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Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Subject:Metalworking project updates
Posted by:foxxxyben.
Time:6:54 pm.

Ok, so here it is after a bit longer of a delay than I had anticipated, but I have finally made enough progress on my base metalworking project that I can start work, and soliciting feedback, on all the daughter projects. Last fall I built this:

No, not the tractor, the pointy bits attached to the front of it. That, dear readers, is a Concord grape pre-pruner. The business end is a repurposed hay sickle, made to run off a salvaged hydraulic motor with a homemade crankshaft/gearbox to make the blades reciprocate. It's attached to the front frame of my Kubota with a 3-axis (X, Y, Tilt) tool carrier I also built as my first-time welding/fabrication project. I used it this spring to prune 50 acres of Concord grapes on my family farm in a fraction of the time it used to take doing it by hand. There were quite a few bugs I had to deal with along the way, making it slower-going than it would have been error-free, but either way it's a major improvement from the previous prototype:

Read more...Collapse )

Comments: spread some more.

Sunday, March 23rd, 2014

Subject:Do you know what foxxxyben is doing to our soil?
Posted by:foxxxyben.
Time:4:11 pm.

Cross-posted to a fistful of farming, metalworking, and engineering communities, by way of introduction.

Hi! My name is Ben. My family owns a small vineyard in eastern Washington State. I am in charge of several projects, including the daily operation and ongoing upgrades/rehabilitation of a 50-acre Concord grape block that we are in the process of getting organic certification. Three years ago, I was severely burned when I fell into a concealed hazardous waste dump site the previous owners had illegally buried on the property, so I am also interested in developing new waste recycling technologies and projects. I haven't posted regularly to LJ for quite a long time now, and although I've found a few more specialized message boards off-site, my needs and interests now overlap with so many different fields, so I've decided to knock the dust off my account and send out some feelers in all directions.

Last year I came to the conclusion that from here out all of my equipment needs to be custom-made, and my local shops aren't quite up to the task of doing any kind of R&D, so I broke down and bought the Harbor Fright starter kit, and have been rallying hard since last September to churn out my first big project -- a hydraulic sickle mower mounted to a custom 3-axis vertical tool carrier on the front of my Kubota -- to get a leap on pruning earlier this year. I never took shop in high school, and considering my total lack of experience I'd say it was an overall success (I got the entire field pruned nearly 2 1/2 months earlier than previous years of using sucky hedging shears), although there are some considerable alterations I need to make to both the pruner and my workshop.

So, now that I'm not quite so under the gun with that particular project, I figured I'd take the time to join some new communities, introduce myself, and solicit some help finding some good machinist groups that have nothing to do with Christian Bale. I've got several other ongoing builds and field projects I'm going to post some entires on in the next few weeks as I have some downtime when the vines start to bud out. In the meantime, the biggest problem I've had with my pruner is the kludgey reciprocator crankshaft I welded together literally out of scrap gears and bolts -- I desperately need advice on turning and heat hardening, and can't find any active lathe-working communities. My next shop project is to build an Arduino-driven dividing head to turn out a new crank in my drill/mill, but I already let the blue smoke out of my first Uno, so some computer and electrical engineering help would be, well, helpful. Finally, since I'm trying to find a use for all this dead vine material I'm chipping and bagging (another post) and I have both a need for medium-sized metal casting and a growing pile of scrap metal, I think I'd really like to build a wood-gasifier forge slash meat cookerizer so I can throw some of the most metal BBQs in town. Unfortunately, most of the metal casting communities I've found are for jewelry making, so if anyone can point me towards something a little more industrial, that'd be great.

Anyways, I'll be posting more entries later or sooner to introduce some of the individual projects I've got lined up. I'll try my best to keep them organized separately, although they do all converge together on a common larger purpose, which hopefully will make sense as I go along. Thanks for reading!


Comments: spread some more.

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Subject:Topworking Apple Trees
Posted by:albionwood.
Time:3:20 pm.
During the nice weather last week, I finally got out into the orchard and did something I've been talking of doing for about three or four years now: Reworking some of my under-performing apple trees into new varieties. Photos and brief descriptions are in this Flickr set.

