My go at Permaculture

Discussion in 'Members' Systems' started by MoD, Sep 10, 2010.

  1. MoD

    MoD Junior Member

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    OK,
    A little back story first. I have sleep apnea, a condition that cause you to stop breathing while sleeping plus you're sleep deprived. It leaves you tired (exhausted really) all day/night with a lovely constant throbbing headache going through life in a half asleep fog. Think your worst hangover minus the nausea...but with the nasty and extremely touchy disposition.

    My diet consisted mostly fast food with very little if any vegetables. I had ballooned up around 370 lbs or so and was so tired I couldn't even change a lightbulb without taking a break...sadly not kidding. Now I'm mostly vegetarian.

    So after years of suffering and blindly searching for a better life I thankfully found permaculture. Took my PDC with Geoff and Darren at Quailsprings back in 2007. Not knowing much about permaculture I thought I was in for learning a bit of this and that on how to garden. Boy was I surprised, I liken it to drinking from a firehose. Camping and taking the PDC was one of the harder things I've done in my life and I served in the infantry once upon a time.

    Once back at home it took a few years to get to the point of breaking ground at my property. Partly due to my sleep apnea in addition to paralysis by analysis. My home was a wreck (inside and out) and I was getting nothing done on my land. So I devised a plan to get myself moving. I ordered 12 guinea keets, put them in the back yard and got busy straighten my life up. Once the keets became fowl they were moved to the property, knowing that would force me to get out there a get things done. Ended up living in a trailer with them over the winter (was rehabbing the house at the time) so I went into observation mode. Once I developed a idea of where the swales etc were going to be I broke ground. Hired a guy with a 'bobcat' (small digger) and started digging the swales and catchment pond in Feb 2009...right in the middle of a 18 month drought. All on the fly with no plans. Which, surprisingly, worked quite well. Not having a plan for the planting didn't work as well. Still have major holes in my planting system but I'm fixing them. Have nine of the guineas left and they're doing well, great birds to boot amazing eggs too. A bit ass backwards sticking the birds in before the system is ready but they're doing more good than harm and it got me moving.

    My swales are a bit tall but they working well as I am capturing road runoff (at the end of a long road) so when it rains I get a large amount of water to soak in. Can really see that it's working on the down hill side of the swales from the plants in those areas can go without watering much longer. Soil is coming back to life, sheet mulching with wood chips (delivered for free via tree trimmers).

    The property is at the very end of a dead end street with about 5+ acres of undeveloped and very trashed/neglected city park land adjacent. My plan is to take it over and perm it as well. I 'ambushed' the Austin Parks and Rec director and told her what my plans are for out there...so fair warning has been served. Hope to get a few more monkeys out there with me to make a difference so email me if you're in the states and are interested. Will be posting a call for help in the Jobs, projects, courses, training, WWOOFing, volunteering section soon.

    Just an amazing difference in just 1 1/2 years and I not been putting in a lot of work out there. I'm down to around 260 lbs now and have finally found a good treatment for sleep apnea using a dental appliance (somomed) so I'm feeling much closer to normal. Selling my house so I can move out there full time and really get things moving faster and live better.

    Pics and video on my site.

    https://www.ape99.org/photos/photos.html

    and more vids here.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/ape99dotorg?feature=mhum#p/u

    map:

    https://www.tinyurl.com/pennland

    Broke my video camera so haven't taken anything new in awhile...but much more to come.

    Thanks Darren and Geoff (and Bill and David and...) for the knowledge download and new way of living,
    Daryl
     
  2. purplepear

    purplepear Junior Member

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    Good Luck with your venture friend - remember it is as much the journey as the destination.
     
  3. Grahame

    Grahame Senior Member

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    Respect MoD. I like the direction you are heading in.
     
  4. eco4560

    eco4560 New Member

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    Wow! I love the fire hose comment!!
     
  5. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I second eco on the firehose.

    Also i think its great just to start. Even if you fluff a bit, there's nothing like starting for motivation. I started a vege patch a couple of months ago and now i' am in the process of moving it. I am glad that i didn't make too big a production of that though. And agree with you about the birds. Its just nice to have them around and if they need your attention, i think they also help to get you motivated. And wait until you move on site, then you won't be able to stop.
     
  6. MoD

    MoD Junior Member

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    Thanks all for the kind comments.

    Yeah, I've been trying to look at each mistake as a learning opportunity and not kick myself too much over them.
    I have many, many learning opportunities out there...

    Here's some before/after off google earth.

    Anyone need a used car?
    [​IMG]

    A bit better...
    [​IMG]

    Here's a quick guide to the site, which is just under an acre in size.
    I connected the swales with 'vertical' swales instead of level sill spills.
    Added small rock gabion at the bottom of each of the verticals to back flood and soak into those 'vert. swales'. Seems to work well.

    [​IMG]
     
  7. sun burn

    sun burn Junior Member

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    I think I could make a catchment pond here. Its good to see your swale map.
     
  8. JoH

    JoH Junior Member

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    I love your guinea house idea with the planting around the outside. Thats now on the list for my chooks "off the mandala coop"
     
  9. permasculptor

    permasculptor Junior Member

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    good work mod You are doing great.I wish google earth would update my piccie its still at 2004.
     
  10. MoD

    MoD Junior Member

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    Thanks JoH.
    Would love to see how you spin it.
    Doing it around more than one or two trees make it hard to wire in the top. My birds much prefer the huge live oak roost. I only cage them when cold and wet as the only time I've lost birds have been at night and caged. Nature wins again.

    I also removed the little protective wire around the outside...just too much hassle, but might be needed for chooks.

    Thanks permasculptor.

    Will be great to get on site full time and now that we're heading into fall and cooling off.

    Might try updating your google earth or google maps now has a mini version of earth as a plug-in. Works nice.
    They also might be censoring the maps...can't have you Aussie spying on us.
     
  11. mischief

    mischief Senior Member

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    Wow, go man go.
    Im impressed.
    I would love to have 5 acres to play with.
    Life is a learning curve in itself.
    Enjoy the rest of your journey.
    I'm looking forward to hearing what you get up to and how things go for you.
     
  12. MoD

    MoD Junior Member

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    Update

    Time for an update.

    I've tweaked the swales. Added 3" drainage pipe at the bottom and running the length of the swales. Then covered with a foot+ of wood chips. Finally was tested with a 3" rain in about 4 hours. Too much for the drainage pipe, but water finds its way and just flowed over the top of the chips and made its way thru the swale system. Think the drainage pipe will be most helpful on more moderate rain events to keep it flowing thru.

    Adding to the swale plantings. 10 new fruit trees, 3 apples (2 pink ladies my fav.) 2 asian pears, 2 pluots, 1 apricot, 2 plums (all bare root bought stock) and a many, many of figs (rooted from cutting...super easy to root) 5 inga edulis (ice cream bean), few mulberry and a bunch more I can't recall at the moment. Need to add to the support species side. Going to add black locus and more. Have Moringas in too.

    Here's a video of the site taken a few weeks ago...during the 2nd driest spring on record.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/ape99dotorg?feature=mhum#p/a/u/0/i90R3hESv7g

    Here's a video of after the big rain.
    https://www.youtube.com/user/ape99dotorg?feature=mhum#p/u/0/QTFEBr_zzjE
     

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