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Simon Gooder

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since Apr 22, 2019
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dog forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking ungarbage foraging
Haida Gwaii, British Columbia (7b)
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Recent posts by Simon Gooder

Strawberry Blite?

Looks the same as Tyler’s suggestion.
6 days ago
I give this book 10/10 acorns. It covers everything you could want in a book about wild / primitive brewing. My partner and I have tried about 5 recipes (the recipes are more like guidelines - read the book to see what’s i mean) from the book so far, all have been variations on his recipes (after being inspired by the accompanying stories and history of brewing), and all have turned out wonderfully.

My daughter and I just started a mint and lemon balm soda using our abundant and out-of-control mint and herbs.

With a bit of gear (can be very simple, like large swing-top containers or even large mason jars), making these brews costs no more than a few dollars, and the results have been incredible.
3 weeks ago
I’ve just read a whole shwack about “moving water across your land” in Ben Falk’s The Resilient Farm and Homestead so I’m all pumped to build some swales of my own.

The purpose of swales on contour, is to slow and spread the flow of water down a slope. When water builds against a swale, it will slowly permeate back into the ground, as it flows across the ground - directed by the contour of the swale. In theory they need to be positioned to catch the down-slope flow of water before they’ll be very helpful. Does the slope catch a lot of water?

Adding some ponds to store water into your earthworks/swale system might work? The two seem to be often intertwined!
1 month ago
Chad - I share your passion for this idea. I think education, foraging, and small-scale gardening could go a long way towards this movement, and I keep coming back to the following considerations:

1. Only a small portion of folks have the skills to hunt/fish/forage, and most of them share their bounty, but it’s often spread thin.
2. The local farm produce is not cheap. It’s cheaper to shop at the grocery for low quality, processed foods.
3. Those who do have gardens, have a hard time growing more than potatoes, onions, garlic, and brassicas.
4. While there are bounties of wild berries to be gathered by those who have the time, there are no other sources of fruit on-island - unless you have your own trees - which are grown and sold on island, but can be rather expensive.

Do you have any ideas of how you could kickstart the movement? How do we make gardening and acquiring high quality, local produce more affordable?

One idea I’ve thought of would be assembling a cooperative to nurse landrace annuals, and perennial crops, while the group’s mission is to help on-board and educate several new members each year, arming them with a few fruit and nut trees or shrubs, a small raised bed garden, some small composting infrastructure, seeds and information on caring instructions. People could apply to become a member - you could start with those who have lower income - since theoretically they would have the least access to farmer’s market produce.

This could also be coupled with free foraging talks and classes.

Note: Edited for brevity
1 month ago
I like the concept of “assisted migration”. It makes sense, and I think if it’s managed properly, it could help to maintain the “natural” environment in many places.

I think in many cases, the landscape has already been drastically altered by humans, and people just aren’t aware. The whole “the plants that were here by this year” line-in-the-sand native designation feeds into this notion.

I’ve been very enthusiastic about learning the history of plants and animals on the island I currently live on, as it was substantially managed and unchanged by humans for hundreds of thousands of years. It’s an incredibly unique ecosystem which resulted in unique variations and subspecies of many plants and animals. In the past couple hundred years, humans introduced a variety of new animals for various reasons; mule deer, raccoons, squirrels and beavers and of course, rats.

The mule deer replaced 2 other species of deer (dawson caribou, and red deer which were hunted to extinction by colonizers), and have put so much pressure on the island’s ecosystems, since they have no natural predators. They’ve been keeping the young trees from maturing in many parts of the island, essentially creating hemlock/spruce deserts, where the undergrowth is nonexistent under 150+ year old trees.

Early colonizers assumed they could just replace the caribou and red deer with a similar counterpart, but now the deer are out of control.

