Dec 16, 2014

Southwoods Receives National Accreditation from the Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System

I am very happy to announce that Southwoods permaculture and design courses are now approved by LACES,  The Landscape Architecture Continuing Education System for providing accredited educational services.

Members of associated organizations can now fulfill their continuing education credits by taking courses in ecological strategy and design from Southwoods Forest Gardens.

 Courses are listed on the SouthWoods Website at SouthWoodscenter.com


Wintering the goats.

The goats are teaching a lot through observation. They are very good at diversifying their diet. They have a choice of alfalfa, hay, and straw; along with some twigs and brush.

Although they love the alfalfa as its comes in fresh and then soon turn to the hay and twigs. Out in the woods they are striping the bark from young basswood (by design) and downed ash.

If its not snowing heavily or too cold, they head out to the woods and browse on small twigs and stems from the fall's foraged plants.

Last week they learned the pond was now not liquid and proceeded to expand their territory.  Somewhat of an issue since that is the border of their area and I have to keep them contained. The back paddock fence dead ends on two sides in wetland ponds.

With the warm days I wanted to get them back into the orchard cleaning up the grasses, but we got more snow again, and they don't seem to want to move the snow away. I rake away the snow and then they will eat grass. 

The manure pile is growing and will be added to the gardens and worm bins. Some great garden crops will result next summer.  I wish I could train them to use one spot. They seem not to recognized the difference between food, bedding, and toilet.

No small adventure having any livestock.

Dec 2, 2014

Thermal Mass and Insulation Strategy

Notes from SouthWoods Professional Permaculture Series


Thermal Mass and Insulation, Local Conditions Dictate the Mix.
Building strategies in changing climates vary based on the biomic tendencies of the region.  Cold or hot regions also have sub-regions of precipitation, wind, and landforms. In either hot or cold climate strategies, principles and solutions still apply; it’s the various materials and conditions on site that dictate the implementation. In mountainous and higher latitudes, the cold can be relentless. Unlike a Desert, the daytime and nighttime temperatures (Diurnal Temperature Variations) may not fluctuate enough to use thermal mass to buffer the changes, such as with adobe or earth bag homes.   

In terms of building and construction, a thermal mass is essentially a solid that absorbs heat from the sun during the day and slowly radiates the heat at night. It may take the form of a thick wall or floor slab, made of either stone, concrete, clay, adobe, brick, or
even a volume of water. A thermal mass offers a much more energy efficient alternative to using a standard, forced-air heating system.   Heat is transferred from a thermal mass by radiation, convection and conduction. In the winter, the heat moves from the wall to the interior space, and in the summer, it works in the opposite direction and is expelled outdoors. Therefore, a consistent and comfortable temperature may be maintained throughout the day. The right orientation for a thermal mass depends on the climate in which a structure is built. In a cold climate, it should face the winter sun, whereas in a warm climate, it should not be exposed to direct sunlight. In general, the larger the mass, the more effectively it performs.

The continuous lower temperatures quickly transfer into the thermal mass, and in time, begin to absorb the heat within the structure.  Large log or stone homes, which keep cool in summer as the temperatures cool at night and rise during the day, lose their benefit in a cold climate. This relationship between structure and function needs serious consideration when planning a natural building. Should the thermal mass be inside? Such as with a rocket stove fireplace and insolation in the exterior walls. Or, should the thermal mass be on the outside to moderate the diurnal temperature differential of hot days and cold nights? There would seem to be hybrid combinations for every climate. How dense and how thick should the walls be in each situation? What is the strategy of isolation and mass density to achieve the best efficiency? Each side of a building may have a different material. Highly insulate on the side against prevailing winds and appropriate glazing on the sunny side.

 Insulation is used much more in colder climates to abate the infusion of extreme temperatures into a structure. Homes have thick walls and roofs filled with millions of airlocks cells that moderate the temperature change between the two sides. Double and triple pane glass is used in the windows to add a barrier to temperature change between the solid materials. Air and gases are used between the panes of glass,
much like a thermos bottle, which uses a vacuum chamber between the outer wall and inner container filled with hot liquid. Reducing the energy transfer on the edges increases the energy storage capacity of the space.

While working in Haiti I found that the dense block buildings a cool place in the day, but frigid each night. As a result, I lay on top of my 0ºF Polarguard sleeping bag in the sweltering temps of the late evening and around 2 AM, when the cold woke me up, I crawled inside the warmed bag. Part of the solution might be integrating our own habits with the dynamics of the built environment, just as we do the natural environment. Inside our homes we can insulate ourselves with fingerless gloves, and a sweater, or stocking cap. This is much easier than another cord of firewood or gallons of fuel oil. Start with zone “0”. Cultural adaptation is much easier than mechanical solutions. – Dan Halsey

So we have two principles working in a cold climate. There is the thermal mass of the structure including the air or water within the structure and the degree of insulation, which buffers the temperature changes across the layers of the edge or exterior surface.

