Daron Williams

+ Follow
since Oct 08, 2016
Daron likes ...
bike books forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur kids trees
Forum Moderator
From a young age growing up in arid Eastern Washington Daron learned the importance of protecting our rivers and watersheds. This was later enforced while working to restore water systems in England, and studying climate change in the Fiji Islands. Daron has worked to protect the waters of the Pacific Northwest through jobs with several non-profits, the US Geological Survey and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.
Through this hands-on field experience and with degrees in water resources, political science and a master’s in environmental studies, Daron understands the challenge of protecting our region's natural habitats – Daron is meeting these challenges head on through his current role as the Restoration and Public Access Manager for a local Land Trust.
Daron was also brought up with a passion for growing his own food. Throughout his youth, his family grew approximately half of the vegetables they consumed in the backyard of a suburban home. Given this background in water and gardening, it was no surprise that permaculture and other ecological based methods for growing food would appeal to Daron.
Now that Daron and his wife have purchased land with a small house, Daron hopes to be able to apply what he has learned over the years to create a demonstration ecological based garden/farm system to provide for his family and to share with others what works and what does not.
Olympia, WA - Zone 8a/b
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand Pollinator Scavenger Hunt
expand Pioneer Scavenger Hunt Green check

Recent posts by Daron Williams

Anyone have any experience with bigleaf maple seeds? They are the largest native maple here in the Pacific Northwest. The seeds don't fall until late summer into the fall. I have noticed that some years the trees don't produce a lot of seeds but most years one tree produces tons. Just my neighbors big leaf maple which is at least 100 feet away from my house can produce enough seeds to still block my rain gutters.

One issue I see with the bigleaf maple is that the seed coating has a bunch of fine hairs on it that will stick in your skin if you handle them. I was collecting a bunch to broadcast over an area I was wanting volunteers and I kept getting the hairs stuck in my fingers. Same thing happened when I walked barefoot over them. Anyone have any experience removing the seed coating? Could be fairly slow going... I wonder if putting them in an oven or solar dehydrator first would cause the seed coating to open up. If it did then it could be fairly easy to remove the coating. Once that was done you could roast the seeds.

I'm assuming the bigleaf maple seeds are edible - I know the flowers are. Anyone able to confirm?

I did a quick google search and on the site "Plants for a Future" they list the seeds as being bitter but apparently one option is to sprout the seeds and then eat the young sprouts which apparently have a nice flavor. Here is the site: https://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Acer+Macrophyllum

Reading this report from the USDA: https://www.plants.usda.gov/plantguide/pdf/pg_acma3.pdf - it seems like getting the seeds to sprout could be challenging since you need to stratify the seeds for a few months first. Though it does sound like you can collect the seeds when they are fully developed but have not dried yet and they will sprout without the stratification. That might be an option - there are normally a ton of seeds on a single tree but I wonder if it would be worth while as a food crop...
3 days ago
Happy Summer Solstice!
3 days ago
New veg for me but I have been loving orach
5 days ago

Click here for all the permaculture design course video details

HD instant view$75$60$100
tiny (SD) download$200
HD download$300


This PDC brings together some of the best minds in the permaculture community. With a variety of backgrounds and areas of expertise, these instructors convey their knowledge during the 2017 Homesteaders Permaculture Design Course.

Tim Barker

Tim has come a long way since his days as a diesel fitter mechanic, and now spends his time between Australia and New Zealand (and sometimes the US) as a semi professional pyromaniac and mad scientist teaching people how to burn stuff and make really cool machines and devices for low carbon living. He currently teaches Appropriate Technology for the Koanga Institute in New Zealand and Very Edible Gardens (VEG) in Melbourne, to name a few.

He has previously been farm manager for the Permaculture Research Institute of Australia, power station operator/mechanic, adventure guide and professional turtle wrestler. His rocket stove and char making powered hot water systems, ovens and cookers reflect his passion for elegant simple and durable combustion technologies. Other projects include gravity powered water pumps, solar thermal cookers and dryers, pedal powered washing machines, cargo bikes, hovercraft, wooden boats and aquaponics, to name a few. When he is not tinkering he can be found on Macleay Island off the coast of Queensland Australia, where he and his family live and are currently in the process of building a rammed earth house (with maybe a little sailing thrown in).

