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Thursday, August 13, 2015

Use and value diversity

Here is one of twelve collages on The Permaculture Principles and how they might be applied, especially in the maritime Pacific Northwest. Concepts from David Holmgren's Essence of Permaculture.


"Use and value diversity."

1. On the land, try everything. Some trees, perennials and annuals will do better, some will not like your climate or soils. For those who work with animals, it's much the same -- one five acre place might do well with a Devon cow and calf, whereas another, with smaller available pasture, might require a Dexter. Do early spring gardens do better here than fall? What greens last through winter freezes? What flint corn or what winter squash seems happier here?

2. Explore the native and non-native field and forest biota and geology for further utility. Are there acorns? Abandoned fruit trees, or wild plums or persimmons? Walnuts? Black walnuts? wild grapes? Edible berries, seeds, annuals, biennials, mushrooms? Which make good medicines, teas, seasonings, dyes, basketry, axe handles, beanpoles, wattles? What animals are there, and which are predators to your plants and animals, which are appropriate to hunt (if you do)? Fish, eels, clams, mussels? What's legal or illegal, abundant or under pressure and needing conservation, and what are the seasons?

3. Experiment and extend your range of skills for your own benefit and pleasure as well as to benefit your family, friends and neighbors. Can you sew, mend, design an interior, clean house, paint, plumb, do carpentry, electric, roofing, assemble hardware, install appliances, cut glass, caulk, set tile, grout, lay bricks, set a stone wall, bed a pathway, maintain tools, cook, preserve foods, bake, dance, sing, play an acoustic instrument, do martial arts, perform a play, chair a meeting, tend to the sick, attend a birth , comfort the dying, meditate, survive, evade, escape, tan leather, shoe a horse, dip candles? Or maybe only a few of these, but are willing to bank them at the community center in exchange for others? Also, when you've learned a skill, how about extending your range, trying new things with new ingredients or materials? Shown is a small loaf of spelt/rye/oatmeal bread with duck eggs, sea salt, veggie crumble, and brewer's yeast, baked in a crock pot. Next, perhaps we'll try in a Dutch oven on a rocket stove.

4. What do you know of your site, its watershed and region, and what they have to offer? Explore (where it is not trespassing) the fields, woods, streams, and bodies of water. Where does the water come from and where does it go; what is its quality? Where are the prevailing winds? Are you prone to hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes? Where are the straight saplings for your stamping shed roof, round heat-safe rocks for your sweat lodge, flat rocks for your path to the compost heap, "trash" fish for your fertilizer? Where is the nearest doctor, dentist, veterinarian, grocer, etc., but also who is the go-to blacksmith, wild foods teacher, seed-saver? What birds and animals live (year-round or seasonally) in which areas -- are there rattler dens and poison oak or ivy to respect? What is the history here? How were things done in the past? How do local, state or province and national jurisdictions impact the site, locality and region? What are the current social and commercial impacts? What is changing, and can the changes be met with adequate adaptation? You cannot, maybe, discover all this, but by seeking may find much, and then you will never suffer boredom.

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