I hope my last post didn’t seem too depressing. While the major cost projects are on hold for a while, many smaller projects are underway…
The most exciting is that we’re currently in talks with a permaculture design outfit and are expecting a proposal soon to do a Design Review for us. This means they, with their extensive knowledge of permaculture (I don’t want to reveal names yet, but they are top notch), will come for a site visit then go over our Site Plan to see how we can improve it, or if there are any glaring errors. I’m sure they’ll have much input there. The other thing they’ll do is provide us with a comprehensive list of plants that we can grow in our climate, including those that can provide food or other uses, and – importantly – how best to grow these plants in polycultures and guilds. By the end of this process we hope to have a Site Plan that includes all the plants we’ll grow here, where on the site they’ll be planted, and with what other plants in what groupings. From this point on it will simply be a matter of time and budget as we implement all the elements in our plan ourselves. It may take years but that’s okay with us. Having the detailed Site Plan is all we need to get started.
With respect to the trails project, that is continuing nicely. I’ve re-worked an old trail from last year, widening and clearing it a bit so it won’t get overgrown this summer. And I’ve added a whole new trail through a previously under-explored section of our woods. I’m thoroughly enjoying this work, as much as it exhausts me physically (though I confess the aching muscles bring a good amount of satisfaction for a day of work well done). I’ve been walking the trails pretty much every day, and will soon be bringing along a colinear hoe to keep the nettles on the paths at bay. There are a few more trails to blaze in order that our woods be broken down in more manageable plots. By manageable I mean small enough for us to really observe the nature of the site, what’s growing there, and the potentials for use. Even in a small woods like ours (about 2 acres) there are noticeable differences in terms of the characteristics of different spots in the woods. Some areas are already showing promise as clearings into which we can plant fruit tree guilds and other things that need sunlight. Other areas have a denser canopy, and there are definite differences in moisture too. Building trails helps us to break the woods up into smaller areas that we can study in more detail. Plus, it’s just lovely to walk amongst one’s own trails!
Finally, a brief project that I finished over the weekend is fencing the “back yard” (which is actually the front yard, but we don’t use it for much) for the dog. I used materials we had lying around, so it’s a combination of plastic-mesh netting held up with a few metal T-posts interspersed with alder logs that I cut into post lengths and buried as deep as I could easily dig. The other half of the fencing is electric fence from our pig paddock last year. The dog got zapped back then and wouldn’t go near it after that. I was hoping she’d have the same respect this time around. When all was done, we tested her by throwing a stick around that “accidentally” went over the electric fence. Well, she jumped right through a gap in the wires and didn’t appear to get shocked at all. So I added another round of wire (it’s actually electric tape, which is thick, flat, and white) to reduce the gaps between lines. She hasn’t tried to go through it since, but she hasn’t had the ultimate test (a strange dog walking past our house, or a squirrel on the other side of the fence), so I don’t know if this is truly going to deter her. I’m hoping with the lines closer together, any attempts to break through will result in enough of a slow-down to receive a good zap. I hope it will be enough. Meanwhile, I thought this fence would look really ugly but it actually isn’t too bad. Sometimes you have to choose between Pretty and Affordable. This time Affordable wasn’t too bad.