As a bee keeper, honeybees that are out foraging are of very little threat to kids. They know exactly where they are headed to (the flowers) and they aren't interested in kids. It is the hornets and wasps that are the issue. And the best way to keep them away from the kids is to provide a lot of other insect habitat that they can hunt in so that they will not be as interested in the kids and their lunches.
One thing you will want to point out to the council that a park/garden/yard that is lacking in plant diversity also has a lack of diversity of insect predators. Creating a habitat for insect predators such as wasps, ladybugs, mantises, lacewings, spiders, bats, etc., will be your best method of controlling pests such as ticks, flies, mosquitoes, and others.
As far as the pine trees are concerned, it is the pine needles that cause the acidification, so all you need to do is clear an area of pine needles, add in some compost to the soil and most plants will grow fine. The bigger problem will be the shade from the larger trees. To promote some diversity, you are going to need to remove some of those large trees to make sure there is enough room for new trees to grow.
I believe that there are no published plans yet because they are still in the design testing phase. Erica/Ernie/Paul are waiting until their designs are well tested before publishing any plans, so if you want to build one, you are going to have to wing it based on what has been discussed in the podcasts and on the threads here.
I bought and built one of these Phoenix Solar Sheds. I added 2" rigid foam insulation on all the walls and underneath the floor panels. I put in three 55 gallon steel barrels full of water as thermal mass. On a sunny day in the dead of winter, I can expect the temperature to get to about 80ºF. The water barrels will warm up to about 65ºF. Then at night, I've seen the outside temps drop to around 25ºF but the barrels stay around 50-60ºF and the air inside the shed never drops below 40ºF.
I've never paid a cent for my permaculture education. I've watched videos, borrowed books from the library, and read discussions here on permies and on other websites. I've done all this for "free". No, I don't have a certificate that says I am certified, but I don't need one to practice permaculture. With this knowledge, I've built hugelkultur beds that, combined with the manure from my chickens and compost worms, grow food for me and provide forage for my bees that provide me honey for my tea. I have learned how to identify and utilize my micro-climates and plant plants that will thrive best in parts of my yard where otherwise they would die if planted on the other side of my yard. I've done all this with nothing but the materials I've collected from my local area, a few seeds packets every year, the water that falls on my property and what I have learned for free.
The people who think it isn't free are the people who think that they can't do anything until someone tells them that they are allowed to do something. They think that they can't "do" permaculture until they have their Design Certificate. I don't think there is much we can do about those people. They will keep thinking that until they finally realize that everyone else is doing permaculture without waiting for permission.
R Scott wrote:
Lawton's site is pretty boilerplate these days, mildly irritating but effective--especially on the lower points of the Wheaton scale. Face it, Geoff isn't marketing to US. We are already in the choir, so to speak. He is trying to get more people in the door.
But that is my problem... People who are not already Permies, who don't know who Geoff is and trust him not to spam them, are less likely to be willing to sign up. At least that has been my experience. I try to get my family to watch the videos and they all say that they are unwilling to hand over their emails. I don't know if my friends and family are the norm or the exception, but based on my anecdotal evidence, I don't see how his strategy is effective in getting new people in the door.
I think in the future, I will just download his videos and host them privately for people I want to show them to. It sucks because I would love to make it easy for them to see the other stuff in Geoff's empire, but he seems to want to keep the barrier to entry to high to make it appealing to the people I know.
You aren't the only one. Everytime I've tried to share one of Geoff's videos, I spend more time trying to convince people that he will not spam them with emails than I do talking about permaculture with them. I think it is really sad because his videos are so awesome, but the only people that are going to watch them are people who already believe in Permaculture and not the people who need to be convinced.
This is why Paul's videos are better. He gives you the content with no requirements or obligations and just a brief blurb at the end telling you where you can find out more. It is such a better way of doing things.
Paul, is there any chance that you can convince Geoff to let you re-share his videos (maybe after they've been out for a month or two and he's already collected all the emails he can off of them?)
