Land, plant and animal system management

Important ideas and topics for living a resilient life in times of change and crisis

Using nature as a model, coupled with human pattern recognition and forethought to create and nudge interconnected systems toward improved output, lower input.

We are aiming for a low impact, more sustainable way of living and being that draws inspiration from permaculture principals.

Reciprocal roof (self supporting)

Reciprocal roof (self supporting)

The reciprocal frame is a roof structure where each beam both supports and is supported by other beams in the roof structure. A minimum of 3 beams is required to create a reciprocal frame roof. As each beam supports the next in a reciprocal manner no internal support structure is required.  Only the outer end of each beam requires support which will normally be a post used for the wall.  The roof loads are transferred to these posts and in turn to the supporting foundation. The beams can be fabricated from timbers, laminated wood, steel or reinforced concrete. A very inexpensive roof structure can be made from logs.

While building it you need to support the first beam temporarily; when the support is removed the whole structure should neatly lock together.
https://web.archive.org/web/20081227232...   wood  construction  plans  design  calculator 
A stylish mail receptacle

A stylish mail receptacle

After two years working through the high priority, biggest benefit projects on the property I am finding time for the less essential tasks, like building a new letterbox. The one we had was fine, a fully functioning, conventional metal mailbox, a little small but did the job.

I felt it was time, being winter with dark idle evenings, to create something more. A letterbox that not only kept the mail dry but also said something... Using offcuts and trimmings I pieced together something that looked and felt a bit more us.
June 15, 2011  mail  letterbox  wood  carpentry 
Portable Electric Chainsaw

Portable Electric Chainsaw

Configuring an electric chainsaw for mobile firewood collection.

Electric chainsaws are light, with no fumes, less noise and fewer complex parts to cause issues.

The problem is they require a fair amount of power, thus limiting their portability.

Check out how to set up a useful system for mobile sawing...
April 27, 2010  Chainsaw  Electric  Inverter  Firewood 

Only so many hours in the day

A recent trip to Christchurch took me past Southern Woods tree nursery so I had to buy something. Today I planted out the 5 blueberries (3 varieties) and picked out locations for the 2 fejoa bushes.

The tree felling neighbour offered me the slash and pine cones from recent trees he chopped down so we ended up with 2 trailer loads of pine for winter. And it only travelled a couple of hundred meters.

Pruned one of the olive trees, more for cosmetic reason than to improve the yield.

Melisa put a lot of time into the latest chicken run and got it to a point where we could add the chooks.

Put some silicone sealant on a leaking joint in the solar water heater (so much for zero maintenance)
March 12, 2010  blueberries  pruning  firewood 
Sustainable firewood

Sustainable firewood

A lot of activities get labelled as 'sustainable' these days, despite having a hidden subsidy of non-renewable resources or energy. The only truly sustainable energy source is the sun and the various manifestations of that energy such as biomass, wind etc. The rate and method (technology) used to harness or extract that energy determines it's long term sustainability. Wind turbines constructed from huge volumes of concrete, steel and carbon fibre are not sustainable while harvesting a tree with a stone axe is sustainable if practised at a rate that permits regrow under local ecological conditions.

Note: I used a pseudo sustainable electric chainsaw rather than a stone axe to dissect this manuka tree. It will be replaced by a five finger (Pseudopanax arboreus), already growing up out of the decaying stump.
August 19, 2018  firewood  energy  sustainability