Lisa Lebeau

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since Oct 14, 2014
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forest garden foraging homestead
Relocated to the Bitterroot Valley in 2009 and have been loving it ever since! Married 40 years to my sweetheart, mom of six who are now adults with their own families. My goal is to start a permaculture farm and homestead, still a work in progress. I became a Certified Permaculture Designer through Geoff Lawton's PDC course in 2014.
Bitterroot Valley, MT
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Recent posts by Lisa Lebeau

Henry Jabel wrote:Has anyone tried growing grapes up some of the larger bamboo species? My vine is small but its starting to invade the bamboo that is near it.

Oh man, that sounds kinda like gas and matches to me... Good luck trying to manage that combo!
1 year ago

Rebecca Gray wrote:I have a large pond that won't hold water.  I have very sandy soil.  I had the dam cored when it was built (important and I may have missed any posts dealing with coring a dam).  The 80 year old man with the bull dozer said there was a vein of sand that might keep it from holding water.  He dug 3 other ponds for me which have held perfectly, so it's the sand that's the issue.  He suggested a number of things  to fix it.  Bentonite of course, but the old time way was to pen a herd of goats or sheep in the pond and feed them there for a month or two.  There is an implement that they use to build roads etc. called a sheep's foot.  It has multiple little pegs on the outside of a heavy drum which sometimes can be filled with water.  They roll it back and forth repeatedly over the area to be compacted.  It still won't make a difference on pure sand, it needs some clay to really plug it.  The manure and rotting hay from the actual living sheep as well as their pointy little feet plug the porous sand area.  The old timers also say about adding material "Sand on clay is money thrown away. Clay on sand is money in the hand".   So the compacting method you are using is time honored. I guess now I need to get a herd of goats.  I'm going to try this.  Question:  When you say build this micro pond "at the foot" of the hugelkultur bed, is that uphill or down hill from it?

I don't think it matters which side of the hugelkultur bed it is on, just that it is placed at the base of it, probably so the runoff from the bed will continually add water to the small pond. Every little bit helps... especially for a very small pond! This BB certification sounds like a fun project I would like to try sometime soon.
1 year ago

David Livingston wrote:Zaytuna ? cannot remember the name of the guy, Geoff something


Zaytuna is the farm in Australia started, owned and operated by Geoff Lawton, a pioneer of the Permaculture movement. He has done both small and large scale Permaculture installation projects all over the world, and teaches many people about permaculture every year through his videos, PDC courses, and through internships on his farm. I have taken his PDC course, and it is very thorough and covers many things I didn't even know existed! He is amazing!

Here is more information on Geoff's work:
1 year ago

Jason Padvorac wrote:Very good ideas. Thanks for sharing them! We might try some of those this year. How much do you sell the pressed leaves for?

Also, I'm missing something about how the pee bucket works. If you are in your car, or camping, where exactly does the hose go?

I was kinda wondering the same thing, lol. I'm guessing the hose is to channel the pee into a catchment container- to be emptied later on and disposed of properly. The catchment container could be a 5 gallon bucket with a tight fitting lid. It would definitely be very handy for long road trips and car camping. You can avoid those midnight runs to the restroom at the BACK of Walmart! Campgrounds have a place to dump the stuff, or just dump it at the next rest stop.

For backwoods camping or on a primitive homestead with no proper facilities yet, you could set up a latrine using the bucket... Set it up with a privacy curtain (or little tiki hut made of branches).  Dig a 2.5'-3' deep 15" diameter hole for the runoff, then fill with some rocks and forest debris, bury the hose end several inches down, then backfill with soil, place the bucket and VOILA! This would probably last at least a month if it's just for one or two people (pee only- poop needs to be in the woods, or else retrofit the bucket with a straight down section of 3-4" PVC pipe that can channel solid waste as well, in order to accommodate for a homestead or longer-term usage). For a family you'd have to move it more often, depending on # of people. Make it portable and enjoy facilities until you can afford that Sun Mar composting toilet!
1 year ago
Well said, Steve!
1 year ago
I hear you Dawn... When family calls we must answer. That is so great you are helping to raise your grandchild. What a selfless thing to do as an empty-nester ready to live your own life. My hubby and I are both 60+ and in the same boat. We tried to make a go of it in the Bitterroot Valley of Montana for almost 10 years and it has proven very difficult as the cost of housing there doubled over the last several years. We have come to the Cleveland, Ohio area to help two of our daughters who are in this area last year. We are now with the second daughter and her husband and young family within Cleveland City limits. I'm going nuts here, with the traffic and people EVERYWHERE... I'm not used to it, and have a very low tolerance for it anymore in my daily commute. I'm dying to have my own piece of land to work, not a tiny city lot that is not mine where it rains a LOT. But I'm making the most of it. In this area it is next to impossible to obtain land you can put an old mobile home on and just live cheaply. Looking forward to getting back to the northwest, just as you are, and feel we are kindred spirits with similar goals. If you ever need someone to chat with, feel free to contact me! I'm dying to speak to someone who is not my daughter or grandchild, lol.

