Blog

Heating His Home with Compost?


Meet Our Friend Rob Frost from the Milwaukee, WI Area
 

Back in the 1970s, a Frenchman by the name of Jean Pain of built a compost pile from woodchips about the size of a garage. Inside the pile he had coiled around a single, very long hose that he could run clean water through. In the very center of the pile was a very large-sealed-tank holding a slurry of cow manure.

Once the pile started to heat up he was able to run water through the hose at will and extract some of the heat. He had all the hot running water he needed for bathing, washing, and get this…for heating his home…for 18 months…!!! And from the manure tank in the center he extracted enought methane to provide gas to his stove and oven but more impressively, he compressed it into tanks and ran his automobiles from it. And when he was all done, he had a pile of fantastic compost for his gardens.

Our friend Rob Frost is attempting a mini version of this for his suburban home. 
Thanks for the inspiration Rob!

 

 


Rob’s Home Heating Experiment

Hope in a Changing Climate

I Loved this Documentary – I Recommend the Trailer 

Even if you only watch the first minute of this trailer, it is worth it. With logging and over-grazing on the hillsides on the Loess Plateau in China, the land had become devoid of all vegetation. This was of little concern to the large urban population centers until the flooding began. With no vegetation at the head of the great watersheds of the Yellow River, the rain waters washed down the river valleys in torrents carrying topsoil and flooding the cities.

Take a look at what the application of basic permaculture principles were able to accomplish over a 10 year period. – such principles as ‘hold water on the landscape where it lands’ and ‘use plants to hold water, build soil and sustain life.’   AMAZING FOOTAGE.

Click here to watch the trailer.
You can watch the full length version here.

The Case for Permaculture


Part 6 – Two Trillion Barrels of Oil?Free 18-Part ‘YouTube’ Video Series
All 18 parts of our newly created series are uploaded now. I recommend that you start with the overview or the ‘trailer’ as we call if you just want an idea of what is in the series. This is the foundational information we give every student who takes a training with us. 

Access the 18-Part YouTube Video Series

Homemade Grow Boxes


Self Irrigating PlanterI Loved this YouTube Video
Frank and his Homemade Grow Boxes

Build Your Own Self Irrigating Planter (SIP)
Meet Frank Fekonia from Queensland, Australia. Living in a relatively dry climate on a south facing slope he needed to come up with a way of growing bountiful gardens on rocky soil, on steep terrain, and with little water. Similar to the SIP, why not build tall raised beds or planters that conserve water while minimizing the amount of bending over to work the beds. Certainly he could figure out a way to build them for under $200 each. He did better than that. He built over a dozen of them for almost ‘nothink’. I love the creativity of Franks idea.

Simple Homes Built with Earth

I just had to share a video with you that recently came across my desk. It is a quick look at one of the simplest and inexpensive ways to produce a solid shelter out of ‘good-ole-dirt’. We are not likely to see the likes of these homes in our American suburbs anytime soon, but just to know it is possible to build something this simple bolstered my confidence in being able to care for ourselves, our families and our communities should push ever come to shove.

Architect Nader Khalili (also writer and humanitarian) founded the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture (Cal-Earth) in 1991 where he taught his Super Adobe building techniques. He became a prominent American leader on the value of ethically based architecture, where the needs of the homeless all over the world are considered paramount. This gentile genius of a man passed away this year in March.

View the video and enjoy… I loved it

Meet Wes Jackson and the Folks from YERT

Watch This 5-min. VideoWes Jackson has been a key figure in the sustainable agriculture movement through his work at the Land Institute in Kansas. Their work is all about creating a more ‘permanent-agriculture’ – incredibly important work.

A small team of internet videographers that traveled our nation last year (Your Environmental Road Trip.com – YERT) stopped in to meet Wes and to learn more about what he and his team were doing. This is the best short video I’ve seen that clearing and quickly explains the significance of Wes’s work.

YERTpod30: Perennial Good Food in Kansas

I enjoyed this 5-minute video and wanted to share it with all of you. There are other short videos from YERT that I liked as well.

Pictured: Wes Jackson of the Land Institute

2009 Highlights – Our Students Work and Lives

Becky, Wayne and I find it gratifying to stay in touch with our students from almost every course we have hosted over these past three years. To hear about the projects they have tackled and of the life changes they are going through as a result of their training is humbling. 

Permaculture is not just about designing the landscape. It is primarily about relationship – relationship to everything – to our land, our homes, our energy needs, our work, our families, our communities and our very own lives.

We are very inspired by our graduates and are delighted that they are interested in continuing to sharing their lives with us and their fellow students.

We intend to start a new area on our website this year featuring the work of some of our students, but in the meantime, readers might enjoy sharing in some of the advice that they are giving to the general public through the
‘Ask A Graduate’ section of our networking site.

Pictured: Three of our Recent PDC Graduates

Click Here to View the
‘Ask A Graduate’
section of our networking site.

PDC Grass Valley CA – Nov. 2009

Permaculture Design Certification Course
Sierra Nevada Foothills
Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm — Grass Valley, CA

Permaculture Course at Grass Valley, California, 2009

“I appreciated working on projects, all the information, the videos, the site visits with such variation, all of it. I was never bored.”
Lorna P. – Joliet, IL – Retired (63) 

“Showed how permaculture is more than just gardening but a moral, ethical, spiritual lifestyle.”
Steve K. – Los Angeles, CA – Contractor & Tai Chi Master (40)

“I learned more than I thought possible. The site visits were amazing. I loved our overall group. Great vibe and life changing teachers. Thank you.”
Nate A. – Ann Arbor, MI – Non-Profit Administrator & Musician (33)

Continue reading “PDC Grass Valley CA – Nov. 2009”