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Published on Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wind 2...

a second look at my wind issues.

Yes, there is a predominant heading out here that I can practically set the clock by and it's almost always from the Southwest moving Northeast. It's ironic then that all of my entertaining spaces are on the South side of everything! But, there's more to wind than direction.

For one, when it changes direction it brings with it different weather. One example is during Winter we get winter weather when the wind blows directly from the West or the North, be that just colder temperatures or snow. That's also when the house takes more pellets to heat and I am more likely to be under the bed covers curling up to a, permaculture book. That big blast of cold at the end of November beginning of December came on the heals of two days of constant, steady wind blowing right out of Canada. Enough to freeze the frost free spigot my son was filling the chicken waterer with because he didn't know to make sure it was all the way closed instead of mostly closed. I guess I love my son more than the $800 it's going to cost me to fix the darn thing, right!

During the summer there is almost no wind from the North except for a night time "breeze" that is the result of the cooler air from the hills nearby sinking through Williams Valley like an invisible river. But even then, in August that is less likely.

Daytime summer-ish wind movements involve gusts coming out of the South starting at around 11am. It can be such a quiet morning and then, WHAAM!, the bewitching hour of wind hard enough to take out anything not nailed down. That's particularly important to us for events planning because after the turmoil things quiet down around 1 or 2pm and can be pretty still thereafter for hours. Aside from rising thermals I really can't account for what else makes that episodic gust pattern. Also, these seem to always be clear and sunny days. The rain and thunderstorm patters sort of circle around us. I'm still figuring that out, too; I can't tell if we're just on the fringe of the circling wind or if it really just is all coming from the South to Southwest.

So, with all that watching, we've decided that our "room" concept is relatively good for developing but that we'll have to work up to larger trees rather than work down. I tend to built upper story first and then fill in but I think in this situation I will opposite my tendency. We need sheltering for sure but most folks who come out are aware there will be wind so if it's a problem we don't get the gig. We're seeing that we need a lower, think sitting person height and below, shelter belts that are designed to screen the wind AND be visually attractive. So, we're in the throws of selecting several vining species, flowering shrubs, and perennial prairie wildflowers. I have one kind of Akebia (trifoliata) purchased already but would gladly pay for a second species if you have an Akebia quinata I can take a cutting from. Shrubs for our purposes are mix of red twig dogwoods, woody hibiscus, Yellowhorn, and hazelnuts. And then under planting with daisies, blanket flower, perennial geraniums, black eyed susan, echinacea, thyme, lavender, sage, bee balm, lemon balm, some hosta's if I think I can keep the deer off, potted mints and flowering annuals. Keeping things thick on the ground and working thinner toward the top will keep things visually open and allow for trees to come in when we're ready to plant them.

So all that, and then I have to confess I have put in several trees on the perimeter already. These include several Canadian Cherry, a couple of Crimson Red Maples, and plans for several interesting conifer groups where the view needs balance. The walls of my party lawn "room" are, however, still going to be built from the bottom up!

I'll wrap up with this. There is no way I could have understood the flow of wind on this property without being here and that time will pay off in better design as we start planting. And even though I'm pretty flexible in making mistakes and planting something else I still prefer not to waste money on plants that will die! I'll keep you posted and thanks for reading. :-P

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Siemen Family Farms, Inc.
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Siemen Family Farms, Inc.

A Wedding and Event Center North of Deer Park, Wa with plans for a commercially viable Permaculture demonstration farm.

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