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i was so glad to finally see a good overview of animals and their place, specifically, in a permaculture system. it makes perfect sense to me that he included this into the cold climate chapter, since meat is so much more essential to the human diet in winter areas.
i love the stress on including harvest of wild animal life, including bugs. and the part where he says that increase is "encouraging nature to show her capacity, instead of dictating directions and species."
the grasslands section was quite useful to me, as i mentioned earlier, in contemplating an alternative "lawn" for our yard. esp useful was his list of plant types to include-- grasses, bulbs, broad leaves "weeds" and spike rooted plants. like forest gardening, in miniature. interesting that he didn't specifically include nitrogen fixers in that list. i wonder if they aren't necessary in a mature grassland system, with animals. though their high protein content seems so useful for livestock...
i mentioned that cover crops book i'd been reading. it is an weird combo of sustainable and conventional, recommending "burning" cover crops off at times, which i finally figured out meant spraying them dead with herbicide. but, nevertheless, got some good stuff out of it. for example--nitrogen fixers only "fix" N when it is unavailable from the soil. grasses soak up excess N. so, when you combine the two, they self regulate. you can plant grass and clover no matter what your N situation is, and it will come out right. if you are low in N, the clovers will dominate, and fix lots. if you have plenty of N, the grass will dominate, soak up and store the excess, and the clovers hang back.
i am interested in this from the lawn angle but also from the mini-pasture angle. thinking how i can get the most poultry forage out of our yard-- like maybe abbreviated "paddock" system?
i found this little e-book, just $1, called Permaculture Chicken: Pasture Basics, that had some good detail.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00BFE60Y0/
then of course, there was the COLD climate section, short but ecstatic. finally someone addressing me directly! we don't have permafrost right here, thank god, but we are not far from it. very similar to iceland, except we still have our forests.
i found the designer's checklist at the end especially useful. a tidy, pared down list of what's important. i'm thinking i will print it out and put it into my permaculture binder.

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I found the pasture management stuff surprisingly technical.  And a little dull.  I think my eyes glazed over a bit, but possibly 'cause it doesn't apply much to my situation.  I just read the e-book on pastured chickens and that was more suited to me.  I realize I need to make my pasture smaller and move the fencing more often.  The girls have eradicated all clover and dandelion in their yard.  My main coop is permanent and it's positioned on the edge of our property - I can't put paddocks all around it.

I really liked the cold climates section as well.  Did you read the thing about using rats to gather grains?  WTF?!  He goes too far.  I have found small caches of sunflower seed in funny places in my basement.  But I squirm at the idea of eating them.   

I definitely learned some stuff in the cold climates section.  Making lenses from ice.  Really?  And the avalanche stuff was really interesting.  No mountains here though.  The fire stuff was interesting, but again, not something we worry about too much here.  Sadly, there's so much open ground (and often bare soil) that spreading fires are almost never a concern.  I can't think of one instance.  

Overall, I think I got more out of the first half of the chapter, but this is one I know I'll come back to in the future.  

Spring update:  We've had several inches of rain the last 2-3 days.  My mid-slope house had 3-4 inches of water in the basement this morning.  All that ground water flowing around and under my basement was flowing through the drain tile and in to our sump crock faster than the pump could push it out.  Crazy.  Be glad you don't have a basement.  They're overrated.  

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