Ancient water harvesting, plus a trick for slugs and snails…

Hi, this is Geoff,

I’m going to keep this week’s Friday Five relatively short because there are two lengthier notes in the “PS” section below about opportunities that may be of interest to you. So, please be sure to read all the way down.

Let’s jump right in…

Pakistan vs. India: In this corner, Pakistan, and in this corner, India. “Competitive tree planting” (is that a phrase?) between countries is a good thing, yes? 🙂

Ancient Water Harvesting: “For the past five years, many parts of southern India have been hit by drought. Rivers have been drying up and urbanisation is threatening traditional sources of water. But, as Sanjoy Majumder discovers, one area in Karnataka has managed to overcome the dry spell by turning back the clock, seeking inspiration from medieval kingdoms using techniques developed in ancient Persia.” This is thoughtful, appropriate design technology that we should honor as feasible water harvesting techniques and storage network practices. As one commentator noted, these sites are an “engineering marvel.” The 2-minute overview video of these ancient structures – and how they are being used today – can be see here.

Slugs and Snails: Here is an interesting trick for those with slug and snail problems – the short GIF and the step-by-step instructions have already garnered over 500,000 views.  

Permaculture Profits: A great article by my friend and permaculture veteran, Joel Salatin, on profitable permaculture principles. The sub-header sums up the article nicely: “The application of permaculture design at Polyface Farms has helped increase the farm’s efficiency and functionality.” The three part piece begins here.  

In case you missed it: A few pieces of interest this week from our sister site, the non-profit Permaculture Research Institute:

If you enjoy these posts, be sure to bookmark the site as several new articles go up weekly, or check out thousands of other past articles, here.  

That’s it for the Friday Five.  As always, if you have comment / reactions / a different point of view, please share in the comments below.

Cheers, and have a great weekend

Your friend,


PS – I mentioned there are not just one but TWO follow-up announcements, so here’s the first:

I’ve got three face-to-face PDC courses coming up over the next 4 months. If you’ve done my online course and want to follow this up with an in-person, on-the-ground experience, you’ve got 3 chances to do so – a July course in Australia, an August course in Malaysia, and a September course in Jordan. And if you don’t have any background in permaculture, that’s fine too. My co-presenters and I will be more than happy to help get you started. Experienced or a complete beginner, a face-to-face, in person PDC might be one way to make your next vacation a “learn-cation.”

Second announcement: A few months back, my friend and founder of the Grow Network, Marjory Wildcraft, asked me to put together an instructional presentation about soils and the unique perspective that permaculture thinking has on the importance and “how-to” around soil.

The result is a 40+ minute video presentation that includes blackboard-style segments from my PDC 2.0 online course, and some gorgeous on-the-scene footage from a recent consulting trip to Malaysia (as well as some heartbreaking visuals brought about by a monoculture-approach to agriculture). Also included in the presentation are short animations to better highlight some of the concepts introduced, as well as a fun addition at the end showing how to create soil using…chickens 🙂

If you’re interested in seeing it, there are 3 ways to do so:

Option #1: Next Saturday (June 17th), the presentation will be streamed and available – free – for 24 hours. This will be the first time that this presentation in it entirety plays anywhere online. It was put together for Marjory and her team, so to view it, all you need to do is sign up for her 2017 Home Grown Food Summit event. Once you do so, you’ll immediately receive viewing instructions, as well as a reminder just before the event. Again, registration takes 15 seconds and it’s free.

Option #2: If you don’t want to register for the HGFS, you can wait until September, when I intend to publish the presentation on the Permaculture Circle. Out of respect to Marjory, I will most likely wait until September to do so, so if you want to see it sooner than that, doing the free registration with HGFS is probably your best bet.

Option #3: If you want to see the presentation soon, but are busy next weekend, Marjory offers a paid option to access my talk whenever you want, rather than having to “catch-it” at a specific window-of-time next weekend. I’ll say more about this 3rd option in a minute.

But before I do, I wanted to note that my talk is just ONE out of more than 35 other thoughtful presentations that constitute the 2017 Home Grown Food Summit.

