nathan luedtke

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since Apr 15, 2011
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Recent posts by nathan luedtke

I dig it.

I think that cans of marking chalk are a great tool for this sort of thing. Maybe I'll start spraying around damaged irrigation lines, overgrown vegetation, broken sidewalks, damaged and missing utility covers, etc. See how long it takes for them to be dealt with.
3 years ago
Thank you Matt- that was the clearest explanation I've heard yet as to why lump charcoal is actually fundamentally different from biochar. I'll evaluate and adjust my process based on your input.
3 years ago
Dan Hemenway (not Toby) published this white paper on Kudzu Utilization back in 2006.

Full of great info and is a good example of really thinking through business ideas from a Permaculture perspective. It's a little sparse on details (he wrote it as a speculative venture- there's a note in there about further details being available if someone wanted to invest) but I'm sure all kinds of businesses could be built off of any similar "invasive" plants.
3 years ago
Returning to discuss Frank Herbert's DUNE, which I am rereading now for the first time since I "got into" permaculture.

There is NO WAY that Mollison and Holmgren hadn't read Herbert by the mid 70s when they developed the initial permaculture ideas and curriculum. Dune was published in 1965, and I see its marks all over the PDM.

Here is a selection of quotes from a chapter in Book 2 of Dune, near the midpoint of the book. I think Herbert does an incredible job of very briefly explaining a permaculture-style approach to ecology- focusing on the role of humans in guiding planetary ecosystemic processes. Some spoilers in the below text:


"I am Liet-Kynes," he said, addressing himself to the empty horizon, and his voice was a hoarse caricature of the strength it had known. "I am His Imperial Majesty's Planetologist," he whispered, "planetary ecologist for Arrakis. I am steward of this land."
...
A thought spread across his mind—clear, distinct: The real wealth of a planet is in its landscape, how we take part in that basic source of civilization—agriculture.
...
"The highest function of ecology is understanding consequences."
...
"The more life there is within a system, the more niches there are for life," his father said. And the voice came now from his left, from behind him.
...
"Life improves the capacity of the environment to sustain life," his father said. "Life makes needed nutrients more readily available. It binds more energy into the system through the tremendous chemical interplay from organism to organism."
...
"We are generalists," his father said. "You can't draw neat lines around planet-wide problems. Planetology is a cut-and-fit science."

What's he trying to tell me? Kynes wondered. Is there some consequence I failed to see?
...
"To the working planetologist, his most important tool is human beings," his father said. "You must cultivate ecological, literacy among the people.
...
"The presence of moisture in the air helps prevent too-rapid evaporation from living bodies," his father said.

Why does he keep repeating the obvious? Kynes wondered.

He tried to think of moisture in the air—grass covering this dune… open water somewhere beneath him, a long qanat flowing with water open to the sky except in text illustrations. Open water… irrigation water… it took five thousand cubic meters of water to irrigate one hectare of land per growing season, he remembered.

"Our first goal on Arrakis," his father said, "is grassland provinces. We will start with these mutated poverty grasses. When we have moisture locked in grasslands, we'll move on to start upland forests, then a few open bodies of water—small at first—and situated along lines of prevailing winds with windtrap moisture precipitators spaced in the lines to recapture what the wind steals. We must create a true sirocco—a moist wind—but we will never get away from the necessity for windtraps."
...
"Movement across the landscape is a necessity for animal life," his father said. "Nomad peoples follow the same necessity. Lines of movement adjust to physical needs for water, food, minerals. We must control this movement now, align it for our purposes."
...
"We must do a thing on Arrakis never before attempted for an entire planet," his father said. "We must use man as a constructive ecological force—inserting adapted terraform life: a plant here, an animal there, a man in that place—to transform the water cycle, to build a new kind of landscape."
...
"It was lines of movement that gave us the first clue to the relationship between worms and spice," his father said.
...
"Men and their works have been a disease on the surface of their planets before now," his father said. "Nature tends to compensate for diseases, to remove or encapsulate them, to incorporate them into the system in her own way."
...
"The historical system of mutual pillage and extortion stops here on Arrakis," his father said. "You cannot go on forever stealing what you need without regard to those who come after. The physical qualities of a planet are written into its economic and political record. We have the record in front of us and our course is obvious."
...
"Our timetable, will achieve the stature of a natural phenomenon," his father said. "A planet's life is a vast, tightly interwoven fabric. Vegetation and animal changes will be determined at first by the raw physical forces we manipulate. As they establish themselves, though, our changes will become controlling influences in their own right—and we will have to deal with them, too. Keep in mind, though, that we need control only three per cent of the energy surface—only three per cent—to tip the entire structure over into our self-sustaining system."

