One of my design goals is to disrupt the natural environment as minimally as possible. However, within that broad aspiration there are specific areas on the site that are either protected or which I have observed to be very important to wildlife on the site. This "Conservation" bubble map designates those areas and what if any alterations or traffic patterns would be acceptable.
Participant Forum: Bubble Map Sharing
Conservation Bubble Map
Almost every area of the site lends itself to some form of leisure or recreational activity, which I, and at times my family, have regularly enjoyed with the sole exception of fishing Beaverdam Creek.
I really grew to appreciate the varied activities and different aspects of the site during the COVID lockdown and want to add my planned elements in a manner that assures the opportunities to continue to enjoy these experiences won't be diminished in any way.
Great drawings! I really like the idea of conservation bubbles. I have been so focused on adding or finding solutions that I haven't really fleshed out what needs to stay protected. I think I will do an extra bubble map or two now :) Thanks
The base map is hand drawn and then scanned into Photoshop so I can add the text and overlay shapes and, hopefully, the whole thing is still legible when done.
As far as conservation goes, my general approach is to do the least necessary alterations to the site to achieve my goals. I'm out to conserve as much as possible because my site is largely in its natural state except for the house and its immediate surroundings. To be honest, I think twice as much about taking anything away from the natural environment than I do about adding anything.
Of course, this is my own homestead and I don't have any financial pressure on the site to create a design that is commercially profitable. So it's pretty easy for me to design from this point of view and I recognize that others may not have the flexibility that I do and therefore may have a more difficult task.
Thanks for the feedback!
An overview of edible crop production on my site - including fruit trees, annual and perennial herbs and vegetables currently grown in raised beds - and potential areas for expansion. I grew up in a fishing family and loved spending that time with my dad in open waters. Not sure if I see freshwater fishing on my property as a real source of food.. may have to move it to the recreational bubble map!
I like your idea of adding fruit trees to your design. It looks like they're near the house - will you be planting dwarf varieties of the apples trees? I am hoping to add some apple trees in the future to my fenced-in back yard. Because space is so tight, I need to spend some time researching dwarf varieties and the pros and cons of espaliering them along the fence.
Wishing you much success and many apple pies! LOL
The five fruit trees mentioned are already in the ground. The two in front of the house were here when I bought the property. I added the apple trees in the back in 2017, a dwarf Whitney Edible Crab Apple and a semi-dwarf Macoun. When I bought them at the Catskill Native Nursery I requested trees that were already flowering and the Whitney started fruiting already in 2019. ( I understand Macouns are kind of finicky and it has only given me one flower, but I bought the trees as holiday gifts for my grandsons and Macoun was the favorite apple of one!). I added the Red Haven peach last year. I had planned to build the small edible polyculture I developed in the last session around them, but now I'm considering revising it, with the possible addition of a hardy kiwi (that a local arboretum is willing to provide to me) and a Maypop I was finally able to source, to refocus it on more fruit.
As Pogo said, "We're surrounded by insurmountable opportunities!"
This map is based on wildlife that is believed, based on sustained observation, to live on or make a regular circuit through the site and should therefore have minimal disruption to their corridors and foraging areas. An effort, however imperfect, has been made to differentiate this wildlife from the wildlife which appears to just be passing through at random intervals.
Access becomes a major issue in the winter as there is no really good place for the snowplow to stack the snow piles that result when my very long driveway is plowed. Because the driveway is curved and slopes, it is impossible for the plow to navigate the main curve with the pushed snow intact.
Working on this bubble map made me realize that the plow drops the accumulated snow at the entrance to the curve, in the very same location that I was hoping to add an access path connecting the driveway to my proposed bioshelter, a path that would need to remain clear throughout the winter to realize my goal of year round food crops. I may not be able to resolve this without a consultation with the plower whom I will likely not get to see until next fall.
