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Matt's Permaculture Experience (BRK)

Posts: 14753
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
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Thanks for all the posts Matt!  I totally understand not wanting to devote time each day to posting.  FYI people have viewed this thread 611 times so far
Posts: 2189
Location: Pacific North West
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I sure read every one of your guys’ posts, and appreciate all the time you take to write and take pictures.

Will look forward to your weekly ones, as well.
Posts: 31
Location: Montana
dog urban books
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Post #18 (4/4/21):

Pictures! WooHoo, Its a link!

The last couple of days have been pretty high pace haha. As I mentioned in my last post, I've been doing a lot of things and that's forced me to reorganize my priorities. For example, yesterday I spent 4 hours building a path on my little chunk of the berm. It's coming along pretty well (1), though the last section may not happen. There just isn't a lot of dirt for me to build on, that section may have to have some scaffolding instead. Though, I'd hate to block out growing space since my garden area is one of 2 that currently face to the south (meaning more sunlight) and it seems like it would be a bit of a waste to remove some of that growing space. We'll see what the next week holds.

Picture 2 is Lara enjoying some of the bread I've made in my bread binge this week haha. Picture three is a photo that Erica got of me driving the excavator, look at that focus.

In pictures 4 and 5, you can see the work I did this morning. Daniel, Dez, Kyle, and I along with Erica's partner went to go harvest firewood. That took a couple of hours, but we got a lot done and we are well on our way to stocking up the volume of wood we want for next winter.

And all of that was just the highlights from the last 3 days. I think that's one of the dangers of Wheaton Labs. There's just so much to do here, it's really easy to get pulled in and do more than you thought you would. I think that's cool, but it's also giving me flashbacks to when I tried to run D&D games every week while doing 16 credit hours in college. Can it be done? Absolutely. Will you feel good at the end? Depends on your ability to tolerate stress haha. For me, I've found that I do much better when I reign in my ambition a bit and try to give myself time to think. If I push myself to do all the things all the time every week, I just end up being a zombie. Because ultimately, it's that thinking time that allows me to be creative. Like, I took a trip to Missoula today because I wanted to get some groceries to make Ramen from scratch next weekend and that trip reminded me of how much I enjoy driving. I just had time to soak in the beautiful Montana views and to ponder the random jumble in my head. It was really nice. I think everyone should find the thing that lets them just ponder for a bit. But then again, I'm one of those weirdos that enjoy spending time in their own head, so maybe my advice isn't that great haha.

Anyway, that's it for me today, enjoys this little gif of Josiah dancing during a timelapse I took of the snowfall earlier this week (6).
a path on a hugelculture bern
Mmm Bread
Starting Wood Pile
Ending Wood Pile
[Thumbnail for 6-Josiah-Snow-Dance.gif]
Matthew Stone
Posts: 31
Location: Montana
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Post #19 (4/17/21):


Oh boy, it's really been a hot minute since I've typed up a message here. I meant to do one once a week since my last message, but well life kinda happened. One of the things that's happened in the last few weeks is that myself, Josiah, and Jen have moved into Cooper Cabin and have been staying there for the last week. It's been pretty awesome, but the limited upload speed of the wi-fi phone makes uploading pictures for posts very challenging. I plan on trying to do my uploads on Taco Tuesday in the future since I'll be at basecamp for that anyway, but we'll see what time will tell. Things here get very busy and I usually try to help with the cooking on Taco Tuesday.

On to the main post!

I don't know that just writing an update for all the things I've done in the last few weeks feels right to me. Honestly, I haven't been keeping track of those things or taking detailed enough pictures to show what I've been doing. I think instead of that I'll share some of the highlights.

Over the last two weeks, I've gotten to work on some cool projects. The move to Cooper Cabin has been pretty awesome. You can see our stuff from the first wave of moving sprawled out in picture 1. It's been pretty relaxing to live off grid. I sometimes miss seeing all the other boots, but as an introvert, I also enjoy the peace. Cooking with wood fire has been an interesting challenge. I'm still trying to figure out how to balance temperature control on the rocket fire cooktop. It seems to either have low heat or full heat haha. As you might expect, doing dishes without running water has also been a bit awkward, but we are starting to get a system for that working and have a plan to improve it. Ideally, we'll install a foot pump so that we can at least have some pressurized water, even if we have to still be very conscious of our water supply.

Beyond the move, I've been working on a variety of projects both on and off the lab. I got to spend some time selecting and carving a handle for Allerton Abbey's back door out of round wood (2).

There has been a lot of work going into our little garden patches by the Fisher-Price House. You can see Waldo giving Dez a hand with his patch in pictures 3 and my finished berm path in pictures 4 and 5 (see picture album for plants and other garden pictures). Gardening has been a blast. I've planted a whole bunch of kale, spinach, and mustard along with some peas, a mix of bug-attracting flowers, 3 rosemary seeds, and some lemon balm among other plants. I'm having to take careful notes about what I do on each garden day so that I don't forget what's going on. These are small patches, but their polyculture nature makes them much more intensively kept. Especially for a total novice gardener like me haha. I'm really looking forward to seeing what grows though! The gardens provide a nice place to relax and take a bit of a slower work pace that we normally keep here in the Bootcamp and that's also been nice. Right now I'm hoping to turn this section of garden berm primarily into herbs and greens with a few vegetables mixed in (because I can't resist garden-fresh beets), so if any of you have suggestion for what I should grow, feel free to post a comment (I'm told our climate zone is 5a).

Some other fun projects that happened, both me and Kyle got to cut down our first tree's (6 and 7)! Mine was not the cleanest felling, but we got it down safely. I learned that cutting down trees, even with a chainsaw, is very difficult. Those chainsaws can get really heavy after a while and it can be hard to line up your cut right in order to get the tree to fall in the direction you want. Fortunately, Josiah is an excellent and patient teacher. It seems that we didn't quite cut my tree down at the right time though, since it took us close to 4 hours to peel it.

The final project I have pictures for is the beginning of the rock steps and retaining wall Kyle, Josiah, and Jen are working on in the greenhouse right now (8). I helped with day 1 of this build, but I've been down at basecamp the last couple of days working with Erica to get the sawmill back up and running. If you're curious about that project, go check out Kyle's BRK, as he's been posting updates on it. I haven't taken any pictures of it though, since it's pretty much been us making slight adjustments to make sure everything is lined up and all the parts are working properly. We feel like we are making progress, but it feels like every time I say that the sawmill decides to throw another problem at us haha. I hope that my update for next week involves positive news for that machine.

That's it for projects. I've really been enjoying taking more scenic and fewer business pictures. I got some good mountain and sunset pictures (8-11) and some gorgeous night shots using the exposure feature on my phone's camera (12 and 13).

For those of you who follow Kyle's feed, you know that both me and him chopped some wood shirtless last week. So my send-off for today is a gif of myself splitting a log since I told Kyle I'd post mine if he posted his. Enjoy!
Cooper Cabin kitchen
Allerton Abbey Door Handle
Gardening with Dez and Waldo
The Berm Path
The Berm Path covered with straw
Kyle's First Felled Tree
My First Felled Tree
Building Stairs with the Boys
Awesome Sunset
Scenic View 1
Scenic View
Night Sky
Night Sky
Chopping Wood
Posts: 20789
Location: Pacific Northwest
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I just realized the woodchopping gif didn't work because it got turned into a thumbnail. It works if you click on the image, and this should hopefully work, too:
Staff note (Nicole Alderman) :

Yeah. What he said. Totally. Wait. What? Sorry, I was looking at this tiny ad:
1st edition of Living Wood Magazine--Now free for a while
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