Louis Laframboise

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since Jan 26, 2012
Lanark Highlands, Mississippi River watershed, ON, Canada, Laurentia; Dfb (Köppen climate system)
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Recent posts by Louis Laframboise

Anyone have experience or suggestions for successfully applying and receiving property taxes benefits (possibly 75% off) by taking part in the Ontario Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP)?

2 days ago
Some of my suggestions and observations for dishwashing follow:

As dirty dishes or other items to be cleaned are appear, group them into different categories, themes or piles according to their degree of dirtiness. This also helps with having a less cluttered space. Things to consider and potential categories—remembering that all of these categories and delineations are maleable and not fixed—include:
1.) cups/glasses/bottles WITHOUT grease in/on them
2.) plates and bowls
3.) cutlery
4.) bowls or other food storage containers
5.) cooking pots and pans which are more greasy or crusted

Clean or scrape dishes, pots, pans and cutlery as best you can, and as soon as possible, after use. Do this BEFORE washing so as to dirty and, in the end, use as little water as possible. To remove the slimy, greasy or food-caked items, I use a bendable/flexible spatula. This material gets dropped into the dog dish. Another option—especially for the smaller, more wierdly shaped items and those which are greasier—is some kind of fibrous, textile material, or unused or slightly dirtied paper napkins, and even leaves, banana peels or other appropriate natural, biomass materials. These various cleaning materials then go to the compost, worms or chooks.

Have an extra basin for soaking or as a pre-cleaning stage. You can also swish out dishes or other containers which are more dirty and then keep cycling that dirty, already used water to the next dirty container. This all happens before they go into the main soapy water basin. Again, this practice minimises the grease or dirt getting into the water as well as the total volume of water used.  

For pots and frying pans--especially if they are on the greasier or more caked on end of the continuum--I put in a bit of water and heat them up. These are usually cast iron pans which do not fare well with soap anyways. The hot water speeds up the cleaning, or, in some cases, is the only way to get them clean. The heat factor really makes the difference. I have noticed how much easier and quicker it is to clean the dishes with water that is heated (to boiling)on our wood cookstove compared to the relatively cooler water coming out of the hot water tap. I then clean the heated pots and pans with a non-metallic, slightly abrasive, cloth. The results of this are then added to the dog dish. This forms a part of the home economy by cycling stuff to the animals—which supplements and makes more tasty what is still bought for them in imported food. These were the original kinds of things that—amoung other items—were given to the dogs and chooks who played the role of the important 'scavengers' and recyclers at the household edge. After a quick rinse, the pots and pans are dried off with a cloth (dedicated for this task). If done properly, the patena on the cast iron pan is maintained or added to and does not dry out.

Salt is a great cleaner for dishes and other containers made of glass. I know of salt's cleaning power for glass though it may have potential for many other materials. Place some salt in the container to be washed or in the washing basin. With time, you will come to see how much salt is required. Add hot water so as to dissolve it. Use this resulting water as your cleaner. The real power of salt comes from the fact that the dissolved, separated and ionic form of the components—Na (sodium) and Cl (chlorine)—go to work by "attacking" and removing grease and other dirt particles of opposing electric charge. Once you are done, rinse with cold water. You will be surprised as to how clean and crystal-like the glass becomes—especially incredible considering that no artificial chemistry or toxins were needed and which popular culture would try to convince us is not possible. Let's celebrate another example of salt's multifunctionality.

There is some kind of pattern I have also noticed as to the ease (or lack thereof) or the amount of time it takes for dishwashing which is linked to the state of the universe, the position of the moon and how other natural phenomena affect things. This is also what biodynamics is about and how different days or times of the lunar calendar affect different human activities such as the days for planting, harvesting, or how the quality of breads baked in a bakery turn out or the ease and sucess of hair cutting. I know it will probably sound wierd to the majority of you, but observe carefully the next times you are doing the dishes.

There is a very simple yet efficient and mindful way that nuns, monks or some other spiritual people take care of their dirty dishes and cutlery. Once finished eating, they add a little bit of water into their dish(es), swish it around a bit, maybe rub the harder stuff off with their fingers or cutlery, and then drink it! It is not that disgusting if you really think about it. Although some may find the thought of such a system disgusting, it is not very much different than what already occurs in your digestive system whe you drink water before, during or after your meal. It also invites one to eat less complexly—as in not mixing as many foods at once—which is also healthier and leads to a more clear mind.

