We are working to transform Heathcote into a Permaculture Demonstration Site! There are several permaculture projects and elements present on Heathcote property, and now we're working on pulling them all together.
The above photo is of our greenhouse as it was being constructed. It is attached to an existing structure, which will provide heat in the winter. We're considering a composting chamber in the greenhouse to help heat it. Our next project is new soffets, facia, and gutters for the Mill. We hope to eventually tie the gutters into a roof water catchment system that will provide irrigation water for the our newest garden area.
Another project that we've recently completed construction on is our new residence, Polaris. It is a 3-story strawbale house, and is home to 6 community members. In October 2010 we will be installing an earthen floor in the kitchen. Polaris will also be able to include things like:
- Alternative energy - photo voltaic electricity, passive solar heating
- Rainwater catchment system
- Greywater system
- Composting toilets
An Edible Landscaping workshop focused on the hillside between the Hill garden and our orchard, increasing perennial food production and adding beneficial companion plantings to the orchard. The workshop included a segment on pruning to restore the old trees in the orchard.
In 1998 we expanded our roof water catchment. We are working with the state of Maryland to create an approved grey water system to clean household water from the farm house. In 1997 we constructed a solar shower, a solar oven, and a solar food dryer. Rebecka wrote an article summarizing her adventures in passive solar appliances at Heathcote. We also plan to install a composting toilet in the Farmhouse.
Of course, we recycle and compost. Seven different composting systems are located near the main garden and are used in our education efforts as well as serving a practical need. Our goat manure pile sprouted a huge zucchini plant one year, prompting us to grow all of our winter squashes in goat manure mounds; our best yield yet!
Building and Construction Fund
You can help us develop Heathcote as a Permaculture Demonstration site by contributing to this fund! Potential projects include the construction of a passive solar, straw bale community center; a photovoltaic demonstration system; a ram pump for irrigation; an earthbermed passive solar greenhouse; and retrofitting buildings to be more energy efficient.
Mill Restoration Project
Grant money from Preservation Maryland and the School of Living has been used to start the restoration of the mill at Heathcote. We've completed restoration of the foundation at the north corner of the building where the old mill wheel was located. Soon we'll be installing new sills and posts to complete the restoration of the north corner and protect the mill works.
Our Mill is unique because of its historical significance: as a grist mill built in the mid-19th century and as a School of Living center promoting alternative lifestyles in the late 60's and early 70's. It currently houses our conference center and community common spaces.
Help us do it the right way -- sustainably!
Mail contributions to:
21300 Heathcote Rd.
Freeland, MD 21053