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IrateCitizen

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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 12,089

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BLTP Podcast Episode 002 — Making a Permaculture Livelihood

Most of us spend more of our waking hours either working at, or commuting to and from our jobs. Therefore, if we’re going to better align our lives with the permaculture ethics, it’s important that we focus on our livelihood. In this episode, I share my own process for moving from a life as an “industrialized man” in the employ of others toward my goal of being a “permaculture man” with greater independence and control over my own life. I initially wanted to title this one “Finding a Permaculture Livelihood” but decided that the term “finding” was too passive — and replaced it with “making”.

Listen to the episode HERE

Better Living Through Permaculture -- Podcast 001 -- Leading into Permaculture

Take a listen!

Episode 001 -- Leading into Permaculture

Better Living Through Permaculture: Things Permaculture Can Teach Us Through Our Children

I spent the past weekend at the Green Phoenix Permaculture Design Course in High Falls, NY. I cannot recommend them highly enough. Kay Cafasso, our lead instructor, has done an incredible job in teaching, administering the course, and providing some really great guest speakers. Our first weekend had Chris Jackson and Tama Jackson (no relation) as guest instructors. This past weekend Connor Steadman taught us about the geological history of New York — both how our landscape affected human settlement in different ways, and how we affected the landscape in return. We shared fantastic dishes of food that we all prepared, and became immersed in meaningful conversation with each other during our breaks. The most empowering thing of all about taking a PDC is being surrounded by 25-30 other people who are as passionate to learn about permaculture as you are. If you have the opportunity to take one, do it.

At one point on this Saturday, another member of our group mentioned trying to find a kindergarten program that emphasized giving children time to explore “wild” areas as central to the curriculum. This immediately sparked a connection for me, because my 4-1/2 year old daughter is always asking to go into the small woodlot behind our house. She asks me to take her in there, often when I’m already engaged in something else. Sometimes I cave in and say yes. If I say no, she asks if she can follow the dogs if they go in the woods. By hook or crook, she’s determined to explore “wild” places.

Today, she and I explored back there for about 20 minutes, until the sun was barely creeping over the horizon and the coming darkness chased us inside. We followed the dogs’ trails throughout the woodlot, stopping here and there to look more closely at a moss-covered log, peek at the rich humus soil of the forest floor, or gaze up at the tall oaks in awe. Through her eyes, forests are places of wonder, beauty and grandeur — and fun!

I was blessed to have a tract of woods over 2 miles deep behind the house I grew up in, all the way back to the Allegany River in Western Pennsylvania. Two nearby friends and I spent hours and hours in those woods every year. We would just explore, climb, dam up creeks, catch crayfish, crawl through ice caves — whatever the area had to offer. Every summer we hiked the length of the creek, all the way to the river. Sometimes I would just walk the woods by myself. Even back then, they were a source for all of the things that my daughter sees in them now.


READ THE REST HERE

Better Living Through Permaculture: The Importance of Goal-Setting

The winter provides a good time for reflection on where we’re headed — in permaculture, as well as its place in our lives. For most of us, that means that we still have to engage the “regular” world for many things, not least of which is usually an income. Throw in the day-to-day demands of raising a family, and what time we have left over often isn’t much.

At times like this it’s easy to get discouraged — it’s dark soon after you get home from work, you miss the feeling of your hands in the soil and warm sun on your face, the heavy drear of winter clouds your focus. That’s why this time of year is a good time to restate our life goals, our own vision of a permaculture life.

For me, a permaculture life means that I gain back my time instead of spending so much of it commuting and working for someone else, according to their rules. Every second that I gain back is one more that I can spend with my loved ones, expand my permaculture knowledge and systems, and return surplus to my community. By spending more of my time working either at home or closer to home, I spend less time commuting. I will be able to see my kids get off their school bus more often than not. Observing, building and tweaking our permaculture systems will provide countless opportunities for unschooled education, experiences through which my kids will be able to learn about biology, mathematics, chemistry, physics, history; as well as hone their basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic. Volunteering within my community will also have a prominent role. Life will have more of a rhythm in the future than it does now, even as there is just as much work to be done — if not more.


READ THE REST HERE

BLTP: Complacency, Dependency and Servitude... and How Permaculture Helps Us Break Free

This weekend, I had an interesting conversation with a member of my extended family that left me thinking afterward. The topic of the conversation was the current political scene — namely, the Presidential race. I stated that I really haven’t paid much attention to it. Truth be told, I don’t really consider such things worth much of my time as they are either spectacles to pull us into passivity, or diversions for our energy into largely unproductive activities. I also said that I prefer to concentrate my efforts on those things over which I have control (such as permaculture), and in the event that I do involve myself in political issues, I look to a much more local level to get involved, because that is the area where we can have the greatest impact.

