Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

October 23, 2012

Permaculture course Video 2

I've watched a second video in the Permaculture series and it was great! After the slow start of all the class business that needed to be covered the instructor, Dr. Hooker, really just jumped right into the thick of things. After giving an idea of why he feels permaculture, and more specifically sustainability, is important now he got into some of the big ideas.

Dr Hooker first off spent a bit of time talking about cycles and the "systems" that we live in. One of the main ideas of permaculture is learning to design systems. Understanding our part in those systems and designing accordingly. Currently most people live in a cycle that takes resources from one place, changes it (manufacturing), and then disposes of it into some sort of "sink" or landfill essentially. That isn't a cyclical system, it's a pattern of consumption. A system, at least from what I got from it, takes into account the different ways that a resource can be used, reused, then redirected into the next system that may build upon it. There is no waste in nature.

He also spent a bit of time talking about the Gaia theory. I have not done a lot of reading on this - it's on my list - but I do subscribe to it from what I understand of it. During his talk on the Gaia theory he made an interesting comment. In talking about our beliefs and how many, most actually, are of the "When I see it I'll believe it" mindset, he decided some time back that he would take the opposite path and believe it, and see what he sees. That belief changes your perspective; I liked that. Take this challenge that he gave as an assignment. This week, believe that the earth is a living, sentient being, then see what you see while walking around on this living being... It's an interesting way of looking at things.

The final part of this lecture was just sort of covering the main differences between the Basic Principles of the permaculture "founders" Bill Mollison and David Holmgrens, as well as his own "list" of permaculture principles that he's distilled on his own from what he has learned from both of these men as well as from others. I thought I'd list the principles here for our reference.

Bill Mollison's Permaculture Principles:
  1. Relative location
  2. Each element performs many functions
  3. Each important function is supported by many elements
  4. Efficient energy planning
  5. Using biological resources
  6. Energy cycling
  7. Small scale intensive systems
  8. Accelerating succession and evolution
  9. Diversity
  10. Edge Effects
Dvid Holmgren's Permaculture Principles:
  1. Observe and interact
  2. Catch and store energy
  3. Obtain a yield
  4. Apply self-regulation and accept feedback
  5. Use and value renewable resources and services.
  6. Produce no waste
  7. Design from pattern to details
  8. Integrate rather than segregate
  9. Use small and slow solutions
  10. Use and value diversity
  11. Use edges and value the marginal
  12. Creatively use and respond to change
Dr Hookers Permaculture Principles:
  1. Observe and interact
  2. Relative location or connections
  3. Energy cycling
  4. Each element performs many functions
  5. Each function is supported by many elements
  6. Efficient energy planning
  7. Small scale intensive systems
  8. Use edges and value the marginal
  9. Accelerate succession and evolution
  10. Use and value diversity
  11. Using biological resources
Dr. Hookers list is, as you can see, basically a mash up of the two different ideas, but I think it's genuinely a good mash up. The last half of this lecture Dr hooker went into details of the different principles on his list. If you'd like, I can go more into those details, but honestly if permaculture is something that you're interested in implementing in your yard, homestead or garden I heartily encourage you to watch this video installment.
As I said, if you'd like me to go into more detail on the principles I'd be happy to, but I don't think I would do it justice in just a blog post, plus I don't know how much interest there is in hearing my opinions of it anyway. If you are working on implementing permaculture principles and would like to share an of your information, please do so. If you have questions or comments, I'd love to hear them. Ultimately the greater the discussion we can generate, hopefully the better we can all learn to understand this intricate and complex philosophy.
Till next installment.

October 17, 2012

Permaculture course - Video 1

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've been really leaning towards taking a more permaculture-centric approach in the development of our new property. I know that I want to develop the property into a home scale agricultural business in some way, most likely by becoming providers to the local foods purveyors and farmers markets in our area, but quite possibly in other ways not yet defined. At the same time, I have a full time job and have no immediate plans to leave it, so anything that I do will need to be very sustainable as it moves forward. I hope that my investigation into permaculture techniques will help me as I work this year to develop a plan to move forward towards that goal to find ways of maximizing my work flow, providing for sustainable progress and bountiful yields in our future.
This past weekend, I watched the first of the 38 full length videos provided online by the Permaculture Media Blog. (By the way, I also noticed that the University of North Carolina who was responsible for creating the videos in the first place has them streamable online as well, although they do list these course videos as only for the use of students enrolled in the course so... I will henceforth not be "disseminating" the video materials that I found by googling "permaculture media blog 40 hr course" by linking to them unless I am able to find out that they are in fact free to be shared)
Anyway, the first video was, since it is basically a video of a college course, basically a preface of the class materials, an introduction to the professor, Dr. Will Hooker, and a little bit of class business that really doesn't apply in this situation. I have begun the second video and it really goes into more of the principles behind permaculture design. I won't go too much into it, but it looks like this will really be an informative journey.
I look forward to finishing the next video soon and breaking down my impressions for you.
Till next time...

