Manmade Droughts

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Effective Rainfall

Sometimes we have too much and at other times, not enough water.  What can we do with the rainwater that we receive, to make it more effective?

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!

 

 

 


Desertification Control

by David Proctor


 May 26, 2022

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


The importance of water in our life is huge. 

Sometimes it is hard to think about what we would do without clean water, mainly because all we have to do is turn on the tap and water will keep coming out till we turn it off.
 
I have been thinking about water lately as I hear about how clean water has been taken for granted. 

Ask the people in Flint Michigan how they feel about clean water.
 
Ask the landowners with wells that have been polluted from mining underground resources, how they feel about clean water.
 
Growing up in Missouri, with all the lakes, rivers, and streams, it is hard to imagine what farmers and ranchers went through and how the western part of the country has dealt with riparian rights for years and water management.  

There have been many battles fought over water and who has control of it in the past and present-day time.

 

Shenandoah

Shenandoah

 

Beyond just having fun with water, what can we do to help stem droughts and lack of water?  

Often, we think of water shortage as a lack of rainfall so there is nothing we can do about it. 

But what if we changed that thought to the inability to keep water on the land instead of it becoming runoff. 

Now we have an issue that we can attempt to control.
 
One way to control runoff is by slowing the pace of water as it flows downhill.

Water can also be trapped by building more ponds in elevated areas. 

 

High Elevation Pond - Polyface Farm

High Elevation Pond – Polyface Farm

 

This way water can be used in agriculture for distribution without having expensive pumps.
 
Water can be trapped from rooftops by rain barrels and cisterns. 

When I was small and on my grandparent’s farm, they did not have city water under pressure to them, they had two cisterns, one that collected water from the house and the other collected water from the barn.
 
Just off the kitchen of the farmhouse, on the porch or mudroom was a hand crank water pump that was used to retrieve water from the well below.
 
In rural and urban areas, rain barrels can be used to trap water for distribution to lawns and gardens. 

This is very seldom used even though it is very effective for retaining water.
 
A drip hose attached to a rain barrel can supply water for the times when rain is not as prevalent.
 
When the water is kept on the land, the water is filtered to underground water sources such as aquifers. 

One of the big problems that happen when these underground aquifers are over-utilized, is the ground can collapse and have sinkholes, plus an increase in water salinity if by the coast.

 

Atlantic Ocean

Atlantic Ocean

 

One of the best ways to keep water in the soil is with carbon. 

Carbon is a very effective sponge that can absorb water. 

For every gram of soil organic carbon, this represents 8 grams of water that can be held on the land, according to Author Judith Schwartz, Water in Plain Sight

If we can build up the carbon in our soil we can help with the process of effective rain.
 
One of the best ways to build up carbon in the soil is through livestock. 

Under controlled grazing and by mimicking how nature did with large herds and predators, the land that is turning into deserts can be reversed, per Allan Savory, a biologist from Africa. 
 
This is one of Joel Salatin’s techniques that he has been utilizing at Polyface farm, and he has had remarkable results in land reclamation.

 

Managed Grazing of Cows - Polyface Farm

Managed Grazing of Cows – Polyface Farm

 

In the urban areas, we can help by mulching our gardens so the moisture is retained for the plants. 

The mulching will also act as weed control so your plants do not have to compete for water and sunlight.
 
In areas that are wetlands, it is very important to keep the land that way. 

Wetlands help filter water and keep it from just running into the wastewater system in urban and city areas.
 
When you look at your land and it has just rained, does the ground appear to be drying out rapidly, or do your plants hold in the moisture?
 
According to Allan Savory, all droughts are manmade

That is, we do not use our rainwater effectively.
 
Think about some of these points as we head into the heat of the summer and you see the ground cracks forming and continued forest fires raging.

The most valuable resource we have is clean water.


Check It Out!

Allan Savory Ted Talk  22:19

How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change | Allan Savory


Quick Tip

 

  • If you are concerned about the water you drink, use a good water filter
  • Use drip irrigation 
  • New toilets provide better water savings
  • Don’t water the lawn while it is raining
  • Fix the faucet leaks that you may have
  • Make sure you don’t see bare earth, use ground cover to retain moisture

Bibliography:

 

Schwartz, Judith D. Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World. New York: St. Martin’s, 2016.




 

Posted in Animal Husbandry, Homesteading, Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with: , ,

Adaptive Landscape

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Natural Design

Permaculture is an agriculture that is focused on utilizing the natural design of ecosystems instead of focusing on individual elements.

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!

 

 

 


Permaculture

by David Proctor


 May 19, 2022

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


Permaculture is a system of agricultural and social design principles centered around simulating or directly utilizing the patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems.

