Friday, March 28, 2014

Proposed Land & Garden Evolution


Existing conditions:


1) New Veg Garden is located in sunniest/warmest microclimate on the land.  Also below water catchment for easiest gravity feed irrigation.  & in Zone 1 of proposed winterized Cabins.

2) Existing Garden becomes more perennially focused -- medicinal herbs, berries, perennial vegs -- requiring less irrigation.

3) Workshop & Solar Array do not reflect our only placement options.  (See Master Plan map & Solar posts below).

4) Forest Garden/Terraces ought best be established with earth moving equipment -- minimizing up front labor & saving us years of labor down the line.

5) Pond is proposed -- & in a separate watershed than the septic. (See Water Catchment post below)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Master Plan Discussions

The purpose of this post is to familiarize the Destiny Community with the concept of Master Planning.  It is hoped that a Master Plan for Faerie Camp Destiny will ultimately assist the community in reaching consensus with some long term goals and priorities for future improvements and buildings projects.

It has long been assumed that future improvements would occur within the circumference of the cleared area where the new kitchen is located.  The selective clearing of the post-agricultural forest has opened up wonderful vistas and now allows abundant sunlight and air circulation to refresh and rejuvenate the land and the life it supports. 

Aerial photo taken October 2012. Due north is at top of the page. Shadows indicate the time of day to be close to noon.

Two weekend workshops took place this winter in an effort to evaluate and clarify the direction of future improvements on the land at Destiny.  The basis of these discussions were recommendations made by Land Use Planet, the newly formed Design Comet, and input from broader Destiny Community which was voiced at the More Than Annual Meeting in December 2013.

Under discussion in no particular order are:

  • Solar power through photovoltaic array
  • Enclosed dining hall adjoining the kitchen to replace the current dining canopy
  • Workshop/storage building to facilitate future construction projects and provide shelter during the shoulder seasons
  • Housing for a number of year-round residents/stewards
  • Cabins for elder shelter during the gathering season
  • Bath house with sauna
  • Firewood storage shed
Following are several examples which hopefully demonstrate how the visual tools of a Master Plan "exercise" can be used to foster ideas, dialogue and understanding amongst members of the Destiny Community, to glean support from outside the community, and to ultimately seek funding and permitting necessary to the success of any such endeavor.  As of this writing it is a work in progress, an idea, an exercise that requires further study, community insights and support.

Scheme A above depicts possible locations for proposed improvements with focus on locating the Workshop.  It favors a close proximity to the proposed Dining Hall for the ease of moving building materials from the Workshop to the site of the Dining Hall while it is under construction.  This assumes that the method of construction for the Dining Hall would benefit from having an on-site, enclosed workspace.
Scheme B above orients the Workshop away from the Dining Hall, opening up the yard area behind the Kitchen and orienting the long side of the Workshop toward a more southerly exposure, without sacrificing much in the way of proximity to the Dining Hall construction site.

Scheme C above opens up even more space north of the Kitchen, moving the Workshop out the direct sight line of people walking or driving along the approach road, and still offering a more southerly exposure along the length of the building.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Water Catchment at Destiny

'But Destiny is so wet!! Why would we want to catch more water at Destiny?'

Water is our lifeblood & the lifeblood of the land. It's the lubricant that allows the life forces of the place to flourish & move. It's presence is cooling, refreshing, productive, & restorative. Usually, when water is felt to be 'too much' on a landscape it is during excessive rain, or when said water moves quickly & erosively through a landscape. Conceptually, we want water to flow through & across our land as slowly as possible -- & allow it to serve the greatest number of purposes possible, before it (inevitably) leaves our sloping landscape.

This is a video put together by Whole Systems Design farm in Northern Vermont's Mad River Valley. It describes briefly basic water catchment technology, & how the design of their land effectively absorbed the waters of Hurricane Irene -- which otherwise raged through the Mad River Valley.

