EarthCamp Village

Why ‘EarthCamp’ Village is part of This Permaculture Design

In William McDonough’s book, Cradle-to-Cradle, he talks about the importance for us as humans to reexamine the way we build our homes and other structures/buildings.  The big question is, how much waste and pollution is generated while building, maintaining and finally demolishing our structures?  It is about 40% of the entire waste stream of “civilized” cultures.

Our objective in building EarthCamp Village is to see how close we can get to creating structures that last a very-long time but create and generate very-little waste or CO2.

Intern Village EarthCamp Village

 

Timber Framing Done EarthCamp Village Aug.2013 640x426 EarthCamp Village

The timber framing for the cob cabin is up…!!!   The first structure for EarthCamp Village

Click Here for Picture Summary of the Building of Earth-Shelter #1

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Earth-Shelter #1 – CSC Permaculture Design

Ground breaking has begun for EarthCamp Village which is part of our 8.7 acre permaculture design for Center for Sustainable Community here in Stelle, IL. We started working on Earth-Shelter #1 on July 15, 2013.  All updates related to this one cabin will be posted here.  Feel free to leave messages, ideas or comments.  Let’s learn about this together.

Leveling the ground Earth Shelter #1   CSC Permaculture Design

Imagine waking up in the morning and stepping out of a cabin with a view like this?  EarthCamp Village overlooks Mint Creek Farm–an organic farm with pasture-raised animals.

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Plant Guilds

Free Plant Guilds eBooklet

Plant Guilds Cover 494x640 Plant Guilds

Bryce Ruddock Plant Guilds

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Join Bryce for an
All Day Workshop on Plant Guilds

Tentatively Scheduled for Spring 2014
Check Back for Exact Date
At Midwest Permaculture – Stelle, IL

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Our Cal-Earth Permaculture Course 2012 – Picture Summary

This year will be our 4th Combined Super-adobe
and Permaculture Design Certificate Courses

Join us from Oct. 6-18, 2014

Below is the Picture Summary from our Second Combined Training in 2012 so that you can see what these trainings are like. 
Pictures and Text by Bill Wilson of Midwest Permaculture

For a second year we co-delivered with the Cal-Earth teaching staff a combined Superadobe Earth Building and Permaculture Design Certificate Course.  At the close of our training we were pleased to host Geoff and Nadia Lawton of PRI-Australia who shared their work in desert environments with us while they were in the USA for a brief visit.  This workshop was also opened to the general public seen here at the end of a really great day of learning.  

Cal Earth PDC Earth Building Oct.2012 57 Custom Our Cal Earth Permaculture Course 2012   Picture Summary

Our 2012 Cal-Earth PDC on Guest Day with Geoff and Nadia Lawton – Picture taken on one of the Cal-Earth buildings.

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Chinampas Gardens

Why Chinampas Gardens are part of This Permaculture Design

Chinampas Gardens are artificial islands or peninsulas created by scooping nutrient-rich lake, swamp or pond muck into a woven cage so that crops can be grown above the waterline in a wet environment. Within this simple design, several unique functions are accomplished at once: a micro-climate that prevents early frost damage; an extremely productive soil that is mostly self-sustaining; a self-watering system created by water wicking in from the sides as moisture evaporates from the surface of the beds; and the growing of plants and fish within the same area.

In Particular we want to: 

  • Test the efficacy of Chinampas in our northerly-temperate climate
  • Assess their productivity and labor requirements compared to regular garden beds
  • Try something very different and creative.

 

 
Chinampas Chinampas Gardens

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Wood Gasification

Why Wood Gasification is part of This Permaculture Design

Wood Gasification is the process of converting wood (any kind of scraps or trimmings) into flammable gasses by burning it at very high temperatures in an oxygen starved environment.  These gasses, once cooled and cleaned of tars, can be piped directly into an internal combustion engine as a fuel substitute for gasoline…!!!