 High tunnels used in agriculture have translucent sides that allow light to enter and heat the air inside. The thermal mass of the air in the high tunnel buffers the temperature changes at night. Using row covers in a high tunnel stratifies the air (insulates) and again slows the heat transfer from the cooling exterior to the plants beneath. Double plastic on the exterior is many times inflated by a fan or even bubble to increase the insolation factor.

Organisms use respiration and change their insulation depending on conditions. The dynamic relationship between thermal mass and insulation is optimized when managed as needed (warm blooded), rather than being a static and passive system (cold blooded).  Low temperatures extract energy from sources of heat. Cold climate systems slow that heat energy loss and minimize calories used to replace it. Using sector maps can help in this too.
Text Box: Diagram of a thermal massconsumerenergycenter.org
In the end, think of your construction model in polyculture terms. Is it a homogenous “monoculture” of materials regardless of the external aspect, or a mix of materials used in conjunction with each walls external exposure?  Is your building static or does it (and you) respond dynamically and creatively to change in the seasons? Within the climate and the changing seasons, the modality you choose (cordwood, rammed earth, earth sheltered, earth bag, straw bale, conventional wood framed, concrete, adobe, or a hybrid), the building materials will set up a cycle of benefits and/or disadvantages. Knowing the dynamics of the final structure within a climate should be well understood before a design is implemented. You will be living in it.

---

New Technology: Phase Change Materials
(Source: http://www.new4old.eu/guidelines/D3_Part2_H2.html)
Phase change materials (PCM) are special materials for increasing the heat storage capacity without adding extra weight to the structure. Here the phase change is used for energy storage. As the temperature increases, the material changes phase from solid to liquid and during the chemical process energy is absorbed. This way the room temperature will be lower. Later when the temperature decreases, the material changes phase from liquid to solid and dissipates the heat.
This energy is expended and removed from the room through night-time warming of the air. Ventilation can be increased with a fan and the air blown directly on the phase change mass. The temperature of the PCM itself remains constant during the reactions.
For building applications, the phase change should take place near the comfort temperatures, between 18 and 25°C. The phase change point depends on the type of material applied. If this temperature is too low, the heat storage capacity is exhausted too early, if it is high, starts too late and the influence is small. -Hegger, Auch-Schwelk, Fuchs and Rosenkranz. Construction Materials Manual, Birkhaeuser, 2006
Microencapsulated PCM (e.g. paraffin) can be mixed to interior plaster, wallboard panels or aerated cement blocks and applied in the building without any special measures, just like conventional materials. Encapsulation is important, as the PCM must not be in direct contact with other materials to avoid damages due to the “melting” process. 30 mm plaster coating with 30 % PCM has a heat storage capacity equivalent to 180 mm concrete. -Fraunhofer ISE, Germany, www.pcm-storage.info

Aug 6, 2014

IFG is Out!

  The book is available and getting great reviews.
Chelsea Green Promo below. 

This book is the first, and most comprehensive, guide about plant guilds ever written, and covers in detail both what guilds are and how to design and construct them, complete with 
extensive color photography and design illustrations. Included is information on:

• What we can observe about natural plant guilds in the wild and the importance of observation;
• Detailed research on the structure of plant guilds, and a portrait of an oak tree (a guild unto itself);
• Animal interactions with plant guilds;
• Steps to guild design, construction, and dynamics: from assessment to design to implementation;
• Fifteen detailed plant guilds, five each from the three authors based on their unique perspectives;
• Guild project management: budgets, implementation, management, and maintenance.



Author Signed:   $32.00 + 5.50 shipping.
Signed by Author/ Designer/Illustrator Daniel Halsey
Books available now.
Book and Bundles

Integrated Forest Gardening

The Complete Guide to Polycultures and Plant Guilds in Permaculture Systems

by Wayne Weiseman, Daniel Halsey, Bryce Ruddock

Praise

"Integrated Forest Gardeningmakes the process of creating complex agroecosystems more understandable and achievable. It is a fine guide to designing forest garden and polycultural systems using Permaculture principles." —Martin Crawford, author of Creating a Forest Garden

"We stand at a new threshold. The history of food production has tended ever more narrowly towards monoculture, whereas a sustainable future can only be based on polyculture. But we're desperately short of knowledge on polycultures. While mainstream research still chases the chimera of fossil-fueled monoculture, a small band of visionaries is working to develop the knowledge we need to carry us forward to the future. Just such are the authors of this book and the wisdom it contains is part of that movement." —Patrick Whitefield, permaculture teacher; author, The Earth Care Manual

