My 3 yr old daughter Grace liked this video and said, "Dad, why don't we have one of them chain things when we chop our wood?" So for todays craft time we found all the pieces we needed and now we do. Super easy & quick to make with things lying around, 2m of chain, a rubber "spring", 3 keyring loops and some kind of hook;
This is the third of a series of articles looking at design considerations for our Cold Climate Permaculture site using the Keyline Scale of Permanence as a organizing framework, as well as an informative read for anyone interested.
There's something about cutting and chopping firewood by hand that is sublimely pleasurable, and after all, whomever cuts firewood warms themselves twice. Good tools are always worth investing in, and time and time again experience shows it's often cheaper to spend more initially! We're loving the awesome quality of Gränsfors Bruk axes, made here in Sweden and sold internationally. Hand made, individual craftsman marked and guaranteed for 20 years, these are tools we can highly recommend.
Perennial plant profilesRead Now
We can think of at least 180 great forest garden & perennial crops for cold climate Sweden. Want to hear about them? Over the course of the next year we will profile 5 a week on the blog. Perennial plants and crops offer a low energy, oil & resource input based foundation for future-proof agricultures. By default if an agriculture is to be called regenerative the bottom line is that it must be soil building, not soil depleting. Relentless deep tillage & poor soil husbandry (wifery?!) contributes to the majority of the 24 billion tons of topsoil lost every year on planet water. We are going to be focused on holistic polyculture grazing and perennial production at ridgedale over most of the site as this represents the most effective way to restore our degraded landscape, produce high value produce and ensure the future resource base we are managing holistically for in our decision making.
Having had the pleasure of visiting and researching some of the best agroforestry sites in Europe I thought some folks might enjoy this interview I filmed with Professer Martin Wolf over in Suffolk, UK. The video is probably far too slow if you suffer a 3-minute-social-media-saturated-attention-span but personally I would happily sit and listen to Martin for hours.
The video begins with Martin recounting his work as a grain disease specialist at Cambrige University- which led to broad scale East German adoption of multi- variety grain production and subsequent huge reductions in fungicides (which quickly fell apart when the wall came down) 350,000 ha under this production system in Germany sadly fell to 20,000ha almost overnight.
A short film of the KrameterhofRead Now
Here's a short film I made with Joseph Holzer up at the Krameterhof last summer. Located 1100 - 1500m above sea level in the Lungau Region in the heart of Austria, this is still one of the best farms in Europe in my mind. With 1.7 days over 30°C (86F), 25 days above 25°C (77F) there is over 160 days of frost including 50 days with no water flow. The systems are very well established, diverse & complex- even to a trained eye it is a lot to take in. Apologies the subtitles are not as clear as they deserve to be, having lost the original files I have done all I can with this colour change.
We like well engineered stuff...Read Now
More expensive than tunnels, but much cheaper than glass are the awesome Keder systems from the UK. Utilising plastic air bubble sandwich material has been specifically developed to combine high light transparency with good heat insulation, and individual panels can be replaced without re-skinning the whole thing. Available in 2 metre widths, with a welded weather seal this material can withstand high winds and heavy snow falls. I've seen a picture with a couple of burly guys stood on a 2 x 2m section. They have nicely designed frames, with integrated guttering for rainwater collection, good venting and door systems.
The skin design produces a considerable scattering of light (up to 83%) allowing the growing area to be evenly lit, without shadows, so plant exposure to direct radiation is reduced. The layer of sealed air also provides a high level of insulation and heat retention, allowing for longer growing seasons. Keder material is guaranteed for 10 years. I know it's manufactured in Germany, so perhaps it's possible to buy the material from the source. For larger tunnels the company only sell with their own installation, to ensure the guarantee. I have a friend high in the mountains in Extremadura who had one delivered and constructed on the condition he told the boss where the good fishing spots were- so perhaps they will find their way out into Europe more!
It's always worth keeping an eye out for free commercial greenhouses. Twice we've found commercial glass houses being given away and carefully numbered, photographed, dismantled and painstakingly re- erected them. Often garden centres will replace theirs every 10 yrs or so to keep things fresh. It's a LOT of work for a 60 x 10m span, but can save 10's of 1000's of pounds and create very high value growing space. For cool/ cold climates where additional/ extended growing space can be crucial, it's always worth the work.
Keyline Design as an organizing pattern for Permaculture Design, Part 2
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