Peter Ellis

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since Apr 04, 2013
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Recent posts by Peter Ellis

There's no universal answer. As with every permaculture analysis it is the specifics of the situation that determine whether a given solution is appropriate.
I have added a tractor to our homestead, along with a sawmill. Our site is 20 acres of woodland and the sawmill is extremely beneficial for our needs. The tractor is necessary to get logs to the mill. It's also a huge help with construction projects.
I use it for plowing snow from our driveway, but that's incidental, we had very affordable contractor for that. We've got a mower, and I will use it at some point, but we aren't there yet.

So, does Your site need a tractor? Do the analysis ;)
1 year ago
I enjoy mine very much and it is tremendously useful.
1 year ago

Mike Haasl wrote:Thanks Jordan, I'll just stick with what I've got then.  Yay!   I did kind of wonder since the cutting seems to happen at the tip of the bar and it's not really ripping or cross cutting.

Ripping is cutting with the grain, cross cutting is cutting across the grain. Has nothing to do with what part of the saw is cutting.

I agree that you don't need a specialized ripping chain. It's certainly not necessary for your purposes. Even in the community of chainsaw millers, there's a ton of debate over whether or not rip chains are in any sense better than conventional cross cut chains.
1 year ago
I'm a little surprised no one has mentioned this: chemical fertilizers are all salts. That has lots to do with how easily they dissolve in water - and wash away. They're largely harmful to soil life and create a situation where the soil ecology can't support plants well and you're on the fertilizer treadmill.

Organic fertilizers, in the sense of commercial products sold in that category, may or may not be any better :( There are plenty of organic category farms working with dead soil.

The goal needs to be a thriving, bountiful soil ecosystem that provides for the needs of the plants. Fertilizers as a concept aren't part of that goal. You want to build fertility, which is a different thing than adding fertilizers.
1 year ago
I'm about halfway between GR and Kalamazoo. We're on 20 wooded acres. If you do FB, the Van-Kal Permaculture group will connect you with a number of SW MI permies. Peter Bane and Keith Johnson are in the Muskegon area. There are a number of early spring functions that bring people together for all sorts of seed and plant swapping in the metro GR area.
1 year ago
The best advice I can give is to work with what the land is rather than trying to impose on the land a vision of what you want it to be.  You’ve got places that want to be ponds, which are a valuable feature for a permaculture design, work with them, rather than thinking in terms of leveling them.

Woodland is valuable in its own right, you might want to think about what parts of your site should be encouraged to regrow as woodland. Windbreaks, habitat, water retention And water transpiration. Integrate some human productive species in there, like chestnut, persimmon, mulberry, walnut and the woodland helps feed you as well ;)

Think about how much land you actually need to be “cleared” and for what purposes?

What are your goals and how do you want to pursue them?
1 year ago
In light of the range of scales, it seems highly probable that it acquired some symbolic importance beyond whatever functional benefits it might provide in the one person scale.
Knowing the timeline could help us know whether the small T openings were reflections of the large T openings and also symbolic rather than a primarily functional design.

Without knowing lots more about internal design, actual location details, orientation, it’s not possible for me to offer any possibilities based on anything but blind speculation.
1 year ago
Assuming you’re talking about a small house, say 1,200 square feet and not a tiny house, something well under 1,000 square feet, then a smaller house costs less to build, period. Less materials to build it, fewer man hours, it will cost less than a 2,400 sq. ft. house.

You need to know the zoning and building regulations for your specific building site before you begin the process. Unless you’re willing to accept a design the builder already has, something they build fairly often and have all the plans and approvals for, you may need to begin with an architect or engineer and that adds unpredictable costs. We designed our own home and then had an engineering firm draw up plans and certify them. That was a few thousand dollars.

We’re actually building our home, not hiring a builder. That saves money but costs time. I’m retired, so we’re not losing my working income for me to build the house. We’re using timber from our land, which saves materials costs, but adds costs related to tools and equipment.

As for recommending contractors in a particular area - you have to talk to people that live there and work in the housing industry for guidance. It’s not possible to offer recommendations of any value without intimate local knowledge.
1 year ago
I've carved a spoon or three from mulberry. Pretty wood, carves nicely.
As for uses for a pile of sticks: dead hedges and making biochar leap to mind.
1 year ago
We have an excessive smilax population. I've eaten steamed shoots and they're pretty good. Have not tried the tendrils at all. Under no circumstances will I be doing anything to propagate these plants. In our situation they are harmful to our woodland, counterproductive for the wild blueberries on our site, difficult to clear out of our garden spaces.
The best qualities I see them having are as goat and pig forage ;)
1 year ago