Patrick Freeburger

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since Nov 09, 2009
Los Gatos, California Zone 10a (30°F to 35°F) Steep South Facing Slope, Rocky Soil, Ph 7.1
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Recent posts by Patrick Freeburger

Talking to people and surfing the internet - and the permies forum of course :-)

Context for me
- steep terrain, close to bedrock - no option to use tractor or large equipment
- Needs to hold in goats and dogs, and plan for cows and maybe sheep
- Ideally it would hold chickens as well.
- Mountain lions are our biggest predator followed by coyotes, bobcats
- Not solving for cheapest option, but one that will look good and have minimum maintenance for a long time.
- I will probably add paddocks as time and money allow
- My perimeter is too steep and unwieldy to fence

High tensile galvanized electric fence - such as where it uses a PVC post
- it looks clean and relatively simple to install.

woven fence with a hot top wire such as
- this looks a lot more expensive to install, but becomes a better physical barrier.

For me, I think the best bang for the buck is the Timeless Fence.  It will do what I need it to do and will be much cheaper to install than woven wire.  Has anyone use it or something similar?  What are your thoughts on it?


1 month ago
Did you ever try this?  Concrete can be alkaline, but fairly inert, just don't add fly ash which usually contains heavy metals.

These people make molds and claim better pest resistance and production due to better thermals than a wooden box.

Curious what type of hive you were thinking of.

6 months ago
I have 4 Spanish goat kids (2 does, 2 wethers) and a small pen, but still working on my proper paddock fencing.  Neither the dog run nor the 'goat-on-a-rope' techniques have been working well.  I was just wondering if anyone has successfully kept goats penned up for a while and brought the brush to them?  Any thoughts on the amount or variety of brush needed would be appreciated.

Redhawk, Thanks for the bio tip - I'm in the Santa Cruz mountain foothills near San Jose, CA.  I want to create permanent parallel fencing for a Silvia-pasture set up and use perpendicular temporary fencing to create a paddock shift system.   Currently, I have goats, but the fence should work for goats, sheep, pigs, and cows.  I was told that Morgina wants really sandy soil.   I do have a lot of live oaks on the less steep parts of the property.  My understand is that this land was logged about hundred years ago and my guess is that when the trees went so did the topsoil and they haven't been able to re-establish themselves on the steeper areas.  

One option, may be alternating a fast growing, but water intensive tree with a slower growing more climate appropriate tree.  I should be able to turn the water off in a few years and use the fast growing trees (black orhoney locust) as posts while the slower trees (carob) start to get established.

I attached a satellite photo of the property as well as some picture of the land.
7 months ago
I want to put in fencing on using a keyline design on a steep, rocky (just rock really) ground in a Mediterranean climate.  It is too steep for heavy equipment and a fence post pounder would just pulverize a wooden post anyway.  Each post would need to be drilled out by hand.  Digging would  be measure in hours per post hole, not post holes per hour - they need to be kept to a minimum.  (I will put up a related post on the best fences for a rocky ground)

My thought would be to do a high tensile fence (either single stranded or woven wire - each with a hot wire) with steel posts at the angle changes and corners with 'droppers' (no digging that just 'drop' in place to keep line from sagging and grow the fence posts 6" behind it every 16'.  Looking at the map even 55 steel posts seems daunting on this terrain.  To drill most of the holes I would propably need a concrete core drill if I can figure out how to make it drill deep enough.

Main Question:
What is the best tree to plant
- fast growing
- Straight trunk
- survive without watering after first few years
- can be pruned or pollarded to allow water for other trees and reduce the fire hazard
- Limited fire hazard - no eucalyptus
- Has a secondary use - e.g. fodder

Mediterranean Trees

I was leaning toward a carob for the fodder, but I'm not sure how fast (or straight) they grow
Lebanon Cedar could work, but I'm at 800-1200 ft elevation, and I think they want 2,000-3,000.  on the East and West Property lines I don't want to create a fire ladder so I think they are out.
A lot of people talk about black locust or thornless honey locust, but I don't see them grow here and I don't think they will survive our hot, dry summers.
Living fence or hedge would drink too much water and be too much maintenance.

Once the trees are established this looks like the best way to attach the fence: Board Method for living fences

My follow up question would be the best place to source these trees.

It's frustrating to see how few examples there are of this on the internet, does that mean it doesn't work?

I appreciate your input.

7 months ago
I wanted to let everyone know I found someone - the position is now closed.  Thanks to everyone who reached out to me.  I am glad I was able to find such talented Permies!
9 months ago
In the end, children are your most important 'crop'.
Just enough yard to kick a soccer ball or throw a baseball is pretty useful.
That doesn't mean you can't have an over story of fruit trees...
9 months ago
Back Office Manager Position available for Truly Garden -
Truly Garden specializes in quality garden tools -

I have made several attempts at hiring an overseas VA and failed miserably each time - they need too much direction from me and don't understand Americans that well. I'm looking for someone to help me run all the day-to-day business tasks so I can focus on new products and growing the business.  You can work from anywhere, but must be comfortable with a computer and have a solid internet connection and be able.  Hours are flexible, but you need to log in twice per day - once in the AM and once in the PM to answer emails and be able to meet at a set time 3x per week.  It would start at ~15-20 hours/week.  This would be set up as a contractor 1099 position.  The job can grow to more hours or additional work can be outsourced to freelance experts.

Skills/Attributes Needed to be successful:
- Well Organized
- Able to make day to day customer service decisions
- Good at communication skills
- Comfortable with a computer - I can teach you how to use the tools
- I use Google Suite and Google Drive to manage info
- Knowledge of MailChimp, Shopify, and Seller Central (Amazon) a plus
- Able to write garden blogs or newsletter a plus
- Able to manage freelancers as tasks are outsourced
- Also help manage me too - I need someone to be accountable to

I have attached a list of regular tasks that need to be completed.
There are more tasks for launching new products and a lot more advertising on Facebook and Google adwords could be done as well.
It is difficult to find someone who can do everything, but I am at the point (past the point really) where I need someone to keep everything organized and moving forward and allow me to get back to sourcing great products and growing the business.

If you would like to work with me. Please email me at with the subject line "Interested in Back Office Manager position".  Please send me a resume and your requirements.  I look forward to hearing from you.


10 months ago
Unfortunately,  leach fields usually end up in prime are around your house - Permaculture Zone 2, and my place is no exception.

I found a few resources, with most recommending grass or decorative plants.  I was surprised 1 of them was OK with small fruit trees, but I would still like to stay away from that:

I think my options are scythed hayfield, grazing area for animals, wildflower area for bees (honey harvesting), but I really like the idea of a lavender field (maybe I could sell at a farmer's market).  It's near the house so there is an aesthetic issue to consider.  It would look really nice if I can make it look like the pictures on the internet - but I'm not sure how much work this is... I do have the right Mediterranean climate and poor soil for Lavender.

Any suggestions appreciated
11 months ago
Fellow Permies,
You have been great to me in the past.  I have a new folding grafting knife which includes a locking blade with a single bevel (left and right models available) .  Email me at for 50% off coupon on Amazon.  I am hoping you will write an honest review.
Send an email and I can give the details.


PS I plant a tree in Africa through Trees for the Future with every sale and review.
1 year ago