Patrik Schumann

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since Nov 06, 2015
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forest garden trees greening the desert
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BA Computer Graphics & Scientific Imaging
pursued "design of Man's interaction with Nature"
Apprenticeship in Earth Building & Earthen Architecture
MA Environmental Design: Passive & Low-energy Architecture
Two decades inner-urban high desert radical sustainability/ subsistence horticulture: the 20% homestead
Last drops irrigation conservation & edible biodiversity tree cropping
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Nuevo Mexico, Alta California, New York, Andalucia
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Recent posts by Patrik Schumann

Ted Abbey wrote:If it was the creek through the plains between the Bears and EMRTC, that is La Jencia. Rejoins the Rio Salado just downstream from The Box. Your tale of armed Alamos brings me perilously close to releasing spoilers from my book. Funny thing.. I was on my way to Truth or Consequences when I stumbled into my current situation. I had about $25k, my 1962 Serro Scotty travel trailer, and I was going to soak in the hot springs there, and spend my days writing my book on the banks of the Rio Grande. God laughed at my plan. This place, the people, and situation is turning out to be another book.. working title: “Life and Death in the Oasis Valley”. For better or worse, I have to live it to write it, as my chosen genre is fictionalized autobiographical true crime tragicomedy. As far as the campfire goes, stop by if you’re ever in the greater Death Valley area. We can talk story with ghosts while the salt cedar burns!


How the world turns, eh?  The seed of my experiences there & subsequent trajectory was the only desirable job opportunity I conjured after college, and then this big city boy stepped off into wilderness.  I had an old lemon VW station wagon, my city bike, books, futon, five blankets, a pressure cooker.  After astronomical computer work I'd venture as far out & up as snow & front-wheel drive would let me.  I cooked over fire then rolled my vehicle over embers for warmth. Iced windows & herds of elk were my wakeup.  My focus became the Gila & my goto the Glenwood Hot Springs.  Once a week I went into ABQ for Sheaf stout, cannabis, & a course in adobe architecture.  I followed the latter to Cuyama Valley, CA, & got to know backcountry Mojave Desert & Death Valley.  I'll be looking for you out there.  

Ted Abbey wrote:Hey Patrick.. I do remember our exchange on my thread. Been meaning to PM you, but haven’t for reasons. I assume you are talking about the restoration on La Jencia? I lived at and worked for the Spears Ranch for a time (right on the Rio Salado crossing in Riley). For the life of me, I can’t recall the name of the ranch downstream? Must be getting old.. I do remember chasing beeves clear down into Sevilleta. Beautiful and wild country in the shadow of Ladron. Lots of deer, elk, black bears, and thick with long tail cats! I even saw wolf prints just east of The Box. I know nothing of those settlements in the Magdalena’s, but I know there were ruins and old grapevines in the Bears. Did you ever explore the Thieves Cave? Just off the road before you drop into the valley to Riley if you were coming in from Bernardo? So many memories.. in fact, this is the setting for the book I’m writing first. “Land For Sale in New Mexico”

No hurries, no worries!  I mostly stayed out of the Bear mountains having once been seen off by armed braves of the Alamo Band.  Forgot names of creek across the plain from the Magdalenas & ranch, though I had looked closely at whether it might support an orchard just above the confluence with the Salado.  Furthest I ever got out there was sneaking across the Strawberry hills & the Tech proving grounds, which was very scary with all the sheer vertical shafts & explosives craters.  Only crossed with wolves one time, cutting Gambel fuelwood along the west side of the San Mateos & camping just south of Apache Kid, when my dogs were out all night yipping/ howling/ chasing/ running with what I had thought were coyotes, until I later read about the pack having been tracked right then into that area from the Black Range.  And closest I ever came to a lion (in North America) was rounding a bend not far behind my dogs in the canyon at Servilleta (above Ojo Caliente) to see a long tail with black tip turn to blur off into the scrub.  Ready to read your book, better yet share some campfire light!

