In loving memory of Starlet (pictured above). Rest in Power, my friend.
Final Design at a Farmed Animal Sanctuary
Update- The Design Site as of December 2021
After walking through an on-site visit in early December of 2021, there were a few celebrations based on my observation of the site. The white clover was still alive and thriving on the interior space, allowing for birds to continue to eat as they please. The native blanket flower was thriving in many areas while the Rocky Mountain Juniper passed in June. Blue grama grasses had come up on the exterior space while a few different food plants (not intentionally planted) reached maturity on the interior. The pinion pine had numerous pine cones and a bright green shade which was a sign of health while long leaf dock (an invasive species) had grown almost to maturity next to the pine and in many places on the interior.
On Site Progress of Design Implementation
Permaculture Ethics and Principles
The permaculture ethics that are applicable include people care, earth care, and fair share. The project surrounds a focus on self-willed actions and more agency for other-than-human animals. The value and promise of Total Liberation is a focus within these ethics in order to bring about a greater potential for decentralized practices that can be implemented in endless ways.
Fair share opportunities include education around permaculture design and implementing a project that enables a peaceful state of mind and healing through biodiverse spaces. Residents are free from any form of exploitation and have relative freedom. Earth care ethics are focused through mostly native, open pollinated, organic and/or nonGMO seeds and plants, reducing water use through native plants, enabling biodiverse spaces, restoring soil, and more. People [and animal] care ethics are embedded with the idea of sanctuary. Enabling spaces that restore health, improve overall quality of life, lessen stress, and connecting with the earth.
Permaculture principles: observe and interact, catch and store energy, obtain a yield (for residents), use and value diversity, use small and slow solutions, integrate rather than segregate, creatively use and respond to change, use and value renewable resources and services,and use edges and value the marginal.
Beneficiary Designs Aspects
My partner and I are talking about the mutually beneficially aspects of “The Night Sky Prairie Refuge” design. I wanted to take the time to walk through what we believe to key components of the work we’ve carefully considered and what we be the result once the design is implemented and established. Enrichment, soil restoration, an increase in biodiversity, are just a few of the key implements that are integrated into the design. Backed by numerous of the design principles, the project has the making for something beautiful and revolutionary.
It comes down the dirt which is the center of it all. The project will provide much needed restoration to the soil through a vast increase in healthy organic matter (provided by cover crops, trees, compost) as well as a Mycorrhizal treatment to all plants. The soil will become more robust, rich, and sufficiently sustaining lives that will indirectly and direct benefit. Around one thousand five hundreds pounds of compost has been made since November of 2020. The material has been held securely by beautifully constructed wooden bins made out of reclaimed materials. The energy put into the maintenance of the materials has resulted in a magical product that will yield wondrous results when applied to the soil to benefit numerous individuals and the land itself.
The Design Process
There are multiple ways to go about a permaculture design process. The method GoSADIM (goal articulation, survey, assess, design, implement, and maintain) will be utilized for the design to be implemented in the turkey barn. This method allows for a sequential order, which can be revisited, throughout the design process itself. Careful consideration and organization is naturally included in the GoSADIM method of permaculture design.
My intention is to complete a full cycle analysis. At this time, zones have not been established since my focus is on one space within the bird barn. The entire site of the sanctuary is 40 acres.
By October of 2021, the bird barn will have at least one space implemented as indicated by at least 50% of the design and the circle of influence + dreams.
|Ideas Considered and/or Implemented||How Might We….|
|-Collect leaves, organic food scraps, hay and straw dust for compost bins|
–Rain barrel from re-used food container (did not implement)
– Biodiverse spaces with native plants (Why Native?)
– 80% of plant species are native
– Create compost for initial planting
– Homes for insects, bats, and mouses
– Bird bath?
