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Great youtube Keyline primer from Darren Doherty  RSS feed

 
John Fritz
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The link below will take you to a 21 part youtube series of videos by Darren Doherty, about 5 minutes each.  It is time well spent for anyone new to the Keyline concept or even for those who are familiar with it.  It also incorporates the concept of using agricultural soils as a sink for atmospheric CO2 and dynamic bio-accumulators used to build soils.  Very interesting and entertaining.



John.

 
Jami McBride
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This was a great series.  I also like the one with him on the beach showing examples in the sand.

Thanks for posting!
 
Rob Sigg
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I am over halfway done with viewing this, but one thing that is confusing to me is how the water can be taken from the valley to the ridges…isn’t that defying gravity or am I missing something. He presents it as something very simple to understand, I guess that makes me stupid 
 
Jami McBride
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That bothered me too.  In the beach example it appears (I could be wrong) that the water first moves down as it moves over to the ridges - suggesting that with momentum and gravity the water can move up the ridges some.

When I first looked into Keyline all I saw were flat drawings, and I couldn't wrap my brain around it either.  It seems the idea being to keep and direct the water as far to each side of the keyline as possible, eventually running it to the side ridges or into another pound/dam.  This system utilizes a double slope/fall line in some places. 

 
Rob Sigg
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You touched on a key point to all of this, visualization....I just cant visualize what is happening...arg!
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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It's the same physics as this classic toy:

Double cone ramp paradox

All of the water flows downhill, absolutely. But the design allows water to flow from a high point in a valley, to a lower point out on a ridge, and pool there. Similarly, the double cone moves downward as it rolls, even though it goes from a lower part of the ramp to a higher one.

Here, the ramp is analogous to the land's pre-existing topography, which funnels water toward valleys, and the cone is analogous to the berms or furrows from the video, allowing mass to fall by moving in the opposite way from what a flat system would on that slope.

Edit: fixed error!
 
Rob Sigg
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Now I really feel dumb, Im still not getting it!
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Don't feel stupid. If you've played with the toy & figured it out before now, or if you like to think in clockwork, that might have been a good choice of example. But it seems I chose poorly.

So forget my last post: the berms are just ordinary berms, set to have a very mild slope that water flows along at a walking pace.

Now imagine you are building a model of the landscape, and you have the berm peeled away like a strip of tape. You can bend it into any shape you want, and still keep the same slope: it can be a spiral, a straight line, an "S" curve, etc. Have you ever played with one of the bamboo or plastic snakes they sell in chinatown? Similarly, you hold them at a single slope, and they take all sorts of shapes without changing the slope at all.



So we look at that model of the landscape, and some parts of it are wetter than others, and other parts are dryer than others. Parts that are very high & very dry at the same time, we can't do much about. But some wet parts of the landscape are higher-up than some dry parts of the landscape. So we take our gently-sloping berm, and start sticking it to the model to connect the highest of the damp parts, to the highest of the dry parts that the slope will allow. Then we put another berm all across that dry part dead-level, exactly on contour, so that the water running to it from the damp part pools and soaks in there.

Then a few feet down, we do the same thing again. It ends up being mostly parallel lines, unlike the contour lines that traditional terraces and topo maps are known for.

There are lots of other ways to explain this, too, so let us know if that wasn't the best way for you.
 
Jami McBride
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
Similarly, the double cone moves downward as it rolls, even though it goes from a higher part of the ramp to a lower one.


Actually - "it will roll up the ramp instead of down when released".


which funnels water toward valleys, and the cone is analogous to the berms or furrows from the video, allowing mass to fall by moving in the opposite way from what a flat system would on that slope.


Very nicely put Joel.

Blitz - search youtube for  Darren's other videos, these might help you to wrap your brain around this a little more.  As he plays with the sand landscape in miniature it is easier to see how all the parts work together to accomplish what the keyline system explains.
 
Rob Sigg
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OK I have watched the beach videos, and it seems to me that the water isn’t defying gravity its just doing what water does and seeks its own level….If Im seeing it properly the ponds in the valleys just connect to each other  and that connecting swale is what takes water out to the ridges, not that the water is necessarily flowing uphill, its going more sideways. Am I correct? Im sorry I haven’t seen the toy connection yet….Im sure I will wake up one night and go “oh yeah!”

And thanks for your patience 
 
Jami McBride
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blitz1976 wrote:
OK I have watched the beach videos, and it seems to me that the water isn’t defying gravity its just doing what water does and seeks its own level….If Im seeing it properly the ponds in the valleys just connect to each other  and that connecting swale is what takes water out to the ridges, not that the water is necessarily flowing uphill, its going more sideways. Am I correct?


YES! 

And as Joel said it is moving very slowly, at a walking pace because as it comes down the hill it is being sent along the contours, sideways -  uphill from the keyline maybe, but slightly downhill from the water source, this keeps it moving. 

