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Marie Repara

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since Aug 25, 2019
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rabbit books homestead
Central Louisiana Zone9a:Silty Clay Loam: Alt.69ft.
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Recent posts by Marie Repara

Hello John,
Unfortunately the front ditches are quite a bit higher with mini dams that keep excess water from rushing down towards the the rest of the property from the road. We have discussed drainage systems with the neighbor on the other side of the property but the problem with this area is that the ditches around here just don't flow after a certain amount of rain; they pretty much just hold water until it dries up. I think digging is definitely going to be the way to go. We can use the dirt for building up other areas and/or for hügelkultur projects.
3 months ago
Glancing through pics and hadn't noticed just much higher the neighbors field is: that explains a lot.
3 months ago
Daniel Ray,
  Thanks for your input! I had not thought about the spillway but that makes a ton of sense. Mulch is not a problem in this state, though clean mulch might be. I assume in suggesting foul/fowl you mean ducks for keeping the ponds: they would certainly help with our mosquito problem! I've been looking for simple ways to avoid outside feed inputs before buying, any suggestions would be appreciated.
  The current field is large enough for our projects that we would like to divide it between pasture and annual gardening. We're only planning on a few dairy goats right now and since grass grows fast around here the pasture needn't be large. Incorporating some trees within the hedges would definitely help with shade, and I hadn't thought about trees helping to absorb that water faster. Food for thought: thank you!
3 months ago
Hello Permies,
Tossing around ideas for this property and would love your input!
  Details: 3 acres located in Central Louisiana - Grow zone 9a - Low temp extremes 20-25F - Altitude 69ft. - Silty Clay Loam Soil. No official dirt tests yet. Rural - Used residentially for years: no agriculture. Surrounded by crop/pasture on 3 sides.
We get a lot of rain here at certain times of the year and deal with seasonal flooding during major rains, -the property has been worked to manage extra water but never with agriculture in mind. I can't give a lot of details in that regard because we've been here a short time and I'm going on secondhand knowledge along with experience from hurricane Laura, (Sept, 2020).
N.B. Pictures to Follow!
  The front half of the property: the property faces west with house sitting on northern end (also facing west), small barn/shed & driveway in the middle, and lots of trees stretching from north to south of property: mostly pecans, water oaks, Cyprus, & Crepe Myrtle. Among the trees towards the south is a small pond which is more of puddle during dry periods. It's loaded with frogs but is rather stagnant most of the year. The whole surrounding shore and tree area is bare mud/dirt with no growth aside from the trees, occasional grass, some moss, and a few mushrooms. There are some rolling mounds on the front and sides of the pond which makes the area more accessible during the flood season. The water from the whole front of the property is directed towards the pond, but in order for it to hold everything during heavy rain we need to deepen it as it tends to flood the tree lot. There are some grassy sections of open lawn in the front of the house and tree lot.
  The back half of the property (eastern) is completely open with full sun almost all day. It is level with our shallow pond, the two low areas of the entire property. It completely floods during really heavy rain, about 2-3 inches of standing water with no flow. A ditch runs across the back with a few young plum trees -again very little water flow. The plot dries up pretty quick (couple days) because of the amount of sun. Not sure about soil absorbency/potential yet but supposedly the soil around here is very deep. Maybe with some work it can start absorbing at least a bit more water?
  Plans: The back of the property gets the most sun and would be great for pasture & gardening were it not for the flooding. I'm leaning towards hügelkultur as the main gardening method because it would raise the plants above flood level, would use up our endless supply of fallen branches, and absorb/retain excess moisture. That said, I've not used the method before and would welcome thoughts on pros/cons for this situation, placement/facing on property, etc.. (If we go that route I would like to get them erected soon, but without having to worry about crops just yet: can they be planted with something else in the meantime?) As for pasture I have no idea what to do about that just yet; there are the other smaller swards of grass on the front of the property that stay above water during the rainy seasons, but they still get very soft, are completely separated from the barn, and are closer to the road than we would like. Keeping animals cooped in a shed for weeks doesn't sound ideal. We could try slowly building up the entire back half of the property with hügelkultur style rolling rills, but I'm hoping for even a minor improvement in the meantime. Maybe another pond for holding excess water?
Regarding the band of trees: the bare ground is a recipe for constant erosion, it's unproductive, and it dries out like dust in the summer. There's a number of elements I've been trying to weigh into the picture but have trouble coming up with a plan. I'd like to work some fruit into the property somewhere, (maybe there, if shade isn't a problem?) but full-blown forest gardening sounds a bit overwhelming. We still want to harvest nuts off the ground without scavenging too hard, and we need to be able to collect the constant flow of fallen branches without breaking our necks. The area needs at least a ground cover for erosion-control and water-retention, but beyond that I'm open to ideas. Property privacy is also in the plan as the plot is exposed to onlookers from all sides: we're leaning towards living fence / hedges all around and have talked about using the fruit for that. Ideas are welcome!

