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  • Published Articles
    fries cooked up plus fixin s from our shelves of preserved goods and our own herbal tea to top it off Folks were eating breakfast then taking a tour of the farm The momentum that brought these folks together and the common theme that threaded through their conversation was Permaculture Permaculture has been defined in many ways Entire tomes have been written to discuss permaculture applications permaculture theory and permaculture goals The succinct definition that we use here is as follows Permaculture is a holistic integrative design for a sustainable future Permaculture is many things It s about building resilience it s about cultivating self sufficiency it s about common sense and stacking functions permaculture is about conserving resources with future generations in mind minimizing one s footprint and strengthening community it s about food production that works with nature not against her Here at D Acres the application of permaculture principles can be seen in all corners of our farm and homestead Permaculture is reflected in our natural earthen building styles our mixed species garden beds our incorporation of animals in the agricultural system and our development of diverse perennial food forests The list could go on and on In fact we invite you to join us for a closer study of permaculture principles and praxis with our third annual Permaculture Design Certification course Titled Permaculture Through the Seasons this is a unique class that meets one weekend per month for seven months This enables participants to gain an understanding of permaculture applications through different seasons and across a broader spectrum of time than most permaculture courses provide for The course layout caters to a diversity of students homeowners family gardeners designers landscapers builders etc Regardless of your goals and interests permaculture can enhance the way in which you

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2012/permaculture2012.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles
    root cellar nor that we had frozen it for storage No the reason was simply that the room stood at 48 degrees If you were to take an extended observation of the kitchen you would see that the cooking oil sitting beside the window was more solid than liquid The woodstove was cold and the granite countertop chilled your hands to touch it Granted the above may be a slightly extreme example We don t often let the indoor temperature drop into the 40s here at D Acres we prefer a balmy 50 55 degrees With a sweater or an extra hat that s downright comfortable And it is winter after all What are sweaters for but to wear them when it s cold We heat with wood here at the farm both with woodstoves and a wood fired boiler The latter is how we heat our water as well as space through the use of a radiant heat system on both the first and second floors of the community building Wood heat of course entails work More specifically it entails work that is much more personal and therefore tangible than for example propane heat As the weather allows throughout the year we are in the woods with chainsaws and our team of oxen Trees are felled logs are hauled and wood is cross cut The mauls are then taken out and the cordwood split for storing and drying All told each cord of wood represents a significant number of human hours Engaging in the work rapidly impresses upon us the worth of our wood How do we assess the time energy sweat and care that are part and parcel of our logging efforts How do we value such an essential natural resource It is abundant but not endless Still

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2012/insupportofsweaters.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Humanure - North Country News
    into our humanure pile atop the upper field You see the toilets in our community building are not quite the standard plumbing Rather than employing the customary waste of water for a net loss of available nutrients we have installed a composting toilet system A large tank is housed in our basement where human waste collects in a direct deposit system Wood shavings are added with each use and no water is squandered with a flush Rather a pump diverts liquids into a separate tank which we drain and disseminate amongst our numerous compost piles The solids woodchips mix meanwhile sits in the tank where it is turned on a weekly basis to assist the active composting process All told we have a sophisticated outhouse inside our home And it works As the material within the tank composts we extract it via shovel and wheelbarrow A more substantial humanure pile is located in our upper field the site of the final composting stages Before winter well before the snow arrives a partial emptying of the tank must be undertaken to ensure sufficient space within the reservoir for the coming months Once snow has accumulated moving humanure to another location becomes much more challenging With the approach of winter seeming more imminent the task at hand was gaining urgency Within the Clivus tank material becomes well compacted Removing partially composted humanure requires a fair amount of shoveling knocking raking material free of itself Doing this however was merely a warm up for the long walk that followed Each wheelbarrow load had to be pushed through a few inches of new snow on top of wet slushy ground past the North Orchard down the road behind the Red House along the Medicine Trail up the hill to the Upper across the wettest

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/humanure.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Green House Cleat-out - North Country News
    I d been saving the weeding and mulching of these beds for just such an occasion The plastic covering proffered dry unfrozen soil and housed plenty of weeds to pull I loaded a collection of garden tools into the lightest wheelbarrow we have and began the uphill slog The snow was heavy Wet Dense I pulled the wheelbarrow behind me sweating as I crested the hill to the upper fields Using my foot as a shovel I freed the door and slithered inside While it was certainly a grey day under the falling snowflakes the interior of the hoop house was thoroughly immersed in shadow The early snow must have slid from the plastic during the night piling up along the building s sides while the more recent snow continued to accumulate on the plastic covering The faint suggestion of sunlight in the morning sky did little to penetrate the hoop house s interior Furthermore the once jungle like verdure had been replaced with the skeletons of eggplants and tomato vines A few clover flowers and a handful of late season greens were the only vibrancy amongst beds of dead annuals and dying weeds Still it was dry and unfrozen Garden fork in hand I set about the task Which entailed a variety of jobs First tomato and eggplant plants belonging to the nightshade family were pulled from the ground bundled up and carried to a pit in the woods Nightshades are toxic in quantity thus we avoid feeding them to the animals These plants are also prone to harboring diseases Fear of the consequences keeps us from adding the foliage to compost piles If the compost failed to reach adequately high temperatures we could be facing a problematic situation Once the foliage was disposed up the stakes and twine