I would sure like to learn from folks who live in desert or dryland climates of the world how they do dishes there with minimal (or no) water--assuming they do not live with the modern, high on the hog water- and energy-wasting lifestyle, like electricity-powered dishwashers and overly-populated faucets and other plumbing infrastructure. I remember seeing a school in rural Santiago del Estero province in Argentina where there was only one outdoor faucet for the entire school! Given that this was in a hot, dryland climate, it gives us much to think about and something to strive for for those of us living in overdeveloped, convenience-filled, water-rich societies. In resumen, what I am looking for are dishwashing design analogues. Although similar to the concept of a climate analog, coming up with techniques and patterns for dishwashing would not have to come from similar climates as we could leapfrog the water practices and realities of our climate—though the process can only go in one direction in which a more water-rich climate could adopt the cultural practices of a more water-restricted climate. Might the above points and those throughout this thread one day make up a (hand) dishwashing pattern language?

I am usually more interested and inspired by having/using/harvesting the greatwater (greywater) than in actually doing the dishes though I love it's contemplative, seemingly time-halting nature and the warm, wet massage! I am stalling on installing a greywater system for our kitchen sink (which bypasses the septic system and drains out to the front yard) because I have as of yet not figured out the best way to capture as many of the different ecojewels flowing out of it. My intention, and reason for my slow implementation of a greywater system, is to let those plants and creatures (chooks, dog, worms and insects, e.g.: as a barrel breeder) best suited to taking advantage of each of the different elements and niches—including, but not limited to, heat, filtrand, filtrate, microorganisms and nutrients—find their rightful place in this richly-edged and integrated system.
1 week ago
Hummingbirds love canna lilies. Even though they do not (easily, reliably) overwinter here (and are therfore a bit more work because one has to store them in a warmer indoor spot over the winter--or for a milder climate or winter can be successfully mulched and ket in place) the canna lily adds beauty and is a magnet for the hummingbird. The (sub)tropical canna goes together nicely with the hummingbird whose colours--beautiful metalic, shimmering, iridescent hues--remind us of the tropical lushness and richness, but also touch us due to the bird's nomadic/migratory dip into and out of the warmer climes. Canna lillies are vigorous growers when it is warm and fertile enough for them and respond even more when fed appropriatel amounts of greywater (greatwater) and water. It is amazing how much the rhizomes expand by the end of the growing year--even in this temperate climate. Some varieties have edible rhizomes and were a keystone food of the Inca culture (see "Lost Crops of the Incas" freely available online as a PDF download).
2 weeks ago
We are called Pangaea and are located in the Lanark Highlands of Lanark County. Closest town is Perth. Our family of 3 are living on a large acreage with a fair amount of diversity. Some of what we do are plantings, gardens, children's nature program, small scale forest work, fascines and other earthworks/land reclamation, healing ceremonies with native people from the region, experimental biochar, 'waste' cycling and other ecojewel catching & transformation. Pangaea is also a place of spontaneous meeting, learning, visits and refuge. Connecting with the living landscape, and that we are a vital and needed part of it, is very important to us and that everything is not about being "productive". Instead we need to take on a wider sense or definition of productivity--perhaps a la 8 forms of capital. Looking for outlets & venues--especially locally, bioregionally--for my writing and other creative works. Also trying to remember the history of this place and not rushing into things. We aim to tap into local wisdom and skills--including the "hicks" and "rednecks".

Louis Laframboise
2 months ago
In what podcast, video or other document does Paul Wheaton reveal some more details about how to leave your chooks unattended for several days allowing them acces in and out of doors and that they get feed if you are doing that? It is also where he talks about predator solutions.

Also, in what video does Paul Wheaton reveal the pH of chook manure? I seem to remember it was alkaline or basic because to balance things out (problem is the solution) some kind of coniferous or evergreen cuttings or brash was used to spread around as/for bedding.

Where can I find the details of these?

Many thanks,
3 months ago
Curious as to why many names are greyed out with a grey rectangle before someone's message.

If there is a FAQ or some other file which explains this which is already in existence, please direct me to it and I apologies for wasting precious time and resources.


I appreciated your reply though my question was more about whether some additional tools or language has been developed which more richly details and more neutrally expresses ways to understand and communicate around the topic of natives, exotics, invasives. I find this would be an extremely helpful tool for our designs, work, learning and, especially, for our communication with others.

