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Introduction, Part 2

Posted by hellbender 6, VA (My Page) on
Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 6:02

Rather than continue to be just an entity out there with an OSCR Jr in the bathroom, I thought I would add a few more details to let folks know who I am rather than relying on information coming out in dribs and drabs via several posts over a long period of time.

Age: 58
Married w/2 grown daughters
Avocation: Civil Engineer (Va Tech)
Career: Civilian Navy Employee (Public Works)
Current Status: Retired
Residence: Southwest Virginia ( New River is backyard, New River Trail is front yard)

Interests/Hobbies: (in no particular order)

Fishing. (Smallmouth Bass and Walleye.)
Canoeing/Kayaking (mostly on New River and Claytor Lake)
Hiking (mostly on New River Trail)
Gardening/Composting (Raised Bed SFG Style)
Brewing (Ales, partial to IPAs)
Design and Construction (habit from my working days)
Vermiculture (most recent addition)
Virginia Tech Sports Fan (attend some football and all home basketball games)
Grass Mowing (not a hobby or interest but I devote a lot of time to it)

Sitting on the front porch with a cold one watching the wheels go round and round

My wants are few and my blessings are many.

HB

This post was edited by hellbender on Wed, Dec 5, 12 at 6:24


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Introduction, Part 2

THAT's unique in the world of forum posting.

Brewing: Many more of us should be doing that.

It is similar to vermicomposting because it gets the wee beasties working for us 24/7.

Brewing has brewing waste which is not waste at all to a vermicomnposter.

SFG: What engineering type would not gravitate towards this system.

Grass Mowing: I learned at Permies.com that raising the height of my mower made a healthier lawn and less weeds and less fertilizer needed. Let the clippings stay on the lawn. Mow often enough that the clippings are ok. Mow High.


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

equinoxequinox writes:

SFG: What engineering type would not gravitate towards this system.

Mel Bartholomew, the founder of the SFG concept, is a civil engineer. I like the idea of raised beds with a compost-rich growing medium. We part company in many areas though. I don't use little wood strips or some such device to mark off individual squares. I find a metal yardstick all I need to get the plants where I want them. I also don't buy the crowded plant spacings he recommends. I think I get better yields if I give the plants more room for their root systems.

Here is an image of my garden after having been put to rest for the Winter.

HB


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

Hello, hellbender!

It's very nice to meet you! Ah, how I envy your garden and your yard! And you have the good hike and kayak areas next to you too... Can I move in?

Might as well as to introduce myself (because I didn't)!

I'm deaf, 25 years old, invoice & payroll clerk. I have several hobbies; drawing, wilderness travels, cooking, spreadsheets/databases (yes yes I'm weird. Product of my job.), gardening, aquarium, and now vermiculture. I used to volunteer at animal shelter until I got too busy for it, so now I foster old unwanted pets at home instead. My last one was 15 years old cat, unbelievably sweet cat, stayed with me for a year before she died in last Sept. Not to say I'm cat-person, I love the dogs too. Medium or big-sized dogs. The small dogs aren't dogs - they're rats!


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

Hi Aindra,

Thanks for the response to my posting. Most of the wormers around here must be night owls. I post in the morning and usually don't get to respond to the replies until the following day. I'm a morning person. You know what they say about the early bird.

I'm a spreadsheet geek too. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing in Excel.

Ok. So you are deaf . . . . and I am blind. Well not completely, but my vision is very compromised due to an inherited condition which yields symptoms similar to macular degeneration. I function OK but I need lots of strong light and magnification.

If you like the garden photo, you will really like an image of my back yard. I live at the point where the ancient and beautiful New River starts to deepen and become Claytor Lake. There are two islands in my back yard. To me it is paradise.

Regards,
HB


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

> I'm a spreadsheet geek too. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing in Excel.

I'm a website developer. If it is worth doing, it is worth doing in Perl.


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

Hellbender our hobby lists overlap considerably. I was reading your post out loud to my wife and she laughed that I was reading my own bio. At least my own bio up to where you mentioned lawn mowing. I keep threatening my wife I'm going to get alpacas or sheep and stop with the lawn mowing. At least this way my knitting hobby could be partially supported - and give me a new hobby of spinning.

I'm a morning person but have to be out the door by 7am. Any surfing I do is after the crumb-crunchers are in bed and then after a short 2 mile dog walk.

Like you hellbender I find the SFG spacing Mel uses to be a little tight. I have started to gravitate back to short rows or using a 16" x 16" square with his plant counts.

I'm trying to become a home brewer but have only made one extract kit thus far. It is an english style bitters from better beer. While it was good I want more hops in my beer.

