Episode-1085- Listener Calls for 3-8-13 — 33 Comments

  1. Concerning the Alaskan’s question. Read the book “Go North, Young Man” by Gordan Stoddard. It’s a true account of homesteading in Alaska on the Kenai during the mid 20th century. He relates his experience raising chickens in that environment as well as his other challenges. It’s a good read that was given to me by my grandfather when I was a young man.

    • Thanks for the book recommendation! I’ll see if I can get it at the library or Amazon.

  2. The La Mera Mera looks really neat, but any idea if there is an American company offering something like these? (the site is Brazilian thus in Portuguese) or a company that sells in the US?

  3. Hi Chris, I have a few friends that raise chickens in your area. They have had issues with dogs, coyotes, bears, wolves, owl, and eagles sniffing around their chickens. You should look into building a sturdy electrified fence, giving the chickens an area of overhead cover that they can retreat into (discarded gill net can work well), a getting a guard dog or a guard goose. Use common sense about bears, you know how many people get mauled every year in the area. When I lived in that neck of the woods I good results growing rhubarb, cabbage, potatoes, greens, and carrots. Get varieties that are tolerant of long hours of daylight. Alaska master gardener’s website publishes proven varieties and other good information.

    • While I don’t live in AK, Nor ID has a lot of similar predatory issues. As mentioned in the show and above, small carnivores and raptors took much more of a percentage of our birds than the large ones. Jmtc, I really think the “hoop house” of cattle panels from Homestead Adviser that Jack featured a couple shows ago, configured to a chicken tractor is going to be the way to go for us this year. And it would be easy enough to electrify it with a solar charger/controller for additional deterrence. And since the birds don’t need as much “head space” as a greenhouse, one could widen the footprint some and still use the panel concept to support some hardware cloth, shade cloth etc.

    • I had a bear & cub try to get into my coop but since I built a chicken fortress the bear couldn’t get in (another story for another time).

      The key thing I’d like to share is that I don’t think the bear was going after the chickens – she was going after the chicken food! So don’t keep chicken food in an unsecured location.

      • Great point about the chicken feed! A few flash bang rounds from a shot gun won’t hurt either. Bears become the biggest problem when they loose a healthy fear of people. Even Brown Bears have this to a large degree. Most mauling occur due to chance encounters and the bear chooses fight over flight for one reason or another. Bears are not like leopards, they don’t stalk people solely for the purpose of attack and eating them. If a bear is aware of humans they generally avoid them, if they are not fed and desensitized about 80% of potential issues are dealt with before they even have a chance to occur.

        What people need to realize is it doesn’t matter if you feed by accident or on purpose, feeding is feeding to the bear.

        Here is what a pretty good sized blackie did to my deer feeder two years ago

        It is dark about 3am, this is in a remote area and far from any of the houses. Note how cautious he still is. This bear was shot up the valley later that year in season, he weighed about 400 lbs according to a neighbor.

        The damn thing really screwed up the deer patterns for a long time on me. There was over 300 lbs of corn in the feeder, he came back and rolled in it for about a month after smashing the feeder.

    • It seems like several people are suggesting electrified fencing, so it would seem like a system involving an overhead covering, electrified fencing, physical barrier, and chicken coop. Thanks for all your help!

  4. Jack, I live in South Louisiana, its wet here, real wet at times. I have 2 acres and a good bit of it holds water, and the water table is inches below grade at times of the year. With out digging ponds, can you give sugestions on how to garden and grow fruit trees in what some would call a hard wood swamp flood plains.

  5. Good to hear the use of Aloe for shaving! I work a job where I have to stay clean shaven 6 days out of the week and I HATE putting the shaving gels full of crap on my face every day. I’m going to give this a shot with the giant aloe plant we have living in our sunroom! Thanks!

  6. So would it be too extreme to say that based on the TED presentation and all the talk about paddock shift that what we need is roaming CAFOs operations? Does this just prove that the idea of CAFOs isn’t necessarily a bad thing; its the stationary execution of it that is murder? The entire model and definition could shift, getting away from feeding the grain, and start helping landowners around the country renew their land (eat the forage available, poop, and then move on). That picture he had with 20,000+ sheep is what got me thinking about it.

    • Oh my God a paddock shift is so far from a CAFO it isn’t even a comparison.

      CAFO = fed grain
      Paddock = eats grass

      CAFO = standing in their own shit
      Paddock = moved as soon as they have eaten 20% of the grass and flattened most of the rest with their feet

      CAFO = Nothing in nature
      Paddock = an actual mimicry of herding animals in nature

      This is what people don’t get is there are only three reasons we even have to confine cattle in paddocks for the system to work.

      1. Most land holdings are not large enough for a true migratory system to function
      2. We no longer have any “top predators” in most of north America, only coyotes that take calves
      3. Cows no longer know how to be a cow, they are so domesticated they won’t behave like true grazing animals

      What people don’t get is standing arm and arm is the natural behavior of grazing animals. It is for defense, remove the wild instincts and the top predators for hundreds of years and frankly cows no longer know how to be cows, paddocking simply causes them to behave like cows are supposed to.

