Tag Archives: peremaculture

May Projects

 

After three years of promising this last weekend the fire ring Shane has wanted finally was built. He wanted it cut back a little into the slope of the yard and big enough to have a few friends stand around. I had James help and work the level to get it set in. 20180513_180430

Shane didn’t waste time at all but as it was evening and time for dinner he pulled out the hotdogs sticks and a broke it in.

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James found a few old grates from long dead bbq’s and brought them down so Shane could experiment and see if he wanted one of them built into the ring for future use.

We picked up almost twenty trees from the Nursery to start the orchard as well. I tried t take a few pictures of them but they are pretty leafless at the moment and not much to show all leaned up against a ceder. The time line to pick them up has moved forward so the site is far from ready. Piled in wet sawdust I have a few days to get them in the ground but the tree that have been blocking sun from the solar panels and the future orchard site have started to be cleaned up and thinned out.

Shane came up with his chainsaw as mine is just too small for trees this size and helped bring down the leaning pines and managed to drop them in just the right places to not crush the camper or the green house. There are still more to come down to open up the sky but already the difference is rather astounding. I can see the southern sky!

I picked up raspberry starts from a friend who has both white and reds creeping into her yard despite her husband’s best efforts. They came from one yard; chives and and rhubarb from another, and last years missed garlic from a third.

With the transplants in and the orchard site getting rapidly readied I had just long enough to walk around the yard and snap a few pictures of the June-Berries and wild strawberries in bloom, as well a the herb garden waking up.

Spring in this part of the world is short, and nights still dip down into the mid 30’s at times but it is stunning how rapidly winter melts and turns into green and flowers burst open in carpets and towers of white, yellow, and lavender blooms.

 

Leaking Pond

This spring, as snow began melting off, rain falling, and  the spring running high I have been watching and wonder why the pond is not brimming over. A few weeks ago James and I discovered a few thin slashes that we packed a bit of clay in as a stop gap. We theorize it was maybe made by a dog’s claw, a kids toy, or some other strange accident. It was after all just a few thin slashes. Maybe, we hoped, the clay would be enough to mend it and if not, once it warms up enough I could patch it.

The pond however, still seemed to be going down, so I shut the spring water off and waited; watched. The water kept falling. Rain fell for two week, three feet of snow melted and still the pond level steady went down. Today I went out, hose in hand to wash away sand, clay, the last bits of ice and I discovered the reason.

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Once again packrats are the bane of my life on the mountain. I have at most been annoyed at the bears, the wolves have never bothered me, the deer are too jumpy to be much trouble, and while the chipmunks cause havoc in the garden, it is the packrats who test my efforts not to declare war on a species.

I imagine that about mid-December after weeks of subzero weather and record snow levels the smug little rodent realized that what he thought was a clever home, tucked in a small pocket of air, under a rock, and a pond-liner had become not so great when there was six feet of snow and ice on top of you and no way out with no way for air to get in.

So, no. Clay will not fix this. I will be needing a rather large section of pondliner. I will need the weather to nice and warm so I get both the set liner and the path to be warm enough to press well enough together that the sealer will make a good match. The weather might just be warm enough on Wednesday. If the sun actually shines n the black it will be and I can get it fixed. Fingers crossed. 60 with rain will not do, but at least I have the liner cleaned and enough left over to patch it. Finger crossed this is the only place.

Already thinking ahead to Spring

Today as I was out splitting wood all I could think about was how different the yard will be by next winter.  If the snow doesn’t get to deep it might well transform before spring.  Right now it is a dense tangle of trees that even after pulling out branches and clearing the dead ones from the trunks as high as I could reach, it is still nearly impossible to navigate.

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If all of this was cleared out the little cabin would bask in the sun nearly all day in the winter.  For now it gets dappled patterns of light and shadow.  The land here is nearly perfectly set up for a small pond to go in,with garden beds on the slope below and up the south east facing slope that rises up from the ‘front yard’

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Its a mess now but I can see the garden beds, I can almost hear the chickens that will be ordered the day I get the coop built.  It will be set back into the hill, nice a snug; a bear proof earth ship for the ladies.

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It will be a happy day when the yard stretches out from the rocky space carved out of the mountain for the cabin to it.  For now I spend my afternoons with an axe in hand, running over plans in my head.  As soon as there is a day warm enough to sit outside to get the topography map going I will be drawing up the detailed plans.

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Tour at Paul Wheaton’s

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.  aug 2014 001Here 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.  aug 2014 007The 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

aug 2014 010They 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.

aug 2014 012The 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.  aug 2014 015If 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…aug 2014 019and the bear proof bee hives…aug 2014 021After all the questions and a stop to pet the resident dogs we headed back to base camp for dinner.

aug 2014 022Heading 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.

Bottle Garden (project2 part2)

I rarely, if ever, buy water in bottles, I have a large mug for my water, but I do buy ice tea. These bottles are a bit more work to make into a garden but I have to say I like the result. I think I will stuck to the ice tea bottles unless some one requests the water bottle style.
All the steps are the same except that the lids are large enough to put in two screws on the union from bottom to catchment, making it more solid and eliminating the need to add super glue. The bottom of these bottles are made in such a way it is VERY difficult to drill them out, but have a nice circle that can be followed with a razor knife. Do this carefully so you don’t slice too far or slice off a finger! Doing this however, makes the hole too large to just push the tops through as you do with the water bottles. I had to find a washer to put between the cap and the bottom of the bottle. This is not a common washer size and might require you taking in the bottle to find one that works.
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with the amount of caulking between the lids once the caulking is dry the drain holes will be need to added so the caulk does not plug them.
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