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annpat_gw

I'm worried for all y'all.

annpat
2 months ago

I'm worried who's going to serve as an inspiration for you when I get too old. I'm in my 69th year now and I don't see any of you stepping up to take my mantle. And I'm slowing down. In years past, by this date, I would have brought home over a hundred bags of leaves and grass clippings, dozens and dozens of pumpkins, and at least two truckloads of seaweed. This year I have only gathered 36 bags of leaves and grass clippings, only about 7 pumpkins, no seaweed, and I've only built 2 1/2 compost piles as compared to the usual 6 I enter winter with.


I admit it, I'm really worried. No offense, of course, but I'm starting to think of you as a bunch of slackers. For instance, why are you all sitting here reading this post when you could be out gathering your compost feedstock? By the time you read this, I'll be well on my way to the local leaf dump.


I'm not talking to the Californians among us who are still sleeping. I'm talking to you in Virginia, New Jersey, Connecticut, even you Massachusetters! What's wrong? Have you just given up? Are you really content to purchase your "compost" and your obligatory wood chip mulches? How do you respond when your friends and family ask how your compost pile is going? Do you lie?


I even take a look at the forum title sometimes to make sure it still includes the words compost and mulch.


Sometimes I feel all alone here.

Comments (71)

  • annpat
    Original Author
    2 months ago

    Look at young_dirt! And look at young_dirt's gorgeous whatever it is you're flipping. (It almost looks like seaweed. You and raee have not got me thinking I have to find some hay tomorrow.

  • klem1
    2 months ago
    1. Hay,,,,hey Dirt had you posted that picture earlier it would have saved me with the gender identity crisis. Here's a tip about hay bales for you dumpster divers. What you generally see on display at front of super markets and on theater sets is wheat straw. It will have little if any seed from other plants and being hollow stem will rot faster than livestock hay. The color and texture is rather unique and easily recconized after a single side by side comparison. Knowing it when you see it can determine how hard you work to get it. One sweet and otherwise amiable little lady gos to store managers while bales are still on display to warn about slackers, deadbeats and charlatans who might ask for the bales. Wheat has little value as feed so why should they bale it? Glad you asked. Wheat is known to harbor very destructive pests over Winter so most farmers burn it after grain harvest. Good feed hay is hard on the buns if sat on but Wheat is quite comfortable for hay rides so that's a market and gets it off field. From the standpoint of direct burial and composting nothing comes close to Alfalfa but odds of scoring any free is slim to none. Providing one knows it when they see it,once in a blue moon a horse stable might give or sell cheap when hay got saturated with water. Along that same line,many horses are fed Alfalfa and if you take their manure it has fewer to no seed plus higher N. Sorghum aka Hay Grazer is good when looking at all aspects but telling difference to Johnson Grass takes an experienced eye and we know what a pain JG can be. In cow country more "Prairie Hay" is fed than all others combined. Tons of it is baled,bought,sold,traded and fed but I can't tell you what it looks like because that's the catch-all name for whatever native grass is growing at the time and place.
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  • old_dirt 6a
    last month

    annpat - no seaweed here and too lazy to dredge the fresh water algae and seaweed here in Michigan. Manure and the mixings of hay, straw and whatever else i get my hands on. Back then I would haul in a truck load of cattle or hog manure every year and woked diligently at hot composting, turning it every couple weeks. Now I just let nature take its course over the years. Biggest draw back is the weed seeds that don't decompose. This enclosure is straw, you can see all the wheat sprouts in the back.


    klem1 - Being raised on the farm, I appreciate the difference of hay and straw. I will take whatever I can get of either. I do like to score spoiled hay when it is baled in the old square bales. The big round bales are too much for me to handle. Never heard of burning the straw off after harvest, we always used it for bedding.

  • klem1
    last month

    If you find yourself tearing up over not being able to handle rounds,keep your eyes open for an obsolete buggy that can carry 1 bale towed behind a car or truck. I'm increasingly using rotting logs and biochar in place of straw and leaves. I can get free sawdust and planner shavings from a cabinet shop but there's a hitch. The material is deposited in an overhead hopper that dumps it's intire contents when dumped so you are gambling if your trailer doesn't hold 12 cu yds. I'll be taking the employees tamales and BBQ this Winter in hopes they will tell me when hopper has been emptied so that I can take my 3 yd trailer soon afterwards. I have two sets of old fashioned ice tongs that really make it easier to handle logs. Did young dirt ever go the the ice house for a block of ice?

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    last month

    I did just bring home a haul of days-old bread from the local Pepperidge Farm outlet store to throw in the compost.....


    :)

    Dee

  • annpat
    Original Author
    last month

    Dee, YOU LIE!!

  • annpat
    Original Author
    last month

    Oh, sorry! That shook me up! What a violent assault on our senses that was! Am I right? My forehead is beaded up, my throat and eyes are watering.