 

Permaculture Zones 0-5

Permaculture Zones 0-5
Illustration: Felix Mulle License: CC-BYOSA 40

 

Permaculture 101 by Rodale’s Organic Life
“How to put natural landscaping practices to use in your own backyard.”
 
“Combining the best of natural landscaping and edible gardening, permaculture systems sustain both themselves and their caregivers.

The ultimate purpose of permaculture—a word coined in the mid-1970s by two Australians, Bill Mollison, and David Holmgren—is to develop a site until it meets all the needs of its inhabitants, from food and shelter to fuel and entertainment.

While it’s the rare home gardener who can follow permaculture principles to the ultimate degree, most can borrow ideas from the permaculture ethos with landscaping techniques based on production and usefulness.”

 

Permaculture Wall

Permaculture Wall
Saved from permaculture.co.uk

 

“Permaculture emphasizes the use of native plants or those that are well adapted to your locale.

The goal here is to plant things you like while making sure they have a purpose and benefit the landscape in some way.

Plants such as fruit trees provide food as well as shade; a patch of bamboo could provide stakes for supporting pole beans and other vining plants.

Permaculture gardeners grow many types of perennial food plants—such as arrowhead, sorrel, chicory, and asparagus—in addition to standard garden vegetables.”
 
“Like all gardeners, permaculture enthusiasts love plants for their beauty and fragrance, but they seek out plants that offer practical benefits along with aesthetic satisfaction. 

 

Aesthetic Satisfaction

Aesthetic Satisfaction

 

Instead of a border of flowering shrubs, for instance, a permaculture site would make use of a raspberry or blackberry border.”

Permaculture Guidelines
 
There is no set formula for developing this type of design, but there are best practices.
 
1. Copy nature’s blueprint and enhance it with useful plants and animals. Think of the structure of a forest and try to mimic it with your plantings.

A canopy of tall trees will give way to smaller ones, flanked by large and small shrubs, and finally, by the smallest plants.

Edge habitats, where trees border open areas, are perfect for fruiting shrubs, such as currants, and for a variety of useful native plants, such as beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), which is used for weaving baskets. Mimicking these natural patterns provides for the greatest diversity of plants.

2. Stack plants into guilds. A guild includes plants with compatible roots and canopies that might be layered to form an edge.

As you learn more about your site, you’ll discover groups of plants that work well together. For example, pines, dogwoods, and wild blueberries form a guild for acid soil.
 
3. Make use of native plants and others adapted to the site.
 
4. Divide your yard into zones based on use. Place heavily used features, such as an herb garden, in the most accessible zones.
 
5. Identify microclimates in your yard and use them appropriately. Cold, shady corners; windswept spots in full sun; and other microclimates present unique opportunities. For instance, try sun-loving herbs like creeping thyme on rocky outcroppings; plant elderberries in poorly drained areas.”

I am still new to the concept of permaculture so I let others tell the story.

What I get out of this is to let nature take the lead and realize that we should observe nature’s self-sustaining and regenerative processes.

I plan to continue this approach in the future.


Check It Out!

 

David Holmgren explains how you can change the world with permaculture 5:43


Quick Tip

 

Permaculture Principles


Bibliography:

 

“Permaculture.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 19 May 2022.

“Permaculture 101.” Rodale’s Organic Life. N.p., 2 June 2015. Web. 19 May 2022.

“Permaculture Principles – Thinking Tools for an Era of Change.”Permaculture Principles. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 May 2022.




 

Posted in Health, Homesteading, Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with: , ,

Healthy Pest Control

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Natural Pest Control

Get rid of fleas, ticks, bedbugs, ants, and any exoskeleton insect naturally with 100% food-grade diatomaceous earth.

 

David Proctor

 

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!

 

 

 


Use Diatomaceous Earth For Pest Control

by David Proctor


 May 12, 2022

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


What is diatomaceous earth or DE? 

“Diatomaceous earth is a soft, powdery, porous, and silica-rich mineral that is found in fossilized deposits near dried-up bodies of water.  

This mineral is the result of the accumulation of dead diatoms found in marine sediments, which contain the remains of silica.”

 

Diatomaceous Earth

 

I have found that quite a few people take the 100% food grade internally and according to Dr. Axe has these benefits:
 

  • Detoxify the body by cleansing the digestive tract, boosting liver function, helping eliminate heavy metals in the body such as aluminum, and acting as a detoxifier for the blood since it carries a negative charge that attaches to free radicals and other harmful toxins.

 

  • Helps purify water by killing viruses and filtering out heavy metals

 

  • Fights parasites by adding to the feed given to pets and farm animals.

 

  • It can be used as a natural insecticide since it absorbs lipids from the waxy outer layer of insects’ exoskeletons, which causes them to dehydrate and die.  DE can be used to eliminate bed bugs, house dust mites, cockroaches, ants, and fleas, without the use of toxic chemicals.

