Daron Williams

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since Oct 08, 2016
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Hi, I’m Daron, and there’s nothing I love more than cultivating food, habitat, and beauty for my family and the wild critters that share our home.

Home, for me, is the Wild Ride Homestead—the little piece of earth where my wife, Michaela, and I are raising a family and running a business.

Michaela tends to the “home” part of the homestead—turning our harvests into wholesome, tasty meals, and taking the lead raising our little toddler. She also helps out quite a bit with Wild Homesteading, acting as my editor and helping me translate some of the abstract concepts into concise, actionable tips.

Our son Arden is also a cornerstone of our life and work, keeping us smiling and laughing even when times are tough.

Michaela and I both work outside the home to pay the bills—I work as a restoration project manager, and Michaela works at our local public library.
Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
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Recent posts by Daron Williams

Nice! Looks like the pig and chickens are enjoying all those leaves!
5 hours ago
Awesome ideas everyone! Thank you all for sharing!
5 hours ago

Tyler Ludens wrote:It just looks so good - seems to fit right into the landscape.

Thanks! This is one thing I love about this method!

Mike - I think that is a good point. But I also think that all the other wildlife that beavers attract from small aquatic critters to birds and larger animals would help with this. I may not have beavers in the pond but hopefully other wildlife will move in and help out with the sealing of the pond. I may also raise ducks in the future so they could help too!

Luckily the location I picked is a place where I know there is very high ground water year round. I think that this will help keep the pond filled if I can keep enough water in the overall system. Once I build more ponds in the future, establish terraces and swales on the uplands, build the organic content of my soil, and get trees established I hope that my land will hold much more water than it does now.

I like that Wayne - thanks for sharing! I'm planning on building some smaller ones like yours in some other locations and I'm thinking about using rocks in between ponds to hold a little water and also increase oxygen levels as the water moves over and through the rocks. So it would go pond -> rocky stream -> pond and then repeat.
5 hours ago
Good point Sandy and Tyler about sheet mulching in dry climates. Even here in western Washington which is fairly wet our summers are dry enough that if I put cardboard down during the summer it won't really start to decompose until the rains come back. But if I sheet mulch in the fall by the following summer the cardboard is generally gone unless I was too stringent on wood chips or other mulch.

Sounds like a good system Anna - do you think the seaweed helps get everything breaking down faster?

Thanks Ralph I always try to stay busy! Sounds like you got a lot of good material for sheet mulching. I think fall leaves put under the cardboard would breakdown fairly quickly but my only concern is that if they matted down too much with the cardboard on top and then wood chips on top of all of that could result in a poor oxygen environment down at the soil level. I tend to always put the cardboard down first and then add stuff on top. I have been putting my fall leaves on top of my wood chip areas. My thought is that the leaves will help keep the wood chips moist and create a fantastic environment for fungi to grow.

Anyone else have thoughts on fall leaves under cardboard?

Good luck Ralph with your rocket oven! I have a blog post about rocket ovens (just an intro) in the works and I hope to get it out not next Monday but the following Monday. Next Monday will be a shorter blog post about the chop and drop method.
5 hours ago

Buster Parks wrote:I'm trying a variation on the till once and double dig options here this year.  About 2500 sq ft mostly forked or dug by hand with a bit using the tiller (hated how the tiller did, it's being given away).  I immediately planted fall and winter cover crops like wheat, rye, Austrian winter peas, favas, mustard and daichon radish.  Since it's a small area I tried planting very dense in most areas to choke out any weeds that germinated or survived.  Timing was important for this and I did it all in late aug thru early october.  My plan is to thin the grains and peas that survive till spring as I'm ready to plant next year but keep some of the wheat and winter peas for shade and seeds.  While not as flexible timing wise I like the results so far and I have nice greens for the chickens and rabbits hopefully thru some of winter.

Sounds like you have a good system setup for your place. I like that you are planting it quickly after disturbing the soil - always good to get things growing. Thanks for your comment!
1 day ago

Nicole Alderman wrote:I've got a questions about tilling. When I use a handheld cultivator to remove weeds, am I "tilling"? I often use something like


to pull out buttercup or other plants that spread by runners. How damaging is this to the soil?

When I think of tilling what you are describing is not what I think of. But it is still disturbing the soil. If the buttercups or other plants were very dense and covering a whole area I could see that causing some short term damage but I don't see it being very major unless you were always disturbing the soil in that area.

Once you got an area fairly well cleared you could try adding some chop and drop material or other mulch - even just a thin layer to help cover the disturbed soil.

My guess is that the soil life would recover very quickly from this sort of minor soil disturbance as long as it was not repeated all the time.
1 day ago
Checked the dam again tonight during a very windy rain storm. The water is flowing over the top in one area but the dam is holding up very well and I don't see any signs of erosion. The pond is back to being completely full too!

So looking good all in all though I still want to add more soil and vegetation to the upstream side of the dam.

I will take a look at it in the morning to see how it held up through the rest of the storm.
1 day ago
I should add that my answer to the question about what gifts I would be interested in getting for Christmas was mulch (kinda joking, kinda not...) and a bunch of science fiction ebooks since I love to read and that way I won't have extra stuff lying around.

I love my hori hori knife and I have it listed on the blog post as an awesome gift for a homesteader.

Post may contain affiliate links, which allow me to earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Gifts for Homesteaders

It's that time of year again and people are asking me what stuff I'm interested in getting for Christmas. This question has really started to stump me and this year is no different. As a homesteader I find I just don't have much need for a lot of stuff.

Honestly, I would be thrilled if someone bought me a dump truck load of good wood chips - or fall leaves...

But there are some gifts that could be useful on the homestead beyond mulch. In this special mid-week blog post 10 Awesome Gifts for the Homesteader in Your Life I share 10 items that I think are great gifts for a homesteader.

This is a special mid-week blog post. Most weeks I only publish 1 blog post - but when there is a topic that does not exactly fit my normal how-to style or is not for a broad audience I publish those mid-week.

I'm not going to list the 10 items here - my goal is not to be spammy - if you are interested in seeing what the gifts are then please check out my blog post. The 10 items are made up of tools, books, and fun items for little homesteaders and/or the homesteading family.

What I would love to hear from you all in the comments is do you also struggle with the gifts question? And what gifts do you think would be great for a homesteader?

A Quick Promotion - 2 Awesome Permies Related Gifts

While I'm not going to list all the products here I do want to give a shout out to Permie's very own Nicole Alderman's Fairy Grove Creations.

Nicole makes these fantastic hand-made dragons, fairies and other felt creations - even a Paul Wheaton action figure!

Speaking of Paul... I want to give 1 last shout out to Paul's awesome Permaculture Playing Cards.

If you have not seen them yet I highly recommend checking the cards out. Each card features a different topic or person related to permaculture. The artwork is amazing and there are some great tips on each card.

The cards are a fantastic way to start a conversation about permaculture with family and friends.

Here is a picture of the cards.

You can buy individual decks through Amazon or follow the above link to purchase a digital copy through permies and find links to buy a box of multiple decks.

What Do You Think?

Okay, back to the question - do you struggle with the "what gifts do you want" question? And what stuff do you think would make a great gift for a homesteader?

I would also love to hear from you all who makes their own gifts to give to family and friends! My wife and I made some berry preserves this year from berries we harvested and we have given away other homemade gifts in the past.

I think homemade gifts are a great option. What do you think?

I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment in this thread and if you are interested check out my blog post that this thread was based on.

Thank you!
Made some adjustments today after work. Spent about an hour adding to the back of the dam. The leaks are greatly reduced and the pond level has increased. More to do but I'm feeling good about the results.
1 day ago