Alder Burns

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since Feb 25, 2012
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Homesteader, organic gardener, permaculture educator.
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northern California
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Recent posts by Alder Burns

Does anyone know the origin of the keyhole bed concept?  It appears in the Designer's Manual  (1988), in a drawing called "Gangamma's Mandala" but there is apparently no mention of it in "Permaculture One" (1978).  There is a design of a similar shape in a 1982 article by Susun Weed called a c*** garden.   Trying to see if either author borrowed the idea from the other, or from somewhere or someone else?
1 year ago
Be sure to check out premier website for intentional communities worldwide.  Searchable by keyword and location.  You can get contact information for places you might want to visit, and try to contact them in advance to schedule your visit.  Many communities are quite busy and visitors who just "show up" aren't always welcome.
Sorry that's unclear.  Step by step my process is 1. soak the beans overnight, then drain off soak water and replace with fresh water 2. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 minutes. 3. Pour off hot water, rinse with cold water and then dehull.  I actually do this by trampling them barefoot in a bucket or stout basket, rinsing away the hulls afterwards. 4. Place hulled beans in a container with water to cover, and add inoculants as desired for prefermentation (a spoonful or so of yogurt, homebrew, etc.) and set in a room temperature place for 24 to 48 hours.  The beans should be slightly bubbly and the water taste sour when done. 5. Bring the beans to a boil in this soak water for 45 to 60 minutes.  If the prefermentation stage is eliminated, vinegar or lemon juice is to be added to the water for the second boil.  6. Drain the beans, spread on a clean towel till just warm, then sprinkle with inoculant and mix. 7. Put beans into bags or containers and incubate.
1 year ago
I guess the main danger is that the chickens may be so thorough at finding all the grubs, both mature and immature, as to decimate the colony.  They also need moisture and shade, especially the small ones, so in scratching everything over and possibly exposing them to the sun more might also be a problem.
      You don't need an expensive bought "pod" to raise them in.  Any bucket or barrel or other container will do, just tipped up at the right angle, and the mature grubs will crawl up the incline and drop out....perhaps to waiting chickens!   Put a drain hole on the bottom corner and a loose lid over the open end to shed excess rain, but allow adults to enter and lay, and you're good to go.  
1 year ago
@ Jack....I did take very detailed photos and put them into a scrapbook, but this was before I had a digital camera or a computer on site, and since then I haven't gotten around to the big project of scanning them, etc.  It's really pretty straightforward....just get the carpet wet ahead of time and slather it on with rubber gloves and a trowel.  Keep a tray under any vertical surface since quite a bit will fall off and you can then re-apply it easily.  
@Ellendra As I recall I tried to coat at least one whole piece in a session, probably just because mixing the concrete and all is a big project and a mess, so it seemed worth doing a lot each time; but I don't see any other reason why one couldn't do less than that.
2 years ago
There is a pretty wide literature now around intentional community, is a good place to start. I've spent a good part of my adult life in community settings of various sorts, and there are a few ways that it can succeed, and rather more ways to crash it, some of them spectacular.  Cimarron's story above is probably one of many many that could be heard and mined for their lessons.  Do the research.  If I were you I would try to visit some already existing communities...that website is searchable by keyword and location.  If possible stay a while, as in a few days at least, and try to get a feel for them.  Most smaller communities are usually happy to host helpful visitors, especially if they are game to camp or bring some $ or stuff to share; in exchange for helping out on the day's work, of which there is always too much.  Ask people what it's really like, especially if you find yourself one-on-one.  
2 years ago
I think that in climates that experience more frost, tagasaste will be a disappointment.  I had a few and they all gradually died out.  I'm technically in a Mediterranean climate in inland California but I regularly get winter lows to 20F (-7C).  My main N-fixing trees that are thriving are black locust(Robinia), "mimosa" as Americans call it (Alibizia julibrissin), blackwood acacia (A. melanoxylon) and Casuarina cunninghamiana. Of these I would have to say the Albizia is the only one vigorous enough so far to be cutting any for forage or to consider coppicing, which is surprising since it is not native to a Mediterranean climate.  All of them are under drip irrigation though, so if I shut this off perhaps one of the others would edge into place of preference.
2 years ago
In a climate that is usually amenable to the plants in question, but where the occasional freeze might otherwise kill them, consider a simple overhead sprinkler.  Left running all night or for the duration of the freezing weather, it will form ice all over the plant.  As long as water is in the process of turning into ice, the temperature of the whole thing won't go much below 32F/0C.  I have attached a sprinkler to the top of a tall bamboo pole to go up and over full size fruit trees this is also a good thing to try for blossom protection on deciduous fruit.  The main danger is that in sever cold, the ice may get so heavy as to bend or break the branches, and if there are several consecutive nights of cold, the ground might get soggy from the excess water....which is also a problem for many kinds of trees.
2 years ago
Don't forget events and groups that are allied to permaculture but don't use the name.  Most states have some kind of organic grower's group, for instance....this is where my partner first laid eyes on me.  Think about environmental organizations, activism around threatened areas or other issues of concern, and just other fun social festivals come to mind.  Of course all of this assumes pre-or-post covid world, but there is also a surprising amount going on on line as well.  It has many dangers and drawbacks, but I met one awesome girlfriend on a dating website, too
2 years ago
Why not pluck the birds and clean them, so as to harvest the liver, and then age the rest of the bird?  At least with other animals like sheep and cows you clean the innards out right away and then age the rest of the animal in the cold as desired.
2 years ago