   So that's what we have for now: I can provide more information over the course of this discussion. By the way, I realize permaculture principles insist on one year of property observation before making changes, but unfortunately we've been having to make decisions sooner than anticipated for various reasons. We are pacing these projects; however we also have to look at the big picture in order make the most of passing resources. Your thoughts and ideas are most appreciated!
3 months ago

leila hamaya wrote:i think about the the things you are talking about here, and so much so that my brain is going in like 4 directions for what i can add here....but i will start at one of your main points i am getting, and that is the physical, the physiological and genetic differences you are writing about.

i think that Dabrowski was the first (or one of the first, in an official ish capacity anyway) to speak of the phenomena you are writing of, and did a lot of different tests to map out what he called overexcitability, and did comprehensive research in this space.

he did show that there were significant differences in the way the central nervous system processed stimulation, so that a certain percent of the population had extreme physiological responses to various stimuli. i definitely think, if you havent already come upon his work, you would enjoy digging in deeply to it...and his whole Theory of Positive Disintegration  --> TPD.

I just read this today and am looking into the link you provided. It looks very interesting, (it's expanding my vocabulary a bit, ha ha) and I will definitely be doing a bit research on it. Much obliged!
1 year ago

Is this the book you are reading?

Amy, yes that would be the one. I've not read the one about children yet, or any other for that matter. Aside from the book, I've mostly just been sifting through articles and research papers online. I definitely wish I had heard about this sooner, but am I glad I stumbled across it when I did!
1 year ago

I could see where a person might confuse what I have with being highly sensitive, but I think with so many undiagnosed people with Endocrine Problems, that would be the majority for most. 85% of women have inactive thyroids and do not even know it. It is not as high for men, but it is over 50%. With Thyroid Cancer the fastest form of cancer, I think people would be better served to have an Endocrine Problem ruled out, then assume it is hypersensitivity.

  Travis, it is true that thyroid issues abound and many people are completely unaware of them. My immediate family has major thyroid issues and insisted that I get tested, (they were disappointed that mine was completely normal while I continued to have unexplained symptoms.) Likewise, not all thyroid tests are equal, (so I went for the ultimate get-absolutely-everything-tested test, and it still came back negative.) With that said, I still think ruling out all the actual problems is definitely important, like Travis said.
  Meanwhile, for those who have ruled out everything, unexplained symptoms are scary and almost maddening. The Doctor is convinced the patient is a hypochondriac, the family is tired of hearing the complaints, therefore the patient becomes convinced that he either 1. is a hypochondriac 2. is literally going insane 3. will never get out of the big black hole. And we don't want any o' that...  
1 year ago

Folks who have the above traits/symptoms, if they damage your life, it is possible there is a disorder/illness.  If there is no significant pain or damage then there's not an illness, in my opinion.