October 9, 2012

Beginning a Permaculture Investigation

Although I have not, and by all accounts will not, do much work on our new "Homescale Farm" this year. I still continue to focus a lot of back burner brain power on what it is that I'd like to do with it. More and more that brain power is pointing me in the direction of permaculture as the direction I'd like to at least focus my attentions. To that end, I've decided to go through a collegiate permaculture course via the internet in the hope that I can gain a more full understanding of it, as well as to hopefully begin to formulate some ideas about what, where and how I'd like to proceed on the back few acres.

The courses (link that I found by googling "permaculture media blog 40 hr course" has been removed so as not to further "disseminate" video materials) I have found and will be viewing were placed online by the Permaculture Media Blog. They have a full 40 hr lecture course that is on line in high resolution  videos. I'm going to go through them one at a time in the hopes of, as I said, gaining a better understanding of what permaculture really means, and how it can apply to us on our piece of earth.

I'm thinking right now that I'm going to go ahead an review - no, let me rephrase that, recap - the class lectures as I complete them in case you are interested, but primarily for my own reference.
If you'd like to follow along, or even participate, perhaps we can create a venue for some friendly debate and discussion. Let me know if any one's interested at all and we'll see if we can schedule something.

Either way, I look forward to it. I feel like it will be a good use of my winter free time, what free time I'll have that is with still having to finish my basement... busy busy...

Hope all is well with you all and I look forward to hearing from you.
Paul ~

October 2, 2012

Gardener: Ancient term for "bad hunter"

Could the word "Gardener" just be an old name given to the "bad hunter" of the tribe? Sort of an ancient way of saying "don't quit your day job"? Maybe, maybe not. But I am starting to wonder. The last couple of years I have gone up on the deer hunt in our local mountains and I have actively hunted. When I say I actively hunted, I mean that I didn't just drive around in my truck looking through binoculars off the side of the road; I hiked, hiked, sat patiently, hiked some more and then hiked back. I covered a lot of ground, much of it up or down hill and found a lot of deer. However, I continue to only see does (a deer, a female deer...) and no bucks. So I find myself having to wonder, A: Has the UT department of wildlife resources dramatically screwed up on their buck to doe ratio counts? or B. Do I just suck as a hunter?

Now obviously I prefer to not think that I am a terrible hunter. I truly do put in the effort when I hunt, but this is getting pretty ridiculous!? I think for the foreseeable future, I am going to restrict myself to small game and fish. (With the exception of course of this year when two of my boys will be going hunting later in the month.) The cost in time and money to continue to participate in a fruitless venture is just not OK with me. I hate to say it, but I really think that our deer herds are being terribly mismanaged at this point and I don't need to keep feeding that beast so to speak. I say that because I was just in the mountains for five days, hiking and actively hunting for at least 7 hours a day and between myself and the friend that I went with we saw one buck deer and it was only a yearling "spike" deer. A very immature buck. In talking with others up there the only deer we heard of anyone shooting was the same, a young spike deer. I know obviously others did get nice bucks I'm sure, but I have to wonder what is happening to the genetics of the herd when spike deer are what people are settling for because they see no others. It worries me.

Anyway, stepping off my excuse soapbox for just a minute, I can say that regardless of all that I still had a great time hunting. I was able to hike many miles in some of the most beautiful country I know of, see eagles fly, watch a family of moose heading down the road and listen to and witness the amazing North American Elk bugle echoing through the canyons. I watched the moon rise over sagebrush meadows and the sun set from 9000 foot mountain tops! I took a few photos, just a few but I thought I'd share of course!
 The family of Moose that I came across on my way up to camp. Was raining like heck on the way up, but overall wasn't too bad throughout the week.

 The aspens were in peak color all week. Like splashed of gold on the dark green timber backdrop.

 Sometimes you just come across something cool looking. A dead tree still clinging to its rocky perch like some lone sentinel. I love these old relics.

 Or the remains of an old fence line that once marked some property or cattle area.

But few things beat sitting on a hillside, glassing for deer and watching the full moon rise over sagebrush meadows. Brought to mind a great Chris Ledoux lyric...
"There's a full moon rising... on the prairie sky tonight..."

Anyway... I've still never had a bad year hunting... but really, it's getting frustrating.
Next year... Next year will probably be better!