Green Grass and Full Water Tanks


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Permaculture in Nicaragua

I’m going to go out on a limb and declare: the future of humanity depends on the widespread development of food forests. For many reasons. First of all, we need more and more trees of all kinds to sequester carbon and cool the planet (as well as a host of other benefits.) Secondly, we need to develop soil health and stop erosion, and trees are the answer to that too. And if you want trees, why not fruit and nut trees, and trees that produce other useful products, like cinnamon, or the miracle tree Moringa.

One of the great things about food forests is their sustainability. If done utilizing permaculture principles, a food forest can exist for decades or more after being established. Besides the trees, hundreds of varieties of bushes, vines and other perennials can live in the understory of the forest. And with a some regular maintenance, humans can grow annual vegetables as well as raise livestock which are beneficial to the sustainability of the forest.

If you’re interested in developing a food forest, I welcome you to subscribe to the following YouTube channel as we document our creation of such at Centro Educativo Suelo Sano in Nicaragua.

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Another Mud House

This is a very good project, very instructive for those who want to build with cob.

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Carbon Sequestering and Growing Food

This method, as with composting, requires a consistent supply of water.  The desert landscape may not have as good results.  Then again, soil with wood should retain water better when it does rain.

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Groundswell Farm in Cuero Texas.

Source: Four String Farm Now Offers Lamb!

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Whitewashing to protect my Adobe Walls

Lime1After two or three huge rainstorms I realized how important it was to protect my adobe walls.  I lost a lot of “mud”, especially the plaster that was applied directly to wood planks.  So I’ve been spending my time “whitewashing” with lime.  Its an easy process, but because it is toxic, one has to wear gloves, goggles, and cover all exposed areas.  And in this heat…

Lime2Most of the storms came out of the mountains from the South and East, but even this North side lost some plaster, still I was able to whitewash it before too much sloughed off.

Lime3Most of the whitewashing is done now, which makes my little abode look much more Mediterranean!

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Catching Water in the Desert

storm1Its the rainy season in the Sonoran Desert, the “Monsoons” have arrived right on schedule.  This is a greatly anticipated event, and yet I have found myself somewhat unprepared for the volumes of water pouring down, usually all within a half hour period.

water07This is around 150 gallons of rainwater harvested from just three short showers.  We just had two big storms blow through and it is now full.

white01Lately I have been applying lime whitewash to protect the walls from so much rain.  You can see here some patches of plaster I had to add because the wet mud had just sloughed off.

rain03This is a great example of how a swale works.  This is a classic technique of permaculture to capture water by storing it in the soil.  Ideally I should plant a nice tree to take advantage of the increased soil moisture.
rain01 So far all the water is being diverted around the building.  These puddles will soon soak completely into the ground.

rain02To the left of the rocks is my compost pile, getting a good dose of water.  Once I have it full I plan to convert it into my first small garden plot.  I will have to build a cage first to protect the plants from all the critters.


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Progress here and there

bath3This is the bath area where I shower and shave, at least its out of the wind, usually.

corner8 Finished plastering another corner and applied a layer of aliz “paint”

front1This is my front and only door, almost finished plastering the outside now.  Next will come a layer of lime whitewash to waterproof it.

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One wall finished, Another Corner

corner07After much plastering and a final layer of alis (clay paint) I have finally finished the interior of one half of my one-room dwelling.


window01This is a shot from several months ago to give you an idea how far along its come, and why it has taken so long.

corner06Et Voila!!


corner04The aluminum flex tubing is the vent for my rocket-mass heater that I never really got the bugs worked out of before the heat came on.

burritoThis is all the solar cooking I need at the moment.


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One Corner at a Time


I finally have one corner completely airtight and ready for plaster and “paint”, but first I will install a couple of shelves so I can empty some of the boxes I have on the floor.


Instead of paint I am using Alis, which is a thin clay slurry with some fine sand and flour paste added to help it stick together.  There are various other binder ingredients one could use, but this seems to work fine so far.


I’m so happy to have a place to hang my pots and pans and store my edibles.  I will soon have these shelves full for sure.

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