Joshua Chambers

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since Feb 03, 2010
the state of jefferson - zone 7
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Recent posts by Joshua Chambers

There is a design that looks quite reasonable for a possible freezer in John Hait's book "Passive Annual Heat Storage" which Paul's wofati draws from. No doubt to achieve the potential of "freaky cheap" Paul seems to have removed the air exchange tubes entirely from Hait's design, which seems an important element of the system. At the end of the book he suggests reversing the grade of the pipes to achieve the storage of cold, and it seems brilliant to me. I am hoping soon to build some buildings based on Hait's design, with some nods at the wofati and hope to try the freezer as well, though my climate may be too warm to achieve real freezing.
4 years ago
I think you could indeed drill and anchor bolts into the bedrock, and a friend of mine I respect mentioned a particular stone adhesive that he says is incredibly strong, or concrete or some other bonding agent.

Or perhaps you could use a rock hammer to create holes in the ground to sink the posts and backfill with tamped gravel? It wouldn't have any drainage if you did that but all the posts would be well covered all around by the umbrella.

Either way that would take a looooot of fill dirt to fill the umbrella and then cover it up.

--Joshua

4 years ago
Well written post, I like anything that brings attention to permaculture. I certainly think grazing animals for dairy and meat is a tremendously important foundational leg of permaculture, building on Allen Savory and Joel Salatin and such. I think a wonderful combination of grazing with the food forest is the use of close-planted diverse hedgerows as fences between paddocks, in the big open areas, they could be three trees wide with a row in the center of overstory and going down in stature on each side, and far enough apart to make big paddocks and allow plenty of light, and provide shade and some fodder for some animals.
4 years ago
The Big Bend Community Land Trust is a young non-profit organization engaged in a fairly extreme permaculture demonstration project. We are building a public you-pick permaculture MAZE, initially structured out of hugelkulture beds, planted in a wild and mixed (very Holzer inspired) style. This will be called the "Wilderness Garden Maze", with currently three finished and growing and one unplanted large hugels already.

We have an opening for a farm manager. This position entails the selection, collection and processing of seeds to develop varieties of everything on the farm best adapted to our methods and environment, also the assesment of plants as weeds and the removal of weeds where appropriate. It includes the management of volunteers and the public in harvesting of all manner of vegetables and fruits from this farm, and the processing and preservation of such, as well as manging volunteers in other projects on the farm (we regularly have wwoofers and such coming through and the manager will need to make sure they are organized into some productivity). Additionally the position also entails the management of chickens and possibly other livestock, including rotating animals through a our developing paddock shift system and harvesting eggs and eventually chickens.

The ideal candidate for the farm manager position has a deep knowledge and experience in permaculture, and is interested working with some very large-scale and extreme permaculture techniques and approaches, such as hugelkulture, paddock shift, and extreme polyculture, among others. The manager should have a strong interest in plants and their breeding, and will be responsible for seed selection and propogation.

We also have an opening for an experienced grant-writer, who can work entirely on developing funding relationships, promotion, seeking out grants and applying for them. We have been mostly focused on our work on the ground and really need someone who knows this world to work with us.

Our initial project is still under construction and we are still developing funding sources, so as yet all positions are unpaid. However, the manager and grant-writer will be living in the house on the property (along with various volunteers), have all utilities paid and significant food costs subsidized, as well as access to all the food from the farm. Due to the volunteer nature of these positions, we expect less than full time, though a significant 25 - 30 hours / week.

We are located in a very small rural town in the southern Cascades with only one store, a school, and a post office. There is good swimming, fishing and a some nice and available hot springs.

We are looking for people who are passionate about permaculture and can really appreciate what we're trying to do and willing to work hard to help make it happen. If you are interested, please read more about us at http://bigbendclt.org and contact me at joshua@bigbendclt.org.

4 years ago
We have formed a non-profit organization in a small rural northern California town and are organizing a big push for springtime to complete the first acre of our WILDERNESS GARDEN MAZE, a large garden constructed of hugelkulture beds! This will be a public space where people can come, harvest food and connect with the natural world.

You can read all about this project on our website: http://madesivalleyclt.org/wilderness-garden-maze/

We have a couple of beds already, which did phenomenally last season and this spring we are organizing an effort to complete the entire first acre and get it open to the public! If anyone is interested in volunteering for this push starting in March and going probably through April and possibly into May, we will be putting volunteers up in a nice house and feeding them well, and the whole team will be working hard to get this incredible project off the ground.

Tasks will include working with equipment (we will have a 20 ton excavator with TILTROTATOR, a dump truck and skidsteer for collecting wood for the hugels, a backhoe with auger bit for drilling fence post holes, and a pick-up truck for collecting flat stones for pathways), plumbing, shovel work, mulching, planting and more!

If interested, please contact me.

--Joshua
5 years ago
Just wanted to show off the enormous stone wall we just finished yesterday. It retains the hillside next to our absolutely overbuilt and incredible clivus-multrum-style outhouse which is engineered to be partially earth-sheltered.

The wall was built with the pictured excavator and newly installed TILTROTATOR! It's taken quite a learning curve, but I'm really getting the hang of it now. We've even got a grapple for it, which grabs logs and moderately sized rocks wonderfully at damn near any angle at all!

5 years ago
I sure want to see the pictures of your commercial scale hugelkulture!
5 years ago
It's got a bit of a bluish tinge to it, and slightly fuzzy leaves and stems.
6 years ago
The first hugelbeet I built was in the shape of a circle with a small opening on one side, kinda like a horseshoe. We're in a pretty dry climate with a fair bit of wind on that site, and I've noticed that some of the areas on it are doing vastly better than other areas. Also, as I built another one, where the one shelters the other, the growth improves, so I'm thinking that wind breaking is going to be key with hugelbeet.

With the squirrel issue though, this may not be the best technique for your site. The tool of Sepp Holzer for you that sounds more appropriate is the crater garden and the high bed, often made in conjunction. This would serve to get down in the ground, as well as create a wind block above, eh?

--Joshua
6 years ago
Okay, wow, what a thread. I have to chime in a little bit. I read that quote in Sepp's book, which is rather WITHOUT context, just a caption on a picture of broken greenhouse panels, not really explaining exactly what he means, as he often doesn't!

Sepp DOES have a greenhouse. This came up in some questions he was asked at his workshop in Montana last spring. He is NOT completely ANTI-GREENHOUSE. He is PRO EXPERIMENTATION AND TRYING THINGS OUT. He uses his greenhouse for various experiments whenever he feels it's appropriate. Over all, if I interpret him correctly, he thinks that for the most part, direct mixed seeding is a more effective overall solution than all this tedious planting things in greenhouses and transplanting them out again. I believe that even in his EXTREMELY cold climate (what zone is he in, 2? 3?), he has found that direct mixed-seeding WORKS for him, since he develops his plants generation by generation to tolerate and like that. He says things like "don't pamper you're plants!".

At the workshop, it was March and we were in Montana and we were planting lots and lots of seeds into the freshly made hugels-beds. Marisha asked him directly: "There will be more frosts for certain, isn't it too early to be planting these cucumber (and other tender type) seeds?!" His answer was essentially: "plants aren't so dumb as to come up before it's time! trust nature!"

Now, I bet there is truth to both of them. SOME of those plants might come up early and die, but the ones that wait and come up a bit later and survive will be hardier, and that site will be selecting for that trait, and year after year as you plant those seeds, that will be less and less of a problem. That way, instead of the labor-intensive replanting, he can just cast his seed mix every spring fairly early. So in summary, he's not anti-greenhouse, just pro direct-seeding (IMOO).

--Joshua
6 years ago