Daron Williams

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since Oct 08, 2016
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bike books forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur trees
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 Community Conservation Manager 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

I enjoyed the video and found the quality to be great overall. It is really aimed at someone who is just getting started with their own food system. The video does a great job giving an overview of how one person can grow half of their food but it does not provide detailed how to instructions. In the video people are encouraged to visit the grow network to get the more specific how to info.

So if you are wanting to understand what growing half of your own food looks like and you just need some inspiration to get started then this video is great. If you need specific how to guides on sat how to raise chickens free range or how to plant corn, etc. then you may find the video lacking. But there is a lot of good info on the grow network website and of course here on permies!

Thanks for sharing the video - I did enjoy it
6 hours ago
I have been a member of this site for almost one and a half years but been reading posts on here for so long that I don't remember how I found this site.

Might have been through Google searches - could have been YouTube... or from a link on a permaculture page. I spent a ton of time over the years reading and watching everything I could that was permaculture related. My guess is that this site showed up at some point during that process.
3 days ago

Nicole Alderman wrote:Sounds good!

I also have nettle you could dig up if you want some, as well native hazelnuts and cascaras if you want/need cuttings of those, too. And, a not-so-tasty variety of Siberian miner's lettuce growing through my woods--you'd probably want a tasty variety, though!

Awesome :) I like nettles - just salvaged a couple plants but could use more. I'm experimenting with growing the native hazelnuts from hardwood cuttings just stuck in the ground. I soaked them in willow water first and planted them last October. If it works I'm hoping to get a bunch of cuttings next fall from a variety of sites to increase the genetic diversity of my plants. The cuttings I planted last fall are so far still alive and doing well but I'm not calling it a success unless they make it through the summer.
4 days ago
WA and Oregon have similar water laws. Both allocate water rights based on seniority and in most cases unless you bought a water right with your property you won't have a water right for a stream that flows through it.

In my case the stream legally does not exist so it is not covered. This is mainly due to its seasonal nature. Though I have dug up old county maps from 1900ish that do show it. So I think it used to be a year round stream. I'm hoping to bring it back to that - at least in a series of ponds that I want to build.

A large pond on a school just upstream of my place feeds it and I'm hoping to work with the school to improve their area too in order to improve the stream. Then there is a horse training school further upstream that I also hope to work with one day...

Nicole Alderman wrote:Tee-hee, I can't help but notice that the aerial view of your hugel make it look like a giant banana slug!

Hehe, ya I love the aerial view
5 days ago

Chris Kott wrote:I love the addition of the decomposing woody materials and the mosses. Those will definitely provide any fungi that might be lacking in your hugelbeet, even if the mosses don't take. And maybe they will take.

Lovely pictures. Which direction is north in the photo?


Thank you! I always try to add some decomposing materials to add fungi to the beds and my mulched areas.

The buildings on the other side of the dirt road are directly to the south of the hugel beds. The dirt road runs east / west. This means that for the most part I have one sunny side and one shady side for the bed. But I have noticed that the north side still gets sun since the woody plants are just sticks at the moment (planted as bareroots). In the long run I expect shade tolerant plants like miners lettuce and the ferns to become dominant. But this year I'm putting in vegetables that can handle partial shade on the north side. Next year I don't expect the annual vegetables to do well there but I will have new hugel beds installed by then that will be part of my long term garden :)
5 days ago
The hugel bed hedgerow has been moving forward steadily and at the moment I'm anxiously waiting for my seeds to germinate. I find that I always get nervous/anxious after planting seeds waiting for them to germinate and get their first leaves. I just love watching the little plants grow and I find it can be a bit hard sometimes to operate on plant time ;)

Since planting that first lupine I have put in a large number of what I'm calling mini-terraces on the side of the hugel bed. These mini-terraces are filled with soil and were made by pulling the mulch back until I reached the base soil and then adding new soil to the exposed area. This created a bunch of nice planting beds for seeds. I put a thick mulch layer over the entire hugel bed so these mini-terraces are necessary to be able to use seeds.

In the mini-terraces I have mostly planted seeds but I also planted some native plants that I recently salvaged. Along the front and the top of the hugel beds I planted a bunch of native lupine seeds. Lupines develop a taproot and fix nitrogen so I hope they will help improve the hugel bed and help secure the soil of the bed. I have also planted a lot of miner's lettuce seeds on the shady areas of the bed on the north side. Here is the full list of seeds that have been planted so far:
  • Miner's lettuce
  • Mix flowers for pollinators (around 24 different types)
  • Native lupines
  • Carrots
  • Arugula
  • Lettuce
  • Chickweed
  • Yarrow (native variety)
  • Kale

  • The core of the hedgerow is the woody plants that are planted on the front, back and top of the bed. All the woody plants are native to Western Washington. I planted cascara (native tree that grows up to around 25 ft) on the back side of the bed at its base. Here is the list of all the woody plants:
  • Cascara (Rhamnus purshiana)
  • Nootka Rose (Rosa nutkana)
  • Tall Oregon Grape (Mahonia aquifolium)
  • Red Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum)
  • Mock Orange (Philadelphus lewisii)
  • Oso Berry (Oemlaria cerasiformis)
  • Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)

