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Dayna Williams

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since Feb 01, 2013
Zone 8, Western Oregon
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Recent posts by Dayna Williams

We live on a tiny suburban lot as well, and our front lawn is sacred ground.  Our kids are 10, 9, and 7, and right now, them having a place to play is vastly more important than growing veggies on every inch.  Our 20'x20' front lawn gets used by about 10 neighborhood kids every day as a sprinkler park, soccer field, badminton court, popsicle-eating venue, or safe-place-to-recover-when-they-skin-their-knees-riding-scooters.  

I follow Paul's guidelines for lawn care , which means no weedkillers or artificial fertilizers, just mowing with my reel mower, adding random organic stuff on it when available to improve the soil (like leaves or leftover potting soil) and a little water during the dry summer.  It's probably 50% grass, 45% clover, 5% dandelions and other random stuff.

The other half of our front yard is a garden that's gradually being turned into a mini food-forest understory (too small and shaded by a big maple for any more trees to do well), and I've tried to make it as kid-friendly as possible, with lots of stepping stones, places for kids to plant and dig for worms and rollie-pollies, rocks and stumps and things.  My kids do really well with it, but I have had quite a few experiences with neighborhood kids kind of running through pell-mell and stomping on baby plants, just because they don't know what's what.  This is one of the main reasons I have not chosen to make the rest of the lawn more edible at this point - I want neighborhood kids to feel welcome here, not have me always asking them to stop trampling the strawberries.  I would be insanely stressed out if I had a bunch of plants I really adore and have invested in getting accidentally mauled by my kids' friends.  

Maybe you could put some sturdy, edible shrubs on the edges of the lawn area?  

As far as ticks go, from what I've read, they mostly like to hang out in tall grasses and bushes, and they have to have a host to drop from in order to be in an area.  We've gotten ticks from walking in open, unmowed fields with lots of deer, but we've never had any from a mowed lawn.  Your area might be different though.  
1 month ago
Heather A. Downs, that research you compiled is remarkable and extremely helpful.  Thank you!  
1 year ago
INTJ here as well.  I don't think these are necessarily the types attracted to Permaculture, they are just the types attracted to spending inordinate amounts of time on online Permaculture forums...  
2 years ago
I stumbled upon your post as I was thinking about this same topic. I have donated to Heifer International in the past, because I thought their programs seemed more sustainable than others that seem to depend on passing out beans, rice, and peanut powder (though I am all for emergency short-term aid, obviously, as long as it's not mistaken for a long-term economic solution). I do wonder if livestock pressure from animals that aren't carefully managed (because I wonder if you're worried about where tomorrow's breakfast is going to come from, are you going to have time to be like, "Oh, I need to think about sustainable livestock management") could be detrimental in the long term, but I hope many communities have the wisdom to avoid those kinds of problems.

So, what's your take on this: recently, some ladies in my social circles have been really into purchasing jewelry, clothing, and little household items from small charities set up for women who are especially vulnerable (many who have come out of sex trafficking and similar industries) and don't have any family support. I really like the idea of supporting a good cause, but I don't know how I feel about buying a beaded necklace I don't need instead of just donating money. I am very much in support of direct micro-loans to entrepreneurs worldwide, but I'm wondering if this type of Fair Trade knick knack selling is sustainable? Or is it worth it for the individuals whose lives are turned around, no matter what the long-term effects are? That sounds very callous, I just don't want to give only with my heart, and not with my head as well.

So, just wondering, Cris, if you've thought any more about this, or if you've discovered any other sustainable charities with long-term solutions?
3 years ago
Thank you for the tip, John. I will certainly try the Territorial seeds. We are farther south and have hotter summers than Portland and Seattle, so I think there's potential for good canning tomatoes. Maybe Territorial also has some more drought-tolerant varieties, since that's our biggest issue during the summer.

3 years ago
Thanks, Erica! That is good food for thought. Starting out (especially as a home gardener, where I don't have a specific cash crop in mind), it feels like everyone is telling you to grow something different. This year, I really wanted to can my own tomatoes, so I focused on that. But, really, mine taste about the same as the ones I buy at the store, and we always prepare them with strong-flavored seasonings anyway, so it might not be worth the caging hassle and long growing season next year. But it was worth a try! Next year I think I'll focus more on fun things for the kids to eat straight out of the garden, and on trying to get a fall garden going.
3 years ago
Eeek, I'm so excited to see that your book is out, Erica...I'm a big fan of your blog. So, this question is coming from a relative newbie who grew up eating absolutely everything from Safeway grocery stores.

If you were just starting out (or if you could go back and redo), what would you focus on growing or producing first? I feel like a lot of people in the like...30 and under crowd grew up cooking Hot Pockets in the microwave and find the thought self-sufficiency to be completely overwhelming. So, if you were going to break it down into baby steps, what would you recommend starting with for people who want to change their lifestyle to be more sustainable?
3 years ago
Joseph, I see what you mean, especially if you take "hunter gatherer diets" literally. I kind of took it to mean "Paleo/Primal diets" as we currently understand them. I know they're not really the same as hunter/gatherer diets, but they style themselves after them, with all of their "Grok on" terminology. So if that's what Andrew Scott was after in his Original Post, then the dots seem much easier to connect. I am continually surprised that there is less cross over between the two camps (Paleo and Permaculture), since they potentially have so much in common.
4 years ago
I'm very interested in this as well, just from a "what should I feed my family" perspective, and would love to hear other people's take on the topic. Thought I should let you know the link to the thread you started a while back doesn't seem to be working.
4 years ago

I don't see it as art anymore. I think tattoos have become a social lubricant that helps the person gain acceptance amongst like minded people.

Haha, we must roll in very, very different crowds, Dale. My "people" have historically considered tattoos the first step on the road to devil worship.

4 years ago