Dietrick Klooster

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since Jul 15, 2019
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plumbing building
Central Indiana, zone 6a, clay loam
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Recent posts by Dietrick Klooster

When I was much younger than I am now, with no construction experience to speak of, I set out to move into a self built yurt to escape the trap of paying rent. Needless to say, I was told I couldn't do that. Questions like "where will you put it?" and "what about the winter?" were offered as if to be the end rather than the beginning of a conversation. To be honest they were right about the first question, at least at first. By that I mean I tried to set up on railroad land and experienced vandalism. Still I eventually succeeded years later after meeting a friend with an empty wooded lot and gaining some construction experience.

The most memorable doubts came from a sales representative I was trying to buy bamboo from. I wanted the yurt to be extra lightweight so I could carry it into that tucked away spot, and even though this person was supposed to be selling me something,  he said to me, "Don't you think if that we're possible, there would be no homeless people?" Which is a pretty great question to think about, really.
1 week ago
In case you haven't found another source, this is where I found the Nanticoke squash.

https://store.experimentalfarmnetwork.org/collections/squash/products/nanticoke-squash
4 weeks ago
Thank you for your response Kristine. It does seem like whatever is going on is probably not a systemic illness, but still, I wonder what is going on. We checked again today and noticed the skin in that spot has a more scaly texture than the rest of her skin. It is almost like  a plateau, where it suddenly transitions between raised and unraised. The black color is really dark too, hard to capture in a picture. Furthermore, the little feathers seem to be falling out from that spot, yet she doesn't act like it hurts when we touch the area. I am massively confused. Has anyone out there seen anything like this before?
1 month ago
This baby salmon faverolle seems to have some swelling on the top of her head, which at first we thought was only a difference in feather pattern. I was calling her "the one with the hairdo" but upon closer inspection noticed some swelling and what looks to be a bruised color. She isn't showing any signs of lethargy, loss of appetite, or anything of the sort, so I wonder what's going on. All the chicks are very active, always running, jumping and eating everything in sight. I read that there is a condition called blackhead which is pretty serious, but that most cases don't even show this symptom. A few of the others also have some of this color around the eyes, but with no swelling and not in as serious of way. We are also noticing what seems to be a bit more liquid than normal in some of the droppings.

We have been letting them go on field trips very early in their life, as it seemed wrong to deny them this experience that they would have with a real mother hen, but now wonder if we made a mistake. Still I would think any serious disease they contracted would cause a change in energy levels, of which we see none. The one in question is actually the biggest, most energetic and has the most developed feathers.

Does anybody have any idea what might be going on? How worried should I be and what, if anything should I be doing?
1 month ago
My less than perfect plumbing instincts tell me you dont want water sitting in a pipe... but might be less complication prone than siting the tank downhill. Im not really sure on that one.

As far as books go, I would highly recommend Art Ludwig's book simply called "Water Storage." I also think any of John C Daley's past posts on this forum are a great resource. The most important idea aside from first flush is that with a tank as large as you are talking about, you just avoid pulling from the bottom where sludge settles, or the top where other things float to, and the water will be cleaner than anything most municipalities could produce using flocculation and chlorine. A few inches below the surface using a floating movable intake is perfect but a low intake above sludge level is simpler and works almost as well. If you have any doubts you could look into slow sand filters but I don't think this is necessary with those large of tanks when properly plumbed and maintained. (We use a slow sand filter but operate from 275 gallon ibc totes with less than ideal plumbing) Good luck!
3 months ago
Thanks for the answers ya'll. While I do appreciate the additional alternatives presented here, I am definitely looking for a physical digging barrier. We live in a semi urban area, so while most of our digging predators are nocturnal, our main run must also be a fortress from above and below. We have hawks, as well as the occasional loose domestic dog(probably the biggest risk honestly). Our neighbors just lost a hen to an under fence break-in around 4pm, and we wouldn't like to see the same thing happen here. We will have a larger, lower security area where chickens are only allowed while we are in the garden, but will want our main run to look something like this:

Chicken Winter Greenhouse

Electric fences sound great in theory, but seem to require disciplined vegetation management outside of the chicken destruction zone, and to be honest, my partner and I have discovered that's just not who we are... plus as Andrew Mayflower said.... weasels? The chickens my parents had when I was growing up were all murdered by one in spite of the zippety zap.

We do plan on raising the coop off the ground for moisture reasons, but think the under coop area would be a great place for the chickens to find shade, and perhaps dust bathe as it will be sheltered from rain and sun, so we will want it enclosed as well.

Our space is a little small for a movable coop, plus we're pretty intent on being able to stand inside the coop... to keep us honest about the conditions our birds are experiencing.

I think we might go for different solutions for different parts of the boundary in the end. Burying rocks downward around areas where we need to minimize our footprint and out in others, perhaps resorting to the hardware cloth if it proves to be too much work.

I must wonder though, when people use hardware cloth do they make a point of replacing it regularly? I would be worried that it would eventually be nonfunctional and I would have no idea until I lost my entire flock to someone's escaped dog who wasn't even hungry. I suppose the poky bits left behind might still be a deterrent, but this really isn't the type of legacy I want to leave, and I've certainly been willing to scratch my hands up when I was determined for one reason or another.

