January, 2015

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Juno Dumps about 3 feet of Snow on the Farm

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

The winter has been pretty easy until yesterday. Its weather like this, 11 degreesF, -1 wind chill and 3 feet of snow,  that makes me think of the immortal words of Thomas Paine:

“These are the times that try men’s souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman”.

One of the Southborough revolutionary war soldier’s died of exposure and starvation at Valley Forge so how bad can this be?

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Continued Work on Water Management and Energy Conservation

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Permaculture is all about multifunction and managing resources. We have been trying to reduce the exposure of the house to the prevailing winds from the north and west in order to increase our energy conservation. To do this we insulated the foundation wall with 2 inch polystyrene and back filled it. Some backfill was brought in locally but much was generated on site by clearing material that was blocking drainage around the barns and the soil removed from the mulch basin in the front yard. One resource that has been generated by the pigs are stones, the bane of the New England farmer. The pigs dig up rocks incessantly.

PigPaddockStonesThe rocks are collected by hand and used to create drainage along the foundation so water does not pool there.






Here the stones are used on the north wall of the front porch so water drains away from the wall and into the mulch basin below.









The stones are covered with a plastic sheet and then a layer of sand. Finally, the sand is covered in wood chips, free from the local municipal dump and contoured to create a swale away from the house that also feeds into the mulch basin.









Previously, most of the water from the roof and around the house was a problem that had to be directed away and into the street. Now it will be used to grow food. Permaculture is all about making use of the resources at hand. Breakneck Hill Farm continues to move not just toward sustainability but positive impact.