songbird's roost

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by songbird, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    worm farming is what keeps my head working in the
    winter about the gardens and how nature processes debris.
    i actually have a whole ecology going on in the worm bins
    as i also have pill bugs and many other creatures.

    the types of squash you call pattypans are what are often
    called summer squash here like zucchini or the yellow
    thin skinned kind. we don't grow those, but do like
    cucumbers.

    all wood used here is for gardens/soil/rotting, we only
    burn propane for heat. neither of us can tolerate wood
    smoke. it really is a shame because i do like fires and
    would love to have a wood stove and to have fires
    outside once in a while to cook and make biochar and
    to have a rocket stove and i would also have fun learning
    about wood gas fuels. i can't cope with sawdust very
    well either. i tried doing furniture restoration work and
    paid dearly for it.

    we had our first hard freeze last night (down to -4.5C).
    the rest of the week will be a little warmer at night. may
    stay in the 10-15C range for daytimes. good digging
    weather if i can get outside.
     
  2. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    end of season, this pic from the beginning of November

    [​IMG]

    and the garden i took the pathway out this past spring had some
    leaves and other woody debris buried under it. a perched garden
    to avoid some flash flooding (you can compare this to the pic
    of the same garden earlier in the spring that is further down the
    page):

    [ed. image removed, not very interesting...]

    in the above garden i found two worms while double digging. next
    spring i will innoculate it with more as i plant. this has been the typical
    experience with any garden here that has been perennial for many
    years and then turned into a veggie garden. the heavy clay is so
    devoid of organic material that the worms have nothing to feed on.
    the top surface is often covered with a ground fabric which then is
    mulched with wood chips. there may be worms up there, but they
    have no access to the deeper soil due to the fabric. yes, it works
    great for keeping weeds out, but it also isolates the subsoil from the
    surface. a good example of an unintended consequence. well
    anyways, now it has about 40 bags of leaves and other woody
    stuff under there and the worms will have plenty of fuel once they
    get going.

    the beets are in and pickled (22quarts) and the rest of the gardens
    are all ready for winter. whatever else i can do now is getting ahead
    for the spring time and getting some areas repurposed from invasive
    grasses towards mixed food gardens.

    the worms (inside worm farm) are doing well as usual. plenty of
    cooked squash skins and all the rest of the food scraps keep them
    perking right along. this week a few bins got the dried beet goodies
    and plenty of banana peels. i am always amazed by how the simple
    soil organisms and some of the higher creatures can eventually break
    down pretty much anything i put in there. some bones from cooking
    i've been watching for a while and some of those millipedes made a
    home inside and now it's soft enough to crumble and fall apart. after
    a few years. no other work needed to digest it, no hot compost heap
    either - just dirt, worms, water and some other creatures.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
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  3. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    winter certainly arrived this week. had to do some shovelling and
    temperatures are going to be below zero (both in C and in F :) )

    i won't post pictures. i have other snow pictures already on
    the website.

    good to see California getting some good rains and snows in the
    mountains (in both CA and the Rockies).

    we were disappointed in how the frozen strawberries turned out.
    when i put them up they were over-ripe and starting to ferment a
    little. i was hoping the freezer would stop them from going further.
    no, instead they slow fermented in the freezer and weren't very
    good (texture) when i thawed them. we ate some of them that
    weren't too bad, but the rest i ended up feeding to the worms. i
    have heard no parties or complaints so i would guess all is well
    for them. next summer i hope to put some up starting from a
    much better condition. the strawberry jam is ok, it was made
    from a different batch.

    cheers, :)
     
  4. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    -15C-35C, 10cm rain/mo, clay, full sun, K-G Dfa=x=Dfb
    warm snap, rains, sunshine, nice to be able to get out for
    a few walks without having to feel like we were being frozen
    but it would have been much nicer to have the snows remain
    and keep the earth blanketed.

