Candy Mills

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since Nov 13, 2013
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Recent posts by Candy Mills

This looks like it will be a really interesting book for anyone who is considering alternatives or who is wanting to build in an area where perk is sketchY. i am getting ready to build on a 6 acre parcel that has a beautiful pond and is at the end of a lot of catchment. During wet times there is a lot of soggy ground so I'm concerned about septic for both grey and black water. I'm not sure how someone writes a review of a book without already having read it. And if you already have the book and have read it, why would you want to win a copy? Unless it's just to give it to a friend.

The video and short "snippet" from the book in the post look really practical and well explained. I especially liked the fact that in the video he explained not only how the laundry to landscape system works, but also why it is beneficial

From the description is sounds like he goes into multi0-terraced open greywater systems and that would be an awesome thing to be able to access for designing my place. It has been many years since I looked into these systems and would love a refresher course. There have also probably been many new techniques developed since I last explore this subject some 30 years ago.

I know this is not much of a review, but I would appreciate one of these books if you have an extra.

Thanks, Candy
4 years ago

paul wheaton wrote:I think that if it came from below, it would be far easier to do. Because you would then do it a lot like you cook lots of things. Therefore, I think that this much more complicated technique is required.

Heavy emphasis on the "I think". I did not press this question to Sepp - although I would be interested to hear what he says.

We will probably experiment with it, but I would be interested what Sepp has to say if you get a chance to ask.
4 years ago

paul wheaton wrote:This thread is to discuss a bit of the Sepp Holzer's Permaculture article.

On the first full day class we toured a farm where the animals had wiped out nearly all growth. The land owner's intent was to get a fresh start. So, first run too many animals in there to eliminate all of the weeds and ... well .... everything. Then come in and plant the stuff you want to keep. Sepp was very direct and did not mince words: He did not approve.

Sepp pointed out how only the trees were left, but since animals had nibbled at the bark so much, he called these trees "standing dead."

Sepp then told us about how he makes a sort of bone sauce that he puts on trees and will keep the animals from nibbling the trees forever. ("What? Forever?" "decades." "It can't possibly last that long" "What can I say, it lasts that long." - and this same discussion was rehashed a few times and Sepp stuck to his guns. Decades.)

I first wrote this section from memory and it turns out I made lots of mistakes. Fortunately, somebody else that was there helped me to remember details and she has the book that mentions this (which is all in german, but she speaks german!)

First you start with a cast iron kettle and bury it a bit and put a cup of water in the bottom. The fill another kettle with bones, put a screen over it and then plop the bone kettle upside down on the other kettle. Then pack clay around the edges to make a good seal. Then Pile up some dirt and build a big fire over the whole thing.

Here is my lame attempt at drawing Sepp Holzer's bone sauce contraption

Keep the fire going for an hour or two and then let it sit for a day. Then collect the nasty gunk from the bottom. Apparently this smells awful. Smear a little of this around the trunk of any tree and animals won't ever touch that tree.

I had a question. Does it matter if the fire is above the bones or can the heat source come from below the kettle that has the water. I think it can't, but my friend doesn't see why it would matter. Could you please clarify. Thanks, Paul.

4 years ago
I have been keeping chickens, rabbits and parrots for a number of years. The chickens have been a great asset, not only for their eggs, but for helping to keep smell and parasites under control. My chickens are free range over my tiny half acre. I provide a free feeder, but use a 50 lb bag of feed every 4 months. I caught my dogs eating it the other day, so the chickens my be eating even less than I thought.

But every day when I feed the rabbits and parrots, the chickens follow me around picking through the parrot food that gets winnowed out, or dropped by the parrots. ( Parrots are notorious for doing the 'one bite for me, one bite for the floor" thing. Their cages are elevated off the ground so the chickens can go under the cages.)

The rabbits get some fruit, if I have it, each morning and the chickens are right there to pick up any thing that falls on the ground. They scratch through the manure and, unless we get a lot of rain (ha ha, not in So Cal) things never get smelly.