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/dayunderplastic.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Perrenial Plantings - North Country News
    shrubs from encroaching weeds invading vines and the ever dominant wild raspberry Thorns thickets prickers and spines require a careful approach while bedstraw vetch grasses wild strawberry and rogue ferns necessitate an all or nothing tenacity Somehow the dirt dirties more than just my hands The goal is multifarious These perennial plantings are easily pushed down the priority list throughout the growing season so taking the time to clear around them now as the season winds to a close is essential if they are to be given a stronger start come springtime After weeding around each tree a mulch or sheet mulch is applied for fertility and weed suppression Our sheet mulching method here at D Acres incorporates two primary materials First is cardboard collected from area establishments a means of up cycling biodegradable material otherwise destined for a landfill Second is a woody byproduct Often woodchips are used a resource we have readily available from our logging efforts At the moment I am making use of sawdust donated by a neighbor Piled in a less than ideal spot my goal has been to work through the material as quickly as possible Another week of sheet mulching should easily accomplish the task Of these two materials cardboard is utilized for weed suppression while the placement of organic matter serves to hold the cardboard in place while simultaneously providing a rich nutrient package that will slowly be released and returned to the soil We have found this to be a highly effective process Effectiveness of course is predicated on knowing the location of the pertinent plantings to be cared for It seems that each year I discover another tree that has previously eluded my observation This year it was finding a pecan in our ox hovel hedgerow a lilac bush in

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/perrenialplantings.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Leaves - North Country News
    vitality to autumn s beauty to November s starkness Rather it is a clear and concise statement an act of assurance now is the moment today is the change And so it was this year Overnight in fact it happened Just a few days prior the butternuts performed the same act of decisiveness Now the heartnut and butternut leaves join the kaleidoscope of bold and colorful maple birch beech ash and the occasional oak leaves covering the ground A natural mulch rich and multihued the leaves will serve to protect the soil Slowly decomposing back to soil and enriching the woods floor or garden edges where they fall they are exemplars that lead us in our work to build soil fertility While leaves across the property are left intact in situ for this very reason leaves along our roadside are a different matter Fated to clog ditches drainages linger in culverts and be tossed by ambitious snowplows we sequester these leaves for higher purposes We start by hitching up the trailer and tossing in rakes and all available hands Leaf raking is an all day affair here sometimes multiple days Up and down the roadside we march raking piles large enough to fulfill everyone s inner child But it s not time for jumping just yet One overflowing armful at a time we pile the leaves into the trailer Someone earns the enviable job of stomping down the growing heap while those remaining squat lunge gather and heave the piles into the trailer A tremendous quantity can be packed within the slightly askew wooden sides From here the leaves are deposited into caged piles strategically close to our various garden zones Leaves will be used as part of our fall mulch mixed with straw to create a powerful nutrient package

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/leaves.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Occupy Together - North Country News
    thoughts mired in the 95th out of the 150 total pounds of garlic we were planting It was a simple methodical task of sinking a short stick into the ground submerging a garlic clove into the newly made nest and blanketing it with more soil As other crops near the end of their season garlic is just beginning So while consumed in this act of starting something new as the lushness of summer dies back we were also engaged in conversation of something new Wall Street Okay Wall Street itself is old The Occupation of Wall Street however NEW Fresh The beginning of a new momentum a new season a new solidarity A new opportunity to say wait stop no Reality is clear we are tied within an economic system that allows the top 1 to become richer richer with more power protection and privacy than other individuals What about our 99 Why should we tolerate greed and corruption What about you What about me What about my sister What about your brother What about the children In a system so broken with fraud and so fraught with inequalities from where is hope to spring From the people From saying enough is enough And it s spreading What started on September 17 in NYC has spread to Boston San Francisco DC Philadelphia Burlington Baltimore Portland Los Angeles Chicago and 1 528 other cities across the nation Occupy Manchester NH and Occupy Concord NH began October 15 Occupy Plymouth is ongoing stand with your neighbors on the Plymouth Common There is a place for your voice Get inspired www occupytogether org A D Acres resident having spent some time at the Wall Street Occupation in early October dons the following message on the back of her sweatshirt Sow Seeds Not Greed

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/occupy.html (2016-05-01)
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  • Published Articles - Curing Potatoes - North Country News
    newspapers This is our practiced practical praxis for readying our freshly harvested taters for winter storage In the past couple of weeks we have forked dug shook searched prodded nudged aggressively burrowed mined and quarried approximately 2500 pounds of potatoes from our newest field All by hand of course It is a formidable quantity an autumnal treasure hunt of many days and numerous work hours for a bounty that will feed us through the winter months In order to last late into the spring these potatoes will be stored in our root cellar amongst cool temperatures and high humidity First though they must be dried and their skins cured Moist and damaged tubers are a set up for rot and a careless oversight can ruin a whole passel of work So we have potatoes lining the basement potatoes cobbling the floor of the barn potatoes filling the barn loft and potatoes spread about the old tractor room Wall to wall it s a tight fit but somehow just the right amount of space has been found Shielding these tubers from light is especially important some time in the sun turns potatoes green in color and toxic to eat A tragedy to avoid most certainly Even those stored in the dark corners of the barn are carefully covered cardboard newspaper and sheets are all breathable materials that assist the drying process while thoroughly protecting the potatoes Shrouded in such simple sunblock our potato harvest sits for two to three weeks We re not interested in rushing the process and the wet weather isn t suggesting otherwise By next week though we ll be in the thick of it Sorting potatoes by type broadly categorized as white baking potatoes purples reds and fingerlings we ll also pull aside the small ones and

    Original URL path: http://www.dacres.org/media/articles/ncn/2011/curingpotatoes.html (2016-05-01)
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