WET WINDY WEST.IRELAND.sometimes warm and mild

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself Here' started by antonius, Jul 31, 2017.

  1. antonius

    antonius Member

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    few of the chilean hazelnut --a member of the protea family --got around a dozen of them all coming up --some only just starting to burst the shell open--trying out my experimental homemade airpot with some of them , then a pic of of my new toy --i call it the "veghacker" ---its of a carefully thought out design by "cobbled together engineering " ---based on a rummage around the shed for bits and my mates old junked mower--he broke the pull start and a replacement wasnt far off the cost of a new mower---so i got it donated to me. Its raised to cut about 6 inches off the ground and can hack through the stuff you can see in the field---slowly though ---have to seesaw it up and down on the big rush patches but once cut its easier the next time round. Still heavy going though but does a better job and quicker than my broken strimmer--leaves a good mulch on the ground --- i dont look at anything being a weed now ---its all mulch to me.
     

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  2. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Exactly!!
     
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  3. antonius

    antonius Member

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    well i did find some sweet oak acorn to buy and have 22 of them potted up ---well 20 i should say --one of them had a small grub hole bored into it --so i removed the shell/husk fairly easy and washed off the debris , then ate it ---and it did have a mild sweetish taste---no there was no grub maggot in it ---there was maybe a very very vague slight bitter after taste once completely chewed up --but nothing to make me want to spit it out--i am not a sugar eating drinking person --only by habit --not forced onto me by illness thankfully--so i can taste it fairly quickly in most natural forms of food . So i repeated my experiment with a 2nd one and had the same result ---not an in depth study or long term research here but good enough for me . Further reading up --reports that in most cases of human consumption of sweet acorn they are roasted first like chestnuts , and that the flavour of acorns can be improved by allowing the acorn to germinate first--bit like brewing with grain --let it germinate to start the conversion of starch to sugars.
     
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  4. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Fascinated! Keep writing.
     
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  5. antonius

    antonius Member

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    Quercus rotundifolia is the tree that gives the sweet acorn and seems to be an almost hidden gem from portugal and spain mostly, but has been around for thousands of years---- seems our ancestors sat around fires in caves possibly along with the neanderthals and shared a bag of nuts---- ---these trees would have grown almost entirely around the med sea at one stage in pre history---no doubt we played a long part in selective planting and keeping ,.Some attempts have been made to classify it as a separate sub species of the oak and not a holm oak or at least a sub species of it. Perhaps given that it is the secret ingredient in the rearing of the worlds best tasting pig and that it has a special affinity with truffles--seemingly more so than other trees has been why its been kept hush hush ---or they just got tired of telling us (the rest of the western world)as we never listen ---and they just got on with it. Heres my other iberian project --the iberian pear---not edible to us humans but very useful as hardy rootstock, and some pics of the mulch building up from the mowed down rush ,bramble and various plants formly known as weeds
     

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  6. antonius

    antonius Member

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    heres one of my ditch /mounds , i just keep adding any thing that has been cut down up against it , any rocks and stones are added in as well along with any mud or dirt piled up on top , i never have enough and never need to haul stuff away to dump it, creates a good base to plant trees into ---but they have to be watered in drier spells---(yes we have the odd few weeks of no rain -----our last resent one --the locals refer to as the drought of july ) --as it drains well and small saplings wont have extensive root development ---some of redwoods suffered and only now are recovering.
     

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  7. antonius

    antonius Member

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    when i was planting up some trees in the back ditch mound ---hit metal and got my little son to use his metal detector ---its only a toy type one but works on big chunks of buried stuff---and we dug this out of the bank--old horse plough--broken but will be used as a feature somewhere , heres another parana pine i planted up , no:4 now another 2 should work out the law of averages that i will have some boys and girls of them --and in my dreams a vast forest of parana pine is spreading out from seedlings-- with my place being the central hub.Still reading up on the edible oaks acorns ---and the large bur oak is reported to be mild and low in tannin and very edible with a little processing , and there is a hybrid of the bur oak /holm oak being sold with the acorns also being reported as sweet to mild and edible straight from the tree---so a plan is forming --yet another one that proberly wont see me ever being the taste tester --but at least its some more real life action plan/atonement for my carbon sins.
     

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  8. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Good on you for planting the Parana Pines (a critically endangered species)! I understand it's a hardwood pine?
     
