i salute the light within your eyes where the whole universe dwells. for when you are at that centre within you and i am at that place within me, we shall be one. - chief crazy horse, oglala sioux, 1877

Sunday, January 16, 2011

get your head out of the sand; you're suffocating!!

if your food supply was cut off, if grocery store shelves were empty, how long would it be until you were hungry? i am not fear-mongering; this will happen. after the initial garden building, you can take one hour a week and grow enough vegetables to live off.

hiding won't change what is happening, but growing food can...

Saturday, January 15, 2011

want to really learn permaculture? international courses!! or internships work!

i was sure overwhelmed right after my PDC. so i checked into opportunities to take further training or to intern with experienced designers. here are some highlights:

my teacher, jesse lemieux, highly recommends milkwood farm in new south wales, australia. of course, australia has wonderful diversity from their drylands and the sub-tropical areas. milkwood offers ongoing courses and they also have internship opportunities. they have a great blog i've found to be very informative!

the bullocks brothers in the state of washington in the USA are a wonderful example of temperate (rain forest) zone permaculture and offer internship positions most years.

for further training and internship opportunities, you can contact zaytuna farm and geoff lawton at pri australia

so far, i've decided to spend the money and time on experimenting on our property but i'm keeping my options open!!

let me know if you would recommend other places.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

fear encountered, moving on...

the thing i feared most about getting any farm animals was that i would mess up and they would die prematurely or unintentionally. so we were given three beautiful chickens and now we have two!! my jack russell terrier, riley, broke one of our chickens, forcing us to kill it after one week with us. believe me, i felt terrible about this; i wasn't paying attention to riley and he got in the pen and got to the chicken in a flash. i spent the morning with my friends stacey and jeremy, who processed the chicken for me, as i've never had to before. note to self... i need to learn how to kill and clean a chicken; my husband won't do it!!!

now that the worst has happened, i feel a tentative sense of relief because i know i won't make that mistake again. maybe i'll make a different mistake, but maybe i won't!

i really wish there was a book that was a real introduction to keeping chickens. i read chicken tractor and storey's guide to keeping chickens and still i didn't know that i shouldn't put the chickens on their roost. (apparently one should wait until they're strong enough to get there themselves or they'll get stuck there and get panicked, thus exciting a dog and distracting a person.)

anyways i am learning as i go. they seem happy as i've adjusted their house some and they seem to love worms, slugs, kale, and clover which is great because i have lots of these. and they won't eat an incapacitated garter snake.

they're doing a great job at building me an 4' x 8' garden patch of chicken sheet mulch in the chicken tractor!!! no eggs yet, but i'm patient!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

a simple step... chickens...

i am so excited. we have been building a chicken coop and tractor this week and we're almost done. we need to finish the coop's roof and the tractor's liftable lid. we'll be taking my friends' 3 chickens, while they travel to australia to teach permaculture. they are cold-hardy white Chantecler chickens, which are appropriate for egg or meat production. wikipedia says they are the only "native" canadian breed; bred in quebec at the turn of the twentieth century.

we had chickens when i was a teenager living outside of stony plain, alberta, but i had nothing to do with them! i hated everything about country living, except horses!!

we will be working towards designing and implementing a closed system for our chickens. slowly building up a crop of plants for them in a year-round cycle and feeding them worms from the worm compost too. eventually it would be great to feed them only food we grow!!! that's an ultimate permaculture goal!!!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Natural Beekeeping

when i knew we would be moving to our tiny piece of paradise, i knew i wanted a huge garden, fruit and nut trees, goats, and bees. that was 2008 and all the beekeepers on my island had thrown in the towel due to the so-called colony collapse disorder. this is basically an unexplained phenomenon where whole hives just die and there was something about mites too. so anyway, i put it on my back burner. but i am getting ready to plan for my piece of land so i am starting to explore the subject again so i can learn what my bees will need...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Joel Salatin on Forgiveness and Being a Gentle Farmer

this is fantastic... there's so much to learn from humble people who are so deeply commited to the right thing!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fermenting Vegetables with Sandor Katz

this is sandor katz; he wrote the book "Wild Fermentation." this is a very important food issue.

as western culture has "advanced", we have left behind many healthy traditions, like leaving behind brown rice or whole wheat brown bread. throughout history an idea developed: the more processed something is or the further away it is from it's natural state, the more valuable it is. thus white rice is preferred over brown and white bread over whole wheat, even though the closer a food item is to it's natural state, the HEALTHIER it is!!!!

another aspect of this issue is: we have tried, in western culture, to get as far away from bacteria as possible. all bacteria. i think it had to do with our discoveries of various micro-organisms that do cause us difficulties, so we distanced from all little bugs that we were unsure of. the problem is this... some of them are good for us. some micro-organisms help us maintain a healthy balance in our bodies. fermented foods are a traditional tool for preserving foods through the winter and for regularly exposing ourselves to helpful bacteria.

i've heard there are studies that link western culture's problem with immune-system health issues with a lack of healthy bacteria. that makes sense to me as i watch the television ads (and my mother) clean everything possible with bleach and all sorts of other crap and westerners continue to get sick with lupus, chronic fatigue, multiple schlerosis, etc.

check out "Wild Fermentation" by Sandor Katz or "The Book of Ferment and Human Nutrition" by bill mollison for far more information.