He is particularly well known for his safe and effective rocket hot water heating system.He brings practical, hands on experience with some truly fascinating projects to the table - this from the Koanga institute:

"He has the practical knowledge and skills to construct almost any project with limited resources."
We're thrilled to have him instructing at our facilities!

Paul Wheaton

Paul Wheaton, the bad boy of Permaculture, was proclaimed by Geoff Lawton in 2012 the Duke of Permaculture. He is the creator of two on-line communities. One is about Permaculture, permies.com, and one is about software engineering, CodeRanch.com.

He is a powerful advocate of Sepp Holzer’s techniques, which a recent study showed to have the ability to feed 21 billion people without the use of petroleum or irrigation. He also promotes the use of hugelkultur, which sequesters carbon and eliminates the need for irrigation, and polycultures, which reduces the need for pest control and improves the health of plants. He wrote several articles about lawn care, raising chickens, cast iron, and diatomaceous earth. Paul regularly uploads permaculture videos and permaculture podcasts.

Thomas J. Elpel

Thomas J. Elpel is an author, natural builder, educator, and conservationist. He has authored multiple books: Foraging the Mountain West, Botany in a Day, Shanleya's Quest and numerous others about plant identification, wilderness survival, and sustainable living. He has multiple videos: Building a Slipform Stone House from the Bottom Up, How to Make a Grass Rope, Build Your own Masonry Fireplace - Masonry Heater - Masonry Stove, and many more. Thomas regularly teaches classes on plant identification, primitive skills and natural building. He is founder/director of Green University, LLC in Pony, Montana.

Helen Atthowe

Helen has an MS in Horticulture and Agricultural Ecology from Rutgers University; worked at Rutgers in tree fruit IPM; studied natural farming with Masanobu Fukoka; interned at The Land Institute in Kansas; taught a Master Gardener course in Montana for 15 years while she was Missoula County extension agent; owned and operated Biodesign organic vegetable farm in Montana (1993-2010); consulted for a 2000 acre organic vegetable farm (2011); helped run her husband's Woodleaf Farm organic orchard in northern California 2012-2015; worked for Oregon State University Horticulture Department; and is now farming a 211 acre farm in eastern Oregon with her husband, where they have a mixed fruit and hazelnut orchard, small grain and dry bean production, vegetable gardens, high tunnels, and greenhouse.

Erica Wisner

Erica is a science and art educator, curriculum developer, writer, illustrator, researcher, and rocket mass heater innovator. She loves making things from scratch - anything from blueberry scones to the oven itself. Erica is a skilled educator and project coordinator, with over 20 years of experience building teamwork and leading hands-on learning. Her and Ernie have taught numerous workshops on natural building and rocket mass heaters. Erica has written multiple books on rocket mass heaters, fire making, and survival shelters. She is featured in many videos, documentaries, and podcasts on rocket mass heaters.

Jacqueline Freeman

Jacqueline is a biodynamic farmer, author, and natural beekeeper. She is known for her gentle and understanding ways with bees. She appears in the honeybee documentary, Queen of the Sun and was hired by the USDA to work with rural farmers and beekeepers in the Dominican Republic, using historic methods of respectful beekeeping. She lives on a farm in Washington state with her husband, Joseph, where they have orchards, gardens, two big greenhouses, a small forest, rich pastures and plenty of flowering bee forage. Jacqueline also has lots of experience raising livestock: cows, goats, chickens for laying and broilers, turkeys, and horses. She has two websites: SpiritBee.com and friendlyhaven.com.

Zachary Weiss

Protégé of legendary Austrian farmer, Sepp Holzer, Zach is the first person to earn Holzer Practitioner Certification outside of the Krameterhof training program. Blending a unique combination of systems thinking, empathy, and awareness, Zach uses an action-oriented process to improve human relationships with earth. Enhancing ecosystems and harvesting natural productivity over time is the ultimate goal - with high initial input, high yield systems that will last until the next ice age.

