I had similar feelings when I started this chapter: finally, he's talking to me!
The house design stuff was interesting for me in that my house is 130+ years old. I don't believe the insulation is all that great any more, but those walls are thick. We have only one window on the north wall of the house. Plenty of windows elsewhere, but definitely double-paned. Interestingly though, our south windows are largely protected from sun exposure because of the front porch. Good in summer - we have no air conditioning.
I thought of you, Meadow, this week. We got about 3 inches of rain the last couple days and our basement is even wetter than usual. Do you guys have basements up there and do they stay dry?
I loved all the trellis drawings.
Regarding the berries - I planted blueberries last year. I've mulched with lots of pine needles. After learning about hugelkulture over the winter, I've decided to dig holes between the bushes and bury chunks of old red pine logs we've got piled up around here. My first aim is to provide moisture this way, but I also hope I'm mimicking the northern forest in some way. Our wild blueberries I've mostly seen in white pine/fir forest, but I've got red pine, so.
The orchard section was cool for me as well. I've got I think 7 old, overgrown apple trees on site. When we first moved here I thought I'd whip them in to shape. Um, not so much. So they're thick. There's some blight. The apples are buggy. Still, I think I'm gonna fence the chickens in there for a while this year. I'll have to come up with a shelter for them. i've got a chicken tractor that my hubs made for me, but it's only big enough for about 3-4 hens. Then maybe I can start planting a guild. I love the drawing of the orchard on a slope. None of my slopes are wide enough to really accommodate such a design. Reading this and the farm forestry section made me yearn for more land!!! Anyhow, the other orchard question I have is the whole pruning thing. I wanna know how the permies do with actual fruit yield. They're not pruning fruit trees? Really? I've got a peach tree I planted 3 or 4 years ago and prune the hell out of it every year. Then I cull so my fruit is no closer than 8 inches apart. I get nice big peaches. They get good sun exposure 'cause I prune away so many branches. So what if I stop doing those things? What happens? Is it too late for that tree 'cause it's already been trained a certain way and now it'll just be full of water sprouts if I let it go? Do I need to start over with a new sapling?
I'd love to have a little piece of forest farm to try stuff with. I listened to the Permaculture Podcast today (I am seriously turning in to a geek) and they were talking about agroforestry. For the first time ever I am feeling like my time is getting short. I'm 40. If I want to plant, say, hickory or oak... I can reap the benefits when I'm like 80. Fuck. I've got a little patch of silver maple adjacent to my big red pines. There's potential there, but now we're talking the FRONT YARD. Enter my husband. Ahem. We have differing ideas about what is and what is not acceptable in front of the house.
Which brings us to the lawn conversation. We have a lot of lawn. We will soon have less - the windbreak trees have been ordered and will take up a pretty wide swath. I too wish these books and articles would describe some kind of compromise. We definitely enjoy areas of our lawn - games, parties, etc. And I'm not going to deny that it looks nice most of the time. But I would also like to see more space dedicated to prairie/meadow, pond, pasture (only if we add animals at some point), forest. Here's another set of questions: When we decide to plant a bunch of trees for forest or orchard, what do we do about the grass? Tear it all out? Then we have to plant the WHOLE space with something? 'Cause no bare soil. It would just sprout a zillion weeds anyway. Plant the trees among the lawn grass? Then let the grass grow? Mow around the trees? These real-life questions are the ones that sometimes stop me in my tracks. I still don't know how exactly we're going to proceed with the wind break trees. My husband's lawnmower is sort of gigantic and mowing between and among a lot of tiny trees is not going to be simple or fast. Time is a resource we don't have a lot of these days. Not mowing? If we just keep the vegetation away from the trunks of the little trees will everything be just fine and eventually the shade will do the grass in? Can I gradually plant more desirable ground covers, etc. I'm getting really long-winded here. Thoughts?
Ahhhh. Affirmation. Thank you. I needed that. i.e. the tree planting/grass and the pruning thing. I vaguely thought those things but I needed someone else to firm it up. We got a little reprieve on the trees, cause the pick-up date has been moved in to May. Everything is a bit behind this spring. I'm not usually one to complain about Wisconsin weather, but this year is rough for me. I NEED some sun. And I'd like to see 60 degrees thank you very much. I know I'm taking to the wrong audience here, haha.
Not a fan of geese, myself. We have our share of Canada geese in our parks and beaches. Nasty things. Mean. And free-range poultry in real life is gross. Stepping on chicken shit RIGHT OUTSIDE MY KITCHEN DOOR is not okay. Fenced pasture. That works for me (especially with moveable fencing - i'm a big fan).
So. 40 you say? That's... brave. You know how fast those little monsters grow, right? Don't skimp on the size of the brooder. I've made that mistake. But I only had 10 chicks that time. You should definitely blog about the cold pantry! 'Cause you don't have enough to do, obviously.
Speaking of your building projects, I was just thinking of scrolling through Apron Stringz for your LA chicken coop. I want to cobble together a portable coop for 8 hens. My coop is permanent and my old portable is only fit for about 1/2 my flock. I want to use my portable fence so I can utilize my girls for prepping sites for seeding/planting. Under my apple trees, in my "forest" areas, etc. No idea why I've never thought of that before. Seems like I'm saying that a lot lately.
Also, check me out! I finished the chapter. I know, I know. Please hold your applause.
oh dear! you mean, i'm BEHIND?!!?? i'd better get reading. i think i'll be able to finish by tomorrow morning.
i got waylaid by my *new thang* apparently the end of the manual approaching i got scared that i might run out of something to obsess over, and i started getting really into medicinal herbs. i guess i always go on a wild plant kick in the spring, so that's not surprising. but i've always focused on eating them before, and now i feel like i'm finally ready to start penetrating the huge world of herbal medicine.
back to our current reading though. i do want to read the gardening section, from the tropics chapter. anything else you want to read?