leftover after the acid does it's work, as it is possible that chlorine may begin to build up in the soil.

9 months ago

Christopher Weeks wrote:If I have this right, people add sulfur to the soil to acidify for e.g. blueberries. It takes a year or so because it's causing the microbiota to do the work rather than just causing a chemical reaction, like adding acid. I don't know enough to recommend it, but it might be worth some research.

This is correct. Adding elemental sulphur to a soil will lower a soils pH, but there are a few variables at play. One is the type of soil, another is the soil moisture consistency, and third is, as mentioned above, if alkaline water is continuously being added to the soil it will essentially negate the acidifying effects. It's soil microbial life that takes the sulphur and makes sulphuric acid which lowers the pH, but the microbial life needs moisture to do this and dry or drought conditions retards this process. Also, soil microbial life is much more active in warmer temperatures than during winter, so depending on how long ones warm season is, is another variable as to how fast this process takes place. If a soil has a pH that is near neutral, or 7, and needs to go to a pH of 6 for example, that will happen faster than a soil starting pH of 8.0 say, and the target is a range around 5.5. That will take longer. Suplhur works, but in many cases it happens at a snails pace and can take multiple seasons to see the visible results in happy plants thriving in their preferred soil pH range.

9 months ago
The calcium is having an alkalizing effect on the soil, raising the pH into a range that is problematic for some of your plants. Watering with acidic water like Anne suggested will remedy this, but results likely won't be immediate. Granular food grade citric acid will work too and is readily available online. pH test strips will help guide you to making acidic water that isn't too acidic. My suggestion is to aim for something more acid such as a pH of 5.0 to rapidly help bring the soil pH down, then a less acidic solution for maintenance, such as a pH of 6.0 or so. pH test strips aren't exact and only give a ballpark reading, but it works and is what I use to make acidic water when watering my blueberries as my well water is alkaline similar to yours.

9 months ago
Hi Katlynne, what comes to mind is trying raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar. If your dairy cow gets her water from a tub or trough, it's easy to just add to her water there. Unfortunately I don't have quantity suggestions for you, but there's a lot of info out there about giving apple cider vinegar to cattle and ACV really can do some amazing things when helping animals that are ill. You mentioned pink eye in your post and you're not sure if she has it or not. Pink eye is a symptom of iodine deficiency and one excellent source of bioavailable iodine is kelp. I mix kelp 50/50 by weight with the mineral salt that I give my small herd which they have access to free choice. Hope this helps.

9 months ago