  • Through a native plant salvage event I also got a bunch of herbaceous plants that have been planted in the hugel bed. Here is the list:
  • Sword Fern (Polystichum munitum)
  • Rattlesnake-Orchid (Goodyera oblongifolia)
  • Piggy-Back Plant (Tolmiea menziesii)
  • Pacific Waterleaf (Hydrophyllum tenuipes)
  • Henderson Sedge (Carex hendersonii) + one other woodland sedge that I forgot the name of
  • Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliata) salvaged some small plants growing wild
  • Coastal strawberry (Fragaria chiloensis) taken from my existing plants that were spreading into the dirt road

  • I'm going to be adding some other seeds to the hugel bed as the weather warms. Here are the other seeds:
  • Cilantro
  • Peas - snap and shelling types - will be planted this weekend to grow up the posts of the deer fence
  • Green beans (bush)
  • Swiss chard
  • Perpetual spinach - type of chard but a little different
  • Beet Leaf-chard
  • Broccoli
  • Strawberry Spinach

  • I'm also going to plant a few tomato plants later to try growing them up some of the deer fence posts. Never grown tomatoes that way so this will just be an experiment.

    Right now the hedgerow will have a lot of vegetables and annuals mixed in around the woody plants. I expect overtime to see a large reduction in the diversity of the annuals as the herbaceous perennials and woody plants become established. Eventually, the hedgerows will be mostly woody plants with herbaceous plants mixed in.

    Most of the seeds were too recently planted to be coming up but the lupines are coming up great!

    I will post some more pics later.
    5 days ago
    I signed up for the course last year when they offered it. Seemed good and well setup though I did not complete the course. Got too busy with my homestead tasks and the course being free got pushed to the side.

    But I did sign up for it again
    1 week ago
    Looks interesting - Science Advances makes most of their (perhaps all?) published papers free to access. Here is a link to the original Nanowood Article. I'm afraid I have not had time to read through it but hopefully the full paper would answer some of the questions regarding how nanowood is produced.

    Edit: Got curious and read through part of the article. Here is the section talking about how it is produced:

    The nanowood is directly fabricated from natural American basswood. Note that we use American basswood as a demonstration, and that other wood species can also be used. The sample was cut along the growth direction (fig. S1). The original wood piece was treated with a mixture of NaOH and Na2SO3 heated to boiling temperatures, followed by subsequent treatment with H2O2 to remove the lignin and most of the hemicellulose from the natural wood (fig. S2) (45, 46). The wood microstructure and the hierarchal alignment are well-preserved during this process, and the sample is subsequently freeze-dried (fig. S3) (47) to preserve the nanoporous structure of the delignified wood. The weight loss and lignin content change for a 12 mm × 30 mm × 120 mm sample during the chemical process are also shown in fig. S2. The resulting nanowood is composed of mainly cellulose nanofibrils in the form of fibril aggregates. The effectiveness of lignin and hemicellulose removal is also demonstrated by high brightness of the fabricated nanowood (Figs. 1 and 2C, and figs. S1 to S3 and S7).

    NaOH is Sodium hydroxide, Na2SO3 is Sodium sulfite, and H2O2 is Hydrogen peroxide.

    What do you all think? Also, can American basswood be coppiced? Wonder how many types of trees could be used for this and what size the wood needs to be...
    My son is just a couple days shy of being 13 months old. We have been on our homestead for about 17.5 months. We always dreamed of having our own homestead but knowing our son was on the way really got us motivated to buy our homestead.

    So we have been first time parents and new homesteaders at the same time. I have a picture of me holding my son when he is only a week or so old sitting in a mini-excavater (it was off) that I was using to build our first large hugel bed. Later that night I was up till 4am holding my son because he did not want to sleep unless he was being held and my wife needed some sleep. I took the night shift and she took the day shift. Both of us were tired but it let us be with our son and do our homesteading work.

    My son is not an easy baby - sleeping has always been a struggle and he has really demanded good one on one time. But it has been so amazing watching him grow and explore his world. He is so curious about everything and he just loves being outside - trees and flowers are his favorite things.

    As he has grown he is getting much more independent and that has made things a lot easier. I'm building him a play area outside that I hope will really be a fun area for him. My son really motivates me to keep making progress on our homestead. I will get to see my son grow alongside my homestead.

    But it is really hard to balance it all. My wife and I both work but we are lucky to have two sets of awesome grand parents living near by that help us with childcare while we are working. We are also trying to build a financial future where we can work from home but doing this while working, and homesteading, and raising our son, and trying to have time for each other is hard.

    We are hoping to have another kido fairly soon so our son and the new kido would be close enough in age to really be friends and playmates. But this will add more challenges too but we are excited for the future we have envisioned.

    We are living the life we dreamed of for most of our marriage but it is also very challenging and we still have a lot to learn. We have been eliminating more and more things from our lives that don't help us live the life we want but that take time like watching tv shows. This helps but finding enough time for it all is still hard. But I love my life and my wife and I consider ourselves to be very lucky. Just got to keep going and taking small steps towards our goals - just like my son taking small steps as he learns to walk
    1 week ago