 

Ant

Exoskeleton

 

  • Beneficial for joints and bones and can help prevent low bone mass.

 

  • It helps clean and protect skin, nails, and teeth.

 

  • The use that I thought was interesting was for ants and fleas.  These are two very hardy insects and hard to get rid of once they make their way into your home.

Diatomaceous earth is a really inexpensive way to control external and internal parasites in your dog and cat.
 
The microscopically sharp edges contact the insect or parasite and pierce their protective coating, so they soon dehydrate and die.  

The larvae are affected in the same way.

But DE is completely harmless to animals.
 
The only thing that you should be very careful about is not inhaling a lot into your lungs.  

It is easy to do, so if need be, wear a mask if you think you might inhale a lot while working with your pet.
 
DE can be placed on your pet, cat, or dog and the powder rubbed through the fur to the skin.

When the fleas come in contact with the DE, it will help eliminate them.  
 
I would really like to try this out on chickens.  

It appears that DE can really help chickens with egg production.
 
The Food and Drug Administration lists Food Grade diatomaceous earth as “Generally Recognized as Safe”, which means it’s legally allowed to be added to many different types of foods, beverages, and supplements.

 

How To Use DE

 

In summary, it is my belief that Diatomaceous Earth can be a very useful product for eliminating pests naturally and safely. 


Check It Out!

How to Use Diatomaceous Earth on Dogs for Fleas 4:07
ProTerra – The Diatomaceous Earth Guys


Quick Tip

 

Uses of DE


Bibliography:

“The Most Versatile Detoxifier Around.” Dr. Axe. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 May 2022.

“Before You Go…” DiatomaceousEarth.com Official Site to Learn About Diatomaceous Earth. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 May 2022

Winger, Jill “How to Use Diatomaceous Earth.” The Prairie Homestead. N.p., 26 Sept. 2016. Web.2 May 2022.




 

Posted in Animal Husbandry, Apiary, Chickens, Health, Homesteading, Magazine Issues, Plants Tagged with: , , ,

Coconut Oil Benefits

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is one of the most convenient, versatile products to have in your house. Whether you’re eating it or making it into a hand cream, this stuff works. I invite you to read further and see how coconut oil can be a healthy addition to your diet, but also a lifesaver to have around the house.

Kelsey Proctor

Urban Farmers

Urban Farmers

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!

 

 

 


Benefits of Coconut Oil

by Kelsey Proctor


 May 5, 2022

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


Coconut oil is one of the most convenient, versatile products to have in your house.

Whether you’re eating it or making it into a hand cream, this stuff works.

I invite you to read further and see how coconut oil can be a healthy addition to your diet, but also a lifesaver to have around the house.

 

Coconut Palm Tree

Coconut Palm Tree

 

Up until the past decade, healthy and coconut oil were not used in the same sentence.

This versatile oil was thought of as only a saturated fat no-no.

How wrong we were!

Now the buzz is all about how this healthy fat can be used in cooking, beauty products, cleaning products, and more.

Coconut oil has hundreds of uses outside of just cooking.

 

Coconut

Coconut

 

First off: how is this new superfood healthy to consume?

Coconut oil is almost 90 percent saturated fat; however, that fat is mostly lauric acid.

Lauric acid consists of medium-chain triglycerides (an MCT) which are metabolized easier than longer chains found in meat and dairy products.

This metabolism boost means instant energy, and can actually help you lose weight.
 
As a point of reference, Bruce Fife (C.N., N.D.), author of The Coconut Oil Miracle, recommends consuming 1-3 tablespoons of coconut oil daily.

Coconut oil is a healthy fat, but is high in calories (about 117 a tablespoon) so consider your diet and lifestyle when deciding what the right amount is for you.
 
So, now that you know how great coconut oil is for your diet, there are a few things to look for when buying your first jar.

In my fridge, I have a jar of Simply Nature Organic Coconut Oil I grabbed from the grocery store for about $6.99.

 

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

See below for more benefits!


Check It Out!

 

Now the fun part: ways to use coconut oil outside of just cooking!

Coconut Oil Face Mask


Top 3 Benefits and Uses Of Coconut Oil – Dr. Berg  3:13


Quick Tip

 

The Top Three things to look for when buying coconut oil:

  1. Unrefined – this means there hasn’t been any bleaching or stripping that would compromise the oil’s health benefits.
  2. Virgin (tip: unlike with olive oil, you’re not going to find a discernible difference between “virgin” and extra virgin”).
  3. Good price! There’s no reason to drop tons of dough on coconut oil anymore. It’s become such a frequently bought product that you can purchase a 14 oz jar for anywhere from $5-$10 depending on the brand and your area. My 14oz jar will last me all winter! 