Finished grafting

I hope to heck these grafts take and grow strongly! It will mean less total production for at least two to three years, while the new tops grow out, but after that it should mean a lot more of the kinds of apples I can really use.

Cultivar informationCollapse )

I'd have done more, but used up all the dormant scionwood I had cut back in February. That's it for this year; next year, I need to have a plan, so I know how much scion wood to get.
Comments: 2 seeds - spread some more.

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Posted by:ahavah.
Time:12:39 pm.
Mood: curious.
x-posting to farmers

Hello! New member here.

I'd love to get some information from folks who raise chickens, or who have raised chickens in the past. Our goal is to raise chickens listed on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy's critical list. A lot of people apparently don't realize that many livestock breeds, especially heritage breeds, are becoming endangered. These are the ones we hope to focus on here on our homestead.

What kind(s) of chickens do you have? Where are you located? What would you suggest to someone just starting out? We're hoping to order probably a straight-run in spring. We plan to start with a dozen of one breed. Extra cockerels would probably become broilers. After we know what we're doing, we'll probably invest in a couple of different breeds.

We're new to Missouri, and it is cold! We're looking for breeds who are winter-hardy. I don't know how the summers are, though. I don't imagine it would be too awfully bad, but I do plan to look up info from the last few years. Maybe any MO people can give tips there, too. We're also looking for breeds who are good with kids & pets. We hope to free-range them during the day, assuming we can teach all our critters how to behave around the flock. I'm still on the fence about whether we want broody or non-broody breeds. I'd probably prefer a breed that will happily hatch and raise its own chicks when we want more, as I don't think I want to shell out for a whole bunch of expensive incubation equipment right away. On the other hand, I don't want them fighting the kids when they go to collect eggs.

So what are your experiences with chickens?
Comments: 2 seeds - spread some more.

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

Subject:Food for Thought
Posted by:healthierfood.
Time:3:48 pm.
We represent Sowing Solutions, Inc. Our goal is to develop relationships with farmers and gardeners who are interested in building their soil; allowing it to produce stronger, healthier, pest resistant plants while minimizing use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and bus sprays. We want to bring life to your soils and health to your homes. Call and find out how. 425 591-8302
Comments: 1 seed - spread some more.

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Subject:Ladybug Letter
Posted by:albionwood.
Time:9:21 am.
The Ladybug Letter is a wonderful blog written by an organic farmer in central California. The guy can really write, so the blog entries are always good reading. This latest one discusses corn, from an organic grower's perspective, with an impassioned bit about GMO.

There's an LJ feed as well. Highly recommended!
Comments: 2 seeds - spread some more.

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

Subject:Kanga Organics products now available at Oasis Organic LLP store at Shaw Tower!
Posted by:kangaorganics.
Time:4:01 pm.
Mood: pleased.

Hi Everyone!

I’m real pleased to announce that you are now able to get your hands on the full Skin Blossom range, UK Soil Association certified organic & Vegan registered skin care at Oasis Organic LLP located at Shaw Tower!  Our Ola Hawaii Collection of Face Masks & Pacific Sea Salt scrubs are also available in store, so if you prefer to be able to see, touch & smell your skincare products before purchasing them, do head down to the shop today! 

Oasis Organic LLP was established in 2007 to cater to the growing demand for health and eco friendly food and products.  Besides an extensive range of certified organic products from all over the world, Oasis Organic LLP is also well stocked with a wide range of natural products which are free of preservatives, artificial colours or harmful chemicals.

Be it organic groceries, SLS & Paraben-free toiletries, eco-friendly detergents, energy wear, water soluble botanical based health supplements or pesticide-free, non-GMO fresh produce, you’ll find it all under one roof at Oasis Organic LLP.  You will also be able to enjoy a wide variety of FRESH wholesome bread made with unbleached flour, filtered water, organic raw sugar , sea salt and sunflower or olive oil every Tuesday and Thursday.  

So why wait?  Hurry down to Oasis Organic LLP today, and be connected to produce and products which are grown and made in harmony with nature, good for our health and the health of our future generations. 