    Klem, that was a great post. What I get here are square bales of, I think, just various meadow grasses. When I was in my 20s, my 100' x 50' vegetable garden was kept entirely mulched with layers of newspaper, seaweed for weight and hay for pretty. My entire spring was spent driving around to farms in my little station wagon to see if farmers would sell me their animals' hay. When I got my first truck, I'd go to those farms and beg manure. The first time the man loaded my truck, I was horrified to see the truck go into a squat on the ground like a turtle. I went through every stop sign on my way home. After that, I handloaded the manure.


    Like old_dirt (Klem, did you really think a woman would choose old_dirt for her forum moniker?), I don't care much whether it's hay or straw because, in my case, I have to scrounge whatever I can.


    I've slacked off horribly in the last year. I didn't spread all of my finished compost, for instance, this spring. I was just now getting around to it, but it's frozen I think. This is the first fall I haven't turned my compost bins at least once, usually twice. I may do that this week, though. One of the bins I built on the 19th has shrunk by half. Grass clippings from the dump and pumpkins. Cooking.

  • klem1
    last month

    "Like old_dirt (Klem, did you really think a woman would choose old_dirt for her forum moniker?), "

    After what I've seen and heard out of this crowd it wouldn't surprise me. (;

    Quite honestly I believe one lady in particular might disguise and present herself as about anything or anyone (as long as it's moral and legal) if she thought it might up her chances of scoring compostable material close to home.

    I must say that thread is my all time favorite in the mentally uplifting department.

    Like you I'm turning bins less each passing year,esp during Summer when mercury hovers in triple digits.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Annpat, I'm older than you are! lol And every year I have tentative plans to drag home as much material for composting and lasagna gardening, but by the time it's time to do that, life gets in the way. So it's not any lack of interest.

    I still get inspired to at the very least, keep doing as much as I'm able to. I've recommitted to collecting kitchen scraps and paper towel rolls etc. I just got through making a Fritatta with 15 eggs and all those egg shells and onion skins and egg carton are sitting on the counter, waiting to go into my vegetable area for next year.

    We do have a very big pile of leaves and plenty of cardboard boxes that I'm still hoping to use in a few more lasagna layers. I've already built two fair size berms to hold the rain into one garden bed, emptying my compost bins with half finished compost and layering with cardboard, kitchen scraps and grass clippings. I have two empty bins to start the spring off with. I didn't get around to cover crops this year, but I'll have to do it in the spring instead.

    I would love to see the soil in your garden after all that work you put into keeping it healthy! How do you collect seaweed? And where is everyone getting pumpkin hauls?


  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    last month

    LOL I did lie, annpat. Sorry, couldn't resist. I don't post much to this forum anymore but I could never forget your aversion to bread in the compost, so I had to throw in that comment!


    My composting isn't nearly on the scale of many of you guys. I have several small bins, two compost tumblers I picked up for free or cheap, and a pile of just garden debris in one corner of the yard. Since I already bring home milk jugs for winter sowing, newspaper and cardboard for mulch, and various containers to use as props for the one or two winter-sowing classes I give, I don't push my luck by bringing home pumpkins etc, - or God forbid other people's leaves. My husband already mutters under his breath about me "collecting garbage again". With 40 oaks on under an acre, and leaf clean-up taking weeks if not months, I think I'd be in divorce court if I brought home more leaves lol.


    :)

    Dee

    P.S. i live about 1/4 mile down the road from a pumpkin farm. I did ask them a few years back after Halloween about getting pumpkins for composting, but they give them to a neighboring farm for their cows (and that farm gives the pumpkin farm hay for mulch). That was my one attempt at pumpkin collecting!

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    last month

    Just like the hay bales (okay, they are probably straw, I'm a city woman) the people in my neighborhood are fond of decorating their porches with pumpkins, which get set out on the curb for the trash anytime from halloween to Thanksgiving. I pick up only solid, uncarved, undamaged by the deer hordes pumpkins. Cut in half, baked until soft, then the rind just lifts off and the seeds scoop away easily, I freeze the pulp in one or two cup quantities in zip lock bags - despite what the marketing tells us, those "field" pumpkins make good pies and any other use like soups, stews, mashed with butter...

  • klem1
    last month

    Dee I to have several large trees in my 1+ acre yard plus leaves blowing from trees outside yard. The most efficient means I've found to gather leaves is mower with catcher. Sharpening blades at end of mowing season helps mulch leaves to reduce size storage/compost bins needed. I usually make 3-4 trips over yard from Fall to Winter with ridder and as needed closer to house with push mower. I believe turf grass benefits from leaf dust that escapes catcher and fall back to ground.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month

    We do the same thing for our leaves, we use the mower. We haven't touched a rake in years. It's so much easier and faster. We just dump the chopped leaves in areas we need the mulch and when we run out of places to put it we fill up trash barrels and make a pile somewhere, and/or fill up yard waste bags and leave them in the garage for later when we need more.

