More than a week late Clovelly finally has her calf and its a girl. This is important as the future of the breed is dependent on how many girls there are. Clovelly was bred last August by artificial insemination with semen from a bull collected and sold by the American Milking Devon Association.
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The garden beds are being laid out on the contours this year to try and capture the rain runoff. We also trench each bed so we can bury logs and sticks at the bottom. As the wood decomposes, it releases nutrients but it also absorbs water which is then available for the plant roots. Well that is the theory. Of course we use lots of compost in there too.
Permaculture is a design system that takes its cues from nature to solve problems and grow food. In our region, nature wants to return disturbed land to forest. In the mid 19th century, about 70% of Massachusetts was cleared of trees. Now about 62% is forested and that is with about 44 acres/day being developed. To get back to being forested, the land goes through an ecological succession of stages from being field or just disturbed land to forest. Permaculture attempts to arrest that succession at a stage or stages in order to produce food. These successional stages are much more stable than the open land was. This means that it is much easier to maintain. Current farming practices rely on holding the land open by the use of chemicals and large amounts of energy. Growing monoculture with large rows of bare soil is the most difficult to maintain. Nature desperately wants to fill in those open areas with plants which we usually refer to as weeds. Anyone who has ever had a garden knows how fast the weeds come in. So permaculture just beats the weeds to it. The design system utilizes this enthusiasm by planting food plants, generally perennial, instead of allowing opportunistic weeds to just invade. The figure below illustrates the multiple levels that can be utilized. By utilizing an integrated system such as this with plenty of niches for beneficial insects, we can control the pests that generally plague a garden. I will be posting as the permaculture plan develops. I welcome anyone interested in learning more to contact me. email@example.com