Mountain

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About Mountain

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  • Birthday 09/26/69

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  • Biography
    Well, originally I grew up in Oregon on farms and ranches, my dad was a horse trainer/shoer/trader. I learned a great love of plants and gardening from the farmers and people I grew up around. When I came back from Desert Shield and Desert Storm I set myself to getting a farm of my own. We bought our last farm in 2002, 200 acres of raw dryland farm that had been growing wheat, barley and peas. It also had 55 acres of timber with it and we ran wheat, barley peas and timber. We got into milk goats and a small dairy operation going as well. We wound getting an offer we couldn't refuse, (literally) from our neighbor who accidentally worked up a mining on the back of our place thinking it was BLM land. We sold to them and bought this farm. The last place had no water other than a couple surface wells I had dug, all household water I hauled in and pumped from a cistern.

    This place has been like heaven, it has good well, four good sized ponds and a sewer pond. It has 12 acres of timber lots of fence and a great shop and barn and numerous animal barns. Having water I have been able to go full bore on gardening once again, this had made me very happy.... except the goats and sheep eating everything when they escape their pastures anyways. I have sold off most of the goat herd and most of the sheep and with a few more sales they will all be gone and I can really get into my growing and landscaping.

    These ponds are of endless fascination to me and I have spent the last two and a half years trying to figure out what exactly to do with them landscape wise and fish wise. I have been thinking of a rock stream for the last couple years and got into a deal with my neighbor installing a rock stream and pond at her place, in studying for that I came across a lot of ideas of what to do here. One of these ideas was to get into aquaculture and aquaponics. I am now learning about these things to see what all I can do here with these ponds and gardening and fish.
  • Interests
    Farming, woodworking, gardening

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  • Location
    Moscow, Idaho

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  1. Well the pond made it through winter and seems to be faring well..... The pond filled up over the winter, it was quite pretty all covered in ice... Now to get it finished....
  2. To cover all of the liner, the rocks help to hold the liner in place and maintain the shape of the pond. Sometimes concrete is used rather than rocks or concrete and rocks.
  3. Here is the pond as of this afternoon.... I just about as far I can go with the rock until the owner decides exactly what she is going to do for the box, pump and the rock stairs going down into the pond. Hopefully she will have some idea of what she wants by Monday and I can crank the rest of the pond rock out next week.
  4. This is moving pretty well now, I am able to set quite a bit of stone a day now. The huge 12 ton pile of basalt delivered this last weekend is getting small. At first after I saw that pile of rock I was worried we were going to have an extra 4 or 5 tons of stone, now I am back not being completely sure I have enough stone. I should have the entire pond area rocked in by the weekend at the rate I am getting it in. I need to drink some salt water tonight and try and get rid of the muscle cramps popping up all over. It is getting kind of exciting now, I can envision what it is all going to look like, getting harder and harder to quit working each afternoon... lol
  5. I managed to get a load of basalt delivered this weekend to the pond site. He said it was 12 tons, so it should be enough to finish out the pond area I believe. It is slow going and tough on the back but it is getting there, I am liking it so far and the woman I am building it for is thrilled. Looking from the rock water fall area down the stream. The bridge area of the stream, I have a four foot by 8 foot bridge at home in my shop built to cross this area... I milled the wood for this bridge and built it last fall winter. Looking over what will be the falls into the pond. Looking back up the stream from the pond.... Getting close to the halfway mark on the stone setting in the pond...