Clear as mud - yes?

 
Rob Sigg
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Perfectly clear, the sand drawing did it for me. There are similar methods used around where I live, I just wasn't making the connection!
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Jami McBride wrote:Actually - "it will roll up the ramp instead of down when released".


Jami, that's what I meant! I fixed it. Thanks!

Jami McBride wrote:
uphill from the keyline maybe


No, downhill all the way. No momentum needed.

There are two competing ideas of "valley": one is "a low place," and this sense of the word is not the important one for this discussion.

The second is "a place where a level stick can have its ends in the dirt and its middle up off the ground," i.e. a place where you expect erosion gullies.

Some valleys (in the second sense of the word) are very high up, and water can be directed from them out to slightly lower-lying ridges..."ridge," here, not necessarily meaning "high place," but rather, "place where a level stick can have its middle resting on the dirt and its ends up off the ground," i.e. a place where there's more air around than land, and it tends to be dry.
 
Rob Sigg
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I liked your explanation of ridges, they are basically the inverse of the mini swales that are  V shaped that hold water for longer due to lower surface area.
 
Jami McBride
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I like your stick explanation best of all 

I said  "maybe"  because the first information I read on keyline gave that example (without the maybe).  I didn't see it repeated in Darren's videos, but having no personal experience either I couldn't say it never occurs.  The maybe means I just don't know.

My thinking was, I'll wait until I have my own land and map out the keylines, ponds and connection swales and then I'll know *grin*
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Jami McBride wrote:
I like your stick explanation best of all 

I said  "maybe"  because the first information I read on keyline gave that example (without the maybe).  I didn't see it repeated in Darren's videos, but having no personal experience either I couldn't say it never occurs.  The maybe means I just don't know.

My thinking was, I'll wait until I have my own land and map out the keylines, ponds and connection swales and then I'll know *grin*


Oh, okay.

It's also possible that the book recommended planning the storage first, and then building channels to fill it with by starting at the storage location and working uphill.
 
Wyatt Smith
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The keypoint is near the top of a primary valley.  This is the perfect water catchment point.  The keyline is slightly different than a contour line.  The keyline drops 1:400 units as it goes out to the ridge.  Around the end of a ridge a true contour line may be used.   

 
Neal McSpadden
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If you watch the related video of Darren Doherty at the beach, he makes a demonstration with his fist that makes a lot of sense.

Hold out a fist.

Your knuckles are the ridge line.  The spaces between your knuckles are the saddles.  Coming down from your knuckles, your fingers are primary ridges and the space between them are the primary valleys.  To top it off, each piece of webbing between your fingers at the head of the primary valleys has a key point!
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Jami McBride wrote:the first information I read on keyline gave that example (without the maybe). 


I'm reading Yeomans' books online now. At one point, he talks about an inverse siphon, for irrigating fields below the high-water line of a dam, but above its drain point. That water does move uphill, but inside a pipe, and only because (and if) there's some water higher up than it will ever go, maintaining pressure on the pipe.

Might that have been what you're talking about?
 
Jami McBride
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Yes, that's what it was.... thanks!

I just love this detail, really helps to wrap your brain around a new idea.

Here in Oregon, where we get little to no rain in the summer this concept could have a huge impact on land development.  I'm really enjoying this thread.
 
rose macaskie
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  i understood one bit, may be, of the question from an early answer of Joel Hollingsworth.   
      If the water is going down lets say a road you could direct it to go to the higher side of the road as it flowed down, you could build a bit of a berm on the road that went down the road but crossed it on a diagonal directing the water towards that side of the road that bordered the higer side of the road not the lower.
    If the road where going down a mountain, round the hill, one side of the road would be the mountain side and the other woudl  look on to the valley and you could roll down the road and cross over it onto the mountain side which would be the ridge side, always supposeing there was no traffic comig the other way.     
        Does this make sense, is this what Joel Hollingsworht meant? Is it what Darren Doherty said? I  dont know.

      Somtimes he got a bit vague, I wondered, does what he says make sense if you already know about it but is hard to follow if you don't. I wandered when people walked out.
    They were a rather stiff audience, they were a bit cold with his jokes. I suppose if you were very worldy wise you woud suss out that you had to get a bit stiff with them.
      If you listen to him you can ocassionally hear those seriouse tones of someone who is really worried about how things are going but he did not project that seriouse side with much strength, not enough  enough to carry it to his audience .  I can identifuy with all that. I take a long time to learn how to present things and he is out designing farms and maybe used to being with hippyish freinds not prickly elders. I never used to understand how important that suited seriouse look was if you wanted to get anything across. or at least a heavy leaning towards your your seriouse side and publick demostration of it.  The importance of being Ernest .

