Paul Bourdon

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since Nov 14, 2013
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Recent posts by Paul Bourdon

Some great suggestions! Definitely get all the wood chips they'll give you. They can probably chip pretty large logs. If you don't think you can move the larger logs yourself, mark it out and have the power company arrange on contour on your property. Then you have the option of creating a hugelkultur swale later that will capture water and erosion trying to leave your property.
3 weeks ago
This is a beautiful video. I spent about 20 years working on historic houses as a hobby. The work I did made a place to live our home. We moved into a relatively new house 12 years ago to pursue my farming dream but as I face a probable layoff at 61 (and divorced) I am weighing my options. I would like to be closer to the fossils I love in Pennsylvania and I was thinking one scenario would be to buy land and build a small timber frame house. This beautiful house has survived almost 350 years in Medfield MA. These plans are from the work done in the 30's to record these buildings and put architects to work.
1 month ago
Brian, I have always had an affinity for stone. I had wanted to be a paleontologist and had spent a few years rock climbing before kids. I have been lucky to find a couple avocational paleontological societies to find fossils with my son who is now in college. We recently got an acknowledgement in a paper redescrbiing the apex predator (Hyneria) from a site in PA where some of the earliest tetrapods have been found.
7 months ago
I am in Massachusetts on a glacial drumlin. These dry laid walls are 100% built with stone on mine and adjacent properties. The challenge here is that a mountain building event 400 million years ago (before forests) sent most of the sedimentary rock to NY and PA and what would become the atlantic and then the glaciers scraped off anything left and pushed it into Long Island sound. So I focus a lot on soil building. The gate in the first pict. is also made from recycled materials from a 200 year old tavern.
8 months ago
After 9 years of fossil collecting with my son who is now in college, I have initiated a project to uncover skeletal elements from the earliest tetrapods in north central Pennsylvania under the guidance of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The site has produced a couple jaws and some pectoral elements but nothing since about 2000. I am jackhammering the ledge that these specimens were found in. Kind of the brute force approach. So these fossils are interesting in understanding how I ended up being able to sit here and type this but this site also has one of the best preserved assemblages of plant fossils allowing a reconstruction of the paleo-environment these animals evolved in. It is clear that this environment was one of the earliest polycultures and must have created deep rich soils. If you're interested in more info here is the website for the fossil site:
9 months ago
I converted my front yard to a blueberry patch 3 years ago. The soil was terrible with little life in it although soil testing mostly suggested there were only a few deficiencies. I did adjust the pH with sulfur and pine bark mulch. I have been sheet mulching the patch with cardboard and wood chips for the last 3 years and the difference in the soil is amazing. I can dig out a shovel full of soil from the patch now and there are 20-25 worms in it. If your in one of the areas with limestone you'll really have to pay attention to the pH (I fossil collect there with my son). If you can find the wood chips, I would spread sulfur then sheet mulch as much of it as you can this year. Good Luck!
1 year ago
To me, it seems styrofoam is a value added product that is inefficient to make into something else. I get a lot of styrofoam containers at work and have used some to insulate part of a foundation wall that I was backfilling. I simply used the same adhesive for the rigid board (XPS). I then filled cracks with the spray foam. I'm sure it wasn't a particularly efficient way to do it. I've also cut the boxes up and used it in a frame against the inside of the sheathing. Anyone doing similar things? If there was a way to grind it up and make it into a sheet that would be much more useful.
2 years ago
In the tradition of permaculture, I have turned a problem into a resource. Our small herd of cattle (8-23) winter in my backyard and when we first moved in, they ate their winter hay in the barnyard at the end of the driveway which slopes down toward the street. Come spring there would be a brown river running down the driveway into the street. Even though much of the problem was mitigated by moving the feeder, there was still a river of water running down the driveway. So last year I bought a Trackloader and dug an 8 foot trench around the blueberry patch in the front yard which needed constant watering because the soil was so poor. The kind that seems to repel water. By filling the trench with leaves and woody debris and creating a spillway off the driveway I have been able to divert about 90% of the water into this mulch basin which now not only helps water the blueberries but also feeds them. I have also tied the house gutters into the system and hope to at least tie the washer into it next year. It just took approaching the problem from a different angle.
3 years ago
You might want to start off with a topographic map and study the contours of the land. It will help in assessing where the water will flow. As already stated, water is key. You should get a handle on that and what kind of earthworks will be required before planting anything.
Good Luck!
3 years ago