Daron Williams

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since Oct 08, 2016
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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 Outreach Coordinator for a local Land Trust and as a Board member of a local non-profit working to restore the Deschutes River Estuary.
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
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Recent posts by Daron Williams

Hmm, crazy ideas... My current crazy idea that I really want to try is to build my own beaver dam. I have been reading up a lot about how beavers build their dams and while I can't find any example of someone building a beaver dam it does seem possible. There are things called beaver dam analogues which are basically woven fences with a mud/rock base and installed into a stream/river. I built a series of these as part of my restoration job at a site where we removed a culvert connecting two wetlands. Since beavers had made a series of step down dams/ponds below the culvert we continued that pattern using the analogues. Worked well and has resulted in a series of shallow ponds where there used to be a culvert. But they don't work as well as a real beaver dam and don't have the same look/feel to them. I really want to build my own beaver dam that mimics the functionality of the real thing. I have a seasonal stream flowing through my property and I would love to make a series of beaver dams on it to create a series of ponds and hopefully have year round water instead of just a seasonal stream. Most of the dams would be small (2 feet or so tall) but I'm thinking about building one big one that would be between 4 and 6 feet tall in the middle. Likely a crazy idea - but could be fun and I can start small and see if I can get a 2 foot high dam to survive!
41 minutes ago
I might be interested in helping out from time to time. But I could only come for a day at a time. I live north of Lacey on my own 2.86 acres homestead with my wife and 11 month old son. Been practicing permaculture for a bit now and I run the restoration program for a local land trust. If nothing else I would be interested in seeing what you are doing.

You might want to reach out to Evergreen and specifically the Graduate Program for the Environment at Evergreen. Might be easier to find a group of students to come out for a week or more than some one like me with a family.

Good luck!
18 hours ago
Overall this week has been going okay but I caught a nasty cold midway through it. So far been holding to the rule of not buying any processed snacks and the results has been good. I have noticed that while I may get hungry at work towards the end of the day it feels different. Having less sugar means that even when hungry I don't suffer from low blood sugar like I used to when hungry. So far so good - though I do still have some improvements to make but its going good. Dropped down to 159.0 lbs today - 1.5 lbs drop from last week.

I started the blogging course this week. So far so good and I'm hopeful that I will be ready to launch my blog and business by summer. Still a bit torn on a few things but the course is helping. Hard to determine what sort of services are necessary for launching the business versus just helpful.

I'm hoping that I feel better tomorrow - got a bunch of homesteading tasks to do over the next two days. Here is hoping that the cold is a short one!
3 days ago

Su Ba wrote:I posted this on my blog a couple of days ago. It applies nicely to this discussion I think.
Highlights looking back....(as explanation, these were some of my projects from 2017)
...found a successful solution to growing slug-free greens & carrots
...came up with an affordable (for me, that is) greenhouse to thwart the pickleworm moth
...had great success in learning to grow cucumbers (a difficult crop in my area)
...learned that creating a steady farm income requires a lot of time. I also learned that as of yet, I don't have enough time to devote to steady farm income. I still have too many other projects that need to be finished first.
...managed to create 1/4 acre more of edible pasture. It's a slow task, removing undergrowth, thinning trees, adding soil amendments, getting something edible to grow.
...added a Wwoofer/caretaker
...added a new puppy to the family
...invited to Kapapala Ranch -- thrice! (This is a very large working cattle ranch not far from me.)

Looking forward....
...finish the bathroom
...build an outdoor deck and add a hot tub
...put a new roof on the house
...get the refrig and freezer onto their own small solar system
...get all the greenhouses into production
...develop a steady farm income

As you know, I'm not into New Year's resolutions. Why set myself up for failure, along with the accompanying guilt, stress, and depression? Sure I'd like to lose weight, get rid of bad habits, accomplish great tasks...just like most people. But I'm happier if I refrain from resolutions and just stick with a few sensible ideas for priority projects I'd like to work on. If they get completed, fine. If not, then I'll just continue to plug away and enjoy working on them as I go.

Looks like you had some good successes over the last year! I hear you on resolutions but I also like to go into each new year thinking back on the previous and asking myself what worked and what did not. I try to address some of the things that did not work and try to change my behaviors. I'm not always successful but I like to think that by doing this I make at least some progress each year. I read through some of your blog posts - thanks for sharing!
1 week ago

Nicole Alderman wrote: Weeeell, our property has multiple salmonberry/Himalayan blackberry hedges (it came with them), as well as a protected wetland (and where it boarders our yard/pasture is also blackberry/salmonberry. If left to it's designs, the blackberry and salmonberry would take over the yard, and there wouldn't be any place for the ducks to forage. So, we try to hack back the blackberry and salmonberry so they stay in their own territory. I also try to encourage the hedges to be composed more of salmonberries and thimbleberries and am also introducing raspberries.

To do this, I go along with pruning shears, or--if I don't have to worry about my little ones being near by--with a machete or scythe and hack back the blackberry. We also try to mow the pasture/lawn at least twice per growing season to hamper it's growth further (and to get fresh grass growing, as the ducks can't/don't eat tough grass.) And, we try to plant other plants to add to the diversity of the hedge, and to help out compete the invasive blackberry.

In places where I have bindweed, I actually prune the invasive blackberry to encourage more growth--as I'd rather have blackberries that I can eat and are yummy, than bindweed that I cannot eat.

Got ya - Sounds like you got a lot to keep up on. I'm tackling my own large blackberry patch - seems like a common problem here in the Pacific Northwest! Though I'm saving some of the berries for eating I'm enjoying the winter and getting to take a break from blackberry control. Though I do need to finish cutting the ones that are hanging into my property from my neighbors yard before they root and start growing. So annoying how the blackberries will root from the tip of their vines...
1 week ago
Hello all,

Thanks for sharing! Looks like you did a great job meeting your goals Nicole - dealing with the blackberries is always a challenge. Seems like it is one of those tasks that just keeps coming back. What does under control mean for you? Also, great new goals!