  • klem1
    last month

    At the peak of leaves falling most are dumped into a. 1/2" mesh wire on 4' tee post corral where it begins to rot until needed. I like dumping from catcher into cardboard boxes scattered about the yard then pick boxes up in trailer behind lawn tractor,drive to corral and set boxes and all in corral but it seems termites are attracted to cardboard and I dislike termites.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month
    last modified: last month

    Didn't know that about termites, thanks.

    I don't have a property large enough to have a spot to pile leaves without becoming a problem for tree or shrub roots. So I try not to do that, or at the least only leave them there for a short time. Anyone else have that problem?

  • beesneeds
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I do mostly cold composting. I'm too lazy and injured to do turning of stuff. I do have a tumbler that gets used mostly in the winter when the snow is too much to get out to a compost spot do dump kitchen scraps. Tumbler compost tends to get used in kitchen garden containers.

    The leaves that fall on the drive and a couple yard spots that get too deep get cleared off to mulch in a lasagne bed and around the mini-greenhouses capping the kitchen garden. The rest of the leaves stay where the fall on the lawn to get mowed in next year. Pine straw gets raked off the drives and mulches in the allium bed. I got a couple spots in the yard that are green mulch mowing, and those get cut a few times during growing season for scattering over the beds. I do some cut and drop weeding in the beds. There's several weeds I let grow in place for that purpouse. Especially ones I can also harvest a bit of for eating.

    I use compost cages. Three foot cubes. They get filled with all the kitchen scraps, bad weeds, dead plants, spring dead cleaning and such. It can take a couple years to really pack one full and it settles, pack and repeat. Once mostly full, I top off with several inches of growing medium and have a nice raised bed.

    I make swamp buckets for drenching with. Because there is always more green stuff that needs culling out, lol. Pack bucket full of weeds or other green, fill with water, put on lid and let sit for months to rot. Strain, and use the liquid fertilizer. I like to use an old Tshirt with the neck and arms sewn shut to use as a strainer. Once I lift out the shirt with all the leftover mass in it, it can go into the compost berm out back. Sometimes I make brown leaf buckets.

    I've been tinkering with fermenting extracts for fertilizing. Mostly for indoor watering and kitchen garden container watering.

  • raee_gw zone 5b-6a Ohio
    last month

    beesneeds, I just saw a video of a fellow making homemade "rooting hormone" solution out of food scraps. No hormones involved, it seemed to me to be more of a fertilizer concoction - banana peel, coffee grounds, pumpkin seeds (good timing, haha!), eggshells, nuts, lentils soaked in water for several days. He uses this when rooting in water - puts the cuttings in the solution for a couple of hours one or two days a week (the rest of the time they are in plain water.)

    Seems to me it could be just as useful on a potted cutting? apply as an occasional watering?

  • diggerdee zone 6 CT
    last month

    You know, reading about how everyone does things, I'm trying to picture everyone's layout in my mind. It might be an interesting thread to just have people either draw a simple layout or post pics of their yards. I'm always so interested in others' gardens and their methods of gardening and composting.....


    Life is infinitely happier here in the fall since my husband got that riding mower. He just rides over the leaves and bags the leaf mulch, and then dumps it where I ask. While I don't mind raking, (and still do rake parts of the yard and gardens) raking an almost-acre with so many trees was life-consuming lol. The last few years have been more problematic though, as suddenly those shredded leaf piles (and even the bagged stuff in the garage) have been very attractive to furry little things. I'm still trying to figure out how to store/dump the mulch and prevent voles and mice from moving in....


    :)

    Dee

  • klem1
    last month

    " I'm still trying to figure out how to store/dump the mulch and prevent voles and mice from moving in.... "

    A little Terrier mix sometimes digs in my bins or rips and scatters a bag but she's ready to kiss and make up when bed time rolls around. (: Small price to pay for mouse patrol that usually catches them before they have time to check things out.. I suggest you try household ammonia to keep animals from your mulch and compost. Ammonia is a great source of N so it actually enhances the material while keeping pests at bay. I sometimes use anhydrous ammonia in a portable tank. A stiff hose can be stuck inside material to release ammonia. Ammonia is one of the most economical sources of N available but one should be trained in handling it in compressed form and know that law enforcement can give one a ticket for possessing it if they desire.

  • darth_veeder
    last month

    Annpat : "Now that I know where you live, I'm planning to come do a compost inspection. "


    I didn't say I lived in NY, just glad you didn't mention it, but just in case I picked up 10 bags of leaves on the way home today.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    last month
    last modified: last month

    beesneeds, can I ask why you strain the gloop out of your brew if it's just going onto the compost heap? I can understand if you were using it directly on plants but why remove one lot of organic matter before adding the concoction to another pile of organic matter?