  6. I would imagine Koi in my clay ponds would be somewhat muddy flavored, my catfish sure are.... Now that I am getting the hang of what rock and liner ponds take to build, I intend to build two of them next year, 30 foot diameter around 25,000 gallons each. They will have continuous water flow until fall then I would have to pump the water if I wanted water flow. These ponds could be kept much cleaner than my clay ponds so I could conceivably be able to grow a less muddy flavored fish. I mostly like the Koi for the colorful nature of them, but I have also eaten a lot of carp in my time and have no aversion to eating them as well. The milky water problem could be a tough one if it can get that bad, though I imagine if you keep the number of fish down you could fairly easily avoid such an event. I can't wait till spring to start building the ponds, man that will be cool, I want to put one just below my clay dam and pipe the small leak in it into the first pond. Build a rock wall with a clay dam behind it and then another rock wall on the backside of the clay dam and then lay flat rock all across it to make the entire thing look like a full rock bridge. Pipe the overflow through the dam/bridge into the lower pond on the other side. This would give e a way to drive through that area which is impossible due to it's being marshy year round and it would look cool. My neighbor John can come do all the digging in about two hours so it will cost me $200 to have them dug and the clay dam set and packed. It will cost me $650 for 24 tons of rock delivered, then I will have to haul in 3 or 4 tons of the nice dredge rock with moss and lichen myself, but I can easily pick and haul 2 tons a day and the rock is free just costs the $10 a ton in gas to haul it. Then haul in another 4 to 5 tons of the big flat rock from the mica mine nearby to lay in on all the bottom surfaces, and then haul in a few tons degraded granite to set all the flat stone with. No Idea what liners would cost me but I should be able to do everything on them but the liners for about $1,000. I was talking to a guy about Koi the other day and he mentioned that they need to have some subsurface oxygenation during winter here to help them survive and he also mentioned that the water has to be reasonably deep for them to survive the winter temps here. Does anyone have any knowledge about overwintering Koi in colder climates? My catfish have no trouble, but they seem to settle down in the muddy bottom in the winter and the water depths are at least 10 to 12 feet deep.
  7. It was dug out by the neighbor across the road from our farm, he has large track hoe, he also hauls in a lot of the rock for us. This is not my system I am building it for another neighbor. She is just going to use it for looks and for her and her dogs to swim in. We are trying to convince her to put in fish and have managed to talk her into plants. She is very concerned about the water being clean and having little to no algae growth, we have explained that you cannot get totally away from algae unless you use chemicals and she wants no chemicals at all. I introduced her to the idea of aquaponics and she seems somewhat fascinated by that but I doubt she would go that far. This is a practice run for me to build some rock and liner ponds here on my farm, I have five clay ponds already, but I really like the look of these. I want to try out some different aquaponics ideas and these would work well for that. Pretty handy, out of four neighbors bordering our farm three of them own construction companies, getting some track hoe work done and rock delivered is pretty easy and reasonably priced for me, so I figure I will take advantage of it. For small ponds I would just use my little backhoe, but for big work it is faster and better to go with the big equipment.
  8. I got involved with helping a neighbor build a rock stream and pond, I was trying to stay away from it as I have no previous experience with such things. Everyone kept falling through on her and finally I just decided to go for it. It started as little 16 foot diameter pond, now it is about 22 feet x 30 feet. It has been quite a learning experience, but very fascinating and I am quite enjoying the experience. I can't wait to build a couple ponds at my place, now that I have a clear idea of how this works. I could see myself becoming addicted to making these things, very cool looking things... I have really marshy area below the dam of my pond by the house and I think two ponds one emptying into the other would be great there, just build a stone bridge look over a clay dam and pipe the overflow through to the lower pond. Should look really cool and give me a way to drive through that area which I have been unable to do due the mushy ground year round. That would also give me a place to start raising some Koi where they won't be eaten by my catfish. Mannnn I can't wait till spring....
