Cheers to that Paul, I think you're dead-on. And I think people get caught up in the doom and gloom of our corporate plutocracy and get depressed and apathetic.. I know that I for one have been there and I still struggle with it. I like to remind anyone who'll listen that there are a multitude of political actions you can take daily in your own life/community without ever having to give your vote of confidence to a politician.
I really like the "levels of certification bit".. I'd add a few more on the front end before you get to designer/teacher.
I think the 'specialized certification' is a groovy idea as well. I think in my ideal situation were I the one devising the process, you'd take the course and get the quick background info on all the general areas/climes covered (e.g. dryland, urban, temperate, etc.) like you do currently, then spend a year or two practicing under a mentor in one of these specific areas, after which you'd get your cert.
@Ludi: I don't really understand what you're getting at and I'd rather come to understand your position than agree to disagree. How is it that something can be copyrighted but not technically so?
Paul, the "minor ethics and sharing piece" that you refer to sarcastically (in protest, I'm sure), is precisely what I'm referring to in labeling these charlatans as idiots. Maybe, more accurately, self-serving masters of obfuscation? I think idiot was probably a bit sloppy. And regardless of what paltry breadcrumbs they scrape off the table for the NRCS to peck up, not enough people care about installing native plant-based riparian corridors on "valuable farmland" to even take advantage of the subsidies that are on offer through that agency (just to name one.. maybe a bit sloppy and general like the idiot statement, but I'd like to think you can feel what I'm getting at).
I think we fall short trying to put to hard science/numbers exactly what it is we humans need to get by. Sort of like when we thought we'd figured out plants only need N, P, and K to survive. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), the same gent who first reckoned plants needed nitrogen from ammonia and figured we might more easily substitute a synthesized version rather than manure also first tinkered with developing baby formula (to initially disastrous results [i.e. dead babies] I might add). Same impoetus for this crap, really (human arrogance), as all the hype about -needing- animal protein to survive, calcium from milk to prevent osteoporosis, low fat foods with the fat replaced by sugar to make you thinner.. I could go on for hours. I think the best nutritional policy is to eat as varied a diet as possible. Period. And restricted of course to whole, unprocessed, unrefined, un-"enriched", unadulterated, uncontaminated foods (wherever possible). And put the earmuffs on when the "nutritionists" start talking smack in favor of the public interest groups who line their pockets.
Actually, it was defined and copyrighted in 1975, and so far as I can see (unless I'm lacking a pertinent update) the copyrights still stand valid without having changed ownership as of my writing this post. Assuming we're talking about the same "P word"? (permaculture)
TheDirtSurgeon wrote: I must be the only one who sees the positive side of that statement. People with money can get things done. Thus, if we wish to do more than spread ideas -- if we wish to actually terraform the planet -- then we get people with money to do it. Am I crazy? Because it seems pretty obvious to me.
And of course, any aspiring designers who hope to make it their bread & butter would do well to refrain from criticizing people of means.
I'm surprised your search for a qualified designer has proved fruitless. I would have thought you were in a ripe area. Strangely enough, there has been a conversation on another permaculture forum wherein is bemoaned the lack of work for consultants. In your area!
That doesn't seem to me the problem. I could stay busy with tons of work, if I wanted to work for nothing. (Not unique to PC design... it goes for any trade.) The nice catch is the client with the means to implement my wild ideas.
On a somewhat related note, I was talking to a friend the other day who manages a factory for a large company. He's spent weeks trying to hire an engineer who understands basic ladder logic. All the candidates look good on paper -- the right degrees, some experience, etc -- but put them to the test, and find they have no grasp of the necessary skills. What's going on? There are credentialed people everywhere, but skilled people seem to be in short supply. Again, not unique to PC.
As someone suggested, you might have to put your own pieces together. Talk to local organic growers, nurserymen, government scientists, etc.
You probably don't want to pay Darren Doherty's fee... but take a look at his site & portfolio. Might help.