    Eta ... ignore me. I didn’t read it properly.

  • annpat
    Original Author
    last month

    Floral, beesneeds strains it and makes a liquid fertilizer. The dregs go into her pile.


    Dee, I knew you were too refined for that disreputable behavior; that's how I knew you were lying. My property? I'm on a lake property, so I can do what I want in my yard. My disparaging neighbors have been schooled by the DEP and now know they're in the wrong to make fun of my unmown, unraked yard to my face. I do get called granola or a tree hugger once in a while, but the people with manicured lawns are becoming more self-conscious than I am. My garden is on top of construction gravel and rocks, but I have been heavily amending the yard for 20 + years and have areas that are quite nice. We've owned the property since 1948, when my brother, who died from CoViD in 2021, was a newborn, but we tore down the old camps in 2002 and built a new place, which is how I lost all my native soil.


    I move my round, wire compost bins around. I have them away from the lake, though, keeping them all on the roadside part of the property 200' from the shore. All of my property, except where I garden, is weed-covered, or so my neighbors say. I make them admire my clover, paintbrushes and buttercups sometimes, though, and they mostly agree there's some charming stuff going on if you change your perspective. I spend all my time sitting on a chair inside by the door, so if I hear a car coming, I can rush out, flip my pile, and release the impressive steam. One of my neighbor stopped on the road last spring when I was harvesting a bin into my barrow, and said, "You sure know how to have a good time."


    I have used all kinds of bins in my almost 70 years (what do you all have planned for my birthday?), but my favorite, by far, and the only method I use now, are my hardware cloth bins---stiff wire that I form into freestanding circles. When it's time to flip, I circle the bin and lift up on the sides until I can lift ithe tube up and place it aside. I then flip the contents back into the bin. I move one bin next to the porch for my winter contributions, so I don't have to shovel a path.


    I have a wire bin that I love the looks of---because it's so silly---for my leaves. The mesh is probably 10 inches---you'd think nothing would stay in. I don't know where I got that bin, but it's 5 feet tall and I have to stand on a rock to empty my leaves into it. That bin, freshy filled this fall, won't be touched for at least two years. I have another leaf bin made from my dog's upended indoor kennel. The door is up and I put the leaves in there. I think that one's going to be a pain to harvest.


    I used to put my browns aside and make my bins with a variety of greens as they became available for composting. Now, I build whole bins all at once in one afternoon---using, primarily, pumpkins and seaweed for greens, and leaves and strawy type things for browns. I empty my household compost container into the various bins until winter when it all goes into the one next to the back door.


    My neighbors marvel that I bring home leaves from the leaf dump, while my own yard goes unraked. I'd much rather use leaves that other people rake, though, frankly.


    I'm lucky to have inherited about 80 acres---that runs from my house, through woods to 15 acres of blueberries.




  • annpat
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    I always go into the fall with six new bins filled. The leaves that won't fit into my bins I keep in the paper yard bags and put them against my foundation. One year I put 100 leaf bags on my lawn, shoulder to shoulder, and walked away. They took about three years to break down. My wiseguy brother saw all the 3' tall leaf mounds breaking down on my lawn and asked if I wanted him to send my nephew over to rake.

  • beesneeds
    last month

    I strain the gloop out because it's easier to drench a bed without the gloop in it. I tend to use a watering can to distribute the liquid evenly. Also, it's easier to water around plants with just liquid out of a watering can. And mix liquid to water ratios if I want to. Gloop does not really spread out nice or dig/rake in well in it's in gloop form onto the beds. Many people tend to strain their compost teas before use, this is just a form of that practice. I sometimes do this open so it's aerobic instead of anaerobic, but I don't always remember to stir on the regular. So closed buckets is easier for me. I just started tinkering with solar pumps last year, so more aerobic composting might be in the future.

    This kind of composting also lets me use the theory of leaving the nutes where the came from. Like how chop and drop is the dry form of using weeds in spot, swamp buckets are a wet form. Chop and drop does better use all of the plant- but that works better for fleshier stuff. If I got stuff that has harder/tougher stems, roots, seed heads, the strippings from harvest- those can be better broken down in a bucket.

    I'm of what is probably a small camp of gardeners. Many feel that weeds are robbers, stealing from the more desireable plants. So they remove them and take them somewhere else to compost. I'm of the camp that those robbers can only leave the bank with the nutes if we serve as their get away drivers to the general compost spot. Composting in place or returning them to where they came from makes those robbers drop their nutes back where they stole them from as much as I can. I still amend to account for the growth of my desired plants. There's still stuff that I don't want to or can't really put back, and that goes into the compost cages and berms. An example is tomatoes. During the grow time I tend to bucket healthy green as I keep the plants trimmed up. That liquid will get returned to the bed later. Unhealthy trimmings or the crappier fall cleanup stuff goes into a composting cage. Gloop goes into a berm- both because I tend to build them very woody at first, and also becaue gloop can be kind of smelly. The liquid I let set open for a day or two to finish gassing off before using.