Zach currently has projects in 11 nations on 4 continents, spanning a wide range of climates, contexts, land-forms and ecosystems. Having experience with a wide range of techniques and systems (from natural building, to greenhouses, to carpentry, to watershed restoration), Zach also graduated summa cum laude with a degree in Ecology. He has two websites elementalecosystems.com and holzerpermaculture.us

Davin Hoyt

Davin is an architect, artist, and entrepreneur. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Architecture and has 16 years of drafting experience. Davin has established two community gardens in Georgetown, Texas and he is the first to map Wheaton Labs. Davin practices architecture as a one-man firm and will soon be a small restaurant chain partner. He is the future illustrator of Paul's book on "Wofatis".


The attendees enjoyed a wide variety of lectures and projects, and got an up close and personal tour of Wheaton Labs.

The Appropriate Technology course:

1. Solar - (passive, heating, cookers, ovens, dryers. Panels, charging, storage, lighting, mobile powered units).

2. Heating Temperate shelters - rocket stoves ( dimensions, materials, uses (hotwater, oven, cooking, mass heating). wood stoves, solar, thermal mass, insulation, floors, composting. Thermal mass greenhouses

3. Cooling Tropical shelters - shade, wind, ground cooling ducts, orientation, thermal mass, roofs

4. Water - filtering, purity, potibility, design, pumps, swales, ponds, air wells, drilled wells, collection systems, storage, IBC's, Grey water (recycling, uses, low cost methods, legal, productive uses)

5. Sustainability - energy audits, home, farm, food security - measurement

6. BioChar - production and use

7. Compost Toilets - Types, designs, Humanure, urine, safety, regulation, reality.

The schedule for the Permaculture Design Course:

Day 1: Introduction to permaculture
Session 1: Tim Barker - welcome and introduction to course
Session 2: Tim Barker - introduction to permaculture
Session 3: Tim Barker - history & context of permaculture
Session 4: Tim Barker - design framework; ethics

Day 2: Design concepts and themes
Session 1: Tim Barker - permaculture design process
Session 2: Tim Barker - design process: ecosystems; holistic perspective
Session 3: Tim Barker - design principles: connections, diversity
Session 4: Tim Barker - design principes: nutrients, energy
Evening Session: Ernie & Erica - Fire

Day 3: Methods of design
Session 1: Tim Barker - design principes: succession, resources
Session 2: Tim Barker - design principes: small-scale, edges
Session 3: Tim Barker - design principes: overview
Session 4: Tim Barker - design principes: summary
Evening Session: Byron Joel - introduction to keyline design

Day 4: Managing holistically
Session 1: Tim Barker - history & context of holistic management
Session 2: Tim Barker - decision-making process
Session 3: Tim Barker - triple bottom line
Session 4: Tim Barker - forming holistic context
Evening Session: holistic management videos

Day 5: Climate and land form
Session 1: Tim Barker - climate zones, brittleness scale
Session 2: Tim Barker - land shape & brittleness; landscapes
Session 3: Tim Barker - patterns; reading landscape; design teams formed
Session 4: Davin Hoyt - architectural & landscape drawing
Evening Session: Davin

Day 6: Water and access
Session 1: Zach Weiss - ecology; water retention landscapes
Session 2: Zach Weiss - earthworks: model building
Session 3: Tim Barker - zones & strategies
Session 4: student designs
Evening Session: Zach - elemental ecology

Day 8: Trees & soils
Session 1: Byron Joel - tree ecology; succession
Session 2: Byron Joel - strategies & techniques; zones; summary
Session 3: Helen Atthowe - soils: ecology, structure, chemistry, biology
Session 4: student designs
Evening Session: Helen Atthowe - creating a commercial forest garden