I don't think you're crazy, and I can definitely see the positive side of the statement from the standpoint of a PC designer trying to make a living. I didn't at all criticize people of means either if you care to re-read what I said, though I'm not sure you were meaning to imply that I did.
If you know of a qualified designer in my area starving for work then by all means please refer them to me (or refer me to the forum where I can find them). And it does (lack of qualified designers) seem to me to be a large part of the problem, at least in my experience, though you seem to have had different ones. Agree to disagree I suppose.
Again, not asking for something for nothing, and I didn't mean to hit on a sore spot, seeing (or assuming rather) now you're a designer by trade. Just not impressed with what I've found on offer so far. Warren Brush's service (True Nature Design) sounds promising if I'm just judging by name recognition (though so far as I can see a comprehensive portfolio is absent from his site), but again, he's hosting the IP conference in Jordan currently and has been out of the e-mail loop for a handful of weeks now. I'd also have to wonder how much I'd be paying solely for the aforementioned name recognition factor.. but then, maybe it's been fairly earned.
I've not only talked with but worked for organic growers in our area (as well as conventional ones), as well as discussed horticulture with local plant experts, nurserymen, and old-timer farm boys. I think maybe you're right (Paul C. had mentioned it previously as well) in that I've got this Superman (or woman) fantasy in my head where I'm gonna hire on someone who is omniscient to assuage all my fears about implementing this design, when in reality that person probably doesn't exist outside of the celebrity instructors' circle (e.g. Lawton, Lancaster, Brush, et. al). Your link to the Ozzy guy with the impressive portfolio only further solidifies my point, I think. If there's this huge glut of qualified designers in my region starving for work, why link me someone's portfolio who's based out of Australia?
P.S. I didn't mean to fire you up with the, "Well, finally went and took TheDirtSurgeon's favorite advice.." bit. I think you're a sharp guy (or gal or whatever you prefer) and I enjoy your posts. I've just seen you offer that advice on multiple occasions. Maybe advocating a little for yourself while also trying to advance the profession as a whole? :wink wink nudge nudge:
I totally agree Ludi, like I said I think this community is a big step in the right direction, and any way of moving the ideals forward shouldn't be overlooked, whether you wanna call it permaculture or not. But the thing is, IMO, the framework Mollison and Holmgren put together all those years back is still totally viable. It's there ready to be advanced and carried forward, it's got (almost) all the right bits and pieces contained within, and, big bonus, it's already got a well-established and catchy name. I never said it wasn't possible to learn about design outside of a PDC.. on the contrary I feel I at least implied if not directly stated the opposite. But I think it'd be a shame to scrap or shy away from the P word in favor of another term just because it's copyrighted and people (myself included) have some misgivings about the PDC system of education/certification. It's just one part of a very well thought out whole that might could use a little tweaking.
H Ludi Tyler wrote:
With enough information (photos, topographical maps, etc) folks here on the board could probably jointly design quite a complete permaculture plan or evaluate an existing plan, all without needing certification or the exchange of money.
In my opinion.
I'd echo that in its entirety minus the "probably" and "in my opinion".
Paul, very poignant and well put. Don't think you need the extra projection offered by climbing up on the soapbox to point out that a three week crash course shouldn't qualify someone to call themselves a certified permaculturist.. as you pointed out, it's such an all-encompassing field you'd be hard pressed to find -anyone- with a complete grasp of+practical experience pertaining to all the concepts it entails.
I would also agree/argue that the fee schedules for the courses tend to discourage lower income students from attending, which I guess makes sense being that the same issues exist in most educational institutions in our country. Ironically (or perhaps logically?) it seems the financial elite are also the most likely to patronize/benefit from PC design services (the types of people who have the extra money to throw around at things like hiring out yard and landscaping services rather than mowing/mulching/weeding themselves). Though I agree Paul that there are great opportunities for learning science applicable to permaculture within the framework of the traditional education system, I think it still leaves the issue on the table of those resources typically being restricted to those who are financially well off. I really do think the temporary solution (and a big part of the permanent solution as well) lies in free sharing of information such as that taking place here. Pardoning my French and crossing my fingers this isn't overly political, but if the fucking idiots in power would put some subsidy moneys in the right place (like transitioning from industrial to sustainable ag, teaching sustainable design whether you call it PC or not) then we could really get the ball rolling.