    I don't use this bucket liquid for starting seedlings. It's mostly outdoor use for my beds. I do sometimes use the liquid dilluted down for the watering in of seedlings when I transplant them in. I do fairly often leave a couple of the water tanks open to the leaves in the fall before their last draining, and use that collected brown water as the indoor watering though the winter. Including when I'm starting seeds.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month
    last modified: last month

    AnnPat - So very sorry that your brother became a victim of Covid last year. It’s been such a horrible almost three years since this whole thing started.

    I’ve really enjoyed reading about your gardening experiences. Owning a property since 1948 is amazing. Especially for a gardener who is interested in keeping the soil healthy.

    I wondered about the reason that building a new place was how you lost all your native soil?

    Love the idea for constructing circular compost bins out of hardware cloth. I am going to try that! And using one next to the back porch in the winter to deposit your kitchen scraps to avoid shoveling your way to one, so smart!

    15 Acres of Blueberries! Wow!

    BeesNeeds - I love your analogy about weeds as robbers and we are the get away drivers..lol.

    You build berms as well? Where do you build them?

    annpat thanked prairiemoon2 z6b MA
  • beesneeds
    last month

    I build them where I want them :) We have 25 acres. We got the 5 acres with the house a while back, and the 20 acres in back a few years ago.

    The first berm was initally to collect the deadfall in the yard. We have a lot of trees. It's down by the swan pond. It's built to have pockets in the berm for wildlife. I think it's finally done with the wood piling this year, so next year it will start getting some thatching and the layers over it. Then it will get seeded in with wildlife flowers. By the time it's grown in, it should serve as a visual barrier for one of the neighbors, but it will not interfere with my view of the pond.

    The second got started this spring. Had neighbors driving into my side acres, so I needed a human baffle. I have a lot of scrub and olive to cut out to reopen the path behind the barn and stableyard, so all of it it going into this berm. Once the wood phase is done, it's going to be the dump spot for all the extras of good stuff I don't need in the yard, but don't want to scrap. Once I get to a point up the trail past the stableyard, I'll be setting up another berm to have somewhere to dump the next round of cutting. That spot I will be setting up the berm to work with the water flow of that area- I want to redirect it a wee bit.

    A third berm got started this fall. Since the first one is done with it's wood stage, I needed another area to dump crummy wood, and I also wanted to set up a rest area in that part of the back acres. This rest area will also serve me for when I'm starting a fourth berm next year. That berm is for trail retention. I have a trouble spot between the swan pond and the lilly pond that needs to be built back up. That berm will get started of the better straighter wood I cull off the property. The third berm is for composting. But the fourth berm won't be since it's going to be a functional retaining berm.


  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month
    last modified: last month

    BeesNeeds - That's fascinating. You are managing your property in a very holistic way. It is interesting how many different problems a berm can solve. I wonder if you do all this by hand or do you have some power tools that help with the work? What made you think of using Berms?

  • beesneeds
    last month

    I currently do almost all of it by hand. Loppers, folding saws, bow saw, hatchet, maul, shovels, mallets, post hole digger. My big machine is my small lawn tractor and wagon- that makes hauling stuff around much easier. For the first few years I didn't have a wagon and was hauling everything by hand and barrow. But with getting the back acres I really needed the wagon. And it was a bonus, because it was a freebie from the previous owners of that property. This summer I salvaged from the roadside a broken pull behind collector and am almost done fixing it. That will make my green mulch and chestnut hull collections much easier than current raking by hand. I built a grooming sledge to help keep the trails neater. And I got a cordless power drill and auger set this summer- that makes it way easier to do holes if I need them. I would dearly love to get a shredder/chipper at some point. Maybe a power splitter. Haven't really needed a chainsaw yet, but that might happen at some point.

    Berms are useful. I guess I just grew up learning it. I drew from dad teaching me cartography, drafting, and how live water works. Learning the lore of the kettle moraines where I grew up. How there are burial mounds and the settlers used and worked with the land to suit their needs. More modern farming berms and trenches and how they are used, how they reflect to older practices. How the wildlife built and nested. Much later I started learning about hugelkultur, composting methods, more of how to work with the land to make it work better for me.

    Then we landed here and I've been able to apply what all I learned to where I need to do something. And I'm always learning more. I need somewhere to put cullings and cuts and dump stuff that isn't getting dumped into the gardens or compost cages. I need to redirect neighborly things. I need stuff to make changes or repairs or whatever. I need to not screw up the wildlife with my needs, and prefer to help if I can along the way with my needs. I dont want to spend money if I don't have to. Since the property naturally grows most of what I need to do stuff, I spend labor and time instead. I do sometimes wish this area had more stone in the ground like where I grew up. Stone is really useful. But we have sand patches, and that's useful in different ways. And it's easier to dig out than stone.