I know a lot of people want to try and sell their properties without a real estate agent, but consider first that the fee they charge is worth the exposure they offer you. And you can use their services without locking your self into anything by using a Non-Exclusive Seller Listing Agreement. With this agreement, you are saying that, if they bring you a buyer, you will pay them the agreed upon fee. But if you manage to find a buyer on your own, you owe them nothing. And to make it all pan out equal, pick the price you want to sell your property for, increase it to cover the fee the agent is charging, and sign the agreement for that amount. That way, either way, you net the same amount, but are under no obligation if they fail to perform.
There are things you can do to mitigate the problem. Fungal activity is the key to breaking down glyphosate quickly, so make sure to have lots and lots of wood mulch in your gardens to build up a good fungal culture where they might get exposed to spray or contaminated runoff. Secondly, plant hedges between you an your neighbor so that any stray spray will be impeded before it can get on to your property.
As far as the bees go, you probably are fine. If he is spraying his lawn, there probably will not be many flowers like dandelions or clover in there and the bees will have little reason to visit his property. Honeybees have a range of up to 3 miles, so they will have plenty of better options of where to forage.
The last thing I'd do is talk to your neighbor. Let him know that you don't want to force him to do anything he doesn't want to, but that you'd appreciate it if he could be careful when spraying around your property because you have concerns with the safety of glyphosate and it having negative effects on your garden.
There are lots of people who would love to have a shurb like that which they can chop and drop every year and get so much mulch from. All I would do, is once a year, about two weeks after the flowers have bloomed so the bees can get pollen and nectar from them, go out and chop them all down. If they come back the next year, do it again. After about 3-5 seasons of heavy pruning, most of these will be dead. And in the mean time, the root systems of these plants will be mining minerals from your sub surface and bringing them up to the surface. This is what I would consider a support species until your main forest comes in.
This is a technique for setting the bead of a tire and can be done with many sorts of aerosol petroleum products. When ignited, the substance, WD-40 in this case, combusts and rapidly expands in volume, forcing the tire bead back into the rim or the wheel. This will not inflate the tire to correct pressure, but provide enough pressure to seat the bead so you can inflate the tire by other means.
I say embrace and engage the conflict head on. The fact is that most people still don't know what the word is, so go out in the world and be the first example of what people see as a permaculturist. Then later on, when they see some conflict around some permaculture issue, they will remember you, and what you stood for, and wonder why someone would have a problem with it.
I had the same questions before I build my greenhouse. What I ended up doing was ordering one of these: Handy Home Solar Shed
It has 2x4 studs for the walls and I was able to add 2" rigid foam insulation to all the walls. I then placed 3 55gal steel barrels filled with water inside as a thermal mass. Last winter (I live in Seattle for reference), it was constantly 10 degrees warmer every morning than the outside temps. On the coldest nights I ran an extension cord out to it and plugged in a heading pad. My greens never had a problem and grew all winter long (well not much growth, but they stayed alive).
I do not think it would be possible to make a plastic covered hoop house winterized enough to be a good alternative. After a few years, the cost of running the heater would exceed the extra cost of builduing a more substantial greenhouse that could deal better with the cold winters.
If you wanted to stay cheap, I'd consider a underground or pit greenhouse.
It would be awesome to have a way to direct any rain you get off of the roof to your garden beds during any summer showers (if you get them.) Putting in a diverter that directs any rain from the roof to the top of the garden would be the start. Then you want to slow the flow of that rain so it doesn't all run down the slope quickly. If you put in swales every 2m and so that the water can cascade down, you will get maximum absorption. Top view of swales:
Then, put the plant that like the wettest soil between the swales near the top, and the plants that like the dryest soil in the tops of the swales near the bottoms. This plan would maximize the number of edges in yor yard and you would have a really diverse number of areas to plant in.
