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Welcome Ben Falk author of The Resilient Farm and Homestead  RSS feed

 
steward
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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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This week Ben Falk will be joining us to answer our questions about ponds, earthworks, homesteading, resilience, and much more.

There are up to four copies of his book The Resilient Farm and Homestead up for grabs.

Ben himself will be popping into the forum over the next few days answering questions and joining in discussions.

From now through this Friday, any posts in this forum, ie the homestead forum, could be selected to win.

To win, you must use a name that follows our naming policy and you must have your email set up in Paul's daily-ish email..

The winner will be notified by email and must respond within 24 hours.

His website is http://www.wholesystemsdesign.com/

Posts in this thread won't count, but please feel free to say hi to Ben and make him feel at home!
 
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Do you offer services for planning and choosing land in the more desertish areas? I'm looking in central eastern, CO simply due to proximity to where I work and live. Would I be better off holding out for another decade and just buy a smaller parcel in an area with higher precipitation? This is the first time I've heard about your book, I'll likely get it after I get through with Sepp's and gaia's garden. This reading list just keeps getting longer, I might be too old if I keep reading before doing. Thanks for the taking the time.
 
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Can't wait to read your book!
 
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I wonder whether in your book you will be dealing with cold climate farming techniques. There is quite a bit of information out there that pretends to deal with cold climate, but most of this is temperate climate. With 4-5 months of winter, where I live is a completely different cattle of fish. Any suggestions on how to create microclimates (like Sepp e.g.) or how maybe farm through the winter would be helpful.
 
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What will be new in this book?
Be well
Matt
 
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Just perused your website and really look forward to reading your book!
As farmers in Maine, we are always looking for varieties that do well in climates similar to our own (we are on a more Northern lateral than you) Can you discuss more of the crops/perennials that you grow?
Do you harvest all the hay for your sheep off your property too? What is the total acreage that you have?
We also have a lot of cradles and pillows with maples growing atop them This is from a wind or Nor'easter event. What would be your best use suggestion for all the 'in - between' spacing?
Thanks in advance!
 
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Looking forward to your book.
 
Author
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Location: Mad River Valley, VT
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Thanks folks - great to be on here with you all.

"Do you offer services for planning and choosing land in the more desertish areas? I'm looking in central eastern, CO simply due to proximity to where I work and live. Would I be better off holding out for another decade and just buy a smaller parcel in an area with higher precipitation?"

We mainly work in our cold humid northeast but refer folks who connect with us to people working in other areas. There's some great projects and work being done in CO as far as I hear but we do not have contacts in the area. I'd check in with local permaculture groups there about it. Try to find some inspiring sites and go from there. Higher precip. areas have their advantages but if you're water systems are very well setup you can achieve a lot of resilience in arid areas. You run higher risks of course, on the water front. I can't tell you in a few minutes, the most approp. areas to live in the nation though - too many variables there. Try spending time in some other regions and visit sites - that might help clarify.

"I wonder whether in your book you will be dealing with cold climate farming techniques. There is quite a bit of information out there that pretends to deal with cold climate, but most of this is temperate climate. With 4-5 months of winter, where I live is a completely different cattle of fish. Any suggestions on how to create microclimates (like Sepp e.g.) or how maybe farm through the winter would be helpful."

Yes, great point. Mollison once called Tasmania "cold." Sorry, but it's mild. Sepp is in a pretty cold place but as far as I can tell is still much warmer than true zone 4 or colder continental climates. We are solid zone 4 and have the setup aimed at zone 3 and to some extent zone 2 resilience. We are assuming that the zones could shift two numbers either way and want to be prepared for that: i.e. have the infrastructure that can deal with it (deeply buried water lines, super warm buildings, season extension, microclimates outside and in, species diversity, water capture, shade. The whole bit.) But mostly trying to capture heat. Shade is easy to come by - our black locusts which we have planted about 1,000 can be let go, instead of constant pollarding, to provide quick shade should the climate warrant it. Our emphasis on species and microclimates should be useful for you in the book. We don't play up plants that just don't work well in zone 4 for us - like persimmon (they've all exploded), paw paw, some others. And we share what surprisingly do seem to work well, some cherries (even a sweet variety), a peach variety (reliance). We de emphasize farming through the winter - it just seems to energy intensive for what you get out of it. And non resilient as a result. Plus, the light gets too limited and artificial lighting seems to have no place in a resilient setup. We find overwintering and simple passive cool storage (this climate is great for it!) works amazingly well. The colder, shorter your season, the more easily you can store.

