EDU Earthly Vlog from Treasure Lake, KY: Stream Repair

EDU Earthly Vlog from Treasure Lake, KY: I get the fortunate timing of seeing a big work of stream repair over a two day period, high flow and medium flow to highlight several techniques in restoring natural hydrology. Quite pleased with the work and thankful for all who helped with it. Play with rocks in a creek like you are a kid again and well…. be the beaver! Express the run, riffle, pool pattern.

New Article: Cut and Carry: Animals Chapter

As the debate rages on whether we should be eating meat or not, I publish my latest article within the animals chapter to present another key facet to holistic animal management; Cut and Carry. Its a traditional technique that has been adapted by Permaculturists to ensure healthier animals and pastures. Read about it here and the nuances of it all. meanwhile enjoy the wonderful new header art from my dear friend and fellow permie, Joana Amorim.

Terra Alta Food Forest Update: A Vlog from my old home: Sintra, Portugal

It was a true joy to see it again. Years and years of effort to rehabilitate what once was just an abandoned track of land. The stacking in space and time, the building of resources to enhance succession, the diversity, it is all there on this special slice of land at Terra Alta, Sintra, Portugal. Its former state was simply being completely covered by blackberries with few trees on it. Now its a thriving jungle of food that has produced a lot over the years and now as the trees mature, its more the fruits that are the reward.

New Article Release: Opener for New Chapter on Appropriate Technology

“You can’t go from grid entangled to off the grid over night.” In this new chapter with the TreeYo EDU online book, I get philosophical on what energy consumption and reliance on the grid is all about.  I finish with a call for action, another quote from the article, ” Thus I challenge you to map your energy usage, see where you can complete cycles, and begin to incorporate biology and localism to emerge from reliance to independence energetically.” BTW, new look to website, same great info.

March 30_1
Drone image: Lucas Thompson, Treasure Lake in foreground, the authors home, and in the back industrialism

Latest article release from Design Process Chapter: Conceptual and master planning: Idea generation and refinement.

This is really where the fun comes in because the analytics of previous steps let the information and imagination flow into creating the dreams of what could be.


Make Trees Great Again: A series in Making America (or the whole world) Great Again

Written by Doug Crouch
Trees have so incredibly much inherent value, both intrinsically and materially. Society, in the large part, began to focus solely only them for their material value, especially those in positions of power. However, there is a growing trend of those recognizing both at the same time, that trees have material value and their mere existence, their lives, have great value. By that I mean more people are hugging trees. So not only must we replant forests, we must steward those already existing. And we need to do that whilst meeting some of the current demands, create new demands through altered purchasing, and create value for forests beyond just whacking them down. In the end, yes #letsplantsometreesyo and give back to these beings which have historically given so much to humanity. 13 tips below of how to make trees great again.
Old growth Shumard Oak basking in the sun, Treasure Lake, KY
1. #letsplantsometreesyo: indeed reforestation is key to the continued existence of civilization. Both utility and native species must be considered. Trees help to build soil, regulate the hydrological cycle, create a more harmonious climate, create oxygen, and habitat for biodiversity. Their association with fungi, both when alive and dead, are vast cleaners, which is vital in this vastly polluted world we live in.

2. Switch from google to Ecosia: we do web searches not “google it” as the cultural phrase dictates. By switching to the tree planting search engine Ecosia, we redistribute surplus away from a behemoth company to one that funnels resources into reforestation programs. They have unlocked a clever trick to plant trees, will you?