Bibliography:

 

How much coconut oil per day?. (2022, May 5)). Retrieved from
http://www.newhealthguide.org/How-Much-Coconut-Oil-Per-Day.html

Kadey, M. (2022, May 5). Everything you need to know about coconut oil. Retrieved from http://www.shape.com/healthy-eating/cooking-ideas/everything-you-need-know-about-coconut-oil

Michaelis, K. (2022, May 5)). How to choose a good coconut oil. Retrieved from http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-to-choose-a-good-coconut-oil/

image Coconut Palm Tree by:
Photo by Oliver Sjöström: https://www.pexels.com/photo/coconut-tree-under-gray-sky-1122409/




 

Posted in Health, Magazine Issues Tagged with: , , ,

Urban Chicken Coops

Urban Farm Lifestyle

  Healthy-Sustainable-Regenerative Lifestyle 

Urban Coops

You may have decided that you want to start raising chickens so you have your own healthy fresh eggs or maybe you gave chicks to your children for Easter.  Now, where do you put your chickens and how do you keep them corralled?

David Proctor

 

 
  
 
 
 
From Seed To Fork, Egg To Plate.

    We may not live on a farm, but we can grow where we live.

It is all about the soil!

 

 

 


Chicken Coops For Urban Yards

by David Proctor


 April 28, 2022

Urban Farm Lifestyle Magazine    Published Weekly


Living in an urban environment can be challenging to keep chickens or for that matter, most anything that you would consider from an agricultural standpoint.

Chickens can exist in a city environment and thrive quite well.

One of the keys to the chickens thriving is making sure that they are not a meal for the neighbor’s dog or other potential predators.
 
As much as we love chickens, so do many other animals that would love to make a meal out of them.  

To help prevent this a chicken coop needs to be placed where the chickens can be safe and have a place to roost away from harm.

Since chickens have become popular to raise in the city or urban areas, chicken coops have become more available in many different styles, shapes, and sizes.

I have had an interest in the mobile type of coops so the chickens can help with bugs in the yard and turn, the eggs will have that deep yellow yolk that tastes so good from ranged chickens.

This particular coop was purchased and modified to be mobile.

 

Chicken Coop - Rear

Chicken Coop – Rear

 

Chicken Coop - Front

Chicken Coop – Front

 

Handles were added and wheels to the back of the coop. 

Along the base, reinforcement was added to help keep the chicken coop from damage when moved.

 

 Chicken Coop - Side

Chicken Coop – Side

 

Chicken Coop - Side Entrance

Chicken Coop – Side Entrance

 

This is a good design and modification.  

One to two people can move this coop and provide the chickens with new grass and bugs to eat.  

We all know how quickly grass will disappear when a coop is stationary.

Another design that I have looked at is the chicken tractor used by Joel Salatin at Poly Face Farm.  

His chicken tractor holds numerous chickens which is great for an area that has room, but in an urban setting, that is not always the case.

This is more for a commercial operation.

Commercial Chicken Tractor

Commercial Chicken Tractor

 

Commercial Broiler Coop

Commercial Broiler Coop

 

Joel also has a lower-based coop used to raise broilers with the potential for larger urban yards or acreage.

 

Smaller Coop - Has Potential

Smaller Coop – Has Potential

 

I use to have a pretty steep slope in my backyard.

I tried to figure out how to have a mobile chicken coop that can be stable and not tip over.

I have even thought about in my case using a stationary chicken coop but making the area where the chickens can range, mobile.  

I would have done this with electric poultry fencing. 
 
An example of a beautiful stationary chicken coop was my neighbor’s.

 

Stationary Chicken Coop

Stationary Chicken Coop

 

Stationary Chicken Coop - Front

Stationary Chicken Coop – Front

 

Stationary Chicken Coop - Inside

Stationary Chicken  Coop – Inside

 

Ramp

Ramp

 

Poultry fencing can be easily moved and can also help deter predators from killing and eating the chickens.  

This would require a bit of work to herd the chickens around to the established fenced area.

One idea might be to attach more than one fenced area so they can be moved between areas.

This is a work in progress and I am sure I will have a learning curve as to what will work and what will not work for my situation.

How to Install an Electric Poultry Fence Video  6:27


Check It Out!

 

Stationary Chicken Coop Plans

Stationary Chicken Coop Plans


Quick Tip

 

Once you move your birds to their permanent residence, make sure they are protected from predators, especially at night.
 
Even a latched door may not be secure enough to keep raccoons out.


Bibliography:

 

“6 Week Old Chicks.” Poultry 6 to 8 Weeks Old | Purina Animal Nutrition. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2022




 

Posted in Animal Husbandry, Chickens, Homesteading, Magazine Issues Tagged with: , ,

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