Mike Barkley

gardener & hugelmaster
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since Mar 01, 2018
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After a long career electro-geeking for R&D labs in the electronic industry Mike has checked out of the rat race & moved to the woods. Not entirely off grid but trying to achieve that goal. He raises a few animals & enjoys growing healthy food in various gardens. He is a life long nature lover, adventure seeker, & to a certain extent a minimalist. Eventually bears will probably eat him & turn him into compost. He is ok with that.
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Recent posts by Mike Barkley

OK. This is pet peeve of mine. 105 db has no meaning. Decibel is a way of comparing two things to each other. Either a  gain or loss. When it comes to sound it is a way of comparing the minimum sound the average human ear (as determined by the Fletcher/Munson tests during a world's fair)  can detect to a different volume of sound. So technically that 105db is written as 105dbspl. (sound pressure level)

There are other references used for other things such as wattage. The point is db is a way of comparing TWO things. So a number without the reference is meaningless. Rant over.
1 week ago
Many years ago we had an albino boxer. Apparently they are usually killed at birth but somehow we ended up with him. We named him Tanker because he was all muscle. (and slobbery lips) He was a very friendly dog that liked huge rawhide bones. He would spend a week or two slobbering up & untying the ends then he would eat the entire thing. One day we put him in the back yard for a short time while we went shopping or ran some errands. When we returned we saw that he had eaten an entire 4 or 5 foot tall cactus. The kind with big spikes. It didn't end well for Tanker. It was a very sad day for all of us.
2 weeks ago
Some excellent advice has already been given here. Take a look at this thread about prescribed burns.

First & foremost is safety. Personally I would keep the trees along the perimeter for privacy as you suggested. Then I would build a wide firebreak all around just inside of that. It will help prevent fires from getting in or out. Something like the water equipped ATVs shown in the thread above will be very useful every time you burn. Consult the forestry & firefighting professionals in your area for their expert advice. They will gladly help you do it right. Some trees survive fire much better than others so you might want to develop a plan to gradually replace trees that don't survive with a more tolerant variety. Again, consult the pros in your area. They are there to help you. Learn all you can & get as much help as you can before lighting the first fire.
3 weeks ago
What separates the truly talented musical pros from the amateurs? The 4 elements of an instrument's timbre. Which are defined as attack, decay, sustain, & release. These folks all get it.

4 weeks ago
Add me to the butter &/or bacon grease camp.
1 month ago
Food, shelter, & water. Everything else is just gravy. One could spend a lifetime acquiring the skills & knowledge to make sure they always have that under any circumstances. I would add first aid because sooner or later someone will get sick or hurt. The ability to avoid or repel the zombies seems wise too. A zillion years ago I was deep deep deep in the military. The thing that kept me going was to accept the fact that I was already dead. It gives one the ability to function under extreme circumstances. Life will never be the same after zombies.
1 month ago
Hi Finn. Welcome to permies. Scroll to the bottom of this thread to find the specific requirements for each badge.
1 month ago
I prefer "cover crops" that are edible.

I've grown a lot of buckwheat. More for the bees & pancakes & soil improvement rather than as a cover crop. It grows fast & reseeds itself easily. Roughly 6 weeks from initial planting to seeds starting to fall on their own. It can also be grown very thick, Here in the deep south I get multiple crops per year. Seed collection is relatively easy. I really don't think it is a great cover crop here because it's a fairly short plant with thin stems & small leaves. We have some rowdy weeds that can easily outgrow & smother it. Maybe if the same spot was tended for buckwheat only for several years in a row it might minimize the weeds. I also don't think it would provide good ground cover an entire winter because they are fragile plants & break down fairly fast.

Although they're not generally considered cover crops I think blackeyed peas & peanuts are a good choice in suitable soils & climates. Blackeyed peas grow fast & reseeds itself fairly well. They are large plants with lots of biomass. Also easy enough to harvest, or just leave them on the plants if you want them come back on their own the following year. They die off in late fall & will cover the soil until spring. I simply chop them in fall & mow their area in spring when ready to plant other crops there. I have noticed that mice & snakes like to live in thick piles of the dead or mowed plants so proceed with caution.

Peanuts planted thick also do fairly well as cover crops. The plants are not nearly as large as blackeyed peas though. The will grow back the following year if left in the ground but I don't think the leaves would provide much ground cover for an entire winter.

All of these are fairly easy to grow & harvest. They make many more seeds than they started with. Peanuts are the hardest because of the digging required but it's doesn't require expensive special machinery.
1 month ago