We created the video below for a local-food summit which we were invited to co-host. It includes many pictures and information about our (Becky and Bill Wilson) reasons for starting Midwest Permaculture and how we designed and evolved our own home. The blog-post that follows is a condensed version of this hour-long video presentation.
Below is the full design map of our Midwest Permaculture Home. Click on the picture to enlarge and zoom in on any details that interest you.
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Click Here to View a PDF of Each Layer as it Develops
or Download to your own computer by right clicking, then – ‘Save link as…’ Continue reading “Residential Design for Midwest Permaculture Home”
At the last minute this winter we decided to tap our mature maple tree (just one tap) and boil off some sap to make a small amount of maple syrup. I was equally interested in building an experimental rocket stove as an evaporator with the materials I had on hand. It worked great!
With some landscaping bricks, a dutch oven and a bit of home-made cob we had our stove chugging along in about an hour… maple syrup in 5 hours. 3+ gallons of sap made 1 cup. of syrup. Here are some pictures:
I built the stove by dry stacking (no mortar) the bricks to form a chimney and burn chamber. We nestled the dutch oven in to serve as the top of the burn chamber so it would receive direct flames for a hot, rapid boil.
Continue reading “Dry Brick Rocket Stove Maple Evaporator”
Update by Bill Wilson – March 2018
Worm towers are just one of many techniques that permaculture designers might use to totally transform their home or piece of property. Join us sometime for a deep and inspiring look into Permaculture.
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The empty insides of an installed worm tower.
How to Use
Above is the empty worm tower as it was installed into the ground at Midwest Permaculture in Stelle, IL. We then put in some wet straw for bedding, a handful of composting worms (red wigglers) and a days worth of kitchen scraps. For the next couple of weeks we added our daily kitchen scraps until it was full. Thereafter, the contents would slowing sink down as the worms enjoyed their feast, turning scraps into pure worm castings. About once a week there would be enough room to add another days worth of kitchen scraps. If someone had 7 towers they could top-off one per day.
Continue reading “How To Build a Worm Tower”
Here is the picture of the raised bed we made last month with that old book rack from the neighbors trash, and here it is a month later. There is nothing like warm weather and rain.
Our first freeze is soon to be here so it’s decision making time for Becky and me… what to protect, what to consolidate and possibly replant, and what to let go of.
These tomato plants (left) grew to over 6 foot high and have produced very well. They are located on a berm that is fed water from the rooftop, 2 rain gardens and a swale. We hardly watered except to get them established early in the year. Rather than protecting the plant from frost we will go ahead and harvest all of these green tomatoes and enjoy them over the next month as they slowly ripen, turning red, in a box in our home.
Here is some more of our harvest in a holding area near our back door. Our permaculture students coming to Stelle in a week for a their training will enjoy a majority of their meals from local gardens and farms.
The dust has settled following our full schedule of trainings in August. It feels good to be home and to be getting into the garden harvest while starting to think about the upcoming winter season.
Becky made some fresh salads from our gardens including pickled beans, tomatoes, nasturtium flowers and fresh sauerkraut.
Yesterday we had two cords of oak delivered for our winter heating needs. I have cut and split our wood many times and believe me, it is a real blessing (and a bargain) to purchase the finished product.