Man, really changes the flow of the thread and makes me sound like I'm talking to myself with the posts I was defending myself against removed. Guess maybe victims of the "be nice" policy or otherwise redacted by their authors.
Anyway.. Benjamin, I agree that a new model for certification is needed. To get a contractors license out here for example you need (correct me if I'm wrong) at least a year's worth of documentable understudy/apprentice work or to have worked on a crew under a licensed contractor, with the references to back your time spent. Then you can go in and apply for your license/take the pertinent exams.
Ludi, I tend to agree with you that some people get too caught up in trying to go totally au naturel.. I think true permaculturists are pragmatists as well. Also, I find a lot of people that tend to rant and rave about things like poly drums being evil machinations of the petrol beast and so on still do stuff like.. drive cars.
I should think any qualified designer would have at least a basic knowledge of hydrology, right? And I didn't mean to say I was expecting the consult to be done for <$500, just that I wasn't impressed with what I found on offer with $500 as a base price-point for travel fees to even get anyone here, not even talking about fees for the actual consult. Like I said, I'd be willing to pay real money for someone with the portfolio to back their fee schedule, but short of hiring an international celebrity like I mentioned before (subsequently the guy Ludi linked was speaking in Jordan last week with Lawton and Mollison), that person just isn't for hire.
On a side note, I didn't mean to piss anyone off with my bitching and moaning, though I seem to have engendered some hostility inadvertently. Sorry if I was being unreasonable.
Paul, the more I consider it the more I think you're right. I just need to suck it up and do it to the best of my ability.. screw stress, fear, trepidation.. if I make a mistake, own it and experiment my way out/forward. I just figured it'd be a little more insurance against failure to have someone to consult with who has a few more notches in their belt than I do.
Golly, can't help but feel like I'm being condescended to.
I was referring to them sheet mulching over the Bermuda with cardboard and compost as most suburban designs involve yard reclamation (from grass). Sorry, I know my writing is a bit rambling and maybe doesn't read like it sounds in my head. And yeah, I e-mailed the design branch (actually a different website altogether) of that organization you linked.. going on four weeks ago, now that I check my outbox. You notice in googling there are only like five hits in the whole state for permaculture designers?
Lol.. brutal! Look, I'm not looking for a handout, and like I said before, I'm all for people making a fair living, especially at permaculture. It's just unfortunate for me that I don't live in a more permaculturey area I guess. I think it being a relatively new profession (more appropriately newly popular perhaps) also works against the favor of the folks seeking out these services (i.e., fewer practitioners=higher demand=higher fees). Other thing is, I wouldn't be looking to hire a design consultant to help plan a yard reclaimation project.. I've had a backyard garden before. We're looking at a large scale installation of trees, swales, and pasture over three acres with a lot of work, seeds, transplants, gas, manpower, etc. on the line. We basically want someone to double check our plan of action and offer corrections, additions, etc. for the sake of our personal sanity. With so much cash and effort on the line it'd be a real mess for it to fail, and though we feel competent and have taken great lengths to educate ourselves, this is fairly new territory to us as our former experiences were more based in "conventional" farming wisdom.
I think a big part of what I'm crying about is that the designer I'm looking for doesn't seem to exist. All the portfolios I peruse are full of photos of 10x10 Bermuda grass plots which these designers sheet mulch with cardboard and compost, run the washwater to, plant some perennial flowers and call it done. I'm not paying $80 an hour plus travel expenses for someone to landscape my yard. Show me some slides that look like Mollison's work in Australia or Lawton's in Jordan, and I'll cough up the grand. Seriously. Has anyone here paid for these services? Anyone in the southwest, even better? Anyone who'd recommend their designer better yet?
