... a permaculture property that provides produce to my family, friends, and neighbors;
... a blog about my thoughts on how permaculture can be used to make decisions from the personal to the national and international level;
... a test site for experimentation with permaculture principles and designs;
... a social effort to educate the public on site and online about permaculture solutions;
BUT MOST OF ALL, Earthius is a state of mind to which to aspire; a place of love, for Mother Earth and all her creatures.
Producing as much of our produce as possible is priority number one.
I spread white clover seeds everywhere and succeeded in replacing much of the weedy grass with it this year. It stays green much longer and looks much more whimsical, don't you think?
Even my individual planting beds are on contour with a mini swale on the uphill side of them. Here you can see the 10-12" deep trench dug with a tiller on the left. The loose dirt, grass, weeds and all were then thrown on the location of the future bed. On top of those, I placed a thick layer of cardboard to suppress the weeds and add carbon; on top of that about 6-8" of free woodchips; then I added any kitchen scraps and compost I had left and topped it all with only about an inch of rich, store-bought soil (I have mine delivered in bulk once a year). The ditch/swale gets completely filled in with course woodchips. This summer, despite several severe and lengthy droughts, I barely watered. I was amazed at how well these beds managed moisture.
Every once in a while, one of the tree trimmers will graciously drop off a load of woodchips. These piles rot away when not used... I've seen them steaming in the cold morning air. The partially decomposed chips make a wonderful base for planting beds. The newer chips go on walkways and in swales. Once a year I have a bulk load of rich organic compost delivered that lasts me throughout the year for beds and seedling trays.
This is the typical breakfast harvest most days. Sometimes I have to wait 2 days before I have 2 eggs, but that will change once the flock doubles to 4 hens soon! By the way, these ingredients make a fantastic omelette.
On the days I have only one egg, I have supplemented with an "organic, vegetarian fed, free-range, humanely-raised" egg. And still...... my happy, healthy Doily manages to vastly outperform commercial eggs in color, nutrients, and taste. Can you guess which one is hers? Yep, it's the top one.
This was the bare bones of the greenhouse early this spring before the cover was added. I needed to put up a fairly sturdy greenhouse as we get strong wind gusts coming off the field behind it. A simple hoop-house would not have held up. I also wanted real doors. So the ends at least needed to be framed. I decided to combine the framed version with the hoop version for what I call "The Earthius Hybrid." We recently had two hurricanes come through, Florence and Michael, and while Michael managed to scootch the entire structure about 5 inches (!??%#@%!!), it did remain in place.
Here you can see the original poly cover, attached with battens, that failed within 6 months of relentless gusts and uv rays.
An enchanted landscape.
There are three kinds of berries growing wild on our property: blackberries with vicious thorns, black raspberries with thorns, and some sort of thornless blackberry that has sprung up voluntarily in my front garden! I simply placed an arched trellis at its base and had an arch of blackberries in no time!
I got 4 blueberry bushes on clearance... two made it, two didn't. I already had 3 different varieties growing in a high-acidity bed, but blueberries just require a lot of plants to make an impact on harvest. Still had little to show for my efforts this year. Perhaps next year they will mature more.
Another bed that already has the swale filled in with woodchips. These chips not only look good and create a nice footpath, they also keep the weeds at bay and, most importantly, prevent evaporation of precious water that sits in the swale after a rainfall, giving it time to percolate into the soil under the planting bed.
I finally built a greenhouse this past winter (2017-18). I designed a hybrid between a wood frame (bottom 3') and hoop-house (upper portion). I attached a 12-year, 12-mil, weave-embedded poly using the wiggle wire system. Cannot recommend both enough!! I started out with a 6 mil poly from Lowe's and used a batten system to screw it on. It lasted 6 months before the wind and UV rays shredded it. I invested only about $100 on the wiggle wire system and it was the easiest thing to install. It also means that the poly is not compromised with nail/staple/screw holes.
Sunrise over the lake at Earthius. It is breathtaking and unique every morning.
Here is the annual garden and meadow in the front of the house this past winter. Snow is rare here in eastern NC, so it is extra magical.
One of my stunning zinnias. I have made a multitude of charming bouquets for the house featuring my zinnias (see below).
Zinnias, marigolds, purple sage, flea bane, periwinkles, and a few more, make a happy dance of vibrant color for the dinner table.
Another bouquet from the orchard.
Robust spinach leaves like this one provided much of the basis of my omelettes and smoothies this spring, before the weather got way too hot.