I know about natives running bison off cliffs. I know some of them exploited the land.
We need to take from the land to ensure our own survival. Every animal does it. But there is a way to do it with respect. There is a way to live more harmoniously. Some native groups have a "next four generation" approach to working the land. They did what they could to ensure that the next four generations would have enough to survive. We, as a culture, do not think that far ahead.
There is a tribe in Ecuador, the Achuar, who I visited last year. Until recently they had no contact with "civilization." They have been hunting their forests, harvesting from their wild gardens, drinking Amazon river water, etc. for over 2,500 years (diggers uncovered an old Achuar bowl and carbon dated it). Their forest is still there, and vibrant at that. When I went pee on the ground at the edge of the village, one of the guys patted me on the back and thanked me.
So, back to the tree bog. I think it is worth a shot. I think it is a great example of permaculture practice.
Wood takes quite a bit of time to dry out. If you wanted to build a structure in the dry season, I think it would be wise to fell the tree a few months before, cover and start drying your logs. Covering them with a sturdy, efficient cover is necessary. A blue plastic tarp would be questionable.
I hope this rain lets up so I can get a test done before planting time. Sue, do you have a source for hay mulch? I am talking wet stuff that people want to get rid of. I have ads out in the nickel and craigslist, and I have called a few dairy farms, but no luck.
The willow bog is a seasonal toilet. In the winter months it would not be active anyway, so trodding through snow wouldn't be a possibility.
There are some habits we have that might need to change in order to live sustainably... if that is indeed what we want. When the natives were living in their shelters, they didn't shit inside of them. They had to get up, walk outside, do their business a little ways away from the center of the village, and come back. I am not saying we have to do this, I am saying we might need to change our habits a bit.
So the traditional system, to me, uses too much clean water per flush. I have done the "don't flush your pee" thing. It sticks to the toilet bowl, which I then had to clean more often, using more supplies and more water. We use 1.5 to 3 gallons of clean water in each flush, which is ridiculous in my eyes. We were told that we cannot grow any perennials or trees on top of our drain field in our front pasture, which is 100' by 100'. Pretty big chunk of space.
We just got a deer hide from some hunter friends. We want to work and tan the thing but our pals didn't give us the brain. I have read in a few different ethnobotany books that Western Hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla, is the conifer in the Pacific Northwest with the highest tannin content. I read that people used to boil the bark and used the solution for tanning.
Has anyone done this? How long to boil the bark? Should we use the inner or outer bark? Both?
I have seen what some books call European bitersweet. I wonder if that is the same thing you are talking about, MT. Goat. The latin name is Solanum dulcamara. I read that the only part of this plant to use as medicine is the stem, gathered in fall. Tinctured or in a strong decoction, it acts as an alterative or an autumn tonic. It is also used topically for dry skin and eczema.
The books I have read all said to not use it in excess (only a few times a year).
I think most people would rather not carry five gallons of crap back and forth. I know I don't want to clean human feces that got stuck to the side of a bucket. It is just gross to me.
That is why I am all for the tree bog. The earth is constantly working for us. This willow idea is incredible I think. It deserves a try. An experiment. How cool is it that a tree will lovingly and happily take all the crap humans give it?
Would this toilet, or toilets, be surrounded by numerous willows? Seasonal toilet? Which season will the willow actively break down the poop?
And your picture... is that the toilet for the tree bog or dry outhouse?
I would think that before entering the tree bog to poo, there would be a sign that says: Release all fluids before entering bog.
I may be mistaken though. The willows might take our pee too. Will they?
What about stones? I know they absorb heat and release it at night. Would stacking stones be beneficial if it helped create a microclimate and provided garter snake habitat? It would take away space from plants, but might be beneficial.
So I would like to do this without digging. Mollison has got me hooked on the no-dig thing. If I lay a heavy hay-straw mulch down and wait until it kills the grass and starts breaking down itself, will I then be ready to sow seeds? Do I need to get a bunch of topsoil and/or manure?
I just read about an alternative to sheep for fiber. The Angora rabbit. They say that these furry lil critters' fur needs to be harvested every three months at a minimum.
I am interested in yalls thoughts on this. Compare and contrast rabbit vs. sheep.
Rabbit is smaller, which means less fiber. But it might be more cost effective. I have no knowledge in the sheep department. How often does one need to harvest sheep fibers? What about care? Which one requires less maintenence? Which costs less to feed?
I just read an article about using switchgrass to make cellulosic ethanol. The article talked about how cheap it is and how much more efficient it is than corn. But toward the end, it said "these costs do not include the costs of transporting it to the biorefinery, nor the costs to process it in the biorefinery." My question is how much will that cost, in terms of money and energy? Is it worth it to even try? Is there any way to "biorefine" switchgrass ourselves?