Redhawk, thanks for sharing! I wish you and Wolf a very healthy 2018. Hopefully, both of your health will improve quickly and I hope the rest of the goals go well for you. I hope to hear good news from you as the year moves forward.

This week has been going okay for me in terms of my goals. I managed to not buy any processed snack foods this week though I did finish some of the ones still leftover from the holidays. Luckily, most are gone now and I'm starting to switch over to snacking on fruit and veggies instead. Not garden fresh but still a huge improvement over processed snack foods.

I did have a rough couple days though as my body detoxed (sugar withdrawal I think). I'm starting to feel a lot better though and my weight dropped from 161.4 to 160.5 between the 1st and this morning. I'm going to be weighing myself each Friday morning to see how that is going. My specific goal is to get back to what I weighed (152) the summer before I started graduate school which was also the summer I did my first (and so far only) marathon. Graduate school resulted in a lot of late nights and built some bad snacking habits. But I graduated 1.5 years ago so I think it is time to get better habits built up again.

One of my rough days resulted in me not being able to sleep so I did break my one tv show rule that night. I was lying on the couch trying to get my mind to quite and I thought a show would help. Otherwise I have been doing good on this area though I have watched a little more YouTube than I should - I would like to stop watching YouTube videos too unless it is to learn something specific.

My internet surfing habits have been hard to break. I think I'm doing it less but I'm no where near perfect on that goal but being mindful of this habit and my desire to change it will hopefully result in a change soon.

On the blog/business side I'm torn and have a decision to make. I'm taking a free online course from a site that I have been following called Pro Blogger. All in all a great site with a lot of good info and I enjoy their podcast. I'm signed up for the course which starts on the 10th and have been getting a few pre-course emails and the latest email announced a new challenge and event the site is starting called International New Bloggers Day. This day will be in mid-February and the site will be putting together some cool things to help showcase and jump start new blogs. Seems like a great thing but this would be a huge jump forward in my timeline. I was aiming to start the blog by summer but now I'm wondering if I should aim to start by this February date to be a part of that challenge. Having a deadline could really help me get out of research mode and into the doing mode. But at the same time I don't want to rush this since I'm really hoping to make this a successful business that will allow me to leave my day job by the end of 2020 and focus on my homestead / business. What do you all think?

Thanks all!
1 week ago
I have mostly clay soil at my place. Parts of it are really compacted where people used to park for example or used to have one of those round above ground swimming pools. Other areas are not compacted except during the summer the soil becomes rock hard. Depending on the area I'm trying to improve I do different things.

In the hard compacted areas I have used equipment to dig down to open it up. I also constructed several large hugel beds in these areas. While these can be built on the surface I partially buried mine. When I dug down I placed large woody debris into the hole and then added the soil back. On top of that I added smaller woody debris and then added more soil on that. But you could just stop after adding back the soil that was dug out. In my case I just wanted to improve a long strip of compacted land to make a hedgerow or living fence so this worked well for me.

In most other areas on my property I'm just adding mulch in the form of wood chips right on top of the soil. Overtime this will greatly improve the soil and I have found that it also prevents the soil from becoming rock hard in the summer heat. If there is grass or other vegetation I don't want then I place cardboard or newspaper down first and then add the wood chips.

Another thing to consider is planting tap root species such as tillage radishes that will open up the soil with their roots. If you leave them in the ground to decompose over winter you will get little pockets of rich soil.

Good luck!
1 week ago
Hello all,

With the new year here I'm trying to tackle a few of my not so good habits and also set some goals for the year. I'm going to post my goals and share about once a week how I'm doing moving towards them. I'm hoping that by sharing I will feel some accountability and stick with them.

Here are my goals:
- Start a blog / online business by summer
- Stop buying processed snack foods (and lose weight!)
- Limit myself to one tv show (Star Trek Discovery!)
- No internet surfing - learning and research is fine but if I don't have a specific task/reason then the digital tech needs to be put away

The hope is to improve my overall health, lose weight and gain more time each day by being more purposeful in how I use the time. The blog / online business is part of a long term goal of one day working from home and no longer having to have a day job.

Well those are my goals. What have you all set for the new year? Perhaps we can all help each other keep our goals. I will post again in about a week with my progress.

Happy New Years!
2 weeks ago

Ronnie Ugulano wrote:I'm an INTJ. People that know me and are aware of the Myers-Briggs methods will say "Duh" after they know me a while.

Same here
2 weeks ago
I spent some time playing around with cryptocurrency mining and ended up using a site called MinerGate. If anyone signs up for it please use this affiliate link MinerGate. That link won't cost you anything but if you get active with mining it will help me out a bit Just discovered that they had this option!

With this site you can install a mining program onto your computer and they also have an app for smart phones. I found that on the same device I was getting double the H/S rate using MinerGate than I got using the browser based one. The other advantage of using MinerGate is that it has a wallet built in to it. All in all this makes it really easy to quickly get started. Currently I'm running MinerGate on 4 devices - my current laptop, an old tablet, my current smartphone, and my old smartphone. I'm going to watch it and see how much I make by morning. All the devices feed into the same account and on the minergate site there is a dashboard that lets you see your total and link to an exchange site to exchange the currency to bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency.

I also setup an account on CoinBase and linked it to my PayPal account. Looks fairly easy to transfer any cryptocurrency I do get to USD through that site.

Thanks again for sharing Paul - anyone else doing this? Paul - if you try minergate would you mind sharing if your H/S rate went up compared to the other site?