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This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series My Big Fat Permaculture Design Revelation

In My Big Fat Obvious Permaculture Revelation – Part 1 I talked about how our lack of a specific vision was wreaking havoc with our decision making and emotional well-being. In Part 2 we’ll examine what we’ve got to work with at The Ant Farm and layout our plan for the next few years.

The Canvas

So what is our canvas like? After much deliberation with the other permaculture-minded folks at the earthworks course, I think I can safely say that The Ant Farm rocks. While twenty of my contemporaries described their particular challenges, it became apparent to me that we have it pretty good in Ashville, Alabama.

Sunrise-on-the-Ant-Farm

Many of the guys at the event were working with four to twelve inches of annual rainfall. We get around sixty with literally hundreds of acres of water catchment on the south side of the property.

As we chiseled into rock twelve inches down in Jack Spirko’s field, I couldn’t help but think that our soil is seven feet deep before we hit the bedrock.

Most of the guys were dealing with exhausted flat farmland or steep cliffs that present major problems for cultivation, and here we sit on gentle rolling slopes of old-growth pine and hardwood forest rated as prime farmland by the US Geological Survey.

To top it all off, I’m surrounded by the best neighbors I could hope for. Good men who look out for my family because it’s just the right thing to do.

If our goal is to create a masterpiece, our canvas is a pretty good start. Continue Reading…

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series My Big Fat Permaculture Design Revelation

I’m usually a pretty decisive person. In our business I make snap decisions, one after another, often without as much knowledge or experience as I would like. Thirteen years of business ownership has taught me how to quickly research a problem, plot out a path and stay the course, but I also trust my gut.

Whether it’s the location of swales, a root cellar, roads, fencing or ponds, my decisions for The Ant Farm have been racked with uncertainty, and in some cases good old-fashioned fear. But why?

The answer hit me like a ton of bricks during the TSP earthworks course, and it’s much more obvious than I’d like to admit.

Continue Reading…