Ben Zumeta

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since Oct 02, 2014
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hugelkultur dog duck
NW California, 1500-1800ft,
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Recent posts by Ben Zumeta

I’ve heard great things about Costa Rica, but if I were to be looking for a tropical paradise with lots of vegans, or at least vegetarians, I couldn’t imagine anywhere better then Fiji. Over 40% of the population is of Indian descent due to indentured servitude under the British colonial rule, and many are vegan. The best vegan and Indian food I’ve ever had, by far. It has both a wet side (capitol in Suva) and a dry side (Nadi and Lautoka in the west of Viti Levu), much like the big island of Hawaii. Both the native and Indo-Fijian cultures are wonderful, and extremely welcoming to Americans in my experience, but unfortunately they do hate on each other a lot. The situation seems analogous to how the US might be if all the white people left it to Native Americans and descendants of slaves after WWII made colonialism seem extra hypocritical. They both have reasons to be angry, but the people they should be angry at are dead or back in the UK, and Americans seem to be beloved if my experience was typical. Anyhow, Fiji is the most fun loving, beautiful, welcoming tropical place I’ve ever been with incredible food.
In my opinion, it seems Doug fir is growing in many places because it is the best adapted plant for that spot. I am agains Monocrop fir tree farms as much as corn, but equating those tree plantations to native old growth forests is as absurd as comparing a monocrop cornfield to a prairie. Doug fir sequesters more carbon than any deciduous plant could (up there with redwood as the fastest in the world, 10x tropical rainforest) weeps fertility through the soil it produces with the largest diversity of fungal associates of any tree in North America, and it produces a great warm microclimate on its south side for sun loving plants. I respect Paul’s great contributions to permaculture and many innovative ideas, but this is a point I cannot agree upon, but to each their own.
1 week ago
Strawberries have done the best of any plant on my hugels, but would likely do better in shoulder seasons in your more extreme climate. It would seem even more valuable to have deciduous vines or other perennials situated so they shade the strawberries in mid day in mid summer when the sun is highest, but allow light in during spring and fall. The strawberries on hugels ripened weeks earlier and kept growing for weeks after others in the area.
1 week ago
These are apple tree seedlings from the 2019 pressing event we had at the crescent city food forest; some core members of the team at the 2020 pressing; and some of the mash i spread at my place. Dozens are just sprouting, even though they simply got covered with wood chips after being scattered on rocky soil that is itself covered with more rocks. I am looking for hardy stock amongst thousands of seeds. I also planted about 120 of the apple seedlings from the first picture (2019 harvest) around the community and my property in the hills. They would have been removed or thinned anyways, and many of them had 18”+ taproots I could pull entirely out cleanly from the hugels i spread the mash on last year. It’s my interpretation of the Holzer method, and this way I can get a well adapted tree in the spot i spread the mash, and by thinning get hundreds of trees planted with about five minutes “work” per tree, spread over a 18months. If I don’t like the fruit, I can always graft from freely abundant scion wood. I’d like to do this with other trees, but the cider pressing event is such a good way to accumulate locally adapted seed stock Maybe a pie baking event with rocket or earthen ovens?
2 weeks ago
I think this podcast might be aprapos:

Description: Ted brings this case against his father Paul, who has become obsessed with cows. Ted argues that his father’s cow collection and his inclination to randomly say the word cow, among other issues, indicate the need to tamp down the cow-talk. Paul argues that his obsession is merited, because “cows are our most important animal friends.”
3 weeks ago
T Simpson took the words right out of my keyboard
4 weeks ago
I am not here to tell anyone what to do, but I think more info on your context would get better insights. "Very wet" is a relative term, and rainfall distribution is as important as annual totals. I live in a place where we have gotten close to 3m (115") of rain in the past year, at times 5"+/day, but 95%+ of that has been between October and May, when many plants are dormant.

It seems like it could immensely valuable for us to store as much winter water as high up on our steep property as possible with ponds, deeper soils, and to a smaller extent in tanks to supply us through the dry summer. Not only for drinking water and irrigation, but for fire risk mitigation and habitat improvements. Where I am, logging and the roads built for it that cause incised stream gullies, along with displacement of beavers, has greatly reduced the water holding capacity of what is now our land. So the earthworks we do will be types of restoration projects that happen to feed us and reduce our risk of catastrophic losses to wildfire.

Your context in the interior of Canada is likely very different than mine in northwestern California, but I encourage you to read the freely available "Keyline Plan" by P.A. Yeomans, as it explains this 70yr old design methodology that helps balance moisture in the landscape (sending water from saturated valleys to dry ridgelines, where it will migrate back to the valley naturally) while deepening living, aerobic soils that hold vast amounts of water before flooding. Like in my landscape, it does sound like given your concern about "too much water" that level sills and other passive backup overflows would be especially important for any earthworks that hold back water. Best of luck.
4 weeks ago
Willie wanted to send his hugs, with a rainbow:

1 month ago
Does anyone need a Pyrenees rainbow hug?
1 month ago