Leigh Martin

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since May 21, 2017
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hugelkultur forest garden fungi foraging chicken wofati composting toilet bee building homestead
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Urban Permaculture Demonstration Site est.2015
Zone 10a
Location: Southern Hemisphere
Climate: warm and temperate to humid subtropical - long rainy summers; and short, mild and dry winters.
Elevation: 1300m (4265feet) above sea level
Annual rainfall: 732mm (28.8in)
Annual temp: 17.8 deg celcius
Length of growing season: year round
Morphology: south facing slopes a 1/2 to 1/1 incline
I'm passionate about water retention systems and soil/water/landscape rehabilitation.
I like creating and experimenting always. currently getting into context and climate appropriate technologies and natural building.
Landscape Architect and Urban Designer by education. Mushroom hunter, soil enthusiast, crazy plant/chicken lady. Trying not to do anything that nature can do for me... would prefer to be a monkey. Learning to climb
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Recent posts by Leigh Martin

Hi, I’d like to know what the hits and misses of this installation are 5 years on.
Did you manage to successfully grow food on it?
Anything that did specifically well?
How would you change it if you had to do it again, from the experience of using it?
1 year ago
I would open the wound and clean, then dab diatoms on the wound to dry out and create a new scab.
2 years ago
It is most likely an in-grown feather
2 years ago

See Hes wrote:

Here in Thailand the chicken would have been most likely ended up in a Soup (without the infected leg)
Also that the Thai Chickens are pretty aggressive and never would thank you by creating a bond to it's rescuer would leave only that option.

I am very interested how your chicken is now boded to you?
Is there any sign that she comes trustfully running towards you, or more the  "Oh heck, there she comes again and want to hurt me with these bad tasting and smelling creams." reaction.

Thanks for your query.

My initial consideration was to kill the bird, but I could recognise in her the will to live, which is why I gave it a try.
The chickens that I breed are quite wild if they are not handled, but become rather tame if handled often.

The chicken has rewilded completely at this point and I cannot distinguish her from the other chickens.
The leg has completely healed and refeathered so I cannot even distinguish her by the wound.

She is slightly more talkative than the other chickens when I go in the coop to close up in the evening and I can identify her chirp.
2 years ago
This will most likely be my last update on the skin healing. The last scab has fallen off, and I’m quite impressed with the progression of healing. I’m also still mostly surprised, because beyond the chicken’s will to live, I didn’t initially think that the leg was salvageable, but we did it!

One last scrape to heal, surprisingly feathers have grown back on a large portion of the skin, new feathers have grown, and the chicken is almost indistinguishable from the others, except for her extra chirpy nature.

2 years ago
Hi John.

' Build a house by hand" using only hand tools? - no, I probably mean by myself, using my own hands.

I'm quite fond of my nail gun, it has made me about 50% more efficient at getting stuff done, though we doing really have a culture of wood construction (savannah as opposed to forest), so more mud building, adobe, brick and mortar.

I forgot how long finishing takes. most of the structure is up, but I feel like I'm still months away from habitation.
2 years ago
Feathers starting to grow back and the last of the scabs
2 years ago
I’ve always believed that it’s a rite of passage to build your own home.
As an architect (by training) it may have been somewhat engrained in my thought patterns.
I’ve redecorated and refinished a few times in the past, but now I’m finally building a home with my own two hands (with a little help from other hands.

I prefer to call it a home rather than a house.
Technically it is more like building between spaces.
There is a pre existing wooden structure with a deck on top... so I’m building a half dug out cave house underneath a floor.

The space used to house my rabbits and chickens in the past, so technically I’m moving into the chicken coup.

The build is mostly out of salvaged and reclaimed materials, some gifted pieces, very few things bought. Kind of like putting together a patchwork home. I’m also experimenting with some natural building techniques and finishes, and hoping to get into more natural/ non toxic builds in time to come.

Using this thread to log progress.
I build a bit backwards and sometimes I will start finishes before having structural elements in place.

There is no plan, well kind of there is, but that changes on a daily basis depending on what tool I pick up and what I’m working on.

Join along for the journey...
2 years ago
Sometimes I have these AHA moment observations and don't know where to put them but feel they need to go somewhere.
It mostly has to do with the difficult moments around bridging the gap and living closer to nature.

So here is one of those stories:

One of my (around 4 year old) hens fell ill about 2 days ago.
It is most likely pox, as that seems to be going around at the moment.
Although it is strange as one would think that after 3+ years in the garden they would have picked up immunity.
It could very well have been something else. I did not autopsy the bird to find out.
Sometimes I just don't have the energy to do that.
It was looking quite anaemic and a little yellow, so it could have possibly been liver related.
Anyhow. I had remarked just last week that she was probably looking the best that I had seen her look in all time.

I treated the chicken, but with little hope... I think we intuitively sense when death is near.
Tried to give her some food and water and put her out in the garden.
As dusk arrived I had a slight panic because the bird was nowhere to be found in the garden.
My chickens put themselves to bed in the coop after a afternoon stroll in the garden, so went t o check the coop and found the sickly hen there.
I didn't think that she would have the energy to make it up the mountain, but somehow she did.

I find it quite remarkable that with almost no energy or life in her, the last thing that she wanted was the safety and familiarity of her flock.
I found her dead in the coop the next morning.

So that was my observation about companionship at life end.
Whether it is instinctual or a matter of routine I cannot tell.
It did make me wonder about the human experience of life end.
Maybe it is important to witness the expression of the full pattern.
2 years ago
Quilt pictures!

The top is just about done.
Spent a lot of time thinking whilst working on the top of this quilt.
Eventually the biggest issue was getting the blocks to meet up, and figured if I quilted them in sections and then tried to get them to meet up it might be quite challenging.
The other concern was all the hand work that went into stitching together the batting in the ‘quilt as you go’ video.
So I’ve decided to sandwich the whole thing... or half & half, then secure (pin down/ knot up) by hand, then machine quilt the sandwich.

Any recommendations on the best way to secure a quilt sandwich?
2 years ago