Another notable mistake is how the forestry industry has been replanting logged forest lands with only high-value timber, going so far as to spray glyphosate to repress deciduous trees, effectively causing a funky monoculture which can be eaten by the pine beetles which are now surviving winters due to climate change, leaving the dry dead forests susceptible to the growing threat of massive forest fires - Aaaaahhh!!! 🙀

Alright, I got carried away, but the moral of the story is that as long as the assisted migration is well managed and ethical (as yours is), I’m OK with it, but there are cases where human intervention and unintended side-effects can make things much worse (see rats, parasitic holly). On that note, I think most people on permies have better intentions and more sense  than a capitalist forestry lobby, and colonists.
1 month ago
Thanks for the reply Meg. I agree with everything you’ve said. We have the same issues here with “becoming a local”, which has made it super hard, especially for our child! Also, I’ve camped on Pender a couple times and it’s amazing!

For us, Montreal had the community, and growing a ton of plants in the tiny balcony, with a bit of guerilla gardening on the side was pretty awesome, but the city life is hardly relaxing.

In the year we’ve been here (Northwest BC) we haven’t made any ties, and we’ve drastically improved the house we bought, with our property value growing 40% since we bought it - so at least we can get a return if we do sell/move.

In conclusion, we figure we may as well go full-on homestead (we want orchard and sheep and chickens), and Quebec is beautiful, has a good climate, lots of permie folk (in certain places), and has affordable land/homes; unlike the sought-after places in BC (real estate prices show that actually most of BC is sought-after even though the mainland is burning every summer!).

This move will be my last for many years, I swear! I’m puttin’ down roots!
1 month ago
My partner and I have spent the last 8 years moving around Canada, looking for the ideal spot to plant roots. Call me an idealist, but i’ve been on the hunt for somewhere with a smallish, eco-conscious, socially-focussed community, with affordable land (no more than $200k for a small home + small acreage) and other kids for my child to make friends with. SO far, we’ve lived in 7 different villages/cities; my child is 6, and he lived in 4. All that we’ve learned is that there is no ideal spot. Some cities have better communities than villages, but no land. Some villages have land, but no community.

Our last adventure was to move from Montreal to Haida Gwaii where we bought a little house on an acre by the ocean. A big part of moving here, was for the close-to-nature community, and the notion that there was a good homeschool community (which there used to be). It turns out, the community isn’t very inclusive, and the homeschool community/programs are no longer. This place is so remote, and the grey can get very depressing. We lived in Vancouver for several years, and so are used to it - but the lack of community (and friends) and social interaction has been extremely difficult. We also kind of moved here on a whim, because it was a romantic small house on the ocean. At this point, we’re regretting leaving Quebec, and are considering buying some (very affordable) property over there, and moving back.

Needless to say, my personal wish is to commit to somewhere, and make it ours however possible. I want to put all my permaculture practice (from rentals and our current property) and learning to permanent, long-term use. I’m worried that we will go back to Quebec (where the grass is greener) and my partner will want to move again.

Are you where you want to be? How did you decide that was the spot? Did you know it was the spot, or did you make it yours?
1 month ago
Hey Tyler, any updates on your understory fruit project?
1 month ago
I want to grow food and regenerate the environment. I see this as an investment for everyone. If I improve the soil and the environment around me, and the land I steward - wildlife, insects, my family, and the community will reap the benefits - hopefully for generations. It’s an investment for everyone!

The hardest part is waiting. Growing trees from seed, or watching my annuals fail can be simultaneously frustrating and rewarding. On one hand, I’m learning from these experiences and experiments, but on the other — I’d love to taste those apples and plums NOW!
1 month ago
I do understand “zero waste” can be achieved, and a carbon footprint can be negated by doing other such activities. It’s still hard to swallow that fact that the majority of the rural population don’t have the option to “vote with their wallets”.

I know the two aren’t mutually exclusive, but they are two goals myself and my partner strive to be aware of, as permies do!

And I know by growing my own food, and regenerating my own little piece of nature, I can do my part — and I do as much as I possibly can. We spend money bringing waste to the transfer station, while many locals are happy to dump it in the forest.

I do believe the “community bulk-buys” could be successful here, especially with people seeming to go to the mainland at differing times and intervals.

I know small changes over time will eventually make a difference, but it’s hard to watch — in this especially magical natural place, how quick to abuse so many people are (those that do have the economic means).

1 month ago