[ecopath] Pc Design Manual - Overview (fwd)

Jeffrey Newman newman at bcinternet.net
Sun May 30 15:39:18 EDT 1999


While I've followed some of the discussion on teaching, intellectual property etc. with
interest, my main interest is similar to yours - though I suspect I'm even further from
the Pc ideal! I want you to know that I have received generous practical advice on this
list (in my case, building a retaining wall) and have seen others do likewise. I think
the questions you ask will draw some valuable response.

My wife and I live on .86 acre lot in a residential neighbourhood in central British
Columbia, Canada. This is a pretty special neighbourhood in that it has green belt
built in and there are many trees and two fine lakes integrated into the neighbourhood,
complete with trails, beaches etc., all maintained by volunteer labour and
government/residents' association (regional and local) funds. I think it is a fine
example of creative use of commons.

We chose the house largely because it's on a lot that hasn't been landscaped - other
than the seemingly-brutal clearing required to build the house - now about 5 years old.
We've been here for less than a year and, to a large extent, have followed the
suggestion (expressed somewhere in the Pc lit, I believe) to do nothing for the first
year. I did build a retaining wall out of Douglas Fir timber lying around the property
(didn't even need a saw or a nail!). Am now building a raised bed vegetable garden just
out side our (south-facing) front door, using stones on the property. These are usually
unsightly stones in that they were unearthed by the heavy machinery that cleared the
site. This clearing has disturbed the land sufficiently to encourage a wild berry bush
(Raspberry, Saskatoon) which we plan to augment in a part that was covered with junk by
the addition of some other berry bushes, including sea buckthorn, next month. My
approach to the weeds which proliferate on this cleared and then neglected land is to
pull the weeds that don't seem to belong to give the next generation a chance to come
on quicker. I feel good about this level of interference. So, I harvested a huge pile
of Scotch thistle last year and this year heaps of dandelions. Knowing that the
dandelions have worked hard to bring much nutrition ot the surface, I'm drying them a
bit and adding to our meagre compost. This year we ate a lot of dandelion greens so, if
a few of them go to see I will be happy to harvest them in future gardens. A major
disqualification permaculturally-speaking is that we have no farm animals, unless you
count our dog and the proliferation of birds drawn to the feeders, water etc. I've
installed.  I'm starting to inventory what is already growing here and am impressed
with the wide-ranging nutritional and medicinal value of what's already here in such
unassuming plants as plantain, violets, dandelion etc. We recently had a wood stove
installed which will give us a practical reason for clearing much of the wood debris
left when the site was first cleared.

If you have the time and inclination, take a look at my web page on our home. It seems
to me - with the addition of our vegetable garden, we do have a reasonable relationship
between the elements/zones of our small lot. I'd welcome your comments and questions -
here or privately.

Jeffrey Newman

Claude Genest wrote:

> Hi Jeff,
> In response to getting a new thread going - Thanks for the idea of working
> through the chapters within this forum -
> I'm really hoping for some good 'ol dirt-under-the-nails type stuff from
> this group.
> E.G. There was recently a post in which the author describes someone's Pc
> house and yard - I got more inspiration from that simple description.... How
> I'd love to hear how other places are set-up and how they're operating.
> -  how people have fared putting their greenhouses next to their houses and
> adding chickens to the mix ?
> - How long can a chicken tractor till a 1/4 acre yard before too much poop
> builds up?
> - Ain't it HARD to bring in them veggies reliably and abundantly enough to
> call yourself self-suffcient !?! ( LEt alone "permanent" !)
> AY-Ya-YAi !!
> The practical nuts and bolts of beginning a design.
> If we build it, they will come.
> If we design our places right, we can give our culture a PLACE to establish
> itself in a permanently edyfying way.
> How do other single families implement designs - Is it working? How have the
> design strategies begun to exert THEIR influence on the dynamics of the
> family ?
> I keep reading how PC's a way of seeing the landscape and "knowing" what to
> do....
> Well, I surely would appreciate help on aquiring that ability.
> Some of the talk  in this group is too damn high-Fallutin' for a college
> graduate, computer-literate, urban-refugee like me ;-) !!
> Are there others out there who are getting dirty in the backyard and making
> valuable mistakes with their plantings and crops ?!
> Or is this forum to be reseved for the philosophers ?!
> Claude in Vermont.

Jeffrey Newman

My personal web site is at     http://www2.bcinternet.net/~newman/Jeffrey.html
My ICQ number is: 9879310

You can never get more by saying "no." You can hold a current
position by saying no, but you can only move forward by saying "yes."
 - Marshal Sylver

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