Marjory and her team have assembled a great line-up of other folks whose work I respect; you may find value in their presentations as well. People like: Joel Salatin, Paul Wheaton, Justin Rhodes, Marjory Wildcraft, and dozens more. You can see a list of all the speakers, and what they will present about, on the registration page linked to below.

The good news is that their presentations are all free as well. There is one “catch,” though, and it’s this: You have to view each presentation during the 24 hour streaming window set aside for that particular presentation. At 9 a.m. each day, new presentations are added on the “Presentation Page,” but the previous day’s presentations are removed.

Lots of us are busy and may find it difficult to organize our lives around a fairly packed schedule, so the paid option (“Option #3”) that I mentioned above may be a good solution for those of you who don’t want to bother with the hassle of tuning in at specific times. It’s called the “Lifetime Pass,” and here’s how it works:

  1. You purchase the “Lifetime Pass” and choose online access or a USB flash drive (or both)
  2. As soon as you do, you get immediate access (as early as this Monday) to all 38+ talks. That means you don’t even need to wait until next weekend for my presentation – you can see it as early as 48 hours from now, well ahead of the group-viewing next weekend.  
  3. You can skip ahead to watch only the talks that interest you the most.
  4. You can listen to audio mp3 versions in the car, during your work-out, etc.
  5. You can download and print transcripts for further study.

If you do this today (Sunday) or tomorrow (Monday), you’ll save anywhere from $40-$60 from your purchase price.

Again, whether you want to do this or not is entirely up to you. I like to present multiple options that cater to ALL of my readers. My job is to share the information, and yours is to figure out which way best fits your time, schedule, and needs.

If you have the time and flexibility to tune in each and every day for the next week, then free access may be sufficient.

If, however, you know that other commitments might get in the way, or if you simply want the peace of mind of having access to everything, on-demand, whenever you want, then the Lifetime Pass might make sense.

To get the Lifetime Pass, first sign up for the free event; once you enter your name and email, you will automatically be directed to a page that details the Lifetime Pass. You can then scroll down, review your 3 purchase options, and pick whichever makes the most sense for you.

Now, be warned: It’s one of those old-style pages with different fonts and colors that seem to scroll forever. I know some of you don’t like that style (I must confess that I’m not a fan of that format either), BUT if you can look past the way it looks, the information itself is actually quite valuable, ethical, and transformative.

And I know that in the past, a significant number of you have expressed appreciation for the paid option, as it makes viewing on your own time much more convenient, and adds-in written and audio versions of the presentation. We’re all adults here, and know what is best for our time, schedules, convenience, and priorities.

Finally, please note: You may see other paid offers that Marjory may want to extend to you. I’m sure that whatever she and her team presents is informative and painstakingly-produced, but as a matter of integrity, I owe it to you as my readers to say that I have not seen or gone through any of the material besides the Summit itself.

So, to sign up for free access, please click here. And if you want to secure the “Lifetime Pass,” you can do so on the page you are redirected to after completing the free registration. You can do this anytime you’d like, but if you want to get the preferential pricing, remember to take care of this today (Sunday) or tomorrow (Monday) at the latest.

Otherwise, enjoy the free presentations from the great line-up that Marjory and her team have assembled.

To sum up:

Option # 1: To see my presentation next Saturday, as well as 38+ other informative presentations – all free – take 15 seconds to register for the 2017 Home Grown Food Summit here.

Option # 2: If you don’t want to register for HGFS, feel free to wait until September, when I’ll post the presentation to the free videos area in the Permaculture Circle.

Option # 3: If you want to see the presentation ASAP, but will be busy next weekend, or simply want the flexibility of watching all the presentations at your convenience, access a supplemental mp3 version, download a transcript, etc., then you might want to consider the Lifetime Pass, which you can explore on the page you’re redirected to after completing the free registration.

