Welcome to the second part in our series of Permaculture basics. Chelsea and I are constantly learning more about permaculture and trying to figure out how to fit it into our homestead plans.
In today’s post I’m going to start discussing some of the design tools for permaculture. Specifically, I’ll be talking about David Holmgren’s 12 permaculture design principles. His design principles are kinda like a toolbox to use when designing your permaculture system.
Holmgren’s 12 design principles are:
These principles should help Chelsea and I create our permaculture system for our homestead.
by Doug with No Comments
Rabbits! They’re so cute and soft! They make good pets and apparently are quite tasty. Doug and I want to raise some on our little farm someday. In our permaculture studies, we’ve heard that rabbit manure is good for the plants.
And, besides being a poop factory, they’re also baby factories. “Multiplying like rabbits” is a common saying for a reason! Two does (female rabbits) can produce 600 pounds of meat in a year. If one rabbit supplies 3-4 pounds of meat each, that’s at least 150 babies per year split between two mothers! I can’t imagine having 75 babies every year… man, would I have the gray hair!
Rabbit meat is supposed to be leaner than chicken or beef; which I didn’t know. I thought chicken was as lean as you could get! That means less cholesterol fat than chicken. Seems like everyone is having a panic attack over cholesterol these days. I wonder why grocery stores don’t carry rabbit? Well, maybe they do and I haven’t even looked! I assume it’s probably because rabbits are considered companion animals now rather than livestock. There certainly isn’t a dog or cat meat section, and I’d be quite upset if I saw one.
But why rabbits? Wouldn’t a cow supply more meat? No! Cows usually have to be about a year old before they’re ready to slaughter, and you only get 400 pounds of meat. Plus, you get that meat all at once and have to freeze most of it. With rabbits you can make one fresh meal at a time. They also cost a lot less to feed compared to cows. They need 4 pounds of feed to create 1 pound of meat versus 7 pounds of feed per 1 pound of beef.
A couple of quiet little cute bunnies making all that meat for me sounds like an excellent endeavor over a heard of nasty and noisy cows. We might not have the room for cows anyway, even though I do enjoy a good steak. Some things are better left for the grocery store.
Most of this information was derived from this website.by chelsea with No Comments
I figured that my first post here should cover some of the basics of Permaculture, since Chelsea and I are planning on setting up our homestead following its principles. As we’re learning about permaculture, we’ll share the information we find in this series of posts about permaculture basics. This will give everyone a chance to learn along with us, and provide a location where all of the knowledge we gain will be recorded.
So what is permaculture?
Permaculture was created in the 1970s by Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, and is a set of design principles based on relationships and connections found in nature. The word permaculture was originally defined as meaning “permanent agriculture”, but has more recently been changed to mean “permanent culture” as the principles can be applied to all parts of life.
Permaculture is based off of a Prime Directive and three core ethics. The Prime Directive of permaculture is “The only ethical decision is to take responsibility for our own existence and that of our children.” I believe that it is our responsibility to provide at least some of our own food, water, and energy, and not completely rely on someone else to provide it for us. This is a big reason why permaculture appeals to me and why we want to base our homestead around its cornerstones.
The three core ethics of permaculture are:
These are pretty simple guidelines that can be applied to the design of anything, really. I like the ideas of permaculture design since they will create systems that are sustainable, hardy, and productive. I feel like setting up our homestead following these principles will give us a long lasting, robust way to provide for our needs.
by Doug with No Comments
Doug and I are in the very early stages of planning a small sustainable farm using the art of permaculture! We’ve only just begun our research and we’re very excited.
I’m mostly excited about the animals we’re planning to keep: rabbits, chickens, and goats. I was a veterinary technician student so I know their basic care and such. However, I am trembling with delight over the goats.
Goats don’t seem like something to get so carried away with at first glance, but you’d be surprised. Goats can provide you with milk, which can reap many other goods; like butter, and cheese, and, of course, ICE CREAM! But, goat’s milk tastes funny, right? WRONG! It is true that sometimes it tastes funny, but there is an easy way to avoid that. You see, male goats (also called bucks, like deer) have a very musky odor about them and if you leave them in the vicinity of your milking does, that odor permeates their milk, thus the funny taste. So, all you have to do is put your buck elsewhere and there is virtually no difference in taste between goat’s milk and cow’s milk.
Did you know that goats can also be used for meat? I just recently found out that people eat them! I can’t wait to try goat’s meat and learn delicious recipes to cook with it.
Goats are also good companion animals. They only require a small shelter, a decent plot of land to forage, and water. They’re pretty easy to care for and supply you with amusement. If there’s anything I’ve learned about goats, it’s watching where I park my car. For some reason they like to play king of the hill and if your car happens to be the tallest thing around… expect hoof marks on your car.
Yay goats! They can supply you with food, drink, and be your friend! Just not all at the same time…
So anyway, Doug and I have been reading about different breeds of goats and what they’re used for. Yes, there are different breeds of goats. There are three breeds that we were interested in: Nubian, LaMancha, and Nigerian dwarf. All three are good milking breeds, which is what we’re looking for.
The Nubian is a good all purpose goat used for meat, milking, and hides for leather. If you know anything about cows, they’re probably comparable to the Jersey breed, both having higher butter fat percentages in their milk. It has long pendulous ears.
Then finally we came across the Nigerian dwarf. They’re smaller than other breeds, as you probably could’ve guessed by it’s name. Even though they are smaller, they produce nearly the same amount of milk as other breeds and have a butter fat percentage comparable to the Nubian (sometimes even higher!). Since were going to have a little farm, these little guys will be better suited for us than average sized breeds.
Cute little guy, isn’t he? Can’t wait to have a few of my own!by chelsea with No Comments