Friday, August 29, 2014

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

Tim and Lindsey with the fruit gleaned from Mr.
Mitchell's community trees.

August 27 - We arrived at Windward Farm near Klickitat in southern Washington. Windward is an old and well established intentional community that has had a recent influx of young permacultue-minded members and interns. Windward is an interesting blend of the philosophy of the Oneida Community and the politics espoused so cogently in the Robert Heinlein novel "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress".  Mensa intelligence abounds here. Senior member, Walt, has been working on a biomass to liquid fuel technology. The idea is small scale local fuel for lumber rich areas. It's all DIY and ties in seamlessly with wholistic forest management. He has nailed the wood chips to natural gas phase and is now working on the gas to liquid fuel phase.
Tim checks out the wood chips
to gas technology
Walt demos the in-progress gas to liquid fuel process
Jill finds the big wrench

Our first day, we helped 6 year community member Lindsey harvest apples, plums and grapes along the public road way in downtown Klickitat. For the last 30 years, a local resident named Mr. Mitchell has planted hundreds of fruit producing trees on public land for the public good. Unfortunately, only the Windward Community members recognize, utilize and honor this great act of service. Klickitat, like so many other communities here in the Pacific Northwest, went into serious decline with the end of the logging industry. It seems to have resisted the turn towards ecotourism that has lifted so many other towns out of that decline.

The next day, we helped Andrew dig out another Hugelkultur bed. The community is putting its full energy into building these amazing water retaining and soil building beds. Windward is on the eastern rain shadow side of the Cascades so water holding is a much bigger issue than it is on the western side. The ecosystem reminds me very much of the forests of Idyllwild in the San Jacinto Mountains.
Tim and Jill dig the initial trench for the
Hugelkultur mound to be. The trench is
dug "on contour" for maximum water
holding capacity.

First layer of biomass in the form of logs.
More woody material added and pounded
down until trench is full. Next comes more
layers of logs, sticks, soil, manure with final
layer of top soil covered by a mulch
of wood chips or straw.

Desert Take Away:

Revolutionaries should have fun.

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