3 years ago
Ok. We all understand the difference between lump charcoal and charcoal briquettes.

I've been considering a workflow to incorporate bio char into my garden. In my area (affluent suburbs) I can't really get away with making my own biochar on a regular basis due to neighbor concerns over smoke, etc. However, running a bbq is perfectly acceptable.

Also, I don't want to purchase lump charcoal for the sole purpose of applying it to the garden, and I certainly don't want the extra work and dust of grinding it up. So here's what I have come up with:

* purchase lump charcoal, this could be from a local vendor or the grocery store
* use only the larger chunks of charcoal in my grill- anything smaller than thumb size, including dust/fines, goes into a storage bin
* this will make grilling better (small chunks of charcoal reduce airflow in the grill) and will net me about 1/4-1/3 of each bag of charcoal in small bits and fines
* in my worm composting tray system, I will throw a scoop of the stored charcoal bits and dust in with each new tray of compost
* this "activates" the charcoal, charging it with beneficial bacteria and nutrients from the compost, so that when applied to the garden it won't temporarily "rob" the garden of nutrients as would happen if you applied pure charcoal to the garden
* this also locks up the charcoal dust into the soil, ensuring that it won't blow around and become a health hazard

Any other ideas for how to integrate bbq charcoal and gardens?
3 years ago
I think the podcasts with Ernie and Erica are my favorites. This one was excellent. E&E have so much expertise and I really enjoy their interplay and chemistry as they Yin-Yang the information out into the world. Great work everybody and I can't wait for Part 2.

What's the official name for the product under discussion in this podcast? Shippable core? Castable core? It seems like there's been such a breakthrough that it should get a fancy name.
I had no problem downloading and installing- but I used a google search for "Google Earth Pro", I think I arrived at the download page through an Engadget link.

I haven't dug in to it too deeply, so I dont really see a lot of differences yet. One big feature that will be extremely helpful for permies looking for land is that GEPro has a PARCEL LAYER. Aka "cadastral map", this allows you to identify any given parcel of real estate, and find out basic details such as parcel area, age and info on structures, zoning, valuation, and where the parcel is recorded. This could save a lot of time if you are trying to find your homestead, especially if you're looking in a remote county.

To turn on the parcel map, go to the Layers area, and under the Primary Database, click "Earth Pro", then "US Parcel Data" See the image below:
3 years ago
Paul (Wheaton) has stated on the podcast and daily-ish emails that he's mad at Paul (Stamets). I don't recall him ever saying why?

So curious. I wonder if it has something to do with cardboard. I am fascinated when people who are working in good faith and have so much in common find things to disagree about- it can be very instructive.

I don't wish to pick at wounds so mods please delete if this is inappropriate.

3 years ago
I know that Ernie and Erica have seen their fill of wrongheaded RMH "innovations".

Anybody have documentation, photos, war stories?
3 years ago
Via this article in nytimes about a design exposition focused on "fixing things" I was reminded of this thread. Has anyone else come across or created interesting or attractive repairs recently?

The article mentions the Japanese art of Tsukoroi which translates as "darning, mending, fixing".



One notable version of Tsukoroi is Kintsugi- the mending of broken pottery using precious metal inlays. This was mentioned earlier in the thread, here's a representative image:

3 years ago