Ted Abbey wrote:That road loops all the way through to Magdalena. You can drop down into Socorro, and visit the El Camino Restaurant.. I would recommend the two breakfast burritos with bacon and red and green chili. Great food in a retro atmosphere, and your coffee cup will never be empty!

Hey Ted, Not too long ago we had a brief exchange about your opportunity in Nevada.  

I passed through Riley a couple of times, when I worked at the VLA Jan-Apr 1987 & lived out of my vehicle in the mountains around, + a decade later got turned back by locked gates on very rugged roads trying to get close & hike up Ladron after they created the Wilderness Study Area.  I know the guy who bought the big ranch just downstream on the Rio Salado & is trying to restore the arroyo coming across the plain.  

On the other side of 60, east side of Magdalenas, off Water Canyon Road, do you happen to know anything about the huge apricot trees around a corral near the foothills, or the old orchard with a surviving cherry at an old mining outpost in the foothills, or the raspberry thicket surrounding the ruined cabin just below the peaks, or the couple who worked the fire lookout on Mt Withington & had mastered growing asparagus on arroyo flood benches?
Hello all, Just found this here.  Thank you for sharing your perspectives & approaches.  

We, a family of three (family doctor, eco-designer/ grower/ forester, 6th grader) are getting ready for sabbatical/ worldschooling by preparing our two homesteads to carry themselves indefinitely, cover our fixed costs in our absence, be ready whenever we come back.  The initial idea has been an academic year with both summers, split evenly venturing from/ traveling between fixed bases with family in northeast USA/ central Chile/ southwest Germany, scaled down/ set up for bikepacking, foraying out to recon places, discover communities, pursue projects.  

It's been long in the gestating & making, sometimes we're back on the borderline of whether we really can.  It's been very encouraging to stumble upon all those who have gone before/ are out there now/ are sharing experiences & resources.  It seems a tricky balance between some workable stability & some transcending adventure.  We're hoping to cross paths with others, linger for collaborations, find people & place with which to develop more regenerative community.  

3 weeks ago

Ulla Bisgaard wrote:

Patrik Schumann wrote:Anyone have insightful experience with housemates, renters, caretakers of their homesteads?

Maybe ask in one of the forums here. Maybe a skip student, would like to come in a try their hands at handling a homestead? All you can do is ask.

Yes.  Before that we're refining the ask.  I have lots of experience over decades with housemates, renters, caretakers at my homestead in New Mexico, most of it well less than satisfactory.  There occupants are legally responsible for the weeding at least.  Here we have the challenge that the house has to carry itself financially + factoring in the Edible Plantscape even fallowed is a wildcard.  We offered it to the urban backyard gardens CSA for production but no response.  We've had neighbours, gardener, CA Rare Fruit Grower friends help with watering once a week, but even when not burdensome that is often too complicated/ disrupted by distraction & reductionism.  
1 month ago
We're preparing to go on worldschooling sabbatical & realise that whoever's in the house will likely not be able to manage gophers, rain-water & gray-water irrigation, weeds, or harvesting.  The gophers come back despite us blocking their passage from under the sidewalk & street, putting 2' footings under all our boundary/ retaining walls we had to rebuild, having replanted almost everything in cages, & using good traps that work well but they wall them off now.  The large-capacity rain-tanks are gravity-fed/ no pumps, require hand-watering as pressure/ flow drops, & won't last the dry season anyway.  Gray-water is much greater in quantity but relentless daily batches & worse quality than conveyed-water with most occupants.  Weeds are helpful for a while, until the stinging nettles take over & everything reseeds.  If one isn't ready well in advance of harvesting, the birds, squirrels, & rats get most everything.  Even fallowed our place produces a bounty.  Anyone have insightful experience with housemates, renters, caretakers of their homesteads?
1 month ago

Ulla Bisgaard wrote:

So far, out of your list, I have planted Elder, plum, raspberry and blackberry. I am on the waiting list for a Pitanga, and are considering a jaboticaba as well. I am also thinking about getting a Natal plum. What are your thoughts on that? Their height variant from 2 to 20 feet depending on the variety.

