Circular Plans

Within your heart
Keep one still, secret spot
Where dreams may go
And sheltered so,
May thrive and grow.
-L. Driscoll

In the past year I’ve been at a crossroads, and recently made my decision to go forth on the cautious but still productive path- Plan B.
This includes “resilience goals”. Goals which do not rely on keeping our home, but can at least help this place pay for itself, that add to my sense of security in these insecure times, whether we keep our house or not.

I divide the year Seasonally into Quarters – 4 Quarters @ 3 months to each Season:
Q1 Spring – starts March 20 (Mar Apr May)
Q2 Summer -  starts June 21 (Jun Jul Aug)
Q3 Fall – starts September 22  (Sep Oct Nov)
Q4 Winter – starts December 21 (Dec Jan Feb)
- however, we usually have an extended Winter, (and Spring) than that. I call it:
 Mud season.
Anything not done when snow is on the ground means sweat and calluses PLUS splinters and ant bites... we have these giant red ants spread over the closest acreage to the house (of course) that aggressively attack and attach- and don’t let go. If you step on one, then it attracts even more TO you!

When I start planning goals, I find myself trying to kill two birds with one stone kinds of things- not that I would be multi-tasking, but following the permaculture type rules where one thing builds upon some other thing like a circle.
I like circular ideas. One thing leads to another and another and they all interconnect at some point or help the other along.

* If I were to raise rabbits (for whatever purpose),I would look for the best way to contain/collect/use manure (readily used in garden or worm/vermiculture projects, no wait time needed). Some people have figured out that keeping redworms or nightcrawlers in boxes under the rabbitry 'kills one bird with two stones'. It keeps you from having to shovel or rake manure and move it somewhere else. Saves space too.
Some people keep rabbits in with their chickens- even if it would save space, I don’t really want rabbits mixed with my poultry... poultry droppings are ‘hot’ and need to be degraded before using/mixing in w/ garden soil. Separating them would be impossible. Also, I don’t want dirty rabbits, or having them eat the chicken feed. But as species, they get along ok, so they could in theory share housing and a run area; I’ve seen it done. It’s not a pretty sight, since rabbits will dig burrows - and I can’t imagine how I’d keep it clean. Clean is important with chickens for various reasons, not the least of which is aesthetic - #1 my chicken coop has to be well-kept!

I think about the artistic overall look to everything - I can’t help it! I crave beauty, and think about what I’ll plant in conjunction with an animal addition or out-building, etc. to soften the edges and beautify it.
For instance, I might plant some gooseneck gourds or birdhouse gourds on the fencing around a chicken run. I may build up a hill of dirt surrounded by rocks, and plant purple iris and ‘vanilla ice’ sunflowers on it...since everything here is so WILD, it’s nice to have spots of color- and near to where you’re going to be dumping old dirty water from the animal feeder/waterers anyway (creating a second use of it). 
The circular zone theory of Permaculture might say this ‘graywater’ use would be the edge between Zones 3 and 4. I just call it a practical extension.

I’m still studying on our property layout for possibilities, studying the concept diagrams of permaculture site planning.   

1) Should the one acre field be used for an orchard or pasture? Could the pasture then be the avenue toward amended soil for a future grain crop? (horse-drawn plow, or something bartered for the tilling). If so, we need to consider the water source (no ready irrigation).
2) In the most picturesque spot- a 40’x60’ rectangle surrounded on all sides by the nicest pines on the property (they stand tall without any junky trees between them)- and at the north end the possible location of a waterfall: should it be the future pond site or saved for a playhouse / yurt / teepee / handbuilt cabin or strawbale artist retreat?
3) Should I plan to put goats on the circular front yard (the driveway wraps around it). It's no good for gardening, it has a stand of oaks in it- though they could be bull-dozed up or something. Animals would help turn the dirt into something better over a couple of years (they wouldn't always STAY in there, since I would use goats to clear 10 acres of overgrowth and grasses, but for winter they would). Or, should I just let it 'go' as is? There are rows of purple iris to dig up if I put them there. And a shed to build.
   Hmm, will have to come back and edit the photo for clarity - that's  herd of mule deer, not goats!
Is this better? Can you see the circle? 

Let me take a moment to encourage you to look up strawbale /haybale homes if you aren’t familiar with that! The concept is truly fascinating once you research it.
Rammed earth is also an exciting concept.
Research can be so enlightening, captivating and motivating!

Soon I’ll be back with some sketches of preliminary renderings of my current ideas.
By the way, I’d love to see yours.
What we can learn from each other surpasses what we would ever learn on our own, right? I hope you're learning something from my ideas. Let me know, ok?

Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you're a thousand miles from the cornfield. ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

So my question remains- what can you do toward your ultimate dreams considering ‘conditions on the ground’, where you are at this moment in time? Take the time you need to clarify the outcome you can realistically expect to achieve given current circumstances, (assessing your options and capabilities), and then make the best choice you can within the constraints of available resources, capabilities and practical realities.
Get back to me on that!

“In the spirit of what one of our great President’s said: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ~Theodore Roosevelt

The next step: Set performance goals, not goal outcomes.
Sometimes, it’s just time to move – to try, to make an effort. If you don’t get there, it’s ok. It’s all a learning experience. Performance goals get you off your bum and out the door. They are your accountability goals- each step in the process of steps to your goal(s) COUNTS!
But most especially the first one.

More words from the wise:

“If you always do what you’ve always done,
you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.”
~Mark Twain – and you know HE was SERIOUS! (snicker!)

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