"This is an intimate insight into the world of plant guilds. The authors have taken the broad land based overview and zoom the reader into the micro detail of these plant polycultures. Details of root structure, seeding patterns, and relationships with the surrounding environment have been carefully observed and are well laid out in the plant guild lists. This book is an important contribution to every permaculture designer's library and will appeal to all those wishing to grow sustainable polycultures whether broadscale or in the garden." —Ben Law, author, The Woodland Way and Roundwood Timber Framing

"This rich feast of nature love by three experienced and working permaculture designers pushes into the hard task of creating recombinant ecosystems, a field where few have gone before. The authors expose the logic and lore of working guilds, the symbiotic plant assemblies of productive landscapes. Full of design insight into the needs and opportunities of both plants and the people who live with them, Integrated Forest Gardening offers a panoply of example guilds, work procedures, and luscious images to inspire and guide the perennial food gardener onto a path of ecological renewal." —Peter Bane, author of The Permaculture Handbook and publisher of Permaculture Activist magazine

"Integrated Forest Gardening fills a major gap in the canon of permaculture books, giving us, at last, a detailed guide to guild and polyculture design. No longer is this subject mysterious and daunting; in this book we now have specific instructions for designing and installing multi-species plant groups. Chapter 7, which describes 15 guilds and their plant members, is a golden nugget worth the price of the book alone. This is an essential book for all food foresters and ecological designers." —Toby Hemenway, Author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

"Reading Integrated Forest Gardening was like taking a walk through a well-orchestrated whole systems design! As a plant enthusiast and systems thinker this book spoke my language. It is rare to find in one book such depth of user-friendly detail. It demystifies the mythical nature of the forest garden and brings its strategies to easy application. This book is a must for all plant lovers." —Jude Hobbs, Cascadia Permaculture

"For the design work we do at Midwest Permaculture, when we need experienced advice on planting systems we turn to the three gentlemen who collaborated on this impressive work. The book is thorough, accessible, and timely. So wish we had this insightful compilation when we first started. It's a gem!" —Bill and Becky Wilson, Midwest Permaculture

"Integrated Forest Gardening is an evolution from Bill Mollison's original teachings, built upon by countless designs and a straightforward process. Both the seasoned and new designer can use this work to confidently approach a project, weaving land, client, and vision into an abundant and joyful reality." —Javan K. Bernakevitch, Educator and Agroecology Designer
- See more at: http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/integrated_forest_gardening:paperback/praise/#sthash.V0dlJay9.dpuf

Integrated Forest Gardening

The Complete Guide to Polycultures and Plant Guilds in Permaculture Systems

by Wayne Weiseman, Daniel Halsey, Bryce Ruddock

Praise

"Integrated Forest Gardeningmakes the process of creating complex agroecosystems more understandable and achievable. It is a fine guide to designing forest garden and polycultural systems using Permaculture principles." —Martin Crawford, author of Creating a Forest Garden


"We stand at a new threshold. The history of food production has tended ever more narrowly towards monoculture, whereas a sustainable future can only be based on polyculture. But we're desperately short of knowledge on polycultures. While mainstream research still chases the chimera of fossil-fueled monoculture, a small band of visionaries is working to develop the knowledge we need to carry us forward to the future. Just such are the authors of this book and the wisdom it contains is part of that movement." —Patrick Whitefield, permaculture teacher; author, The Earth Care Manual


"This is an intimate insight into the world of plant guilds. The authors have taken the broad land based overview and zoom the reader into the micro detail of these plant polycultures. Details of root structure, seeding patterns, and relationships with the surrounding environment have been carefully observed and are well laid out in the plant guild lists. This book is an important contribution to every permaculture designer's library and will appeal to all those wishing to grow sustainable polycultures whether broadscale or in the garden." —Ben Law, author, The Woodland Way and Roundwood Timber Framing


"This rich feast of nature love by three experienced and working permaculture designers pushes into the hard task of creating recombinant ecosystems, a field where few have gone before. The authors expose the logic and lore of working guilds, the symbiotic plant assemblies of productive landscapes. Full of design insight into the needs and opportunities of both plants and the people who live with them, Integrated Forest Gardening offers a panoply of example guilds, work procedures, and luscious images to inspire and guide the perennial food gardener onto a path of ecological renewal." —Peter Bane, author of The Permaculture Handbook and publisher of Permaculture Activist magazine


"Integrated Forest Gardening fills a major gap in the canon of permaculture books, giving us, at last, a detailed guide to guild and polyculture design. No longer is this subject mysterious and daunting; in this book we now have specific instructions for designing and installing multi-species plant groups. Chapter 7, which describes 15 guilds and their plant members, is a golden nugget worth the price of the book alone. This is an essential book for all food foresters and ecological designers." —Toby Hemenway, Author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture


