Monday, July 18, 2011

Home Grown Permaculture

You may recall that in May the City hosted a pair of classes on Permaculture. Permaculture is loosely defined as the act of designing the use of your property to ensure cohesiveness with the environment. In other words, work with the land and not against it.

The gentleman who taught the class is a first rate human and planner. I respect him very much and have learned a lot from his knowledge and friendship. After the class, I was raving about what I had learned and how I wanted to implement some of the ideas on my own property. His advise was to slow down, be patient and learn about my land before running forward.

This past Saturday, I had the fortune of being invited to his house and checking out the work and improvements he has personally made. All I can say is that it was awesome. Steve and his wife are able to straddle the line between being environmental and being practical. He has solar tubes on the front of the house to heat hot water, and he has other elements of environmentalism (a composting toilet or two), but is not overboard.

On the way up, my son said that he was looking forward to meeting my earthy friend, and then proceeded to presume that there would be no TV or computer or any sort've similar luxuries. I explained that was not the case, but he didn't believe me until he saw it.

We got a tour of the house, the greenhouse, the gardens and the outbuilding that they use as an office, but could easily be a spare room. It was a great experience to see knowledge and theory put into action.

The way the earth has been used is very conducive to promoting a healthy relationship between man and environment. To the main stream viewer the way the property looks or feels might be awkward. Grass is not encouraged in permaculutre, and in its place would be gardens or wild use of the land, which is more inline with wildlife that might use the land for productive purposes (bees, birds etc).

My wife and I went into the trip with a blank slate. We wanted to see how we can use our lot holistically. We wanted to learn about how to place a garage, properly and how it can multi-task. We wanted to see that you can build a greenhouse that also serves as a chicken coop and as a shed. Steve's also has a tree house element to it, which was a lot of fun.

Life is about learning and evolution. This trip was great because it helped us with both. I am looking forward to evaluating our piece of the world and reviewing opportunities and ways we can grow with the land and evolve with it.

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