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Thursday, August 11, 2011

A+ Blog on a Local Home Energy Retrofit

For those interested in reducing the energy consumed when heating and cooling your existing homes there is a great opportunity to learn from the experiences of a local intrepid couple who are the pride of many permaculturists if only for their urban chickens and honey making.

The Brazeltons are providing daily content on their ‘minnePHit’ blog including, importantly, lots of construction site photos. What’s in the name ‘minnePHit’? For an explanation check out their blog or facebook page @

One thing I would like to highlight is the design for creating a highly insulated wall with relatively benign materials. I-Joists will be added to the exterior of the existing home and dense packed with cellulose insulation (i.e. recycled paper).

For those not familiar with these building products a demonstration of this insulating technique will be offered on Tuesday, August 16th and is open to the public. Check out the ‘MinnePhit’ blog for location and times.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Putting in the design

Putting in the design on land from a paper scale is a challenge. Like the first incision in surgery. Ripping up that first section of lawn or old landscape sets the actions in motion.  Big work started last week. Takes constant motion as the old is made new and the components are integrated. Big rain the next night and I worried like I have never before. It was all good though, all looked good in the rain too.


Friday, April 22, 2011

Thought on Harvest Extension with a Structure

I am having a great time with the art and integration of this structure to a garden design. Too bad I will have to fence it off as soon as it is planted. I have plans to cover it this fall for harvest extension and plant fall spinach to over winter and over cold tolerant crops. Even better would be to have the center dug down 3-4 feet for more thermal mass. It could even be sculpted or terraced from the North to face South.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Front loaded complexity takes the stress off the participants.

The more we use complex systems that are fully utilized and supported via resource partitioning and integrated ecological services, the less the participants be they plant, animal, or human, have to compensate with their own. Can a system be self managed? Integrated Diversity allows for each component to reduce stress on the others.

Like plants that are rooted, people needed to be assigned or accept a place to work/live that suits them. They also need to be surrounded by the efforts of others for moral and physical support. This increases fitness, the ability to cope with change, and builds shared resources. Proximity is key to all this, relative to the landscape. How many other competing systems do you have to cross to connect with your group? How much energy is used keeping the connections viable? Cooperating locally within a small area for physical needs reduces physical and environmental stress, while expanding intellectual resources beyond physical boundaries insures diverse and broader sources of intelligent information.

A plant's resources are localized except for new information which may come from afar in the form of pollen (keeping in mind some plants are self-fertile and rarely accept new information). Unlike plants we are instantly effected by the pollination of new information. It does not have to wait for the next generation seed to develop the traits and increased or decreased fitness. Our mind and bodies can instantly react to the acceptance of new information and improve our environment, nutrition, health, and fitness.

New information can change beliefs and create a physical response, but only for the receptive that can respond.

This April we will be installing 4 Mandala gardens. 132 opportunities to redefine gardening. This is totally new information to most all of them, but as you can see the human-centric design that incorporates beneficial habitat and partitioned resources will also create a new gardener and integrated garden community.