Results for category "permaculture"

Roads and Observation

Over the course of the few years that we have been blessed to be caretakers of our piece of land, we have learned the main design lesson in permaculture over and over and over again. Observe, and then observe some more! Observation is the key step toward any cohesive design, and the more we observe the wiser any of our actions will then be.

P1080427Of course without action any amount of observation can just end up being sight-seeing. Action begins the processes that will allow us to continue to observe the next phases, and learn more, and take all that knowledge and make even better decisions or designs.

We’ve learned that making roads and putting up permanent fencing is a very landscape altering and energy intensive activity. We think it is such a key part to any livestock oriented farm endeavor that it pays to take all the time you need to figure out the best possible design for all your particular animals, plants, machines, vehicles, and water management needs. Roads are such a key part of a design as they delineate the landscape around them, creating segments and access ports that otherwise may not exist.  They direct water from higher up to lower down, very fast. They become animal routes and the default way from point A to point B.

our garden, freshly tilled and backbreakingly howed into raised bed to enable drainage in our clay soil

Arriving here as greenhorns with many great ideas but not much practical experience with landownership, we didn’t put as much priority on the thoughtful construction and placement of roads and pathways as other more exciting things. After a lot of trial and error, we have come to respect the road and all it does to the landscape.

 

2014 Piglets!

We just welcomed our new tribe of piglets to the farm this week!
They’ll be living in the sunny and cozy hoophouse until the snow melts and they’ve grown a bit bigger. Basically all they do right now is eat their organic feed, drink warm water, have a little run about and exploring, and then snuggle back up to sleep in a giant cozy hay pile. Getting our piglets makes us feel like spring is definitely around the corner! Today it’s -5F, but still, we’re pretty sure it will warm up at some point, right?
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We will be setting up their 2 acre forest paddock in the early spring. For our purposes we will be using cattle and hog panels for this main paddock area. Setting it up right and tight is a priority. Another priority is to begin installing our berms and swales as well as planting the food producing trees and shrubs outlined in the our permaculture design for our farm. Andrew has an article coming out soon which goes into detail about our pig-raising plans. Suffice it to say, we have a lot of work ahead of us, but it will all be worth it when we can see our pigs living the best life we can give them, with organic fruit and nuts, clean air, fresh water, and cozy homes. And of course the all important muddy wallow in the hot days of summer. Which we think will be here soon…

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As we grow our small farm, it is clear to us that pigs will play a large role in our plans. Our permaculture design designates a large area of the farm for our pigs to roam and forage, and we are also planning on adding a couple of cows to the mix this year! Cows have been on our minds lately, but we didn’t quite understand where exactly they would fit in until we finished the first draft of our permaculture design. Now, it seems obvious that we need to include them. But raising pigs is what we know and love, and the pork that comes from our pigs is the most delicious and amazingly versatile food you could imagine!

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We will be constructing larger permanent shelters for our hogs in 2014, but meanwhile we continue to use the simple and useful DIY hog hut design that Andrew came up with in 2011 – All of ours are still kicking! For more information on building these simple shelters, go here: DIY Pig Hut!

On another note, we are glad to join the Buy High Welfare campaign -Please follow the banner to find out more about where you can buy pork from ethically raised pigs!

 

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LTD Design

LTD Farm Permaculture Design

It has been 3+ years of hard work, blood, sweat, and tears to build up what we have today here on the farm on a shoestring budget. There have been many wonderful moments and some very stressful events, and through it all we have kept our eyes on the future. Ideally, what do we want to be doing in 5 or 10 years? We feel that when we understand our deep-seated goals, it is much easier to work toward them. To make well-considered choices every day, week, month, or year, it is important for us to have our end goal in mind. We also know that our goals change, so we revisit these on a pretty regular basis.

Over the past few months we have put efforts into drafting our first basic whole-farm permaculture design. This design is the result of 3+ years of talking, sketching, working, fencing, building, and of course, dreaming. To some this design may look complicated, to others it may seem simplistic, but to us it is just right.