Day 9: Soils & crops
Session 1: Helen Atthowe - soil strategies & techniques zones 1-4
Session 2: Helen Atthowe - crops; grass, herb & forb ecology
Session 3: Helen Atthowe - strategies & techniques, zones 1-4
Session 4: student designs
Evening Session: Jacqueline Freeman - building relationships with farm animals

Day 10: Animals
Session 1: Jacqueline & Joseph - beekeeping
Session 2: Jacqueline & Joseph - animal ecology, ethics, zones 1 & 2
Session 3: Jacqueline & Joseph - animals: zones 1-4
Session 4: student designs
Evening Session: Paul Wheaton - animals in the landscape

Day 11: Appropriate technology
Session 1: Ernie & Erica - appropriate technology
Session 2: Ernie & Erica - strategies & techniques for differen climates
Session 3: Ernie & Erica - strategies & techniques for different climates
Session 4: student designs
Evening Session: Paul Wheaton - animals in the landscape

Day 12: Bioregions & Communities
Session 1: Tim & Byron - community vs self-sufficiency; bioregions & communities
Session 2: Tim & Byron - eco villages; intentional communities
Session 3: Paul Wheaton - making a living using permaculture
Session 4: student designs
Evening Session: Jocelyn Campbell - money & finance

Day 13: Botany in a day
Session 1: Thomas Elpel: simple plant botany
Session 2: Thomas Elpel: plant walk; try out new identification skills
Session 3: Thomas Elpel: homesteading experiences
Session 4: student designs
Evening Session: design time

Day 14: Design time; presentations
Sessions 1-3: Design time
Session 4: presentations
Evening Session: talent show

Related threads:

All of the PDC & ATC - Live, tiny download, and HD instant view
All of the PDC evening presentations - HD instant view
All of the ATC - HD video
All of the PDC - HD video
All of the PDC & ATC video - HD instant view

Other courses at Wheaton Labs:

2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree Starts October 6, 2017
1 week ago
I'm very interested in trying to push my zone from 8 to 9 since there are some very cool plants that become available at zone 9. But I'm also a bit concerned that if I use techniques to make warm micro-climates that I might also increase the water needs of my property. My thought is that a warmer micro-climate area is going to dry out faster resulting in an increase in water needs.

What do you all think would be the best ways to deal with that?

Off the top of my head I have thought that one way would be to use water features such as a reflecting pond to create a warm micro-climate to the north of it and also increase humidity plus groundwater availability which could offset any increase in water demands created by the warmer temperatures. I guess that might be part of it - if the techniques used to push the zone are the type that use water then you can avoid the issue of a warmer micro-climate needing more water.

If you use large rocks then the area under the rocks tend to stay moist and you can even cause water vapor in the air to condense out in the rock pile if it is large enough - called an air well.

But then there are methods such as raised beds that push the zone by keeping frost at bay (if set up correctly so the cold air flows around and off the beds) but are often drier than flat ground or a depression. Could you solve one problem but create another? Would simply mulching heavily address the issue of potential water loss?

I guess all in all I'm just unsure where the balance lies - I love the idea of pushing the zone but I don't want to increase the amount of water I need. Ultimately, I want to push the zone and reduce the amount of water I need. All in all I see using a combination of permaculture techniques to achieve this goal - but I could also see mistakes happening if I'm not careful.

What do you all think? I would love to hear from you all about this.
1 week ago
Awesome to have you here David!
1 week ago
Restoration Coordinator - AmeriCorps Position with Capitol Land Trust

Do you have a passion for the environment and for engaging your community in the outdoors? Then Capitol Land Trust’s AmeriCorps Restoration Coordinator position would be a great fit for you! This position will restore degraded habitat, work with volunteers, and provide opportunities to get youth engaged in the outdoors in the South Puget Sound in Washington State.

If hired you will work with a small team of eight staff - but we have hundreds of volunteers that make this work possible! I will be the Restoration Coordinator position supervisor so you will get to work closely with a fellow permie!

Capitol Land Trust’s Mission: To further collaborative and strategic conservation of southwest Washington's essential natural areas and working lands. This includes both protecting additional lands for conservation, and maintaining and restoring the lands under our management to improve habitat quality and ecological function. More information can be found at Capitol Land Trust's website.