2017-06-11T07:32:15+00:00 Blog|9 Comments
  • Tony Weddle

    HGFS sounds good but the free option isn’t great for me in New Zealand. I’m not sure of the exact time zone (I’ve seen reference to EST and CT) but it looks like I just get a few hours in the morning to view the material, and that’s not the best time for most people, I would have thought. I can’t really afford the paid option right now, unfortunately but at least we get your session for free in September!

    • Tony Weddle

      Apologies. Of course, the only problem for me is the first day. After that, I get all day to see each of the other sessions-days.

  • Kent Knock

    Concerning the tunnel connected wells: That is amazing. The same technology exists in Western China and in the Nazca area of Peru. The technique does not seem obvious to me. How did those ancient people think of doing that?

    • Bill Crandall-TA


      Seriously, though, most all of us have been told a wild tale about how sophisticated “advanced” people supplanted unsophisticated or ignorant or simple or even “earlier” people because the sophisticated types resolved one or another problem.

      It’s not true. Larger economies and soldiery tended to replace smaller groups, whosoever was more advanced or sophisticated in whatever sense. While isolated populations could lack certain types of information, and communication is something that merits our attention, word of mouth and early recording media kept a remarkable fidelity to main principles over time and space, enough that we find communication of not only technical things but all sorts of conceptions over considerable distance.

      • Kent Knock

        I think you are right, Bill. I never thought about it but that “horizontal well” technique may have spread rather than being independently invented in several places. Sweet potatoes are a South American plant that was in Asia and Polynesia before the Americas were “discovered.” Maybe that is related. Maybe everything did not start in Europe 7,000 years ago!

        • Bill Crandall-TA

          It seems not.

          You know, after all of the history and anthropology and archeology that I studied, mostly informally and over quite a few years, my vision of human development underwent some severe spasms of reversal the day that I calculated my yield per area and per labor for potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes with the yield for wheat.

          Outside of Marcel Mauss, almost everyone available to my early suburban investigations insisted that “agriculture,” by which they referred to the riverbottom and floodplain cleared and ploughed fields cultures growing grass and legumes and using the cast-off parts of the crop for hoofed grazers, became dominant because it solved issues of starvation and instability.

          And yet there I was, and there the yield was. And, you know, I had been teaching English: it’s not like I was some wonderful expert. But wheat would require scything, threshing, milling, silos for storage, sowing the crop again in season, fallow seasons or some similar arrangement to work in manure and legumes–on and on. I did not want to do it, not after I looked at my harvest and saw that I would not have to. I still needed the legumes or somesuch to enrich soil, but nothing in the picture that I had been given of “hunter-gatherers” suggested that the ecosystems from which they had lived would not have provided and distributed such things with little forethought.

          Quite to the contrary of all I had been taught, tubers were all far easier than the grains, each far more productive on far less land and with far less labor and with no particular need for great social organization. I tried to work out how I might be mistaken, but the results were not even close. I tried to work out why this would be untrue in another climate or at another time, but no, the alterations looked fairly simple. There had been edible tubers and ample seed-bearing trees in all continents.

          So it seems that the forests that Ovid mourns had been felled to smelt bronze for tools and weapons, and the grain had raised herds of oxen and horses that could carry riders into combat and caissons alongside armies, loaded with a food that could be removed from the field and preserved: grains and dried legumes fueled the false hopes of armies and commanders–invasion, centralization, deep and steep hierarchy, and the plagues that come with these.

          I suppose I am left with no way to say that there is a lot to figure out without understating my case. I guess I will have to grow more potatoes.

  • Patricia Newkirk
  • Christodophilus .

    I guess I will have to do more research, but I didn’t find anything amazing about the wells in India. Other than the fact they were built by human labour. I didn’t see how this was any different technology, to drilling a bore. Of course it’s downscaled to a single hole, but the permeability of water to travel underground, becomes the connected tunnel network.

    There wasn’t a lot of information in the video, to reveal how this technology was any different, to what we can access today, via underground water and bores – or even, interconnected pond systems. Still, it’s an inspiring amount of work, dedication and engineering, for human labour and hand tools. It’s terrific they thought to reinstate it too, during unpredictable weather patterns.