Another Experiment at Midwest Permaculture
How one can attractively store woody brush to give it time to break down.
Our intern Meg trimming some of the new growth off the austree-willow posts in this willow-brush fence.
Hello permaculture friends. We wanted to give something a try. We have not seen this exact design in the literature or on YouTube (although it certainly could be out there) but the idea is to use our yard brush while also building a sturdy fence. Continue reading “Living Woven-Willow Brush Fence”
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.
Click on Above Image to Enlarge or Save if you Like
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.
Continue reading “Residential Design for Midwest Permaculture Home”
Originally constructed as an industrial sized greenhouse, this structure has been exposed and empty for the last 30 years. Located in the CSC apple orchard, it had been a popular roosting site for our orchard turkeys. Unfortunately for them we were determined to get some use out of the Buckminster Fuller inspired geodesic frame.
Continue reading “Old Greenhouse into Multi-Purpose Structure”
Now that we’ve wrapped up our last course in 2012, it’s time to look forward to our offerings in the coming year. Our first course of 2013 is our Stelle Winter PDC, with a focus on creating productive growing spaces from kitchen gardens to small farms.
We see this as part of an evolving pattern for our Stelle courses, one for every season.
Being in the midst of the winter season, with the short days and cold weather it brings, makes it a different experience than our other courses. At the same time this gives the students an opportunity to meet with farmers that would have less time during the rest of the year, like the folks at Spence Farm or our friends from Fox Hollow Farm.
We think this course is great for food growers, farmers that have downtime in January, students who have the month off, gardeners that want to head into the season with a new outlook, or anyone else who is otherwise occupied the rest of the year.
Also this course will have a few seats with at a discount, available to students and retirees.
For more information check out our Winter PDC course page or download the course flyer.
Pictures by Milton Dixon and Bill Wilson – Captions by Bill
Day 1 in the Classroom – The World Map on the Wall is a Nice Addition to any Learning space. – Becky Wilson Teaching
“Thank you Bill and Becky for such an incredible, life-altering week.”
Jody T. – Community Organizer
Continue reading “Pictures From our June 2012, Stelle PDC Course”
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?
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.
Continue reading “Linear Food Forests along Hugelkultured Swales”
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:
- garner the greatest amount or number of yields
- from the minimum amount of work
- while creating no waste (at least minimal)
- 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.
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.
Continue reading “Chickens for the Orchard (Part 1)”
Illustration of the Final Design
Permaculture Design Course Graduates – Summer 2011 – Stelle, IL
Grant Shadden took his PDC Training with us – summer 2011. While here, he shared about his upcoming 2-month trip to Africa to support the work of the Connect Africa hub.
We were all moved by the work of this organization and by Grant’s, and his wife Paige’s, devotion to assist in the work there. Grant was actually taking this training in order to come up with a design for this organization and a 20-acre site they want to develop.
As such, we made the decision to assist him by making it one of the final design projects for the PDC Course. 4 other students self-selected themselves to work on this design with Grant.
Continue reading “Connect Africa Hub – A Permaculture Design”
Wondering about missing some hands-on activities at our annual Winter PDC Courses?
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
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)