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Ben Zumeta

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since Oct 02, 2014
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hugelkultur dog duck
NW California, 1500-1800ft,
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Recent posts by Ben Zumeta

I think if I were in your position, I would have a very hard time not fighting back even more angrily. However, from a distance and with the luxury of it not being me whom they are attacking, I think letting it distract from all the other good things you are doing is counterproductive. I don't agree with everything you've ever said, but as someone who enjoys learning from you, appreciates your research and projects' educational and practical value, and having enough of a bullshit meter to see through the hate mongers, I would selfishly like it if trolls weren't such a pain in the ass for you so you could just focus on the awesome ideas you have and projects you are working on. I would probably be less tactful than you in your position. I think your insights are spot on about how the troll filter has improved the quality of of folks going to the Lab. I try to apply this mentality when I get excessively concerned about what others think of me. Mainly I just wanted to say that I appreciate the work you've done and how you've put yourself out there and seem to do your best to walk your talk. I know many others do too.
I am hosting a workshop on Climatic Factors this Sunday (1/24/21) for the Permaculture 201 course I am teaching for our local Wild Rivers Permaculture Guild. It is supposed to snow, and as long as it doesn’t endanger participants getting here and back, I hope it will, as snow would be a better modeling medium than the gravel and clay I have to work with otherwise. I have a few other activities in mind (ie modeling our regional and home landscapes to demonstrate landforms’ climatic and weather shaping power) and plenty to talk about, but I always love to learn and use new activities that facilitate hands on experiential learning.

If you have any activities that you have participated in or led that tie into the Climatic Factors chapter of the Designers Manual, I’d love to learn about them. Even if you see this after the workshop, please share. I am also interested in any experiential, hands on activities you might have for other chapters. Thanks.
2 days ago
Sepp Holzer recommends making it as steep and tall as possible for its width. It will naturally get shorter and wider, but starting steep makes for less compaction, and easier working of the bed, as the top is in arm's reach, if big enough maybe you'll need to lean over one knee. This has worked for me, but just keep the inevitable slumping in mind in you pathway design and bed spacing. I underestimated this and made some areas inaccessible with my double-wheeled barrow (which, by the way, is vastly better at moving heavy stuff 99% of the time).
1 week ago
I do it all the time, but I am seeing a lot of straw men getting the shit kicked out of them on this thread.
Shore pine would be helping with salt effects in the air if they are planted as a wind break from the ocean. Pines' allelopathy (deterrence of many other plants) largely comes from root exudates, and their needles and bark are not actually very acidic (6.2pH if I remember correctly). The needles make excellent mulch and bird bedding. In this part of NW CA, they seem to correlate with hedgehog and chanterelle mushrooms. Understory edibles that seem to mutually benefit from shore pines are evergreen and red huckleberries, salal, thimbleberry, wild raspberries and blackberries, hazel and tanoak. They also host many animal species (more than one might think). As evergreens, they are far more effective than deciduous trees at slowing and spreading rainfall that comes predominately in the winter in our climate. As they grow equally fast in our mild winters they pump sugars into the soil to support biota in the ground (like mushrooms) through the period when deciduous trees are dormant.
1 week ago
I should correct my previous post. It seems I misinterpreted what I was told. The spraying occurred on native plantings at another part of the campus. It was still unacceptable, but it was not on the food forest site.
I am saddened to report that the young food forest at the local elementary school to the Gensaw’s in Klamath, CA, (Margaret Keating) was sprayed by school district maintenance against the wishes of the community, teachers, principal and myself (the food forest site developer) with some herbicide I have yet to determine. It was most likely roundup, which I fought to get them to stop using at Del Norte High in Crescent City. The district maintenance crew also cut down the native trees we planted with students. This makes me all the more relieved to have that site and it’s surrounding cattle grazing fields will be hereafter controlled by the Yurok Tribe, its ancestral inhabitants and stewards. I am also very glad the Gensaws are doing such great things with their own garden on their own land. The school district maintenance, through either ignorance or malicious intent, has proven to be a perpetuator of institutional suppression of native sovereignty, health, and freedom to sustain themselves. I wish the Gensaw guys and their friends all the good fortune in the world.
We have hired a fantastic candidate, who is local, committed and perfectly suited for the job.  I am very thankful to know she will be caring for the food forest and helping it succeed.
1 week ago
I figured I’d post these signs we are putting up at the Crescent City Food Forest. Thanks to the original artists and Jarlath Caldwell, who did our graphic work:
2 weeks ago
Alders are our primary native nitrogen fixators, and host fungus beneficial to most native conifers. Thimbleberries, ferns, wild blackberries, salmon berries and raspberries, salal, currants, elderberry, nettles, devils club, sorrel, gooseberry, hazelnut, are edibles that grow underneath in the wild, doing best in edges where they get some sun. Here in nw California, tanoak, madrone, big leaf maple and vine maple all succeed alder as understory trees as the shade intolerant alder it gets displaced  by conifers.
2 weeks ago