This post was edited by mr_yan on Thu, Dec 6, 12 at 22:31


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

I believe most hobbies generally overlap around here because it takes a certain kind to start vermiculture. You don't see a common cityslicker having the "dirty" hobbies.

To HB:
It's great you're doing OK with your sight even though it may be frustating for you. Fantastic photo. I used to live next to the forest park with river before I moved out. It's indeed paradise... only if the salmons aren't spawning. I make a point of not going there - ugh, I still remember that smell. It's even worse when Kodi loves to roll on dead fish and stank for a few days. I see you're a fisher, so we probably have different opinions with spawning fish.


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

Go Excel!

Many of my files do not even have numbers in them, but my words line up very nice.

I may have even designed a square foot garden using Excel.

Consider "CTRL plus" "CTRL plus" for making text bigger.


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

equinoxequinox writes:

I may have even designed a square foot garden using Excel.
I am quite certain that I have.

Consider "CTRL plus" for making text bigger.

Ah yes. This was a revelation when I first discovered I could more easily control screen size with simple keystrokes. I use this constantly.

HB


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

Aindra writes:

I believe most hobbies generally overlap around here because it takes a certain kind to start vermiculture. You don't see a common cityslicker having the "dirty" hobbies.

Exactly.

I see you're a fisher, so we probably have different opinions with spawning fish.

The Claytor Lake walleye spawn in my backyard. This is where they encounter the last rapids on the New River. No smell though. I don't care much for cleaning and eating fish. I just like the sport and practice catch and release.

HB


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

mr yan writes:

At least this way my knitting hobby could be partially supported - and give me a new hobby of spinning.

This is going to blow your mind. My wife both knits and spins. She picked this up a couple of years ago and has acquired 2 wheels and numerous drop spindles. It his her favorite thing. One of my wife's spinning buddies raises alpacas for the wool. I am thinking about eventually developing a scheme to use worms to compost their manure since it is free for the hauling.

I'm trying to become a home brewer but have only made one extract kit thus far. It is an english style bitters from better beer. While it was good I want more hops in my beer.

I remember being quite intimidated when I first started. Now I brew without having to think too much about my procedures. There is a body of knowledge to master . . . from then on the process is fairly straightforward. I only do extract brews. I am partial to the "Brewer's Best" kis.

HB

This post was edited by hellbender on Fri, Dec 7, 12 at 8:16


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

Nice intro HB and Aindra. We have quite a bit in common.

I am retired from the fire service after 34 years.
I am low-vision person. I have had 7 major eye surgeries in the past 5 years, including 4 retina detachments and a cornea transplant. The transplant worked well and restored some usable vision to 1 eye. I can now drive myself down to the marina when the ocean is calm. I need a "well sighted" crew to help me navigate and read electronics.
I love to fish! I have fished salt water exclusively since moving here 7 years back. I catch and release (and eat some) Rockfish, Chinook Salmon and Albacore Tuna. Do not overlook using EF on a small hook. I have caught many freshwater species using them.
I love to garden, both flower and vegetable.
I don't brew beer but love to drink it.
My wife of 30 years and I are animal lovers with 4 dogs , 1 cat, 6 chickens, and a horse.
I started wormin' about 4 years back and currently have 3 outdoor wormbeds with approx.240 sq.feet of surface area.
I am low-tech, can barely type, and don't know how to post photos or cut and paste. It is on my rainy day to-do list to learn these skills. My typing has greatly improved.

Nice to meet you!
Pete

This post was edited by mendopete on Fri, Dec 7, 12 at 22:46


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

Pete,

Thanks for sharing that. My vision problems are caused by an inherited condition called PXE (Pseudoxanthoma elasticum). It causes retinal bleeding similar to age-related macular degeneration. The standard treatment when I have a bleed is an injection directly into the eyeball of Avastin. It sounds a lot worse than it actually is. I have included a link to more information.

It's been years since I have fished saltwater. The last time was after red snapper back when I lived in Louisiana. My regular lake fishing buddy has promised to take me up to Delaware Bay to fish for "Tog". (tautog or sea bass) It is supposed to be great fun.

HB

Here is a link that might be useful: What is PXE?


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

hellbender: I am thinking about eventually developing a scheme to use worms to compost their manure since it is free for the hauling.

That sounds worth doing. I also just ran a simple search and several people say you can directly apply it to the garden without burning problems.

I'm trying to become a home brewer but have only made one extract kit thus far. It is an english style bitters from better beer. While it was good I want more hops in my beer.

hellbender: I am partial to the "Brewer's Best" kis.

Yup I mixed something in my head when I typed that. The kit I did was a Brewer's Best. The local home brew and dope growing shop carries the Brewer's Best kits. I was thinking about trying either Norther Brewer's Caribou Slobber or Midwest Supply's Honey Nut Brown Ale next. Have you worked with either of these companies before?

