Kyle Williams

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since Jul 09, 2009
aka Monkey Walker
Olympia, WA
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Recent posts by Kyle Williams

I live in Olympia, WA and I'm hoping to raise some Icies this year. I guess a hatchery in Bellingham that had some had to cull thousands of them because of avian flu, and they're now hard to find. Is there a permie out there who has Icelandic chicks for sale in Western Washington? Or that is willing to ship to Western Washington?
4 years ago
Thanks for that Paul. I need occasional reminders to "read from the book of nature" more often than an actual book, or the forums!
4 years ago
It seems to me that PEP1/PEX1 is a useful Paul-ism that is shorthand for a curriculum/syllabus that helps to progressively build the skillsets necessary to work your land and provide for yourself in a low energy environment and with a low-to-no input ethos. Why would anyone want a curriculum or syllabus centered around building such skills? It's not like universities around the world use such tools as the syllabus to help organize the knowledge they're passing on, right?

In all seriousness though, I think the usefulness of PEP1/PEX1 is not just in the building of skills for someone who maybe ends up going to a PEP1 training on Paul's land and then tries to convince Mike Oehler to will them his land. I think it's usefulness lies most heavily in it's ability to organize the things which permies might not know they don't know into an easy to follow skill building agenda. I think such a curriculum is just what permaculture needs. And not just one curriculum, but many, because what I need for PEK1 here in western WA is going to be somewhat different than what Paul needs in PEP1, or what anyone needs in PEX1. And it's not just regional, but personal as well. I might spin up a PEK1: Cooking, because I love to cook, while someone else might not if they don't do the majority of cooking for their family/friends/community. Permaculture is not lacking for people who're willing to teach skillsets, but it's my opinion that a lot of the teaching in permaculture is lacking an organized progression of skillsets, ie a curriculum. PEX1 seems to offer that, with the quirky Paul twist that we all have come to love. Structurally, there's no difference in calling it a white-, green-, brown-, or blackbelt in gardening, etc., than there is in calling college courses 100, 200, 300, and 400 level courses. However, I think it's much more exciting to think about earning my blackbelt in gardening than to think of myself as having 400-level knowledge in gardening.

So, to really answer your question Paul, I think there is tremendous value in creating an organized structure for learning skills necessary to living a low energy, low impact lifestyle. More serious students of permaculture can use it as a credential on their "permaculture resume" when offering consulting or WWOOFer/GAPer services, and less serious students can have a reference that helps them build the skills necessary to implement projects on their own land in a low-energy/input/consumption/impact type of way. And of course, if Paul's PEP1 lists are TOO low energy for some people, Paul has graciously invited everyone to build their own PEX1 that is tailored to the way they want to implement their designs. A win/win for everyone!

My one criticism (constructive I assure you) is that it should not just be a list of progressively more difficult goals. Once the goals are decided upon, I think at least each belt level within a subject, and possibly every goal within a belt level, should eventually be accompanied by references that can help teach the student how to be able to achieve that goal. In a PEK1: Gardening white belt, I might recommend to people that they read "Gardening When it Counts" by Steve Solomon, "Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades" by Steve Solomon, and "The Vegetable Gardener's Guide to Permaculture" by Christopher Shein. Additionally, I'd probably recommend they watch "World Domination Gardening" from Paul, other gardening videos on YouTube, etc., or if I was really taking PEK1 seriously, I'd start making my own PEK1: Gardening training videos on YouTube, and perhaps be able to develop that into an income stream. I haven't started working on PEK1, so please don't take my recommendations too seriously if you live in western WA, but I think my point comes across. The value of thinking about permaculture skillsets in an organized, curriculum like fashion, with goals necessary to achieve a certain level of competency, as well as references that can help you achieve those goals, seems to me to have tremendous benefit no matter what you're doing with the skillset once you have it.

And now, I guess it's time for me to get started on developing PEK1.
4 years ago
My special lady friend and I just bought a house on 1.5 acres, most of which is going to find itself designed into intensive permaculture production over the coming years. However, we like sprawling on some "lawn" as much as the next guy, and we have a spot that will end up being between 0.05 - 0.1 acres that we leave as Wheaton Style Lawn. I'm trying to figure out the best way to trim the lawn, and was hoping for some suggestions.

I'd like to leave the height of everything a minimum of 4 inches. The choices I've narrowed it down to are a scythe, or a Fiskars push mower.

The Fiskars that I've found has been discussed in the forums before, but nobody seemed to give it a definitive "love it/hate it" opinion, so I was hoping others might have some feedback.

The other option I've been thinking about is a scythe, but are these good for mowing 4 inches or higher? Is there too much human error in keeping it high off the ground, or is it simply a matter of fitting the scythe to yourself properly and the blade sort of naturally swings where you want the height to be?

Finally, I've found this thread where someone mentions they borrowed this scythe from Paul... does anyone know which scythe is "Paul Wheaton Approved?" I'd love to get a scythe from Permaculture Magazine's shopping website, but can't quite afford the Cadillac of scythe's yet, and have instead been considering this brand on Amazon. Does anyone have any feedback on those? Is that the brand pictured in the thread I linked to above that Paul loaned to Mr. Aiuppa?

Thanks for any and all help/opinion that anyone contributes... I value everyone's input tremendously!
4 years ago
I'm in for the $60 DVD early-bird option. These look exciting!
Does anyone have suggestions for the best permaculturey ways to manage an already existing septic system?

My fiancee and I just bought a home on 1.5 acres in Oly, WA. It's a "traditional" home that already has plumbing and a septic system. We have found many of the general septic best practices, and we plan to compost all organic matter and not use the food "disposal" in our sink. We won't be flushing much of anything besides toilet paper, and we want to re-plumb much of our house into a greywater system. Meaning, we probably won't be putting much into our septic tank other than toilet flushes.

I'd like to bypass the septic altogether by doing humanure, but I don't know if we can get away with it where we live. In the even that we can't, does anyone have suggestions on how best to manage our septic system in a permaculture fashion? My goals are:

1) Toxin free septic management
2) Minimize how frequently we need to pump the septic system
3) Utilize the septic system as little as possible, with the exception of poop since we might not be able to get away with switching to compost toilets.

Any and all permaculture best practices for utilizing a septic system that's already in place would be awesome and helpful. Thanks!

(Note to moderators: Sorry if this is the wrong forum for this topic!! I couldn't decipher any that might be THE spot for this question.)
4 years ago
Karla, I love where you're going with your journal! Please make sure to post a link to the final product in this thread. I'd love to support you for your efforts!
4 years ago
I thought that the Permies forums might be a great place to share my final design project for Geoff Lawton's Online PDC. If anyone is interested in taking a look, I appreciate and look forward to your feedback! I'm thick skinned, but please be as kind as you are critical. It's my first ever design, so I'm sure I made plenty of mistakes, and I look forward to any constructive criticism that is offered!
Thanks so much for sharing your video Tel! It's beautiful! The bee closeups were awesome, the music was a delightful compliment to the footage, and the Bee Pirate looked as swaggery as they come!

And Paul, thanks a bunch for posting YOUR video, that lady was hilarious! Subscribing to Green Porno now!
4 years ago
Thank you Matu! I'm pretty fascinated by it.
4 years ago