Regarding communication with others, I have in recent years learned about the trivium* method and would like to find ways of applying it to the invasives conversation. This is partly why I am asking you whether you have run across the sort of information mentioned in the first paragraph or are working on creating something like this yourself. As I don't believe much of this has been put together, at least in a publicly accessible form, anything like a summary, notes, index or bibliography would be helpful. But maybe I am realizing that this list that I have been hap-hazardly putting together all along could be of use to change the conversation, and so I have shared a small part of it below.

My interest in this topic is pushed by realizing that going after the non-natives--those arbitrarily-defined species of 'elsewhere'--is not the answer. It is an illusion and another example of the extension and morphing of the war machine, which is bent on attacking or blaming the other. We do not need to continue the war. One important tool within the trivium method's toolbox with which they suggest one (adult) learn and start practicing is with the logical fallacies. Upon careful examination, some of the reasons given for attacking invasives with chemicals or for implementing other such supporting policies, employ the use of these logical fallacies.

As I find more snippets to learn from, I deepen my fascination and continue to delve into and push outwards this material which is not all that clearly defined nor obvious. I imagine your book on botany sort of provides the trivium for/of botany and plant identification. Moving in the same constructive and positive approach, I endeavor to find and continue building this trivium of invasives, exotics and natives.

What follows in the next paragraphs are examples, as well as a partial index, of what I have found which provide new tools and a richer language to further the multifaceted conversation on, and interaction with, natives, invasives, exotics, weeds, non-natives, invasion biology,... I do not claim the list to be exhaustive nor objective. I provide it here for curiosity and, as always, it is up to oneself to come to terms and check its validity). To let you know, unless otherwise specified, I tend to examine through the lens of plants. Also, if there are no references, the idea may come from Dave Jacke's (and Eric Toensmeier) book, Edible Forest Gardens.

The first example is about a more specific, descriptive and biogeographical-based system to classify plants which is place-based instead of the simplistic, vague and ambiguos use of “invasive”. The following paragraph is a quote from the article “Refugees Without Legs: How Climate Change Leaves No Room For ‘Invasive Species’”, by Kollibri terre Sonnenblume. (http://www.carolynbaker.net/2014/01/29/refugees-without-legs-how-climate-change-leaves-no-room-for-invasive-species-by-kollibri-terre-sonnenblume/)

Since then, I discovered that an excellent alternative has been offered: “A neutral terminology to define ‘invasive’ species”, by Robert I. Colautti and Hugh J. MacIsaac, published by the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research at the University of Windsor in Ontario [link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1366-9516.2004.00061.x/pdf]. Leave it to Canadians to be more nuanced than their southern neighbors! Colautti and MacIsaac observed that “the use of simple terms to articulate ecological concepts can confuse ideological debates and undermine management efforts” and that “subconscious associations with preconceived terms, particularly emotive ones, can also lead to divergent interpretations and a confusion of concepts and theory”. No kidding! In place of a single word such as “invasive”, Colautti and MacIsaac put forward a system that is biogeographical (place-based) rather then taxonomic (species-based). The system describes possible stages of a new species entering an area. As summarized on Wikipedia, these stages are: I. Traveling, II. Introduced, III. Localized and numerically rare, IVa. Widespread but rare, IVb. Localized but dominant, V. Widespread and dominant. The single Holly tree in the front yard in Portland was at stage III: “Localized and numerically rare”. Corn in the Midwest, European trees in New England, and cattle in Eastern Oregon, by contrast, are at stage V: “Widespread and dominant”. This system can also be used to describe native plants. The conifers being decimated by Bark Beetles are passing from stage V. to stage IVa; from “Widespread and dominant” to “Widespread but rare”, and could soon be at stage III: “Localized and numerically rare”.
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Invasion is actually a term used in the science of ecology and is based more on vegetation dynamics (if we are talking plants) or successional change.
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On CBC Radio's Ideas program, I came across an episode called “Bioinvasion: Attack of the alien species!”. Some things of interest from this are about the origins and definition of “invasive”. Charles Elton (1950s), is one of the fathers of invasion biology who militarized this term. Although I have not looked at it myself, I found a reference to the “Encyclopedia of Biological Invasions”, a work edited by Daniel Simberloff, who was one of the many people interviewed.
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Let us ask more specifics such as during what time period and to what area is a species native?
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I invite you to examine the work of David Holmgren (co-originator of permaculture), especially his topics of novel ecosystems and ecosynthesis, which are very relevant to this shape-shifting kind of discussion on natives. One place to start is his book “Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability”. He also has a great article called “Weeds Or Wild Nature”, with several editions so far, which is working itself into a book, maybe to be soon released.
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“There currently exists an enormously rich literature of succession ecology that is being virtually ignored by many researchers studying invasions.”
–M. A. Davis, K. Thompson, and J. P. Grime. Charles S. Elton and the Dissociation of Invasion Biology from the Rest of Ecology.
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community invasability
differential species availability
increased resource availability
unified oldfield theory