I also use them for clearing the garden at the end of the season.

I recently added a pig to the homestead and am going to be composting the straw and manure from her pen. No, I'm not free ranging her since she could top our at 800 pounds or more and could easily topple my elevated parrot cages. I want to find a way to integrate the pig into the system better.

My question is:

"Is it safe to allow the chickens to pick through the compost pile made from the pig manure and straw? "

Many people have told me not to compost the stuff from the pig, but Lawton says you can compost anything if you do it right. It's mostly a matter of leaving it long enough and using it on trees and the like, similar to what you'd do with humanure.

Thanks for your input.


5 years ago
Hey Grant,

Is your interview at AgInsights available to listen to? I had been listening to each podcast there since he was interviewed on Permaculture Voices Podcast. Then he started his membership program but the podcasts were available for 2 weeks without having to be a member. Now it seems everything is behind the membership wall. If it were a small amount to join I would, but 25 bucks a month is really pricey! Especially if you're not making your living as a farmer, yet.

Thanks for all you do.

5 years ago

John Elliott wrote:

is this something that works with this very aggressive grass?

Short of putting a pig pen on top of it and have them root out every last stolon? No.

You probably will have little shoots finding crack and cuts in the cardboard making their way up and sprouting. Just keep pulling them when you weed. Fortunately for your xeriscape, bermuda grass only barely survives on 4" of water. In places like Palm Springs and Las Vegas (both 4" of rain a year), bermuda can only exist where it is watered, and dies away after a couple years without irrigation.

Thanks, John. I'd love to put my pig on it, she's doing a great job of "decompacting" part of the back yard, but the bermuda grass is in the front yard and even though the neighbors didn't complain when I was growing corn, tomatoes and other veggies in the front yard. I think they'd complain if I penned the pig up out there. But maybe.....
5 years ago
Hi Everyone. My son wants to design the front yard with a xeroscape type permaculture, using mesquites, acacia and drought tolerant herbs and food species. The mesquite and acacia can be used as fodder for my livestock: rabbits, pigs and chickens.

We're located small, animal friendly town in the Inland Empire of Southern California and our rainfall last year was 3 in.!!! Our average is 13in. but we haven't had that in about 5 years. The area we're working with is small, about 20 by 50 and is covered in neglected bermuda grass.

I know rototilling will only spread the grass. I've been collecting very thick cardboard to cover it; and then cover with mulch. I know this is a long time battle, but is this something that works with this very aggressive grass?

Thanks, Paul, for all your hard work and to all you permies that supply so much great info in the forums. I've read bunches, but this is my first post.
5 years ago

Steve Hunt wrote:I am willing to volunteer many hours each day or night to a farm that practices aspects of permaculture. I am currently in college from about 2pm to 5pm Monday-Thursday, and every other Friday (all day); but I am willing to dedicate all other hours to labor without pay in order to learn through farming experience. I am highly capable and willing to perform hard physical labor and long hours.

Hi Steve, My name is Candy Mills. I know this is an old post and don't know if you're still interested in voluteering. Life certainly changes in a year's time. I live in Norco and want to turn this place into a demonstration location and working farm on making a suburban half acre sustainable. Norco is an animal friendly town, geared mostly to horses, but it's a good sign that the high school has an ag program and an ffa group.

Please email me if you get this and are interested at There is a lot that needs to be done here and I work full time as well. I have my PDC from the online course Geoff Lawton did this year, attended the San Diego Permaculture Convergence last weekend and am going to attending the Permaculture Voices Conference next year. I listen Paul's podcast, and the The Survival Podcast " all the time" and just about any other podcast I can get my hands on that I can learn from. I find that even if I don't necessarilly agree with the podcast I can still learn something from it, even if it's what NOT to do.

If it sounds like we might work well together, I'd like to hear from you. Just send me an email and put permaculture in subject line.
Hope to hear from you soon. Candy
5 years ago