Week 26 of the Alderleaf Wilderness Certification Program was a week focused on the permaculture strategies for building, designing for catastrophe and for nutrient cycling. Here a just a few of the highlights from what the students learned this week.
Using their feet, hands and their minds students learned to make cob. Cob is a natural building material which combines clay, sand and straw. Here students Terry and Zach mix the wet clay with sand before applying the straw and mixing in.
Here, instructor Gabe Garms holds a ball of cob. Notice the fibers of straw embedded in the ball, which give cob part of its strength.
Students also learned how to make lime-plaster. Here you can see they are mixing lime and sand, then adding finely cut straw. This plaster was then used on the outside of the root cellar entrance to help repair some rain damage.
Instructor Dave Boehnlien describes in detail about how this hand-cranked oil-press works. Students got to experiment with the press and using sesame seeds, made some fresh oil by hand! The waste, called "press cake" can then be used to supplement baking mixtures, feed to livestock or used in the garden.
Here student Ali, apprentice instructor Jared and student David prepare to break ground on the new gray water system installation going in at Alderleaf.
Here Alderleaf graduate Patrick Loderhose talks about the construction of this gray water system and the students pause momentarily in the work to listen to further instructions.
Here is a photo of the nearly completed stage of the gray water system. Notice the pipe in the foreground that takes the water from the washing machine and pipes it down the channel seen near the center of the image into the filtering system. This system uses plants, including several blueberries to help recycle the nutrients and clean the water.
The students had another amazing week of learning permaculture and experiencing how to apply it.
Next: Week 27: Wildlife Track & Sign Evaluations
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