Mountain Retreat purchased 2005. Forest Fire late 1990's (lightning strike). Cleaning up downed trees and brush and lots and lots of briars and poison ivy... Black Walnut, black locust, Oak, Hickory. A hillside (former) pasture. Water source is a rock seep. Seasonal branches and brooks draining the 3,000' ridge line.
A tremendous opportunity to apply Permaculture Principles as my study of the topic continues and my understanding evolves... Projects-A-Plenty! Working on a Permaculture Design to include the following:
1. Rainwater Harvesting
2. Erosion Control
3. Land Reclamation / Rehabilitation
4. Landfill Cleanup
5. Gully Conversion to a Series of Ponds by way of Log and Stone Dams.
6. Earthworks: Swales
7. Food Forest
8. Vegetable / Kitchen Gardens
9. And the list goes on & on.
I'll post pictures and share lessons learned from the past 8 years of trials and errors and future improvements based on continuing permie education.
This shall be quite the adventure!
Where's the Water? A lesson in springs, seeps and cisterns. Severe drought awakens awareness that we can't flush like there's no tomorrow. 550 gallons of precious aqua does not last long with a cabin full of city folk. "Slow the Flow. Save H2O!"
2005 - 2008:
Logging blow downs from the fire of 1997. See attached photos. Re-stocking the Wood Shed. Primary Heat Source: wood stove.
Uprooting Briars: Green, Cat, Saw, Brambles and Blackberry Everywhere! Clearing walkways through the woodland forest.
In hindsight... had I knew then what I know now about Hugelculture I would have all kinds of produce to harvest instead of brush piles and bonfires.
A "Meet the Fokkers" Memorial Day Weekend results in lessons in Forest Fire-Fighting. The Bucket Brigade is Alive & Well! But the USDA Forest Service Ranger was none too pleased. The local Volunteer Fire Department was impressed with our resourcefulness.
Note to self: A Burn Permit is REQUIRED! And if you're gonna burn - do it in a clear open space.
Best solution is Hugelculture mounds.
Aaron Blackmor wrote:Just stumbled on your post. Good read. We're in Mills River on a much flatter five acres, but I'm completely familiar with the climax tree species you mentioned and the difficulty of guiding and speeding succession in disturbed areas overgrown with poison ivy and brambles.
Thanks, Aaron. I appreciate your post. Here is another where I've connected to a couple more WNC Permies.
I'm not certain (only Spring will tell) but I may have gotten the upper hand on the briars, brambles and poison ivy after 9 long years of working weekends. But then again Mother Nature may just be flirting and my heart will be broken in another season.
Looking forward to your updates on your permie-projects in Mills River. (I have a cousin in Hendersonville...)
These are long range plans that will evolve over years so check back for periodic updates.
Aaron Blackmor wrote:Looks very good. It's easy to underestimate how similar an initial permaculture project is to a building site or some other type of construction. The difference is the intention and the outcome! Good choice in selecting out white pines. For your projects, do you own or rent your tractor and mini excavator? I have to hire that sort of work out, which is why I can only do things in chunks of about $5K -$10K as time and resources allow.
Yes, indeed, Aaron. I completely agree! The equipment used thus far belongs to my neighbor across the creek. I hired him for a weekend but need to save more dollars before I can hire him again to finish. My current projects budget is not quite up to par so my work is usually by hand and restricted to weekends and short "vacations". My son & "son-in-law" help out on occasion. They jumped right in to help with clear-cutting the pines last month but I was left to clean up the brush by myself.
Returning to Zone 1 to "terrace" kitchen garden beds...
Raised Garden Beds
The Terraces measure approximately 15 - 17 feet wide by 80 - 95 feet long providing some 2700 square feet of planting / growie area.
1. Hydro-Seed Clay Banks
2. Rent a 8" - 10" Brush Chipper to Make Mulch
3. Make Compost
4. Build Soil
5. Build Raised Beds from 2015 Clear-Cut White Pine