"Reading Integrated Forest Gardening was like taking a walk through a well-orchestrated whole systems design! As a plant enthusiast and systems thinker this book spoke my language. It is rare to find in one book such depth of user-friendly detail. It demystifies the mythical nature of the forest garden and brings its strategies to easy application. This book is a must for all plant lovers." —Jude Hobbs, Cascadia Permaculture


"For the design work we do at Midwest Permaculture, when we need experienced advice on planting systems we turn to the three gentlemen who collaborated on this impressive work. The book is thorough, accessible, and timely. So wish we had this insightful compilation when we first started. It's a gem!" —Bill and Becky Wilson, Midwest Permaculture


"Integrated Forest Gardening is an evolution from Bill Mollison's original teachings, built upon by countless designs and a straightforward process. Both the seasoned and new designer can use this work to confidently approach a project, weaving land, client, and vision into an abundant and joyful reality." —Javan K. Bernakevitch, Educator and Agroecology Designer
- See more at: http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/integrated_forest_gardening:paperback/praise/#sthash.V0dlJay9.dpuf
  IFG Workshops and Courses listed at the SouthWoodscenter Website.
Go to Amazon  Author Page
Critical Praise
"Integrated Forest Gardeningmakes the process of creating complex agroecosystems more understandable and achievable. It is a fine guide to designing forest garden and polycultural systems using Permaculture principles."
—Martin Crawford, author of Creating a Forest Garden

"We stand at a new threshold. The history of food production has tended ever more narrowly towards monoculture, whereas a sustainable future can only be based on polyculture. But we're desperately short of knowledge on polycultures. While mainstream research still chases the chimera of fossil-fueled monoculture, a small band of visionaries is working to develop the knowledge we need to carry us forward to the future. Just such are the authors of this book and the wisdom it contains is part of that movement."
—Patrick Whitefield, permaculture teacher; author, The Earth Care Manual

"This is an intimate insight into the world of plant guilds. The authors have taken the broad land based overview and zoom the reader into the micro detail of these plant polycultures. Details of root structure, seeding patterns, and relationships with the surrounding environment have been carefully observed and are well laid out in the plant guild lists. This book is an important contribution to every permaculture designer's library and will appeal to all those wishing to grow sustainable polycultures whether broadscale or in the garden."
—Ben Law, author, The Woodland Way and Roundwood Timber Framing

"This rich feast of nature love by three experienced and working permaculture designers pushes into the hard task of creating recombinant ecosystems, a field where few have gone before. The authors expose the logic and lore of working guilds, the symbiotic plant assemblies of productive landscapes. Full of design insight into the needs and opportunities of both plants and the people who live with them, Integrated Forest Gardening offers a panoply of example guilds, work procedures, and luscious images to inspire and guide the perennial food gardener onto a path of ecological renewal."
—Peter Bane, author of The Permaculture Handbook and publisher of Permaculture Activist magazine

"Integrated Forest Gardening fills a major gap in the canon of permaculture books, giving us, at last, a detailed guide to guild and polyculture design. No longer is this subject mysterious and daunting; in this book we now have specific instructions for designing and installing multi-species plant groups. Chapter 7, which describes 15 guilds and their plant members, is a golden nugget worth the price of the book alone. This is an essential book for all food foresters and ecological designers."
—Toby Hemenway, Author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

"Reading Integrated Forest Gardening was like taking a walk through a well-orchestrated whole systems design! As a plant enthusiast and systems thinker this book spoke my language. It is rare to find in one book such depth of user-friendly detail. It demystifies the mythical nature of the forest garden and brings its strategies to easy application. This book is a must for all plant lovers."
—Jude Hobbs, Cascadia Permaculture

"For the design work we do at Midwest Permaculture, when we need experienced advice on planting systems we turn to the three gentlemen who collaborated on this impressive work. The book is thorough, accessible, and timely. So wish we had this insightful compilation when we first started. It's a gem!"
—Bill and Becky Wilson, Midwest Permaculture

"Integrated Forest Gardening is an evolution from Bill Mollison's original teachings, built upon by countless designs and a straightforward process. Both the seasoned and new designer can use this work to confidently approach a project, weaving land, client, and vision into an abundant and joyful reality."
—Javan K. Bernakevitch, Educator and Agroecology Designer

Integrated Forest Gardening

The Complete Guide to Polycultures and Plant Guilds in Permaculture Systems

by Wayne Weiseman, Daniel Halsey, Bryce Ruddock

Praise

"Integrated Forest Gardeningmakes the process of creating complex agroecosystems more understandable and achievable. It is a fine guide to designing forest garden and polycultural systems using Permaculture principles." —Martin Crawford, author of Creating a Forest Garden