Sorry for the triple-tap here, guess "I need to vent", like the poster in the Green Building section whose thread I'm following. Just wanted to add that one more thing irking me slightly: All the folks I find advertising services online are -way- more geared toward Bermuda reclamation (backyard lots) as opposed to larger scale installs. If I'm gonna pay a cool grand just to get someone to my doorstep, I want their portfolio to contain some "Greening the Desert"-type installs. Does that individual exist outside of flying in an international celebrity?
Just scanned a few of the posts above a bit further and saw someone say "better to pay a few thousand now to avoid costly mistakes later".. I was struck by the boldness of the figure (though it seems it's not far from the truth). I understand people need to make a fair living and I'm all for people doing it as permaculture designers, but don't these people take something analogous to the Hippocratic Oath and promise to do their best to advance the practice of Permaculture? An office visit to our GP back home cost $80 dollars. With no insurance. I'm just saying. Then again, I've heard the idea tossed around here about developing market niches in which you can charge someone $4000 for a ham, so I guess maybe the shoe fits, depending on the individual. Charging $4000 for a ham doesn't exactly smack of permaculture either, IMHO.
Wanted to bump my post to add this update. We've been looking for a designer now as per TheDirtSurgeon's favorite recommendation (that advice given freely is worthless and professional help should be sought) for a handful of weeks without a lot of luck. Most people who advertise as designers online prefer to stay close to home (like within 50-75 miles, say most of the ones I've corresponded with), and those that do travel extensively are folks getting hired out to do installs all over the world, i.e., their time is worth serious money (they think it is, at least). I'm not necessarily disputing that.. but on the other hand, I can't necessarily afford to pay their travel costs, plus hourly rates for time spent en route, plus the hourly rates for the consult once they actually arrive, then to draw up the design, etc., etc. I guess what I'm trying to say is, the average person's access to design services is pretty severely limited by what's available regionally. I'm looking at upwards of a $500 tab before anyone's boots even hit dirt at my place if I source them from the bay area, which at three plus hours out is the best I've been able to do. World's smallest violin is wringing out a sad, sad tune for me.. I know. But there's a lot I could do with $500. I'd pay it for Lawton to come do a design for me.. wonder what his going rate is?
Friends in rural Quebec have a rudimentary one at their cabin. The 55 gal. black poly tank sits directly atop the stall, the take-off for the shower head is just a 2" pipe punched into the bottom of the tank. Never had any problems with pressure.. plenty for rinsing off. Given it wasn't really a luxurious experience per se.. but it's an outdoor shower, ya know?
As to the OP and your design idea, I see where you are going with the riser thing.. would be easy to divert the water from the drain wherever you wanted that way, with the flexibility of being able to change your mind later and divert it elsewhere. My thought was to avoid the raised floor thing (though it wouldn't be too difficult to pull off) and just run the drain into a leach line underneath a permanent bed in close proximity to the stall (like asparagus or ornamental perennials, or bamboo someone mentioned.. whatever tickles your fancy).
I saw in a post above someone referring to an experience they'd had in which two individual inspectors told them two completely different things relating to the code requirements for an insulated slab install. There's a valuable lesson to be gleaned from that experience: Educate yourself. We did a walkthrough of our '45 farmhouse with an electrician friend prior to purchasing it and discussed all the options. Among them was a complete rewire (thankfully it turned out the old stuff was pristine and didn't need replacing). The code office told us we couldn't "fish" the wires through the walls, as is standard practice in old construction to avoid, well.. ripping them out. Instead, they said we would have to expose the "runs", i.e., the pathways through the walls along which the wires run to the outlets, in order that the inspector could verify that they were stapled to the studs at proper intervals. My friend was fairly certain there was provision in the code for fishing wires to avoid wall demo, and happened to know someone who teaches electrical code at our local state university. Took a thirty second phone call to verify. Too often these beaurocrats haven't the slightest idea what they're talking about, and if you can speak authoritatively as to the pertinent codes and regs for your pet project, you'll have the intimidation factor on your side. Huge. Very likely they're going to want to be quit of you once they see that you've done your research and you're not gonna be horsed around. You get your rubber stamp, the inspector goes on to harass another hapless homeowner, life moves on. I know it's not always so simple, but there are steps you can take to at least stack the odds in your favor.
