Monday, July 23, 2012

Field Trip

A recent excursion up north led us to the Solar Living Center in Hopland.  An inspiring and beautiful place, there was much to see and so many notes to take.  

As we meandered around the acreage we observed the sustainably built structures, gardens, water ways, and ponds.  The very alluring Real Goods store is packed with all kinds of goodies that you try to convince yourself you absolutely need.  I spent a lot of time in there!  

The boys had a go on these human energy harvesting bicycles which power the attached light bulbs.  If only we had something like that at home, the pg/e bill would be obsolete.  

The most interesting aspect of the center was their use of water catchment and distribution.  These streams (almost like concrete swales) flow all over the property eventually making their way into several large ponds.  

The willow and olive trees, fountains and generally peaceful atmosphere was so pleasant we did not want to leave.  

A visit to the garden offered some new ideas, like a cob green house and this permaculture herb spiral.  

And to wrap up our day we visited a small family dairy to learn about their milking routine, meet the jersey cows, and see their milk parlor set up.  All the cows were docile and lined right up to be milked.  We received some invaluable advice about the commitments involved with milking cows, how to start a successful herd share, testing for A1/A2 milk, and so much more.  It felt fantastic to connect with other small time dairy cattle owners.  Sometimes a little get away is just the right thing.  

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