Author Topic: ROW Vegetation control  (Read 2473 times)

Gordon Cook

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ROW Vegetation control
« on: April 11, 2019, 08:43:04 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
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.
Gawdon

John Kokas

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2019, 09:08:32 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)
Moxie Bootlegger

Bill Reidy

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2019, 09:47:04 PM »
I miss the goats from the yurt family near Humason.
What–me worry?

Wayne Laepple

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2019, 11:55:50 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.

Jeff Schumaker

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2019, 12:58:54 PM »
Would the museum have to build a stock car to transport the goats along the line? ::)

Jeff S.
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Gary Kraske

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #5 on: April 12, 2019, 06:43:20 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.

Bill Baskerville

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #6 on: April 12, 2019, 06:48:27 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.
~ B2 ~ Wascally Wabbit & Gofer ~

Bob Holmes

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2019, 12:06:28 AM »
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.

Mike Fox

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2019, 12:13:05 AM »
That is a Bridgton car, that once had windows cut in the side.
Mike
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Philip Marshall

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2019, 05:43:23 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.

Stephen Piwowarski

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2019, 12:42:56 PM »
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

Bill Baskerville

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2019, 06:27:47 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.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2019, 06:39:42 PM by Bill Baskerville »
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John Kokas

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2019, 10:01:30 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.
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Bob Holmes

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #13 on: April 13, 2019, 11:33:19 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...

Graham Buxton

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Re: ROW Vegetation control
« Reply #14 on: April 14, 2019, 01:38:17 AM »
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
Graham