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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Function Stacking

This is one of the concepts within Permaculture that really appeals. Whether it be incorporated in a simple task like compost making or whether it is embedded in the design of the property. For us it fits into our everyday activities as often as possible e.g. the cloths washing waste water onto the garden, I never head off to the workshop empty handed or come back empty handed. It's a built in desire to be as efficient as possible with every activity.

The reason compost making is enjoyable is because of the function stacking angle. Pruning and weeding are regular garden activities for us. What a pleasure it is to combine those outputs into a NZ compost and gain the output of that process for feeding the soil. By timing the pruning and weeding and coinciding it with compost making all double handling can be eliminated.

The chicken run is designed to be accessed by a trailer so that the build up manure can be easily removed and reprocessed in compost making. Kitchen scraps are put into the chicken run so that whatever is not consumed by chickens is scratched over and mixed with the bedding material. The cleanout is combined with compost making and building our annual Tomato bed.

Bees are kept not just for the honey but also to increase the quality of pollination in our Orchard. The Orchard contains a number of Apple trees. Some are for eating and some are pollinators for the eating Apples. The pollinators just happen to be very good Cider making Apples.

Some years ago we were forced to vermin proof the roof cavity as the rat population was in biblical proportions. Off came the roofing iron in sections, the old rat eaten insulation removed, the rat droppings vacuumed out, damaged battens replaced, joists repaired sheeting installed over the veranda, rat proof mesh installed in any access points, new glass fibre insulation installed in every space, even over the veranda, new vapour barrier installed and the roofing iron replaced and sealed. A massive effort taking four weeks but done once and done well.

The simplest function stack is motor vehicle movement. Going anywhere is prefixed with "What else has to be done?" Shopping in Raymond Terrace is a long round trip to the Post Office, Library, Fuel, Shopping, Bill paying,  collecting fresh Oysters, picking up milk for drinking and cheese making and often dropping in on our work place across the river to knock over a job or two.

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