[permaculture] defining permaculture
Charles de Matas
cdematas at hotmail.com
Fri Jun 22 15:19:21 EDT 2007
I'd like to share a few paragraphs from the Nearings' book. This was
pre-permaculture, and they cut trees and kept land open, but I think they
did it in a very conscientious way.
... We cut some logs and pulpwood, but mostly firewood for heating and
cooking. So we save branches that a commercial lumberman would scorn, and
cut them into stovewood lengths. For us, good limb wood, well dried, is as
good firewood as you will get anywhere. It cuts up easily and burns
magnificently. For hot fires we know nothing better than well-dried limbs.
About four-fifths of our Maine farm constitutes woodlot that matures
year by year. About on-fifth is cleared land that we mow or scythe each year
to keep back the encroaching woods and maintain the grasslands in hay for
mulching and compost making.
We do not own a mowing machine (which we would use perhaps six or eight
hours in the year), so we try to hire a neighbor to come in with his machine
for an hour or two. As there are few functioning mowers in the
neighborhood, we have equipped ourselves with scythes which we use in the
most necessary places. Early every morning for about two months Scott is out
swinging the scythe for his pre-breakfast exercise. One notable summer day
last year, eight or ten neighbors contributed their time and energy and
skill to hand-scythe from dayn to dusk and cleared a whole meadow for us. It
was a Breughel-like scene with figures of men, women and children moving
over the field.
In cutting trees or keeping back encroachments on meadows, we have
enlarged the cleared area of our farm somewhat during the past
quarter-century. We regret each acre that we pilfer form the reforesting
process. Nature, here in Maine, moves from the bare earth to splendid tall
timber. We reget any steps that we take in opposition to that process.
from: Continuing the Good Life
by: Helen and Scott Nearing
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