Mary Saunders

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since Nov 26, 2010
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Recent posts by Mary Saunders

Also, where is Stamets? He crosses the conventional/permaculture edge exceedingly well. I went to a state ag meeting as an advocate for Friends of Family Farms, in Portland, years ago. A fruit farmer was afraid RiverKeepers were going to catch him with run-off issues. I referred him to Stamets, and he thanked me profusely. I had explained the wood-chips-in-long bags, inoculated with mushroom spawn thing, and how the state showed up to ask him how he cleaned the run-off from former run-off issues at the farm.
The Earth Ships guy is Michael Reynolds, in a small correction. There is a documentary about him called something like The Garbage Warrior. They showed this at MIT, which I found quite amusing when notified. Crossovers happen at edges, etc., etc.

I also wanted to add to the discussion of SWOC/SWOT a term from urban planning that I learned in Portland. It is

Inventory. I rather like it for the observation part of the process to emphasize that some features may need to stay rather than being wiped to redesign everything. In Greening the Desert, there wasn't much to save, as if was that classic cracked-desert look that they encountered.

Most small properties will not be that bleak in the beginning, so a back-yard approach, like that of Toby Hemenway in Gaia's Garden and a piecework approach like that of

Connie Van Dyke, of Tabor Tilth, as described in the StarHawk video that has been passed around the world so much, might be more helpful. Dare I mention the

Dervaes Family garden? There has been a ruckus about that over the name they wanted to do an intellectual-property thing with. Nonetheless, their model is very interesting and has stood a test of time in a place most would find exceedingly daunting.

Another case of a cracked-earth call for re-design is that of

Janine Benyus, in Lang Fang, China. This is a tough case to follow up with, so I would not recommend it except for those with strong interest in China and in ancient-aquifer-restoration, but some could want to go there. Janine Benyus is part of a loosely defined group who used to be labeled with the term Natural Capital. Janine Benyus had a number of TED talks where she talked about

Biomimicry and the need to stop industrial wasting of

Heat, Beat, Treat, and instead to look at the glues that rock clams can make, at ambient temperature, that keep them on rocks against tidal and other forces. I believe she still has a site called Ask Nature.

The Natural Capital group were willing to look at huge projects and at the earth as a whole and the need for large projects for cities.

Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins were part of this group.

Paul Hawkins wrote a number of books about this. Probably the first book was Natural Capital. Another one was Blessed Unrest, which I still think of with sadness, as he tried to connect people around the world who were doing small projects in isolation and who were feeling distressed about their isolation. They would hand him cards at his speeches, and he had amassed a huge amount of cards, so he decided to put them in an annotated book.

Christopher Nesbitt has Maya Mountain Research Farm, world-famous in tropical agriculture. I think the notion of research-farm is a good one for permaculture concepts to replicate.

The No Child Left Intside movement would also be great to mention. I first heard about this at a City Repair event where Michael Becker, of Hood River Middle School made a presentation of what his inspiring kids have come up with. To say I was impressed is a huge understatement. Michael has always said he is too busy to write a book. But still.

The hunger for good news is huge. The corporate media is not going to feed this need unless shamed into it by, for example, the Bill Gates Can't Build a Toilet article that appeared in the New York Times about SOIL Haiti and the 5-gallon bucket dry toilet movement.