Thanks everyone who has contributed thus far. Want to try and respond to a few of the talking points.. I'll follow the same order in which the responses were posted; it's hard for me to select snippets w/the quote feature on my mobile.
Hughbert: The idea of niche marketing doesn't appeal to me. IMO diversity=protection.. against disease in your garden/stock, fluctuations in financial or regional food markets (i.e. a bigger producer comes in and fills "your" niche), etc. Don't wanna be so singularly focused in my everyday work either.. variety is the spice of life. On the note of the unfortunate pool foundation, it wasn't backfilled.. it was an aboveground type. So when they did away with it they just knocked the walls down and buried the foundation (which looks like 1-2' of concrete on rebar, though I've not examined it closely). That's only like maybe 100 sq. ft. of our "yard" area though. My real concern as I stated previously is the lead paint they've used around the patio areas and concrete walkways; however, this really only puts off limits the front patch between the house and road because thankfully they didn't think it necessary to paint in the back where no one would see it. Anything from the backdoor of the house west is basically included in the 400x200' rectangle I referred to in describing the place initially, so I've allowed for some "zone one" planning as per Mr. Mollison's design principles. And per your suggestion I hire in "professional" advice, I'm seriously considering it. It depends on who I can find and what they think their time is worth in dollars.
Dirt Surgeon: Our scale is, naturally, limited by what space we have available; however, we weren't planning on monocropping it to strawberries . There's good money to be made selling a seasonal progression of a wide variety of fruits and veg through the CSA model, and a lot of people are/have been successful at it (and a lot of them on less than two acres, I might add). We obviously see eye-to-eye in regards to government officials. Better to beg forgiveness (read: claim ignorance) than to ask permission.
Rose: No need to apologize for the hijack, I like where you were going with that. I imagine our climate here in central CA is similar to yours in Spain. Arid Mediterranean with dry, hot summers and mild, wet winters. As for pioneer trees/bushes, we are looking at acacia and mesquite which I think you mentioned, as well as ceanothus, honey locust, and desert willow.
John: Per my description of the pool foundation, how would you set about putting that space to use? I agree with your assertions about value-added goods/processing. The exemptions we have out here for homestead/farmstand/direct-to-consumer only allow for canned goods with high acid content e.g. pickled preparations. Beyond that you start having to retrofit buildings and court the USDA. That's saying nothing of the labor involved to do it on a small scale without specialized equipment.
TheDirtSurgeon wrote: If money is a non-issue, allow me to suggest you hire a good PC designer in your area. You'll get much better advice from someone who knows your climate, and can put boots on the ground, than you will from random people from all over the planet. Free advice is usually worth what you pay for it.
I've thought about that.. main issue I have is that I don't necessarily think a three day design course and certificate qualifies someone as more competent than myself to design the layout of my property. I know people personally who've taken the courses who have little to no practical knowledge (read: don't know how to use a shovel), which in my book counts for a lot more than having taken a crash course and been branded an expert as a result. If it were someone with dozens of designs to their credit with follow up and references to support, maybe. Would someone like that give me a phone/e-mail consultation at a reasonable rate? If you're the individual I've just described as you sit there reading this, send me a PM and let's talk prices. In the mean time, there's a million experts on these forums, and I myself am no "newbie".. I feel perfectly competent to sort through whatever opinions are given and draw my own conclusions from them, and I can be grateful of their authors' input whether I personally fancy their particular idea or not. I disagree that advice given freely is usually worthless.. and I'm leery of "experts".
