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This Ain't Normal" by Joel Salatin  RSS feed

 
Suzy Bean
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Has anyone read Joel Salatin's "Folks, This Ain't Normal"? Looks like a good one.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN/0892968192/rs12-20
 
Roy Houston
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I'm in the middle of reading this book now (half way mark).  While interesting reading, you will not find a great deal of hands on advice.  It's more of a broad stroke kind of book.  I must say the chapter on water use and abuse is tremendous though.  It makes a number of good points about the problems of flooding in our nation and what could be, but won't be, done about it.

It would be a good book for someone to read if you want to stretch you mind and look at the bigger picture.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Can you summarize Salatin's solutions to the problem of floods?  I wonder how it differs from Brad Lancaster's rainwater harvesting and other permacultural type solutions.

 
Roy Houston
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I'm not familar with Lancaster so I can't compare.  Salatin's comments about flooding were very permaculture-like (in my limited understanding anyway).  In its simplest form, the longer and slower the water moves, the more readily it is absorbed into the ground and usable by plantlife. 

Using the Mississippi River, for example, apparently this river has been purposely "straightened" to better allow barge traffic up and down.  Doing so has reduced the surrounding area's ability to buffer the flow.  Think of a large sponge, say 3"x5"x1" thick.  If you lie it flat and pour water on the 3"x5" face, it will quickly become saturated to the point that the water just passes through the 1" cross-section.  Now, turn the sponge vertical so that the 5" lenght runs up and down and pour the water into the sponge on the 1" edge.  It will allow much more water to be buffered or taken into the sponge before it reaches saturation and passes the water through.  That analogy is part of the problem with with Mississippi River flooding. 

That was one point of his.  He also talks quite a bit about better land management in the form of soil conservation and soil building/replenishment to once again increase the buffering ability of land to reduce the amount of run-off currently occurring. 

Increasing number of Farm ponds to improve buffering ability and improve hydrology cycling.  Apparently the USDA views ponds as liabilities instead of assets (can't comment on this).

He thinks the new laws about resticting a person's right to capture rainwater is also bass-ackwards as this is once again shortening the path of water flow rather than lengthening it.  Goes back to hydrology cycling again.

There was quite a bit more, but hopefully that gives you a little idea about that chapter.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thanks, it looks like Salatin and Lancaster think alike in regards to rain. 

Texas has on the ballot today a proposition to allow special Open Space property tax status for people who use their land to capture and infiltrate rain; the Water Stewardship Amendment.  I think it will pass.  Texas already allows a lower tax valuation for Agriculture and for Wildlife Management, so this would give another option for people who own land.  Incentives like this are important to help people manage their land in a beneficial way, especially as our current drought is making it nearly impossible to farm or ranch lately.

http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/texas/texas-state-legislative-priorities.xml

 
George Collins
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Location: South Central Mississippi
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I'm listening to it now as an audiobook and wish, each time I listen, that I had a paper copy instead with a highlighter in hand. Awesome book. Very informative. Will make you madder'in hell.

This was my first book of his that I have been exposed to and am so pleased I am already wrestling with which of his titles should be the next one I get.

Can anyone tell me which of his books is the best one for explaining the nuts and bolts of his current operations?
 
John Polk
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Two of Joel's classics are "Pastured Poultry Profits", and "Salad Bar Beef", which deal with his poultry and beef operations. I believe his true genius is in his marketing of his products. He sells directly to the consumers, thereby getting full retail prices vs discounted wholesale prices.
 
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