The other truly problematic area is the south side of the house where the proximity of the forest (as compared to the north side) and the height of the trees severely restrict the sunlight reaching that area during the winter and early spring months. The result is snow that often just won't melt, leading to big accumulations in the winter blocking access to that area, and snow on the ground 3-4 weeks longer on this side of the house. The latter circumstance, delays early spring maintenance in that area making it impractical for growing a lot of the perennials I was hoping to add for their aesthetic value when viewed from the screened porch.
Public Access to the property is via one main route from Brown Road, down the driveway. The enlarged hardscaped circle at the end enables deliveries to the main house, the woodshed, the storage shed and the garage very easily. Access to the back of the cabana for pool maintenance is very accessible during the season. My proposed bioshelter would need to be placed with good access from the driveway as well, especially during the winter.
Neighbors and I try to avoid using our cars to visit one another and have "found" alternate routes through the woods which we embrace as our "personal trails."
It's always felt a little "catch as catch can" and inefficient, but it wasn't until I bubble mapped the storage areas for my garden maintenance tools and activities that I realized the extent to which the lack of a cohesive system has resulted in a totally disorganized and irrational non-system. This is obviously an area where I need to rethink things from scratch.
I inherited a cold compost pile when I purchased my home and I've been meaning to start over and get a hot pile going. Now I feel that I want to wait on setting up a new compost system until I have a bioshelter in place and make a final decision as to whether I will be utilizing a heat transfer system from an insulated compost pile to maintain the temperature. The cold pile is a slow method and I've had to augment it every year with purchased material and its location is anything but convenient. I decided to go with an interim system, a small dual chambered compost tumbler that I can place just outside the side door of the garage. It will enable me to produce compost more quickly and be far more convenient and accessible for me to add kitchen scraps.
I visited a Master Gardener colleague today to pick up some Egyptian Walking Onions for my polyculture and was impressed with the fact that she had fenced in her entire 7 acres. While it wasn't a perfect solution, and I don't really want to exclude a major part of the natural world from my site (except perhaps mosquitos and ticks if I could), it did make me think about how many "fences" I maintain to cope with nature's nuisances. So I decided to bubble map it.
I couldn't figure out a way to bubble in how much I enjoy the wildlife on my site... but it balances things out pretty well, and maybe even tips the scale.
As I was trying to compress the bubble maps to upload as a group on the assignment page, I noted that the key for the Physical Fences on the site had been omitted from uploaded copies because its visibility toggle was set wrong.
Here are the corrected copies with the full key on the left side.
This View Aesthetics Bubble Map really marks the first time that I have directed my attention from the functional aspects of the site, and proposed site plan, to the aesthetic considerations in the course of these Permaculture studies. The forest is a stunning backdrop in any view, so I consider the considered aesthetic tweaks I included in this map - which are driven by my own love of color in the landscape and the pleasure of seasonal diversity - to be secondary in importance to the implementation of other elements.
The one issue to which I will give a lot of considered aesthetic attention is the placement and design of my proposed bioshelter. There is a tension between placing it for convenience and accessibility and any impact it may have on the aesthetics of the property because the former consideration necessitates that it be placed very centrally relative to the entry view (via the driveway). One solution would be to design a structure more in keeping with the style and aesthetics of the house, however, this would add considerable cost as well as take significantly more time to build.
I am tempted to consider a compromise if I find that a more conventional greenhouse - which can be sourced as a prefab "kit" - could be operated solely with passive solar heating and/or heat transfer from an insulate compost pile.
This bubble map is meant to augment the information that has already been mapped and discussed in written assignments. As such it does not include watershed information, or the information in my water and "sources and sinks" assessments. Rather, it is an effort to look at the empirical result of those elements as they interact further with the soil, contours and infrastructure of the site.
Put simply, it identifies areas where there is consistent puddling, muddy spots that linger, and drought areas where either too rapid drainage or sloped runoff leaves the terrain much drier than the surrounding terrain.
Each of these conditions represents an obstacle to cultivating the particular area on the site.