Free Permaculture Course, Homesteading Blog, & Update

I wanted to share this free online “Introduction to Permaculture” course offered by NC State University. It’s a high-quality, 40 hour college course taught by Professor Will Hooker that really explains the fundamentals.

Click here to watch the lectures.

Photo Caption: E.V.A. Lanxmeer Permaculture House (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The first lecture mostly covers orientation for the live classroom students (introducing themselves, field trip carpooling, etc.). If you want to skip to lecture 2, the main thing you will miss is the professor’s recommended book list (at about the 45 minute mark). You can find all his suggested titles on Toby Hemenway’s reading list. (Toby Hemenway wrote Gaia’s Garden, an excellent book).

I’ve read a lot about permaculture and taken many seminar-style day classes. Still, it’s been helpful to watch the principles laid out with Professor Hooker’s engaging style. I’m definitely more of a visual learner so I appreciate the use of eye-candy garden photos and site tours in his presentations.

The best part for me is that Professor Hooker is teaching from a local perspective. Most of the resources I find are from the west coast, the tropics, and Australia. Permaculture is all about working within the system you live in, so it’s great to have a firsthand account of what succeeds in this area.

Photo Caption: This is our Appalachian Feet 2013 backyard plan. Click the image for a larger view. I left out the compost 3-bin system under the oak tree (in the chicken run).

Due to life (which included a hefty dose of the chickens circumventing their fencing again) our garden began to deteriorate rapidly in August of last year. It then proceeded to be distinctly uninspiring to write about. For someone who has never purchased or intentionally planted morning glories, I do seem to have a miraculous talent at growing them… on everything. Everywhere. They do keep hawks off of the chickens, though.

Since I get a lot of “where are you” emails during my non-growing spells, I’d like to promote Anna and Mark’s blog over at The Walden Effect. The material is fantastic and she even has practical, brunette braids! We’ve been using the Avian Aqua-Miser chicken waterers they sell for over a year and find them trouble-free. Anna also has a new book available called The Weekend Homesteader (congratulations!).

As for Appalachian Feet, here are some photos to catch you up on our end of things:

Photo Caption: “Ceres” is the Roman goddess of agriculture and grain, a dwarf planet, and a character from Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.” She was 3 & 1/2 lbs when we brought her back from the Humane Society — I’ve grown tomatoes bigger than that!

We got a dog.

Photo Caption: Ceres is mostly an Australian Cattle Dog. We’re hoping that makes it easier to train her with chickens. She has her first obedience class tonight!

She got bigger (while lots of other things happened).

Photo Caption: This finger painting was done by my daughter for her Fine Arts Center portfolio. It’s her araucana “Combustion Spur Lava Beak.”

Two of our 6 chickens died of gapeworm, which it turns out is easy to treat. We miss Mrs. Poultrious BokBok and Miss Lilac Luna Pumpkintoes, Fairy Killer Extraordinaire. We also lost our bees about a week ago and plan to wait a while to replace them.

Photo Caption: Most of our ornaments are glass and nature-related.

We celebrated the holidays. Yes, you too can get a German glass morel ornament!

Photo Caption: Our yard in spring 2012.

Now we’re getting ready for spring. This weekend is time to fix the chicken fence! We already bought the supplies…

How is your garden growing?

*Edit* Turns out we only lost 2 out of 3 hives, the other one was huddled up on a cold day giving the appearance of being gone.

Eliza Lord

I'm a Greenville, SC native (the Appalachian foothills) who wears the hats of Greenville Master Gardener & Upstate Master Naturalist. I love to write about food and sustainability.

12 thoughts on “Free Permaculture Course, Homesteading Blog, & Update”

  1. Anna - January 16, 2013 6:04 pm

    Wow, you’re awfully kind to give us such a glowing paragraph! I’m glad you like my utilitarian braids. :-)

    Looks like things are pretty exciting there, with such a beautiful-looking puppy to raise. I’ll look forward to the permaculture videos — I’ve been looking for something more local.

