Abe Coley

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since Nov 13, 2010
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Recent posts by Abe Coley

Mike Philips wrote:
Is there an English translation available?

i just used the closed captions and selected the translate from portuguese to english
1 month ago
Maybe try some syntropic methods starting first with whatever can grow, then later move on to what you want to grow. This series of videos is pretty awesome for dry tropical https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMw-CGR3QZwoLM4JuQPM9FPitIjODddmX
1 month ago
yeah i've made a couple. the first one just had a slanted plywood floor, which worked fine at first but over time the chickens' claws wallowed out the grain of the plywood and the eggs would hang up on it. The second one I made also had a slanted plywood floor, but each nest box has a removable kitchen cutting mat covering the bottom, which stands up to their claws and is easy to remove to clean off any chicken poop or anything else that gets stuck on there.

There's not much to say other than they're just a box that's tilted, with a little opening at the bottom and a tray to catch the eggs.

1 month ago
I think the technique of charring is a bigger factor than using green or damp wood. If you do the "tie three boards together to make a chimney and have the fire go up the inside" method, the draft will be absolutely ripping and you can char some pretty wet wood. But if you try to char individual boards using a propane torch, it's gonna take forever regardless of whether it's wet or dry.

I did my whole house using the chimney method with salvaged boards that got rained and snowed on, and I didn't put any kind of finish or preservative on it. Holding up fine 8 years later but I'm in a pretty dry place where rot isn't so much an issue like the PNW.

Cedar's pretty rot resistant, so maybe don't even go to the trouble of using any wood preservative on those boards.
1 month ago
Mint, mint, mint, and more mint!
2 months ago
I've been wanting to build one of these and I did a little research last summer. From what I gather the entry holes need to be 6 to 8 inches in diameter and have a landing stick in front of the hole, and painting the outside of the structure white makes for greater color contrast so the pigeons recognize the holes more easily. Inside, the nest boxes should probably be like 8 inch x 8 inch but I've seen bigger ones and smaller ones also. As for dealing with the birds, i'm not really sure if it's a case of "if you build it they will come" or if it helps to trap some birds and then lock them in for a few weeks before they recalibrate their home location. Also it seems people who raise them for racing keep them locked in most of the time and give them food and water, whereas people who raise them for manure or for meat just let them forage for food and water or just give them water only.

Here's a half decent article on them: https://www.notechmagazine.com/2016/10/pigeon-towers-a-low-tech-alternative-to-synthetic-fertilizers.html

And he's a vid showing some people building a traditional one: https://www.boisbuchet.org/workshop/building-an-arab-pigeon-tower/
3 months ago
Re: biochar -- If you have access to water to put out the fire, the easiest fastest way to make a whole lot of biochar is just in a pile on flat ground. Start a small fire, when the coals start to turn white put on another layer of wood, repeat until you're either out of wood or the pile of coals gets too big to work safely around. Hose it out good while raking it back and forth, but don't breath the steam because it contains carbon monoxide. Usually for me by the time it's too big / too hot I've got a pile that's like 10-12 feet in diameter and 2 feet high in the middle. The next day after it has cooled off, I drive back and forth over it with the truck to crush it into fine particles. As others have pointed out, to reduce the alkalizing effect of the charcoal, you're gonna wanna mix it with compost and let it sit for a few months or a year before you disperse it on the land.

With the tree spacing you've mentioned two concerns, soil moisture and fire danger. If you can adopt a management practice where you grow as much vegetation as you can during the wet times, and then trim it back, graze it off, or do controlled burns before the fire season, you might be able to both increase the water holding capacity of the soil while also reducing the fire risk. Growing trees and other perennials is probably the best way to get organic matter down deep in the soil, which increases the soil water holding capacity. Then cutting/grazing/burning the above ground vegetation causes roots to die below ground, which then decomposes into water holding organic material. If you can cycle the vegetation on an annual schedule you'll probably have pretty good results on both fronts, and increasing the soil water holding capacity a little bit every year eventually you'll begin to have an effect on the aquifer recharge.

If it's gonna take 10 hours a day for months on end to get thinned out to a more reasonable tree spacing, you might post on craigslist or facebook marketplace for some u-cut firewood. Flag the trees you want cut or drop them yourself and then let the firewood getters saw them up and haul them off. You never know, you might find a great sawyer who's good at felling trees and might pay you a little bit so that he can turn it around and sell firewood for $300 a cord or whatever.
3 months ago
Nice! I like the tipped barrel method having tried it a few times myself. A lot safer than a wide open fire.
4 months ago
Things I would have done differently:
- plant more native wildflowers right at the start
- blackout tarp each tree row for 1 year prior to planting (to knock back the quack grass)
- plant nitrogen fixing perennials between every tree
- establish stool beds of currants and haskaps several years in advance so that I could have 1000s available to plant under the trees
- cut the grass adjacent to the tree rows and mulch the tree rows with it, 2x per year in mid-late june and september.
- plant more sacrificial trees down each row to provide partial shade for easier establishing forest understory species
- plant a lot of the trees in-situ using seeds, three seeds per hole

- I've been planting at syntropic agroforesty or Skobkowiak permaculture orchard type density, where trees/shrubs of the different strata can occupy the same square meter of a tree row, like the layers of a food forest. Planning for succession, starting with way more trees and plants than seems reasonable or necessary, thinning them out and/or pruning every year to manage the light penetration. An example would be walnut over apricot over alder over currants, all planted within the same 3 to 5 feet of a row. Pretty much each row in my orchard is different, but every row is overly dense with the idea being that redundant plants will get pruned out or shaded out. I have a few rows of walnuts with apples planted as timber trees in between, which I'm excited to see the conflict play out over the coming years, at the end of which I'll either have some juglone tolerant apples or some logs of woodworking grade apple wood for sale.

- 99% are seedlings, though I wouldn't really call them "standards" because seedlings can be pretty variable as far as vigor goes.

Tree harvest plan:
- It varies by row and crop type. A lot of hand picking, which includes some coppice for pole wood and green shoots for tree hay. I'm not really there yet, but I'd like to build a mechanical tree shaker and net system like they use for harvesting oranges. Depending on how certain crops turn out, I might be open to doing a u-pick. I have some friends who have a cider business, and so pretty much all the apples were already spoken for before they ever got planted.

4 months ago
If you drop the other E down to D as well, so that you're DADGBD, a whole bunch of standard chords become a lot easier to play in drop D... you can basically play any full chord in a modified C or G shape. It's widely known as 'the Neil Young tuning,' and it has a lot more useable chord shapes than DADGBE or DADGAD. Tuning wise it makes a lot of sense that if you bring the root note down you should bring the top octave note down as well.
4 months ago