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My place is on a several "Edges." 

We are located right at the margin between the lower Mid-West and the South.  Consequently, we have some very diverse weather patterns!  This last winter, we had temperatures in the minus teens, and our summers can get to 100 and stay there for a month.  This climate edge creates challenges in deciding what perennial plants to choose for my food forest. 

The property also lies right on the western edge of the Ozark Uplift.  The Ozarks rise up off of a flat plain and this can cause some very strong wind sheer.  We are a weather-maker area and our rainfall can be intense during thunderstorms.  I have watched seven inches fall in about four hours.  Sideline winds can also be intense, reaching sixty and seventy miles per hour, and they're gusty.  Nurse trees are important to give my young fruit trees support from the winds. 

As I stated in my last post, our ten acres is covered with mature Oaks, Hickories, and Black Walnuts.  One would think that this ought to produce a huge amount of biomass, and it does!  But the soil is extremely sandy and the above weather patterns literally wash the tilth away.  I am experimenting with Swale and Berm on Contour to stop that flow of fertility.

Another important "Edge" that I'd like to learn to fully develop is the fact that the Ozark Uplift contains plants and animals only found in the semitropics of China and Tibet.  There is already an incredible biodiversity on my site, and I would like to gain insight into how to best understand and become part of it.

We also find ourselves on the "Time and History Edge."  This part of the Ozark region was almost completely deforested in order to provide railroad ties for burgeoning industry.  I spoke to the grandson of the man who originally homesteaded the eighty acres around us and he told me that when he was a boy, the only trees on the property were the apples and pears that his grandfather planted.  Even with drained and wasted soil, this area is an example of recovery from absolute ecological disaster!  I want to learn ways of articulating that recovery so that I can use my place as a laboratory model in teaching others.

Finally, we are also on the Social/Economic Edge.  Whereas, some fifty years ago, this county and the four counties adjoining it, produced 90% of the food for three large metro areas in the East, the entire state of Missouri produces no more than 2% of its own food requirements.  The vast areas of farmland that used to produce so abundantly are now referred to as a "Fesque Desert."  Farmers who remained are impoverished and enslaved by paradigms that are not sustainable financially or ecologically.  I want to be able to create a model ten acres that will show Missourans how to get back to agricultural self-sufficiency biologically.

I'm the Elected Principle/Medicine Chief of a Native American Traditional Organization with membership in the thousands, located all over the United States and Canada.  We are a Community of people intent on restoring a pattern of living taken from us and replaced with linear, Newtonian, culture of consumption.  I'm already called upon for guidance.  I need the tools to teach them how to design their own holdings for a sustainable future.

So many edges!  I think a PDC will give me theory and practical application, along with the language I'll need to really drive changes within my own Indigenous People, and frankly, to be a better neighbor.

 
Bill Kearns
Posts: 159
Location: E Washington steppe
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Cloudpiler,

Your observations regarding edges span the gamut of existence from local environment through geographic and anthropologic.  Observation is one of the key tools in Permaculture and your ability seems to be finely developed and well honed.  Purplepear (of Purple Pear Organics in Australia) has developed a Permaculture motto of sorts:  "Intent - Observation - Intuition" which can be described as a basic perspective from which to acquire and apply Permaculture techniques.  It appears you've adopted this perspective naturally!

We are a Community of people intent on restoring a pattern of living taken from us and replaced with linear, Newtonian, culture of consumption.


Well said!  I will suggest that your participation in a formal PDC will not only enhance your toolset in applying Permaculture principles in pursuit of your goals, but will enrich the experience for every member of the class.

Thank you for your post.

Bill

edited to add:  Don't know if this is something that fits for you, but the PRI has developed a Master Plan that proposes to help fund and establish a network of education centers worldwide.  Note that Nichole Ross is the USA director of PRI and her post in the comments section of this link (second comment) may be applicable to you and your organization:  http://permaculture.org.au/2008/06/26/the-permaculture-master-plan-permaculture-centres-worldwide/

The Permaculture Research Institute - USA has a website (the PRI-USA director may have changed from Nichole):
http://www.permacultureusa.org/
 
Brenda Groth
pollinator
Posts: 4437
Location: North Central Michigan
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amazing your observations about your property.

we  bought a property that had been cleared many years ago and used as a celery farm..it was rich in peat and in underground springs.

when we moved onto the property into an old farmhouse..the only trees were 2 aspen, one ash, one  oak and one maple, 2 box elder (that died) and 1 pear and 2 apples that were in sad sad shape...the soil was very depleated and there were fields basically around the property overgrown with mostly quackgrass and goldenrod.

way on our back property was a small group of aspens, quite young, and a few small groups  of Canadian Hemlocks.

I had read in a North American Wildlife book that our area should be a mixed wood of soft and hardwoods  made mostly of aspen, birch, wild cherry, maple, oak and white ash and I could see evidence of that around me, with beech also on the higher ground.

We could see the beginnings of this having begun to reform after the property had not been farmed for celery in a half dozen or more years. MOstly the aspen were starting, which are a sort of nurse tree. When the grow and die, as they are shortlived, they feed and nurture the hardwoods and other types of trees.  After living on the  property for nearly 39 years now, we have nearly reforsted the property that we own, and have started reforestation on the property our son owns beside us. We now have some full size oaks, maples and ash trees growing on the  property as well as many types of evergreens and fruit trees. We are starting nut trees , as of last year we put in lots of small nut seedlings. We also have established a LOT of shrubs and perennial food and flower crops as well as herbs . We took a low lying wet area to make a 150 x 75 to 80 ' pond that holds the runoff from the property with an overflow into a swampy area..alders and willows have sprung up around the pond and the shallows are home to cattails and water lilies. We now have a huge abundance of wildlife and birds galore that live on our property including whitetail deer, bear, fox, wolves, coyote, rabbits, possum, skunks, racoon, mink, squirrels, etc..etc..etc.. we even have wild turkey, pheasant, quail and other game birds as well as hundreds of songbirds.

I have just ordered Gaias garden so that i can read more on what i should do with our  new forest, that covers about 10 acres of our property, I am aware it needs management, but wasn't quite sure as to how to go about it.

i adore the edges on my property too, road ditches, fenclines, irregular pond edges, slopes from the house and gardens into fields and lawns. lots of little coves that catch all kinds of blown in debris, and bird and animal waste all over the property bringing in seedlings and manures.. I tis a wonderful change from 39 years ago
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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