duane hennon wrote:

everything needs space
everything wants sun
berry bushes are sun-loving
and in a wet climate
(where things grow without irrigation)
they will spread (cane fruits like raspberry, blackberry, etc)
so even though planted in between fruit trees, they will end up underneath fruit trees
and since they are sun-loving, they will send up canes into the limbs of small trees
this can be seen as what was once called a type I error
something that causing needless work,
unless the unwanted canes are chopped and dropped

blueberries are well behaved and don't spread much
but require a moist  acidic soil
and fruit trees do not do well in this environment
so trying to mix them is problematic

they are best kept separate in their own beds

IMOHO , of course

I agree absolutely. You must consider the needs and growth habit of each and every variety. Low-growing wild blueberries would make a wonderful ground cover under fruit trees if you provide spruce or pine needles as a mulch and add plenty of peat moss into the hole when planting. And keep them at the perimeter of the drip line, not right below the tree, or near the trunk. I would stay away from using spreading cane fruits as they're always invasive unless they have a space in an area just for them and are regularly manicured. In a permaculture setting, I would at minimum cut out the dead older canes each season. Canes have no place in guilds, as do some others. I've seen guilds run amok with overgrown understory plants that end up choking out the tree they are supposed to be supporting. Plan well and do your homework prior to planting!
1 year ago
Here are some really cool ideas for making living fences out of willow sticks. There are other trees that lend themsleves to this type of culture as well, but willows are legendary.
2 years ago
Hey, I'm wondering how it came out? Do you have any photos of your willow fedge 3 years later? I hope it worked!
2 years ago
I would not leave a tree with dual trunks. This will create a weakness in the tree as it grows larger. A fork puts tremendous stress on the tree as it becomes large and heavy, especially if it is a fruiting tree. Fruit adds a lot of weight to the branches and they need to be able to support it. In addition to the risk of the whole tree eventually breaking from the strain of having dual trunks, tha lateral branches that form on each will get in each other's way and form a very dense center where you would normally want it to be open to let light in. It will become an impenetrable gnarly mass of branches, making picking very difficult. If I come upon a tree with a second trunk forming, I immediately remove one. Best done when the tree is dormant early or late in the season, but if the sprout is small and still green it can be done in summer. I don't recommend pruning during the growing season for anything major, only minor trimming. The single-trunked tree will reward you with health, vigor and bounty over the years!

To determine which leader to remove, I choose the strongest and straightest one to keep. It may have fewer lateral branches than the other, but once it is not competing for growth energy with the other one, it will form nice laterals. Make a diagonal cut at the base of the second trunk. Ideally this will be done when the tree is still small, and won't cause much of a shock if done when dormant. If the trunks are more than 2" in diameter proceed with caution, supporting the trunk as the cut is almost complete to avoid any cracking or splitting of the wood as the cut is completed. Cracks and damage from the weight of removing larger limbs must be prevented or you may have a problem with disease, being so close to the soil at the base of the tree. It is a good idea to put a tree guard around the base the first season or two after cutting to prevent damage from sunlight, weather and critters nibbling on the exposed wood. Pull away any mulch or debris from around the trunk and place the tree guard base directly onto the soil, then mound the mulch or leaves (if used) outside of the guard so voles will not be able to burrow inside through the mulch. In time the trunk wound will have healed over the cut. Once this happens and when the trunk is big enough to be safe from nibbling critters you can remove the guard.
2 years ago