Without going into too many details, my email subscribers got a note about the importance of “knowing your baselines.” Another way to say this is, “observe your system.” One of the pinnacle lessons of Permaculture is to observe before you design. When you are doing a design for someone else, this is more difficult to do, but you can eek out how much the client has observed, and use that as a guide, in most cases.
Observation lets you pick out what looks like minor details that might significantly impact the system design as a whole, especially if overlooked. For example, a “wet weather stream” may not be obvious unless it is actually raining. There are signs that indicate that a seasonal stream may be present, but unless you witness the event, you may overlook it. When you go to design your system, if you accidentally place a structure or earthwork in a manner that disrupts the stream, it may be disastrous in a heavy rainstorm during the Spring flood events.
This weekend, I have the privilege of walking a property for a Permaculture consultation client. I know there is at least one stream on the property, as well as an established pond. It is supposed to rain. I’m hoping it’ll rain near the end of the walk, and that I can observe for a while to see how the water flows. Water movement is one of the most important things to design to control, and the end goal is (usually) to keep every drop of water on the property as long as possible without disrupting the downstream neighbors.
I’m excited to do a design again, and looking forward to getting back to spending some time just enjoying nature for a bit.
I’m still going to focus on the GnuPG problem, though. My hope is that I have a working solution by Monday. We shall see.