Adam Klaus wrote:It's been said a hundred times in as many different topics here, but 'research' means University tested. Universities are funded by the biggest corporations in the world. So 'research' focuses on the things that the corporations would like to see validated. Guess where this leaves topics like permaculture, biodynamics, etc? They only get researched to 'prove' their inferiority. Go figure. Money rules the world, and money runs our university research programs.
I think this is an excuse, and a poor one at best. I did case study research in college and I did not require massive funding to do it. A student requires no funding to go out and write their graduate thesis. So why are those being done? Or are they and we just don't know about them?
If you want humble, 'anecdotal' research, lots of people have done that silly stuff. Like Fukuoka, like Pfeifer, like Solomon. But that stuff won't count when you go to the university. Academia defines their own universe; and if they dont bless your data, it doesnt count.
Well I am not making this case in Academia. So please, point me to the case studies of Fukuoka, Pfeifer, and Solomon. In fact, I don't know who those last two are so please let me know so I can look them up. This is the info I am looking for. Even if it is non-acedemic research, I want to know about it. Are there commercial farmers out there that have made the switch to permaculture and then documented increased yields or increased profits?
See how this works? The doubters and the haters always can say we have no proof that our systems work. We can point to our fields and our farms, and they say it needs quantification. It goes round and round, but nothing counts as scientific knowledge without the indirect blessing of the corporate boss.
What fields? What farms? Where are these farmers that are doing this and I can point to? I need someone to say: "I switched to a polyculture, stopped using pesticides and I increased my yields without any extra costs." I keep hearing people around here say that this sort of thing is being done, so why don't I see it documented anywhere? Blog posts, magazine articles, etc. Some farmer, somewhere, has a spreadsheet where they show their results with conventional agriculture and their after results when they switched to permaculture. Where are those?
Unfortunately, This doesn't prove it. It is a good hypothesis, but to prove something it must be repeatable. And, as far as I have been able to find, those who have follow Fukuoka's techniques have not had his successes.
There is a large thread around here someplace that discussed the same question. Might take some digging to find it.
I've been digging around all morning and I can't find anything. Any help would be appreciated.
You have to remember that there are hundreds if not thousands of folks who make their living working for and with the folks who are big ag. They will not be convinced because they will loose their jobs and income if big ag goes away. I do not think you will change their minds with studies and proof. You will only change their minds when they see that they will be able to make a living through permaculture.
Those are the case studies I am looking for. Who is doing this? Can we show that people are making more money per acre using permaculture than those suing conventional ag? Can we show that yields are higher? Please point me to case studies that show this.
We've all heard the retort, "But how will we feed our growing population if we don't use pesticides/mono-crops/mechanized agriculture/chemical fertilizers/etc?"
It works most of the time to just tell people that using polyculture/companion planting/no-till/green manures/etc will fix it. Most people will accept those answers at face value. But then there are the skeptics; The types that want proof. It is easy enough to just ignore those people since almost no amount of civil discussion will satisfy them, but they often go back out and continue to spread the idea we need pesticides and GMOs and mechanized agriculture to survive.
What I am looking to do its put together a list of Research and Case Studies that can shut down the arguments of the skeptics. Specifically, is there documentation that shows that pesticides can be eliminated through the use of permaculture techniques without reducing yields? Has it been demonstrated that green manures can provide better plant nutrition than chemical fertilizers?
What Research or Case Studies do you have bookmarked that you can use to back up the claims of permaculture?
Jennifer McMann wrote:My second point is about the podcasts. Frankly, they're below average. They're not engaging, they're typically not organized, and the worst part is they're usually not informative. To use a specific example, the recent podcast about residual income streams was about 30% interesting and informative. That 30% is worth listening to and I did learn something. Unfortunately the rest of the podcast was so saturated with whining and complaints it was very off-putting. Jocelyn even commented that "this is therapy for him" during some complaints. If Paul wants to use podcasts to educate people then he needs to eliminate this theraputic but non productive whining and condense the information. If Paul wants to continue to use pocasts to talk about personal feelings then that's fine, it's his podcast and he can and should do whatever he wants with them. Until then the value of listening to the podcasts should be rethought.
