W.W.&F. Discussion Forum

WW&F Railway Museum Discussion => Museum Discussion => Topic started by: Gordon Cook on April 11, 2019, 04:43:04 PM

Title: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Gordon Cook on April 11, 2019, 04:43:04 PM
Relevant to a topic brought up a few years ago on ROW maintenance:
https://www.fox23.com/news/lake-bixhoma-using-goats-to-manage-vegetation-control/938554729 (https://www.fox23.com/news/lake-bixhoma-using-goats-to-manage-vegetation-control/938554729)
I especially like the donkeys; maybe they could also be rented out for trail use?
Does the goat output result in more goat input, i.e. a feedback loop?   ::)
No editorial comment intended, just FYI and amusement.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: John Kokas on April 11, 2019, 05:08:32 PM
I prefer sheep, good ground cleaners, grow their own winter gear, can be shorn in the spring for a profit (still a couple of woolen mills in Maine), and they make great character extras for Christmas time.   8)
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Bill Reidy on April 11, 2019, 05:47:04 PM
I miss the goats from the yurt family near Humason.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Wayne Laepple on April 11, 2019, 07:55:50 PM
When I lived in western North Carolina in the early 80's, the Southern Railway hired goats to eat kudzu off the sides of cuts that track-mounted mowers couldn't reach.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Jeff Schumaker on April 12, 2019, 08:58:54 AM
Would the museum have to build a stock car to transport the goats along the line? ::)

Jeff S.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Gary Kraske on April 12, 2019, 02:43:20 PM
My wife's brother and wife own a 40 acre farm in Cumberland, MD with horses, chickens, goats, sheep and llamas.  The latter are great at coyote control.  The sheep eat everything and thus are great at pasture weed control.  They do not mind spikes/thorny plants such as thistle that the goats do not eat.  They also eat everything under the electric fences as their wool coat keeps them insulated.  How to animals under control in a linear unfenced area is a totally different problem.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Bill Baskerville on April 12, 2019, 02:48:27 PM
... How to animals under control in a linear unfenced area is a totally different problem.
Easy problem to solve.  Put an eye bolt in the center of one of the yellow work flats, put all goats, sheep, donkeys, llamas, etc. on 30 foot leashes (the width of our ROW) and they can vote collectively on which way they go, N or S.  Of course, the donkeys probably get a bigger vote than the goats and sheep, but what democracy works the way we think it should.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Bob Holmes on April 12, 2019, 08:06:28 PM
We actually have a former 2 ft stock car.  It's the former S&RL (?) box car we got from MNG to restore.  I may be off in the details, but Jason can supply the full story.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Mike Fox on April 12, 2019, 08:13:05 PM
That is a Bridgton car, that once had windows cut in the side.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Philip Marshall on April 13, 2019, 01:43:23 AM
The SR&RL had 3 stock cars of more conventional design with outside braces and slatted sides, Nos. 490-492. There are very few photos of them to document their use, but with more than one car on the roster we might infer there were two-foot gauge stock trains at some point (or at least the expectation of them). There was a livestock chute or ramp for loading the cars in Strong, and presumably another in Farmington at well.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on April 13, 2019, 08:42:56 AM
Goats are really great foragers but sheep are better grazers- that is, they prefer pasture. A problem we might encounter with goats is plant toxicity. Goats cannot eat bracken fern and milkweed. Both occur along our ROW. Wilted cherry tree leaves and branches are also toxic. There are ways around this, however.

We are probably getting some goats either this year or next, so we should be able to test this. Meanwhile, seeding along the ROW with a wildflower mix could not only help us manage the ROW more easily, it could also provide a point of interest for visitors.

Steve
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Bill Baskerville on April 13, 2019, 02:27:47 PM
There is a tourist railroad in Pennsylvania called the Colebrookdale that offers "Mudball Express trains let you throw wildflower mudballs from train".  They make mud balls with wild flower seeds embedded in them and visitors are encourage them to throw them out of the train in the spring. 

"Passengers will be encouraged to toss ecologically correct mudballs – yes, real mudballs, laden with native wildflower seeds – from the train. Riders, ages 6 years and up, will learn about both local history as the train runs through the scenic landscape rich with America’s iron-industry heritage and about environmental restoration - maintaining and restoring the Earth".

https://www.colebrookdalerailroad.com/mudball-express/
and
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1BIbyBvrBM

B2

PS, painted the ballast chutes yesterday and today.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: John Kokas on April 13, 2019, 06:01:30 PM
I know this operation quite well as I retired from teaching at the local high school.  Although the concept is ingenious, it has not been well received due to the exceptionally high cost of tickets.  Would something like this work in Alna?  I believe it's possible, but being able to capture and control costs of all the materials and prep should determine whether or not to actually try it.  Maybe in conjunction with an Earth Day celebration and if we could obtain financial/material support for the seed, potting mix, etc. that you would need to make it revenue neutral.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Bob Holmes on April 13, 2019, 07:33:19 PM
How expensive can dirt, potting soil and seed be?  I'm guessing pretty much nominal.  I think this is a great idea!  But probably beyond us for this season...
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Graham Buxton on April 13, 2019, 09:38:17 PM
If one really expects to make 'mudballs' that can actually be thrown from the train, a source of clay is likely needed.   The seed ball needs to be cohesive enough to be tossed/thrown without coming apart before it hits the ground. 

Where I am in East Tennessee, clay is more than abundant, ::) but I don't know whether clay can found on the Museum property.

Wildflower seed mixes can be surprising expensive.  The best pricing is in a larger quantity, but from what I see, a 50 lb bag starts at about $16 per pound and goes up from there. [That is in the neighborhood of $800 for that 50 lb bag.] ;D
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Philip Marshall on April 13, 2019, 10:02:38 PM
I was going to say much the same thing as Graham (1. "seed bombs" are made with clay, though we have plenty of that at Sheepscot, and 2. good wildflower seed mixes can be rather expensive), but he beat me to it!
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Mike Fox on April 13, 2019, 10:47:13 PM
Depending on the location, the clay is rather deep, and there are 2 kinds. The top layer is usually brown and muddy. The clay below that is what I call marine clay. Gray and very dense. Low moisture. It is a bear to dig with our little machine, but can be done.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Stephen Piwowarski on April 14, 2019, 05:43:19 PM
I checked prices. Good wildflower mixes seem to cost around 100.00 for a 50lb bag.

It might be a nice gesture to coordinate with Midcoast Conservancy, Maine DEP, or U Maine Extension on choosing a mix that contains appropriate species for our area.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Al Michelis on April 14, 2019, 06:58:53 PM

It might be a nice gesture to coordinate with Midcoast Conservancy, Maine DEP, or[and] U Maine Extension on choosing a mix that contains appropriate species for our area.

I had the same thought.  Perhaps Midcoast Conservancy could be persuaded to sponsor this.  They would probably appreciate the publicity for their organization.
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: James Patten on April 14, 2019, 08:20:22 PM
How many decades would it take to mudball our way to a 3-mile right-of-way full of wildflowers?

Would this take the place of needing to mow?
Title: Re: ROW Vegetation control
Post by: Philip Marshall on April 14, 2019, 08:52:47 PM
I expect that annual mowing would still be required.