Sepp set up the Spring Terrace on a lady's land that he was hired to fix up and then she kicked him off part way through the construction saying that he was ruining her land.
Paul tells the story of how she kicked him off about 1/3 of the way through the project. She wrote a book and did speaking tours about how aweful he was. Eventually she even sued him but she lost and all her wealth and stuff, including the land, was given to Sepp and she went to jail for a few years.. Sepp left the Kramaterhoff to his son Joseph and moved onto what used to be the lady's land and renamed it the Holzerhoff.
The Holzerhoff is just under 20 acres and Sepp lives there now and has finished his original project. Zach marvels that when he first saw the Holzerhoff, it was very neglected and yet there was food lying on the ground just about everywhere. The Holzerhoff property was a dry property. It is about twice as hot as the Kramaterhoff and gets 1/2 of the rainfall.
Paul sidetracks to ask Zach how comfortable he is temperature wise with his feet on a heated dog bed and a lamp overhead and Zach asserts that he is quite warm with that sitting on a couch despite the room being in the low 60's.
Sepp originally wasn't sure that the Spring Terrace would work and it did take a while to begin producing water but now produces about 60 gallons per hour. Paul contrasts this with his well which only produces about 300 gallons a day.
A Spring Terrace would require slopped land with an impermeable clay layer and a large terrace above it. It is about 150 yards long and 3-5 meters wide. There are two terraces up the hill from it that also feed into it. The terraces feed water to a clay layer where a pipe gathers the water is covered with gravel and then soil.
Zach says that one of Sepp's real talents is seeing natural resources and taking advantage of them. Like he also made a terrace below a nut tree on that property to catch the nuts that were falling off and rolling down the hill. Now they sprout on the terrace and he is able to harvest and transplant or sell baby nut trees. Paul wonders about the transplanting of trees and that tends to destroy the tap root but Zach notes that Sepp transplants trees, either baby or mature, to save resources rather than letting them go to waste.
Paul was very excited to get to preview some parts of Zach's secret thing, a movie which will be about 20 minutes long. Both the animator and the movie maker really care about the subject, understanding the watershed and they both have a lot of skill. Zach's hope is that this movie will make it so that lots of people can understand what's going wrong with the watershed and how to remedy it and that will create a ground swell of people pushing for change.
Paul says that he feels like when he tries to explain, all he can do is say the same thing louder but he feels like Zach's movie does and excellent job of educating people.
Zach and Paul agree that when people complain about drought, they made the drought happen. Or a natural disaster, like a flood, they caused that too. There are ways to do things that make it better not worse. Paul feels like when he speaks to people about it at an event, it takes him and hour to convey what Zach says in 2 minutes in his movie and then the people either still don't understand or they forget as soon as they leave. He can't wait for Zach's movie to come out.
Paul says that he chose his current location very carefully since almost everything he wants to do is illegal. Like at the Boseman event, Sepp was afraid to put in a pond secondary to the regulations.
Zach says that it was actually the land owner that was afraid to have it done. Zach says that civil advocacy is so important. He knows of a place in California where everything that they did was illegal but it fixed flood, fire and wildlife problems.
Paul says that Art Ludwig has found a way to do it. He just does what needs to be done. Then when it is all working well, he shows it to the legislative people (not the regulators) and they are so impressed with it that they start working to change the rules. Art has been doing this with grey water in California. However, Paul says that he can't imagine a worse existence than to spend his time writing new laws and changing them. Like how rocket mass heaters are actually becoming legal and insurance companies are coming around to them now.
Zach says that's why he wanted the movie to get lots of people educated and pushing for change.
Zach points out that one of the big problems with the Bozeman property was that it was sold without water rights which should never have been done.
Zach also notes that often the fine is less than the cost of permitting.
Paul talks about how at Ernie and Erica's the regulator was trying to help them get their rocket mass heater approved by trying to get them to call it something different or say that it was their only heat source so that he could fit them in an exemption status.
Zach says that Sepp has often remarked that it is important to "call the child by the right name". Like is it a pond or a humus retention.
Zach mentions that the regulators that gave Sepp so many fines had been ruled on that they needed to give all that money back to Sepp. But they don't actually have the funds to do so. They were trying to get Sepp to say that he had had some sort of disaster on his land so that they could use those sorts of funds to pay him back. They are afraid of him now and leave him alone.
Paul's humus well. It is a micro draw or dent in the hillside. He would make it 30 feet wide and 100 feet long. It would be underground about 3 feet and sealed like a pond. The water would collect at the lowest level of the dent. At first it would only collect water when it rains and for a short time afterward. It would get planted with shallow rooted trees and bushes that would drop lots of carbon on the soil. And then deep rooted trees would be planted around the edges. Eventually, the accumulated humus would be like a giant leaky sponge.
Zach notes that Sepp's water bodies on the Holzerhoff are below the terraces and that is the only way to keep them going.
Paul describes a natural humus well that he found at a very dry property at the base of an unmaintained section of forest.
Zach notes how hard people find it to understand how removing trees will dry up the land before it happens but how easy they can see it after it has been done.
Paul says that people can't believe it and want to stop you form trying it. Zach calls them "theory cripples" and says that they have so much knowledge that they can't believe anything new until it has been done and proven.
Paul switches to PEP and says that it was really slow getting started but that once people saw a couple of badge bits, they finally seemed to understand what it was and now lots of people are adding to the development of the program and its badges. He's expecting to see the first badge awarded really soon. Paul is very pleased that all his many years of work and podcasts are finally paying off.
Zach has done 10-12 projects last year and the average project lasts 3-4 weeks.
Paul imagines that most people that Zach works with would want a natural swimming pool. Zach says that about 3/4 of his projects have water features on them but not very many include natural swimming pools. Paul asks for the difference between a pool and a pond. Zach describes a pool as warmer with a sandy beach and some sunny area. A pond has 3 zones (deep, plant & moving) and is generally more shaded. Paul also notes that pools usually require some sort of re-circulation for the water.
Paul had an airwell put in about 2 years ago at the ATC. This years ATC's big project will be a glass melter/recycler with a Fresnel lens. Two years ago they also built a giant solar dehydrator.
Sepp said that Paul's idea of an airwell would never work so Paul had to try it. Zach says that Sepp said that he would only dry his laundry in the area where Paul wanted to put in the airwell. So Paul did have an airwell put in but it has not worked yet. He's not sure why and wants to spend some time figuring it out. Actually, it may be working because the bucket at the end of the airwell stays full to overflowing with water but they never see it actually dripping into the bucket no matter how often they check it. One of the problems with this area is that when it is hot, it is also very dry. Zach says that was Sepp's main objection to the airwell, the lack of air moisture. Zach notes that he really appreciates the fact that Paul is always experimenting though.
Paul feels that most peole aren't willing to experiment. All the great innovators in the field of permaculture have just gotten started. There is lots more to discover.
Paul feels that a wooded slope is the very best area for permaculture. He has often been asked to visit and advise on other's properties and they always seem to get land in the flood plains and all he can suggest is to move to somewhere else. A flood plane accumulates all the toxins from everywhere that drains into it.
Zach says that when he's working with a client, he wants to find out the actual goals of the person and structure the projects around those goals. Paul likes how Sepp would just do what he felt was best for the property and nature and not whatever the landowner actually wanted. Paul feels that Zach's way of listening to the landowner is noble. Zach agrees that Sepp puts nature first. Paul notes that Sepp builds for resilient landscapes that do well whether you put a lot of work into them or not.
Zach notes that the Holzerhoff project is a very good example of this as it had food falling on the ground everywhere after some 10 years of neglect.
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