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Showing posts from September, 2017

The Chicken Chick's Guide to Backyard Chickens

Having been obsessed with chickens for most of my life, I anxiously awaited the arrival of the The Chicken Chick's Guide to Backyard Chickens. The book did not disappoint.  It is loaded with great advice and lots of chicken pictures.

The pictures show chickens "in action" and are labeled with the chicken breed. These are details I appreciate. The book has many tips on housing, care, feeding, and emergency situations. Most of the information is good advice, but I did find a lot of it to be heavily edited to CYA (cover your ass.) It's very unfortunate that we have such a litigious society, and I couldn't help but be annoyed by Kathy's suggestions to trust the big chemical/agricultural companies when it comes to feeding/treating your chickens.

I suppose she has many sponsors among those companies and also wants to provide information to the lowest common denominator. It's not safe for a new chicken owner to make their own feed mixes based on random interne…

Can you really improve poor sandy soil with Comfrey

Before we purchased our farm, I read almost every book on permaculture designs and soil improvement techniques. That knowledge would come in handy when it came time to improve our poor sandy soil.

The farm had been continuously cropped for 136 years. There is no topsoil - just sand. Many, many feet of sand. Like a beach. We started out planting trees and even though we mulched and had a rainy spring, the ground was still dry and hard. The trees suffered.

Fortunately, I came across a woman selling perennial plants and when I went to check out her plants, I spied a rare type of comfrey. It had blue flowers and grew well in our climate, so I bought a few plants from her. Then I planted them - and they wilted and flopped on the ground.

Checking in with Dr. Google, I learned that comfrey is one of a few plants that grows easily from root pieces. Meaning - every chunk of root should grow a new plant. So those floppy plants should regenerate from the roots below the surface.

Walking through …

The Grandparent Pattern

Are we operating under free will? That is, of our own accord? I can say with absolute certainty that I spent a large portion of my life operating below the conscious level. I let my body control my action and it did some amazing things. And some horrible things. For the past 8 years, I have felt much more in control of my actions (also...my emotions, feelings, life path.)

Now, as I am leaving my fourth decade of life, I find myself very insistent on building our research farm and spending the rest of my days in the scientific pursuit of edible endeavors. Why am I drawn to this? Is it what I really want or is it programmed into my body to want this?

It may be both, and I um unsettled with this answer. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a scientist. I enjoyed roaming the earth, interacting with plants and animals, and freedom above all. Those are the cores of my being. But they were also escapes.

At this age, am I still attempting to escape? Or am I beyond trying to escape from…

Adopting Feral Cats, Surviving the Winter, Introducing a new cat to your old one!

Earlier this summer, my neighbor moved into a nursing home. She was only 43. It was tough stuff to watch and she moved into the home....to die. She had a lot on her mind, and though it is not excusable behavior, when she was taken away, she left behind two cats. I guess she didn't think she could find them another home.

About a month before she had to go, she let them outside. She continued to feed them but they roamed the wild during the day and night. And then when she was gone, they had to completely fend for themselves.

She texted me after she left to let me know....and to ask if I could look out for them every once in a while.

I went around the area for a few weeks, calling for them, bringing food and water. But I could never locate the cats. Then we started leaving food out around her house (still unsold and unoccupied) and noticed the food was being eaten. So we slowly moved the food dishes a few feet every day until they were in our backyard.

Then when they were willing to…