"We stand at a new threshold. The history of food production has tended ever more narrowly towards monoculture, whereas a sustainable future can only be based on polyculture. But we're desperately short of knowledge on polycultures. While mainstream research still chases the chimera of fossil-fueled monoculture, a small band of visionaries is working to develop the knowledge we need to carry us forward to the future. Just such are the authors of this book and the wisdom it contains is part of that movement." —Patrick Whitefield, permaculture teacher; author, The Earth Care Manual

"This is an intimate insight into the world of plant guilds. The authors have taken the broad land based overview and zoom the reader into the micro detail of these plant polycultures. Details of root structure, seeding patterns, and relationships with the surrounding environment have been carefully observed and are well laid out in the plant guild lists. This book is an important contribution to every permaculture designer's library and will appeal to all those wishing to grow sustainable polycultures whether broadscale or in the garden." —Ben Law, author, The Woodland Way and Roundwood Timber Framing

"This rich feast of nature love by three experienced and working permaculture designers pushes into the hard task of creating recombinant ecosystems, a field where few have gone before. The authors expose the logic and lore of working guilds, the symbiotic plant assemblies of productive landscapes. Full of design insight into the needs and opportunities of both plants and the people who live with them, Integrated Forest Gardening offers a panoply of example guilds, work procedures, and luscious images to inspire and guide the perennial food gardener onto a path of ecological renewal." —Peter Bane, author of The Permaculture Handbook and publisher of Permaculture Activist magazine

"Integrated Forest Gardening fills a major gap in the canon of permaculture books, giving us, at last, a detailed guide to guild and polyculture design. No longer is this subject mysterious and daunting; in this book we now have specific instructions for designing and installing multi-species plant groups. Chapter 7, which describes 15 guilds and their plant members, is a golden nugget worth the price of the book alone. This is an essential book for all food foresters and ecological designers." —Toby Hemenway, Author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

"Reading Integrated Forest Gardening was like taking a walk through a well-orchestrated whole systems design! As a plant enthusiast and systems thinker this book spoke my language. It is rare to find in one book such depth of user-friendly detail. It demystifies the mythical nature of the forest garden and brings its strategies to easy application. This book is a must for all plant lovers." —Jude Hobbs, Cascadia Permaculture

"For the design work we do at Midwest Permaculture, when we need experienced advice on planting systems we turn to the three gentlemen who collaborated on this impressive work. The book is thorough, accessible, and timely. So wish we had this insightful compilation when we first started. It's a gem!" —Bill and Becky Wilson, Midwest Permaculture

"Integrated Forest Gardening is an evolution from Bill Mollison's original teachings, built upon by countless designs and a straightforward process. Both the seasoned and new designer can use this work to confidently approach a project, weaving land, client, and vision into an abundant and joyful reality." —Javan K. Bernakevitch, Educator and Agroecology Designer
- See more at: http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/integrated_forest_gardening:paperback/praise/#sthash.V0dlJay9.dpuf

Jun 15, 2014

Jun 9, 2014

Accolades for Integrated Forest Gardening


Integrated Forest Gardening makes the process of creating complex agro-ecosystems more understandable and achievable. It is a fine guide to designing forest garden and polycultural systems using Permaculture principles.”

--Martin Crawford, author of Creating a Forest Garden  



We stand at a new threshold. The history of food production has tended ever more narrowly towards monoculture, whereas a sustainable future can only be based on polyculture. But we're desperately short of knowledge on polycultures. While mainstream research still chases the chimera of fossil-fueled monoculture, a small band of visionaries is working to develop the knowledge we need to carry us forward to the future. Just such are the authors of this book and the wisdom it contains is part of that movement.

--Patrick Whitefield, permaculture teacher and author of The Earth Care Manual

 "Reading Integrated Forest Gardening was like taking a walk through a well-orchestrated whole systems design! As a plant enthusiast and systems thinker this book spoke my language. It is rare to find in one book such depth of user-friendly detail. It demystifies the mythical nature of the “Forest Garden’’ and brings its strategies to easy application. This book is a must for all plant lovers."

 --Jude Hobbs, Cascadia Permaculture
 


 "For the design work we do at Midwest Permaculture, when we need experienced advice on planting systems we turn to the three gentlemen who collaborated on this impressive work.  The book is thorough, accessible, and timely.  So wish we had this insightful compilation when we first started.  It’s a gem!"
         --Bill and Becky Wilson, Midwest Permaculture


Integrated Forest Gardening fills a major gap in the canon of permaculture books, giving us, at last, a detailed guide to guild and polyculture design. No longer is this subject mysterious and daunting; in this book we now have specific instructions for designing and installing multi-species plant groups. Chapter 7, which describes 15 guilds and their plant members, is a golden nugget worth the price of the book alone. This is an essential book for all food foresters and ecological designers.

—Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture
 


“This is an intimate insight into the world of plant guilds. The authors have taken the broad land based overview and zoom the reader into the micro detail of these plant polycultures. Details of root structure, seeding patterns, and relationships with the surrounding environment have been carefully observed and are well laid out in the plant guild lists. This book is an important contribution to every permaculture designer’s library and will appeal to all those wishing to grow sustainable polycultures whether broadscale or in the garden.”

        --Ben Law, author The Woodland Way and Roundwood Timber Framing
 


 "This rich feast of nature love by three experienced and working permaculture designers pushes into the hard task of creating recombinant ecosystems, a field where few have gone before. The authors expose the logic and lore of working guilds, the symbiotic plant assemblies of productive landscapes. Full of design insight to the needs and opportunities of both plants and the people who live with them, Integrated Forest Gardening offers a panopy of example guilds, work procedures, and luscious images to inspire and guide the perennial food gardener onto a path of ecological renewal.”

        —Peter Bane, author of The Permaculture Handbook and publisher of Permaculture Activist magazine



May 16, 2014

Amish Farmer Goes with Permaculture to build Integrated Rotational Grazing.

This farmer was intrigued by permaculture and was amazed at the benefits from transforming to an integrated Food Forest Grazing System. The minimal loss of open acreage returned increased forage crops, new livestock opportunities, and harvestable windbreak crops never before seen on the property. With the structure in place for the rotations, plant systems, and water collection; we now can make species selection appropriate to the site conditions. This way the structure is reproduced elsewhere, but the plants choices are adapted to the livestock, climate, and site conditions. More details soon.

Mar 28, 2014

Thermal Mass and Insulation, Local Conditions Dictate the Function


Notes from SouthWoods Advanced Permaculture Series

Thermal Mass and Insulation, Local Conditions Dictate the Function.

Building strategies in changing climates vary based on the biomic tendencies of the region.  Cold or Hot regions also have sub regions of precipitation, wind, and landforms. Speaking of cold climate strategies, principles and solutions still apply; its the various materials and conditions on site that dictate the implementation. In mountainous and higher latitudes, the cold can be relentless. Unlike a Desert, the daytime and nighttime temperatures (Diurnal Temperature Variations) may not fluctuate enough to use thermal mass to buffer the changes, such as with adobe or earth bag homes.  The continuous lower temperatures quickly transfer into the thermal mass, and in time, begin to absorb the heat within the structure.  Large log or stone homes, which keep cool in summer as the temperatures cool at night and rise during the day, lose their benefit in a cold climate. This relationship between structure and function needs serious consideration when planning a natural building. Should the thermal mass be inside? Such as with a rocket stove fireplace and insolation in the exterior walls. Or, should the thermal mass be on the outside to moderate the diurnal temperature differential of hot days and cold nights? There would seem to be hybrid combinations for every climate. How dense and how thick should the walls be in each situation? What is the strategy of isolation and mass density to achieve the best efficiency?

Insulation is used much more in colder climates to abate the infusion of extreme temperatures into a structure. Homes have thick walls and roofs filled with millions of airlocks cells that moderate the temperature change between the two sides. Double and triple pane glass is used in the windows to again add a barrier to temperature change between the solid materials. Air and gases are used between the panes of glass, much like a thermos bottle, which uses a vacuum chamber between the outer wall and inner container filled with hot liquid. Reducing the energy transfer on the edges increases the energy storage capacity of the space.

So we have two principles working in a cold climate. There is the thermal mass of the structure including the air or water within the structure and the degree of insulation, which buffers the temperature changes across the layers of the edge or surface.

While working in Haiti I found that the dense block buildings a cool place in the day, but frigid each night. As a result, I lay on top of my 0ºF Polarguard sleeping bag in the sweltering temps of the late evening and around 2 AM, when the cold woke me up, I crawled inside the warmed bag. Part of the solution might be integrating our own habits with the dynamics of the built environment, just as we do the natural environment. Inside our homes we can insulate ourselves with fingerless gloves, and a sweater, or stocking cap. This is much easier than another cord of firewood or gallons of fuel oil. Start with zone “0”. Cultural adaptation is much easier than mechanical constructs.

Organisms use respiration and change their insulation depending on conditions. The dynamic relationship between thermal mass and insulation is optimized when managed as needed (warm blooded), rather than being a static and passive system (cold blooded).  Low temperatures extract energy from sources of heat. Cold climate systems slow that heat energy loss and minimize calories used to replace it.

