Walt Patrick

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since Dec 12, 2018
one of the founders of a sustainability research center. Especially interested in the conversion of woody biomass to energy and natural burial.
south central Washington state
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Recent posts by Walt Patrick

That sounds like a lovely practice. I'd like to add some cold weather pecans to our forest too. We're right on the boundary between zones 7 and 6, so I'm hoping that there'll be varieties that will do well here.
1 month ago
Natural burial is an ancient practice that got lost in the aftermath of the American Civil War when the practice of embalming bodies for transport came into being. As for planting trees on hugel mounds, we've been doing that for a few years and know about how much dirt to mound on the top of the grave to balance out the settling. For example, the base of this chestnut tree is starting out a foot above ground level.  

It's also a grown-from-seed tree so there's no graft joint to watch out for.

Thanks for the thoughts....
1 month ago
The Windward Center is now accepting applications for internships and apprenticeships to begin in March of 2019.

Windward is a sustainability/permaculture research center entering into its 31st year. We're located in the Cascadian forest of south-central Washington state, about 90 miles east of Portland, OR. Those who successfully complete a three month internship can consider becoming a stakeholder in the organization and starting to establish a sustainable home here.

Two points to consider: much of our current development work is focused on creating forest and garden based community systems rather than fossil-fuel based agriculture. Key to this work is the evolution of Herland Forest, our 20 acre natural burial cemetery.

The other point is that the core of the Windward community is a polyfidelitous line family that stewards the land, the forest, the gardens and the animals that are our partners in sustainable living.

If you're interested in the development of an ecologically sound alternative to the industrial-funeral complex, or the intersection of permaculture and polyamory, please get in touch.
1 month ago
Thanks for the comments; I'll offers some responses in no particular order.

The key for us is to honor the wishes of the family; if they want a tree beside the grave, we're good with that, but our soil is clayish and tends to dry out in late summer to the point where it's difficult for most trees to get started. Our hope is that by creating a catchment under the tree, we'll have a greater survival rate.

Most of our burials involve the participation of the loved ones; I'm afraid that sprinkling lime onto the body wouldn't go over well. You're right, it would speed up the decomposition, but we're in no hurry. Still, if someone wanted to do that, we'd have no objection.

The metal screen is placed over the grave for just the first six months or so. After that point, the body will have decomposed enough that there's no likelihood of an animal digging into the grave. At least, so far we've seen no evidence of an animal trying to open up a "seasoned" grave.

Thanks again for the feed back,

1 month ago
At the Herland Forest Natural Burial Cemetery, we're working on adapting hugelkultur to the process of returning human remains to nature. If that sounds intriguing, here's a link to how we're going about it. Herland Forest. Comments are most welcome.  
2 months ago