Harvesting yields is one of the obvious goals of Permaculture and the summer season is indeed bountiful. Rhythms change from spring, foods diversify, and the heat intensifies. Time is an interesting dynamic with day
length long but shortening day after day after the summer solstice. With time, the buildup of a permaculture site is about both short term bursts and waiting long term. I wish I could say my plums are ripening but they are still too young to produce. However the forest remains abundant with wild foods and the lake continues with its never ending beauty. Summer, it is a season of enduring heat, managing systems, and yeah picking food. The extreme heat of this region is obvious again this year with the oddity of lack of rain after a spring inundation. Finally a reprieve yesterday through some good rain. Photosynthesis again rages as everything springs back to life. And I get the chance to develop the tinystead with others as evolution of living at the lake continues as well.
Summer is also about travel, people coming together here and there, and having fun. Chances to teach come from this cultural trend. I got to do exactly this at Whippoorwill festival in the Red River Gorge area of Kentucky. After learning from others like Bill’s body hacking (kneepainguru.com) and Tim Hnesley’s mushroom mastery in the field, I got my time to teach as well. Active forest enhancement, a movement I am pioneering that combines so many fields including permaculture, agroforestry, syntropic farming, and my degree in fish and wildlife management. It’s about seeing the forest as another important part of the ecosystem that needs intervention to obtain even more yields for ourselves and the other players of the ecosystem. I had a very engaged group in a sweltering day walking through the forest and learning tips and tricks from my 20 years of experience doing this. I look forward to further launching this movement. I also got a chance to teach about the interesting tips for a tree planting jar which has been able to plant over a 1000 dollars worth of trees in our local community and Treasure Lake where I live. In essence we need to drive home investment in tree planting. Even if you have no land, how can you give back to the earth for this vital resource and noble act? I encourage you to do so. Skip going shopping or the bar one night, unless your bar is like mine, where the tips for the night go directly to tree planting. In the end Whippoorwill was not just about teaching but gathering with community, old friends and new connections.
My next teaching opportunity is right around the corner with me and Abby coming together once again. Its almost paw paw season and I am stoked to continue to educate people about this plant as it exemplifies my work of active forest enhancement. My focus will be on the propagation side of it all this time. Lets see what we make with the harvest this year as well!
Harvest and Foraging
I have planted countless gardens over the years and one of the staples in them is tomato plants. Everyone loves them, they are challenging but abundant, and aromatic. You have to trellis them, baby them, and voila, delicious veg. However I don’t eat tomatoes raw, so all these gardens I have barely enjoyed them. This year I planted amish paste tomatoes as my Italian blood asks for this kind of food everyonce in awhile. So I have been getting nice yields from my plants in the guilds of two newly planted Mt Ash trees out in front of the bar. Mixing perennials with annuals, I love doing it and don’t forget that part of food forest management. Plug some annuals in before the perennials fill out and obtain a yield. Soon I will share my recipe for pasta sauce! Also in the forest when we have had our little bit of rain the oysters growing on fallen hickory and chicken of the woods on well rotted oak have flushed. I need to go check again now that it finally rained again! Definitely after whippoorwill andTim’s session i am seeing even more. It’s also one of the reason I love working with Abby because she is always teaching me something new as I adjust back to this ecosystem. Another harvest we obtained based off of our handwork and ecosystem management was honey. Well its mainly the bees hardwork but we took a tiny bit, a fraction of a normal harvest as well still encourage bees at this site. It’s been a challenge with how we have managed this hive but as I get into it more, well more yield comes.
I still am moving into the tiny house and developing its surrounding area. I need to go slow with this, again tiny steps as i said in my last update blog. But me and my friend, carpentry master, Tom, hammered out a deck on the northside of the tiny house. Two years ago we took apart a deck and built picnic tables for the campgrounds at the lake with the bigger wood. The deck planking we still had and I got a chance to salvage more deck wood from a project my friend Bryan was working on. So then me and Tom combined this into an oddly shape deck maximizes all the reused materials. Ok me and Tom occasionally screamed and yelled at each other, but we are like that. In the end it was fun and I’ am grateful for Tom’s effort to build this with me. Community continues to be vital in this project and I am grateful for all who put in effort to evolve this place.
Occasionally side gigs pop up for me here and there like puffball mushrooms in a field. I have been heavily vested in the Cincinnati Permaculture Insittutes edible Nursery both in the city of Cincinnati and here at the lake. Its one way in which I practice urban permaculture as our nursery helps to fuel edible plantings. I enjoy it. Through that, I have gotten hooked up with a landscaping job of furthering bringing life and functionality to an urban garden that has had some issues with continuity. Its definitely a problem in designs that one must solve. Anyway i have been just cracking on when i can, clearing the jungle overgrowth and mulching the existing fruit trees that have been growing. The overgrowth has not been welcome by the community of Lincoln Heights where the garden is located. Its a African American community, set up in the 1800’s, that really could use a space like this to help with food insecurity and connection with nature. So i chop and drop vegetation and sheet mulch as i slowly bring the jungle under control for the purpose of making the space more usable. Its been a fun job, not easy at all, but indeed when i leave the site i look back and say, wow, that looks much better than it did before.
And with that phrase what if humanity could do that? What if our time on earth granted us the opportunity to co create with nature and others to beautify this planet. In the face of so much social turmoil, just as Rob Hopkins, predicted in his book Transition Towns, well it really comes down to what will be your legacy? You cant control humanity but you can control your actions and being an influencer of positive change.