Regan Dixon wrote:I hope they sting the voles.
It is true that community is extremely helpful, and for longer term societal structural needs it is essential, but I don't believe that a self sufficient homestead is beyond imagination, design, or reality.
Serious permaculture is not something for a couple or nuclear family off by themselves on land. Such people will almost always end up with an off-site income source, or else a very austere existence, more like re-wilders. For permaculture to break through into abundance requires community of some form or other. All the internships, wwoofers, work parties, perma-blitzes, farm tours, on-site courses, and so on are all attempts to work around this.
Thanks for adding that, Tyler. It is super important, I think, to not have everybody think that they have to have the permacultural super site in order to practice permaculture. it is important to not have idea of perfect destroy the idea of achieving good. The more people are practicing permaculturally in any way the better the world is, and the more advanced our world truly becomes. While community and village based permaculture is a very desirable goal, the foundation of our social structures have been corroded to such a degree that many intentional communities fail without some really serious long term dedication to building this dynamic. We have gone from multi-village based tribal communities and economies to nuclear family based decentralized Nation states and lobal economies and that is wrong, but it may be beyond reasonable, in my opinion, to hope to simply jump from this into productive ecovillages without some serious social re-programming/dedication to social functioning (which is possibly a huge undertaking, given current society).
one can practice permaculture without any intention of becoming self sufficient.
We do indeed need to decentralize all of our systems as much as possible, and be as sufficient as we can within our means, and any steps to that effect have significant ripples in the greater society and in our personal lives.
If I can avoid buying all our food at the store I will consider myself successful.
Daron Williams wrote:Hello Regan,
Very sorry to hear about all the struggles you are dealing with. I wanted to offer some advice on the voles. I'm not sure what your orchard area is like in terms of plant community but in my experience the voles prefer areas of tall grass. My lawn got out of control over winter and a ton of voles moved in but now that I have it mowed I have not seen any. I have also noticed that they avoid areas with wood chip mulch. They need cover to be safe from predators and seem to avoid areas they can't easily hide. So if your orchard area has a lot of potential cover you might try mulching it or keeping any grass down low until the trees are big enough to not be girdled by the voles. Even if they stay it would make it easier for predators to find the voles if the cover is gone. For my restoration work we use plastic plant protectors but you have to be very careful how you install them or they don't work - the bottom edge has to be a bit under the soil surface to keep the voles out. Plant protectors can also get expensive so I'm focusing on removing cover from near the trees instead to address the vole issue.
Regan Dixon wrote:Levente, about your wire baskets. Do these not restrict the roots' growth? Or do the roots break through as the tree grows? Do you find that some species are more prone to attack than others? Here, Rosaceae are tasty to voles, whether orchard trees or wild roses. Other, wild trees seem not to be bothered.
Regan Dixon wrote:...
After a cold, persistent winter, I went for a stroll today in the sun--the first sun in weeks--now that the yard is more or less clear of snow, to see how plantings fared over winter. I have lost my entire young orchard to voles. The trees are a couple of years old, and I never had this problem before. I was so pleased at how they'd been surviving in the moist draw, without me watering them, and thought I might actually get a little fruit this year. But no. Every single tree has been girdled. Five apples, two plums, two apricots, two persimmons. Maybe a pear might survive: it was only nibbled half way round. ...