Either way it's been great to discuss some finer points of predator protection with ya'll. Thanks especially to Andrew. Descriptions of real predator behavior was the main thing I was looking for. I imagine domestic dogs would behave somewhat similarly to foxes or coyotes in that situation as well. I wonder if they would give up sooner because they were less motivated by hunger, or later because they aren't as worried about wearing themselves out and not being able to catch their next meal. They also probably wouldn't be as afraid of humans if they had never killed a chicken before.
3 months ago
Thank you Andrew. I agree this would be pretty difficult to remove and install. I suppose my main reason for considering this option is the use of materials I already have laying around rather than pouring new concrete.

Yes hardware cloth seems pretty temporary to me, and though I do like to consider end of life scenarios with anything I build, this chicken setup is meant to stay in place for the rest of my life as far as I can forsee.

I also wonder about large chunks of salvaged concrete slab(2 feet wide) or flagstones going out rather than down. Could a fox find the edge of this and dig underneath in a way that would be easier to figure out than buried hardware cloth with hidden edges? Is there any reason out or down is better, with rocks or hardware cloth?
3 months ago
Hello permies! We definitely have coyotes and foxes around these parts and want to keep our yet unborn chickens safe from them. It seems like every solution I've seen either involves pouring massive amounts of concrete or burying hardware cloth in soil. The first solution seems very permanent, which I sort of like, but I also like the idea of not needing a jackhammer if I ever wanted to repurpose the space. I also generally like pouring less concrete and using materials that are already around.

Burying hardware cloth seems a common answer as well, but I imagine in a few decades there would be very little left of this material. I also feel the pain of a future land steward cursing my name on his or her way to get a tetanus shot. This has led me to consider an alternative.

What if the hardware cloth was only buried very shallow in a trench with rubble?(chunks of rock, brick and concrete around 4 inches across) This trench would drain, increasing the life of the metal, and any digging below might be stopped by the large rocks if they were packed densely enough.(see option 1)

Another higher security alternative might involve creating a solid lay of paver blocks on their side held in place with rubble. I could even fasten the hardware cloth above ground with concrete fasteners and washers.(see option 2)

Either way there would be less chance of lead in the soil, and if I ever changed my mind I could pry the rocks out with a shovel. Does anyone have any experience with predators that might inform this sort of approach? Do you think the first option would be sufficient to deter a coyote or fox?

3 months ago
I do let my cat go outside, but with many restrictions. I used to just let her and her sister go outdoors at their whim through a cat door. Her sister died several years ago of kidney failure and I still wonder if she got into antifreeze or some other poison outdoors that caused it. Then the remaining cat got bitten by a coyote cause she was out a little later than usual. After that, I only let her out during the day time to keep her safe. But then, she started killing birds. Given that creating habitat for songbirds is important to me, I decided that she could still go out, but only with a Birds Be Safe collar. It helps the birds see her before she can get them and fly to safety. She isn't allowed outside unsupervised even with the collar during nesting and fledgling season, since fledglings can't fly off reliably and adult birds are distracted courting and gathering nesting materials. Unfortunately, this collar doesn't protect reptiles or mammals. Cats take a huge toll on wildlife every year, even those they don't immediately kill, since a tooth or claw catching an animal often leads to infection and death. This isn't "natural" since we brought cats here. I also don't think allowing that to happen is very responsible or respectful of wildlife, who are already struggling due to many other human influences. Making my cat wear a collar and watching her to ensure she isn't killing for funsies seems like the least I can do.

More recently, a neighbors cat has been roaming in our yard and harassing our cat. He or possibly some other roaming cat attacked our cat and nearly got her eye. If it had been worse and I didn't manage to take care of it myself, that could have been a vet bill, on top of the harm to our cat. So now she doesn't go out unsupervised anymore for her safety. This situation has caused a tremendous amount of stress for us and our cat. She knows when he is out there and acts very stressed out, which is obviously upsetting to me too. This cat is also using our garden as a litter box, so I am constantly stepping in cat poo and smelling cat pee everywhere when I'm outside. It makes me worry about the safety of our food. And he is obviously killing the birds I work so hard to make a safe haven for. I'm also concerned because we are about to get chickens and fear that even though we will have a super secure run for them, he will hang out and stress them out by trying to hunt them. We tried talking to these neighbors once already, but unfortunately they seem to have the attitude that cats are just supposed to be able to roam freely wherever they want. I don't think that's very reasonable given the negative impacts they can have on people and other animals around them. It's also against city ordinance for cats to roam free where I live. The neighbors can be fined and I believe ultimately, their cat taken away. Though I'm a little afraid to go that route, as I fear that it'd be a huge hassle to get anything done or that the neighbors would retaliate. Needless to say, this is putting a real strain on our relationship with our neighbors and leaves me feeling pretty disrespected and like I can't relax and enjoy my own home and garden. If this were a dog coming onto my property daily, attacking my cat, threatening my livestock and damaging my garden, no one would consider it acceptable. I don't see why so many consider it to be okay for cats, because it really isn't. It is possible to give them outside time with limits.
So while I think cats ought to be able to have outside time, I think it needs to be supervised or controlled to keep the cats safe, as well as respect the lives of wildlife and the spaces of others. I have trained our cat to stay in our yard at all times and always supervise her when she's out anymore. It really isn't that hard to do. An enclosed space like a catio or some kind of fencing that is capable of containing cats seems like another good solution. Or they can be leash trained.
3 months ago