  9. Ok, in reading some of those links, I am now aware of something called "solid filtering" I am assuming this being basically fish poo that will accumulate within the gravel/sand bed system and use up oxygen in prodigious amounts. I did a search on oxygen requirements for Koi and ran across something called a "bog" filter for ponds. Doing a bit more research on the bog filter I find that the anaerobic bacteria are killed off to an extent and balanced out by nitrifying bacteria and plant growth. Out of curiosity, can one create a bog filter in maybe the first 50 feet or how ever many feet of planter trays? This should remove the solids problem and help to alleviate oxygen problems. I spent some time looking up plants suitable for "bog" filtration, aquatic mint, cat tails, water cress, tomato are all good for this and they are edible. I love water cress, I have thousands of cat tails that I could transplant from and mint is always good, I have several mint patches. I read some numbers, they were talking about 130 pounds of fish a year using a 317 gallon water tank, can you seriously raise that much fish in that little amount of water. At that rate you could raise a ton of fish in a 5,000 gallon tank. I hate to imagine how much that many fish would eat, or the price of fish food at that rate. Everyone always wants to run their own chickens for cheaper eggs...... after you calculate the feed costs after buying the feed it costs quite a bit more to run your own chickens than it does to buy eggs, I have to wonder if fish/food would not be the same story. As I understand it, Koi will live off algae, is it viable to produce enough algae to feed a large fish system?
  10. Never heard of the Walpini pit greenhouse before, though I built something very similar about 27 years ago at my last foster parents ranch. There house was two story with a basement built on a hill, the front yard about 10 feet higher than the back yard. My foster dad and I dug a 20x20 in ground greenhouse off the end of the basement that simply daylighted out to the backyard. We ran the roof about three feet higher than the front yard elevation and we built concrete walls along the soil. We built in concrete boxes 4 feet wide and 3 feet deep along the two soil walls and planted them full of fig trees and kiwi. In the middle we built an 800 gallon metal tank into a large stove and plumbed it and placed a 6ft x 6ft x 6ft deep hot tub in the ground that was heated by the giant woodstove. After about five years the roof was covered with kiwi fruit, they were harvesting mass amounts of kiwi in there. There ranch is located 13 miles outside of Monument Oregon at an elevation of 3,600 feet. Most years there it snows on the fourth of July. I used this same ide for my goat barn at m last farm, I dug four feet into the ground and made short stemwalls up to ground level and then built the roof peak. I then built up the ground level two up on the roof. It was 18 feet wide by 40 feet long and held my entire goat herd as well as about 100 rabbits running loose each winter. I built that so that I would go through less feed keeping them warm, and so that I wasn't fighting frozen water all winter long. Milking goats drink a lot of water when being milked. I did eventually turn that into a greenhouse by taking off the tin on the low side facing to the south, it made a nice greenhouse, though I sold the place that same year so I did not get a lot of time to experiment on that to see how well it could work. The system that I am wanting to build here for my greenhouse would be partly in the ground, it would set across the crease of two small hill slopes which gives me a ground level of about 3 to 4 feet deeper in the center of the greenhouse than on the ends. I figured I would build a wall to support and add dirt dug from the ends to the center raising the outside ground level. The fish pool would be set over what is currently a 3 foot deep wading pool and have walls built up four to five feet high inside the greenhouse giving me a pool about 12 feet in diameter and about 6 to 7 foot water depth. A 12 foot diameter pool at 6.5 ft water depth is ( pi r squared) 6ft x 6ft x 3.14159 x 6.5 feet x 7.5 gallons per cubic foot = about a 5,500 gallon tank. I woild go deeper and get more heat value from the soil, but the water here table here in the spring months is "at" ground level, literally.... I had trouble with my goat barn that was in the ground, I had to lay in pallets and cover them with old tin so the water would flow out without the animals being in the water and resultant mud. I have some south facing hill's I might try and put a greenhouse in one, daylight it out to the south so that water will can be drained easily and use the front wall and roof for the light coming in, it would not have as good a natural temp as the Walpini system, but should still work well. I am nearly finished milling the wood to finish my plant room add on off my dining room, should be building the roof by late tomorrow if all goes well.
