Local Warming

Dirty Snow

There’s that old saying about don’t eat yellow snow. Well don’t eat grey snow either. Will is spreading ash above to lower the albedo of the snow on our pastures with the goal of getting the sun to soak in more and reflect less. We’re making more efficient solar collectors and warming our local environment. This can make our snow melt off several weeks earlier than otherwise.

To spread the ash Will walks across the wind with it blowing away from him over the field so the ash is carried away from him. In the photo you can see the cloud of ash he released a minute ago on the right. Near him on the left is the cloud of ash he just tossed.

We’re actually a bit late spreading the ash this year and we don’t have much since our cottage uses so little wood for heating. We burned so little wood this year that we only had one and a half five gallon pales of ash.

An added benefit of the wood ash is it adds nutrients to the soil and raises the pH of our soil which has been acidified by the acid rain. Acid rain makes for beautiful, crystal clear ponds and lakes but isn’t good for many of the plants we want to grow such as clover and various vegetables. The strawberries and the blueberries love the acidity so there is a benefit of my not having enough ash for all the fields… But our soil is so acidic I doubt I’ll ever have “enough” ash.

Outdoors: 49°F/28°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 70°F/68°F

Daily Spark: Evolution takes no prisoners.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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10 Responses to Local Warming

  1. Great photo. Even better arrows. Your creativity is always awesome.

  2. Interesting idea, I’ll have to give it a try. I’ll do anything to get rid of this darn snow.

  3. Pankaj Jain says:

    I love your phrase local warming. Good one. A friend of mine turned me onto your cite. We are wanting to raise pigs too like you do. There is not much information in our country about doing it like this. What pigs there are are all in the confinements.

  4. Shobhana Bhardwaj says:

    This is such great post! Wahat a wonderful idea for local warming and using a waste.

    I love pork and especially bacon although it is frowned on in my culture. I wished I lived closer for it is hard to get here.

  5. Shelljo says:

    You deal with acidic soil…Here in SW KS, we deal with soil that is too alkaline. How I yearn for soil acidic enough to grow blueberries!

  6. mikeross says:

    found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

  7. Ali says:

    You are very eloquent. I’m not sure how I got to your sugar mountain site but I’ve now spent hours enjoying your articles. I’m looking forward to continuing reading them. I wish there was a way to start at the beginning or to start on a topic and read forward.

  8. Johan van der Merwe says:

    Hi Walter

    Will the ash make the soil more alkaline? Do you know how much one need to spread on the soil to make a difference. Maby one can just spread the ash on patches where you want to plant plants that like more alkaline soil.

    Does the combination of rotational grazing, planting legumes for the’free’ nitrogen sucked from the air, the pigs pooping and digging also make your soil less accidic over a period of time.

    What about adding lime?


    • Yes to both. Lime is another way to improve the pH but expensive and more importantly difficult with our steep rough terrain. Perhaps after we finish terracing the mountains. But by then the animals may have solved the problem.

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