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Unexpected wins

 
Posts: 87
Location: Chilean Patagonia
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I'm hoping this post is as original as I think it is. (It probably isn't.) Notwithstanding, here goes.

What are some things you have done/learned/tried/decided based on permaculture principles, that you might never have expected to and may have turned out in ways you never dreamed? I am betting and hoping that many of you could share positive experiences that would be encouraging to newcomers like myself, of ways that embracing permaculture ideologies in your life has turned out unexpectedly well.

For me, the most recent unexpected success was putting my goat bucks in with the does on a permanent basis rather than simply during fall rut. (I realize I am very fortunate to have enough land to do this comfortably.) It has been a win all around, since now we are no longer spending half the day opening and closing gates, chasing strays out of prohibited areas, cutting brush for penned-up milkers, or worrying about fresh water and minerals for everybody. Now all the gates are open all the time (except for the garden!), everybody comes and goes as they please, and predator losses are officially zero since our great pyrenees now has unfettered access to the whole place. More classic permaculture side-effects of this are that the ducks are now free to scrounge goat poop (don't ask me why, they love it), the goose alarm now functions for all borders, bug patrol and fertilization from all species go down on the whole place, and straw or kelp or minerals that I put out benefit everybody instead of just a select few. The most beautiful plus for me has been seeing how my lovely milkers are so much happier palling around with their herd instead of being segregated--and their milk production has gone up by 50% now that they aren't sulking all day! The bucks are happier too, and shall I say less...frustrated. Hehe.

Now I am not saying that everybody "should" manage their goats like I am doing at the moment. Each situation is unique! I just wanted to share something that has worked fantastically well for us after putting some permaculture lenses on our management strategy. And I bet that lots of you have similar yet beautifully distinct tales to tell, about how the permaculture worldview has made your world an easier place to live in.
 
Posts: 36
Location: Southwestern NM
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I'm only just getting started, but one of my "ah ha" moments was when I realized that I could use the deer paths on my back slope as a means of helping to break down mulch material. Just threw a bunch of branches onto the paths and the deer are tromping them down into little bits. Those little bits are trickling down to fill in gaps in the rock barrier at the bottom, which will help with erosion and building soil.
 
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Location: Middle Georgia, Zone 8B
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Trish Doherty wrote:I'm only just getting started, but one of my "ah ha" moments was when I realized that I could use the deer paths on my back slope as a means of helping to break down mulch material. Just threw a bunch of branches onto the paths and the deer are tromping them down into little bits. Those little bits are trickling down to fill in gaps in the rock barrier at the bottom, which will help with erosion and building soil.



Yes!! Our driveway is mulched in some places, and those wood chips have broken down much more nicely than the other places we spread them. My unexpected blessing from wood chips is that I use them in my chicken run. It keeps down the mud and gives the birds something fun to scratch. When I need to sift out some new soil, I just head into the chicken run. I've found that the wood chips have broken down very nicely, and they are "inoculated" with premade chicken manure. The plants I've started in that soil are already so much healthier and vigorous than others.

My best blessing has come from finding wonderful volunteer edibles that have sprouted up around my property. I've got a whole patch of volunteer collards, and several places where hidden, forgotten sweet potatoes are now sprouting out their telltale greens. I have many yet-to-be-determined varieties of volunteer tomatoes coming up too.

Another unexpected win is that when I do need to pull weeds, they are given to my chickens. The birds enjoy the fresh greens and it keeps my feed bill lower. I'm learning that making fodder isn't all that complicated. I'm hoping to integrate more homemade feed to them in the future.

Permaculture is hard work, but it's WAY easier than any other method. I'm learning that nature WANTS to grow, if I'll just give it what it needs and then get out of the way.
 
Marie Abell
Posts: 87
Location: Chilean Patagonia
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Trish Doherty wrote:I'm only just getting started, but one of my "ah ha" moments was when I realized that I could use the deer paths on my back slope as a means of helping to break down mulch material. Just threw a bunch of branches onto the paths and the deer are tromping them down into little bits. Those little bits are trickling down to fill in gaps in the rock barrier at the bottom, which will help with erosion and building soil.



I love this, Trish!! Deer paths were magic places for me when I was younger--I just never even imagined that they would have a permaculture application. I am thinking about trying this same trick on the goat paths on my property, maybe it'll help with our erosion problem!
 
Marie Abell
Posts: 87
Location: Chilean Patagonia
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Stacie Kim wrote:

My best blessing has come from finding wonderful volunteer edibles that have sprouted up around my property. I've got a whole patch of volunteer collards, and several places where hidden, forgotten sweet potatoes are now sprouting out their telltale greens. I have many yet-to-be-determined varieties of volunteer tomatoes coming up too.

Another unexpected win is that when I do need to pull weeds, they are given to my chickens. The birds enjoy the fresh greens and it keeps my feed bill lower. I'm learning that making fodder isn't all that complicated. I'm hoping to integrate more homemade feed to them in the future.



This is really cool. I had this idea when I first planted my garden that everything would be so organized and perfect...but I am finding that nature has her way, and that way usually includes plants popping up wherever they want to! For example, in my cherry tomato patch this year, I planted in some oregano, parsley, and sage as companions; well the parsley and sage got choked out by the tomatoes, but now I have a flourishing little crop of wild chickweed in there, and a volunteer feverfew plant that is just gorgeous (both of those "weeds" are rare around here and I am thrilled to have them).

I love sharing weeds and garden scraps with my birds! I have ducks, not chickens, but it is so entertaining how they line up outside the garden fence to wait whenever I am in there working.

Stacie Kim wrote:
Permaculture is hard work, but it's WAY easier than any other method. I'm learning that nature WANTS to grow, if I'll just give it what it needs and then get out of the way.



This. So well-stated. If I had to write a definition of permaculture, I would definitely steal this quote!
 
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