[permaculture] On the pain of desiring land

christopher nesbitt christopher.nesbitt at mmrfbz.org
Thu Dec 3 00:24:36 EST 2009


Actually, it is up above Batstrop, weathered hill top, no silt or  
alluvial anything. I think at lower elevations they have soil, but  
where my friend lives it is pretty poor for soil. He keeps a garden,  
but hauled in all the dirt from somewhere else.

Pretty country, just not good for farming up there.
On Dec 2, 2009, at 7:58 AM, Kevin Topek wrote:

> Dear Christopher,
>
> I apologize for jumping to conclusions and taking offense to your
> observations. The Cedar Creek, TX  you refer to is just west of
> Bastrop. I assume it has Colorado River silt atop a clay and caliche
> base. I remember cotton being farmed there for many of the last few
> decades. You are correct that Pines grow near riparian areas and scrub
> Oaks in the uplands and creek channels. I have also been planting
> Palms in the Austin area caliche and it appears to work. Please drop a
> line the next time you visit the Lone Star State. I am truly humbled.
>
> Happy Trails!
> Kevin Topek
>
> On Dec 1, 2009, at 9:51 PM, christopher nesbitt wrote:
>
>> Hi Kevin,
>>
>> Whoa! Slow down, pardner.
>>
>> No slight on Texas, at all. I have spent a lot of time in Texas,  
>> and a
>> lot of time in Austin, Bastrop, San Marcos and Cedar Creek, and loved
>> it. Have also spent time in east texas, south Texas and west Texas,
>> and even up in the panhandle.
>>
>> You asked this as a question, "To which part of Texas are you
>> referring, Christopher?" so will answer it as such: The land in  
>> Orange
>> Walk that is not suitable for agriculture looks a lot like a friends
>> place in Cedar Creek, Texas, which is right outside of Bastrop. The
>> land in Cedar Creekk that I was referring to is similarly not  
>> suitable
>> for agriculture. That is the Texas I was referring to, and it is a
>> part of Texas I know very well. I don't know if you have been to
>> either of these locations, but I assure you they strongly resemble
>> each other in plant communities and poorness of soil.
>>
>> The soil is leached, and the dominant tree species is oak on both
>> pieces of land. If there weren't cahune palms on the horizon, across
>> the savana, I would have thought I was in Cedar Creek, Texas, and not
>> Belize. The grass on both pieces of land is stunted. The soil on my
>> friends land in Texas is significantly better than the soil in Orange
>> Walk, but still poor, and I wouldn't want either of them for farming.
>>
>> Sorry for any perceived insult to the great state of Texas. I assure
>> you none was implied.
>>
>> Best wishes,
>>
>> Christopher
>>
>> On Dec 1, 2009, at 8:15 PM, Kevin Topek wrote:
>>
>>> Christopher Nesbitt also wrote this line.
>>>
>>> "Nothing much grows there, some oak, some pines. It looks like
>>> Texas."
>>>
>>> Do you imagine
>>> Texas to be a vast wasteland. It most certainly is not! Currently  
>>> I'm
>>> awash in flood waters. Texans do not appreciate being denigrated.
>>>
>>> Kevin Topek, native Texan and damn proud of it
>>>
>>> On Dec 1, 2009, at 7:51 PM, Toby Hemenway wrote:
>>>
>>>> I'm curious where you are hearing the difficulties being played
>>>> down.
>>>> Specifically, if you would, as I'd like to know who or what to put
>>>> on my
>>>> "ignore those idiots" list for my students.
>>>>
>>>> Bill makes many references to the importance, if you want to farm,
>>>> of
>>>> finding land with good water, good soil, and good microclimate,
>>>> but I
>>>> couldn't find anything about how easy it is. I was trying to find
>>>> statements in permaculture books, or Permaculture Activist articles
>>>> about it being less than a lot of work to rehabilitate damaged  
>>>> land.
>>>> All
>>>> I can find is descriptions of projects that involve a great deal of
>>>> work
>>>> ("first we dug 8 km of swales and put in two 1/4 Ha ponds, then
>>>> planted
>>>> 4000 trees while living in a tent for the first 3 years because we
>>>> were
>>>> too tired to build . . ."). Holmgren's Meliodora book, one of the
>>>> few
>>>> detailed case studies out there, talks about 8 years of hard work
>>>> and
>>>> then years more of modifications.  Yes, Bill jokes about how  
>>>> after 5
>>>> years of work, the designer can become the recliner, but that seems
>>>> close to the truth from my own experience on 10 acres of degraded
>>>> land.
>>>> Of course, I finally figured out that most of that land wanted to  
>>>> be
>>>> forest and not farm, so I only gardened on 1/8 acre of it, which
>>>> wasn't
>>>> too hard. But Bill writes repeatedly about asking what the land
>>>> wants
>>>> instead of imposing our will on it, and I eventually listened to
>>>> him.
>>>>
>>>> So who are these ignoramuses you keep running into?
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> and, Christopher Nesbitt wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> it is just land that is not suitable for agriculture.
>>>>
>>>> Boy, if there's one lesson I could get across, that would be it.
>>>>
>>>> Toby
>>>> http://patternliteracy.com
>>>>
>>>>
>>>> Rain Tenaqiya wrote:
>>>>> I grew up with an intense hunger for my own plot of land, and was
>>>>> desperate by the time I had the resources to buy some.  I really
>>>>> identify with the lust for land of the US "pioneers" and landless
>>>>> peasants.  I feel that permaculture, in its current form, does a
>>>>> disservice to those seeking land by playing down the difficulties
>>>>> of marginal land.  It is true that a lot of land that is currently
>>>>> considered marginal can be coaxed into producing yields for
>>>>> satisfying vital needs, but only with more work, money, time,
>>>>> energy, and other inputs than prime farming land.
>>>>>
>>>>> On the other hand, it is less likely that permaculturists would
>>>>> create dustbowls, because our practices are diametrically opposed
>>>>> to such outcomes.  We don't like tilling, bare soil, and
>>>>> overirrigation or unsustainable water use, and we like mulching,
>>>>> perennials, appropriate earthworks, etc.
>>>>>
>>>>> Rain
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
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>>
>>
>>
>> _____________________________
>> Christopher Nesbitt
>>
>> Maya Mountain Research Farm
>> San Pedro Columbia, Toledo
>> PO 153 Punta Gorda Town, Toledo
>> BELIZE,
>> Central America
>>
>> www.mmrfbz.org
>>
>>
>>
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_____________________________
Christopher Nesbitt

Maya Mountain Research Farm
San Pedro Columbia, Toledo
PO 153 Punta Gorda Town, Toledo
BELIZE,
Central America

www.mmrfbz.org






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