    I also like the aspect of these kinds of builds being easy and lazy for me. It meets more of my needs than some other composting practices.

    I did a different lazy build this summer. A border along a goodly stretch of fence of the old stableyard. Also composting. The old renters were finally out of the barn, but left behind a lot of boxes of old clothes and such. Mostly too icky to do anything with. The natural fiber stuff got seperated from the synthetic. Synthethic got tossed- it was too ick to even make into a target butt. But the naturals got laid out in the border, along with all the cardboard boxes that held the stuff. It will start getting the green cuttings from the stableyard grooming dumped on it. It too will berm up a bit. But more like leveling the area up a bit to help keep a water wander in the course it's currently in. This will come imore nto play later once I get that second berm set up on the trail that goes behind the barn and stableyard. Right now it's just nice to have that whole stretch of fence back vertical, fixed, and neatened up.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month

    BeesNeeds - Maybe you’ve said already and I missed it, but what part of the country are you in? I’m wondering how much winter you have there, and does that bring with it a period of inactivity.

    You have to be in great shape to be doing all that work by hand. To me, if you have the capacity and interest to do it, I can’t think of a better way to stay in shape. I can see where a shredder/chipper would really lighten your work load. That is a lot of land to manage and from the sounds of it, that must keep you busy all the time and for some time to come.

    Your background with a Dad who knew cartography and drafting and what you are doing now, seem to be perfectly aligned. What does that mean, ‘how live water works’? Do you mean how rivers work on the land or how water flows after a rain?

    Having a property that provides most of what you need, is surely a huge blessing and the basis for a self sufficient lifestyle, which in today’s world, becomes more and more needed. I would agree, that having stones would allow for many projects, rock walls, etc., but you’re right, digging them out to use them for large projects is backbreaking work.

    It is encouraging to me to hear of people having good amounts of land and caring for it the way you are.

  • beesneeds
    last month
    last modified: last month

    How live water works. It's the way the great lakes have patterns of rise and fall. Lake Michigan and it's waters in particular, I grew up close to it in Wisconsin. How the cycles of weather over the ten thousand lakes affects the great lakes. How ponds and waterspots form/exist, how moving water moves- both in beds and how it can shift over land. How it runs after it rains- how it flies as snow and then air channels it instead of earth. How frozen waters work in various forms. Glaciers and the ice age, and how it carved and deposited and how the land looks after all that went back up north. This sort of information was usually mixed in with a lot of other information. But he was good at reading live water. And a good navigator. He put a lot more into cartography than reading a road map. It was also reading the land and water. And often enough the air too and how it works with everything else.

    I still live close to Lake Michigan. Just on the other side of the water from where I grew up. We get more lake effect snow here. I do usually have down time from doing outdoor stuff once it get cold and crappy. Usually around now till Feb sometime. There's often a nice weather break in later winter that I do some coppicing. Then another crappy month before I start gardening outside in the yard. I don't usually do much out back till it dries out more in later spring. During growing season I'm all over the place, depends on what needs to be done. In the fall I try to get the yard buttoned up a smidge early. Then I spend more time out back as the weather cools. As leaf fall is deep and dry I finish up yard cleanup before the cold wet hits the driveways.

    During the winter if the yard is good enough for me to take kitchen scraps and indoor gardening debris out to the current compost cage, I do that. If it's too crummy or too much snow I dump it in the compost tumbler by the porch. If there's a really nice day here or there, I'll get out to the barn to tinker with some things. It's not heated currently.

    I consider myself very lucky to live here. It's a bit like getting a precious heirloom to be a steward of.

  • klem1
    last month

    "I consider myself very lucky to live here. It's a bit like getting a precious heirloom to be a steward of."