Oasis Organic LLP is located at 100, Beach Road, #01-49, Shaw Tower, Singapore 189702. 
Telephone no.: 6299 1695.
Their operating hours are from Mons – Sats, 12nn to 730pm, and closed on all Sundays & Public Holidays. 

PS: Their FRESH wholesome bread should be ordered in advance if you want a piece of it, as stocks run out real fast! 

Go Organic with us today! 



Comments: 1 seed - spread some more.

Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Subject:Kanga Organics invites you to visit our blog for your organic beauty updates
Posted by:kangaorganics.
Time:1:17 am.
Mood: content.

Hi Everyone,

Kanga Organics is a new organic beauty online store in Singapore.  I hope you can support by visiting our blog for more organic updates.  Our website is
www.kangaorganics.com  Just to share a little on the background story of Kanga Organics:

Kanga Organics, a new online store, is launched by a passionate and zealous beauty junkie, Joey Lam. She loves trying out new brands of beauty products, and almost looks forward to whenever her skincare runs out, in order to experience something new.

Then one day, she ran out of brands to switch to. That’s when she started looking into less commercial brands that make ‘No animal testing’ claims on their labels – it made perfect sense to the animal lover. To her surprise, the product range was quite limited. That started her on a research hunt, which led her into the world of organic products.

This field was even more limited – most of the products were too pricey. Determined to hunt down affordable yet authentic organic products, she researched further, and was so excited by what she found, that she decided to start her own organic beauty store -- Kanga Organics was born.

Kanga Organics was created based on the philosophy of sharing the joy of using affordable organics for everyone, and Joey’s belief that this little effort of spreading the word of switching to organic products, however small it may be, is her way of giving thanks to Mother Earth.

Please feel free to bookmark our website or better yet our blog for your organic beauty updates!  Thank you very much.

Joey Lam (Ms.)
Managing Director

Comments: spread some more.

Monday, July 6th, 2009

Posted by:dogmatix_san.
Time:12:05 pm.
Hello, everyone.

Our family has just started a small farm, and we're thinking about doing CSA. What paperwork, if any, do we need to fill out specifically for a CSA (as opposed to getting the business registered)? Does it vary from state to state, or county to county? Where do I go to find it?
Comments: spread some more.

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Posted by:gigglingwizard.
Time:11:08 pm.
(cross-posted to farmers

Hi! I'm filling out a Schedule F for the first time, and I've run into some confusion right at the beginning that I'm hoping someone here can help me with.

My principal product is chickens. I buy day-old broiler chicks, raise them for 7-8 weeks, have them slaughtered and packaged at a state-inspected processor, then bring them back home to keep in the freezer. I then take these frozen chickens to farmers markets where I sell them directly to consumers. Here's my problem:

Part 1, question 1 says "Sales of livestock and other items you bought for resale."

Easy. I don't sell livestock. I sell dead, packaged meat.

Part 1, question 2: "Cost or other basis of livestock and other items reported on line 1"

Okay...I didn't list anything on line 1, so I guess this doesn't apply. Same deal with line 3 where you subtract line 2 from line 1.

Line 4 is "Sales of livestock, produce, grains, and other products you raised"

Well, that's a relief, since I didn't bother to keep separate records at the farmers markets. I sell chicken, vegetables, eggs, fruits, and baked goods. I record my total sales at each market, and I record my expenses month by month, but I don't know what amount is chicken sales and what amount is everything else. Good thing I can just list it all together here on line 4, eh?

But then looking down in Part 2 ("Expenses"), I'm not seeing any line to enter the cost of my chicks. Chicks and feed are my biggest expenses. The only place I can see to enter the cost of my chicks is in line 2...except that that's only for animals you enter on line 1, and I can't enter them on line 1 because I don't re-sell them.

And then I get to thinking that maybe the part I'm missing is the "you raised" part in line 4. I didn't breed these chicks. They weren't produced by poultry I raised. Maybe that's what line 4 is after--stuff you made out of nothing other than what's listed under "Expenses". That would suggest I do list them under line 2...except that I didn't sell any livestock! That works fine for folks who sell their animals to a packer at the farm gate, but I retain possession of my livestock until it's no longer live.