I thought seriously about coming out to join the group at the farm. I've listened to all the podcasts. I enjoy the podcasts, even the parts where I am driving in my car talking back to the Paul in my stereo telling him to get to the point and stop complaining about everything. But then I thought about trying to get my wife to listen to the podcasts so that she would be ready to go out too, and I just couldn't do it. I also, avoid sending the podcast out to others because they are not focused enough. I don't mind the lack of editing, the bad sound quality, or the complaints about the departments of making you sad. I will continue to listen to every podcast and I hope paul keeps making more of them. But I agree that because they become "therapy", I do not suggest to others that they should start listening. I think they are a great tool for talking to people already in the Empire, but they are a bad tool for bringing more people into the Empire.
James Colbert wrote:Correct me if I am wrong but a colloid is a microscopic suspension. Why can this not occur with minerals?
Fertilizers consist of water soluble minerals, so they are not being held in suspension. You can have things like compost tea, which does have suspension of organic material. That could be considered a colloid. But now having spent far more of my workday researching this than my boss would like me to have, I cannot find any credible evidence that any amount of stirring or electro-magnetic exposure through radio waves could impart any significant charge or energization to those particles. And it certainly cannot be imparted into the water itself.
James Colbert wrote:PS: No one stated in the book that slight variations in fluid density were discovered in their research, it was simply stated so that people would understand what was theorized to be occurring to create an electrical charge. I advise you read that section of the book before you past judgement. I should say that there are some sections of the book that I have a hard time believing, so please don't judge this one point on the whole of the book, each chapter is somewhat independent of the others.
The book should be in my hands by the end of the week.
That looks great. It works on the same principle as a rocket mass heater, charging some mass with excess heat that gets radiated back slowly. I could see this being used for home heating with an attached greenhouse. Let the sun heat up the air in a greenhouse and then pump that air through pipes embedded underneath the flooring of your house. The flooring would then radiate that heat slowly over a long period drastically reducing the need to heat the air in your house. Great idea!
I specifically did not address your previous comment because I didn't want to get my comment deleted, as others here have, but since you addressed me directly, I hope that the mods will allow me to respond.
I try really hard not to bash on the biodynamic stuff around here because I know that Paul likes it and I don't want to get my account banned, but I have a really hard time reading books such as the "Secrets of the Soil" because so much of it is not based on repeatable, testable, or documented science. But, if that is your thing, by all means go for it. And in the process please document your efforts so that we can compare them to a control group so that I can be proven wrong! The term "research" is very loosely used by the layperson. Real scientific research documents an experiment so that others can attempt to repeat it and see if they get the same results. None of the biodynamic "research" I have seen does this.
In a bucket of water there are regions of greater water density and differing molecular structure when two or more regions move with respect to each other at a different rate a subtle charge is created.
Hmmm... All fluids will have *very* slight variations in density and those regions will be in a constant state of flux. That is the basis for much of fluid dynamics. If this author is starting out by saying that he needed research to show this, I have some doubts to the rest of his thought process. But dissolved minerals do not create a colloid solution. This might just be a case of you getting the terminology wrong though but, as a scientist, I have seen a lot of pseudo-science that casually uses technical terms to obscure things and attempt to claim justification for more than they should. This book, at first glance, looks to me to be such a case. But, tt seems that my local library has this book, so I will check it out. My guess is though, based on looking at previous claims, that this science is not repeatable and is not testable. If that is the case, it isn't science.
Until the book reaches my library branch, would you be willing to see if any of his cited research has abstracts available on-line? And if so, could you post them here? I cannot find any research online that would point to water being energized.