– Education about permaculture design
– Paintings to reflect the beauty of the spaces
– Locally sourced materials as much as possible
– Plants free of neonicotinoids
– Use reclaimed materials as much as possible
-Tree trunk (reclaimed) stepping stones
– All seeds and plants are untreated, nonGMO, or organic
– Create a space that allows connections between nature and the residents to blossom
– Create a space safe for chickens and turkeys
– Utilize vegan and organic Mycorrhizae innoculant concentrate for all plants
|– Receive donations and use hay/straw dust on site and collect organic food scraps|
– Use rain water / water collection
– Engage the community in helping make hotels and/or donations
– Provide opportunities for interested parties to engage in design process
– Source seeds, starter plants, and trees locally
– Utilized from dead trees to prevent stepping on plants
– Create planter pots from trunks of trees
– Receive donations and purchase seeds only from suppliers that do not use pesticides, herbicides, or GMOs
– Strategically place plants and materials
– Research safe plants for consumption on Open Sanctuary site
I think I could turn and live with animals,
they are so placid and self-contain’d,
I stand and look at them long and long.Walt Whitman
The Site Survey
- Soil: Very dry and arid soil. Fracking site a few hundred yards away. Water collected in rain gutter on both sides of main entrance of bird barn– more lush / green plant life
- Hardiness Zone 5b
- Winds: The predominant average hourly wind direction in Erie is from the west throughout the year
- Local Wildlife
- Sparrow, robins, starlings (birds build nests in fiberglass in the roof)
- Barn mice
- Cottontail rabbits
- Flies, native solitary bees, moths, butterflies
- Native and non-native plant life on site
- Thistle (grows to have purple flowers) *Harmful
- Bindweed (White morning glory flowers) *Harmful
- Longleaf Dock
- Common Sunflower (native)
Plant Life for Design
- Prioritize native perennials that are safe for chickens to consume
Plants Outside of Fence
|Common Name||Native or Non-native||Annual or Perennial||Low Water?||Preferred Environment||Other Comments|
|Purple Coneflower||Native||Perennial||Xeric||Sun||Height: 18-24″|
|Mountain Ninebark||Native||Perennial||Low water||Sun||Clusters of white, fragrant spirea-like flowers bloom in late spring.|
|Boulder raspberry||Native||Perennial||Well drained||Sun/ part shade; Dry||Large and showy flowers; arching branches become flaky with age; wildlife eat the fruits. Prefers rocky soil.|
|Spotted Bee Balm||Native||Perennial||Dry/Moist||Sun||Height: 18-30″|
|Native Blanket Flower||Native||Perennial||Xeric||Sun||Rosette, floral stems 12″|
|Blue Grama (Grass)||Native||Perennial||Xeric||Full Sun||~16″ tall|
|Lavender Hyssop||Native||Perennial||Xeric||Full Sun||~18″ tall|
|Black eyed Susan||Native||Perennial||Xeric||Full Sun||~12″ tall|
Plants Inside of Fence (Safe for Chickens)
|Common Name||Native or Non Native||Annual or Perennial||Low Water?||Preferred Environment||Other Comments|
|Purple prairie clover||Native||Perennial||Xeric||Sun; Dry/ well-drained||Cylindrical heads of small, fragrant flowers; slender foliage with narrow leaflets.|
|Flax Blue and Breezy||Non native||Perennial||Xeric||Full sun||Ground cover about 6″ tall with purple flowers|
|Rabbit Brush||Native||Perennial||Xeric||Full Sun||Great home for rabbits. Covered in yellow blooms. About 4ft tall by 3ft.|
|Clover, White Dutch||Non native||Perennial||Med/Moist||Sun||Grows up to 8″|
|Clover, Medium Red||Non native||Perennial||Med/Moist||Sun||Grows up to 18″|
|Creeping Thyme||Non native||Perennial||Xeric||Full sun||Cover crop, soft, can tolerate being walked on|
|Munstead Lavender||Non native||Perennial||Low water||Full sun||Purple and blue flowers, grows ~ 10″ tall.|
|Oregano||Non native||Perennial||Well drained||Full sun|
|Thyme||Non native||Perennial||Well Drained||Full Sun|
|Basil||Non native||Annual||Well drained||Full sun|
|Hops||Non native||Perennial||Medium||Full sun||Herbaceous vine for fence|
|Vining Honeysuckle||Non native||Perennial||Medium||Full sun||Herbaceous vine for cattle trellis|
|Maximilian Sunflower||Native||Perennial||Xeric||Full sun||~18″ tall|
Trees and Large Shrubs
|Common Name||Native or Non Native||Mature Size||Water||Exposure||Other|
|Mountain-mahogany||Native (Shrub)||6’x4′ tall||Xeric||Fun sun||Open growth habit; feathery,|
attractive seed heads; wedge-shaped leaves.
|Apache Plume||Native (Shrub)||4’x4′||Xeric||Full sun||Great home for rabbits. Covered in white blooms.|
|Golden Currant||Native (Shrub)||5’x5′||Xeric||Full sun||Edible berries|
|Rocky Mountain Juniper||Native||35’x20′||Xeric||Full sun||Bark: Gray-brown, thin, fibrous; shreds with a red-brown color underneath.|
Autumn Blaze Maple
|Non Native||45’x30′||Low water||Full sun||“Highly valued for their colorful fall foliage”|
|Pinon Pine||Native||25′ x 15′||Xeric||Sun||Cones are yellow-brown, unique, short and squatty; 1 to 2 inches long. Each cone contains 10 to 20 large, edible, oily seeds.|
Other Information from Site
- Utilities and Services
- City water supply
- Propane gas supply for heating water and barn
- Gravel path with tractor access leads right up to the barn. Good condition.
- Concerns and Issues: Rain gutter goes right into the ditch. Amount of sun under covered space throughout the day. A dairy farm is located immediately South of the property next door. A fracking site is located immediately East of the sanctuary and fracking material is transported on the property immediately North of the sanctuary
Orientation: The front doors face north (front of building)
- Shady spots in July from wooden beams. Sheet metal on bottom half with chicken wire on upper. Sheet metal creates shade, but mostly sunny.
Landscape: Very dry and arid soil. Plant life greener and more abundant next to fencing but dry and dispersed towards the center (more feces along edge?) Fencing on the western side slopes slightly downwards (east).
History of the Property
The property was used for farming before the team at Luvin Arms purchased the land in 2017.