3. Edible landscaping: human beings across the world love to care for land. Many are blessed to have small plots of land in the suburbs or villages. Vast amount of resources are pumped into this yet beyond sights and smells not much return happens. Instead plant edible trees, shrubs, and bushes that give that extra functionality.
4. Incorporate tree planting for feeding livestock: the reason animals are so detrimental to the environment is actually the system of feeding annual grains to them indoors in a materialistic way that only modern man could manifest. Instead bring the extra feed they need in the form of the abundance of trees like acorns, carob bean pods, or black locust leaves.
5. Buy organically grown fruits, nuts and bean pods: trees can’t be great if they are sprayed with chemicals and fertilized synthetically. Only when they work in conjunction with nature are they great again. Honor those who do this, commit your purchasing power to employing these farmers not the ones who rely on chemicals.
6. Get your sugars from trees not beets: yes most of the sugar one consumes is from sugar beets, not even sugar cane these days. Consequently buy expensive maple syrup, coconut sugar, or even fruit pulp like american persimmon for sugars. And if you eat less sugar you will be healthier so buying expensive sugar and seeing it as a luxury is a great overall approach.
7. Hug a tree: building relationships with trees is vital for the mutual existence of both humans and forests. Go to the forest and listen to the trees and let them feel you. Nature deficit disorder is well documented and take those who can’t go to the forest so easily, inner city children and elderly for example, to the forest so they also can connect.
8. Heat or cook with wood or solar, efficiently: when you have to heat or cook with wood you build an intimate relationship with trees. You have to harvest, cure it, learn to light it, manage the fires temperature, etc. When relying on other sources these external inputs have no story. If you choose to take this on make sure your stoves are efficient so wood, the life of a tree, is not wasted. Maybe even better is to spare the life of the tree through a solar stove like the GoSun or passively orientate your house so more heat is gained in the winter.
9. Keep a beehive: when you start beekeeping, you have a much more in tune rhythm with trees because of how much they give to the bees. You will be less likely to cut trees and you will want to plant more. Flowers and shade have a whole new meaning.
10. Tourism in trees: stay in a treehouse, take a canopy tour, or go on an eco holiday where you learn about trees and biodiversity of the local area. Camp on properties where people steward trees and are committed to planting more or caring for their already existing one, chemical free.
11. Curb your consumption: monoculture forestry supplies the ridiculous appetite of societies need for building material, toilet paper, and the like. Find ways around these things through natural building construction with earth or the wash instead of wipe method of hygiene. Also if you use wood, timber frame or buy wood locally so you connect with the ecosystem where they were cut.
12. Graze animals, particularly goats, in fire prone zones: catastrophic forest fires are becoming the norm. Because colonialism ruined the old growth forest, we have the opportunity to help forest with shepherded goats or even small mountain cows. This controls ladder fuels and allows fires to be normal not so violent and frankly deadly.
13. Forage and cultivate non-timber forest products: Foraging the abundance of forest products such as medicinal herbs and wild mushrooms really makes you grateful that forests exist.  To further that, instead of cutting the forest, see what you can grow there like cultivated medicinal herbs, mushrooms, maple syrup, native fruits and nuts, all the while creating fish and wildlife habitat. Paw Paw, had to say it.
In the end we must return to the woods not only for purely viewing pleasure, but also to be stewards.  Parks have given us opportunities to be and observe, but besides the park workers, not to interact.  Interacting and playing the symphony of life within the biodiverse interconnections that thrive amongst the forest dwellers, well thats how we make trees great again.

TreeYo EDU article: Meeting the basic needs of animals on a Pattern Level

I write not only for my sake, but so you have something to do on the internet but scroll. So this next article in my online book is in the Animal Chapter and it examines meeting their basic needs. Having kept animals on different farms all over the world, its been fun to write in this chapter. This year i got to keep ducks and goats at Treasure Lake, which was lots of work and quite fun at times. I share with you some insights in this article. enjoy and share!


Make Water Great Again: A series in Making America (or the whole world) Great Again

Written by Doug Crouch

Another way in which to make America (or the planet in general) great again is to rebuild our water resources. Our society is plagued, literally, through epidemics of poor health. One of the leading causes of that is our poor water quality. While we may have “clean” water to drink in developed nations, it is not healthy nor clean with the cocktail of chemicals it contains. Our waterways and where they run out into the ocean continue to decline dramatically.  Our species is also faced with the brink of extinction through climatic fluctuations and not completing the hydrological cycle is one of the main culprits, NOT JUST CO2. Poor water quality is costing humanity and the economy in a myriad of ways and having good water quality and a sound hydrological cycle is something worth making an effort towards.  Below is a list of ways to make water great again.