One of the goals of our current permaculture dream is to provide our core CSA members with the majority of their food, using resilient perennial systems as our primary agricultural methods. We love the one-on-one interaction and feedback we get from our customers, and find it to be one of the most rewarding aspects of being a farmer. We also know that the food we grow is the best food that there is to eat, and want to be able to share our own eating experience with the most appreciative of partners, our CSA members.

We have other goals, and there is much to discuss about our LTD Permaculture Design. We will keep you updated  in future blog posts as we build our systems and implement the design! Thank you for being part of LTD!

Permaculture Consultation Time!

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You want to kick start your backyard and grow fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs, and meat! You want your landscape to be a beautiful, abundant, and resilient sanctuary!

We can help with that – From October 10 to November 10 we are offering a discounted Permaculture Consultation rate of $45 for a one hour on-site in depth consultation. Andrew is a certified permaculture designer who has been designing landscapes since 2007. A Permaculture Consultation will help you bring together all those great ideas you have into one plan of action. If you read our blog, you know what we do and how we do it- we can help you bring your vision of your landscape to life! Now is the best time to start Living the Dream!

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Urban to Suburban to Rural, offer limited to the Metro area.
Email us now  at
farmers@ltdfarm.com to schedule a Consultation!

For more information check out this page: Permaculture Design & Consultation

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Emergent Patterns

Starting the hoophouse

We had a big meeting and now we have a plan…

It’s been 2 years and 8 months since we moved to our new farm, and after many many hours of backbreaking labor and gallons of sweat and tears, we now have a slightly better idea of the overall pattern of our plans for the land. We have raised hundreds of animals in different configurations, a ton of vegetables, planted some perennial fruit and nut trees and a shrubs, and created numerous experimental berms and swales to learn all we can about the flow of water and what works for us. We’ve tried growing mushrooms and learned how to get a tractor or skidsteer stuck in a field or marsh.

Building the Pavilion

There are so many aspects to one piece of land, whether it is 1 acre or 100 acres, that it is hard to get a handle on the totality of what is going on. It took us a couple years to even understand the weather patterns to some degree, and one lost hoophouse plastic covering to understand the power of the wind. This spring we are understanding so much more about the precipitation, and our need to channel this powerful element to reservoirs  like ponds and swales and away from roads and paths.

We had snow on May 1st which demonstrated that climate change is happening and we need to make some serious plans to deal with the consequences.

We have lived long enough here to also understand the landscape, soil,  flora and fauna, and our own patterns over the landscape as well. Now, with this knowledge in our heads, we start to go forward with a comprehensive permaculture design for the whole landscape. One thing to remember is that a permaculture design isn’t all about landscaping: planting fruit trees, sheet mulching strawberries, and herb spirals. No, it is very much about our human place in this world, and that includes our businesses and our personal lives.

Our ongoing plans include using the Keyline approach to landscaping our farm and creating pocket ponds that water our animals and perennial crops, which will integrate together as a regenerative system. We will be investing in the future with many nut trees & shrubs and an orchard. One of our main focuses will be on developing the fertility of the soil; the organic matter and humus, thus the cation exchange capacity, and overall nutrient availability of our soils, using such tools as a subsoil plow, intensive mob – grazing, and mineral supplements for animals.

As we go forward in this climate, we acknowledge the importance of pastured meat. We live in the Northern Climates, where annual vegetables have a pretty hard time overall because of the climate. There are many grazing animals that can provide an amazing and nutritious food and protein source (as well as other functions), and to disregard this will be to out detriment in the near future. Meanwhile, there are many hardy nut trees and shrubs that can also form the backbone of a complete diet, on a perennial woody plant that never needs tillage or cultivation, in a 3-dimensional vertical space. With pastured animals and nut trees we can re-organize a diet based on regeneration.

We will be posting updates as we continue forward on this path of creating and implementing the next steps of our permaculture design. We are super stoked  and looking forward to taking the next steps in our regenerative agriculture enterprises! Meanwhile we are also excited to visit Mark Shepard on his New Forest Farm on Friday to see real life examples of what we are aiming towards!