Mike Reynolds of Earth Ship Biotecture says the key to success is “wanting what no one else wants and not wanting what everyone else does”.

We live near a small town that likes to cut down its trees and shrubs often which is a strange thing considering we live in the desert where trees haven’t existed naturally for …well a very long time…as in millions of years.

No matter, anyway part of PC is recognizing Water Climate Culture and coming up with a decent design based on themes, concepts and observation.


The fact of the matter is we live in an area known as the Columbia Basin Channeled Scablands, channeled as in scoured by an enormous flood around 13,000 years ago and many (apparently) before that one. We have basalt, caliche and loess (minus the humus rich topsoil layer).


  • We want grass – to mulch the outer perimeter of the 5 acres we’re intensively regenerating.
  • We want the sticks, shrubs, branches for Quail, Pheasant & Rabbit habitat.


I thought it would be a good idea as a law abiding citizen to go straight to the county official responsible for gathering all of the extra downed trees and brush and ask if we might have them. I’ve told this story before, I thought I was being smart and logical because, you see, the extra biomass is cut down, placed into a truck, driven 2.5 miles to the county dump, then picked up and driven 100 miles over the border and dumped in a land fill in Oregon.




Having understood the principals of energy flows, energy loss, biomass, soil building I was pretty excited to show this guy I could save the county (tax payers) money and help build the soil at the same time.




Should have thought this one out.


I got the Science end of it right, missed the Culture part. This official belongs to two large groups; In Meyers Briggs language the SJ group which comprise about 45% of the population and see themselves as the Gate Keepers of justice and order. No matter how idiotic or incomprehensible the rules and regs may be – this group believes it is their duty to uphold those rules. In other words the top 5% could not function in any complex society without this group. The other large group belongs to a smorgasbord of institutional belief “groups” with various symbols (to let you know which one they group think with) that women suck and nature needs to be conquered or was it the other way around? I’m confused.


Anyway the answer was no. No we could not take biomass supplied by the county home. For that we would need to submit paperwork, fill out forms, be inspected, pay money (lots of money), wait for responses, be inspected again, fill out more forms, pay more money…and as he said “I don’t care if you’re doing this for a business or for a warm and fuzzy feeling” either way you have to do this and you can leave your proposal on my desk for review once the EPA approves it.

When we left that meeting, the person I was with used a whole bunch of words strung together that rhymed with “ducking poosh bag”. In the long run it saved us money.

A link to the local paper has this article title: Oregon landfill takes on Adams County Trash. http://othellooutlook.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=29&ArticleID=23739

They are very proud of this arrangement, so much so that the article says “We want to teach and educate the kids on the importance of recycling,” well how about basic math? Because the article also has this: “At the city’s transfer station, located in Bruce, there is one supervisor and six full-time employees. The county produces roughly 17 tons of garbage annually. About 20 percent of this garbage comes from Ritzville and the other 80 tons go through Bruce, which is open Monday to Thursday.”



OK, GOT IT 17 TONS minus 20% (3.4 tons) = ahhh…wait…one minute….got it. The other 80% is 80 Tons!



Oh man, those kids are screwed.


But the high note is (Map again)


RVille_Xfer_Station_Arlington_Landfill_Map_Annotated 2


The article says: “Because it is free to use the landfill, the county is just paying for the diesel it takes the trucks to get there and back. It is roughly a 165 mile one way trip, O’Brien said. It’s very cost effective.”

In what fuckin reality? 1950? Eisenhower’s time?

The Arch Druid has something to say about this in his article in three separate posts; one about the actual cost of pollution, trash, and progress:


the other is about…well…stuck on stupid


and this one is a look into history of fossil fuels, something a town dependent upon cheap diesel might want to look into


So anyways
Being a creative extremist (as in Dr. King’s letter from a Birmingham jail – not the word extremist that GWB  used to high jack a meaning and use it as an excuse to bomb another country) I sought another way around this issue.

I called a landlord and three landscapers I knew. We met. We put together a plan. That was June 2013.

Since then we’ve been doing some high jacking ourselves. One full load every 2 weeks for 20 months, 42.8 trips at roughly two tons per load means we’ve collected around 85.6 Tons of Biomass to date and short-circuited the trip from the yard to the county dump to the landfill in Oregon.


It works.

beloved trees

Quail now reside on the property and, as of this spring, are breeding. Mr. Pheasant parades around with 5 young offspring (he’s quite proud) and rabbits have showed up and called this place home.


The wet nitrogen rich unwanted grass gets spread out 5” thick and suppresses the cheat grass from becoming a real fire hazard. Yes it has chemical weed & feed crap in it – so we only use it to mulch around the wild trees we’ve planted outside of the 5 acres of food forest.