"What will be new in this book? "
A lot - the easiest way to see is to checkout our site where we sell the book - there's a Table of Contents there. Mainly a major emphasis on homesteading at large - not just plant species focus, including buildings, heating systems, wood burning, animal systems, passive water systems, fertigation is a big one, paddy rice for zone 4 climates, dealing with toxicity, and a lot of on the ground design emphasis from our work doing this for clients. Here's the link: http://www.wholesystemsdesign.com/resilient-farm-homestead-book/

"Can you discuss more of the crops/perennials that you grow?
Do you harvest all the hay for your sheep off your property too? What is the total acreage that you have?
We also have a lot of cradles and pillows with maples growing atop them This is from a wind or Nor'easter event. What would be your best use suggestion for all the 'in - between' spacing? "

There's too many to go into here but we have great success with elderberry, seaberry, honeyberry, blueberry, rubus, currants (sometimes), gooseberry every now and then. Whereas strangely, we have no success with saskatoons and the like. Apples are coming on strong as are pears, cherry and peach. Much more on this in the book. We buy in about 20 bales from a neighbor for the sheep and see this as a way to help build the systems - very little of the site - maybe 1 acre in 10 makes hay now - it's being converted from scraggly old field. So, it's goldenrod, fern, sapling, bramble, poplar. The hay we scythe from pathways in zone 1 and 2 goes into some duck bedding and our compost piles, and as perennial mulch. 10 acres total, of which 1 is zone 1 and maybe 3 is zone 2 ish. Half of the site is zone 4 right now. But that gets smaller every year. In between mounds is harder in this climate that on top. We always plant perennials on top and sow clover, vetch and other n-fixers and other beneficials between and then we graze it all.




 
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Location: Lone Oak, TX
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Welcome Ben Falk! Your book sounds like it would be just the thing I've been looking for. I have (according to the tax office) about 15 acres in North East Texas and I need resilience! Our climate is changing noticeably in my opinion and I'm trying to get my land and myself ready for whatever comes. I'm assuming that your information can be modified for a warmer climate. Here in Texas the problem is mostly keeping cool.
I've seen a most of a friends whole tomato crop cook on the vines. No this is not one of those tall Texas tales. I suggested planting something to shade them but was told "Can't do that! Too much competition for water and nutrients and besides tomato's need full sun." Oh well.
 
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Just found out about the book. I will be attending this year PDC. Will the book cover basic homesteading skills?
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Everybody, please make sure that you do not ask your questions in this thread. Create a new thread in the homestead forum
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Dig Gashinsky wrote:I will be attending this year PDC. Will the book cover basic homesteading skills?



Awesome! I registered for the August PDC too!
 
pollinator
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Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Well... Welcome!
I am in a very different climate, and i do not know if I will have questions but will read...
And it seems that you cover a lot of different things and that it is not easy to know on what topics you can help us more than in other topics.
What would be your main cup of tea and your main messages to us folks in a few days?
Help us ask you!
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
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So I ran the winner picker app in the forum software and the winners are ...


Brad Vietje
and
Tim Southwell


Congratulations Brad and Tim!

I sent you an email to ask for the email address of the person that first referred you to Permies.com. That person (if qualified) will also get a copy of the book.
 
Posts: 1124
Location: Central Wyoming -zone 4
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Congrats Brad and Tim

two questions

1: where is the thread with all the "rules" for contests and giveaway's i cant seem to find on that is specifically about how the contests and giveaways work, though i seem to remember reading it explained somewhere

2: the OP mentioned 4 copies, is there a plan of what to do with the other 2 if the contest winners were not referred by anyone or do they just go back to the author and/or the for sale shelf?
 
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