  I enjoyed the videos but i am leaving a few till tomorrow trying not to get completely carried away with them. and then i will look up the sand one too and understand what is being said maybe.  rose.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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rose macaskie wrote:
      If the water is going down lets say a road you could direct it to go to the higher side of the road as it flowed down, you could build a bit of a berm on the road that went down the road but crossed it on a diagonal directing the water towards that side of the road that bordered the higer side of the road not the lower.
     If the road where going down a mountain, round the hill, one side of the road would be the mountain side and the other woudl  look on to the valley and you could roll down the road and cross over it onto the mountain side which would be the ridge side, always supposeing there was no traffic comig the other way.     
        Does this make sense, is this what Joel Hollingsworht meant? Is it what Darren Doherty said? I  dont know.

      Somtimes he got a bit vague, I wondered, does what he says make sense if you already know about it but is hard to follow if you don't. I wandered when people walked out.
     They were a rather stiff audience, they were a bit cold with his jokes. I suppose if you were very worldy wise you woud suss out that you had to get a bit stiff with them.
       If you listen to him you can ocassionally hear those seriouse tones of someone who is really worried about how things are going but he did not project that seriouse side with much strength, not enough  enough to carry it to his audience .  I can identifuy with all that. I take a long time to learn how to present things and he is out designing farms and maybe used to being with hippyish freinds not prickly elders. I never used to understand how important that suited seriouse look was if you wanted to get anything across. or at least a heavy leaning towards your your seriouse side and publick demostration of it.  The importance of being Ernest .

  I enjoyed the videos but i am leaving a few till tomorrow trying not to get completely carried away with them. and then i will look up the sand one too and understand what is being said maybe.  rose.


You got it! Just so.

I had the background to understand what he said from my engineering training plus the Permaculture Designer's Manual (which covers Keyline very briefly). What helped me the most (and where I stole that stick-on-the-ground explanation from) was an undergraduate course in multivariable calculus: the central metaphor in that branch of math is that of slopes on a landscape. I bet Yeomans studied the same math, likely to prepare for his mining carreer. Doherty is obviously steeped in Yeomans, in a very good way. It's too bad he seemed vague, the ideas are important and I think it's important to develop ways to spread them as broadly as possible.

I saw in him a solid block of anger, with a thin and cracking veneer of humor. His critique is solid and desperately needed, and laughing is much more productive (not to mention more presentable) than screaming or weeping.

Perhaps he'd be better-able to make peace with the firewood issue if he knew that the old-growth, rot-resistant Australian species were mostly planted by railroad tycoons; that they were forested improperly from the outset such that their grain is twisted and their intended use as railroad ties is impossible; and that such mismanagement is the only reason they survived the nineteenth century in the first place. It's only such a great tragedy if you think Leland Stanford and such didn't have enough influence on the history of this state.

I kind of like his style of humor, though. It reminds me of some of the older people I meet at the Plow and Stars. And maybe not making peace with all those tragedies and injustices is what keeps him so productive.
 
rose macaskie
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      I like humor but i have known those who don't so i think if you are very clever you notice the warmth of the audience and apply the right technique and this is something i could not have said twenty years ago and i don't see myself as being very good at but have found out exists.
      There are people whose greatest satisfaction is to have taken things right down to a very heavy tone, like you can feel as if you are being great when you are funny others feel they are beign great if they are really boring and seriouse. It is cultural, if people teaqch you that beign seriouse is great everything else is clowning, being fun is silly, when the people you admire are sort of very formal looking like judges and such.
      I just thought that his tone was not catching on with that audience.
      I do think you are right in many circumstances a bit of a fairley big proportion of joking helps.
      There is another reason for having a serious tone, those who invalidate others habitually because kicking others out of the running is their game, will take a thing like that and convince others that Doherty is a frivolous hippy.
    I only mean you have to pitch it with a bit more emphasise on your seriousness as well as jokes if you are cautious.
    In fact spending more time joking than talking seriously is a sign of lack of confidence in yourself. It comes from thinking, "I will get laughed at if i talk too seriously, no one will accept that I, who have danced in a discotheque or once watched a silly series or don't read philosophy or whatever, am serious, have a right to present myself that way".
  If you parents spend their time saying you can't expect a people to take a person like you seriously, remember how bad you are at this or the other  and some parents are like that just because they are convinced that you shoud keep children humble. or if your parents think the likes of them have much chance to get anywhere not good enough genes or blood , think that it is family not effort that gets people anywhere, you will tend to be self deprecating, whereas if your parents are like those of Harry Potters cousin, who see no wrong in their son, then you are likely to take yourself very seriously. Whether you come over serious or not has more to do with confidence than  a real right to take yourself seriously because of knowledge. The Dudlely Dursley do exist in large numbers, if in less exaggerated forms in eral life and if you are talking to them it is better to take things down a few notches in the seriousness scales, they call others frivolous at the drop of a hat. agri rose macaskie
 
rose macaskie
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n  Joel hollings worth the sculpturer that comes out in some of your writtings comes out in your photo. YOu have missed your real vocation. rose.
 
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