  11. That is one of my questions, how would one go about calculating number and or size of fish as compared to lineal feet of planters, or by volume of grow media, or maybe even number and type of plants, I have no concept of what to use or how to gauge or formulate even a guestimate in this area. I would start with small Koi in the four inch range or so and likely somewhere between 50 and 100 fish most likely. I understand that how much they eat plays a role in how much they produce as well as their size and number, I would imagine temperature would effect output as well. With so many variables and no idea of a starting point to begin with, I have no idea what number at what size etc. I have never raised a fish in my life either, so my understanding of raising fish rather limited as yet, up until I watched a few videos on home made aquaponics setups I did not even know that fish tanks needed filtration. I greatly enjoy the look of Koi and the large size they can get up to, in fact I would gladly trade my catfish for Koi, I have been looking into getting into Koi for a couple years now in my ponds, but to get fish large enough not to get eaten by my catfish is rather spendy and then you are looking at very few fish as well. Between the blue heron that hangs out at my pond the occasional eagle and all the other predators I would want a fair number of Koi to put in the ponds to make sure they do not get eaten before reproducing. I thought about making a large pool to raise the Koi in until they were bigger and then let them loose into the ponds maybe 25 fish per pond or so. Then I ran across this aquaponics idea and it just kind of went right along with everything I had already wanted and needed. I have no intention of raising fish to eat with my system, I have plenty of fish to eat already, but I do rather enjoy watching the Koi and I really look forward to seeing them swimming in my ponds all beautiful and bold colored. They would also help the algae and weed problems in my ponds a bit along with the ducks and geese. Prettier ponds would be worth a bit also. Many potential positives to getting a setup going.
  12. I would use plastic liners in the wood trays, that was my theory anyways... I was a bit concerned about mold, no one likes wood in a greenhouse environment, though I have as yet never really had trouble with it. I built three experimental chicken coop greenhouses 7 years ago, I kept chickens in them over winter, because I had flocks I wanted to keep separated, I then let them out very early spring and started plants in the soil that I had loaded into them which was now full of chicken manure, worked quite well. Here I have been working to grow gardens in my sheep and goat pen and my horse pens, I kick them out to pasture early and then work up the gardens in the pens, they add the manure and waste hay each winter and the pens are fenced which keeps them and deer out of the gardens and I do not have to clean the corals out anymore. That gives me 10,000 sq feet of garden space that is well protected and well nourished.
  13. I will be running a bit of lighting through the winter, I would like to grow radishes, garlic greens, cabbage, lettuce, peas and potentially kohlrabi, daikon, ginger and a few other things if I can get them to grow. I commonly sprout garlic cloves, carrots, onions, ginger root etc throughout the winter for fresh greens for salads and soups and just to munch on, I do all that in the kitchen and dining room. I commonly grow beans in the house through the winter as well, I harvest into January and then grow another crop and harvest into the spring. Kind of cool training those around the windows and up the walls and what not. I also commonly grow flowers in the house in winter like morning glories and what not, they are also cool to train up walls and whatnot as well. Right now my house is too full of aloes and jade trees to plant much though, why I built the plant room. I have a four tall aloe that I bought the wife for anniversary gift 10 years ago, it was this tiny little six inch tall thing........ now over four feet and produce between 50 and 100 baby aloes each year, and started flowering five years ago, now it flowers twice a year as well as some of it's babies that have grown to the same size now. I currently have around 40 aloes in the house and have simply run out of room to put plants really. The wife has two avacoda trees one about 5 feet tall and the other four feet tall in the living room with the largest jade tree and a mixture of other stuff, who knows exactly what it all is, everyone brings us plants constantly and we plant them and propogate them. We traded our aloes first baby to a friend of our when it was about 3 feet tall for three jade trees of his about 8 inches tall, we now have over 50 jade trees in the house one of them 3.5 feet tall one 3 ft and many in the 1 foot range. I am a plant nut, so is the wife, and I done just about every type of gardening but aquaponics. One big issue for me is time, it is hard to find the time to get it all done, 4 kids ages 9-14 and a paraplegic wife who spends 1/2 her time the hospital it is hard to find time to water and weed etc... Weeding is near to non existent with the greenhouse aquaponics from what I have seen and it is pretty easy to automate the water systems, especially me I am electronics technician, it is simple to design and build this stuff. I have a backhoe for digging pools, I am great with concrete and have around 20 tons of stone sitting in my hay field just hankering to be useful. I have a sawmill and timber so wood is cheap and easy, I have a full blown wood shop for finishing the wood I mill. I have torches and welders, a forge that I built two years ago and a foundry that I built last year, I am well setup for taking on aquaponics. I also have an entire farm full of junk metal, pumps, engines etc to scavenge from. Not too mention unlimited availability of grow media. If I can get an aquaponics system going and keep is automated that is just that more that I can do, I am quite fascinated with this and look forward to it. If you are concerned about me getting in over my head or something, that seems rather unlikely.....lol....
