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Rainy Weekend: Happiness Is A Warm Puppy And Sepp Holzer.

Somewhere, over the rainbow, is
my passive solar prefab house being bathed by the rain.

It's a rainy, almost spring-ish weekend.
Not the kind of weekend where you want to run to the off grid prefab house only to have dirty children, filthy dogs and muddy Handsome Husbands run caked clomps of mud through your beloved passive solar modern prefab home...

THIS is the kind of weekend where you calmly awake and move, slowly, through the day, sipping coffee, lounging in your pajamas, reading...

THIS is the kind of day where, all cozy inside looking at the gray sky, descended and weighty, and, like Charlie Brown, you just want to cuddle and hug a warm puppy.

A warm puppy... like... this one.

Welcome, Farm Dog 2.
At 8 weeks, he is already herding chickens and children, and The Big Introduction to the Old Elegant Dog, Farm Dog 1, and Feral Cat was disappointingly anti-climatic:
They: "Oh, hey, little buddy... *yawn*..."
This is one. mellow. pup.

So, to sum up:
My dining room is peep peep peeping.
All dressed up and nowhere to go... in RVA...
(In livable cities with Sustainability Plans hens are welcome...)
How UNhipster of you, Richmond...

My den is puppy-yelp yelp yelping.
Puppy. Dog bed. Um, he'll grow into it...

And the modern chairs in the living room? Are crankily purring, loudly, preparing for attack.
Somewhere is a feral cat, stalking. RUN!

Someone please buy our mid-century house, because:
We have not gone to the farm; The farm has come to us.

You may think we have lost our minds.
We think it makes perfect sense, even if not quite exactly well planned, timing-wise...
The chicks in the dining room?
Are almost ready to put into the chicken tractor for the entire day to graze the yard of pests and weeds. A small flock of 4-6 hens easily provides a family of four with plenty of eggs, while improving their garden's soil, and act as "Guard Chickens" in fruit orchards to help protect from the onslaught of squirrels. [Chickens, like we, decry rude intruders in their territory...]

The puppy in the den?
Another farm dog makes great sense - one farm dog on the heel of each child, helping to herd children and livestock, especially as Handsome Husband travels. 

The purring modern chair in the living room?
Um, he'll get back to you on why he's valuable. Or not.
However, his name is legendary with Richmond mice and voles... watch out, country rodents...
Since the farm has come to me, I spent the rainy day reading Sepp Holzer's Permaculture : A Practical Guide To Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening.

I *highly* recommend you buy this book if permaculture, gardening, and soil health interests you. Whether you are a farmer or urban gardener, you enjoy it. I'm already placing it on my Required Reading For People list... an easy, practical read, packed with invaluable information. 

I give it an A+++.

Nuggets in this great book on his decades of experience with permaculture include his use of trenches & raised beds which are similar to the plans drawn up by Topos...
Review our original landscape designs, here.
Topos's irrigation plan makes use of  furrows and beds very similar to Holzer's higher raised beds and irrigation system, just more subtly.
From Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

Building With Brush
In doing a crude crop tree release, clearing out invasive trees and brush, so that the hardwoods can better breathe, we created unsightly piles that encourage wildlife, especially birds.

Most people would call these "burn piles" and just burn them.

Holtzer instead pulls out the large pieces of wood to incorporate into raised beds, livestock shelters... while leaving brush for birds... this makes SO much more sense!
Livestock shelter
Sepp Holzer's Permaculture

And Natural Pools
I laughed, from my own observations of the breached pond in the woods and especially of Our One Day Future Natural Pool That Refuses To Not Be Full Yet Has No Pond Liner when I read his chapter on ponds:
"My method of building ponds is completely at odds with conventional methods where the pond is made watertight with a liner. I am convinced that a wildlife pond should not have a pond liner as it prevents natural pond life from developing. "
- Sepp Holzer's Permaculture, page 51
On the previous page Mr. Holzer details an alternate method to "seal" a pond- the "vibration method" using the excavator bucket that has the same effect as vibrating concrete, once poured. It makes sense.

See more:

You still think we're crazy, don't you. 
Well... even in Richmond, these days we're not so alone.
Earlier this week, on the way back from school, as we were stopped at a light in a tidy neighborhood, windows down, I heard a quiet cluck cluck CLUCK! cluck cluck in a discreet back yard...

"Hey, childrenz! Lissen up!"

They cocked their ears, listening to nothing, until suddenly, they heard the unmistakable daily sound of...
"NO FAIR!!!!!!!" they exclaimed, in unison...
"Why can't WE have nice neighbors?!?"
You will.
You already do, in Pamplin...
And each month that passes, more and more people get it, globally.

“The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.”
~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt   

Ironic, then, reading this article the same day as we heard the other backyard hens, of something our neighbors so eagerly embrace:  
Monsanto's RoundUp is even worse than we thought. New study shows it damages DNA, even after dilution.

So OUR neighbors in Richmond have the right to spread & spray RoundUp, destroying soil, damaging DNA, right next to our family... (when they're not weed whackin' & leaf blowin' for hours on end, that is...) that's OK, yet we can't have hens, who IMPROVE soil and nourish bodies with organic eggs?
Chickens just might be a part of your future, RoundUp neighbors. You never know.

Our lawn clucks once a day.
If that's the worst it does, then naysayers?
Cluck you.

So, until next weekend, when we happily return to the passive solar off grid prefab home, I leave you with:

Happiness Is A Warm Puppy, And Sepp Holzer.

And hey: RoundUp Neighbors? As you glare at our clover while you douse your lawns with poison?
You're living in yer own private Idaho.

Next week? Back to the passive solar prefab house to scurry and sow on spring's next steps.

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At 3/5/12, 1:44 PM , Blogger Heather said...

I happened to notice yesterday on a trip to Home Depot (for supplies for our hoophouse!) that they store the big jugs of water RIGHT NEXT TO the Roundup. Needless to say I will never be buying water from Home Depot.

At 3/5/12, 4:05 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

*Wow*, that IS something to think about.

It's amazing the things people don't even question... until data overwhelmingly shows their folly in not using good sense... poison next to WATER, now there's a crazy mix!


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