Photos of a Winter PDC at Midwest Permaculture

Special Note:
Wondering about missing some hands-on activities at our annual Winter PDC Courses?

Grafting Workshop at Winter PDC
Grafting Workshop at Winter PDC

You won’t!  Most all of the hands-on activities we undertake at our regular PDC courses we can also do at our winter courses.  These include:

  • Learning to use the A-frame and sight level.
  • Building a dry-brick rocket stove and firing it up.
  • Making a clay model of a landscape to learn about swales, keylining, and ponds.
  • Touring Midwest Permaculture’s yard and the CSC land
  • Doing fruit tree grafting
  • Making cob from clay, sand and straw
  • and touring the Malchow’s (our neighbors) permaculture home to fire-up their thermal mass rocket stove couch/bench.

The one thing we cannot do because of the frozen ground is continue to work on the hugel-swale we are constructing for CSC, but this basically consists of digging a section of a ditch, putting logs in, and then covering them up. We’ll show some pictures of the details related to this so you’ll get the information without the tactile experience.


Raising Profitable Heritage Breed Hogs at Spence Farm in a very Humane Way
Raising Profitable Heritage Breed Hogs at Spence Farm in a very Humane Way

The one thing we do extra for this course is focus a bit more on the growing of food and what it takes to create a successful farming/growing/permaculture operation.

Many people want to make part or even all of their annual income from growing food.  This is certainly possible but it requires quite a bit of knowledge and then real practical experience. Our objective through this training is to save you years of time and money by giving you some critical information and fresh insights. 

To help anchor this learning experience we’ll be taking an extra field-trip over to Spence Farm in Fairbury, IL, to meet Kris and Marty Travis who are doing pioneering work in these areas. 

If the timing works for you to attend this winter course, we are confident that you will not leave feeling like you missed any hands-on activities.  It’s an amazing and very-full 8 days like all of our other PDC Courses.

Here are Pictures from one of our Winter PDC Course (from 2012)
Narration by Hayden Wilson (Standing, far right, son of Bill and Becky)

Our Group Photo with Rocket Stove in Foreground and Midwest Permaculture Home-site (our house). Mom (Becky Wilson) is standing on far left. Dad (Bill Wilson) took most of these pictures.


Visit to Spence Farm – Fairbury, IL.  It has been in the Spence/Travis family since the 1860’s and has seen all the farming changes common over all of these 150 years.
Kris and Marty Travis (standing) are moving Spence Farm into a diverse and polycultured income farm. For farm stability they feel one needs multiple income streams and really good relationships with fellow farmers and their customers.
The raising of heritage breed hogs is an example of the diversity they are after. These piglets have already been promised to a restaurant in Chicago at a premium price.
Wonderfully warm greenhouse for January starts.
The sugar bush where Kris and Marty’s son, Will, makes maple syrup each winter.
Back in Stelle, our neighbor Wayne has recently finished building his Thermal Mass Rocket Stove
Wayne loading up the rocket stove with wood to fire it up! Every PDC course we host visits Wayne and Bev’s (his wife) home to learn about this stove, their strawbale garage, and many features of their permaculture yard.
Notice how the fire is burning ‘sideways’ to the right?  More on thermal mass rocket stoves here.
Here is their finished stove just a month later with the final coat of cob and the cushions.
Here is their finished stove just a month later with the final coat of cob and the cushions.
Wayne took us all out to his garage (made from straw bales) to teach us how he made his cob from sand, clay and straw. There is a hole (now a small pond) where he got the clay from.
Tour of Midwest Permaculture Grounds – Becky Guiding
Me teaching how to use an A-frame for finding contours.
Students learning to use the A-frame.
Milton building a rocket stove model to demonstrate thermal dynamics of this design.
My dad (Bill Wilson) using a clay model to explain water harvesting techniques such as swales, ponds and keylining.
Visiting one of our Swales. It’s soaking in water, even during winter.
Milton Teaching
Orchard walk with grafting demonstration.
Students Sharing a Meal with our Community
Students doing Design Work in Teams
Our Party Evening (we do have some great fun)
Winter Walk Through the Orchard (being redesigned into a food forest)
Keep an eye on our schedule for this and other future trainings. 
We had a wonderful week together…. Hayden W. 


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3 thoughts on “Photos of a Winter PDC at Midwest Permaculture”

  1. Yes please keep posting the pictures! It is a bit of a trip down memory lane every time. Couldn’t help but feel a little Midwest Permaculture Homesick looking at this new class, two years ago I was sitting where they were and trying to absorb all that information. I remember it fondly. So glad you all are keepin’ it growing!

  2. Great to hear from you Larry.
    And glad you appreciate the posts. We have such a good time at these events that we are compelled to post at least some of the pictures that were taken. I can’t help but think that after awhile, all the pictures from course after course must become a blur for those following… you know… lots of A-frames, rocket stoves and such. But all the faces are new as is the experience for the students…so… we will keep posting new pictures.
    Do you not have a new book coming out Larry? Keep us posted and we let our readers know about it. Your work in editing/publishing One-Straw Revolution by Masanabu Fukuoka is most inspiring.
    Till Later…