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* Trivium and trivium method links and references:

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Thanks a lot for donating your book to Permies.com. I got mine today and like the approach or methodology and see that it is a sizeable tome which has had plenty of discipline, thought and focus put into it's creation and constant updating. The work before me is great, but now I feel I can be better prepared with this novel and ingenious way of relating and understanding plants.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the note, dedication to Frank Cook at the beginning of your book. The one thing I knew about him was the article he wrote in the Permaculture Activist several years back called Listen to the Weeds' Stories. One thing that I liked about this article was the commonality and cosmopolitan nature of weeds, herbs, foods, teas,... which one can find all over the world and which Frank was suggesting we comune with. I can attest to this with my experiences in the Chaco bioregion--mostly in Santiago del Estero, Argentina. There were many plants and herbs which were already known to me, as well as plenty of new ones of which I was able to integrate many plants of that climate new and foreign to me into medicines, teas, foods. This hybrid made it all the more interesting and sometimes made me forget where I really was. I also see and use these plants anew now that I am back in my originary temperate norther climate home. I feel your book works in this same way that Frank's article did, as it shows the relationships, patterns and similarities or features to help in our understanding and use of plants. I now remember that Frank worked extensively with you on your book.

I appreciate your contribution towards a fuller world. Thanks.

Best regards,
4 years ago

Welcome. Bienvenue. Wilkommen. Bienvenido.

I appreciated your articles on 'invasive' species, natives and desertification from the "Botany and Ecology" section on your website (http://www.elpel.info/Thomas_J_Elpel/Articles.htm). It reminds me that the landscape is complex and rich amoungst the natives, exotics, invasives, non-natives, weeds, crops,... The language to accompany such edges will correspondingly have to be expanded, developed, re-membered and rekindled. One way of doing this is ( I am specifically thinking of plants) is by looking at different nomenclature systems, cultures or worldviews to understand this richness which awaits our conscious interaction. Dave Jacke says something like the mindful role of the intervenor. Brock Dolman says we need to be regenerative disturbers. Stephen Harrod Buhner, in his bbok The Lost Language of Plants, looks at different systems or worldviews to try to understand plants, as well as life in general, and his conversaton, as broadly painted, switches between universe-as-machine and living/sacred epistemologies.

From a review of one of your books some time back in the Permaculture Activist magazine, I became interested in the methods you propose to learn to identify plants and how this fits together with species and families. I wish to know the patterns and be able to use the trivium method to understand plants and the relationships between them, especially for understanding where and how we sit in the anthropocene cultivated landscapes of today--so as to mindfully and productively interact with them. Another example that shows the value of understanding a more ample and zoomed out perspective is the suggestion by Kyle Chamberlain--in one of his articles from a recent Permaculture Activist article--where he suggests that we plant our gardens and food forests with a consideration for great diversity of plants taken from numerous families as opposed to ones within one family (think of the simplicity and vulnerabilty of an orchard compared to that of a forest garden).

Might you tell us of something new or which has culturally shifted of late within the topic & conversation on invasive, native, exotic, weed...

Thanks for what you have written and shared. I am looking forward to one day gaining some new capacities at understanding plants from your book which in turn will help my interactions with the larger living landscape*.

* Check out Patrick Whitefield's excellent book with the same title, The Living Landscape: How To Read and Understand It (Permanent Publications, UK).

Fare ye well,
4 years ago
Additional plants that I have seen hummingbirds on:

1. monkey flower (Mimulus moschatus)
2. canna lillies
I am looking for Mollison's article which talks about soil, the forests that generate it, CO2, and how the soil is the forest graveyard or something similar. If anybody has seen this article in digital format or can give me the bibliographic reference, I would appreciate it.

Another of his articles was originally available on the internet. It is called Dune Swales: A Desert Strategy. For this one, i am looking for the photos that go with the article. I have the text part.


7 years ago