I don't have or know natal plum, but why not?  I plant & try everything, working from native through locally-adapted to locally-adaptable, ie from similar climate bioregions.  Our NM & CA homestead growspaces are only ~4500sf/ 418m² (on ~8"/ 20cm precip - drought + irrigation), just enough to produce complete nutrition for our family of three by Edible Plantscape with bio-intensive, so we just plant alternating tree-shrub-tree, etc, as close as 18"/ 0.5m around/ across our outdoor spaces, espalier/ prune for integrated & filtering canopy, then grow 2-3 layers underneath as well.  That way every drop of water (rain- first, gray- second, conveyed- least) reaches something.
1 month ago

Ulla Bisgaard wrote:Today I ordered a rose hip plant to add to our orchard. It will arrive in about a month, which is when my rock roses will arrive too.
Do you guy have any suggestions for other shrubs and bushes that will be able to survive here and be a good addition to what will hopefully eventually become a food forest garden?
I think that’s what’s the hardest for me. Even though we have been in the US for 20 years, my knowledge of shrubs and their names are still something I am struggling with. Often I end up searching for the Latin names of plants, but it’s not always working, and I just don’t know enough yet,  about what plants can thrive here.

I plant local native shrubs for wildlife, edible native shrubs for people, that zone's Permaculture poultry forage matrix shrubs, & then any others that might work: sumac, elder, plum, cherry, currant, gooseberry, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, hazelnut, medlar, quince, pitanga, araça-uçu, eugenia, jaboticaba, etc.  Some die but over the years I fill the gaps with more.
1 month ago

Ulla Bisgaard wrote:

I agree. I used to be a member of the San Diego gardener group, but left after getting tons of bad advice, and being ridiculed for my ideas. At one point, their expert told me to toss some seedlings I was growing, because the roots turned a little brown whenever I changed the water. No advice on saving them. Well I did save them, and got 3 huge healthy plants out of it. In the end though, it was the environment of self importance, bullying and negativity, that made me leave. It simply became clear that we don’t see the same things when we look at our gardens. Where I see ecosystems, diversity and soil improvements. They see ugliness and weeds. Where I want to work with the environment (food for all), they look at how to tame and/or eradicate it. Just something as simply as what Allen Brooker says about sterile soil. They don’t agree and want the soil and compost to be sterile when spread. Instead I ask, why are you trying to change nature? I love my weeds. I will give you, that I don’t love all of them, but it’s fairly easy to encourage the ones you like to grow. You just leave those alone and remove the ones you don’t like. Eventually the “good” weeds will outcompete the “bad” ones.
While Allen Brooker gave me the scientific explanation, I had already observed that my seedlings did better when started in native soil. It made me very happy that I dropped the other group, and started here instead.
It was such a relief to finally find a group of people, who thought the same was, and also wanted to work with the environment holistically.
Anyway, I am very happy having connected with you and other as well, and I hope we eventually will be able to meet up and inspire each others.

Somewhat like your gardeners experience, our urban eco-homesteader/ NM cultural backlands (plus my off-kilter European) ways made us stand out & ultimately alone in our 'hood, at our son's school, even among my wife's high school friends.  Anyway, we're also seven years in, our soil is living & jamming, our enormous raintanks are overflowing, our woody plantings well established, our beds mulched plus pushing volunteers, & just as we fallow & prepare to take our son around communities elsewhere in the world, we're looking forward to meeting anyone & everyone here with similar pursuits.  I'll be off soon for a few weeks to catch up with our NM homestead projects which I haven't seen to in 18 months.  
1 month ago

Ulla Bisgaard wrote:
I also love, that I have found like minded people, who doesn’t think I am crazy for doing what I do, so a big thanks to you all for that.

We arrived here under the welcoming umbrella of some local CA Rare Fruit Growers, through whom I learned a lot of insights & got some valuable species & varieties.  Very few were organic-, sustainability-, regeneration-, drought-, subsistence-orientated, let alone permies, though I did follow that MeetUp group for years hoping for something collective to happen.  Anyway, happy to connect with some of you here & now!
1 month ago