Category: Animals

Goats and Permaculture

Bill Mollison once wrote that goats in any large number are incompatible with permaculture. Goats when overstocked can quickly turn a forest into a desert. Dairy goats in small numbers, however, can be an appropriate choice for many situations, including the backyard, and this is what I will write about. Producing food in towns and suburbs Suburbs and towns yield a wide variety of trees that can be discreetly harvested […]

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7 Ways to Use the Humble Choko Vine

Its spring time in Australia, and our area in Far North Queensland has gratefully received a decent fall of rain. I’m gleefully anticipating the springing to life of our un-irrigated areas that had gone dull and dormant during the dry weather. Among other things, I’m looking forward again to abundant chokos. I used to think of choko as a bland, boring vegetable. I didn’t like skinning it, and I didn’t […]

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Backyard chickens, and the interconnectedness of all things. Part 3

This article is Part 3 of a Series that is mostly about chickens. It’s not a how-to-care-for-chickens article, but a how-to-appreciate-the-specialness-of-chickens article. If you are interested only in chickens and would like to read about the funny things one of our roosters gets up to, this article will be fine to read by itself. But if you missed the earlier articles in the series, and you’re interested in what backyard […]

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Backyard Chickens, and the Interconnectedness of all things. Part 2

This article is Part 2 of a series that is mostly about chickens – not how to care for them, but how to appreciate them as being more complex and interesting than most of us give them credit for. If you are interested only in chickens, and especially mother hens and chicks, this article will be fine to read by itself. But if you’re just tuning in and you want […]

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Backyard Chickens, and the Interconnectedness of All Things

This 3-Part Series articles starts off with our cultural lack of understanding about our place in the web of life, which is at the root of why our efforts to address ecological destruction aren’t working yet. If you were mainly interested in chickens, stay with me – I’ll get onto backyard chickens in the second part of Part 1, and then I’ll stick almost entirely to chickens for the rest […]

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Unwanted Chemical Pool Gets Permaculture Makeover

Six months into our pool to pond conversion and the problem really has become the solution. For some time, we had been flirting with the idea of doing something productive with our unwanted 12,000 gallon in-ground swimming pool. It was during my Permaculture design course with Geoff Lawton last year that I decided to commit to a full conversion to an aquaculture wetland. What seemed like my most daunting project […]

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Permaculture chickens – 6 practical lessons from the evolution of chickens

One of the fundamentals of permaculture design is to observe, understand and work with natural ecosystems.  It sounds simple enough to apply permaculture principles to chicken keeping. Can’t we just observe wild chickens in their natural environment? The problem is, modern domesticated chickens don’t exist in the wild. Junglefowl are the immediate ancestor of chickens, however it’s not that simple. Modern chickens were domesticated more than 8,000 years ago and […]

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8 Abundant “Fodder Forest” plants, and how to use them

This morning when I went to feed the animals I thought I’d start with collecting some pigeon pea for our horse, Trippy, and see what I could find for the pigs in the fodder forest while I was there.   Our fodder forest is a small beginning in my long-term goal to reduce and ultimately eliminate our dependence on fossil fuel-based agriculture. It’s an area roughly an eighth of an acre, […]

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Flexitarianism

DISCLAIMER: These are my thoughts and experiences on what can be a deeply cultural, charged and personal topic: diet. There is a lot we don’t know, especially when it comes to what a sustainable diet is. For one, most studies have been centred in high-income Western countries (Jones et al., 2016); it’s also still largely unclear exactly what a “healthy diet” should consist of, nevertheless what a truly sustainable society […]

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Texas Food Forest and the Results of Good Design.

Five years ago we moved to our current property in North Texas.  While the general area is not particularly challenging, the property itself was.  The three acre property has anywhere from 11 inches (28cm) to as little as 3 inches (7.6cm) of soil, sitting atop a limestone slab.  Note: not rocks but solid slab. An insane place to build a permaculture property but we set to making it happen. In our […]

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5 Key Stages of Designing a Chicken Tractor

If you’ve kept chickens for any length of time I’m sure you’ll be familiar with chicken tractors; also known as chicken arcs. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are portable chicken coops/runs that are typically built on wheels. Building your own can be an affordable and safe way for your chickens to free-range safely. In this article we will cover 5 of the most important stages during the design […]

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Is Aquaponics the Right Choice?

Aquaponics has become a quick celebrity in sustainable food production, and many beginners are interested in creating these systems. In terms of permaculture design, there is some potential in using them, but equally so, it’s important not to lose sight of matching the design to the landscape and resources available. In other words, there are occasions when aquaponics is a sensible option, but not every occasion.   The Basic Premise […]

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