    the deer have trimmed up most of the cedars. when spring
    comes around closer i'll get pictures because they've really
    done a great job. except perhaps on the one cedar tree that
    we really do need them to trim. the winter is still young so i
    will hope they'll figure it out by spring... :)

    in my system i believe in keeping it very simple with few
    expenses. in fact if we spend more than $100/yr on seeds,
    hoses, tools, plants, etc. it is pretty rare. instead i put some
    money into a paper shredder which as long as six years ago
    wasn't a bad investment for $100 or so, but it was not a very
    good one, but i made sure when i bought it to get an extended
    warantee so if it did fail it could be replaced. and sure enough
    the first one did fail. the smaller units are not made to be run
    as much as i did. and the replacement lasted a few years
    longer but also failed. this time a few weeks after the extended
    plan time was up. so i went most of last year without one and
    waited until i could save up enough for a larger and more
    capable shredder.

    that should now be delivered within a few days and i can return
    to getting my winter chores going (getting rid of old college papers,
    and a lot of other more recent paper work which is best used as
    worm fodder instead of taking up room here in my tiny spot). :)

    other than that, it's winter, just pretty much puttering around and
    waiting for warmer weather so i can get back out into the gardens.
     
  5. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Damn Songbird, that end-of-season photo is spectacular!
    (as I sit here in zero degree F weather glad that the 30mph winds have died down ....)
     
  6. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Yes! Glorious.
     
  7. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    thanks you guys. not bad for a quick snap from the
    camera. no filter on that either. just the natural late
    sun/red from the sunset shining on that tree line.

    we have gone back to cold again, no snow to speak of,
    some rains, then cold, now this week back to a few
    days of mixed weather, perhaps some snow or rain.
    average is about freezing or slightly colder now and
    we've been well below that. i liked it much better with
    snow cover.

    today we replaced 23 lights with new LED bulbs. taking
    out 60 watt bulbs. the power company subsidized the
    price at the store to make it so they only cost us $0.33
    each. a very nice find when we saw it i thought for sure
    the price was wrong, but a guy explained what was up.
    there was a limit of two packs per transaction, but i had
    a card along with Ma's so we were able to get enough.

    so now our place is very well lit up. the thing that is funny
    is that we'd just talked a few days before about replacing
    all those bulbs but the price was too expensive and we
    didn't use all these lights that often to make it worth the
    expense. at 1/10th the regular price it became worth it.
    i needed to replace a few bulbs anyways. after dark today
    i went around and turned all the lights in the house on
    just to see what it was all like. lol then i turned them off
    again. we don't normally need that many on at a time.

    that's four 4ft shop lights and 25 bulbs and the total watts
    would now be around 390 watts [vs 1740 watts before]. we
    usually light the whole place with about 22 watts if we are
    not needing the shop lights for anything. i'm sure the tv
    and this computer burn more juice.

    i'm quite glad to get rid of all those bulbs but also some mixed
    CFLs which were ok, but i like these new ones more as they
    are all more natural/yellow like what i'm used to having. it is
    also nice to have them all uniform in color so the various
    track lights don't appear different when they're on.

    ok, enough about the new lights. :) the new shredder has
    gotten a good test the other day. i worked through some of
    the papers that had been piling up. more to go, plenty more...

    cheers, must get some sleep...

    i hope you get some rains from this storm Bill! nite Missychief. :)
     
  8. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    'Nite jimbob, 'nite grampa
     
  9. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    lol Mischief

    [ed. note - test site gone now]
    ok. i've been busy redoing my website, i have two parts left to go, but the
    preview can be found at https://www.anthive.com/test/ eventually it all
    gets swapped out for the main site.

    the last few times i tried to do the conversion i didn't like the tools or
    the process and gave up. this time it looks like i'll finish some version
    of it. may be a few more days/weeks yet before i get those two parts
    done. for the moment i'm taking a break and thinking about what
    i might do.

    the last two bits are mostly pictures and so i'm thinking of how i might
    group them to break them down (into projects and/or blog posts).

    i also spent a lot of time trying to find a gallery generator type program
    that was usable and acceptable to me. no luck so far. which is why i
    gave up for now and am just moving everything using projects and
    posts.

    nothing too new going on for me. the worms are pretty happy with all
    the squash i cooked up and a leftover turkey carcass. i'll have fun
    watching that get digested by the soil community over the next few
    years.

    the weather has been all over the place. not much snow.