Tyler, Thank you for pointing this out; the above information certainly does not discount the reality of disorders / illnesses. I'm reading a book on the subject now, and it does illustrate that disorders are not uncommon in combination with being highly sensitive; not that the two always go together. The book mentioned that, for those who do have the trait, many had a significant decrease in depression and anxiety once they identified and learned about their trait, while others continued to have major symptoms regardless.
This is a very personal subject for a lot of folks, and the only person who can really determine if this information applies to his/her-self is the individual him/her-self, (or some other specialist in the field, obviously.  ;-)
1 year ago
Hello Gentle Souls,
  I wanted to do a post on a subject I’ve been studying for the past couple weeks: something I came across while searching for answers regarding the long-term / chronic version of all that’s mentioned in the title of this post, (including chronic fatigue, chronic gastric problems, and chronic am-I-going-crazy.) Now before I get started I must assure everyone that I am a personally certified, self-educated, wanna-be-physician that graduated from the school of DIY and Youtube Univiserity just yesterday. I think that acknowledgment eliminates the need for a disclaimer.
  Getting straight to the point, apparently studies conducted within the past 20-30 years have revealed that about 1 in every 5 people, (20% of the population) have a genetic trait which causes them to experience life in a very acute way. (Note: this is not just introversion.) Emotions are stronger, empathy is higher, pain is more intense, sights and sounds are processed more deeply, criticism is taken more seriously, life in general is more overwhelming. This trait is the parent of a highly sensitive nervous system which, being more quickly overwhelmed/over-stimulated, has a tendency to cause stress and exhaustion more quickly, (ultimately leading to depression, anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems, etc.). The trait has advantages as well; it is a physical difference in the brain, and is not a disorder, syndrome, or inbalance. Those who possess the trait are called “highly sensitive persons,” aka “HSP’s”, and are generally known for being some or all of the following:
     Highly empathetic
     Highly intuitive regarding new people or situations
     Highly aware of subtleties within surroundings
     Detail oriented/ perfectionistic
     More sensitive to loud noises, strong smells, bright lights or course fabrics
     More stressed over time-sensitive projects
     More keenly affected by violent films and bad news
     More dependent on sleep
     More sensitive to criticism
     More sensitive to hunger and pain along with medication, caffeine, and alcohol
     Often reputed as shy, sensitive, solitary, over-reacting or over-emotional
     Creative, artistic, poetic or studious
  Other behaviors that point to this trait may include:
     A need to withdraw or “recover” after a busy day, after a party, or after changes made in one’s routine.
     An inability to successfully perform a task or take a test while competing or being observed.
     A tendency to absorb other people’s emotions
     A tendency to cry more than others
  To summarize, an HSP’s brain is highly sensitive to both interior and exterior stimulation. That stimulation is: 1. Noticed by the brain in greater detail and intensity; 2. Processed more deeply; 3. Processed for a longer period of time; 4. Responded to with greater energy / emotion.
  By now you have a general idea of what traits this…trait…involves. It has been identified in both introverted and extroverted persons, and remains un-acknowledged by the majority of physicians. This trait is not something a person learns or “picks-up”; it literally involves the physical components of a person’s brain. While it affects 3 different genes in the brain, it is not a disorder; it is considered a “neutral, normal trait.” That said, it is believed that, though the persons who possess the trait make-up the minority of the population, they tend to make-up the majority of patients seen by therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists. Why? Because compared to the other 80% of the world, they’re often looked upon as “abnormal”, “over-emotional”, and “hyper-sensitive”. They’re told to “toughen up”, “grow a spine”, and that, “it’s all in your head”. No wonder they’re stressed, depressed, anxious, and exhausted. Also, since it is literally harder for them to go through painful or upsetting ordeals, they often need more help than others in trying to cope.
  To conclude, I hope this is meaningful for some of you. if you’ve found this post interesting, you can learn more at or . Meanwhile, if you’re really fascinated, take the test at
  Everyone has their personal ups and downs from time to time, everyone feels emotional and overwhelmed at some point in their life, but a few of us seem to have a knack for being stressed, depressed, and utterly exhausted. If this has helped even one person, it was absolutely worth posting.
1 year ago

Amanda Parker wrote: I wouldn't go back to goats for anything.

Aside from fencing/escaping, is there anything else in particular that made them undesirable? Having the triple of purpose of sheep sounds like a major plus, but I'm wondering what about dairy goats turned you off as I've been considering some for a while.
Also, I've heard that sheep tend to be nervous animals which can make them a bit more of a challenge: have you experienced this? I've only raised hair-sheep and that was for meat purposes, so flightiness didn't make a difference. As for fiber, what type of products are you able to make of it? I've always figured the dairy sheep fiber would be rather course compared to wool breeds, but I really don't know much about the subject. You said you raise Angoras, -do mean Angora goats?