1. Build Carbon Rich Soils: Yes it ties into my last blog, but one of the reasons we make soil great again is to make water great again. Brita filters have charcoal in them to help purify water and when we build carbon rich soils we help to clean the water through a carbon filter so to speak. Also when you build soil more water infiltrates thus recharging aquifers and less runs off leading to erosion, flood, drought, and poor water quality.
2. Earthworks do the work: work the earth into shape that causes water to infiltrate rather than runoff. Swales, terraces, keyline and rain gardens are just a few. Doing earthworks is a very historical pattern application in the landscape and have supported many an ancient and current civilizations.  This land art is very functional with completing the hydrological cycle thus supporting the overall ecosystem and restoration of aquifers.
3. Harvest rainwater from roofs– this water can go into the aforementioned earthworks or also in tanks and cisterns. By having less water runoff we take pressure off streams and river by delivering the water into the ground through infiltration or holding into in tanks or ponds. We later use that water for various uses taking pressure off of grid city water or wells.
4. Plant trees for the trickle effect: let vegetation like trees absorb the impact of falling rain instead of bare soil or lawn. Water is also held in a site by having shade also reducing our water consumption. Trees also help to build soil, and if they drop their leaves, we can enact the age-old Finnish tradition, #makeamericarakeagain, and mulch with that. Furthermore, windbreaks are lines of trees are planted and cared for to reduce the drying effects of wind as well. They also take pressure off of our water consumption as they mature and if designed well they are very multifunctional.  This was a storied tradition as well before land was divided illogically fashion, both small and big.
5. Know your Watershed: In order to make water great again you have to understand where you are at in the watershed and ITS NAME!! Once you begin to know these things, you will want to care for it.  Join a local watershed council, go to river cleanups, and advocate your politicians for funds and resources to clean waterways (i.e. the Mill Creek Watershed Council in my birth town of Cincinnati, Ohio)
6. Recycle water: Cleverly capture water that is otherwise wasted like shower water before it becomes hot. Use this to flush a toilet or water a plant. Greywater is the recycling of our waste water that has been used for showering or laundry and is directed into carbon rich basins in landscapes. Plants and carbon material like wood chips filter the water and the growth of biomass through the extra water can be used for mulching.
7. Cover the soil: don’t let bare ground be exposed to rain and sun as water evaporates and polluting sediments leave your site too easily. Thus mulch to save water or grow thickly in gardens to reduce bare ground. Chopped and Drop where needed.
8. Interact positively with your local Streams: There are a myriad of techniques to address the channeling, incising, and poor water quality that starts in our small stream ways and compounds in rivers.  One rock dams, large woody debris, and gabbions are just a few.
9. Plant native: In your landscapes, use native plants unless you are planting productive plants like fruit trees. Native plants will use less water again reducing our water consumption. Landscaping, including lawns, consumes a ridiculous amount of water in the process.
10. Dont defecate in water: utilize composting toilets for urine and fecal waste processing when possible. This saves water and allows you to improve the soil.  Not only that there are many in the world without basic sanitation still so these systems also improve the contamination of the water table situations there.
11. Filter your water and bring it alive: There are a variety of filters out there on the market that reduce pollutants, harmful biology, and the disastrous effects of chlorine and fluoride in the body.  But don’t just stop there and consider filters that bring the water alive again by making it vortex and spiral like it would in a spring before you drink it there.
12. Reduce factory farmed purchases, instead buy local and organic, especially meat: confined animal feed operations pollute water greatly through the concentration of manures. Industrialized production of food, fibers, and lumber utilize a vast quantity of pesticides and fertilizers, which pollute our waterways greatly. Buy local and organic so that our necessary caloric inputs are met through clean food.
13. Stop with your silly lawns: lawns require a huge amount of water and the amount of chemicals applied is astounding. Give back to water through not caring if your grass is ultra green, if you lawn is just one species of grass. Diversity is the key.
The American Lawn, maybe the single greatest waste of resources on the planet
At the end of the day we have to care. And we have the opportunity to positively influence our consumption of water and its quality. If you don’t have access to land, purchase farm products from those who are doing best practices for making water great again. We as a society need to get healthy because if you are drinking city water, you are indeed drinking a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs that are polluting our waterways through the city water filtration stations then dumping back into rivers.  But if we do the above list and more, our species can thrive once more.  And who doesn’t want that?  Water is not merely H2O, unless distilled, it is the lifeline of this earth and your existence.

The Introduction from the Original Blog

Ok liberals, Let’s Stop complaining. Lets instead take Donnies message to heart. Face it, America, also better known in the world as the states, is not great. It’s a war mongering, disease ridden, drug plagued, feudal lordship, grossly polluted, shallow society full of hyper consumption. So indeed lets make it great again. In this series we will detail concrete steps to indeed make the states, more pc for us liberals, better now!! Environmentally we rely on monocultures, prop that up with dangerous polluting chemicals and fertilizers. Our soil has been eroding since Europeans arrived and our waterways are grossly polluted with sediments and chemicals. Our forests have been degraded or wiped out, our wildlife has faced extinction, and biodiversity in general has declined immensely.  That is not great and the deregulation of environmental policies shows that capitalism inherently gnaws at the environment. And honestly, it stifles innovation and really is very unclever and not great.

New Article Release fromTreeYo EDU: Chapter 3: Design Process

People ask what I do as a permaculture designer, I feel this line from my latest article in my online book describes it well.

  As a consultant/ designer your main task within this assigned role is to read the landscape for the client.  That is what they are paying for essentially; your trained eye with your accrual of knowledge around plants, soils, climatic factors, water, topography, earthworks, economics, and cultural links.  Thus systematically record these particulars as this is why permaculture isn’t simply a rubber stamp process of each place looking nearly the same such as a poorly designed suburb.

Read more on how to catalogue systematically to move through the vision and assessment phase of design process.

Joana talking sectors

Make Soil Great Again: A series in Making America (or the whole world) Great Again

Ok liberals, Let’s Stop complaining!! Lets instead take Donnies message to heart. Face it, America, also better known in the world as the states, is not great. It’s a war mongering, disease ridden, drug plagued, feudal lordship, colonialist mentality, grossly polluted, shallow society full of hyper consumption. So indeed lets make it great again. In this series we will detail concrete steps to indeed make the states, more pc for us liberals, better now!! Environmentally we rely on monocultures, prop that up with dangerous polluting chemicals and fertilizers. Our soil has been eroding since Europeans arrived and our waterways are grossly polluted with sediments and chemicals. Our forests have been degraded or wiped out, our wildlife has faced extinction, and biodiversity in general has declined immensely.  That is not great and the deregulation of environmental policies shows that capitalism inherently gnaws at the environment. And honestly, it stifles innovation and really is very unclever and not great.