I'm not intimidated by brewing but the time required for a boil day is a bit much when there's a toddler and infant in the family. So I am thinking for the first several batches I will do the boil when family is in town to help wrangle the kids. Some people joke about sports widows while dad is over watching others play games, well, my wife at times thinks she's a project widow.

mendopete: Do not overlook using EF on a small hook. I have caught many freshwater species using them.

I have read about several guys having steelhead hit EF during salmon runs when no one else on the river can get one to hit anything else.

I don't think a worm would cast well on my 5 weight fly rod though. That and I moved away from all the great fishing in northern Michigan.


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

mr yan :

I was thinking about trying either Norther Brewer's Caribou Slobber or Midwest Supply's Honey Nut Brown Ale next. Have you worked with either of these companies before?

I have used Midwest before to good effect. I use my local homebrew supply store whenever possible. otherwise, when it comes to mail order, I have found my self most satisfied with an outfit called Austin Homebrew. I especially like there reasonable, fixed rate shipping costs. See link.

HB

Here is a link that might be useful: Austin Homebrew


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

mr yan wrote:
"That sounds worth doing.[worm composting alpaca manure] I also just ran a simple search and several people say you can directly apply it to the garden without burning problems."

Yes, since alpaca manure is relatively cold, I would guess it could be applied directly to a worm bed. If so, I would like to construct some substantial beds outdoors. This will take a lot of research, particularly with regard to temperature control to deal with temperate climate. Is anyone doing anything similar to this?

HB


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

Hello. I've posted a few times but never introduced myself, so this seems like a good opportunity. I am 32 years old, married with a daughter turning three next week. We live on a 1/4 acre lot, but are determined to show our daughter that everything you eat doesn't have to come from the grocery store.

Since we moved in just over a year ago, we've planted 3 apple trees and built a 100+ square foot raised bed strawberry patch in the front yard, and planted 10 blueberry bushes and built six 4' square raised beds in the back to start our SFG this coming spring. I will definitely take into consideration the comments made regarding the recommended spacing for the SFG. Any other tips would be greatly appreciated!

I plan to start my own seeds indoors as well, which will be the first time I have done this. I hope I am not biting off more than I can chew with the garden as I have never started my own seeds and haven't had a successful garden, well... ever. I am hoping the SFG method will change that!

No matter the results, I know that it will be a good experience for our daughter that she will always remember, just as I still remember running out to my mother's garden and eating all of the wax beans right off the plants. Rarely did she actually have enough left to cook!

As far as hobbies go, the garden and the worms are about all I have time for. I have only had the worms since this past Spring and have thoroughly enjoyed them! I have a simple rubbermaid bin that began outside, but now resides in the spare bedroom for the winter. I killed off my entire first population just as it was getting close to harvest time, which was really devastating. Through that experience, I learned that a little peat moss goes a long way in evening out the moisture in a plastic bin (I don't have holes in the bottom, but rather prefer maintaining proper mositure levels). Since then I've successfully harvested the bin once and will probably harvest again next week.

I have been reading posts on this forum for quite some time and really appreciate all of the excellent advice. It is very nice to meet all of you!

This post was edited by Lisa.H on Sun, Dec 9, 12 at 10:33


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

Hi Lisa,

Nice to meet you. With all your outdoor activities, it will not be long before you need more land. What part of the country are you in?

With regards to the square foot garden . . . . be sure you use your worm castings as part of your soil mix. Also, I found that it is a good idea to take the time, when you are mixing together your growing medium, to thoroughly break up any clods, particularly with the peat moss which doesn't absorb water quickly in a dry state. For this same reason, it is a good idea to place the mix in your raised beds in thin layers and water thoroughly.

On a small lot, I imagine you will want to trellis climbing vegetables. I learned an easy inexpensive and quick way yo build a trellis. Use cattle panels (sometimes called feedlot panels). These are somewhat rigid welded, galvanized steel fence sections about 16 ft long which can be stapled to wooden posts or simply wired to metal T-posts to provide a fast and easy trellis. See link.

HB

Here is a link that might be useful: Cattle Panel


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

HB check out what sierra worm solutions does outside. They have a worm-farm near Reno and have lots of videos and info about cold-weather outdoor bin construction. I would use their style systems if I lived in a cold climate.


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RE: Introduction, Part 2

mendopete suggests:

HB check out what sierra worm solutions does outside. They have a worm-farm near Reno and have lots of videos and info about cold-weather outdoor bin construction. I would use their style systems if I lived in a cold climate.

Thanks! Whenever I get interested in something, I'm like a dog with a bone. I just won't let go of it. Fresh reading/idea material is always appreciated.

HB


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