Fun-Day Friday – On Permaculture and observation

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.

Fun-Day Friday – Food Forest card game

This week’s family game time discussion revolves around a set of playing cards that were initially sold via a Kickstarter campaign.  The theme of the cards (and the game) helps to teach Permaculture principles, especially tying elements together to form a system.  The decks I received each have 66 cards that are already defined elements with pictures, descriptions, and clear markings for how that element may interact with other element cards.  Each deck also contains two “blank” cards so that you have the option to fill in your favorite element, (plant, animal, structure, etc) if it’s not already in the deck.  Finally, there were four non-playable cards.  One is a brief introduction to the deck with a description for basic card interaction.  One card is a “Key” card that explains the symbolism on each card for quick look up.  The other two cards explain various games that can be played with the cards.  Some of the playable cards are “disaster” cards, with a description of how to handle the disaster if one is drawn.

I bought three decks, initially, so I’m not sure what the packaging is like if you order a deck today, but the only complaint I have about these cards is the packaging.  The box is structurally okay, but the flaps were held in place by little “dot” stickers that didn’t hold their sticky.  This means the flaps come open fairly easily at either end of the box.  I played a game of 72 card pick up when I picked up the first deck from the shipping package, because the flap came open and the cards fell out so easily.

The games that are suggested tend to run along the line of matching cards based on their inputs/outputs.  I also like the way that you can pull some pairs and set up games of “memory” for younger players.  The cards lend themselves to a variety of game types, if you’re tired of the basic games suggested by the creators.

Similarly to the Wildcraft! board game, these cards are educational, the art is well designed, and the games that can be played are fun.

If you’re interested in these, you can pick up your own deck at the Food Forest Card Game website.  The site has dates of “2016” on it, so if you want to be sure that things are up to date, try their FaceBook Page or Karl Treen (one of the creators) on Twitter.

Fun-Day Friday – Sad News and Happy News

So today, I’m not going to go over any of my hobbies other than to mention that one of them is called “Permaculture.” It’s a design science driven by a specific set of ethics to improve the land and grow abundance (food, friends, and fun.) The ethics state that any decisions made when designing a system should first consider whether the actions taken will harm the earth. If they do not, then consider will they harm people. If neither the earth, nor the people are harmed, then finally take care to build in a balance such that you limit growth of any one element of the system such that it will not consume more than it should. This last ethic is often misunderstood, and is often represented as “if you have abundance, you should freely share it with others, and not charge anything for your efforts.” In other words (using the misunderstood third ethic,) they are often summed up as:
earth care
people care
fair share

The first two are pretty accurate. The last, not as much. It is good to share abundance, but there is nothing wrong with getting something in return for your efforts.

I digress. The sad news for today is that one of the founding fathers (and the most well recognized of them) has passed away. Bill Mollison died on September 24th. He gave a great gift to the world by sharing his experiences and ideas about how to better grow food, and it is a sad day knowing that he has passed on.

The happy news is that we are expanding our family via a foster care situation. A friend of the family has asked us to step in while she is away for a while, and we are happy to do so. We have seven children that are excited to meet their new foster-ish siblings, and this weekend should be exciting, since we are meeting them and bringing them home.

There’s nothing more important than family, and sometimes family is who you CHOOSE, not who you share blood ties with. My great wisdom to share for today is this: (in the words of one of my favorite authors, Michael W. Lucas) “Go do something in meatspace.”