    Ma was out driving to visit my brothers and an oncoming truck
    dropped a wheelbarrow in front of her car. luckily she was not
    hurt but it did make a mess of her car.

    i have a few houseplants to repot.

    yes, this is scattered and disorganized, haha, it's all the brain i have
    left at the moment.

    peace, hugs and happy trails...
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
  10. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Your new website layout looks great! I really like your "From the roof" photos ... shows the extent of your systems, lots of hard work.
    Glad your mother is ok ... imagine a head-on with a wheelbarrow messed up her car pretty good.
     
  11. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    thanks! i didn't think i had any of those up yet. i am live now, so the test part is now gone
    and it is just https://www.anthive.com/

    i decide the last two parts i could brute copy and see how they went, and it was ok. i'll edit and
    regroup and redo now as i get time. just wanted it to be in and going. after so many years...
     
  12. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Wow songbird !!
    That looks great, I have bookmarked it!!
    People keep telling me that I should get a worm farm too, but I dont really have much leftovers or waste to keep them well fed so I leave them in the ground and mulch the hell out of everything instead. (I'm no good with plants in pots, they just die, I dont want to kill my worms too).
     
  13. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    thank you mischief :) they are very tolerant of being ignored, i've found...
    as long as they don't get too hot or too cold (inside here it doesn't
    too hot and rarely ever gets close to freezing). the buckets seem to
    not lose much water with the way i do it. depending upon how wet
    the scraps are going in i might add water as i'm feeding them. they
    are tolerant of the bucket being nearly saturated with water and down
    to where it is close to being dry (but obviously them being mostly
    water themselves (like us) the do better if it is at least moist in there.

    in my rotation it may be two or three months before i get back to
    some bins for feeding. they downsize and upsize based upon
    available food.

    if i didn't have Ma's feeding many people scraps i could get by on many
    fewer bins/buckets. it's just that i never know what is coming next so i
    need some extra capacity to spread out the large amounts.

    and, well it is fun and keeps me thinking of dirt and gardening even in the
    middle of winter when outside is frozen.

    the thing with doing this same process outside is that then you have
    all the predators which feed on them who want to get them. i want
    to encourage a large population outside but i'd be fighting off raccoons,
    etc... so to get some at least a chance inside really does seem to
    help.

    i'm downsizing next spring by two bins/buckets, i started them because Ma
    wanted to give them to a friend for her garden, but because they are going
    to be moving and likely won't be gardening any more it is better for me to
    take those two buckets back out of rotation and concentrat the nutrients and
    efforts a little more. it is getting a bit tight in here and those two extra make
    it a little bit more cramped than i'd like.

    not that it is very hard to start a new one if i need to. i have plenty of
    containers and now since it is late winter i have a pretty good population
    of worms built back up. it is a nice cycle to work with. very easy. i think
    they are much easier than any other animal. :)

    ok, well, a favorite topic... hahaha...
     
  14. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    ok, still chunking along on the webpages and got the water stuff done:

    https://www.anthive.com/project/water/

    don't die of excessive verbiages...

    20C today on the forecast. too warm too early for here.
     
  15. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    You've got 20C in winter?
    That is odd isnt it.
    We have only really just had warm nights. Up until now they have been cold. I even had the fire on one night last week cos it was so (for this time of year) cold.
     