I was wondering if anyone would care to pitch in design ideas (or even a complete design if someone's bored and got a bunch of spare time on their hands?) for our property. I was introduced to the concept of permaculture through these forums several months back and have learned much since through study with our friends Mr. Mollison, Lawton, et al., as well as from many of you here. As a result the business plan for our 3 acres (which we closed on in late June) has rapidly evolved (more like been demolished and is in the process of being reconstructed) from a more conventional picture of organic farming (by this I mean lots of mechanical cultivation, rows, irrigation schedules, etc.) to what we feel is a much more progressive, regenerative way to farm/live (permaculture). I wanna sneak in a thanks here too to all the folks in these forums who've helped through sharing their experiences to allow me to form a more comprehensive plan for our piece of dirt.
The property is near perfectly rectangular (most land around here is cut into neat squares for tractor farming) running 600' E-W and 200' wide (N-S). The road frontage is the eastern property line. It slopes very gently west to east, only a total of about six inches drop over the whole 600'.
The 200' by 200' area running west from the road contains the house, barn, septic, driveway, etc. Because of limitations on what can be done on the ground in this area so far as cultivating food which vary from lead paint having been used on concrete walkways, to a buried swimming pool foundation, to the aforementioned septic system, we've slated this third of our land for drought tolerant perennial flowers, desert trees, succulents, and native scrubs like deer grass, coyote brush, wild rose, et al. with an emphasis on plants that will provide food/pollen/habitat for our local fauna.
The other two-thirds, roughly 400' by 200' (basically 2 acres), is a blank slate. We have access to water (canal district, plus our domestic well), machinery (you name the implement.. we know a slew of conventional farmers glad to bring it over and pitch in for free - real nice folks, however misguided they may be in their methods).
We are going for extreme diversity here, not looking for a 'niche' crop. Well-established markets exist in our area for high quality produce, pastured meat and eggs, honey, etc. We have friends and neighbors who have expressed interest in a CSA and are confident we can sell more shares than we will be able to offer. We have experience with/are interested in keeping goats, bees, sheep, turkeys, and chickens, and would like to learn ducks as well. The four legged friends will be for homestead use only, as we're well familiarized with the loops which must be jumped through in order to sell large-breed animal meat (and dairy products) in our state.. not worth the hassle, thanks.
What would you do with two flat acres of sandy loam given the "client's" wishes, money being a non-issue? How would you set it up?
auntythelma wrote: If I lived in california I would eat fresh winter stuff for sure :0)
Winter root crops store pretty well.. hence your mention of a root cellar, I guess. Just didn't hear any mention of stocking it with, well.. roots. Nothing growing outside in your neck of the woods to supplement your winter table? The winter garden has got to be one of my favorite places.
auntythelma wrote: Root Cellar! on my list of many goals for our property.
I know alot of people that don't really know how to used preserved fruit and veggies. When I go into the grocery store I get the feeling that it is our God given right as middle class Americans to have FRESH food always......in contrast to the food deserts in the inner city........whoa way off topic!
when I was a kid we canned bing cherries. (if you never have had canned cherries it should be on your list of thing to try.) you could only get cherries for a couple months in the summer.usually we picked our own for a $1 lb! what a treat the canned ones were for us. But now I have seen fresh cherries in the mid-winter from south america. Most people would pay $10 lb for unripe fresh cherries and think they tasted good. I know some people that would turn up there nose at my canned version and eat the crappy fresh ones \
Native plants, on a planetary level, would benefit if we stopped shipping fresh food from out side North America. The reality of how our winter produce gets shiped is obscene. A good food movement to start would be using dried, can, and frozen foods. We need one of these popular chef people to embrace this idea and show americans how to cook with preserved foods.
I love canned cherries as well.. almost prefer them that way versus fresh. I'm not big on canned/preserved food in general, though. That's what winter veg is for! Fruit preserves are great of course, but why eat frozen corn (or week-old stuff shipped from the southern hemisphere) when you can be eating great, fresh winter stuff?
