Tuesday, May 22, 2007

animals in our urban homestead

My dad, who has taken an interest in permaculture, attended a one-day introductory seminar and picked up Introduction to Permaculture by Mollison & Slay. He commented to us,

> systems usually include animals like chickens, which probably isn't possible for y'all where you live now, is it?

I don't think we could officially have chickens, but on the other hand, besides cats, we have seen squirrels, bats, earthworms, robins, cardinals, mourning doves, grackles, little brown birds, pigeons, some kinda red-headed woodpecker, ants, snails, slugs, pill bugs, bees, flies, flies that look like bees, wasps, mosquitos, various spiders, centipedes, a few kinds of butterflies, bumble bees, lady bugs, various other bugs I don't quite know what they are ... there's still animal life in the yard, each doing its things. I guess they're getting something good here. Even with the cats hanging around there are a lot of birds. Robins have been pecking in the compost lately. When I turn over a log to cut it up, sometimes I find a centipede scurrying away. I don't like them, but they're third-tier decomposers, a good sign of healthy soil microorganisms. (If I recall correctly, from Gaia's Garden by Toby Hemenway, a must-read!)

In the basement, we still have the worm composting bin, and there are still a lot of worms in there, finishing up everything we gave them over the winter. Actually, we just decided to start feeding them more compost so they don't die off. I guess that's a more intentional or domestic way to keep permaculture animals in the city. When I open the lid on the worm bin, I can hear the quiet mass squishy noise that a whole buncha earthworms in a box make!

Oh, though two of us will be earning our permaculture design certificates later this summer, we're not yet officially entitled to use the p-word to describe whatever it is we're doing or want to do. But then there's the problem of how to say permaculture without saying permaculture--sustainacultcha? Autonomist maximal diversification? The one-earthworm revolution? (After The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka--a must-read!)

Now that I've posted the animals list, I want to post the plants list later. And after the what-is lists, I want to post the paradise-garden list made by a bunch of us freex in the chaos house.


werebrock said...

i'm reading one-straw, as per your egg-celt-tent suggestion. i want to bring the feral chickens of hawaii back to the mainland to toughen up our stock. chickens as independent and free as pidgeons. wouldn't that be wonderful?

Anonymous said...

Chicken pigeons would be awesome. Course I could probably just eat the pigeons.

Hakim Baker said...

see the update on vertebrates! So the birds are vertebrates but now we have more kinds.