gava gaia

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since Jul 23, 2015
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Recent posts by gava gaia

Hi Mike,

I don't have experience with living fences, but am planning to do this in the next year or two.  Here's an interesting article I found:  Living Fences

I've also heard of living willow fences, made by stringing wire and sticking willow shoots in the ground at a 45 degree angle, then weaving the shoots around each other & the wire.  
1 year ago
The Salamander Room is a very interesting picture book. A child finds a salamander and wants to bring it home & put it in the bedroom. The mother does a thought experiment with the child: how would the bedroom need to be transformed to make the right kind of home for the salamander? Each step of the transformation is illustrated.

Paddle-to-the-Sea is about interconnected water systems, from the perspective of a toy canoe carved by a First Nations boy. The canoe is launched in the Pacific Northwest, and ends up at the Atlantic Ocean.

Everyone Poops is also valuable... though it's written from a toilet culture rather than a humanure culture, it sets up a good discussion of poop, from insects to elephants. Many of the reviewers use it to talk about toilet training with their little ones; I never did this. I saw it as just a fun book about poop.










2 years ago
Hi Tyler,

My understanding (from decades ago, so there may be a better understanding out there) is that rocks get pushed to the surface at least in part by the finer grains of soil flowing under the rocks and pushing the rocks up. You can see this effect in a jar of uneven-sized objects. If you shake the jar, the *larger* items move to the top.

In the case of partly rotten logs, I would think their crumbliness (rather than their weight and wetness) would protect them from this effect somewhat -- but I would also think the crumblier the better, so as not to act like a solid object (rock).
2 years ago
I came across a book recently, Beyond the War on Invasive Species: A Permaculture Approach to Ecosystem Restoration, by Tao Orion with a foreword by David Holmgren.

I haven't read it yet, but this is from the Library Journal: "Here is a brilliant, alternative way of dealing with nonnative, invasive species. Oregon State University permaculturist Orion’s emphasis is on plants, and her survey of relevant literature is a virtuoso incorporation of books, journals, electronic resources, and personal communications, written in commendable expository prose. In the face of overwhelming political correctness, which dictates that invasive species should be eliminated, the author offers ways to exploit and adapt to them in addition to extolling the virtues some of the species exhibit. As an instructor, Orion teaches ways to manage ecosystems with an eye to long-term results, free of herbicides and destructive attempts to remove species seen as undesirable. She pays special attention to the behaviors of ‘primitive' societies in relation to their surroundings. In her view, pre-Columbian America was already far from pristine; it underwent many changes wrought by Native Americans, especially through fire. This thoughtful, controversial, and well-documented book is guaranteed to infuriate many and to provoke us into rethinking our attitudes about what is natural and best for the land. With essays such as 'The Myth of Wilderness,' the reader is challenged to confront revolutionary ideas about our landscapes."

I, too, have a problem with invasives on my land, but am interested in doing more than just trying to get rid of them. Why are they there? Can I discourage them? Can I use them?
3 years ago
I'm a newbie, so please excuse this if it's a dumb response, but why can't we build hugels in a manner more similar to stacking wood? The wood would be whole logs rather than split, but shorter lengths, and not all oriented in the same direction. You could make the whole pile a bit more rectangular rather than totally pyramidal.
3 years ago
Hi permies,

I'm interested in this plant as a fuel source. Apparently it can be made into a biofuel, or can be pelletized and burned. And it seems to be much more efficient than corn or sugarcane for biofuel production; further, it doesn't need to compete with food crops since it can be grown on marginal or overused soil (which it then helps to enrich). (Great for windbreaks and erosion prevention, too -- and bedding for horses.)

Does anyone have any guidance on how to use Miscanthus x giganteus as a fuel source on a very small scale -- for one to several families?

Thanks all,
Gava
3 years ago
Hi Steve,

I was just reading about Miscanthus x. Giganteus and it sounds VERY interesting. Yes, it can be a windbreak, but can also be used for biofuel or pellets, bedding for horses, and other things. It is a sterile hybrid, so is considered non-invasive, and can grow in marginal soil as long as it's not waterlogged. It's very efficient at photosynthesis & in taking nutrients from the soil, though I don't know how it gets along with elephant grass. When harvested in late winter / early spring, it can be used as hay without additional drying.

I'm in the US, and am interested in Miscanthus Giganteus both as a windbreak and as a fuel source, and did a search here at permies to see whether there was a thread here...

Good luck,
Gava

3 years ago