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  9. antonius

    antonius Member

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    Thanks , its one of my many grand schemes --or follies rather---i had started out with the intention of planting up some of the monkey puzzle ---its a popular tree in ireland ---introduced awhile back---many gardens have a solitary one and some parklands have small groves of them ---and they are setting viable seed now ---but haven t met anyone whos eating them-----the parana pine just appealed more to me ---its in same family as the monkey puzzle--and should do even better in our climate as its supposed to be even hardier to frosts and cold than the monkey puzzle---none of which that i have spotted around the area have ever been setback by our coldest times---we had minus 16 celcius for several weeks some years back ---its a conifer but not a true pine and classed as a softwood. Might be gaining ground here now as there is an irish stockist of them as container trees---not sure if hes raising them up from seed --i purchase them from scotland as 12 inch seedlings whenever i have a spare bit of "pocket money" as getting in viable seeds hasnt worked out for me . Number 5 is on its way right now and will join the others and be neighbours of the ginkos i have planted up on the embankment. Ginkos i have grown from seed ---i start about 6 every year and plant out maybe 2 or so---have 8 now ---then gift the others when i go visiting friends who have space to plant
     

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  10. antonius

    antonius Member

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    the more i work with the field at the back of my property the more i see why the no till methods works so much better for soil making , this field was mechanically cleared with a track machine , for drainage ditches to be laid out and a ditch mound to be built up---not something i was too happy about doing ---as i knew what damage would be done ---the site was torn up and the 6 inches of top soil removed in large patches to help build up the embankment. Mostly to establish a legal boundry and a barrier from the forestry of spruce planted up around me , the company methods of planting and ditch making led to my field being fed with more run off and them using my field as an access and parking lot for atv s for maintenance works.At first tried to rotovate but hitting clay and compacted soil made it worse ,tried some cover crops ---which fed the local birds quite well and most failed to establish a good cover or reseed its self. Combination of boredom frustration and i just let it do its own thing , watching over a 2 year period how it seemed to just get worse as weeds ,grasses and rush plus bramble took it over---or so i thought and was being told by some agri specialists and local farmers . ---Till it and spray it ,add top soil was all i heard . But when someone told me that it was infested with hog weed and this was dangerous ,that i should be doing something about it , i started to do some self learning and research ,firstly yes this was hogweed ---that i knew , but not dangerous---- its not giant hogweed . Its great for wild life birds and insects---all year round ,the seeds are edible as a peppery coriander type taste ---which i now use when dried out and roughly grind up --for open fire cooking meat ,in soups and stews and the roots are edible---havent tried these yet. But it sends down a fairly deep network of thick roots which force apart the compacted soils and clays , nothing bothers it , it freely sets seed ---for free as well--mows down easy and leaves a convenient tube to catch water ---which rots away down through its roots --feeding and oxygenating the lower soil levels---no rotovating no spiking no damage to the top soil life and fungi
     

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  11. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    you have cover growing, and that's the start in a bad situation that you need. you can adjust as you find things you want to add to the mix. many bulk seeds are available here for only a few $/lb and so adding things like purple top turnips, buckwheat, winter wheat, winter rye, diakon radishes, etc. are easy, even if they don't permanently take you can still have some popping up here or there and i like the diversity they bring.

    :)
     
  12. antonius

    antonius Member

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    thanks , but i am going back to local natures source of seeds and plants for this project --or what ever i can scrounge---this field is going to be used as an orchard--maybe some ducks later ---muscovies---to do slug and insect patrols--do have an introduced member of the buckwheat in the weed mix already ---called redshank---got some of these fungi showing --they always do after the mowing .Just tackled the last patch of standing bramble
     

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  13. antonius

    antonius Member

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    hello to a new year , as we kick off into it --i have started planting out trees on my food forest project, as part of my resolution(s) for this year the goal is to plant at least one tree a day---this might have to include seedlings /saplings/and seeds in this action plan --so i am going to make seed guards to protect them when i plant out in permanent spot and directly into soil ---as we have voles around here. I have slightly changed /modified my plan to try firstly to amend and repair the whole area before planting trees , so now each trees spot will be improved first with a wheelbarrow load each of old leaf and pine needle mulch/compost---plus lots of rotten branches and twigs ----then a dash of wood ash ,charcoal and charred bone.My home made range produces about 1/2 bucket per day of ash and i have noticed that if i adjust the lower burn bed grilles , lots of small pieces of charcoal filter through it instead of burning away ---yes not very efficient--but a good side effect, plus combined now with a weekly supplied--for free -- one large feedbag size --portion of animal bones--that i throw in . Yes they do burn very well ---all that fat and marrow ---no smell inside the house but it does outside--no neighbours are close enough to complain and i wait till the wifes washing is off the lines. There is now complete ground cover vegetation of mixed weeds and grasses -----and some red and white clover is creeping back in again naturally---under foot the ground is cut rushes and bramble stalks plus loads of tree twigs and ash/fir/ maple leaf litter blowing in from my own trees around the site---gives a nice soft walk over with some crunch and snapping sounds ---a forest floor is being born
     
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  14. 9anda1f

    9anda1f Administrator Staff Member

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    Happy new year Antonius!
    Spongy earth underfoot is a great success, "a forest floor is being born" indeed!
     
