Samantha Lewis

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since Apr 11, 2012
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Recent posts by Samantha Lewis

Mary Combs wrote:Here are some other suggestions.

I breed Native Milking Shorthorns (a rare heritage breed) which is historically a triple purpose breed - milk, meat and as oxen. I would love a segment of a movie on crafting a yoke and starting animals in a yoke as a means of doing many tasks that currently fall to ATV, tractor, etc. My cows are pets, on their way to becoming dairy cows, but there is no reason why they couldn't do a bit of work around the place and not just eat.

I'd be interested any 'how to' segments on tanning hides and using leather.

I would also like to experiment with making linen - from planting to harvesting to processing to using the fibers.



Nice Mary!   That sounds like loads of fun!
1 week ago
Jeff Lawton talks about adding sulfur to your soil by building a worm bin and adding lots of cruciferous vegetation.
He says this way the worms eat the high sulfur material and produce great bioavailable sulfur for your garden plants to take up.

 In my garden the worms also do a nice job popping through the clay layers.   They move through the heavy clay and deposit sand in little pockets.   I can follow their trails and see where they have left sand.  They also do their usual work of leaving their castings on the surface.
2 weeks ago
When I first started to explain to my dad all the things I wanted to do with cob he said " I do not want any mud in the house!"

He changed his tune though, when I showed him these kinds of pictures.   It can be given a lovely finished look and come out very beautiful.




Besides, it has the permaculture trifecta.   good, fast and cheap!
Thank you Rebecca!

My mother would weave that way a lot!   With the weft as a lovely wool and the warp a nice strong linen.   She made long lasting rugs that really hold their shape.

This summer at the Permaculture Technology Jamboree ...
https://wheaton-labs.com/permaculture-tech/
we warped the loom with a soft linen.  
Folks had a chance to try their hand at shearing the lambs, carding and spinning the lovely lambs wool and weaving.  


We kept the colors separate when we spun the yarn so we had this nice alternating pattern.  
2 weeks ago

Tristan Vitali wrote:
+1 for pictures and video!  Ducks have been our main fertility generators on heavy clay for approaching a decade now. My favorite is using their deep bedding from winter as a bulletproof (once the surface dries in the sun) sheet mulch for garden beds - high fertility draining through with every rain, adds tons of organic matter as the soil life eats the mulch from underneath, and nearly impenetrable to even the most obnoxious weeds.



That is so awesome!    I love getting to fork out the barn into the garden.  It feels like such a good circle!

Yay for winter and spring!
4 weeks ago
You can do it!  
It can be fantastic, easy, fast and cheap!


Clay is my favorite kind of soil because you can turn it into any other kind of soil and still have clay where you want it!


I treat the clay like it is a soil concentrate.  It is my raw material, my base.

The quickest "no work" way I know is to cover the soil with anything.  

Leave it covered for a few seasons.   Especially if you can have it covered through winter into spring.   When you uncover the land it will be soft and dark and lovely.  
The cover creates a safe place for the creatures of the earth to come up and do their work and preserves the soil moisture.



The cuter way is to get a box of ducklings (in the mail from a hatchery) or craigslist yourself some adults.   Could be any kind of ducks or geese.  Muscovy ducks are my favorite.    I live in the cold north.   Muscovys winter well with a bit of grain and shelter.  They are quiet, require very little feed and are prolific.    

I use ducks and geese to do most of the work.   (if you can't have loud quacking pick the muscovy)

With a pitch fork or shovel, I make a line on contour.  Just an inch or so deep is all you need.  Fill your mini ditch with water and turn the quackers loose.  

Done!  Now you can go back to your hammock or comfy armchair.
This method will give you dark sandy loam that holds water and is full of nutrient.  free potting soil

Give them a few days or a week and they will make the trench deeper, wider and muddy.   All you have to do is harvest this mud and put it where you want your garden.   As you fork out the mud you can expand your trench.   You can throw the mud on the place where you want the next trench then, when you start to dig there it will be easy.

The ducks and water soften the land.  After a while the bottom of the trench will be sandy.   You can gather this sand.   They make quite a lot of it.   Now you can mix up your soil exactly how you want it.  Sand, silt and clay!

I like to run garden beds on the side of the trenches.  Then the gardens can be self watering and the plants can choose how much nutrient they need.  



If your land is too hard to dig, start with a low spot.  Just dump a bucket of water and let the ducks get to it.  Or throw down some mulch and water that for a week or so and you should be able to dig.



The ducks do need clean, clear water to drink and wash their face and eyes.   They get this dirty right away.   I dump the dirty water in the trench and give them another clean bucket.  


If you want them to hurry you can throw whole grains in the trench.  
Whole grains because if they do not eat it all it will sprout rather than rot.

In the warm months the system can be self feeding for ducklings because so many insects come for the water and mud.   I do need to add some feed for the adults.  Could be whole grains and garden extras.



Good fast and cheap


I know this post needs a ton of pictures!   can't seem to get them right now though.  I will come back in a bit and add pictures, maybe a video!


Have fun out there!
4 weeks ago

T Blankinship wrote:

From my view as a single guy. The biggest issue is time, I have a forty hours a week job and getting time off can be hard for a lot of reasons. Yes, in a heart beat I would go to a PDC or workshop if I had the time off.  For me a one or two day event would be about right.  Trying to explain to a boss that you would like to have two weeks in a row off is hard. Summer for me is a busy time. Fall or winter for me is the best time to take time off and go to an event.



Hello Mr Blankinship,  

I believe I met you many years ago at Wheaton Labs!

A one day workshop?   Maybe this Rocket Mass Heater Tour ?
https://permies.com/wiki/204912/Tour-Rocket-Mass-Heaters-Wheaton


I had to really see and operate a Rocket Mass Heater before I could wrap my head around the idea and how it works.

Kind-of a long way to travel for one day...   But you could always stay over for a few days :)

Merry Christmas!
4 weeks ago
This is so true!

Attending events and workshops doing what you love is a great way to surround yourself with folks who will love to do those things with you.  

Even a special someone!

I spent a bit of this summer at Wheaton labs.  There were many fantastic gentlemen and lovely ladies.   So many dear friends!  

To me, I feel the quality of people I meet at a permaculture event is often a cut above other sorts of gatherings :)
4 weeks ago
A Permaculture Technology Jamboree movie would be so great!  

It would be a wonderful teaching film and show how much fun it is to learn at Wheaton Labs!






What can we do to help move the project forward?




Thank you Michael!


1 month ago
I think a Yurt is a great option!   We got one from Mongolia.   You can live in a hand made piece of art and you are helping to preserve their culture.  

No plastic!  No weird stuff.

Here is the link to the thread:
https://permies.com/wiki/177249/PTJ-Event-Solar-Yurt-Design#1400095



It is so beautiful!   I can't wait to put it up!



I think a Rocket Mass Heater will be a great way to keep it warm and snug!  
Maybe the cottage rocket from the Free Heat Movie!

https://permies.com/w/free-heat#1422358


Here is their web site. They were fantastic to work with and so helpful!
https://fireprojects.org/gers-yurts
1 month ago