Alan McGill

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since May 05, 2013
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food preservation greening the desert
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Recent posts by Alan McGill

Searching the internet for percolation equipment, I came across this post. Even though it's 5 years old, I thought someone might find this solution helpful:

And here's a 2 liter setup specifically designed for percolating herbal extracts.
2 weeks ago
Hi Jen,

thanks for the reply. I'm sorry to take so long getting back to you. I don't have internet access where I'm currently living.

Your design is nicely drawn. I have to confess, I'm having trouble understanding your design, what's path and what's beds. As to getting folks to help, I'm still learning about that myself. My missing leg is more obvious than fibromyalgia, but I still have an ongoing task of communicating my needs and creating a situation where people can help and not lose something in the process. We always want everyone to be better off.

That said, I am finding that people are generally willing to help. What helps is when I'm organized enough to let people help as little or as much as they are inclined to do so. I'm really working on that one. It seems like you have a real handle on the work you want done, so if you were to break it down into specific tasks, folks will be able to pick a task they're willing to take on.

Another idea is a work party, pot-luck or other such gathering of friends. This can be fun!

I've been able to do some barters with friends who helped me with some painting in return for my design work. Maybe you could make a pie, design a rain garden, or do some other work in return for the physical work.

I'm surprised that you're not finding permies to be friendly and welcomin, but who knows.

One other thought, your design doesn't have to have a permaculture label on it. Having a water harvesting, healthy food producing garden seems like enough.

Thanks again for sharing your challenges. Please keep us posted. I think we can establish beneficial relationships and healthy interactions where everyone wins.

4 years ago
Hi Jen,

Thanks for sharing some of the challenges you're facing on your permaculture path. I can relate to the urgency you feel to get your systems in place before your condition degrades even more.

Do you have partners in this project? Are there friends or colleagues who can help you with the installation?

Have you considered bartering?

There are so many tasks to be done, it seems likely we can come up with ways to get the help we need while leaving everyone involved better off for the effort. Isn't this the basis of permaculture - establishing beneficial relationships.

If we do that between plants and soil and sun and wind, why not between humans as well?

Good luck with this.

I'd love to see your plans. I'll bet we can come up with ways to help get what you need done.

4 years ago
I'd like to add my vote for a new "Adaptive Permaculture" forum. The thread that's going now at has shown a tremendous interest in and need for ongoing conversation and solutions. Matu Collins started another thread specifically devoted to the autism spectrum -

Disability is a large diverse topic. And we are all "differently abled" from time to time. As we grow communities we will have to deal with these issues. A dedicated forum where we can share solutions will be a great resource.
C. Hunter said

Permaculture has the potential to be really, really transformative, not because of anything mystical 'dirt is good for disabled people', but because a lot of the whole concept of systems design, of making nature work for you, means that lower labor inputs open farming/homesteading/sustainable living up to people with disabilities. My little dream intentional community is kind of a goal with the idea of being both accessible to individuals with disabilities but also of providing community support from a self-advocate POV, rather than an imposed top-down theraputic structure.

Hey, C. Hunter, Thanks so much for sharing your thinking on this. I really get your message about incorporating the individuals (PWD's - I had to think a minute to get what that is - People with disabilities, right?) who'll be participating in your project in the planning phases. It's so important. But, what if you don't know who they are, yet? I'd love to hear more about your

little dream intentional community

As with any permaculture design, things will look really different depending on the designer, and the needs of the participants. I'm really looking for something that will begin to show some options, some examples of what accessibility might look like in a permaculture designed landscape. How will a one-legged guy be any use? Or a blind person? or someone on the spectrum?

Back in the late 70's I lived in a housing co-op which included a deaf man. As part of our agreement for living there, we agreed to participate in sign language classes. It was clearly stated up front that we were committing to this. And it was by and large a good experience for all.

4 years ago
I've had a little time to think and read more about accessibility and found this article called "Deep Accessibility" which provides a useful framework for looking at and measuring accessibility.

Here's a quote:

A problem with looking at individual disability is that people are in complex systems and isolating out one so-called disability is likely to be impossible or a wrong guess. For example if a person gets anxious in a certain space, you could say they have an anxiety disorder or autism, but so what? Applying the framework of deep accessibility to the space itself, rather than focusing on fixing people avoids the nearly impossible task of understanding the complex causes of the response in that one person, and you would be helping a lot more people.

I'd be really interested to read responses from others who've read this article.
4 years ago
Y'all have given me a lot to think about. I've been reading and thinking, in between actually doing things. Thanks to all who have contributed to this thread. I wish you all a joyfull holiday.
4 years ago

Kat Green wrote:I am grateful for this forum as I care for my deceased friend's disabled daughter. She is a senior herself and developmentally handicapped as well as wheelchair bound. Jessica, I too thought of beds raised to wheelchair level. My little friend cant move her own wheelchair due to considerable arthritic damage and is unable to control an electric chair but she can grasp a rail mounted on the top of a raised bed and pull herself around. I thought of using clay pipe under the soil that can be filled from the top to avoid overwatering since she is somewhat OCD. She loves to garden. I hope that she will eat more variety of vegetables if she can take credit for growing them. I am always looking for ways to make her feel independent and accomplished as well as getting much needed exercise. I will be watching for more suggestions. Thank you everyone who posts here.

Hi Kat. The mounted rail sounds like a good solution. Do you have pictures?

I think your friend is blessed to have you in her life. Designing a way for her to contribute is a real gift.
4 years ago

allen lumley wrote:Heres a wild way out there thought ! "

from each, according of their ability! To each according to their needs ! Big AL

Allen, that sounds good, providing there is a community that is large enough and generous enough and able enough and wealthy enough to carry those who aren't able.

How can we design systems that enable the less able to contribute as much as possible, while not adding great expense to the system. What can we put in place for the possibility that the currently abled become disabled?

As we can see from the variety of challenges people have brought up in this conversation, disabilities come in lots of different forms. The more I look at this, it all comes back to permaculture. Providing for disabled people is certainly people care. And if we take the approach that "the problem is the solution" where will that lead? In all sorts of directions depending on the skills and inclinations of those involved. (I guess the answer is "It depends.")

For the mobility impaired there are assistive devices, like wheel chairs and crutches. Will our design allow access for those?

We all need to do an honest assessment of our abilities and do what we can to allow ourselves to be as productive and useful as possible. What beneficial relationships can we establish that will enhance the permaculture systems we're designing, enabling all in the community to produce and benefit to the maximum.

This all leads me to the notion that I formulated a while back and will pronounce here for the first time on the internet:

"Community is the single most important accessibility element in any permaculture design."
4 years ago