Location: Capitol Land Trust’s office in Lacey WA, and Land Trust properties throughout Thurston and Mason counties.

To Apply:

Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted. Email resume and cover letter to daron@capitollandtrust.org.

Applicants are also required to complete the online AmeriCorps application.

Project description: The AmeriCorps project will address two problems: first, the project will restore degraded habitat to improve fish and wildlife habitat and water quality in South Puget Sound; and provide opportunities to get youth engaged in the outdoors.

The AmeriCorps member will implement a series of volunteer restoration events to improve habitat on properties managed by Capitol Land Trust, including properties in the Black River watershed and along the Puget Sound shoreline in Mason and Thurston counties. This will include service on Capitol Land Trust’s Inspiring Kids Preserve on Henderson Inlet and will involve coordinating with local schools to host student groups at the preserve as part of our ongoing restoration and stewardship efforts.

The AmeriCorps member also may organize restoration events to remove invasive plants, plant native plants, and maintain existing native-plant plantings at other Capitol Land Trust properties.

Finally, The AmeriCorps member will also serve to enhance public access on several properties in Mason County and Thurston County. This will involve service with local school groups, the Washington Trails Association and adjacent land owners.

Restoration Coordinator Responsibilities: The member will organize and run weekly restoration service days at multiple locations in the southwest Washington with a focus on Mason and Thurston counties. Volunteers may be recruited using our internal database of volunteers and by recruiting new volunteers by reaching out to our community. 

Restoration service days will involve talking with Capitol Land Trust staff to identify areas that need stewardship, recruiting volunteers, organizing necessary supplies/logistics, running the event and training volunteers, and running the day of tasks associated with the event. Other tasks include adding volunteers to our database and reporting back to staff about the event.

The member will also assist Capitol Land Trust staff with education and outreach events including our hands-on nature-based education activities and our Outdoor Exploration Series.

Other tasks will involve assisting Capitol Land Trust staff with updating our website and social media pages.

The full position description lists the requirements and benefits for the position.

I hope you will join Capitol Land Trust's efforts to conserve and restore the South Puget Sound!

1 week ago

paul wheaton wrote:Daron, I was directed to that thing about six times - it had already been set correctly.  A bunch of time on the phone with paypal got me directed to some branch of paypal that sent me an email which i forwarded to devaka and he seems to have solved the problem!  People can now pay with a credit card without logging in to paypal.

I thought that overnight we would see ten times more conversion, but no such luck.  We are doing more studying.

Sorry about that Paul - I figured you already had looked at that option... Was just hoping with all the other stuff you all are doing that the simple fix had just slipped by. Good to hear that the payment option is worked out now at least. Sorry it was such a pain - PayPal can be a pain to work with sometimes...

Craig directed me towards the poetry side of things and I'm going to see if I can help with the existing problems.
Willie Smits: Village Based Permaculture Approaches in Indonesia

Online we have all seen videos of people doing small scale permaculture in their backyards or on small acreage. While these are often awesome examples of permaculture in action - how do you translate these projects to the large scale? How do you engage a whole community and work with government to make change using permaculture across a whole region?

In this video Willie Smits talks about his work on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi - an island with steep topography, overpopulation and with a unique/diverse local culture. Willie Smits explains how he was able to work with the people living on Sulawesi to address the problems of deforestation by promoting a permaculture inspired environmentally friendly agriculture production system. Through this system of agroforestry, Willie Smits created new and better jobs for the local people while reforesting the island promoting local plants and animals.

By working with the local communities and through the application of a joint planning module trust was built making this work possible. By working with a big farmers cooperative in north Sulawesi and building trust with the local community Willie Smits has created a potential blueprint for other communities to implement permaculture principles.

For only $10.00 you can access this presentation by Willie Smits to learn how to work with communities and build trust in order to better implement permaculture principles.

2 weeks ago
Thanks all for voting! If you have not yet please add your vote to the mix!
2 weeks ago