So if there's no line for entering the cost of the chicks, and I'm supposed to list the meat sales on line 4 (and I realize I may well be wrong about both of those assumptions), is it possible I'm not allowed to list the cost of the chicks as an expense? That doesn't seem right.

Comments: 2 seeds - spread some more.

Subject:Difficulties finding land...
Posted by:myauthenticword.
Time:1:40 am.
Mood: calm.
I'm currently attending a college in Maine for a Food, Agriculture, and Sustainability BS (we just call it Sustainable Agriculture). I'm very excited and a big supporter of all four students in the major. I can't help but get this nagging feeling in the back of my mind though.

I'm afraid that after I get this degree and decide to go off on my own and start my own small scale farming operation that land will be too expensive, or farms with good basic buildings will be out of my league, or the market for them will be diminished.

My father and I had been talking to each other about buying land out in Maine to build a farm on, but that's not easing my anxieties at all.

Basically I was wondering how hard it would be to find a place to live with enough land to start a small scale organic CSA. Or if anyone has advice about getting a head start.
Comments: 4 seeds - spread some more.

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Subject:This weekend at Brown Elementary
Posted by:pkbarbiedoll.
Time:10:31 pm.
(x-posted to gothicgardener & pkbarbiedoll)

Friday night CVC called and asked if I could come out Saturday morning and till under the winter undergrowth at Brown Elementary's outdoor education center. I arrived at 9:30 with mist and light rain still in the air. It wasn't too cold, though, and the ground was actually slightly dusty just below the surface.

First of all we had to spread 14 cubic yards of organic compost in the lower side of the field, which was bare red clay for the most part.

Several pics & more story below the cutCollapse )
Comments: spread some more.

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Posted by:paosparti.
Time:10:40 pm.
I'm going to cross post this to a few different communities so I hope I don't bombard your lsit with duplicates of my silly question.

I am trying to produce more and more of my own food with my garden, and I'd like to expand this year with more beans. The thing is I only know of a few varieties I'm sure I like, Lima beans, Black beans, English peas, and black-eyed peas.

I am interested in trying a snap bean variety, but the thing is I rather dislike green beans, and while I would donate them to a food pantry if I did end up growing a whole mess of beans I detested I am trying to avoid this. Are there any good snap beans that don't taste anything like green beans?

I really liked the colorful purple ones I've seen has anyone tried these?

Thanks in advance.
Comments: 4 seeds - spread some more.

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Subject:Co-op CSAs
Posted by:albionwood.
Time:9:28 am.
I heard about this on the Farm & Garden show on KZYX&Z Monday. They interviewed a farmer in Oregon, a very smart and eloquent guy (great radio!), and one of the things he does is a cooperative CSA with several other farmers. They each decide in advance what they will grow and provide for the subscriptions, and the result is a box with several kinds of produce, plus meat, eggs, jam, etc. I'm really intrigued by this idea. Anybody here participate in such a scheme, on either end of the deal?

x-posted to pollanesque and grow_food
Comments: 4 seeds - spread some more.

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

Subject:CSA ad information
Posted by:renartthefox.
Time:11:56 pm.
Are we allowed to post ad information about our CSA-Community Sponsored Agriculture) here ? it would really only pertain to those close to where we live. But may give others insight into these type of things that might be available in their area.

Comments: 1 seed - spread some more.

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Posted by:peebeebaynut.
Time:1:51 pm.

1. July 2008 oil hits $147/barrel just around when Gustav and Ike wreak their havoc.

2. Economy starts to decline, price of oil goes down due to reduced demand, economy goes down more due to oil industry losing profits, price of oil goes down more and so on in a feedback loop.

3. Greenhouse gases from burning oil (for industry), coal (for industrial electricity) and natural gas (for industry processes and electricity) goes down.
Don't use factory closings to reach target: watchdog ``In a special report released yesterday, Gord Miller pointed out that Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan doesn't take into account that the economic downturn, if it continues, could enable the province to meet its emission-reduction targets without implementing any environmental strategies at all. ... "There is a general slowdown, less fossil fuels are burned and less electricity is demanded," Miller said.''