    That is a profound when set against the backdrop of life worldwide. prairiemoon beat me to asking where on earth you are and I about feel over when you said Great Lakes. I have know people over the years entrusted with land which has everything you have plus bonuses like no season where land can't be worked,near 0 crime,land producing never ending income and dozens more taken for granted. How I wish you and your dad were able to speak to committees before they make decisions on what to do involving the land beneath their feet. I talked earlier about the sad way some things are handled around me and probably shouldn't raise something else but consider it as enlightment to things in places outside your neighborhood. I have watched millions of tax dollars spent to strip millions of acres of trees and everything else that grew naturally so crops could be planted. The Western third of Texas is dry and sandy with low growing shrubs, trees like Mesquite and succulents . In natural state without human intervention grass is sparse,requiring several acres to support one cow and her calf. Experts proposed it and government subsidized cost to remove woody plants so grass had no competition for moisture and nutrients and cattle stocking rate could be increased. Herbiciedes were flown on to kill mesquite then afterwards dozers scraped off catus,piled with dead trees and burned. Voila ! Grass blowing to and fro with cattle grazing just as planed,,,,,,,,,for about two years when it seemed to thin,,,,,then even thinner by third year until grass was near gone in five years. WT'. "Git them A&M guys back out here and tell us what's going on." As any casual gardener knows a cactus can sit on a sunny window sill for months without a drop of supplemental water and remain healthy. We aren't fools,no living thing survives without water so what gos here,little man comes while we sleep to add a few drops water? And what about nutrients,life can't exist without? As more dedicated,dirt under nails gardeners like this bunch knows,water and nutrients can be found in air if you know how to milk it. So the adapted cactus and Mesquite gather moisture and nitrogen from air and additional along with micros through deep roots. Mesquite being a legume fixes a measurable amount of N in soil where it's shared by neighboring plants. This stuff is above my pay grade,esp transperation that acts along with nighttime dew getting water to thirsty grass. After realizing the mistake,government subsdized replanting native plants to rescue barren ground. Burning trees somewhat added insult to injury. Had they asked,we would have told them to bury the trees. Couldn't have made a bigger mess if the tried,right? You tell me. The herbicide used was the same as used in Nam they called Agent Orange. Anyone ever go to store and ask for some Agent Orange? Probally not but millions of gallons have been sold and used by homeowners,landscapers and farmers labeled 2-4-5-T. Why weren't folks that were sprayed in West Texas told this 50 years ago? I'll let you fill in the blanks. You might now better understand why I find beesneeds' statement so profound.

  • beesneeds
    last month

    I was on a committee. Well, a board actually. I was in charge of our local parks, and did a great job of it. Folks were pleased with the work I was directing and doing. Then my assistant passed, politics happened, and then someone else decided to go behind my back and do bad in the parks. I couldn't let myself be be party to their plans, so I resigned. It was a good thing to do. I got to serve the people, do right by more land than I thought I would, and leave something better behind than how I recieved it. It was an incredible learning experience. But then it was time for me to go and tend to just my own personal park.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month

    BeesNeeds - I think it must be a gift to be able to understand the way water moves like that. I don’t seem to find it easy to understand at least. [g] And navigating, well, I don’t find it hard to follow a street/road map, but looking at a map of the geographical lay of the land, all looks like Greek to me. I also marvel at anyone who can navigate a boat on the ocean. I can’t imagine ever being able to do that. Some people are clearly born with that ability.

    Klem, Hearing about the conditions you explain about what has been done by people in charge, who don’t seem to really know what they are doing but think they do, is a very sad fact of life that I’m sure we are all aware of. It seems to me that is a large part of the reason we ended up where we are at this point.

  • annpat
    Original Author
    last month

    Klem, look away. I don't want you to start your day off all disgruntled.

    I was pretty disappointed today. I got up bright and early and headed to the dump. The very minute I pulled in, a man in a bulldozer showed up and started pushing the bags around. All the bags I'd hoped to load on my truck were busted up and shoved around in deep black leachate. I ended up only getting a few bags of leaves and I was feeling down. Then I remembered all you slouches still in bed dreaming of sugar plums and I got feeling up.




    That warty little pumpkin is star-shaped. Very cute.

  • klem1
    last month

    " I remembered all you slouches still in bed dreaming of sugar plums and I got feeling up."


    Had I not tossed and turned all night worrying about a friend about to get in over her head with a plumbing repair I certainly would still be in bed with sweet dreams. (;

  • annpat
    Original Author
    last month

    I wondered why you were up so bright and early! That's so funny! I tossed and turned all night fretting about my friend who lives in a terrible place where there is no way to get massive amounts of free leaves, grass clippings, and pumpkins for his compost pile. When I couldn't stand my restless night any longer, I got up and went to the dump. It was cold and grey out and I didn't really want to go, "I'm doing this for Klem," I thought, "because he can't."

  • klem1
    last month

    I'm beginning to think beesneeds is the only sane one of the bunch.

  • old_dirt 6a
    last month

    klem1, You may be right but I enjoyed the insanity. I know what goes on in my outback can be a little crazy! Thanks annpat for the thread and all for the entertainment.

    annpat thanked old_dirt 6a
  • klem1
    last month

    And thank you for joining the fun,wouldn't be the same without your spice in the mix. This group would'nt last a week with a HOA.


  • annpat
    Original Author
    last month

    You guys respond well to tough love.