My friend says he watched a series of half hour shows on pbs. I wonder if we could get that series. He also watched the movie and said that the shows went into more detail.
That guy inspires me so much. I want to make everything with hand tools now. I probably won't, because when a power drill is sitting next to you in the workshop smiling and laughing, and you are using a hand drill to try to boar a 5 inch hole into a maple log...
extra gluey stuff... a natural way to do that is pitch glue. But you gotta have trees. I have also heard eyeballs, mixed with a wee bit of h2o make a glue. But you gotta have a ready supply of eyeballs.
My mouth dropped when I read the black plastic mulch. My instinct says its not a great idea. It is supported by Sue and Leah's reasoning.
So, if I just put a thick layer of moldy hay or straw down to mulch the fruit trees, what would be the next step? Wait until it starts breaking down? Do I need to get manure or topsoil before sowing food forest seeds and transplanting?
I think there is something to be said about design. Especially when it comes to building homes or other structures. This may be less valid in plant and garden world. If you want to build a home and have little to no design b/c it would set you off in the "opposite direction", then you are in for a world of constant repairs, more materials used, and run the risk of having to abandon the home entirely.
I think this emphasis thing is relative to what part of permaculture you are dealing with. Like Sue said it doesn't need to be so cut and dry... in my opinion.
Yeah that is so true. Pass the Frost Peach in Western WA! Young folks today are part of the entitlement generation. We think we are entitled to getting our butts wiped. And right now we have obama's face printed on our teepee. I have a ton of friends who say "all my friends call me a hippie, I love it, yay Obama!" Lets celebrate by getting a new tattoo of a friggin peace sign. That did a lot for mama earth. 70 bucks that could have bought 3 peach trees!
My friend has a piece of land with a composting toilet. At least that is what he called it. He has this huge drum underneath an elevated toilet. Once a month he takes the drum and empties it into his hugelkultr berm that is ever expanding. It is letting off steam as we speak.
I think seasonal tree bog toilets are a magnificent idea. Willows will supposedly take our crap and turn it into usable energy for us (firewood, baskets, etc.). Thanks there willow. I have another friend making a dreamcatcher using a willow withe.
I wonder if anything planted with the willow would assist the energy conversion?
I thought about leaving a space for a nice winding path through the forest. Then I got some sense talked into me. Surely some plants will be healthier than others. Also, some I may have way too much of (for my liking). Why not make a path as you harvest? I know walking in the "forest" forest a path kinda presents itself even if there is no trail. I think I will create the path as the food forest matures. Am I being stupid? Drawbacks to this method, anyone?
Has anyone ever planted potatoes in a food forest?
Paul Stamitz at Fungi Perfecti has done some amazing research with mushrooms. Paul says "he is saving the world in 4 different ways."
My friend said he got 100 oyster mushroom innoculants for about 12 bucks from Fungi Perfecti. All he had to do was inject them into his logs. Then, when they've decayed enough, he adds them to his huge hugelkultur berm, throws some manure on there with some soil and wala. There are holes in his berm which release warm steam consistently.
I have never harvested quack grass, but I know a lot of grasses used for basket making are harvested in summer and early fall. If you are going to use the roots, then I would say fall would be a good time, maybe even early in winter.
About how long to dry it... I am not sure. I have used sweetgrass in baskets that had been dried for near two months. I didn't use the roots though.
My experience with roots is that they are more pliable when freshly harvested. I have tried to re-wet cedar roots and had them snap on me numerous times.
I wonder if roots shrink as much as wood when they dry out?
That is a pretty good tip. If I have water, however, and no jello, I would give them some water.
Rabbits, as well as other mammals, "hole up" in really cold weather. They dig into burrows and stay there until they have to go out in the cold.
None of my mammal books have anything on how they obtain water in freezing temperatures. I would think they make their way to the creek if they don't get enough water from their food to hold them over. When they can't get to the greens they will eat inner bark of conifers and also salal. Those have a good amount of water.
Speaking of hunting, we had a bobcat in our pasture the other day. We saw it and spooked it off, but I followed its footsteps to a part of the pasture where it had dug up a rodent, probably rat or vole, and ate it on the spot. THe only thing left was a little stomach and some blood.
It is silly to be offended. Why take anything personally? Better to ground the charge. I'm not sure how giggling grounds it with some folks. You might just become their charger! This would be good to put in the intentional community section.
I wonder if there is such thing as a "best" chicken feed? There might be a best relative to location and breed, but I don't think it is universal.
Remember this is coming from a guy who has never raised chickens.