We have designed in the use of wood gasification units for:

  • Running trucks, tractors and other vehicles and machinery
  • Generating heat and electricity in the winter for greenhouses and homes
  • Being able to harvest the energy from sunlight stored in woody plants, from our own land
  • Using the waste product, biochar, to increase the fertility of our gardens and food forests which will also be pulling excess Co2 out of the atmosphere and locking it up

And the wood gasification units burn much, much cleaner than wood stoves because of the high temperatures.  They actually burn off almost all of the smoke and gasses, turning even these into additional energy.

 
Truck Runs by Wood Gasification Wood Gasification

Truck Runs on Woodgas

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Linear Food Forests along Hugelkultured Swales

In this design we will be planting linear-food forests all along the downhill side of each of three hugelkultured swales.   What is a hugelkultured swale?

 

Slide3 640x480 Linear Food Forests along Hugelkultured Swales

While the tress and shrubs are in the early stages of growing (small) we will use the open space to grow some of our annual vegetables. We will also plant some nitrogen fixing ground covers and dynamic accumulators to help build the soil.

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Chickens for the Orchard (Part 1)

Part 3:    8-13 Weeks of Age (As Adventurers)
Part 2:    4-8 Weeks of Age (As Kids)
Part 1:    0-4 Weeks of Age (As Chicks)   

Objective: Raise some chickens for food and to also help with insect, grass and weed control in our 2-acre organic community orchard…!!!

As most of you know, in permaculture design we attempt to:

  1. garner the greatest amount or number of yields
  2. from the minimum amount of work 
  3. while creating no waste (at least minimal)
  4. and restoring the environment.

Let’s see what additional benefits we can obtain from this project other than just the insect, grass and weed-removal help from 100 chickens.  This will be our chicken saga as it reveals itself in real time.   We’re always learning too and raising this many chickens at once, and in this way, is stretching us some.  

We will take the experience we do have, plus apply permaculture design principles, while adding in good-ole common sense (with help from some great books, friends  and the internet) to work creatively and see what we might come up with.

Permaculture Chickens 1 Chickens for the Orchard (Part 1)

It all starts with an order of 100 chicks (multi-heritage breeds from McMurry) that Hayden and Cameron (our two work/study intern students) selected.  All were delivered through the U.S. mail.  All survived!  Hayden created a safe and warm habitat from a yard-storage container, a heat lamp, and some old boards and fencing.  This structure lasted almost 2 weeks before they outgrew it.  During this time we worked on a more permanent home/coop.

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Burning Wood to “Cool” an Entire Lodge

Arbor Day’s Lied Lodge:
It is Air Conditioned with Current Sunlight
(i.e. Scrap Wood)

Becky at Lied Lodge Fuelwood Energy Plant Burning Wood to Cool an Entire Lodge

Becky at the Fuelwood Energy Plant, one of the places we'll be touring during the March PDC.

 

In our last post we talked about thermal mass rocket stoves and the great benefit they held by being able to heat our homes using current sunlight in the form of firewood.  (The sunlight energy stored in coal, oil and natural gas is millions of years old.) With these stoves we consume as little as 1/4 the amount of firewood it would take to heat the same amount of space with a traditional wood stove.  This is a huge savings in energy consumed for the same results.

Last February, Becky and I visited Lied Lodge and were surprised to discover that they not only heated their water and the Lodge with scrap-chipped wood, but they also air-condition the entire Lodge using the same fires…!!!   How can this be? Continue reading

Water Wheel Pump

This is just too cool…!

How many people live near a running creek, but the creek sits low enough on their property that there is no good way to get the water up on to the land for irrigation or for a small pond without running electricity for a pump?  This simple, homemade device will do the trick.

Of note, the water pump wheel will lift water 2 to 8 times higher than the diameter of the wheel.  Basically, the more loops you have in the wheel the higher and farther you can ‘pump’ the water.  However, the more loops in the wheel makes the wheel heaver and harder to turn, so one needs a larger or faster running creek to do the work.  Regardless, there appears to be a happy median, and to move any amount of water uphill on a piece of property gives one a very valuable resource to work with.  

Here is a link to a simple article about how the water wheel pump works and how to build one.

Just had to share this with you…. Bill Wilson