And another thing:
Phase Change Materials
Phase change materials (PCM) are special materials for increasing the heat storage capacity without adding extra weight to the structure. Here the phase change is used for energy storage. As the temperature increases, the material changes phase from solid to liquid and during the chemical process energy is absorbed. This way the room temperature will be lower. Later when the temperature decreases, the material changes phase from liquid to solid and dissipates the heat. This energy is expended and removed from the room through night-time warming of the air. Ventilation can be increased with a fan and the air blown directly on the phase change mass. The temperature of the PCM itself remains constant during the reactions.
For building applications, the phase change should take place near the comfort temperatures, between 18 and 25°C. The phase change point depends on the type of material applied. If this temperature is too low, the heat storage capacity is exhausted too early, if it is high, starts too late and the influence is small.
Microencapsulated PCM (e.g. paraffin) can be mixed to interior plaster, wallboard panels or aerated cement blocks and applied in the building without any special measures, just like conventional materials (Figure 63). Encapsulation is important, as the PCM must not be in direct contact with other materials to avoid damages due to the “melting” process. 30 mm plaster coating with 30 % PCM has a heat storage capacity equivalent to 180 mm concrete 

(http://www.new4old.eu/guidelines/D3_Part2_H2.html

Mar 20, 2014

Black Maple is the New Sugaring Maple. Got Brix?

Climate change is stressing Sugar Males trees in the upper Midwest. Drought tolerant Black Maple is the choice for future syruping operations. It is more drought tolerant, smaller, and just as sweet. As the prairie moves in from the south, Black Maples from Iowa can be integrated into Minnesota and upper latitudes to ensure a constant flow of product. Maple Syrup is supplied to the world from the Northern United States.

Maple syrup can be made from all maple species (sugar maple, black maple, red maple, silver maple and boxelder) but they are not created equally. Sugar and black maple sap has higher sugar concentrations, (2-3%), than silver maple (1.5-1.75%), and box elder (1%). Why does the type of maple species matter? The"Rule of 86" in sugar making states that at 1% sugar concentration you would needto collect and reduce, on average, 86 gallons of raw sap to make one gallon of finished syrup. At 2% sugar concentration you would only need to boil off 43 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup. Unless you want to spend days -instead of hours boiling the sap down into syrup, you should always aim to tap the sweetest trees.
From: MAPLE SYRUP PRODUCTION
Iowa State University
Forestry Extension
Prepared By: Jesse A. Randall
February 2010
Publication F-337A

Mar 15, 2014

Kefir by the half gallon.

Small batches are a lot of work. One 1/2 gallon batch works for me. Two for the week. Takes about 16 hours and just a few grains. So thick and Elderberry too. Great on granola.

Mar 4, 2014

A Legacy Landscape.

Transitioning long fallowed fields to woodland pasture, perennial crops, and orchards requires a multi-layered agro-ecosystem design.  After extensive site assessment accounting for climate, soil ecology, geology and existing ecological systems, we start by building low impact access to the functional spaces on the site and then develop water catchment systems for drought proofing.  

Client objectives and goals are integrated into a new agro-ecology with over yielding and  multi-seasonal harvests, This is  required to support the stewards of the land and the ecosystem that supports them.   Plant selection is based on using species most suited to the climate and soils. Many of the plants are chosen because they build soil structure, provide beneficial habitat, and fertility supporting the anchor plants which are harvested for human consumption. Nutrients and organic matter is cycled back into the soil to maintain and build soil life.  The landscape is now diverse and rich with habitat.  It is an integrated forest garden, complete with small livestock to collect and spread nutrients across the landscape. A legacy landscape.

Sustainable Revolution, Permaculture.... worldwide

PRI/USA is proud to announce the publication of Sustainable Revolution by Juliana Birnbaum and Louis Fox. In 2009 PRI/USA supported Birnbaum and Fox by becoming their fiscal agent as they collected funds for the production of their new book and began to travel the world searching for Permaculture in urban farms, eco-villages, and communities worldwide.   The 350 pages in 6 chapters of the book cover the tropical equatorial climates and forests of Brazil Colombia, Cuba, Kenya, Tanzania, Thailand, and the USA. The arid climates of Jordan, Israel, and India where Birnbuam and Fox find the people making change in their community. Articles throughout the book cover local finances, economics, land stewardship, governance, culture, education, and the locally established organizations promoting sustainable practices.

For established practitioners and people new to the ways of sustainable systems and indigenous traditions, Sustainable Revolution is a must read anthology of wisdom through intentional living.   - Dan Halsey, PRI/USA



Mar 3, 2014

MOSES conference a hit.

Sitting with Ryan Dale and friend at MOSES in Lacrosse. Design talks went well and we got many inquiries. People appreciated the professional presentation and graphics. Notice the Kombucha and Olla?

Feb 26, 2014

MOSES conference, Advanced Design Class, and Hoop Horrors

The Moses organic farming conference starts Thursday night in La Crosse Wisconsin. I am looking forward to spending the days on the exhibit floor talking to farmers and homesteaders. Everybody loves looking at the designs and talking about their property.

I was very fortunate to get a booth this year. Pictured is the quick booth I put together for the ACRES conference that was in Springfield Illinois last month.   The week after that I also spoke and exhibited at the Minnesota organic farming conference in St. Cloud.

