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A good foundation for a stronger community is the sharing of knowledge, opportunity and the surplus of materials & goods.


"Yeah they come and they go

They're in and then out

Every day I'm getting better at losing something I haven't got

I just wanna do my labor, love my girl, and help my neighbor

While I keep a little hope for my dreams

But it's sure getting hard, brother, in times like these"


-Hayes Carll in 'Times Like These'



I was forking dirt just last week, prepping the new garden for the coming spring and a stranger drove up the driveway. And me as usual was parts suspicion, parts curiosity.


He made an offer I couldn't refuse. Take down this old lean-to and you can have the materials for free. I followed him down the road some and the offer was true. Returned the next 2 days and dismantled the lean-to. Took what I could but left some, it's just better that way. Don't need it all and don't want it neither. Selfishness is no character trait I care to own.


It's these simple acts of kindness that go ever further. One doesn't always have to reciprocate but just 'pass it on'.


Think of someone in need, a neighbor or a stranger and Pay it Forward.


So I thanked him for the opportunity and was glad to myself I was outside that day.




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Farming is 24/7 & 365


Yeah it's hardwork but I think it's righted a lot of my wrongs. Good Rhythm in chores.


Every morn just before sunrise, jackets & muck boots go on. We step out into the frosty morn, (2) - gallon jugs of fresh water, (2) 3-gal waterers in each hand. From warm bed to cold air, before breakfast, before coffee the chores begin. The geese have an old black plastic wheelbarrow I converted into a raised swimming hole (fiberglassed the holes shut), holds up to sun and ice far better than any $10 kiddie pool. If the overnight temps dip low, we chuck the day-old waters and refill them in the morn. The garden hose is disconnected to vent. The waterers are brought inside.


The chickens get a 3-gal waterer as well but they are dainty with water consumption. You do all this because you care about your animals. I value their companionship even though we bought the loudest fucking Geese on this planet. Shrill is the word I use. Some folks have security systems, some folks guard dogs- we have dogs & Guard Geese and they bite- holy shit. Killer Milton (gander) hates hoses, loud trucks, most people, hates when you touch his waterer, stare at him wrong, likes fresh water in his pool and protects Molly (female goose). He struts, screams and bites. And gets loose. Pretty much daily one of us is herding him back into the electric fence paddock.


Maintenance of the geese is best accompanied with a bamboo cane for yer own safety.


At dusk, all you really have to do is dump the water in the pool and bring in the waterer if the temps are low. The chickens go to roost, retrieve the waterer and shut the coop door.


So really between filling their feeders with feed and fresh water- the daily maintenance is low. Freezing temps just adds more layers to the chores... so for efficiency we put our heads together and hope we've come up with a better solution.. enter permaculture solutions:


Thermal Mass Outdoor Waterer

Utilizing Compost to thermally warm water

Half day project


  • 3-sided wood pallet structure (screwed together)

  • rain barrel with ball valve spigot

  • small skid and or pavers n' bricks

  • compost

  • scrap wood, chicken wire, hay

  • spare hose

  • thermometer


Basically you are mounding compost up around a rain barrel to utilize the decomposition of organic matter which outputs heat to thermally warm & insulate the water from freezing


Problem:

moving the waterers inside every dusk gets old, refilling them inside is slow


Solution:

Keep the water outside, capture rain water, reuse it for the flock, insulate and warm water from freezing utilizing organic composting methods


Bonus:

  1. 2-function Permaculture method

  2. you get dirt and capture heat through fermentation

  3. store outdoor water


What is safe to Compost?

3:1 Browns to greens


Browns:

  • Leaves

  • Pine needles

  • Twigs, chipped tree branches/bark

  • Straw or hay

  • Sawdust (leave out cherry & walnut as it's toxic)

  • Corn stalks

  • Paper (newspaper, writing/printing paper, paper plates and napkins, coffee filters)

  • Dryer lint

  • Cotton fabric

  • Corrugated cardboard (without any waxy/slick paper coatings)


Greens:


  • Grass clippings

  • Coffee grounds/tea bags

  • Vegetable and fruit scraps

  • Trimmings from perennial and annual plants

  • Annual weeds that haven't set seed

  • Eggshells

  • Animal manures (cow, horse, sheep, chicken, rabbit, etc. No dog or cat manure)

  • Seaweed















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At Renan Ranch, there is nothing but constant homestead projects; a 'structured chaos' if you will. If not by design; I've created an atmosphere/habitat that invites experimentation in permaculture projects, endless chores and routine mechanical maintenance. I've realized later in this decade that I cannot lie idle, to do so is imminent death. Projects, projects, projects.

Deep immersion.


When one takes on the 'homestead life' one also quickly realizes that you cannot do it all alone. It's impossible. There is zen in that realization. I find peace in knowing that I can't do everything. So I stick to what I know and then research what I don't. I think the hardest part mentally is starting a project, often times I stand in my own way. Best to just roll the ball and find out. You don't know until you know.


Happy New Year!

'20 be damned, decapitated Big Eyed Rabbit. Good fucking riddance.



Improve your soil, improve your life.


Years ago, say six, we moved into our 'lil rural respite and unbeknownst to me, we began a Hugelkultur pile. What the hell is Hugelkultur?


"Hugelkultur is raised garden beds that reduce or eliminate the need for

irrigation and fertilizer."


Hugelkultur- The Ultimate Raised Garden Beds, Gardening Without Irrigation. Paul Wheaton. 2020

https://paulwheaton.com/hugelkultur-the-ultimate-raised-garden-beds/

Accessed January 5th, 2021.



so, so... this pile of brush, tree cuttings, logs, old firewood gone to rot was piled into a berm at the edge of our property. Mother Earth does it best. So this pile fermented, became a habitat to song birds, groundhogs, Big Eye Rabbits & the brush broke down over several years into usable rich, BLACK DIRT! Free dirt. When you 'farm, organic garden, grow your own food or whatever: free dirt is considered GOLD.


Fast-forward to 2019 I discovered this term in various 'Sustainable Life How-To' books. And that term still had to ferment (decompose) in my head a bit longer.


It wasn't until early March '20 when I began constructing the first pole barn Chicken Hut did I discover the FREE DIRT. Covid only compounded a growing desire in me to really take on the reins of farm efficiency, soil improvement, outbuilding construction, the ideals of homestead life, better living through self-improvement; diet and exercise. Homesteading has made me even more humble and with that more enjoyable. Ask my wife!


If anything COVID, put life as I know it into RAZOR Perspective. Here one day gone the next.


May those that rest, rest peacefully.


The latest 2021 project is construction of a new Hugelkultur mound:






...to be continued.






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