Long have we known that the government policies of the farm bill or common agriculture policy of Europe, are not geared towards building soil. They are instead bent towards increasing GDP. It’s not their fault. It’s the rules of capitalism at play. Consequently if you are not a farmer, gardener, or ecosystem regenerator, please invest in those who are building soil through your purchases. If you do have access to land or capital to influence others here are 13 tips below. Links are embedded to learn more.

The basic pattern of Soil building: Add organic matter to the soil. Feed the microbes in the soil known as the soil food web. Plant diversely, reduce tillage, reverse erosion into water infiltration.

1. Compost your wastes: the most obvious choice here is your food wastes and other carbon resources such as cardboard from your egg cartons or newspaper you see lying around at a cafe. On a small-scale use the worm bin and on a larger scale use hot compost, pit gardens, or again worm bins.

2. Compost waste of others: I utilize my delivery van also for picking up wastes from commercial food processors such as my fermenting friends and also the next door neighbour coffee roaster. I blessedly have access to land so i can compost their waste.

3.Other waste cycling: pee on a tree. The nitrogen and phosphorus found in urine are a precious resource not a waste. Also consider utilizing a compost toilet for your fecal waste and also your urine.

4. Buy local and organic: even if local farmers aren’t certified organic, often they grow beyond organic. Ask them and build a relationship. Purchase from them as you literally are giving them a job. Remember the famous Wendell Berry quote of “eating is an agricultural act”.

5. Grow organic: start a garden, grow on your families land, join a community garden, rent land from those who aren’t farming. Do whatever creativity it takes to gain access to land and begin to cultivate organically. Heck even take the leap as many others are to start a farm instead of pouring your intelligence and resources into a soul sucking desk job.

6. Add organic matter back to soil: once you have composted wastes, give the soil this stable carbon resource. Another way is in your gardens grow a cover crop or utilize the chop and drop management of plants. In this case, your autumn leaf drop also becomes a great resource instead of a waste. Bio-char is a form of organic matter that is rapidly becoming a regenerative input.

7. Stop using chemicals: the notion of our lawns being perfect without weeds is grotesquely egoic and a fallacy counter to nature. Hence the need for chemicals. Lawn is the largest agricultural sector in the states. You can build soil by cutting the lawn and leaving the residues behind (chop and drop). If organic management is in place the soil will improve below.

8. Rotate animals in the landscape: animals, when rotated properly easily build soil through eating plants and leaving manure behind. They must be rotated but when this is done soil builds. If you don’t have access to land to keep animals buy meat from local farmers who are as I do. Yes eat meat and sequester carbon.

9. Eat less grain through factory farmed meats and in general: farming grain inherently needs the soil to be tilled over and over again. Even if organic it is extremely difficult to do this and build soil as opposed to animals raised on pastures utilizing the pattern of rotation.

10. #letsplantsometreesyo: trees build soil slowly, stabilize climates and water cycles. Planting and caring for trees gives you the option of not having children and still being a parent. Many give food as well allowing you to grow food locally. If you don’t have access to land, give 25 dollars to a person who does have land and ask to have it planted there. And help take care of it in its infant years so when it matures you can enjoy its tasty fruit, delightful blooming flowers, its changing leaf color, and much more!!!

11. Spray Bio-fertilizers in the landscape: Compost can be turned into a biofertilizer through making compost extract or tea. Spray that out in a liquid form to seed and feed microbes. There are quite a few other bio-fertilizer sprays that can be purchased or made at home.

12. Use earthworks to stabilize the water cycle: Rushing water overland causes erosion and ruins attempts to build soil. Work the earth so water infiltrates instead of running off. Rainwater builds microbial populations where as grid city water dimities them with the chlorine.

13. Embrace Diversity and layering: monocultures degrade soils, while diversity of plants and layered growing builds soil. Till less and rely on perennials for more of your caloric input.

At the end of the day it’s up to us individually and organizing in local communities to make america great again. Well anywhere, think globally, act locally. This make the soil great again was the first of a series on as macron of france it, let’s make the earth great again. He did recently stand up to trump. Will you stand up or even embrace his attitude with mere words or will you indeed act upon his call to action? You get to define what great is, a very ambiguous word. Making the Planet Great Again is not rocket science, learn the pattern, apply it, and voila. You want to fix climate change, one is to sequester carbon in the soil. Pont final.

Written by Doug Crouch