Austin Permaculture

An Austin area journey in developing an abundant and sustainable landscape.

Earthworks Course

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On October 24 to 27th, 2013 I attended Nick Ferguson’s Earthworks Course at his home in Louisiana.  Nick’s website is  The main instructor for the course was Nicholas Burtner with Jack Spirko and Nick Ferguson guest instructing.  Nicholas’ site is and Jack’s site is  As I stated in earlier posts, Jack was my inspiration for getting into permaculture.  This would be my second event taught by Nicholas Burtner.

It was a long drive to get from Austin to Louisiana.  It was 350 miles and took 6.5 hours.  We had two and a half days of instruction followed by a half day of design ending with receipt of a certification.  I had gone to the Urban Design workshop the previous week and it was good to see a couple of people from that workshop able to make it down to this one.

The instruction was top notch.  Even thought the town we were in was really small, it had a really nice library with a small conference room.  We split up our instruction time between the library and the garden at Nick’s place.  I got some additional review from my PDC as well as enjoying some new material and some of Nicholas’ experiences.  I really think the real life stories are the best part of the instruction.  You know you have a good teacher when they can tell stories that relate to the topic of discussion.

There were about 15 students from all walks of life.  Jack made it in on the second day of instruction.  The food was amazing and I really have to take my hat off to Nick’s wife and her sister for preparing the meals and putting up with all these people at their home.  We lit some paper lanterns Friday night and I ended up leaving Saturday night to try and take the edge off my work load for being gone for almost two weeks.  I did miss the additional time allotted in the garden for the digging of ponds and swales on Sunday.  I understood the principles enough to feel comfortable leaving early.  I was glad to be home with a day to spare.  I was also very happy to receive my Earthworks Course certificate.


A chicken got too close to Nicholas in the garden…


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