    We’re still trying to decide about the Asheville Grower’s School this year. The mushroom talks might be worth the trip all by themselves….
    Anna´s last blog post ..mark: State of the Muck

    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - January 16, 2013 6:13 pm

      Sometimes when I’m reading your blog I do a double-take because your photos look so similar to mine (braids). :)

      I love going to the OGS — I was desperately trying to figure out which classes to go to the other day. We go every year, but I think our driveway is easier to navigate than yours (and it is a shorter trip for us). :)
      Sustainahillbilly´s last blog post ..How to Get Excited About Poke Sallet (Native Options for Permaculture Nutrient Accumulators)

  2. PlantPostings
    Twitter: plantpostings
    - January 16, 2013 8:32 pm

    Nifty. Thanks for sharing the info about the course. I did wonder where you were, but then I figured life just got very busy. Glad you’re back though–I miss your refreshing sense of humor. I have similar Germans glass Christmas ornaments…and now I see that I need a Morel ornament!
    PlantPostings´s last blog post ..Caught between ice, snow, a rock, and a hard place

    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - January 17, 2013 10:12 pm

      Haha, yeah our tree is slowly disappearing each year under the German glass mushrooms, snails, insects, vegetables, fruits, and other nature items we keep encountering.
      Sustainahillbilly´s last blog post ..How to Stop Worrying About Food in Spite of all the Hype (the Answer is “Eat Local”)

  3. Mark Willis
    Twitter: marksvegplot
    - January 17, 2013 2:59 am

    Aha, that’s what’s been keeping you away from blogging then! Are dogs,chickens and garden compatible? I can’t believe that your garden has become uninspiring; I reckon that when Spring comes you’ll get back into good shape again.
    Mark Willis´s last blog post ..Lamb with flageolets

    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - January 17, 2013 10:18 pm

      Hi! So far Ceres hasn’t been allowed around chickens or garden unsupervised. She gets to go for walks and hikes instead of playing in the backyard for exercise.
      Sustainahillbilly´s last blog post ..How to Stop Worrying About Food in Spite of all the Hype (the Answer is “Eat Local”)

  4. Donna - January 17, 2013 6:51 am

    Glad you are back. I too have been uninspired about my small garden. Like you said, like gets in the way. But what never bores me is all the creatures that visit. Permaculture, sustainablity, however it grows, it works. I wouldn’t mind a few chickens to tend. The city would though.
    Donna´s last blog post ..Peck, Peck, Peck

    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - January 17, 2013 10:40 pm

      Wow, you sure make up for lack of chickens with other birds! Love your photos. :)
      Sustainahillbilly´s last blog post ..How to Stop Worrying About Food in Spite of all the Hype (the Answer is “Eat Local”)

  5. Janet, The Queen of Seaford - January 17, 2013 2:09 pm

    Nice to see you back on the blogosphere. Sorry to hear about your chickens and bees. I guided a new Master Gardener to your sight, she in in our MG group (Lakelands) but lives down in Edgefield. They are getting chickens soon.
    Love your dog and think the name is wonderful!!
    Janet, The Queen of Seaford´s last blog post ..A Warm and Balmy January Bloom Day

    1. Sustainahillbilly
      Twitter: appalachianfeet
      - January 17, 2013 10:41 pm

      Thanks! I hope your MG friend enjoys her chickens. :)
      Sustainahillbilly´s last blog post ..How to Stop Worrying About Food in Spite of all the Hype (the Answer is “Eat Local”)

  6. Mark Willis
    Twitter: marksvegplot
    - January 18, 2013 6:38 am

    So your dog is called “Ceres”. That’s a bit *corny*, isn’t it?! :-)
    Mark Willis´s last blog post ..Velmead Common – Part 2

  7. Pingback: How to “Permiculturefy” an Urban Farm | Appalachian Feet

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