A UN peer-reviewed report on AgroEcology that was supposed to show the green revolution in heroic terms did not show that, so it got placed in a gold-plated trash can, according to a comment-maker on Truthout. It did get passed around in independent and hippie venues for years, and at some point, they will have to talk about it. We are not there yet. Hippies found the report in a dumpster, when the gold pig-can got taken out, so the information did not get lost.
It might have been quicker to dry summer, as less dense solids in them. Also, easier to work with. I say this because cutting a 30-pound winter can be kind of a samurai/sumo experience. I had some whopper volunteers one year. It was a job to cut them to use-size.
2 years ago
You should also be aware that aquifers are often very close to the surface here, which, as my acupucturist, Xavier Peralta, points out could be why wanting to do projects is a thing. The aquifers move underground. It makes having a cellar mostly unrealistic, though. I like the idea of cordwood. It might wick moisture and breathe a bit.termites could be interested, but you would see. I doubt it though. Things can dry out quickly when it is not raining, even in rainy season. The museum at Felipe Carillo Puerto has some traditional Maya examples, and my favorite building at Coba is elliptical. It is called the observatory and must be a great design for here, as it shows so little degradation over eons.
2 years ago
I love daikon. Even if you do not get edible roots, on account of hardpan, you will open corridors down for the water to flow, and bees and children love the flowers. I am also fond of water cress, which takes care of itself well. Rocket is the same or very close to arugula. Arugula may wilt in snow but comes back as soon as it warms, and I love it, especially the flowers. Violets can somewhat get away from you, but they are lovely to have around. Both flowers and greens are edible, and they are quite cold-hardy. Garlic cannot be held down in my Portland garden, even surviving quite cold periods, poking its strong green leaves up. There are many kinds of garlic. Some of them "walk" which is to say, the flowers will make very cute little bulblets, if left to do so. I really like perennial collards, if you can find them. They look like strong palm trees in the winter, and the leaves are good to make minimal-hassle wraps with, if you are into high-fiber, low-carb wraps. I also like mallows to have around, if they are a choice for your area. Common mallow stays close to the ground. There is a small, wild-type strawberry with good though small fruit and bright pink blooms. It is decorative and it will travel. It is called lipstick. I like it a lot. Pineapple sage is not very cold hardy, so if you want a mint choice that will not take you over and that has pretty red blossoms late in the season, I would go for some of this. I am happy to have regular mints around, despite their bad rep for taking over. They do till, and if and when you have to wrestle with them, at least you are pleasantly fragrant afterwards. I like orange mint a lot, but it is out-competed by spearmint, lemon balm, and peppermint. Some of the worts are kind of stickery and not so much fun, but some people like them. I have some motherwort that planted itself, and I let it stay. Some people like docks. I find them rude, but I put up with them. They do send deep roots that help you to keep water on site, I guess. I am in favor of keeping the ground covered. If you have mulch, say a passion vine that will die down, you can cover an area and put potatoes underneath. One Thanksgiving when potatoes ran out, I ran out, pulled up the mulch and harvested a few. I do like to grow potatoes that way or in sacks because I don't like having to dig for them or cutting straight through some pretty ones. The rainbow chards are nice. I like how neon the colors can be. I like that in winter.
3 years ago
The first one may be yellow or curly dock. Here is a link. The only way to tell may be to let it go to seed. Here is a very conservative link about it. Other links list more uses. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-651-yellow%20dock.aspx?activeingredientid=651&activeingredientname=yellow%20dock

I just chop and drop it. It is prolific though, and the roots do not especially like to come out easily of clay soil.
3 years ago
I would vote for violets in shadyland. I have mowed them, and you can use the leaves in salads if you want, high in C. Short bloom season, and I do not recall seeing bees on them even then. You can also get some dwarf yarrows. I don't know if you can mow arugula, but it is very hardy. Most kids probably would not like the taste. The flowers are divine for most adults though--a great mix of spicy, sweet, and nutty. Some cresses stay low. Purslane is absolutely no care, high in omega-3's and very useful especially in Mexican cooking and salands. Chives might not be bad. I also like chamomiles. Lipstick strawberry is really cute, small, and tasty and minimal care. I would not try to make a monoculture of this. Just try things you like to use, and see what does the best.
3 years ago
Yes, Derrick! This is it! I watched it late at night, all the way through, which I seldom do, and then neglected to note where I found it. Thank you so much for posting the link. I recommend this video highly. If it were music, it would kind of be Variations on a Theme, with homage to Fukuoka. It is so great when we get the nitty-gritty on changing things up in response to changes in observation and experience.
4 years ago
I found this among the listings in a search for dryland rice. I found it amusing, especially the part about having to consult two recent immigrants about how to de-hull his rice once he grew it.

http://www.sherckseeds.com/pages/2013/good-yields-for-rice-here-in-northern-indiana/

I also found it interesting that one source was from Russia, and the other from Belize.
4 years ago
Plants can pull both nitrogen and carbon out of the air and sequester these underground. The video I just watched from South Dakota made this point. Beyond that, there is a goose farmer in Portugal who sets a feast for geese and entices them out of the air. By doing this, he is keeping the gene pool of his own geese constantly refreshed, and birds will bring in phosphorus and calcium for you, although you will have trouble if you entice too many starlings and not enough hawks for a while. The farmer in Portugal does not force-feed his geese and still he won a foie-gras contest in France (which irritated the French). There is a TED talk on this by Chef Dan Barber. It is fascinating. You would think you would lose soil quality from exporting, but if you have the mix right, you do not, necessarily, from what I have gathered as a perm-obsessive over many years. While complaints about wildlife sometimes abound in permie circles ("I was a vegetarian until I moved to the country to grow vegetables." Larry Santoyo), there are examples of wildlife adding to the mix in constructive ways and with an entertainment in place value (e.g., fox babies jumping on trampolines). I have digressed. Fukuoka's rice varieties made it all over the planet I believe. It is likely you can buy rice here in the U.S. that has been dryland grown. You may even be able to grow rice from the organic bulk bin at a coop. I have done that with lentils, on accident, but it came out well.
4 years ago