No. Water itself cannot store electromagnetic energy. At most, you can impart a charge to dissolved ions in the water which some say can effect precipitation rates, but the science behind that is dodgy. As a physicist, I would seriously doubt you could in anyway effect increased water uptake or cause any reduction in the need for fertilizers. And it will not in anyway break down the hydrogen out of the water molecule. That process is called electrolysis and requires far greater energy than can be imparted through radio waves. And even if any of this were possible, it isn't going to happen with any sort of device you can keep in your home. This would require an industrial sized electromagnet.
So the first and last hour of sunlight during the day will not provide you with much power since the sun will be at such a low angle. This is why solar planners use 6 hours as the standard in their calculations. And you will get less than that during the winter. You also should assume that 10-20% of the power will be lost due to inefficiencies of the battery charger and another 10% if you are going through an inverter to power 120VAC devices. You will want ot increase your PV panel capacity to compensate.
Rather than camels, why not try alpacas or llamas? Both are much easier to acquire than camels, which I do not think would be well suited to smaller farms. I also think that apex predators such as alligators (or wolves or big cats) should be avoided. If kept in large numbers, what they would consume would be far more than what they could return to the system. But frogs could be done very easily! A quick Google search turned up this article about Backyard Frog Raising.
My mother is selling her property in Acme, WA on the Nooksack River (about a 40 minute drive from Bellingham.) This was my Great-grandfather's homestead. It would make an amazing permaculture farm for the right people, but unfortunately it isn't us at this time. My grandfather ran cattle on the land his whole life (free range, organic, etc). In recent years she has let one of the neighbor farmers hay the fields which he used for his cattle (my understanding is that he supplies beef to the local organic co-op market). I would love to see a Permie take on this land!
Here is the listing for anyone interested. Please feel free to ask me any questions you might have!
I agree with the others here, the last thing you want to do is plow the fields up. That will do more damage from a permaculture standpoint. You want the texture in the land.You need the texture in the land. If anything, you want to add more texture to the land to deal with the water issues. You need swales to channel that water into ponds. Swales and ponds create edges and that is where you will see your greatest productivity. Use that hay to create organic matter that will attract earthworms which will aerate your soil better than any plow will do. A few goats and a dozen chickens will not cost you much and will do the work for you. I'd also recommend pigs and geese as they will love the uneven fields and will help restore the land the fastest.
Also, haying a field leads to 55%-70% fewer spiders and ground beetles which are your main predators for your biting insects (spiders deal with the adults and beetles go for the larvae). While the haying might reduce the numbers of biting insects temporarily, you are giving them the advantage in the long run by killing their predators. Flies and the such survive by breeding quickly where as predators typically breed slowly. The fly population will rebound quickly relatively quickly after you hay a field but it can take a full year for the population of spiders and beetles to recover. Unfortunately there is no quick solution to this but if you keep doing what you are currently doing, it will not fix the problem, only exacerbate it.
yukkuri kame wrote:
I agree many will be forced to sell. But who is going to buy their land? Legions of poor urbanites fleeing the cities because they can't afford to eat? Or neo-fuedal landlords who will farm their land with armies of modern serfs?
There are laws preventing neo-feudal landlord situations from occurring and an energy crisis will not nullify those laws. That is only going ot happen in a doomer-type With Out Rule of Law situation and I don't think that is likely. But there will be lots of farmers that will set up share cropping agreements and others that will sell outright to urbanites fleeing the cities. The difference between what will probably happen and a feudal system is that people will have options. If you don't like the first situation you get into, there will be other places you can go. I can imagine there will be plenty of farmers that will do a WWOOFing type arrangement and that will evolve into many other forms of landownership.
yukkuri kame wrote:The Cuba example is a hopeful one, but that occurred in a socialist country where all resources were owned by the state, making the transition a relatively straightforward shift in policy. The US is well down the road to outright oligarchy. So far, rising resource prices have only increased the devastation caused by global finance capitalism, and the poor suffer inflation while the ultra-wealthy benefit from asset inflation and continue to consolidate their grasp on more and more of the world's resources. I lack confidence in the 'invisible hand' of the market to correct the imbalances, and even less confidence in US government to make wise policy.