This was all inconceivable to this person. He repeatedly said that it was a sad statement on our political affairs that if someone who used to be as engaged in the political process as myself (I served for a period of time on the local committee of one of the two major parties and followed politics quite closely) could become disengaged, then that was a sign of how we were on the wrong track. He kept talking about how we needed change. I responded to him by saying that if you want to see change, don’t look for “leaders” to make it happen, look in the mirror as the leader who can help bring it about. He dismissed this point of view by saying that “most people just want to follow,” and after a short period of continued back-and-forth, the conversation eventually fizzled out.

In the time since that conversation, however, I’ve been thinking about it quite a bit. Not necessarily in the terms of national politics as defined by our news media, but rather in the sense that the way we live our lives is inherently political, and what this means in terms of that discussion. Since I’m sure that many of you have similar difficulties in speaking past one another, I hope that some of these insights may help you as well.


READ THE REST HERE
Posted by IrateCitizen | Mon Feb 6, 2012, 03:26 PM (2 replies)

Better Living Through Permaculture: Permaculture and Social Convention

The goal of this site is to explore concepts and actions that we can take to incorporate permaculture into our lives. Yet, if we are going to go down that path, it’s also important that we explore what permaculture is, what it means to practice permaculture, and the ways that permaculture impacts our life as a whole. I say this from a short time of experience: when you start down the road of permaculture, it is impossible to look at the world in the same way again. When you don’t look at the world the same way, you often find that you don’t act the same way — and that’s something that people notice.

One of the readings that I received as homework in my PDC is an essay titled “Places to Intervene in a System” by the late Donella H. Meadows. In the original work, Meadows identified nine places to intervene in any system in order to produce change, and listed them in the order of increasing effectiveness. That list is as follows....

READ THE REST HERE
Posted by IrateCitizen | Wed Feb 1, 2012, 10:23 PM (1 replies)

Better Living Through Permaculture: Permaculture and Social Convention

The goal of this site is to explore concepts and actions that we can take to incorporate permaculture into our lives. Yet, if we are going to go down that path, it’s also important that we explore what permaculture is, what it means to practice permaculture, and the ways that permaculture impacts our life as a whole. I say this from a short time of experience: when you start down the road of permaculture, it is impossible to look at the world in the same way again. When you don’t look at the world the same way, you often find that you don’t act the same way — and that’s something that people notice.

One of the readings that I received as homework in my PDC is an essay titled “Places to Intervene in a System” by the late Donella H. Meadows. In the original work, Meadows identified nine places to intervene in any system in order to produce change, and listed them in the order of increasing effectiveness. That list is as follows....


READ THE REST HERE
Posted by IrateCitizen | Wed Feb 1, 2012, 10:22 PM (0 replies)

Better Living Through Permaculture: Permaculture and Social Convention

The goal of this site is to explore concepts and actions that we can take to incorporate permaculture into our lives. Yet, if we are going to go down that path, it’s also important that we explore what permaculture is, what it means to practice permaculture, and the ways that permaculture impacts our life as a whole. I say this from a short time of experience: when you start down the road of permaculture, it is impossible to look at the world in the same way again. When you don’t look at the world the same way, you often find that you don’t act the same way — and that’s something that people notice.

One of the readings that I received as homework in my PDC is an essay titled “Places to Intervene in a System” by the late Donella H. Meadows. In the original work, Meadows identified nine places to intervene in any system in order to produce change, and listed them in the order of increasing effectiveness. That list is as follows....


READ THE REST HERE
Posted by IrateCitizen | Wed Feb 1, 2012, 10:21 PM (0 replies)

Better Living Through Permaculture: Inviting Fungus Among Us... Or At Least Among Our Trees

In the last post, we looked briefly at how coppicing and pollarding can be used to encourage a sustainable wood harvest. I coppiced a large black walnut tree in my yard last year, and had new shoots in the past spring. Just this weekend I coppiced a rather sick tree in my front yard with the hopes that by cutting it back I could give it a new lease on life, and pollarded another that had been damaged by our freak Halloween snowstorm. For my efforts this weekend, I netted a modest amount of firewood, some decent straight poles that can be used either for outdoor building projects or firewood, and a couple of good-sized piles of brush.

Here’s a pic of those piles of brush again. A “typical” landscaping operation would look upon these piles as a waste product to be discarded, or at best as fuel for a chipper to turn into wood chips. But I’m interested in permaculture, in “closing the loop,” and generally in doing as little work as possible in the long run. So, I came up with some different uses for my brush piles.

I took the brush from the walnut tree downed last year, broke it up into manageable pieces, and stored it under an overhang behind my shed. After several months of drying out, it now serves as useful tinder for starting fires in my woodstove.

This brush had a different use in store for it....


READ THE REST HERE
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