• Tag Archives Paula
  • Before and After: The Orchard in Autumn, year 1

    65  bar steep drop  29.80  2mph W  dew-point 45  sunrise 7:12  set 6:51  Autumn

    Waxing Crescent of the Blood Moon    rise  11:04 AM CDT    set  8:00 PM CDT



    Ecological Gardens
    “What is permaculture?
    Permaculture (Permanent Culture) is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive ecosystems that have the diversity, stability and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of landscape and people providing their food, energy, shelter, and other needs in a sustainable way (Mollison, Bill. Permaculture: A Designer’s Manual. Tyalgum: Tagari Publications, 1988.). Ecological gardening is an attempt to apply these design principles to backyard ecosystems.”

    We had the post-installation walk through in which Paula began to explain the plants, their particular needs and uses.  Lindsay came, too.  The plant guilds (see a post a bit ago) around the fruit trees fix nitrogen, fight off predators, attract beneficial insects and help build soil nutrients.  The clover sown among the fruit tree mounds and their guilds will further fix nitrogen and add a flash of white to the orchard. orchard-week-1frtrees400006.jpg

    Right now the primary thing is to provide the whole with adequate water.  The blueberries need some straw to hold in moisture.  In preparation for next spring I will clear and smother a belt 15 feet back from the truck access way, creating a place to plant a forest edge.  The edge plants will be shrubs which birds and other animals prefer to the fruits in the orchard.  That’s a permaculture strategy for reducing animal feeding on human edibles.  It also attracts wildlife, which we do to some extent now anyway.

    Over the winter Paula and Lindsay will complete a site design that will begin to integrate the features of permaculture even more tightly into our overall landscape.  As years go by, a great virture of permaculture is that it requires less and less maintenance because it mimics or recreates natural ecological balance through plant diversity.


  • Orchard Installation Day 3


    Plants in position.  This is a fruit tree with a guild of plants that will support it.  Guilds are a permaculture concept that I will explain later.


    Paula Westmoreland, a principal in Ecological Gardens, at Day 3 start.


    More trees and guilds with Christa in the background.


    Lindsay Rebhan (kneeling) is another principal in Ecological Gardens.  Sean (back to photo), Reid (red hat) and Sara complete the crew that worked today and most of yesterday.


    Kona and Emma inspect what the strangers have done to their yard.

    At this point almost all the plants are in.  Remaining work involves putting down mulch, seeding clover and deciding on work we need to do yet this fall to get ready for the next push in the spring.  I’m watering the whole thing now and wrestling with uncooperative sprinkler heads.  Another learning opportunity.

  • The Lumberjack at Home

    73  bar steady  30.18  1mph N  dew-point 47  sunrise 6:54  set 7:19  Lughnasa

    Waning Gibbous Harvest Moon  rise 8:02  set 9:41


    Got this one down without hitting the house, the fence or the glass table on the deck.  My merit badge is secure.

    This work prepares the area for the orchard and fruit bushes.  Lindsay and Paula came today.  Lindsay’s plan fit our needs to a tee and moves us forward.  I’ll give you a detailed version of it later, but it includes cherries, apples, pears, plums, currants, gooseberries, serviceberries and other fruiting shrubs.  The orchard and the fruiting shrubs will extend from the kitchen bay window all the way to the edge of the woods.

    Remember this one from Monty Python?

    Oh, I’m a lumberjack, and I’m okay, I sleep all night and I work all day.

    CHORUS: He’s a lumberjack, and he’s okay, He sleeps all night and he works all day.

    I cut down trees, I eat my lunch, I go to the lava-try.

    On Wednesdays I go shoppin’ And have buttered scones for tea.

    Mounties: He cuts down trees, he eats his lunch, He goes to the lava-try. On Wednesdays ‘e goes shoppin’ And has buttered scones for tea.

  • Ecological Gardens

    64  bar falls 30.11  4mph  N  dew-point 45  sunrise  6:38  set 7:46

    Waxing Crescent of the Harvest Moon  rise 11:00  set 9:02

    The morning.  More gazpacho.  Another triple batch.  This time Kate will can it.  We had a blind taste test and found we liked the canned gazpacho even more than the fresh.  Go figure.  Making a large batch is not difficult, but it does consume time.  A lot of steps. Cut. Mash. Pulse. (cuisinart)  Dice.  Blend.

    This afternoon.  Kate wanted to see what we won on a scratch game card that came in the newspaper.  So I called.  The result was a canned patter by a nice young woman who wanted to sell us a $4,600 vacuum cleaner and air freshener!  Geez.  We stopped the pitch in mid-stride, she gathered up the Defender and the Majestic and walked out of house.  Whooo.

    At 3 Paula Westmoreland and Lindsay Reban of Ecological Gardens came.  They will develop a phased plan for us that will stretch out over 4-5 years.  Their work has Permaculture as its basis, so they will help move our property further in the direction of sustainability.  I plan to document the process on a companion website to AncienTrails.  I have no name for it, but when I’m ready to get going, I’ll let you know.

    I liked Paula and Lindsay.  They seemed like the kind of folks I understand.  The first product from them will be an orchard plan, then a more comprehensive plan for projects spaced over time.  It will be fun and will take our property into another zone.