After getting a short notice invite to a quick tour of Paul Wheaton’s Permaculture site in MT. I had to go. So my son and I picked some June Berries (Sarvice Berry- not the same thing as Huckleberry) to take and add to the pot luck we headed out. The day had started out cool and raining but by the time we got there the sun had made an appearance, with stunning cumulus clouds.
I would have stopped to take pictures on the way but we were on a time limit and drove straight through. Tucked away we found the gate after some back tracking. Paul jumped down from the tractor and his dirt work to say hello before we headed off with Sam.
We got a look at their massive Hugelkulture walls. Here wood, from twigs to entire tree trunks are layered in with the soil to absorb water. It takes about three years to get the wood broken down enough to really retain the water but once it kicks in the gardens you plant on the sides need little if any watering.
The outdoor showers were a quick stop, but the compost pile water heater held my son’s interest far more than the shower itself. The pile provided water at about 110degrees for 15 people at a time without they ever having run out. If the space is there and this system can be implemented I have seen it not only be used to heat water but for radiant heating as well.
The composting privy required a quick peek
They separate soils and liquids here unlike I do in my little composter, but the numbers who use this toilet far out number mine. The separation helps with the smell if the system is not vented and weekly emptied. From there we went up to look at the sun walls where there are plans for citrus trees in Montana. I very much want to come back and check it out next fall (and the fall after) and see how it has progressed.
The higher back walls will not only hold in heat but block the wind. The dry stack wall build into the inner scoop will also hold and radiate heat. This is not an option on my mountain side but a method I would like to work on. Perhaps one of my farming fellow mountain women would be interested in this.
We checked out the Waddie house. If you are in a place where timber is readily accessed this style is similar to earthships with a few key differences. Still under construction it had many layers yet to go on including a very deep live roof. Not too far away we passed the tepee witht he rocket stove heater…and the bear proof bee hives…After all the questions and a stop to pet the resident dogs we headed back to base camp for dinner.
Heading off to writers group I missed the movie, Food Forest, but other stayed to share popcorn and conversation. I want to thank Dave from http://www.offgridding.com/about-us.html for inviting me to join the tour; Paul, Joyselen, Sam and all the others who answered questions, took the time to give the tour and made us welcome as well as laid out such a wonderful meal.