Last Friday Josh mowed the hillside in front of the house in preparation for permaculture projects/experiments we have planned for next spring. For those unfamiliar with the term (as I was a few months ago), Google defines permaculture as the development of agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient.
My understanding is that permaculture techniques allow people to work with nature instead of against it to grow food, build homes and communities, and care for animals. Simple examples include incorporating bug repellant plants in a garden to keep pests away instead of using pesticides or building a home with large south facing windows for passive solar heating.
Our plan is to set up a half indoor, half outdoor chicken coop using the horse stalls in the barn and start out with a few laying hens for eggs. We'll grow kale and swiss chard on the hillside across from the stalls for chicken feed along with nitrogen fixing cover crops to enrich the soil. We'll allow the chickens to graze the hillside, and their waste, combined with the cover crop nutrients, will eventually create fertile land for growing other types of food in the future.
Below are some pictures of the "permaculture site" being cleared along with a few of the pups, who had a good time playing in the grass while we worked.