As much as I enjoy teaching and speaking to groups, just standing and talking to people as they show interest is a great way to find out what is going on in the landscape.

 Last Sunday we finished the first of 2, 5 day Advanced Permaculture sessions at KAAP.  Everyone did very well and I think that a lot of the class are moving their skills forward. Now developing the drafting and accuracy with those designs on paper for well defined implementations. We all focused on one property nearby, a 3 acre residence with excellent topography and sunlight aspect. Each student develop their own design for the property, but they all seem to see the same patterns developing and followed the natural shapes to similar results.

While I was away, we had quite a huge snowstorm that started out with the rain and followed with high winds. One of the seams in the house plastic gave away. I clamped what I could back up to the pipes and cover the outside with foamcore board until I can work on it on the first warm day that comes.

I am very glad we reinforce the top of the group house with mesh. The snow was really heavy and pushing down. Next fall I think either we will take off the plastic for the winter or reinforce the sides with plastic snow fence to give the pressure off the walls. I am leaning towards covering everything up with tarps inside and rolling the plastic off the house for the winter. Especially winters like this that do not seem to end and continually apply sub 0ºF temperatures. Too much worrying with this kind of climate. Not much benefit in leaving the plastic on even for season extension past the first big freeze.

Dec 2, 2013

Lead in Garden Soils

(EPA)
Lead contaminated soil can pose a risk through direct ingestion, uptake in vegetable gardens, or tracking into homes.
• Uncontaminated soil contains lead concentrations less than 50 ppm but soil lead levels in many urban areas exceed 200 ppm. (AAP 1993)
• The EPA’s standard for lead in bare soil in play areas is 400 ppm by weight and 1200 ppm for non-play areas. This regulation applies tocleanup projects using federal funds.
The soil screening level (SSL) for lead represents a conservative estimate for a level that would be protective of public health in residential soils based on an analysis of the direct ingestion pathway for children. This value is for guidance only and is not enforceable.

Does this mean that lead is a problem in your garden soil? From the research you can see, parts of the plant to absorb lead and arsenic are different concentrations.  Arsenic and  lead are generally absorbed more into the leaves and less to the roots. An extremely small amount to the point of imperceptible is absorbed into the fruit and seed. Once the concentration of lead and arsenic is known in a garden soil, it can be approximated how much of that will be absorbed into the vegetables. The percentage of uptake of the elements into the plant is seen in the yellow column. Inhaled and ingested arsenic and lead are the most dangerous, but body weight plays an important role in the health affects.  This is why small children in their formative years are most likely to have serious health issues from lead. For the most part, field sanitation and clean harvest practices keep the soil particles from entering the food stream, while actual lead content in food is less of an issue.

Dec 1, 2013

1067 users from 71 countries.

In 2001 Paula Westmoreland started designing and developing the Natural Capital plant database with the intent of creating a "living knowledge tool" to assist people in creating polycultures, guild designs, and testing the results. The initial focus was on plants adaptable to colder climates.  To that end, the database contains the following information:
  • Plant Selections (Alphabetical listings of with linked data files)
  • Plant Searches by Niche (Tolerances, Behaviors, Ecological Functions, and Human Uses)
  • Natural Associates (Native Plant Communities and Natural Polycultures)
  • Cultivated Polycultures and Plant Guilds
As a "living knowledge tool", the database usefulness is driven by the quality and quantity of input from our plant researchers, designers, and contributing subscribers.

Who was on the Natural Capital Plant Database in November? 1067 users from 71 countries.

Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Estonia, European country, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Morocco, Namibia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Republic of Serbia, Romania, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United States, Venezuela.
 
The database is going strong and we are looking to add 6000 more plants form all climates by Spring, 2014.  Many of theses plants have not been identified for ecological services, but we will begin the task of adding these characteristics to thousands of plants so designers can place them in polycultures.

The programming, data collection, interns, data loggers, and researchers will cost thousands of dollars, but we are committed to make this database a world resource for ecological design. All is supported by memberships and partner investment. 

Thank you,

Dan Halsey

Permaculture and Polyculture Consulting and Design

Permaculture and Polyculture Consulting and Design
Getting to know your property, the plants you have and those you can grow, is a fulfilling endeavor. With most I am the steward of the land. I give them good soil biology and they do the rest. If I group them in cohesive plant communities, they respond with greater yields. If I encourage the micro-organisms (Fungus and bacteria) , the roots obsorb more nutrients making a pest and disease resistant plant. A stronger plant that gives us more organic food and takes less energy.

A Ten Acre Farm Transformed to an Edible Forest Garden

A Ten Acre Farm Transformed to an Edible Forest Garden
Self Renewing Fertility, Soil Building, Water Catchment, Tea Trail Swale, Erosion Control and Native American Medicinals