By no means am I a 'doomer', but I believe it will be up to 'us' to design creative solutions to transition from a finance capitalist empire to a agrarian permatopia.
I can imagine that there will be states/cities/jurisdictions that will use eminent domain laws to cease land from corporations that put a lock-down on resources if the imbalances get too out of control. And if that turns out to be effective, then other jurisdictions will follow suit. That is the cool part of living in a federation of states; experiments in the various states will show the best way forward. It won't be the federal government that fixes the issues you bring up, but the state land local governments.
What a long term energy crisis will cause it a return to small farms. The big mega farms will not be broken up by force, but due to the fact that one cannot farm more than about 10 acres without mechanized labor and that with out a constant supply of cheap oil, farmers who had 1000 acre farms will see the vast majority of their land going fallow. They will be forced to sell due to economic reasons in that they will not be able to afford paying taxes on the unproductive land.
I think we can look at Cuba as a good example of what will happen in the cities. They had an artificial energy crisis happen to them when the USSR collapsed. We saw that they had their city dwellers tearing up their lawns to grow food and lots of community farms started popping up. Farmers started becoming much more valuable. And I think people who move out of the cities now and start adapting land for non-mechanized farming before an energy crisis will be well positioned to take advantage of the situation as well as be a teacher to others who will follow.
Well then... Now that I know that there is an expectation that I actually read through all the previous messages thoroughly before jumping right in , I do now see that along with the other request to not use plywood. Even without plywood, I would still keep the dimensions the same even if you were to use fencing.
As for the trombe wall... Hmmm. To make the trombe wall really work you need a significant amount of thermal mass. I am not so sure that the little amount of cob that has been suggested would work. And to add enough mass, would make the entire structure much much harder to drag, and the act of dragging it would really concern me once you started taking that cob mass over bumps and holes becasue cob walls are not designed to withstand that sort of kinetic energy. Hoping that mass would not break apart and come crashing down is something I would want to think long and hard about before incorporating it.
It seems that previous outhouse vent designs have worked just fine without trying to engineer some sort of thermo-siphon into it. Could this possibly be an attempt to over engineer a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist?
Ok, I just realized that Paul isn't going to go for something that doesn't accommodate tall people. I've added 2' to the overall height of the design which should make it reasonably comfortable for people up to 7' tall to use.
Here is my first attempt. It is designed to use full sheets of 4x8 plywood. The verticals are standard 4x4 and the rafters are 2x6. A simple 7' hole is cut out of the front facing plywood and re-attached on hinges to make the door.
The Skids are spaced in such a way that the can that Paul posted earlier should fit right between them. You can start with just one pooper and then easily add a second one later. The thought is that you put the pooper shed in place, put in the cans, fill the cans, and then slide the shed away and the cans will stay in their place and you can comeback and move them later. The back hatch should be removable for this part of the operation. A single 3" vent pipe comes up from the side of the loo box for ventilation.
There should is plenty of room to add coat hooks, simple storage lockers, or even a shower stall if needed.
As a follow up, would you be comfortable naming the organizations that have refused offers of cooperation with permies because a lack of non-profit status? There are probably a lot of us here that potentially give time or money to those organizations and we could use social pressure to get them to change their ways...
This seems like a common issue with "non-profits". But the designation isn't really so much about the fact that there are people who get paychecks and personally profit, but more about the fact that it is a specific type of business that is set up to take money while the corporation it self doesn't make a profit. Many 401(c)3 organizations have both paid employees and non-paid volunteers. Sometimes it makes sense when there is a job that can't be done in a person's spare time as a volunteer, so an organization might decide that it is worth the cost ot pay a person to do that work. For instance, I once worked for an organization as the Volunteer Coordinator. I spent my days recruiting and training people to do the majority of the work of the organization. I was one of three paid staff but we had over 50 people who regularly did work for us. What I did was not something that could have been done part time or easily split up among several people, so paying me to do the work full time was actually a very effective use of the organizations money.