    • Maybe I should have added some type of sarcasm/irony tag.

      Jack, you outlined the same stuff I was referring to in my post. My point was simply that the solution appears to be high-density grazing animals that move from place to place. A CAFO is high-density as well; nothing else is redeemable, but we as people at least realized that getting all these animals in one place is good. We just had all the wrong reasons and answers as to WHY it was good.

      That is the only reason that I mention it, and suggest that maybe CAFOs in the future should come up with a business model that can move creatures from place to place and start to fix the land. We don’t have the luxury of open range anymore; so it would need to be setup as some type of business operation dealing with all the legal and liability issues and such. All the nasty stuff that CAFOs currently are, from grain to antibiotics, could possibly become non-issues. CAFO-on-wheels if can imagine.

      Trust me, I am not advocating CAFOs, or saying in their current state of being they are wonderful. They are not. However, I don’t see how a family farm or ranch could get the numbers he is discussing in the presentation to start the fixing process. You would need to pool resources, and that is when this CAFO-in-name-only would step in.

      • I get what you are trying to say but any comparison between a CAFO and Paddock shift is like comparing well, Barock Obama to say Ron Paul both are elected officials but noting at all is similar in anyway beyond that.

        Yes animals are close in both situations but for entirely different reasons. There just isn’t a comparison.

  7. Yeah, in regard to the first caller asking about raising chickens around bears, definitely look into Livestock Guardian Dogs. They are bred with the instinct to protect your livestock. It’s literally their purpose in life. I’m not sure how many of them can hold their ground against a bear, but it’s worth looking into.

  8. The pond , Goldfish, bait . I use Goldfish buy 4 diffrent size .
    I seed the goldfish when the spring rains start, they will sture the bottem up to feed, there poop is none watersoluable and will plug up the cracks in the pond bottem and will seal the pond up from the bottem.
    The settlers use fienced in pigs to seal the ponds.
    It has worked for me , good luck

  9. Jack, regarding the caller from Las Vegas who asked about apartment prepping …..

    You mentioned devices for making the bed higher. They are called “bed elevators.” I have two sets of them. They’re great. They can lift the bed up high enough to where you can fit most of the shorter Rubbermaid plastic storage bins containers underneath, and you can especially fit cardboard bankers boxes for document storage.—Bed-Elevators-00444564874.jpg

  10. HOw about putting a layer of PE film over the contaminated land. Put a layer of new dirt and then put one more layer of PE over that? Then a top coat of dirt and plant grass. Even if the chickens peck through the top layer of pE I doubt that the chickens will penetrate the second layer. YOu would have to use a sprinkler to keep the grass from dying. ANy thoughts?

  11. Great point about the lack of community in an apartment complex. After living in 6 apartments in 3 states, I’ve only been able to really get to know one of my neighbors. I’ll be moving into a condo soon and I think the community there will be a little stronger since the average residence time is much greater.

    Also, keep in mind that when you rent an apartment, that means that somebody has a spare set of keys to your place. I know that they tell you they keep them in a “secure place”, but surely everybody in the office at least knows where the key lockbox is kept.

    • Thanks for being on the show Ben! I’ve been hoping you’d get on the expert council for months. Seein’ as how I’m in Minnesota, I always want to hear more permaculture experience from a north woods perspective.

      Just want you to know, I think the TSP episode you and Jack did after he’d visited VT was one of my favorite episodes ever.

  12. On the subject of mice in the garden this time of year. At our house our flock of 33 chickens is harder on mice than our cat. Many times a week we see it happen. Generally when we look up and see the chickens all running after one bird with something large hanging from its beak it turns out to be a mouse. They then convert it into “high protein” eggs.
    I have witnessed this behavior while visiting friends that have chickens.

    • Yep that is true, ever Guinea hens after a mouse? Hysterical, well not for the mouse though.

  13. On radios,
    Rather on walkie-talkies, ..
    Be sure toremove the batteries when not in use,
    Or put a thin plastic spacer in to divide the circuit.

    I bought moderately priced motorola’s for work, and after sitting aroung – unused , the batteries were always severely drained.
    (Yes , they were ‘off’.)

  14. Just for reference, do you have a timeline for when the new silver medallion design will be available? One month, two months, more?

    No pressure, I just want to know when I should plan to make another order so that I can start saving.

  15. Hi, first post here not trying to offend. Just listened to Paul Wheaton’s answer to a fellow who obviously “fessed up” to making a mistake and getting some herbicide from the county and was now wondering how to rectify the mistake. Maybe Paul could try to be less of a self righteous DB in calling the poor fellow a bad guy so many times before he pontificated a half-assed solution on how to deal with it. Wheaton is a wealth of knowledge, but needs to get past the hollier than though attitude.


    • Have to reply to my own post, putting the “DB” in there was way over the line and I apologize for that. I like listening to Paul and that went too far.

  16. Jack, I gillette mark 3, seriously? Any man should learn wet shaving. Get an old single edge razor… 10 blades are $1.76 at the local drugstore a blade lasts a week

  17. oops wrong button. The razor lasts forever, mine was made in 1959. Also a cake of shave cream can last almost a year. Do the math. And its a better shave.