Posts Tagged ‘plans’

Looking forward to summer…

Having spent a lot of time in the great out-of doors, I was aware of the synergy that the web of life provides, but I never gave much thought about the inter-relations within the home landscape.  Jack Spirko, and his TSP podcast, helped enlighten me to principles of Permaculture.

I’ve been hooked on Permaculture research ever since.  From watching videos on YouTube, reading books and web forums, listening to Podcasts, and most recently watching distance learning college classes on iTunes U, I can’t learn enough quick enough.

This has totally up-ended my plans to expand our landscape.  I had some loose plans I wanted to accomplished this summer, but they are all on hold until I have a better understanding of what we already have.  There’s a lot of established landscaping here at the new homestead, but a lot is in semi-neglected or stressed state.

To help educate myself, I’m reading the following books-

Gaia’s Garden- A Guild to Home Scale Permaculture” by Toby Hemenway (a great book- I’m planning on posting a review when I’ve finished)


Permaculture- A Designer’s Manual” by Bill Mollison (I’m still paging through this monstrous hard bound book)

I purchased both of these books via Abebooks.com, for less than $100 delivered!  That might sound like a lot, but I’ve seen new copies of the Principles online for nearly $200.

I like Abebooks because you are often purchasing from smaller, independant bookshops.

Another great Permaculture resource is the iTunes U class “HS432- Introduction to Permaculture” from North Carolina State University.  This is the distance learning course taught by Will Hooker.  There are 36, one-hour long, videos in the series.  They are very informative and inspirational.  Will has really opened my mind to how complex, or simple, Permaculture can be.

This class isn’t the easiest to find.  You can find it is through the iTunes store- search for HS432.  It’s a free video series.  Google searches don’t seem to find it.

So much to learn, but it’s so much fun….

Do you have any suggestions for other Permaculture resources, etc?  Please post a comment letting me know.


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hybrid willows in backyard- summertime

ten year old hybrid willows

The time has come to take down the rest of our messy hybrid willows.  Come Monday, they will be nothing but stumps.  We’ll have those ground out come springtime.

We were in no rush to deal with the last eight willows but after seeing the mess of switches they littered all over the neighbors’ yards after just a few good wind storms, we knew we would end up dealing with these sooner, rather than later. 

These cheap, fast growing trees make a mess and can cause severe damage to drain tiles and irrigation systems.  

The previous owner planted these as a privacy screen.  Since these have grown so tall, they are no longer serving that purpose.   Once these are gone I hope to never see them again.

I suspect we’ll get a better privacy screen from a nice slow growing, productive patch of blueberries and raspberries.  They won’t grow as quickly, but they also won’t be as destructive and messy.  Maybe we’ll plant a cherry tree or two back there, also. 

Time will tell.

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seasoned wood on seasoned lograck

seasoned wood on seasoned log rack

Example of the racks I made-

To help familiarize myself with the recently installed Inkscape Vector Graphics Program (on my Linux box), I created a simple plan for the log racks I built last fall. This was my first use of this application, so the drawing is not to scale and can use a fair amount of refinement.

From my experience this simply designed, inexpensive to build, log rack can support a lot of weight. As I mentioned in my previous posts I loaded them up with freshly split oak and maple in the fall. I set them on some inexpensive concrete patio pavers so they wouldn’t sink into the muddy ground during the spring thaw and rainy spring. They made it through the hard Midwest winter and very wet spring with ease. A couple of the racks were on a slight slope and were not level when I loaded them. They ended up twisting out of square, but they held together just fine. The ones that were level look as good and true as the day I built them.

The first (proof of concept) rack I made didn’t have the middle support. One of the long 2×4’s broke under the load. There was a knot in the middle of the 2×4 that caused it to fail. I suspected it was going to have problems because the long run was sagging a bit within a month of loading it. I just never got back to install the middle support. I used more care when selecting the boards for the long runs of the other three racks. They all held up fine.

I found that I like these racks better than the metal tube racks. They are wider, more stable, hold more wood, look better and are easier to cover. They fit my needs for a cheap, simple, efficient way to store a surplus of firewood. It got the wood off the ground and helped it season without getting moldy, rotten of full or rodents.

Here’s an interesting book I’m planning to check out all about  woodburning- “The Woodburner’s Companion” by Dirk Thomas

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