Moldy/rotted hay that's gone bad before the rancher can feed it to his stock is prime mulch, and lots cheaper (most often free for the labor of hauling) than fresh, feed-grade stuff. Not to mention that's a lot of land and petrol gone into bailing the stuff just to use it for mulch.
We have milk thistle coming out our ears in the valley if anyone wants some free seed. Bad year for goatheads, too, though I can't imagine anyone wanting to cultivate those (though I do recall reading somewhere the Chinese make a tea or something from it). They cultivate milk thistle as well for the seeds, from which they make medicine(s?).
I concur with the previous post that the best way to get the morning glories is to chop them at surface level. Repeatedly. And they will come back. Again.. and again. I do however intend to stick one in a pot this year.. the flowers are massive and actually quite lovely.
Maybe burn or cultivate and then smother? Sheet mulch or UV transmitting plastic to suffocate it after you take it down to ground level? Sounds like the patch is out of commission for gardening anyhow, i.e. it wouldn't hurt to cover it for a season to get a good kill on that stuff.
dale hodgins wrote: Regarding aggressive dogs. This only works if your property is large and your dog understands where his territory ends. My younger siblings were unable to go to school down a certain road because of the neighbors aggressive dog. I killed that dog. With the help of a group of friends I also drove another family from the neighborhood with a combination of vandalism and late-night noise directed at their home. All of this was in retribution for a dog bite received on the side of a public road.
It can work easily in a number of different scenarios, actually.
Firstly I wasn't advocating keeping an animal like the one you describe above. There's a big difference between a well-trained and cared for dog that's protective of it's home territory and a rabid pitbull chasing kids down public byways. The first problem with that animal is its owner. Properly trained and socialized animals, even if territorial on home ground, don't run about biting people willy-nilly. Properly trained and socialized humans fence dangerous dogs so they don't pose a hazard to their neighbors' kids. As much as I hate playing the redneck with the gun, I've resorted to picking off our neighbors' essentially ferrel dogs (whom they care little for and have essentially free range of the area as their fence is inadequate) when they cross our property line. They're nowhere near big or mean enough to pose any threat to me, but waking up to them in my barn with dead hens strewn about was a bad morning that I don't care to revisit. Glad to report the two responsible for that slaughter are no longer with us.
Not much IMO that beats a big, territorial dog so far as deterrents. Intimidation factor is key.. not absolutely necessary that it's an aggressive animal (though it'll help the case) - more important that it's big enough so that when folks see it they won't want to get close enough to even test its demeanor. Not to mention big dogs will run deer, so double whammy if the trespassers are there for poaching. No quarry = no hunters.
Another one.. we've been waiting to do our washing until late afternoon when it's hottest out and hanging the laundry to dry in our mudroom (hottest room in the house) in front of a circular fan.. et voila! - low-tech swamp cooler!
I see a lot of people mentioned eating garlic as a preventative (I do too.. raw is best). I read in one of Mollison's pamphlets you can also throw whole cloves into standing water and it will wipe out the larvae without interfering with the rest of the ecosystem. I'd assume you would crush them a bit first so the oils more readily flow out.
I run about working until I get frustratingly hot, then hit my feet/calves, hands/forearms, face and neck (back of neck more importantly) with cold water straight off the well. Forearms and back of neck are the real essentials.. cools you down quick. Feet and calves are just a bonus for me because I work in shorts and flip flops. Stand in the shade facing the prevailing wind to dry.. better than A/C (we don't have one anyway).
I do feel for you folks east of the Mississippi though.. shade doesn't help much with 99% humidity.
The problem with healthcare and health insurance in our country isn't going to be fixed by the government "keeping their sticky fingers out of it". The problem is that the reins have been handed over by the government to Wall Street.. HMO's who run their private institutions (as required by law) to best benefit their shareholders' pocketbooks, rather than the health of their policy holders (their supposed raison d'être). But socialism is a big scary word.. just ask Sarah Palin.