  16. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Great write-up on your webpage Songbird!
    Oh to have your abundance of water ... your lighthouse must come in handy for warning off passing ships during heavy rains.
    = )
     
  17. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    thank you Bill! :) yep, we have a light for those lost in the storms
    if needed. i really have no idea why Ma built the thing other than
    she wanted to have something with a copper roof that involved
    playing with rocks and cement... my next refresh of the website
    will correct two typo's for that page. the tulip page is sorta there
    now, crocuses in progress, worm page added a picture showing
    worm cocoons (100 pics to go from the old flower page to group
    and write up yet - i hope i get this done the next few weeks)...

    yes Mischief it has been too warm at times this winter for us has
    hardly been a winter at all. we've only had to shovel snow a few
    times. winter is not over yet, we'll be below freezing and chances
    of frosts ruining tender crops for another 90 days or so. we won't
    plant out the warm weather crops until towards the end of May. in
    the meantime i'm one of those who's glad for the return to cold
    and more normal weather.

    today was nice enough that i did get outside for a walk and then
    i had a bit of lunch before heading out and picking deer pellets
    out of the crushed limestone mulch. they belong in the gardens
    not in the pathways. i'll need to put up signs for the deer dumping
    stations to encourage them to improve their aim. you may laugh
    (i do :) ) but it is one of those things, if you leave the deer poo on
    the paths/mulch eventually it will help germinate weed seeds, so
    it is worth taking a few moments to move them to where they'll
    do more good than to have to keep weeding a pathway.

    my longer term plan (if i stay here) would be to make less limestone
    areas for them to poop on so i have less of this sort of non-sense
    (and more garden space!)...
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2017
  18. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    our first weather of the spring was last week and we had a small
    test of the water works. everything went pretty well (check the
    bottom of):

    https://www.anthive.com/project/water/

    otherwise, flowers are showing up, gardens are not quite yet
    ready (we still have chances of frost into mid-to-late May). i hope
    to get some gardens prepped and ready to go and perhaps some
    onions in.

    the worms are doing ok when i've checked them. i am also looking
    forwards to downsizing my number of buckets. we added several
    more a few years ago for some friends to use and that loss of space
    here in my room puts things at a limit i'm not enjoying. i think 17
    containers is more than i need and it is spreading the food scraps
    too thin and making my checks on each bin too far apart. in about
    five or six weeks i'll start getting that space back (many worms go
    on a one way trip to the gardens).

    other than me being patient and waiting for spring i'm still poking at
    the website and getting pictures grouped and moved. only about 60
    left to go. i had to stop for a week or two while i was tagging the
    pictures in the collection. 9000 pictures gone through and tagged
    and i was also able to get rid of some of them. only a first edit of
    them, but it really did help my next few projects to be able to find
    what i was looking for without having to remember what year or
    month i might have been thinking of... i also found out how many
    pictures i have of various flowers (roughly - way too many)...

    projects finished (for the moment):

    www.anthive.com/project/daffodils/
    www.anthive.com/project/irises/
    www.anthive.com/project/clouds/
    www.anthive.com/project/sunflowers/
    www.anthive.com/project/redpatch/

    oy, raining again...
     
  19. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Hey, a fellow cloud watcher/photographer! I get such a ration for having so many cloud photos (and sunsets).
    Congratulations on tagging 9000 pics! What a job, but so nice to have them in order and tagged.
    We're still getting hard frosts every night ... but the daffodils are starting to bloom.
     
  20. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    hi Bill,

    we are on about the same schedule this season, the daffodils are just
    coming out the past two days.

    i only put a few pics up (i'm trying to get things moved from another page

    [ed. note - this is gone now! yay!]
    https://www.anthive.com/project/flowers-old/

    before i start putting too many other pictures on there - i'd like to be done
    with this at last. i keep counting down how many pictures to go - about
    halfway done).

    the few i have on that page are just a tiny selection and i already want
    to do a lot more... :) daydreaming and looking at clouds seem to go
    well together.

    there are 340 pictures tagged clouds. about half of them i can discard at
    some point. i should also tag them "telephonepole" as that seems to show
    up in many of them.

    one thing about living in a place with the wide-open view is that you do
    get to see the clouds and weather as they come. i even have some
    rainbow (double and maybe even a triple - i'm not sure i got those or not)
    pictures.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017

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