Water does work upon the land. Besides watering plants & people, it…
- cleans tools & vegetables;
- can reduce or eliminate our need to water the gardens with pumps or by hand;
- creates habitat for a greater number of organisms, increasing the diversity & resilience of an ecosystem;
- allows for the production of distinctly aquatic food crops, both animal & vegetable;
- it increases dynamic & productive edge conditions while increasing raises the reflected heat of the land (creating micro-climates that can grow plants normally accustomed to warmer climates). Famously, Sepp Holzer has used this effect to successfully grow lemons & other citrus -- in the Austrian Alps.

(productive ponds at Sepp Holzer's Kramerterhof)

There exists a diversity of water-storing solutions that include:
- the soil itself
- swales
- trees & plants themselves
- ponds
- cisterns

The most efficient place/way to hold water is in the ground -- & the better the soil (the more organic material, the more spongy) the more water it can hold. In order though for the water to penetrate into the soil, we have to slow it down, to offer that exchange the time necessary for the water to sink. Swales (ditches dug on contour) are one such way to sink water deeply into the earth. This enables the plants & trees growing below to drink deeply & hold water in their flesh. Ponds are ways to hold standing water & aquatic ecosystems -- & often are capable of supplying gravity-feed irrigation systems in case of drought. Cisterns serve a similar function; they easefully capture rainwater off the roofs of buildings, & generally supply gravity-fed irrigation systems below.

Moving water opposite gravity requires a lot of power. The more water-drawing options (& increased water use efficiency) available to any community, the less reliant we are upon electricity or fuel or any one piece of equipment like a pump. This is one working definition for growing a more resilient community.


'So how much water are we talking about?'

Destiny, & Vermont as a whole, is a rainy place. About 3 to 5 inches of water fall each month, for a total of about 44 inches of precipitation a year. The formula to determine is :: rain fall harvest = catchment area x amount of rain x efficiency.

For example, if we collected water off the roof of our proposed new workshop structure (w/ approximately a 40' x 20' roof -- & with only 80% efficiency), the land's monthly average of 4 inches of rain would yield 1,600 gallons of water per month into cisterns. The kitchen meanwhile could collect more than that. The two side by side would mean over 3,000 gallons of water monthly available to the lower meadow -- the area to which these systems could gravity-feed. This, incidentally, points to moving our more water-intensive (vegetable) gardens to below the kitchen, in the lower meadow (where there is also more available sunlight).

These meanwhile are just two structures. This says nothing about the 160 acres Destiny holds in common -- that the same 44 inches of rain falls upon yearly. This means, according to the same equation, that a dizzying 191,166,936 gallons of fresh, clean water falls annually on our land. In the face of such quantity, we start where we can, catching water where it makes sense to do so, & grow our collective practice of doing so into the future.

Siting is key. What water needs do we have? & what opportunities lay above said needs to catch water?

Some existing & possible catchment points for us at Destiny in the nearer term:
- swales in the existing garden
- kitchen roof (cistern)
- dining hall roof (cistern)
- workshop roof (cistern)
- resident cabins (cisterns)
- pond at the bottom of the lower meadow
- terraces or swales for the proposed orchard in the lower meadow
- growing out lush gardens to hold water in the plants themselves
- continued soil building to grow the sponginess & water holding capacity of the earth


From the seat, & mouth, of the great Pashananda, we hear words of wisdom, 'Gently holding water'. <3 .

Monday, February 24, 2014

Destiny Solar System Possibilities

The intention of this post is to outline, as objectively as possible, the options the Destiny Community has before us, for the visioned solar array.  The post though accepts as true that a solar array of some kind is coming -- alongside a workshop & a dining hall.

Field Array:

Description - The field array, recommended by our previous two estimators (that yielded the $25,000 estimate figure), consists of two posts, with 6-panels each, installed in the lower meadow, just beneath the driveway behind the kitchen.  

Pros - The maintenance on the field array is supposedly the easiest of all the systems, because of their accessibility (nearness to the ground) & detachedness from any structure.

