[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

Don't just search. Find. Check out the new MSN Search! 

More information about the permaculture mailing list