All posts by Casey Pfeifer

Automated Microgreen Bottom Watering System – DIY

We finally made the investment in automating our microgreen growing set up and it has demonstrated immediate time savings of several hours a week (and we’re a small scale grower).

Prior to building this system we had all of our germinated 1020 shallow trays with their own white, leak-proof bottom watering tray. This, not surprisingly, requires a human to lift up each micro tray, and fill up the bottom watering tray with a hose – sometimes up to 3 times a day when it was hot! Talk about a giant time-waster!

The reason we went with bottom watering in the first place is Continue reading Automated Microgreen Bottom Watering System – DIY

Steep Dry Hillside Transformation With Vetiver Grass and Natural Stone

This South-facing hillside has a grade ranging from 55-65%. The soil is very friable, dry and has little perennial vegetative cover. The slope was formed when the lot was graded for the house site and has been steadily slipping, its edge creeping closer to the house with each passing year. This post details how we took it from dry, inaccessible and eroding to a vegetated, accessible and beautifully stabilized part of the property.

View from the bottom looking North – first batch of rocks have arrived for constructing the pathway that will create safe access to the bottom of the property.

Continue reading Steep Dry Hillside Transformation With Vetiver Grass and Natural Stone

Pallet Framed Slip Straw Bathhouse – Part 1

Got started a bit late with documenting the build, but these shots will give the basic idea. Pictured below is the stone and stacked urbanite foundation with underlayment of old pieces of stone countertop from a nearby dump site. Several sections of the pallet wall have already been measured and attached in between 4×4″ posts. The gap in the foundation wall at the lower left where the hose is indicates where the future gravel shower drain will be.


The same day, but looking east. The cob bond beam set beneath the first pallet wall segment has just been set. Continue reading Pallet Framed Slip Straw Bathhouse – Part 1

Creating Places: Four Corner Tree Hammock

When I was a kid summer was all about building forts. Tree forts, earth forts, pillow forts, bark houses – you name it, I built it. I’ve always loved creating spaces that I loved to be in, and interestingly enough, other people loved those spaces too. Much like the forts of childhood, these spaces are not imposed on a place, but emerge from it. People like spaces that harmonize with what is already present in the environment. This is the story of one of my more recent ‘place makings’, a four corner hammock woven in place and suspended amidst four trunks of an English Walnut tree. Continue reading Creating Places: Four Corner Tree Hammock

DIY: Build Your Own Automated Misting Bed

So you’ve finally gotten that piece of land to start your homestead, you’ve done your site plan and installed your mainframe earthworks. Now its time to plant!

But wait, all of those plants cost money! And not just pocket  change, but some serious dough! If each fruit tree you plant also needs a comfrey, two perennial culinary herbs, a groundcover and a perennial flower you’re looking at a hefty plant bill really fast.

Even small earthworks on small properties have room (especially with a permaculturist’s eye) for hundreds, if not thousands of understory plantings. Groundcovers, herbs, flowers, shrubs, berries, vines – you name it, we can always fit one more plant!

If you’ve looked at retail prices for plants like these it becomes quickly obvious that even to minimally plant a 10′ x 10′ area you could be looking at hundreds of dollars in plant costs.

Thats where the value of propagating your own plants really comes into play.  Its literally like printing money!

In this post I’ll show you how I built one of the key elements in our homestead-scale nursery, the automated misting bed, to allow us to propagate valuable plants by the thousands for planting out a developing farm. Continue reading DIY: Build Your Own Automated Misting Bed

Cynefin: Making Sense Amidst Disorder

This post is an introduction to Cynefin Sense-Making Model.

Cynefin: ‘habitat’ or ‘place’ – from Old Welsh, means a “place of multiple belongings; cultural, religious, geographic, tribal etc. We can only ever be partially aware of all these multiple belongings, but never all of them simultaneously.

The Cynefin Model is useful in recognizing causal differences that exist between system types and propose new approaches to decision-making in complex social environments. Cynefin is a sense-making model as opposed to a categorization model. Continue reading Cynefin: Making Sense Amidst Disorder