Cons - The field array takes up significant space in the lower meadow.  It also shades the ground beneath it, assuring the space underneath minimal utility.  With the field array there are no stacked functions.

 the field array

Roof Array (Integrated):

Description - The integrated roof array works many small panels into the roof as shingles.  It's less efficient than a full-panel system, but is easy to make up for in more area.  Requires optimal roof pitching.  Most likely installed on the dining hall & possibly the workshop roof.

Pros - The integrated paneled roof is cost competitive with the other systems.  No space in the field is taken up.  Meanwhile, cost for roofing pays for solar shingles & functions as roofing.  Multiple stacked functions.  

Cons - Snow removal in winter will be necessary to keep producing electricity -- (can be accomplished with a long pole & squeegee).  

 integrated solar shingles

Roof Array (Mounted):

Description - Traditional full-paneled system mounted on the roof of the dining hall &/or perhaps the workshop.  Similar in form to the field array, except mounted on the roof.  System requires optimal roof pitching.

Pros - No space in the field is taken up.  Offers protection to the roof below.  

Cons - Maintenance more difficult than a field array because of roof access.  Snow removal in winter will be necessary to keep producing electricity -- (can be accomplished with a long pole & squeegee).  

 mounted roof panels

Hybrid (Roof & Field Array):

Description - Simply a combination of.. likely, one 6-panel post in the field & a smaller (either) integrated or mounted array on the roof.

Pros - Diversified electricity sourcing -- if one fails, we still have the other.  It offers the option of phasing -- the field array likely first, to get us going, with the roof system waits for the completion of dining hall or workshop.  Takes up less space in the meadow.

Cons -  Phasing costs more because the work needs be done twice, potentially by two different installers.  Still takes up space in the meadow.


& when may it happen??

The nature & materials of the workshop (likely our next building project on the land) is an important consideration as we discuss when the solar system will be installed.   If the workshop is made from timber & straw, then we don't need nearly as much electricity on the land as if we were building out of sticks & using power tools.  We could then easily potentially wait until the workshop is complete before investing in the solar system.  The other primary consideration, besides Destiny Community Consensus Process, is money, or rather funding.  We are still only halfway to our solar fundraising goal of $25,000 for the solar array, with two other big building projects along the way.  Until funds are found or borrowed, the solar system will likely wait.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Workshop Design Sketches by Doug Nov. 2011

These are design sketches for the future workshop to be built on the area cleared and graveled below the shower area.


Tuesday, March 09, 2010

march 2010

FCD March 2010

from kitchen pan

here's a look at the camp in march 2010. the latest cutting has opened up a fantastic view to the valley. we always knew it was there but couldn't see it. the clearing helps bring sunlight to the garden and to the north west wall of the kitchen which will help keep the north wall dry.

the second photo is a panorama from where the future dining room is planned.

Friday, December 18, 2009

winter greetings

summer 2009

december 2009

summer 2009

december 2009

the design blog has been asleep for quite a while, but the faeries at destiny have been wide awake and at work. we'll be reporting here on the progress at the kitchen, bathhouse, new buildings and on the forestry here over the winter, and will be bringing new design ideas for yet-to-be-consented buildings to you as they develop.

four pictures here show how the land has changed with the beginning of our forestry efforts. faerie camp destiny is largely conserved forest land managed with the help of two wonderful foresters, don and nina huffer. working with bambi, primarily, they have developed a plan to promote forest health, which not only benefits the forest but saves us a bundle in property tax, as the management of the forest is considered agriculture by the state. we also took advantage of having a logger on the land to complete the opening up of the development area, a roughly five-acre area in total (about 2.5 acres was opened up three years ago) in which we've agreed to contain all our development. the development area was consented at the 2005 annual meeting (i think) and is the basis of our state environmental permit. the remaining 160-acres of destiny will remain managed forest land. the opening has provided a fantastic view (we've known it was there for a long time), just about doubles the amount of sun the garden, kitchen, and meadow gets which will help keep our structures light and dry and ultimately assist in solar electric and hot water.