Monday, April 13, 2015

Design and Consultation

I am now offering permaculture design and consultation services.  I made a page that explains more about it that you can access by clicking the tab above that says "Design and Consultation" or by clicking this link.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Spring Updates

Hectic!  That has been the last few weeks for me.  Between travelling up to Seattle to see friends and family, sickness, celebrations, and some personal matters, I haven't had much time or energy to work in the yard or update this blog.

But, things have finally settled down enough for a few other developments to become worth writing about.  Work in the yard is slowly starting up again, and I think I'm finally starting to see a good holistic design for our 1.5 acres.  With spring seemingly here already, it's time to really get started with implementing some systems on my land.

Chickens, I think, will be the first priority.  I'm planning a lot of garden space in our front yard, and getting chickens first will allow me to enlist their help with prepping the garden areas I'm planning.  I'm also planning on slowly but surely adding some food hedges around the border of our property, so that I can occasionally free-range the chickens, add a little more privacy to our property, and utilize the edge as well as possible to produce edible perennial fruits, berries, nuts, and groundcover.

Lastly, and perhaps most excitingly, I interviewed for a job almost 2 weeks ago that I think will help out with my homesteading projects quite a bit, and I begin work today.  It is essentially a feed store and nursery like any other, but it is also unique in that the owner is a permaculture designer, and seemingly everything the store does is geared towards the values that permaculturists hold rather than the traditional small-scale ag model that most feed stores follow.  Since being offered the job there, I've been thinking about it a lot and I think it'll be the perfect opportunity to get my hands dirty and really start learning and experiencing the application side of permaculture, and not just the theory.  My co-workers sound like they will be amazing resources that I can learn quite a lot from.  I think working there and getting to interact with so many like minded customers and co-workers will benefit me in a way that is far more valuable than just a paycheck.  That said, having a little extra cash to offset the cost of what I'll be spending in the same store doesn't hurt either.  Overall, it's a strategic decision for me.  It doesn't pay much at all (for now), but what I'll gain in connections, knowledge, and experience will be far more valuable in the long run that what I'd earn in wages.  Also in the long run, I think this company could end up being a long-term career for me.  As I gain knowledge and experience there, and synthesize it with my retail experience, I think I'll be able to benefit the company quite a lot, perhaps to the point where they are able to offer me a more lucrative position sometime down the road.

My ultimate life goal is and always has been to create and live on a sustainable permaculture homestead.  Whether or not this company turns out to offer a long-term career, it will benefit the projects I'm working on at home thanks to increased knowledge, experience, and cash flow (with a small discount to boot!).  If I'm able to help grow their business the way I think I can, that will also benefit the local food growers in my area, which benefits me and the community as a whole as well.  All in all, I think working there will be an awesome win-win situation, and I look forward to the opportunity if it is offered to me.

I'll keep everyone posted about my projects and job opportunities as I can.  I'll also try to make sure one of my next few posts is something meaty that can help you accomplish a project of your own, and not just an update about what's going on with my Permie Homestead.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Winter Illness

Something I forgot about this time of year is that it's cold and flu season.  I've been hit hard this last week with a flu, and I've been relying on some of my pre-written posts to fill in.  Well, I have overslept the last couple of days trying to feel better, and forgot to schedule a post for yesterday morning.  So, I'm writing this post to let everyone know that I'm resting up one more day, and going to resume the regularly scheduled posts tomorrow.

Some of my own quick tips for feeling better if you're sick this winter:

I use a homemade vapor rub on my chest at night to help clear my breathing passages.  It's much better than the name brand stuff.

Gypsy Cold Care Tea is a delicious tea that helps me feel better.  Once my herb garden starts this spring, I'm going to try to develop a homemade tea recipe that simulates this one, and I'll share that when I do.

Lastly, we went through plenty of cough drops this time around.  I haven't tried it before, but I found this recipe for homemade cough drops and I want to make some up the next time I'm starting to feel sick (by the time I found the recipe I was too sick feeling for DIY).  I'll review my efforts on the blog here too.

Anyway, sorry for the late post.  If you're feeling sick too, maybe those links can help you feel a little bit better.  Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Ethical Abundance Permaculture Design

As I mentioned in last Monday's post, I'm working on starting a permaculture design firm that will serve the I-5 corridor from Seattle to Portland.  I'm planning on naming that business something like the title of this post, and offering permaculture design for properties as small as urban lots, and as large as 40+ acres.  Once I get an office location outside of my home, I also plan to retail select tools, books, and implementation services.

Eventually I'd like to branch out into having an officially licensed and contracted landscaping division, an educational department, and perhaps a larger piece of property which will serve as community farm, demonstration site, employee and family housing (for those who are interested), and educational campus.  As my company grows, so will the permaculture industry in the "west of the cascades" Pacific Northwest.  I envision local designers travelling small distances to their projects, which consist of as many as 6 or 8 neighboring families in some cases, or one 40 acre farm in other cases, or just an urban lot in yet other cases.  I envision those designers being not only permaculture certified, but also skilled handy-people with actual training in the arts and crafts of homestead living, such as carpentry, earthworks, electrical installation, plumbing, and other such trades.  Obviously not every designer will know all of these trades, but each designer should know at least one.

I want to develop guilds of these designers, all with permaculture knowledge, but each with knowledge in complementary areas of craft, such that a carpenter, plumber, and earthworker (or not these, but several others... guilds can be unique and will probably "evolve" over time) are coordinating on a project and working with the site owner to develop and implement an awesome permaculture design on their landscape.  My aforementioned design firm that includes education, demonstration site, training center, etc. will serve as a resource hub as well that can help connect these designers to each other and to their clients.

As it may seem, these thoughts are still rather fluid and the final form of my design firm may look rather different, from start to finish.  But I often find that my fluid thoughts are helped to coagulate by writing them down, and I can often find a jumping off point once I've read, reread, and gotten some feedback about the brainstormy ideas.  So what do you think?  Are there enough people in this world interested in getting permaculture into their backyards to support a local industry?  Is it possible to start a small business that grows and expands to include schools, tradeschools, networks, and a community of many other small businesses all doing much the same thing?  Specializations can develop, regulations can be loosened to include more ecological thinking, and the world can become slightly better all the time.  Is it possible?  I want to start trying, and any feedback you have would be awesomely appreciated.