4. Global warming starts to sag.
2008 Coldest Year of the Decade ``But before this year, a single year was plenty for the climate alarmists to latch on to as evidence of an irreversible trend. Repeatedly, they would evoke 1998 as the hottest year of the century (even though their science was wrong; 1934 was actually hotter), and after virtually every major storm in the last ten years, someone would claim this was a sign of things to come.''

5. It gets colder and more rain and snow fall.

Is any of this affecting farms yet?

Comments: 1 seed - spread some more.

Monday, November 24th, 2008

Subject:Garlic planting done!
Posted by:renartthefox.
Time:5:37 pm.
I tried to post this earlier with the wife's cool .gif image she made for the farm website, but that was not going to work, some kinda background issue. So with that, here is my typed in listing of all the varieties I planted this year.

1 pound each of the following:

Polish Softneck
Chrysalis Purple
Chinese Pink
Inchelium Red
Premium Northern White
Chet's Italian
Organic Lorz Italian

Woo! Glad that is over :)
Comments: 2 seeds - spread some more.

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Subject:Homemade Ice Cream using Stevia ...
Posted by:cindmouse.
Time:9:52 am.
Hi all,

I recently received a request for instructions on how to made homemade ice cream using Stevia as the sweetener instead of sugar. I apologize it's taken me a while to respond but we had a family emergency that arose.

Anyway, I make my homemade ice cream using whatever regular recipe I decide to use and the below converions for the Stevia vs sugar:

Note: I use the white powdered extract form of Stevia
1 teaspoon sugar = dust on spoon Stevia extract powder
1 tablespoon sugar = 1/2 pinch Stevia
1/4 cup sugar = pinch Stevia
1/2 cup sugar = 1/8 teaspoon Stevia
1 cup sugar = 1/4 teaspoon Stevia

Comments: spread some more.

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

Subject:NYC/Brooklyn CSA's
Posted by:intothesunbeams.
Time:4:31 pm.

I live in Brooklyn, NY and I was hoping to join a CSA sometime in the next month or so. I was wondering if anyone here is a member of a CSA or could suggest a CSA for me to look into. If you are a part of a CSA, what are the pros and/or cons? Thanks a lot!
Comments: 2 seeds - spread some more.

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Subject:Biodynamic farms and Horn manure
Posted by:wineandfoodtube.
Time:11:47 am.

Bio-dynamic agriculture, an enhanced organic method, was founded on a series of eight lectures given by Dr Rudolf Steiner in 1924 at Schloss Koberwitz in what was then Silesia, Germany. It has developed most successfully in Australia, in the 1950’s Alex Podolinsky took over to fulfill Steiner's wish that it become the agricultural method for farmers in the future. In Australia, over two million acres 0.8 million hectares) are farmed Bio-dynamically, more than the rest of the world put together! Australian professional Bio-dynamic agriculture, as developed by Alex and the farmer members of the Bio-dynamic Agricultural Association of Australia, has been adopted by hundreds of farmers in Europe with the same exceptional results as have been demonstrated in Australia.



Field preparations, for stimulating humus formation:


    * 500: (horn-manure) a humus mixture prepared by filling the horn of a cow with cow manure and burying it in the ground (40–60 cm below the surface) in the autumn. It is left to decompose during the winter and recovered for use the following spring.

    * 501: Crushed powdered quartz prepared by stuffing it into a horn of a cow and buried into the ground in spring and taken out in autumn. It can be mixed with 500 but usually prepared on its own (mixture of 1 tablespoon of quartz powder to 250 litres of water) the mixture is sprayed under very low pressure over the crop during the wet season to prevent fungal diseases. It should be sprayed on an overcast day or early in the morning to prevent burning of the leaves.

 Both 500 and 501 are used on fields by stirring about one teaspoon of the contents of a horn in 40–60 litres of water for an hour and whirling it in different directions every second minute.

View video of a bio-dynamic farm

Comments: 1 seed - spread some more.

LiveJournal for Sustainable Organic Farming.

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