A few times during today’s class, immersed in techniques for living well on the earth without depleting its resources, the spell broke and I recalled my life and how very far most of us are from that goal. So far, in fact, that for most of us it isn’t even a goal – even though it can be done.
And I despaired for a long moment.
And then I reminded myself of The Blockhouse School Project, and offered gratitude for it and for the small steps that it will help us make towards being self-sufficient.
But jeez we have a long way to go. For example, looking at the contour map on the blackboard at right, if this were your property, where would you situate your house?
Many builders around here would put the house on the highest hill to maximize the view and presumably the price.
But in permaculture, that would be called a Type 1 Error – a basic mistake that would make it hard for the project to succeed – in permaculture terms. Subject to cold north winds, the house would be hard to heat. You would lose the potential to build a gravity-fed water system from a pond higher on the hill – a safety feature in case of fire. The driveway would be steep and slippery and hard to plough. Even the feng shui wouldn’t be good.
I also spent time today contemplating graywater systems that capture and filter washwater from the house to nourish the garden, something I’ve never thought much about before.
My house has a typical septic bed under the front lawn. The lawn is obviously not benefiting from the nutrients in either the greywater or the blackwater mouldering deep beneath it – and according to the septic system’s designer, that is probably a good thing. But what a waste, especially with a garden downhill on the other side of the driveway.
This PDC course is a bit like taking a trip to another country.