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  15. antonius

    antonius Member

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    heres some pics , burnt bones , charcoal , and peat ash , and some local fungi from a nearby sitka spruce plantation ----using tires to keep clumsy paws and wellyboots plus my veghacker mower away from small seedlings, have planted out so far 1 manchurian walnut , about 10 honey locoust--grown from seed , and 1 gumby gumby-grown from seed---i am on track for my one tree per day goal---maybe a bit over---but got to have some leeway for a bad day when cant get to plant out. Still got to make a few mods ---maybe take the tire sidewalls off ---so less hideaway spot for slugs and a shelf for rainwater to build-up in ---or just drill a few holes in the sidewalls so the water drains away ---and keep them as a place to sprinkle in some natural slug repellent powder.Next is make up some mesh tree and seed guards
     

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  16. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    one method used that is simple for keeping animals away from tree seedlings is to just pile some sticks with sharp ends around them, so they still have enough light to grow, but some protection.

    good luck and happy planting. :) i wish i had more land for such things here. growing edible acorn trees would work here as we do have oaks around, they are in the mix with the white pine trees which are our apex/climax forest species. the problem with acorns here is that it also brings in deer and we don't need more of those around. as it is i have to fence every vegetable garden or i won't get much return from it.

    as far as increasing diversity, i love that i can get plenty of seeds for not much money from the local grain elevator, it contains a mix of clovers, turnips, radishes, etc. they use it as a field and ground cover and it does attract deer so hunters will plant in in places where they want to bring in game.

    i have done mostly no-till here now for 8-10yrs and it is visible each time when i dig that the soil community is working as it should. seeing more worms, growing better veggies, etc. i also get wood fire ashes with some charcoal bits in it to use.
     
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  17. antonius

    antonius Member

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    We dont have large grazing animals around us ,roaming freely , so the pile of sharp sticks ---which i have tried and used--- does keep the dogs from digging up and snorting around ---they dont work for keeping the little buggers called voles away---so its going to be chicken mesh tubes i think .Just got in another batch of 12 sweet oak acorns ,the quercus rotundifolia , these are of portuguese origin and 4 were already germinating in the post /envelope , these are a lot fresher than the french source ones i have recently planted ---did my highly scientific taste test on one which had grub damage and one which was half size----and both mild/slightly sweetish with a very mild bitter after taste --not off putting ---and would most likely be improved if roasted .Looking at pictures and sizes of the trees at maturity they dont get that big --never seen one in real life ---well i must have whilest in portugal some years ago---but it wasnt the trees that were drawing my admiration so much --back then-----so they could be squeezed into a smaller site than the usual big oaks
     
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  18. songbird

    songbird Senior Member

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    lol, i understand :) voles are around here but we also have semi-feral cats that seem to keep them mostly in check. at the moment i am trapping mice from around the house outside along the foundation to keep them from getting back into the walls. i finally got the one(s) that were making noise in an interior wall, now i want to keep any more from using that site until i can find and plug up the gap they've exploited. 24 mice and 1 shrew. after i catch them i put them on the grassy area off to the south for the kitties, hawks or crows. i'm not sure yet what keeps eating them, but they are gone every day. we've not had enough snow to let me see tracks. a lot of people don't like crows but i am ok with them being around.

    the last few years we've had a large increase in the blue jay population and we've usually had a pretty good robin population. i saw last year that with some help from me the robins and blue jays were both able to hold off the grackles better. which is good because the grackles can be rather mean and have a lot of offspring. it will be interesting to see what happens this coming spring... um, oops, sorry for the rambly aside from trees. :) we don't have too many squirrels here, but once in a while i do find a cache of acorns in places that are surprising given how far away the nearest acorn trees are at.
     
  19. antonius

    antonius Member

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    Yes this nature stuff is a double edge sword of sorts---we have the american fur mink running around our island and they did a good job of eating our bank voles --which are also introduced --but from germany---problem is mink love to eat poultry just as much --and around our area its dammn difficult to keep them free range --during the day foxes snatch them and at night the mink pull them out of the sheds/coops. Now the mink population is declining down to a more natural level as our otter population is on the rise---but now bank vole numbers will go up---and our raptor and owl numbers are plummiting---despite more 4 legged snacks running around. Feral cats are on the menu of our local foxes--as theres a severe shortage of rabbit ,hare and even pheasant for them---local shooters ,disease and farming practices take a big toll--hope the foxes get more nimble ,lose their taste for poultry and snack on voles. Seems our foxes have a good portion of english in them as at one stage few decades ago we had a crash in their population and they were imported in numbers ---for the hunt, and our rabbits came over with the french/norman invasion , and our pheasants from asia. so i now have germans eating my portuguse oak , american sugar pine, chilean hazel and turkish hazelnut
     
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  20. antonius

    antonius Member

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    using the tires to lay out a pattern and spacing --helps me to visualize and dither around a bit less as where to plant what , and even if i dont plant on that space for what ever reason i can still tip out a barrow of leaf mulch in it , its not do able i think if you intend a few acres --mines about a 1/2 to 2/3 acre . The tires are going to be lifted up once the trees are nearly my head hight---about 6 foot 5 ---sorry i meant 5 foot 6---and recycled into tire strip walk mats for the veg garden---eventually---the sidewall rings/hoops left over are very handy at keeping down temporary plastic sheeting and tarps on wood piles ect. .Then some more sweet holm acorns -- and its potting up time. ff1.jpg portsweetoak.jpg
     
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