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Showing posts from December, 2008

Opportunity missed

Principle 3: Obtain a yield

When the local newspaper arrives I head straight for the readers' bargains. You never know what people are getting rid of that may be useful. I found an advertisement for a demolition job in town and rang up the guy to check out what was available.

I was interested in the framing timber. Seasoned hardwood framing timber is very hard to work with, as joinery needs to be pre-drilled - but it's perfect for decking. I asked the guy if he was interested in exchanging labour for materials - and he was. I called up a couple of days later and he had changed his mind. The reason? I should have a 'red card' (see below) to go onto a building site.

I asked about accessing the building site with a registered builder after he had removed all that he wanted from the site, but he refused. I guess there was nothing in it for him, except the risk of something going wrong... fair enough.

I did some research and found out that a 'red card' is now called a &…

Make mulch while the sun shines

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Principle 2: Catch and Store Energy and
Principle 6: Produce no waste

Understanding the value of embodied energy, or emergy, is very important in permaculture design. Often value is only considered in $ terms, but when we look at the amount of energy that is used to create a product, and how much energy it holds, we can value it in different ways.

Most people that I have spoken to have told me that I should get the house demolished, or even burn it down! But I see the existing buildings on the site as valuable resources. Lots of energy has gone into cutting the trees, milling the timber and transporting it, via middlemen (women?), to this house site. The timber sequesters carbon which, if burnt, would be released into the atmosphere. I'd rather use what I can of it, even though it takes my time and energy to prepare and store it, and keep the carbon locked up. Also, by reusing existing resources I place less demand on the production and transportation of new resources, and I don'…