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Project Update: A long Overdue one for Treasure Lake
When its been six months since your last blog, where do you even begin? Many changes happened in my life and am still processing them all but very much in the forward motion with the learning lessons acquired. With that, well I finally moved to Treasure lake, like finally really landed this March once I got my vehicle situation sorted and its been practically non stop work since. I will try to keep it short by using headers and pics then be more regular with it all so its not so much to cover and more valuable detail can come out. In essence, this places sheer beauty continues to amaze me and the people who observe and interact with it are a true blessing.
You know the hokey part of permaculture about community and all of that social permaculture. Well it’s so true in the end. My Cincinnati, city based friends, have largely disappeared from my life, all but a select few now that i have properly moved here (only 35 minutes away). My Northern Kentucky network grows constantly. And to state it plainly, much of my successes or this places growth hinges upon selfless acts from others, service, community. Gifts beyond value but that also save on finances allowing me to stay with this project fully during the growing season. (Yes foreshadowing). It’s quite a mix here and i honor diversity and am enjoying this blend of Appalachian and river town culture scores to the city.
Over the winter myself and part of the Berea, KY crew, who actually are connections from Portugal, implemented heaps of what I categorize in the PDC as restoring natural hydrology. The one rock dams, large and small woody debris jams have simply worked. The sediment has been trapped, the lake hasn’t muddied other than in the crazy amounts of rain that break or meet records. It’s helped as well with the nutrient overload which to deal with this problem we met it with these elements but also microbial blocks and pellets and also ducks.
How much duckweed could a duck weed if a duck could weed duckweed?
Well it’s a lot and they do weed duckweed. As the nutrients pour in from the large watershed of the lake it causes each year relentless growth of duckweed. And I have been eating duckweed through the eggs that the ducks have steadily been producing. These ducks, mostly pekings, were gifts from the community and their rich golden eggs have delighted many. The golden color comes from the high amounts of lysine in the duckweed, just as I teach it in the PDC.
Also goats were lent to me and are fun, productive in their clearing, good at leaving fertility behind, but also a lot of work. Part of that comes from their sheer numbers, 17 in all. They require a lot of fencing moves to keep them on fresh pasture and their health in good shape. I have been really enjoying it but it in the end is consuming lots of hours. I did, of course along with the help from my NKY community, move their cages which had been in the same place for a few weeks. Instead of cleaning the cages and moving the manure to the compost area I decided to leave it right there and mulch on top so it didn’t all wash away in the rains just after the move. Next year i can carry seeds down there instead of manure to the compost area. an idea….
As always, as my students know, I am making, along with the help of many, lots of hot compost, completely square on the edge and at least one cubic meter in size. I did invest in a compost thermometer which has been helping with the quality control. The best compost piles have been coming from the lactobacillus rich beet kvass wastes from my friends at fab ferments. It quickly finishes and i am stockpiling lots of it right now for future use. Annie, the lead gardener of her brand Dark Wood Farm that leases land from us, has even used a bit. Also vermicompost has been expanding. I have the unique opportunity to sell worms to the fishing customers or simply give them away. We have scaled up to 275 gallons. Next door to fab ferments is La Terza coffee and their wastes have also been helping to feed the worms.
All these farming ventures of perennial systems are running concurrently to the running of the business here already. Pay fishing lake, bar, camping and events to be exact. It’s a lot of work and requires me to answer the phone, market, mow, weed eat, provide customer service and provide a better experience for those who come. It’s been a good year, the camping helping a lot in terms of revenue. And of course through community, Daniel, one of my closest neighbors has helped bring a lot of bar business in the last month or so through starting a tuesday night ping pong and a friday night open jam. Eternally grateful to him and his extended family as well as his front yard that has no grass in it which i drive by when i do leave the property. And the event production, we have many successful concerts, parties, weddings, and educational events. Plant based, not permaculture as i just cant seem to get people to sign up for my permaculture courses around here. And that is ok, i needed a break and its fun to have such a diversity. but yes its a lot of work. I work every weekend from friday morning to sunday evening here at the bar/ fishing lake/camping registration. I sneak away for farming ventures on the weekends by leaving my number on the door which is part of why i haven’t written a blog in so long.
As always my pursuit of biodiversity rages. I am still hacking away at the invasive and overcrowded natives. It helps my paw paws. Paw paw paradise is coming to fruition. We also planted in our some of our wonderful forest native medicinal herbs. Ginseng, goldenseal, bloodroot, blue and black cohosh, and wild ginger. They have done ok but are so far away its hard to get to them. It’s definitely a zone 4 and future plantings will be on the edge of zone 1 in sandy soil. I have also planted a hedgerow with different tree crops, berry bushes, and perennial vegetables. Taking care of the one we planted in the fall of last year also has been a continual maintenance. We also did quite a bit with mushrooms through both logs of oyster and wine cap on wood chips. It’s definitely developing a nice zone 1 for me around the edge of Annie’s 1 acre market garden. And in general this place is alive, teaming with biodiversity to create stability, resilience, and abundance!
You cant have a paw paw paradise and not then go out and harvest. Hauling well over 50 lbs from the lake property and already another 20 or so lbs from 1 tree at my parents house, its been great. I have been saving the seeds and these will turn into hundreds, maybe 1000’s of more paw paw plant for the land and for sale. I am saving seeds of the big ones and random ones with great flavor. We also have stumbled upon some great mushroom patches and will we get to the spicebush harvest with all that is going on?
I end with the vacation i got to go on to the Asheville, North Carolina area for the SE Permaculture gathering. It also included a professional gathering and i loved meeting others from the area and finally meeting Courtney Brooke who Robina McCurdy, our common mentor, connected but we never got to meet in person until then. They have a great culture built down there and was inspiring to say the least. I know it will grow here, we have done an amazing work in this area over the years but i look forward to treasure lake being a growing point of culture.
So thank you to all who have contributed with volunteering, attending events, paying to go fish, to camp, to drink, to rent the place out. There is more for sure that has happened but i had to get this one out to press refresh on releasing these update blogs more often . I also pressed refresh on my life by moving back here, staying in one place for over a year, which basically hasn’t happened in almost 20 years and seeking help with my mental health. Never be afraid to do that. gardening is sometimes not enough, nor traveling the world and living your passion. I am glad i did it, i am blessed to have this place to experiment on. The development goes on here and please contact me on how to get involved. thank you to the community and the treasure lake experience. Never forget the final message of my patterns slideshow, LOVE. and that includes love for yourself. sounds simple but it takes effort that is well worth it!