  14. I do grow year round in the greenhouse and in my plant room and all over the house, our house looks like a jungle most of the time.... lol... I do great every year in the big gardens with radishes, peas cukes and squash they will grow well in any weather. I like to grow all our own food, some years like this year it is a bust did great on the radishes, cukes, peas and garlic but that was it. With a family of 6 we go through a lot of veggies, to be able to supply all that we need would be great. But to supply all that we need requires growing and harvesting around 150 to 200 pounds of veggies a month year round. We could easily eat much more than that but more than that is not needed. I have done cold frame growing will be doing some this year, though our temps are wayyyyyyyyy colder than anything you will see in Maine generally, we get down to -25F to -50F commonly throughout most of January and some years well into February. Our normal snow average is 96 inches of snow a year. Winter here, is no joke... My plant room that I just added in will add another 150 square feet of growing space which will help to clear the house a little, turned out quite cool, 12 x 24 porch that I built off the kitchen two years ago made a great grow area. I filled the entire 24 foot east facing wall with windows and the north wall as well. I can just keep the sliding doors off the dining rom open or the back door from the den open for heating it in the winter, should be easily able to keep it at 65 to 75 throughout the winter. I have a stove on the front porch I could put in it, but I already have two big stoves in the house seems unlikely to be needed. The greenhouse will be heated this year with my 250 gallon tank stove that I built five years ago for secondary household heat and brush and log burning. It is nice I can load 1/4 cord of wood into it at a time and allow it to smolder for days, puts out mass quantities of heat though, wayyyyyyyy too much for my last house... we had to open the doors and windows middle of winter to keep the temp livable when we were running that otherwise the house got to around 110F and stayed there for days until the fire finally burned down enough... I am going to guess that you are not much of a supporter of aquaponics.......
  15. This is my pond by the house no idea if this picture thing will work.... This is the bigger pond behind the barn... I see you figure it would have low nutrient levels, is that from the plants and algae using up the nutrients that the catfish create? My initial foray into this will be using the 5k to 6k gallon pool inside my 20x50 greenhouse beings we are coming into winter. Do you see any problem with running Koi in the 5k to 6k gallon pool in a greenhouse?.... Do you think that the water in the koi pool will be nutrient poor?... I was originally guessing that the natural pond would likely have more nutrients than the tiny Koi pool due the massive number of fish living it over the last 20 years. As for making a pool, that is no real trick for me or expense. As for the water through the winter, the ponds are frozen over from about late October to mid November until between March 15 to May 15 depending on the year. How much water do you think I would need to store up for the 6 to 7 months of freezing temps..... Seemed to me a fish pool in a heated environment would probably be more efficient in winter here.... The winters here are part of the reason I have an interest in the aquaculture, it is tough to grow a good garden here,some years it just doesn't work out, we can get snow on July 4th here.... This year was a real bugger, it warmed up by May 15 last frost about May 10 and things were great until mid June and the temps plummeted back down to near freezing over night and nothing grew. It didn't warm back up until early July, way too late for gardens to recover. I have read this "raft culture" numerous times, but I have no idea what that means....