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Summary

For episode three of the Permaculture Smackdown, Paul sits down with six of his patrons – Katie, Kyle, Elliot, Julia Winter, Opalyn et al. to review up to page 16 of Sepp Holzer’s Desert or Paradise.

First thing to note is that the book seems to be quite stilted, owing to the fact that it’s been translated from German, which is a very formal language.  Julia appreciated that the book contained actual examples of how to save the planet’s biosphere just by flicking through it, when even her entire college course didn’t – instead it focused on making graphs on how we’re all dying.  

Preface:
“Our thinking is far too short-term – this is the conclusion that I keep coming to” A lot of people, permie people included, have a bad habit of dismissing permaculture ideas because they don’t fit of a bumper sticker – some even reject stuff because right here and now is winter and they can’t imagine a time that is not winter.  

“This book is not a recipe book, even though it offers practical advice.  I will deal with details, but I will not spoon feed you”.  No matter where you are, your land will be a bit weird, thus you can’t just prescribe specific things to people all over the world as a plan that works well in one plot may not work at all somewhere else.  This is a turn-off for a lot of people.


Chapter 1 - Reading Nature:
“People, having distanced themselves from nature, thinking they know better than nature, are a great catastrophe” Awkward phrasing aside, this is principle behind the Dunning–Kruger effect, just taken further in a permaculture line of thinking.

“Whatever I do in life, I need to take responsibility for it – I need to act with responsibility towards nature however she presents herself” If Sepp sees a space that he wants to be different from what it is, he sees the problem as “how do I improve my design” rather than forcing the final result now.

Relevant Threads

Desert or Paradise thread

Sepp Holzer forum

Desert or Paradise documentary by Sepp Holzer

Sepp Holzer's 3-in-1 Permaculture documentaries (Farming, Terraces, and Aquaculture)

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This podcast was made possible thanks to:

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Keith Kuhnsman
Eric Tolbert
Ruwan Nanayakkara
Polly Jayne Smyth
COMMENTS:
 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
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"I talk to trees.  A  lot of people think I am crazy because of that." -- Sepp Holzer.  

I'd love to hear from people who do this or try this.

Regarding German, it just has a different world-cosmic-time-historical-consciousness-all-world-view, some of it is just untranslatable.
 
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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I talk to trees too!  Sometimes they answer!  Especially when the wind is blowing and you give them a hug. Put your ear to the tree and listen to them talk.  They are very talkative!  
Yes people think I’m nuts. Now I take it as a compliment!  
 
Mary-Ellen Zands
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I consider myself a tree guardian.  I plant many many trees every year. Actually now I’m giving away trees to young homesteaders because my lots are full. I attend protests for the clearcutting. Which seems to be speeding up in this area. People do not realize how important trees are.  Especially from the last zoom meeting the town hall had.  The farmers were in an uproar that they might lose the right to cut their own forests. So of course now everyone is quickly cutting hundreds of acres of trees. After a clear cut I go through and look what I can still save. Little trees that are special and need to be rescued.  Wild garlic, wild ginger, ferns etc. I do my best. I wish they would put an ad in the paper to advertise free trees, before they come in with the bulldozers.
485E932B-1750-4F61-BB89-90489B5E18D2.jpeg
Entrance to my forest
Entrance to my forest
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I’m snowshoeing in here almost daily now
I’m snowshoeing in here almost daily now
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[Thumbnail for B3477649-A98C-42A0-8C58-E5DC1A8AA6EA.jpeg]
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[Thumbnail for 3BC2B8BF-2E90-496D-BB7C-6C4E6EC1CBF5.jpeg]
 
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Mary-Ellen Zands wrote:I consider myself a tree guardian.  I plant many many trees every year. Actually now I’m giving away trees to young homesteaders because my lots are full. I attend protests for the clearcutting. Which seems to be speeding up in this area. People do not realize how important trees are.  Especially from the last zoom meeting the town hall had.  The farmers were in an uproar that they might lose the right to cut their own forests. So of course now everyone is quickly cutting hundreds of acres of trees. After a clear cut I go through and look what I can still save. Little trees that are special and need to be rescued.  Wild garlic, wild ginger, ferns etc. I do my best. I wish they would put an ad in the paper to advertise free trees, before they come in with the bulldozers.



I here ya. I would love to receive a call to come harvest before or salvage after a clear cutting. Unfortunately, I don't live near any forests. On a bright note, I am on a mission to learn how to propagate as many trees as I can this year. I couldn't bear to throw away some healthy twigs recently and decided to see if they would root in water. My hubby is starting to think that I'm a twig whisperer since some of them are beginning to produce fruit lol.
IMG_20210305_122510-2.jpg
Willow twigs in water
Willow in water
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Mulberry in water
Mulberry in water
 
Mary-Ellen Zands
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Yes I also take lots of cuttings. Did you know that March April are the best months to root your cuttings. If you use coloured glass jars brown and blue or green it stimulates root growth.  If you add a branch of willow that’s been hammered you’ve got your natural rooting hormone.
 
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Rhiannon Drake wrote:
First thing to note is that the book seems to be quite stilted, owing to the fact that it’s been translated from German, which is a very formal language.  


Just a quick note on the language. I have read the book in German. German per se is not a formal language. Like almost any language it has its rules. You can use it formally or more playfully, you can write philosophy books or haikus in German.
So if the translated books seems stilted it does not have to do with the original being German but with the fact that the translator was not professional (as becomes clear with the examples you give).
I often see the same for books translated from English where you can almost guess how the original was phrased and a bad job was done by not using proper German language but rather English with German words (therefore I prefer to read the original whenever possible).

I had to add this little info as I do have a translation background (I am a certified translator for Spanish).
 
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Mary-Ellen Zands wrote:Yes I also take lots of cuttings. Did you know that March April are the best months to root your cuttings. If you use coloured glass jars brown and blue or green it stimulates root growth.  If you add a branch of willow that’s been hammered you’ve got your natural rooting hormone.



No, I didn't know about colored glass but it makes a lot of sense. It kinda explains why the cuttings that I stuck inside of colored medicine bottles worked better than ones stuck elsewhere.
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