    I just reread the thread and really enjoyed hearing from everyone. Thank you old_dirt and Klem for making it fun and everyone else for the pleasure of talking compost.


    prairiemoon, I meant to tell you about the seaweed gathering. I used to pick living seaweed, which regrows. I actually had a seaweed harvesting license for a few years in the 90s, although you were allowed to gather 50 lbs. of fresh without one. Now I gather seaweed that washes up onto beaches. I have mixed feelings about this, because all things are better when people don't mess with them. I gather from two beaches that are cleaned up by the town if the seaweed isn't taken, so I don't think I'm making an impact. If it weren't cleaned up, it would rot in place or get pulled back to sea. It was probably a better practice when I gathered live---at that time I lived on the ocean---but there are so many harvesters now from manufacturers that it probably is just as well not to add to that.

  • beesneeds
    last month

    Lol klem, I don't know if I'm the only sane one. I just do what works for me and my land. It's for sure not for everyone, some consider me pretty nutty for the work I do. But then, isn't that the way of a lot of gardeners? We all have our own nutty ways of doing things.

    Heck, some folks think the practice of coaxing things through death into compost and taking the effort to use it to coax new life is pretty nutty too :)

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month

    Thank you Annpat - I was at the beach recently - we live about an hour away. There was a little seaweed there, but it certainly didn't look as good, fresh, vital as when I was a kid on the beach. It was all dried out. I forgot to take a 5 gallon bucket with me any way so I didn't bother taking any home with me. You make a good point about just not disturbing natural areas and processes. I do worry about all the products that now use seaweed, or fruit or nuts or whatever in their products. Not even used for food. It just depletes everything even faster.

    I was sorry to see signs that suggested that you check a website for a score of whether there was high enough bacteria in the ocean river that entered the ocean there, that you should stay out of it. Wow. My favorite beach for swimming. It's so sad.

  • annpat
    Original Author
    last month
    last modified: last month

    (My cousins are from Nahant.) The time to head to the ocean with your bucket is right after a storm. The beaches should be covered with it. Those bombogenises are great for that. The garden doesn't care what condition the seaweed is in. I used to like the fresh because it was full of water and held my newspaper down better.

    The very first time I used newspaper, I covered my whole garden with 6 sheets of it, then covered that with hay to hide its hideousness, I came home from work a few days later, and about a mile before my house, I saw a piece of newspaper snugged up against a shrub. 20 feet later, I saw a house with a few pieces of newspaper blowing across its yard. Odd. Then I came to a house that had about a dozen pieces of newspaper clinging to its siding. At that point, something began to dawn on me. The closer I got to home, the worse it got. Everybody's yard (except mine) was covered with newspaper. My yard was covered with hay.

    Oh, the walk of shame with my garbage bags to gather up the windblown newspaper! Picking newspaper off the walls of houses, pulling it off people's landscaping, chasing blowing sheets across their lawns. And yet, it was no where near the most humiliating moment of my life.


    That's how I learned that seaweed needs to hold the paper in place. Hay isn't enough.

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month

    And now that we finally stopped getting a daily paper delivered, we don't have newspaper for the garden any more. I do have plenty of cardboard boxes though. [g]

    Funny you should mention Nahant. On Thanksgiving we wanted to take a ride to the beach and we usually drive up to Maine, but we didn't want to take that time, so we drove over to Nahant. Hadn't been there in decades and had never been on the Nahant beach. We were so surprised at what a nice beach it was for being so close to the city. Plenty of parking, nice long white sand beach. We'd go again, it only took us 30mins to get there instead of the 60mins it takes to drive to Maine.

  • annpat
    Original Author
    last month

    My cousins used to live in a huge stone house facing a beach called Forty Steps. I wonder if that is the beach you mean. There's a neat little rock island on the right side if you're facing the ocean.

  • klem1
    last month

    " Oh, the walk of shame with my garbage bags to gather up the windblown newspaper! Picking newspaper off the walls of houses, pulling it off people's landscaping, chasing blowing sheets across their lawns."


    Hold your head up dear gentle lady,the neighborhood was likely impressed that bag ladies have began wearing office attire now days.

  • klem1
    last month

    beesneeds

    "Lol klem, I don't know if I'm the only sane one. I just do what works for me and my land. It's for sure not for everyone, some consider me pretty nutty for the work I do. But then, isn't that the way of a lot of gardeners? We all have our own nutty ways of doing things."


    True but you are the only one constructing berms to spare neighbors watching daybreak strolls as we and our dogs go about adding urea to our bins and heaps.

  • annpat
    Original Author
    last month

    Klem! :^ ]

  • prairiemoon2 z6b MA
    last month

    AnnPat - Gee, I don't know if that was the beach or not. And I was distracted because we had our small dog with us and let her off the leash and I was keeping an eye on her that she didn't get into trouble. [g] We will go again and I'll have to notice the name of the beach and whether there is a rock island there. Interesting info, thanks.

  • annpat
    Original Author
    last month

    There's a beach and road they call the Causeway just over the bridge from Lynn. I bet that was the beach.