I can't really say I'm new to the concept of permaculture or even permies.com for that matter, but I figured it was about time to join the forums.
I've got 40 acres of semi-hilly, coniferous, 'pygmy forest' with LOTS of clay soil, in coastal Mendocino. In some ways it's really awesome! gently graded slopes with lots of edge, 3 completely unique eco-systems, lots of trees! In others...Not so much: 'pygmy forest' is another way of saying 'god damn! there's allot of clay and almost no topsoil!', TONS of allelopathic trees and plants, did I mention the clay?...
My girlfriend and I moved up with our 3 horses about 2 years ago and are living a town and country sort of lifestyle at the moment as all of our income still comes from work in the city. In the long run, I'd like to build up a food forest and earn an income from the property, but for now, that isn't really an option.
At about the same time we were getting ready to move, I started looking into different, less conventional ways. to improve the property and this thing called permaculture kept coming up. I consider myself very fortunate that one of the very first videos I found was the 20ish hour lecture series by Bill Mollison and geoff lawton; I was, frankly, blown away! It seemed that every question I had was already answered, which, of course, just led to more questions. Since then, I've read a fair number of books, watched a ton of videos, etc...Unfortunately, I have to admit I have way more book learning than practical experience, due to time constraints. Over the next few years, I hope to remedy that.
Ironically, I've been aware of permies.com for a while now, as half the time I googled some specific issue I was looking to address a thread from permies was normally near the top of the list. However, other than reading specific posts for reference, I stayed away because, frankly, the number and variety of posts was daunting; Hell, even going through the podcasts was intimidating as there were already roughly 300 by the time I started taking a close look.
It wasn't until this March when I was doing some seriously menial work (covering 1 acre of bare clay with 4" of compost and 3/4' using only a wheelbarrow and shovel) that I thought 'I really need SOMETHING to listen to other than music and my god that Wheaton guy has allot of podcasts'.
What started as a way to pass the time quickly became an obsession and I'm currently on podcast 80 (yes, I'm going through all 300). So far, I have to say my favorites are with Hellen Atthowe: the friendly rivalry is entertaining and the pedantic detail is fascinating; honestly, I'm not even sure I understand it all, just listening makes me feel like maybe I'm getting smarter!
Anyway, I just wanted to say hello and thanks so much to Paul for creating the podcasts as well as this amazing forum, full of people with a diverse set of skills and knowledge. In addition, props to all the members that contribute to the forums as well as the volunteers that keep it all going.
In return for sharing this huge store of time, energy and knowledge, at the very least, I hope to challenge you all with questions that (I hope) go beyond 'what's a huegellulture?' and maybe, just maybe share a bit 'new' of information that I've discovered in my time scouring the interwebz.
Minor quibble: Is there any chance you could increase the session timeouts? When reading a thread, often when I hit the reply button I'm asked to log in again.
So as not to thread-jack your Free Stuff thread, I'll respond here:
In a few years those chips will be soil. I wouldn't worry about nitrogen issues or other issues about the chips, when the other option is lack of soil and erosion. Although wood chipping uses a lot of energy, they are going to do it whether you use the chips or not.
RE: chips to soil - That's my hope, though I have to admit it sure is nice to be able to feed the horses in the morning without putting my muckers on! And yes, anything is better than seeing the soil you spent several years cultivating wash away.
RE: Energy use - Indeed, they were going to chip it and possibly toss it in land fill. While I'd love to get the property to a state of 0 inputs, I'd rather take advantage of external inputs than see them go to waste and, of course, it buys me time to get all the N-fixers going further upstream. I'd like to think it's a similar philosophy to your up-cycling business
In fact we considered setting up a boarding facility when we first got the property, However, the infrastructure costs were just too great: 2nd well (with permits), outbuildings, etc...
I'm extremely debt averse...as a result, many of my projects will develop on the slow path and I'm just fine with that.