We’ve put the permaculture layout on hold as we work on the house. However, I finally made some time to take the initial sketches ( located here ), the rough contour map, and the “basic ideas” map (not shown below), and mix it all together in Photoshop.

This is only a small step toward creating a full plan, but it’s fun to see a little forward motion after so much time spent working on other client projects and the house. I’ll need to make time to finish illustrations for swales, hugels, and the like, but… one thing at a time.

Isometric Overview

Contour

 

 

Last fall and early winter, I collected a bucket full of Osage Oranges – what some people call Hedge Apples – and left them to ferment until spring.

I smushed them into a slurry (shown in the photo below), then dug a long trench along the eastern border of the property.

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Using a stick, I ladled the slurry liberally and covered them with a thin layer of dirt. With any luck we’ll have a bit of natural fencing to work with in a few months.

The long term goal is to have an enclosure that can serve as a large subdividable paddock for livestock grazing. It should also serve as a bit of privacy fencing from the road to the east.

We’ve been talking a lot about permaculture techniques and zoning. Here is a first scribbly sketch of our thoughts for the land.

Top left is the yurt.

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We built our first hugel this weekend. We dug a trench and lined it with dead wood. Orin helped break sticks with my leatherman. He was very excited by the process. This evening we’ll cover it with rain dampened straw, sod (turned upside down), mulch and compost. This hugel is pretty small – only about 6 ft long and 3 ft high – but it’s the first of many. 

 

The decomposing wood acts like a sponge and keeps the soil warm. We place large stones in and around it to act as heat traps as well.

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We’re getting some fruit trees and nitrogen fixers planted this week, but we’ll need to probably run some extra fencing to protect everything from critters.

 

The first day of fall felt like it should. Windy and cool. I love it. We can see the first hints of orange in the aspens. Can’t wait to see them fire red.

 

I drove the E1 fire engine and passed the driving test, so I’ll be licensed to cruise it around now. All the long time volunteers went first in the daylight. They asked if I wanted to wait for another day, but I said I’d like to try even if it was dark. The harvest moon rose and lit the way for me (September 19th) and I nailed it except the parallel parking bit. I was about a foot off. Still, I got to go home and tell Orin that I drove the fire truck! I think he thought I was just pretending though.

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Orin enjoys setting up a box beside our bed. He lays blankets and a pillow down, then tells us good night. Of course he still climbs up into the bed, but he seems more and more interested in his own space.

Bedtime

We’re working with SmilingWoodYurts on our house plans. We’ve had to make a few changes, but it’s looking good and we’re in their queue now, so our kit should be finished by early spring.

 

I met the well driller and got our permit papers to fill out. Our plan is to put in an electric pump with a hand pump also. So if the worst happens, we can force the children to go outside and pump our water!

 

The apples and pears are ready to be picked. Dianna has given us permission to pick as many as we want. So there’ll be lots of dried, sauced, baked, stored apples. We’ll invite some folks up to run a load of them through the cider press next month.

 

I’ve been continuing to help Dianna get the place cleaned up, but it’ll be a long term project. Years of illness has left a lot of little things to be worked on. It’s frustrating to be stuck inside working when there are so many things to do outside.

 

We visited (read: trespassed) the field next to us. There’s an old homestead there with a pole barn. I took some pics to help me start drawing up some potentially usable plans. There are also tons upon tons upon tons of stones there. At some point I plan to ask permission to remove some to use as foundation material later. Don’t ask me yet how I’ll transport them though. :)

Pole Barn

 

Orin has been playing his little guitar and singing with me. We make up songs about whatever is around and he gets a kick out of it. Truth is I probably enjoy it even more than he does.

 

There’s more, but the sun’s well up now and I’ve a load to get done this morning. Manijeh is already outside taking care of the goats while Orin snuggles up in my armpit.

Bench Lake

 

From the top of the hill with love,

Eric